Thursday, 1 June 2017

May Sandra Clinic - Sunday

Saturday post here

Saturday really didn't go like I had hoped so I wasn't terribly excited for Sunday. Sandra made the call that since Kachina had reacted so strongly to the first horse physio session, we should drop the second physio session and instead do a few weeks of me doing more gentle massaging and stretching and then do another more intense physio session the next time she is down. That left just a rider physio/riding lesson left which was scheduled for mid-day.

Clinic haul-ins (my truck and trailer at the back)

I had left Kachina at T's place overnight so I wouldn't have to do as much hauling (I was already responsible for hauling 3 horses from two different barns in my 2-horse trailer meaning multiple trips). Of course being the organizer, I was at T's place bright and early for the start of the clinic. When I checked on Kachina first she still came up to me for treats and pets so she didn't seem to be holding onto too many hard feelings from the day before.

Some of the early rides, beautiful arena, beautiful day!

I watched the first ride and then went back to check on Kachina again. This time, as I was rounding the side of the barn I saw Kachina with her butt up against her pen fence with all 4 legs stretched forwards. She seemed to really lean into the stretch and hold it for a minute. She then released it and walked out of it normally and went back to her hay. I've never seen her do anything like that before so I assume she was getting some big release out from the physio the day before.

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post is that after my disastrous ride on
Saturday, T very generously let me give Kachina a free session under her
IR lights to see if that would relieve any soreness #vetfriends4thewin

Hopefully helping

After another few riders went, I caught Kachina and groomed her. She was still flinching to touches on her girth area but she didn't seem upset about it, just involuntary skin spasms. The previous day when Sandra had ridden she had noted that it seemed like my saddle was slipping to one side and she had trouble sitting in on one seat bone. She worried that the saddle might be sitting assymmetrically so I gave the panels a good inspection before putting it on her back. I first tacked up without a pad and did a 360 examination to see that the saddle was sitting evenly and wasn't causing any pressure points. Everything looked fine so I added my saddle pad, and also a sheepskin half pad just in case she needed a little extra shock absorber. I left Kachina tied to the hitching post and met Sandra inside the barn for a short rider physio session.

My saddle is a 18.5" so my previous saddle cover didn't give adequate coverage
I just got this beautiful custom cover made by Saddle Sox by Nina (Etsy or FB)
I love it! 

Sunday - Rider Physio

I really like the rider physio option that Sandra has for her clinics. She will do a short off-horse assessment of the rider, give you some exercised to do at home, and then immediately after you get a riding lesson, that is basically a normal riding lesson, just a little shorter because of the physio time, and also a little more focused on rider position. I did one of these physio sessions in the February clinic. Last time though Sandra didn't have any equipment with her so she was confined to exercises that could be done standing or sitting on the mounting block. This time she brought a folding treatment table so she could do more.

Sandra has noted repeatedly how my right foot turns out more when I ride than the left does. In February she had looked at my ankle in detail and determined that the issue wasn't there. This time she immediately dove into my hip area to find the root of the problem. My hip flexors are a bit tight, but fairly evenly so, that isn't the main issue but it is something I can work on and stretch. She had me lie down and started digging in to me. My lower back had some tight spots near the spine that she worked on. Finally she went for the butt and apparently that's where the biggest issue is. She joked that I am a real tight ass lol. Specifically, my right butt was way tighter than the left. I have no idea what the cause of this is but she worked out some of the tension and gave me some good foam roller exercises to help loosen it further.

Sunday - Lesson 

After my physio session, I grabbed Kachina, threw her bridle one and brought her to the ring. As I started my ride it was soon apparent that Kachina's reactivity and discomfort from the day before had gone away. We could move freely again. However, the recent memory of Saturday's ride had us both with our guard up a bit. Kachina wasn't hurting, but she acted like she wasn't convinced that she might not start hurting again. In turn, I was still a bit unnerved and scared that she might start to freak out again. We had an okay ride, doing walk/trot/canter, but we were barely able to get off the circle, and it wasn't up to our recent quality. Sandra had to keep reminding me to sit back, soften my knees, and not pull backwards with the reins. I know all of this and I have improved on it a lot, but my nervousness brought it back. Kachina was acting like she did a few months ago with less consistency in rhythm and contact. Part of me was glad that this back slide happened at the clinic so Sandra could help us through it, but a bigger part of me was frustrated that I was getting the same lesson I got last November and that we couldn't move on to anything new.

The IR might have helped Kachina feel better from her physio,
but she didn't exactly relax during the treatment.
She stood like this for all the time she wasn't pawing. 

Unappreciative mare =P
(she even had hay in the feeder if she wanted it, but she was too angry)

On the bright side, my horse didn't permanently break. Seeing the improvement on Sunday reinforced our theory that Kachina had just been sensitive about the physio and needed some time. However, I am still going to try the Magnesium, keep a close eye on her girth issues, and do regular gentle massage and stretching. Sandra agreed that my saddle looked like fine, Kachina had probably just been unevenly tight in the back the day before.

Sandra's got a busy summer ahead so our next clinic with her is booked for October. I have a few other clinics and shows planned for between now and then so hopefully we'll make some real progress by that time.


  1. Ah these sensitive and intelligent mares. Let's start a support group. My own experience is that even though it feels like you're spinning your wheels the fact that you worked through stuff and nobody died progress is being made- only more mentally then physically.

  2. Hahahaha the tight ass thing made me LOL! That's good news your saddle isn't asymmetrical (that sounds $$). Sounds like such a cool opportunity to have horse/rider physio and lessons. Miss K sounds very sensitive but hopefully her treatments helped :)