We’re now three weeks post-Quicksilver and, for various reasons, definitely at the end of our ride season for the year.
Fetti’s winter coat is pretty solidly in. I look at her back and I want to cry. There have been patches of ‘wavy’ hairs on both sides for a while now, but they stayed pretty consistent so I left it alone. With this new coat, she has fist-sized white patches, lots of wavy hair there, and what I think is some hair loss (or some major thick/thin patches – I can feel where the hair sort of ‘drops off’ in places). Same spot as before, roughly under the stirrup bars.
I quit riding in my old Eurolight entirely by May of this year, though I’d been transitioning that way through the winter, and spent five months exclusively in the Thorowgood. It was not until August (three months in) that the dressage saddle was reflocked, and those areas were noted as needing it. I may have done more harm than good switching to that saddle. It’s hard to say. I knew the Eurolight wasn’t working, and I thought the Thorowgood was.
We also did a lot more rides this year: 1 NATRC ride (early May), back-to-back LDs (30&35) in June, 50 in September, 25 in October. I don’t actually regret any of them, and I feel like I made good choices about which rides to do. I’m really, really happy with my decision not to do day 3 of Wild West – that’s where I first noted something odd with the saddle/electrodes even on top of the boot fiasco.
For a while I was dabbling with the idea of going to a ride over Thanksgiving. Financially, a few other things have come up that have higher priority, so it’s off the table. Pony-wise, with how her back looks right now, it’s off the table.
I actually don’t think that anything I’m doing right now is making it worse. At one point ulcers came up as a vague possibility in my mind, in part because she was vaguely biting/kicking at the girth: that is now an entirely non-issue. It’s possible that’s just because she’s on the slowfeeder bale bag, but I think it’s more likely that she really has been uncomfortable with the saddle all along and that was the only symptom I noticed. I’m riding exclusively in the new Specialized, obsessively watching sweat marks, and not working any harder than she asks for.
We’ve hit fall around here. If the weather forecasts come true, it’s going to be a rough winter with not much real riding. There’s a chance the barn might flood, but it’s unlikely to stay flooded very long – but the arena may very well be trashed, the round pens may be mud, and the trails may be either inaccessible, a disaster, or both. So for now, we mosey. We’ll keep doing taper-conditioning rides as long as we can, and after that perhaps we’ll dabble in the arena again. Hopefully in six months when her summer coat comes in it won’t look so horrendous – and in a year when her next winter coat comes in, I’ll be able to see just how much lasting damage there is.