Hello everybody! Sorry that this is my first post in a while, it has been a busy summer! Because I have not posted for some time, I would like to start off with a summary of a few things that have happened over the past few months. In April, Tigger and I moved to a new barn in Redlands, California, to train with Kim McGrath out of Sunset Hills Dressage. As many of you may already know, Tigger has always been a little resistant in his neck but in working with Kim we have found a tool that really helps me properly put him on the bit and keep him more connected and through. That tool is the walk pirouette. The walk pirouette is a dressage movement that requires little bend and has your horse moving its front end around his hind end while keeping his hind legs mostly stationary. This movement works well with Tigger because it causes him to be more submissive and supple which makes the rest of the work much easier. Much of my problems have to do with manipulating parts of his big ol’ body — like his shoulders and his neck. The walk pirouette really helps me do this and also makes his body more through.
Even though Tigger and I qualified for the USEF Dressage Seat Medal finals which are taking place at Lamplight this week, we decided earlier in the year that this trip was going to be too far and too expensive for us to attend, but we were planning to attend the USDF Regional Championship to compete at First Level this September. However, Tigger had a few stumbles under saddle earlier in the year and last month he fell down head first while we were just trotting down the long side of the arena. So, we trailered Tigger down to Dr. Martinelli at California Equine Orthopedics to get him a bone-scan so that we could determine what might be the problem, and if we could find any signs of something that could have caused the fall or anything that could have been damaged by the fall. After a few days at the clinic where Tigger received great care, a full body bone scan, a neck x-ray, and an ultrasound, they found no signs of anything wrong and basically said that he was in good condition for a horse his age. After all of that we think that maybe the work at the higher level that we have been schooling may just be too difficult for Tigger and the fact that he is getting older does not help. So, we have decided to back off of the training a bit and not bother with trying to attend the Regional Championship show this year just so that Tigger isn’t being over-worked. I’m still riding Tigger regularly but we have decided to give him a couple extra days off each week and not push him as hard, but don’t worry, we are still giving him lots of love and plenty of treats!!!