I tried the training fork today. I thought it was actually going to work at first, because she wasn't fussing about it as we were warming up at a walk, and she was really stepping out and being forward, rather than being a slug that needed leg every second. Then I asked for a trot.
The ears flattened and she just kind of moved around like a crab, mind you I had barely ANY contact, and kind of pig rooted. I'm almost positive this part isn't behavioral, rather something about stretching down hurts something on her back, but I couldn't let her get away with that before I tossed the fork off, so I made her trot a few steps before I got off and removed the fork.
And then, all was well. She trotted around with happy ears. She did pin them during trot-canter transitions, but she also flings her head up. I think in the transition it does make her sore, and then when she gets going, she feels better. I just ride canter in half-seat now days to stay off her back. I've got a really quiet sitting canter, but she still seems more comfortable when my butt isn't in the saddle.
She had really good transitions all around today. It was a good ride. The only "bad" areas were a couple of times where she got rushy, but I put her on a big circle until she stopped rushing and running out through her shoulder, and she soon was trotting nice. She got a little quick in the canter too, but she was very adjustable.
We did the later half around the back pasture. We trotted and cantered some. She had some SERIOUS suspension when she's out in the open. And a super comfy trot. Her gaits on trail rides are much different. It's like she perks up and really "floats". I felt like I was riding some super leggy warmblood, no lie. Now if I could get her to do that in the arena, she would be a SEXY 15h Quarter Horse, haha!
She was listening really well. We trotted up and down hills. I didn't think cantering up and down hills would be a great thing for her back - I can't WAIT to use those hills to condition her when we get the back issue fixed. It's going to be so much fun.
So it started out ugly but then she went nice. She was actually stretching down on her own, exploring the contact - which is why I'm a little puzzled as to why she was fine to do that, but the fork put her in freak out mode. Maybe she just needs to do it on her own. Maybe she knows exactly how far she can go. It might just freak her out when I ask, or when the fork is on her, because she expects me to want to put her in too much contact. An inch could make a difference for her in relation to where her head and neck is.
Casey said something about a guy who might be able to come out soon. I forgot what she said he is, but apparently he does chiropractic amongst other things, but apparently he's really good and he's going from Pennsylvania down to Florida and if we can get 10 people who want to have him work on their horses, he'll be able to make a stop. So something possible there.
She has some little patches of what looks like rain rot on her, so I used a little betadine on the spots and then put Pro-Tect on it. Hopefully that will stop that crap before it starts! I rubbed her in liniment today as well and bagged her tail. I bagged her tail as a test run to see if she will keep a tail bag on, since I want to use some MTG on it over the winter. She spooked at it when I walked her out of the barn, and it cracked me up. She was like, "What the HELL, mom? What is on my tail?"
I also love how when I bring her back to her pasture, all the horses start calling to her. It's like she's everyone's best friend, despite the fact that she is only tolerant of them. They thought the tail bag was interesting, and I suspect it will be laying on the ground tomorrow.