Looking for those perfect 10 dressage scores, I am prepared to explore options.
Monday morning dawned, gave Stretch his breakfast and told him he was in for a new experience this morning. All I got was a grunt with his full focus on his grub. All that changed when he heard the lorry starting and being pulled forward.
Off to the new Equine Rebalance Therapy Centre at Wellington Riding for a taster session of the new Aqua treadmill.
So the question you may be asking is why (apart from wanting 10’s)? Well, very simply my horse is a little bit lazy, he has a tendency to go out through his shoulder as an evasion to using himself (I am guilty of having allowed it in the past) and we know that he is more than a little scared of the power he has in his hind quarters. When he does engage he scares himself so my thinking is that this is a good way of getting him using himself correctly without the idiot rider onboard.
Just so you know, I am also sorting myself out too so that we can be straight together. There will be more on this when I get started, only a couple of weeks to wait – very excited about it too.
First time for everything
Back to the plot. On arrival at Wellington there was lots going on, horses coming in from the field, dismantling of stables from the Premier League which all served to ensure we had a Stretch moment. Piaffes, snorting, rearing, eyeball rolling the usual, but with a broken hand somewhat daunting.
Rachel was straight out to the car park and took charge with Tonya right behind. I had warned them about the 18 hands of problem that could be heading their way. All was quickly under control, Rachel’s pocket magically giving out Polos which quelled somewhat of the brewing storm. In through the white gates of the new centre where all is quiet and serene. I have to say it looks fantastic as we walked over to the new barn.
Still a few huffs and puffs from Mr Stretch's direction.
Horsey Spa Time
In the “Equine Spa” all was calm with a lot of attention to detail. Closing the door behind Stretch, the doors don’t even whisper as they close, no loud sounds at all and the doors at the front mirror them. So. we were in.
Now to get him on the treadmill.
Taking the lead, I walked into the treadmill and bless his cotton socks, he followed me on.
Ok, so when the treadmill started, the eyes rolled. I did see some moments of panic there but he had to walk. Rachel and Tonya were encouraging him all the way. My 18 hand boy started marching and I mean really marching not something he normally does at 9am on a Monday morning. I could see every muscle moving and it was a sight to be seen.
Slowly the giraffe neck disappeared and he began to settle into it. Why is his walk never like that with me?
Then came the water. Sensitively done, he accepted it without any problem and just kept marching. Wow! Now if I can get him walking like that I can already see 9’s in my dressage tests, never had one of those before. 10 minutes and we were done, the water was slowly drained and then the treadmill was slowed coming to a gradual stop.
Mission accomplished, successfully.
So what did I think? Yep, I am up for this. If this was good for Valegro (I hear rumour that it was used extensively prior to competition) it is good enough for me. Next sessions booked and a plan in place to get my boy to 25 minutes on the treadmill with water higher than his hooves.
I also have to thank Rachel and Tonya for their quiet encouragement, lack of panic and sheer professionalism. If they can get Mr Stretch on and being accepting then they can get anyone on.
Core strength, muscle development, straightness - now to sort myself out……………………