Bringing Henry to this trainer is the one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (second only to the decision to marry my husband). This last week has been pretty exciting and eye-opening for me.
I had kind of a panicked moment the day after I dropped Henry off... I realized that I never asked the trainer about visiting. Mystic’s trainer works out of a boarding facility so I didn’t think twice about visiting her as much as I wanted. But Henry’s trainer, RK, lives on the property and the horses there are only there for training (besides a few of his personal horses). It’s in a very remote location and I wasn’t sure I’d be welcome to come and visit at the same frequency as I visited Mystic. I sent a quick e-mail to the trainer asking if it was okay if I come and visit. He said “yes, for sure, visit as much as you’d like.”
Cue sigh of relief.
Back in 2013!
I decided that since it’s not a boarding stable I will give a day or two heads up of when I’m coming to visit Henry. The property is RK’s home as well so I feel like it’s the polite thing to do. I let him know that I was hoping to visit Henry last Wednesday and he said that would be fine. He had a physio appointment but told me to feel free to do whatever I wanted with Henry and to visit for as long as I’d like.
Husbands are delicious.
When I pulled into the property I saw RK rushing to his truck to get to his physio appointment. He waved hello and told me he would be back in about an hour or so. I parked near Henry and starting giving him his dinner. I saw RK’s truck start to leave down the driveway. Then... brake lights.
He turned around and came to talk to me about Henry.
He wanted to know more about Henry’s story. He felt that I had done a great job with Henry’s ground work. Henry was ok to be touched everywhere and wasn’t fearful about being saddled/bridled/seeing weird things. But he felt like Henry was not moving quite right. He described Henry as being very stuck and not willing to move forward. Once he does move forward it’s usually clunky and awkward looking. If Henry really gets moving he looks amazing but it’s challenging to get him to that point.
November 2012 vs August 2014
This information both made me happy and made me uneasy. I always felt like I had trouble moving Henry out because I was doing something wrong. But now I was worried about him. The trainer seemed to feel that something was off in his body that was causing him to feel this way. He recommended Henry see the osteopath who was coming the following Monday.
Fuzzy boy in the crossties in 2013
Side note about the osteopath: she used to work on Blue! I haven’t seen her in at least 10 years but I was super excited for her to look at Henry. She is actually a vet who went off the beaten trail and received osteopathy training for horses. She also has training in acupuncture, chiropractic, and cranial sacral therapy. I knew she would be perfect for helping Henry - I’m not sure why I didn’t think of her before.
I was able to be there for osteopath day on Monday.
RK had Henry and his friend/pasture-mate Manny loose in the arena when I arrived. RK moved them both around for the osteopath by swinging a rope. I thought Henry looked pretty good. He was moving out as good as I’ve ever seen him. Henry went just fast enough to keep up with Manny. Manny is a larger horse so Henry had to work fairly hard to do that. He wasn’t particularly interested in moving around if Manny wasn’t moving around.
Then treatment began! Henry had a fairly large amount of scar tissue from this gelding. He also had some issues in his pelvis (likely from a very bad fall on the ice he had a few years back). She was able to adjust both of those issues. She also recommended some changes to his diet. And he will be doing a very specific worming regimen this month.
RK moved the horses around again after just so we could see if the treatment had helped. Only two words were in my brain.
Henry took off first. Manny couldn’t keep up with him. Henry’s hind end had like 10 million times more suspension that it did before the treatment. And he just looked happier and freer in his movement. When Manny stopped to harass the dog... Henry kept running.
So this video is from the week before he left for training shows how nicely he can move in his front end but his hind end is still a little stuck. You can see the ugly clunky movement just starting to come back at the very end. Imagine the big floaty trot with tons of suspension in the hind end! I wish I'd taken a video of the change!
Pretty exciting change! I’m excited to see further improvements after the worming regimen and diet adjustments.
In terms of Henry’s training he’s been doing quite well. RK does quite a bit of groundwork with them before he gets on. He’s sat on Henry twice now and they will be moving on to actual riding this week.
I don’t know what going on with me lately but I’m super emotional (I'm not pregnant..just to be clear!). Several times when the osteopath was working on Henry and she was asking RK if Henry was ok with certain things (ie. Lifting his feet, handling his sheath, moving his tail). RK would point at me and say things like “Kate has done an amazing job on Henry’s ground work. Do whatever you want. He’ll be a good boy. She has put a lot of hard work into this horse.”
RIGHT IN THE FEELS. I WILL NOT CRY. I WILL NOT CRY.