It’s kind of amazing how much progress we’ve made in the past month. While Ria is still not quite where I’d like her to be, weight-wise, her overall body condition has improved tremendously in the last few weeks with her feed change and ulcer treatment. You can’t visibly see her ribs anymore, which is wonderful.
We got two solid weeks of lunge training in, where she was making great strides at the walk and trot. Unfortunately, she cut her hock in the paddock the day before Thanksgiving, which caused her lower leg to swell and led her to be lame for about a week. I let her take things easy while she recovered, which paid off.
It wasn’t part of my plan to ride her for a while still, but our boarding barn had a few saddle fitting appointments scheduled for the beginning of December, and I took the opportunity to sign up for one as well. I didn’t want to have the saddle fitting appointment be our first ride, but Ria indicated to me that she could handle it. Her leg was completely healed, and she looked comfortable at the walk for a few days before I decided to pop on her bareback for our first ride.
As with all of Ria’s other training, I’ve made sure to take things very slowly. Our first couple of rides were done entirely at the walk, for no more than about 15 minutes a day. She has handled everything so well, though, and has a very natural, round frame, where she reaches down into the contact. I’ve never ridden a horse like her – I’m impressed every time I get on her.
The saddle fitting went very well, so for now I’ve got a Kent & Masters saddle on trial until early January. It’s a very adjustable saddle, which is a great option to have while her body is continuing to grow and change.
We have recently started to introduce the trot in the indoor, which still needs a little work. She has a hard time maintaining the same rhythm for now, but we’ll get there! We’ve also been working on circles and serpentines. Over the next month, I’ll continue to lunge her, keep working on her rhythm at the trot, and introduce ground poles under saddle. It’s been a good month with much progress.
Submitted by Lauren Floyd, WVS club member