Well where do I begin here?
I believe we left off at 2 weeks, still unsound. Or rather, "off". I think my last post included Bob's finding that when she carried herself correctly, she appeared to move much more freely and without discomfort. His suggestion was to lunge her with reins between her front legs and tied over her back, and to use a training fork in riding(basically a very small running martingale - much more leverage though).
That was, when she was sound. Actually, she came up sound just a few days after my last blog - I just haven't had to time, nor motivation to write. I've been stressed out about a loooot of things, plus I didn't even have my laptop for a couple of weeks.
I've held off riding however because whatever she did strain, I wanted to make sure it was 100%. A couple of weeks ago I sat on her bareback, she walked fine. Then I rode her around at a walk bareback the next week, still fine. Last week I walked and trotted bareback, just fine.
And yesterday I rode her, walk/trot/canter, and she was great. She got a little nasty about the training fork in the canter, because she wanted to speed around and avoid my contact, and the training fork wouldn't allow her to avoid my contact. No bucks thrown or anything, just a moment of tenseness. But she was excellent for having been out of work for a month! She is very out of shape. I only rode 15 minutes. I'm going to bring her back into shape verrrrry, verrrry carefully. I hope the use of the fork will build the topline muscles, thus making it easier for her to carry herself using those muscles, and harder when she throws the nose in the air and tenses them after they develop. And too, teaching her what being on the bit is all about.
The whole experience for her is, pressure is off immediately when she lowers her head, and back on when she lifts it. More effective than me alone doing it with my hands, because of the amount of leverage, and also because it happens every time, and the perfect amount of give and take based on her give/resistance. I can't forget to give/take, nor give/take inconsistent amounts.
I was skeptical, but I think this is the right direction.
Also, I was super proud of her because we walked allllllll the way to the far side of the dressage arena, behind one of the pastures, all by ourselves...and no spooking. I didn't push it, because she was hot, tired and it was almost dinner time. But her attitude is very, very good. I was expecting to deal with a real brat after all that time off, but its almost like we never stopped. Obviously the quality of her gaits isn't as good, but once she starts getting her balance back and "remembers" things, I think it'll be good.
I thought you guys would like to know that my absence has not been due to anything bad! ;)