Consolation is on hold. Just briefly.
She’s fitter than snot and could really, really use the 50 at Tough Sucker I next weekend. We were registered. The camper was on the truck. New comfort pads were on order from Easycare. The truck was topped off with diesel.
Aaaaaand…we’re not going.
Last weekend, we had a bad ride. It started with a switchy tail, which progressed over just a few miles to head-slinging and bucking. Consolation felt crooked and short strided and she refused to canter. Attempts to extend at the trot led to quick stalls and the flinging of her head to the right.
Obviously, something was wrong. I checked her tack, even pulling the saddle to check the cinch and pad. She was unusually itchy under the saddle, but I could find nothing else wrong. She wasn’t bellyachy or lame. And yet, her extreme irritation and bucking continued, even in hand, and seemed to be growing worse.
We went home and tried a couple different pads, a good brushing, a warm sponge-down of that itchy skin. Nothing doing. She was fine without the saddle, but not happy with it on and even more miserable when mounted. Mind you, this is the old saddle we’ve been using while waiting for her custom Stonewall to arrive. (Getting the perfect tree has caused a couple delays, but it should be here within a couple weeks — hooray!)
The old saddle simply isn’t a good fit for her. We did our best with shims and minimal riding as she came off her winter holiday, but I now realize it was probably bothering her more than she let on. For all that I value Consolation’s stoicism, I sometimes wish she’d complain before she reaches her wit’s end! And then, there’s always me needing to learn her language better.
Anyway, I asked our favorite vet for a chiropractic evaluation in case there was more going on than just the saddle issue. He straightened her out, gave me a hoof-trimming tip to help with some pectoral soreness, and agreed that a new saddle is what she needs most.
The next day, I hand-grazed her for a while, then loosed her in the round corral to see how she was feeling. Sore, by the look of things! She was very short-strided in back and clearly not interested in trotting much. Well. I’ve been at the chiropractor a lot lately, myself, and I remember how I felt in the days after my initial adjustments. I figured she just needed some time to settle into the new arrangement of her various parts.
Sure enough, by the 48-hour mark she was tearing around her paddock like a maniac, shying at the wind and bucking joyfully. She’s not a great one for playing at liberty — she’s more the paddock-potato type — so she must have felt *really* good. She’s going to have to hold all that energy in for a while, though. We’re looking at a weekend of slick trails under high winds, rain, and thunderstorms. Besides, I don’t have a saddle.
But I will. Very soon. Hopefully, it’ll fit her like a glove and we’ll be 100% for Tough Sucker II at the end of the month. Shortly after that, Acey’s new saddle will arrive and I’ll be back to the grand old struggle of conditioning two horses and training several more.