This ride was my last chance to polish up Reign Day’s new skills. I asked Alice to watch me ride Reign Day so that she could give a lesson to his new rider Julia.The plan is for Julia and her mom Valeri to spend a few days with us so that we can teach them about Reign Day and make the transition more smooth for both the horse and the young rider. Julia will receive lessons from both me (Elizabeth) and Alice (our in-house trainer) who has been helping me with Reign Day.
We worked on being precise and getting the right lead which is still a little sticky. We were able to do flying changes from the left lead to the right lead when he picked up the left lead by mistake. Reign Day needs a few more chiropractic adjustments and he needs to keep doing his stretching exercises. Without another chiropractic adjustment he could get weaker on the right side because he does not use that side as much naturally. Read our pages about equine chiropractic and see a list of the exercises we do.
All horses, not just ex-race horses can benefit from a chiropractic adjustment. Interestingly enough, 90% of all the horses our chiropractor adjusts have issues with their right hip being locked in extension. Our chiropractor works on hunter/jumpers, dressage horses, pleasure horses and race horses. When a horse’s hip is locked in extension, the leg on that side cannot come up under the horse. The horse then loads his front end and sometimes puts out his knees which can be heard to pop when they are adjusted. His hocks can also get sore so as well. So, before resorting to injections, look to find the source of the problem – it is usually the hip and the back.
Another sign that a horse needs an adjustment is when the horse is kicking out to the side almost like a buck when asked to pick up a canter. A few adjustments and consistently doing the exercises allows the horse to get strong and move straight again. This is not a soundness issue but rather a fitness issue.
Race horses pull with their front end and the back end is overextended trying to keep up. A horse can put out his hip just playing in the pasture or from kicking out at another horse. It is just like a human. I put out my back reaching down for the laundry basket one day. I did not even lift the basket when I felt the sharp pain. I could not stand up. Now imagine a horse with a sore back like that and the rider sitting on it and asking for collection. You would kick out or buck too!
Reign Day still has lots of lessons to learn. He is quiet, sane and willing. All he needs is patience and guidance and he will become a star. It has been a pleasure and a great learning experience to train Reign Day. He will always have a special place in my heart. I am excited to hand him over to a young girl who will hopefully love him as much as I do and get to enjoy him longer. I just hope to have the opportunity to train his brother when he is done racing.