Stinker decided that since I wasn't worrying about packing/moving any more he would give me something to worry about on Friday. He kicked through his stall and scraped up his leg and it was puffy. He was still running around in the pasture, so I decided to go ahead with my lesson with my favorite dressage judge. My time with her is very limited, so I want to capitalize on it as much as possible. I figured I could learn something even if we just walked.
It was worth it. Because I finally figured out something she has been telling me since we got him calm enough to walk. I know I have talked about his natural crookedness and how he is always tight in his right poll and never truly lets it go. Quite frequently this causes him to twist his head when he is traveling to the right.
She has talked to me multiple times about how his crest isn't flipping all the way over and I need to make that happen. But I never really understood what I wanted to see happen because he would never release it. So basically I was blindly searching for something, but I didn't know what.
We started off with me riding him, and he immediately started working over his back. I was a little surprised because usually it takes quite a bit of convincing to get him there. Hopefully it wasn't a fluke and he is really starting to figure out what I want. After warming him up like that and doing some of the typical supple/improving his ride-ability exercises she asked me if I wanted to trot.
I decided to try him on the lunge first, because I wasn't totally convinced that he was 100% normal. Because he typically doesn't have swelling in his legs, and he has to be extremely sore before he will stop ramming around in the pasture. When he trotted he he had a bit of a hitch, so we did a bit of ground work to help him get his back swinging more (similar to what I had been doing in the saddle).
He responded really well to the work, so she had me reach up and start massaging his crest to get it to flip over to the right side. Nothing was happening then finally I felt things popped and it finally flipped over. It felt really gross, but he dropped his head and licked. We repeated it a few more times and each time he gave a little faster, but never held it for very long.
I think it is going to take awhile to be able to replicate the give while under saddle, but it is a start and now I at least know what I am looking for now. Stinker is giving me a new appreciation for ground work, and I am slowly learning how to use it appropriately to help him understand what I want under saddle. I am going to miss my dressage judge so much when I move. She has made such a huge difference in him. The first time she saw us he was a hot panicked mess, and slowly she has turned us into something that can be seen in public.