September 17, 2019

Headshaking, Part 3

I've had two Dressage rides and one on-the-buckle hack since Connor got adjusted (in that order) and I tried to be as objective as possible, but there was no denying that there was a big change.  Right from the get-go, when I was tacking him up, I palpated that spot that had been so sore he tried to pull away from me before, and he didn't even react.

I noticed some very specific things.  First, it felt like the stance phase of right fore in the walk didn't last as long.  He loves to lean on that leg in every gait and every direction, and it felt like it was spending less time on the ground.

I also immediately noticed that I didn't get the feeling that I needed to convince him to "stand up" on the left side.  His hips and his back were level, to the point that I sort of felt like I was being pitched forward.

In both Dressage rides, he still shook his head, but only one gentle half-assed shake, with no tension and no running through me afterward.

Finally, certain pieces of his body felt easier to access.  Shoulder in right was a lot easier to get.  Shoulder in left was still tough, but there's a LOT of muscle memory we're going to have to unlearn in order to fix that.

On Mondays we wear blue.  Because we're blue about Monday.
Probably the most important thing I had to realize is that however good he felt coming out, it was still possible for me to get him crooked and off-balanced with my poor riding.  Why do you think his whole body was stuck to the left?!  It's vitally important that I change ME right now so that he doesn't immediately get locked back up in all the same ways.   

Is anything permanently fixed?  No.  Am I a lot more aware of my own crookedness when my horse isn't so crooked?  Yes.  All in all, this feels like money well-spent.  Anything that makes him more comfortable is money well-spent in my book.


  1. Awareness is half the battle! Glad he is feeling so much better already -- fingers crossed he holds onto the adjustment!

  2. it's amazing how your own crookedness impacts them. I've noticed a lot of spicy's right shoulder issues are because my pelvis is crooked (with the left side being lower than the right) which makes it hard to 'fill out' that side of his body.

  3. Definitely money well spent. All of my horses have had the same weak legs, and I'm the common factor. Body awareness is definitely the first step to preventing it from happening as often!

  4. So glad you felt such a huge difference. You're right, we as riders do need to focus on straightness and what not to not allow our horses to get so crooked. BUT also remember that we also follow their bodies. So it's certainly not all your fault. Don't be so hard on yourself! It's kind of a chicken and egg scenario.

  5. Ah yay! Glad that things are feeling on the up and up after his adjustment!

  6. Awesome! It's so rewarding when we can find these little/big spots -- and so annoying that there are so many of them & they love to not stay put. But each one we find, we can keep an eye on & address it much earlier in the cycle when it tries to slip back to habit, which is so much easier.

  7. When you find the key to being straight, would you share? It's SUCH a struggle!

  8. Body work stuff always fascinates me. I’m hoping to get Katai on the schedule for a local body worker soon since I’ve also noticed a few minor body imbalance/tension type things.