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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

August 9, 2011

Building a topline

We are still being plagued with general back soreness.  It will resolve over night, but the evening after a ride, plain and simple she is sore.  It seems to be a little of this and a little of that.  Both slight muscle soreness, and sensitivity of her skin.  I'm trying to figure it out so I can get it resolved.  Not fair for a horse to haul me around if her back hurts.  All of our gear is new which makes things harder to unravel.   I may ride her with the Crestridge next time (which will be at least Friday) and see if we experience the same thing. 

Another issue is her topline.  I'm used to a round arab back with a divet down the spine.  Journey isn't made that way.  Her back is more like an "A", with an almost prominent spinal process that diverts away at an angle.  She looks as though she has never built a strong topline.  She was healthy weight when I got her, but I've attempted to get a little extra on her so I don't work her thin with fall coming soon.  My hope too was that a little weight would fill in that topline somewhat with a nice fat layer (which would also provide cushion).  She has picked up a little weight, but nothing along the topline.  I'm feeling the only way to build it is with work that "lifts" the back.  The only work I know how to do along that line is "long and low".  So I expect I need to make that my short day focus from now is better.    We did trotting intervals tonight, trying to build up her stamina for duration with the trotting.  I want to gnash my teeth with frustration.  She is good, SO GOOD to work with, but little girl just quickly runs out of juice!  She tries, but you can tell she just gets so tired out.  She is a strong little downhill horse, good on the flat, but hills just chew her up and spit her out.  We've got to build up her stamina, fill in that topline, get to the root of the back ( muscling, pad, saddle, my big fat butt) issue, get her into some boots that fit, and begin to stretch mileage past 10 mile sessions.  What I'm currently doing isn't working on that front, but of course if her back is getting sore, nothing is going to work. 

Other news...
I've determined that Journey is near-sighted.  Seriously near-sighted.  My daughter knew I was out back riding and rode her mare to join us.  As they came out of the woods Journey about flipped out.  She was running side-ways and backwards in a panic when she spotted them.  I got her moving into a circle and kept talking to her, and settled her down.  By that time they had cantered close enough that she could see what they were.  Her royal spotted highness needs glasses.  When we were almost home I let my daughter gallop off from us, we picked up a gallop too but she got a little to excited, so I had her stop and walk the rest of the way in while the buddy horse galloped on home.  She did much better with that than I expected.  She pranced a little, then settled to a walk and walked the rest of the way home.  GOOD GIRL!  Next time I ride with my daughter I may just have her do a lot of leaving us and just work through that once and for all.  Journey is getting the hang of who directs the traffic flow (that would be me).

Attempt #2 at registration was mailed off today.  More expensive than the other place, and we will have to submit a hair sample for DNA testing.  Hope it goes smoothly this time. 


  1. I think part of it's just that she's not an Arab. Dixie struggles on hills too!

  2. Glasses? Funny! She should adapt!

  3. Fee prefers hills, but they were much harder than flatwork for her at first. However, there isn't much flat ground here in the Swamplands, so she built hill-climbing and hill-descending muscles in a hurry.

    However, to build the abdominal strength needed for back-lifting, I am firmly convinced that dressage practice is the key--for horse and rider. I think everyone knows that I don't enjoy dressage...and yet, I know that it helps ME so I can help my horse.

  4. Good girl for being able to pay attention to you and stay with you when another horses gallops off. Good training for her.
    Bummer about the vision issues, though. Too bad noone has invented glasses or contacts for horses, yet. Apache has some vision issues in her right eye. Her eye has a cloudy appearance. I worry about moon blindness or cataracts. I need to get a vet out to have a look. But I want to make sure he's experienced in Equine Optometry first.

    By the way, what brand/s of boots can you recommend for small (size 00) hooves?


  5. Lisa,

    My recommendation is use the boot that "fits". There is no cookie cutter solution, and in fact I'm currently stalled due to a sizing issue with my boot of choice the Easyboot Glove. Easycare does make the Glove and I believe the Epic also in a 00. You can order a fit kit to try the shells on to find the one that fits best, or not as the case may be. If you have difficulty call them at Easycare, they are very helpful. The link is up above in my link list.

    As far as Renegades, check with Mel at Boots & Saddles, she would be able to assist as to sizing information on that brand (super nice lady). Karen Chaton uses this boot exclusively so she would be a good go to source as well (again, very nice person in my experience).