Once she was loose enough we did some walk work and Katai tried a new tactic. She would freeze at the walk and absolutely refuse to go forward. I got to practice my pony club kick and then we’d push her into canter and make her work until she was listening. Then back to a walk and wash, rinse, repeat. After about 3-4 times she figured out that listening to my leg and going forward at the walk was much less work than being made to canter and with all the canter work she had done she was a little tired and sweaty so we ended the lesson.
This along with findings from both the massage/saddle fitter and the farrier/chiropractic appointment that she had today point to general muscle soreness/stiffness. Specifically in her lower (closer to her hip) back on the left hand side. Massage/saddle fitter thought it could be saddle fit and farrier/chiro thinks it’s just muscle fatigue. I had a long text conversation with my farrier/chiro and her recommendation is rest first and then to give her a chance to show us if it’s saddle fit or just a pulled muscle or tough stretch of work.
Based on her recommendation we’re going to give Katai a quiet week. I’ve already messaged L and we are going to cancel my lesson. I’m going to hand walk Katai for 2-3 days, ride at only a walk for 2 days, and then go to walk, trot for a few days before doing much canter work. I’m going to keep track of any pain responses in her back and see if it’s getting better. I’m also going to include some stretching.
My chiro isn’t worried about her at all, she just thinks she’s getting used to moving herself properly and suggested lots of work having her use her back and some ground pole work to make sure she’s using herself correctly. I just want to make sure I’m not aggravating something and, like I told L, since we’re not training for the Olympics we have time to just let her relax and heal.
Tonight I did my first evening of hand walking. She was pretty stiff but after about 15 minutes of nice, relaxed hand walking she was loosening up and had a nice over reach at the walk.
On the drive home I was really thinking about this chart that the farrier/chiro sent and I have a thought. It looks like her lower left back – the muscle that helps her push with her left hind – and her right shoulder are both sore. I’m going to guess that between working on lengthenings and extra canter work I bet she pulled her back muscle and has now been compensating with her right shoulder at the trot. Just a theory but I think it’s maybe a good one.