Take heart, Laura. At 7, he should just be getting started. Can he be ridden at the moment? Are you comfortable taking him out on a trail ride? Walking up and down hills would be good for his hind end.
I would also agree that, if you feel he has lost weight on your program, you should continue that. He looks like he’s carrying more extra weight than would be comfortable for him. Go through your hay weights again to make sure he’s not getting extra. The idea of the emergency diet is to give you a safe place to start while getting organized. I test my hay and soak it when I am concerned it might pushing the 10% limit. I’m trying to avoid an emergency by doing so. Otherwise, I just balance the tested hay with mineral supplements and the recommended vitamin E, flax oil and salt.
I agree with your decision to move to a quieter barn. Dressage riders tend to be competitive people (I know as I am one.) and full of advice (yup!), some of it more appropriate than others. No one else is riding your horse, feeling what you feel and progressing with your skills and temperament. We all pretty much need to follow our own paths, reaching out to others as we see fit. In my mind, the dressage journey should not be about racking up scores and ribbons but rather, using the skills you’ve developed to ride the horse forward, straight and through. The feel of the horse under me when all is good is better to me than a show score. An Olympic dressage rider once told me that, now that she was done with the Olympics, she was going to learn to ride her horse through. Her horse was considerably older than seven.
Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)
Martha and Logo