Saturday, March 10, 2012

Catch-Up Part I: So many updates, I have to split them up!

I have so many things to catch up on, I can't possibly put them into one blog update alone!

We last left off with me having a broken computer, and prior to that, I hadn't blogged since Pangea's first AquaTread session. Let's begin this entry with a schedule de-briefing, shall we? I'm treating Pangea's reconditioning essentially as a rehab, taking it extra slow and methodical. I see absolutely no reason to rush anything, and want to put a solid base on her before I get out and start yahooing around. (Which I desperately want to do.... but that will come in time!) We're starting all our work at the walk, with varying amounts of on the bit work, stretching, lateral work, hillwork, and work on the trail. I'd throw cavalettis in there too if I could find a few.... unfortunately, they are a bit hard to come by at a barn primarily boarded at by barrel racers. Texas problems.
The schedule for the past two weeks has been three rides and one AquaTread session each week, all at the walk. The first week we only walked for 30 minutes each ride, half on the bit/stretching and half on a loose rein, and a 15 minute walk session in the AquaTread. This week, that has been increased to 40 minutes a ride at the walk, with 25 of it on the bit/stretching and 15 on a long rein. We do lots of changes of direction, varying circles, suppling, and have just started going sideways a bit. Next week, we'll ride four days a week instead of three, as well as go on the AquaTread once. I MAY start trotting her on the AquaTread this week, but may wait until I start getting ready to trot under saddle.

Pangea's second AquaTread session went wonderfully, with her walking right in of her own accord without any hesitation. Having trained all types of horses to get into the water, I can safely say that this is not the norm! It usually takes three or so sessions until a horse normally walks in without any sort of extra assistance on our part, but not in Pangea's case! She just wanted to show all of her counterparts up. It took us a half hour today to get a horse into the water on his second try... it took a second one an eternity to even load into the chute for his second try.... it took her about 3 seconds to walk right in of her own accord. Excellent mare.

From the top of the AquaTread, you also get a very interesting and clear view of your horse's back:

No glaring abnormalities here! Sometimes you can really see when a horse is out of alignment chiropractically. She could use an adjustment (and will receive one shortly), but she doesn't have anything serious going on. Gogo, on the other hand, was ridiculously crooked and it was glaringly obvious when she was in the pool.

However, she wasn't completely perfect for this entire AquaTread ordeal. In fact, things took quite a turn for the worse afterwards..... but you'll have to wait for Part II to find out why!


  1. I've never used an aqua tread, so I don't know how they work for the horses... do you switch which side the lead rope is to so she builds even muscles on both sides? With her to the side like that I would think she'd build unevenly, but given its use for rehab I assume either that's not the case or you put the lead to the other side every other time. After you catch up on your status I would *love* to know more about how the aquatread works as far as what it does/doesn't develop for the horses, etc.
    Actually, I'd love to know all you care to share with us about your work - you are getting such a great chance to learn so many things I think most of us don't get to, and it's fascinating every time you discuss rehab work you're doing!

  2. In the pictures she is tied short so she is stuck over on that side of the wall while I was away from her side. She likes to stay stuck to the left side of the wall regardless - that's where the other horses are - so next time I will be tying her to the opposite rail. The ideal is that they travel straight at all times, but a lot of horses like to be crooked, so we tie or hold them wherever they need to be. And I will definitely post more about it!

  3. That makes sense! I know my horses have always gone crooked every way they could so I'm not too surprised there. I was just curious if something about how they have to move in the water helped avoid that.

    And thanks for the updates - you so deserve the good times you're having with her right now, and I hope she keeps up the good behavior! (I'm hoping your foreshadowing is nothing severe!)

  4. It may or may have not been severe... you'll find out tomorrow ;)

  5. I like the sound of your long slow and steady fitness plan ....I find that by doing the careful conditioning you get less problems down the track curious about part two I have to admit!

  6. I hope you are okay! At least we know your typing fingers are. ;)

    Pangea is lovely. I am so glad that you are able to ride again.

  7. a bird's eye view, what an opportunity!

    with this cold weather cramping my activities, an indoor (and heated!) pool for my own use sounds divine....!


  8. Evil cliffhangers!! ;D

    For cavaletti I use small trees. We had to cut down some pine trees to move our horse barn for repairs and I cut them down to make perfect sized cavaletti. I've heard some people use PVC pipe for cavaletti, but I'm not sure how expensive it is. It is really light for carrying around though. :)