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23.12.2021 Max and Zen: November

A Guest Blog by Hilary Moses

We kicked off November with a trip to our physio, the lovely Sue Palmer no less! Zen naturally holds himself in an outline which, although it looks nice, isn’t necessarily good for him. Sue thought that it was possible he’d been broken in side reins and possibly left in them for long periods, so his neck was in quite a lot of spasm. When he finished his treatment Zen’s neck looked about a foot longer. He was also tense and tender in various places but this wasn’t down to me, just inherited from how he’d been treated in the past. Sue said she thought she’d need to see him a few times in quite close succession, but on our return visit a fortnight later, it appeared that Zen had been holding on to his improvements and was star of the day! So now he doesn’t need to go back until January. Result! 

Zen had had a busy first month so I decided to wind things in a bit and let him fully come to terms with all the changes in his life, which have to be for the better as he’s now in a forever home. Not that he knows that of course. We attended another pole/small jump clinic and Zen seemed to remember the first one and made good progress. I use 2 different menages for schooling and although Zen was working nicely in one, we suddenly had a problem in the other. There are goats nearby and Zen decided he couldn’t possibly work in the whole menage because he could hear/see/smell them. I tried turning him out next to them but he ran around the field, which is on quite a slope, and eventually fell over, so I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of any injury. We’re currently still working on the goat situation. We’re also still working on the mounting situation, as Zen tends to fidget or try and walk away when I’m mounting. Friends have given me various solutions and I’m hoping that by December’s blog we’ll have it sorted.

The end of the month saw us having our second lesson, and my trainer couldn’t believe how well he’s doing. We had to travel to a new venue but Zen behaved impeccably and worked well. We always have homework to do for the month in between lessons, and this month we’ll be working on shortening and lengthening the stride within the pace, having equal contact in the reins, and trotting into and then cantering away from jumps. My trainer is fairly sure I have a jumper on my hands, which is fine as I like to do a bit of everything. As long as the dressage also improves. Zen has also done a bit of hacking to keep him relaxed and happy. 

Max has been doing very little. He took part in a monthly online Trec competition (in which Zen also did the in-hand version again) and did everything I asked, if lethargically, except for the control of paces section where a slow canter is required. Max still isn’t interested in cantering at all so we didn’t do that part. He’s been for some shortish hacks and seemed to enjoy those, but the pressure is definitely off him now Zen is on the scene. I think we’re both happy with that. Having 2 horses definitely keeps you busy and can be hard going in the winter, but so far things are good and I’m enjoying the challenge.

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021

Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion

December 23, 2021
Sue Palmer