It's been onward and upward for Gogo and I this week. After Friday's fantastic jog-out, I got back on her on Saturday, a little nervous but hopeful that all would go well. It was, after all, the true test of how she was actually doing - whether or not she looked good on the ground was going to all be for naught if she felt off at all under saddle. I walked for about half an hour, doing simple work at one end of the arena, then went, okay... here goes.
And we trotted.
And...... she felt great!
My set of eyes on the ground, the same boarder who has been there to watch her all week, told me she looked fantastic. I kept the trotting to a minimum, going somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, a little both ways. She was still pretty fussy with the contact, which I chalked up to being fresh at the time, but it was interesting - I've been trying a new bit these past several rides, and while I attributed the ridiculous antics she was doing immediately before coming up dead lame to pain in the RH, it was odd that she was still doing them but without any hint of ouchiness. It seems like there had to be a different cause, and the only thing that had changed was the bit. With it, she'd just been a total CRAB.
The new bit:
While we all love the famous blue bit (the mullen mouth Happy Mouth that happens to match everything else we own), she really tends to get quite heavy in it, and it's difficult to isolate the different sides of her body with such a cumbersome mouthpiece. I wanted to use something that still had the eggbutt rings, but had a more versatile double-jointed mouthpiece. This was my try, with an addition on top: a new metal that I haven't used before with her, a copper alloy called Cyprium. She was going so well in the KK Ultra Aurigan eggbutt snaffle that I thought I would try the knock-off version of it (because I really can't justify spending $200 on a bit!!). It DID make her salivate quite a lot, I am happy to report, but... in all honesty, I think that irritated her, as odd as it sounds. She went in it just fine, fine, fine, and then... BRAIN FART! Head tossing, sideways leaping... not ok. It just seemed so excessive. I took Gogo for a 20-minute outdoor hack on Sunday, and was surprised to find that when faced with something scary (the hay truck), she spooked, hit the bit, and about launched into outerspace with her head in my lap. Just a little bit, well... excessive! We all know she's fussy, but this was a little bit much.
So, I went back to the other bit, thinking that if the new bit was what was actually causing the issue, it would be resolved by going back to the one she already likes, and if not, then there was still an underlying pain issue we needed to address. Back in the blue bit yesterday, Gogo was super. Just SUPER! All the fussiness was gone. She was salivating plenty, and was predictably a little heavy in the contact like she normally is in that bit, but I think she really just likes the steadiness of it - it gives her something really solid to take and doesn't have all those annoying movable parts to it. Or well, if I was an obnoxiously fussy mare that's what I would think.
The weather yesterday was ridiculous - a mini Snowmageddon - but somehow I managed to shlep through all 8" new inches to get to the barn safely, even while the snow was still piling up. (For those of you that just got 3' of snow, I know 8" doesn't sound like a lot, and it isn't compared to what we get at home, but people in Connecticut just can't deal with this kind of weather and everybody freaks out and drives like grannies or crashes into stuff!) We stayed at one end of the arena and didn't do too much in the way of complicated things, mainly because every time we'd go down to the scary end of the arena she'd start leaping around, but for what we had to work with, she was excellent. And the best part was that she felt so good that we tried a little bit of canter - she was amazing! Going left she felt fantastic, but going right she was still pretty crooked, albeit much better than before. Oh well, we'll get there. We've got time.
So back to the blue bit for now, I suppose. We shall see if I can find anything more suitable that she likes. Probably not, but you never know!
Don't worry, I wasn't moving when I took that picture - everybody was piled up all trying to get down a hill safely. Like I said, Connecticut people can't drive in the snow!
Tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, we dressage. Sunday, we hack. Monday and Tuesday, we go back to dressage, and if that all goes according to plan, it will be our first 6-day workweek in 5 months. I think she's looking forward to it, don't you?:
(PS: Make sure to go peek in at the blog's new chatbox on the sidebar. Leave Gogo a message, and she'll leave one back!)
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago