What gives Weather Gods?! Drought, now rain, rain and more rain. Makes life difficult I tell you!!
Took Smurf and Fox out on Saturday when we had a bit of a break in the weather with a friend of mine. Didn't go too far but did a bit of exploring of some tracks I'd always been curious about. Unfortunately they were all dead ends. Well dead ends if you're on horse back anyway. Was really great to be getting out again. Fox was keen, ears pricked and striding out well. No sign of discomfort from his back until I went downhill. I jumped off quick smart as soon as I knew what he was telling me. He seemed fine without me though. Obviously me + bareback + downhill = not very comfy so get the hell off!
I'm going to stop riding him again, as much as I want to, I do think if I can strengthen his back first it will make things a whole lot better in the long run.
There is a method of training called Kukkuli, which is in short:
"The Kikkuli Text, a horse training text dating back to 1345 BC, caused the Hittites to become a powerful Empire whose warhorses surpassed all others. Hittite horses had to march hard for 4 weeks then gallop all day in battle. . . . . In 1991 I (the Author) replicated the Kikkuli Text regime with 10 arabian horses, and this became known as the Kikkuli Experiment. The training programme set down by Kikkuli lasts for 7 months and in the Kikkuli Experiment the training regime and feeding programme were followed precisely. The methods used in the Kikkuli Text enable modern horses to be trained without injury. One of Kikkuli's techniques was to use long periods leading the horses in their work rather than riding them. The use of long periods of leading in the first half of training strengthens horses without straining them."
The Kikkuli Method:
- makes much use of leading the horses at the gaits of trot, canter and gallop before subjecting them to the weight bearing and psychological stress of a rider or driver.
- uses interval training. At no time is the horse brought to the point of fatigue, thus reducing the risk of injury.
-allows the trainer to pinpoint the precise moment in training at which the horse has adapted physically and mentally to its training.
The Kukkuli Experiment can be bought as a book and sounds fascinating but *sigh* books are sadly not in the budget at the moment.
BUT, I think these basic principles are worth exploring with Fox. I mean, I have the two horses and I think the outcome can only be positive.
So this means a new rehab programme.
3x a week ponying from Smurf, 1 hill day, 1 longer day and one day where I will be introducing short trots to get the transitions.
5x a week pole work, 3 short days on the days that he gets ponied and 2 more intensive sessions
As many times as I can manage, massage and stretches.
It's a bit of a compromise, but I really think it'll work.
Just have to fit it around the weather!!!