The “Aha!” moments just keep on coming! There has been a lot of progress this week and I really think that a real corner has been turned.
First, the knots on Beaux’s jaw and back have not returned, and the neck is making a little progress. There may be a chiropractic adjustment down the road, but the neck is showing some improvements, so I will continue the massage and manipulations and go from there.
Second, I took a test ride on a synthetic Western saddle with really good results. The trainer at the barn, who is very knowledgeable in Western saddle fit, found it fit his shoulders and his shark fin withers, while being level/no bridging. After a bit of tweaking with stirrup length, found the sweet spot, and put Beaux through some basic schooling. The saddle fits Beaux perfectly, and while it is a smidge large on me, I have a sheepskin “tush cush” that will make the fit perfect for me as well. The price is right and now I am the proud new owner of a Western saddle! I am really thrilled with the new saddle, and this gives me a very comfortable saddle for trails (which, to be honest, is my main love).
I’m not sure if it is having a saddle that properly fits or what, but Beaux had moments of absolute brilliance. We had moments where we were in perfect sync, very responsive to seat and leg cues, a relaxed but forward walk, and really good brakes. Those moments when we clicked were almost magical and gives me the confidence that we are going the right direction with all the tweaks. I am also switching Beaux over to Manna Pro’s Safe Performance from the Purina Healthy Edge, and I upgraded Beaux’s Smartpak to include a digestive supplement for his sensitive stomach. Beaux is prone to ulcers and I will also include more alfalfa to his diet. He is currently on a timothy/alfalfa mix so buying a bale of straight alfalfa and adding a flake or two to his current ration of t/a hay should give him more of a buffer to his diet.
I got a couple of days before I can get back out and see if I can recreate the magic. I like to think between the massage, proper fitting saddle, and getting Beaux back on his Smartpaks, I’ve fixed a few issues. I can also start hitting our new trails now that I have a comfortable saddle and that we rediscovered steering and brakes. Now it is time to branch out of the arena and to add trail riding (our true love) into our repertoire. We got a couple of months of nice weather before the heat of summer makes riding either an early morning or late evening affair. There are some summer shows that we will check out, and then the fun starts in Sept when a full riding schedule of trails, competitive trails, and intro rides/limited distance rides will be our goals. It is amazing what can be accomplished, when you put the horse first.