HOPE IN THE AIR
I get to ride him when he’s in a good way, and at the moment I attribute the good rides to days when the weather has been warmer. Let’s hope as the days get longer his coat changes and whatever has irritated his nose and airways will settle down as well as his anxiety and his headshaking syndrome.
It is with relief that I can say that I have had a few rides on Jeremy with much less anxiety. He is becoming better acclimatised to the weird sensation and is settling a little. He is now relaxed enough at times to start to encourage him to stay to the bridle, and there are a few circles and times now that are feeling better balanced and confident. He is such a beautiful horse and I so am enjoying the journey, as convoluted as it is. What can you do but pull all stops out to logically and unemotionally try and alleviate the sensation and the headshaking. Frustrating for me, for sure, but even more for Jeremy.
I can only take his training slowly and step by step when he is feeling not anxious, and it makes the better times so worthwhile. He is starting leg-yield and a little shoulder-in and transitions within the pace, backwards and forwards, which is the start of the half-halts and the collection, to a minor degree. What is the most interesting is that I have to really ride him off my leg and with little rein so when he is anxious it’s not the rein and contact that interferes with his freedom, but it’s about my leg directing him. The outside leg is so, so important to keep him turning the forehand and the contact light. I find that the voice is also vitally important as he really responds to this reassurance that all is okay.
He is back in a plain snaffle and happy with it. I tend not to lunge him as this can worry him when the air rushes in and he runs away from the feeling, so if I do it’s very quiet and steady. Where he is at the moment is at Caroline Hooper Dressage, which is such a positive and great facility. Caroline and the others at the barn are so helpful and positive that it makes the situation easier and there is no fuss or carry-on about it. I have to say, when times get a little tough it’s always so good to surround yourself with positive people and that’s what it’s all about.
There is no doubt that I’m aware of many other influences in regards to this problem, ranging from nutrition, to nosebands and the way nosebands fit, where they sit with what affect; the trigeminal nerve, whether the bridle is too tight near his ears, etc. There are many, many factors that need to be considered in respect to this. If only Jeremy could tell me! Hopefully we’ll get to the end of it, and as I write this article, it is actually the best it’s been for the last several weeks. We just have to remain logical. Don’t overthink the problem and continue on to the best remedies. My enjoyment with coaching and training other riders with their horses is an absolute delight in my life. I just can’t wait now to be able to put all these fabulous things I see, feelings and understanding of training, to put in to practice with my beautiful Versace gelding… Bloomfield Vision. I look forward to keeping you guys posted. EQ
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ:
Roger Smitten by a Vision – Equestrian Life, June 2023