With what we suspect to be Forrest's sacrum/pelvic issues, I'm learning an awful lot of life lessons these last several weeks, the main one being most distasteful to me: patience!
As long as I can remember, from an early delivery to lying across my bed at 15, absolutely aching to turn a year older, snag my driver's license and not rely on my mother to drive me to the barn, I am an impatient personality. Horses have illustrated Klaus Balkenhol's statement, "You go faster by going slower," and I embrace that whole heartedly, but waiting for Forrest to heal, if, in fact, he actually does completely heal (another grim reality that may need facing), feels like being in school again and wondering if summer break will ever arrive as you labor through algebra.
Soooo, since late autumn, I have been steadfastly walking my horse in hand, and every now and then, riding, long, straight lines as part of the healing of that sacrum area requires strengthening, as well, but never over-taxing, and I also will lead him over ground poles for his pelvis to lift and swing.
From everything I've read and my own vet and chiropractor's advice, longeing circles is out (especially as Forrest tends to explode, with no warning), as it really stresses the pelvis, so as I hand walk Forrest in the arena, I will, every couple of weeks, let out the line to jog alongside him down the long side to see (damned impatience!!) if there's any improvement at all. Here are two photos taken in exact sequence- and let me tell you, it takes pretty impressive multi-tasking to run, holding longe line and snapping photos at the same time- so that you can see that shorter step he's taking with that left hind.
And then, when I couldn't stand it, I had to check again, about three weeks later, as we were walking around the field and, is it just me? Could that look a tad better?
I'm a church going gal and not embarrassed to admit I pray for Forrest's healing and, for me, PATIENCE!! Intellectually, I know fully that healing cannot be rushed and whenever I feel one of those impatient pangs come on, I just pull Forrest out of his stall and give him another massage, with pointers from from Mike Scott, in between his regular visits, and work off my whiney anguish by helping my boy feel better. He loves me kneading and stroking and stretching him and it helps him, I think, not feel so left on the back burner as he sees me tack up other horses that need to be worked.
The other life lesson I've learned dovetails nicely into our entire 'Cinderella Project': that other non-traditional dressage breeds can surprise you with unexpected talent. As I mentioned in my last blog, a lovely sales horse has come into my barn. While a half Friesian, half Clydesdale might look a bit 'clunky' in the stall, and not feel particularly agile when you mount up, never write off a what three, correct gaits and a wonderful brain might offer!