everybody learned

The day after my mishap on Koda, it was all hands on deck - or in this case, horse. Each time my phone rang, more was revealed on what caused the unplanned incident, and a recovery plan of action. 

My first call was from Kathye, our saddle fitter. Of course she felt absolutely terrible, I knew she would. She has a huge heart, works super hard to help both equine and human and is extremely knowledgeable. She really thought she was moving us into a forever saddle. Even experts misjudge things, the good ones learn from it and make it right. I know that will happen. Kathye had just found out about our fall when she called, and insisted on rescheduling her appointments that day to make the long drive right away to Iron Horse to check out the situation. She would call me after.

I missed my next call. Trainer Patty left a message saying she was checking out Koda with Kathye and Shauna, her talented Assistant Trainer who went to school for equine massage. Shauna had found a sore area on him, and I should call her to get a thorough explanation. It was more then the saddle.  

What I found out from Shauna, is that Koda has been sore for a while. She said his longissimus (large back muscle) left side, by the withers, had a 4 1/2 " surface knot. She worked on him a little and got it to start releasing, but what she found underneath was a deep 2" long knot that had likely been there a while. She thinks he was overprotecting it, causing other buildup and reactions - much as we humans do when we get sore. Shauna does Shiatsu Massage, and suggested a course of action that would help him heal and learn he could release future pain. My lucky boy is going to get long massages for several weeks, all I can say is what about me??!

Kathye called back, and along with the above told me her interpretation of Koda's reactions as they searched him over, and retried the saddle on him.  Sure enough, it rested on his sore spot. When that new saddle rolled up/forward it would have really made him uncomfortable - especially with the added downhill pressure. She further explained other things, as they were checking on him. I pictured her rubbing the mint healing ointment on Koda, and his pathetic "soaking it up" face.  Wish I could have been there... 

We also talked about a different saddle Kathye is leaving for me/us to try on him. It has the same long tree as my Circle Y, similar fork, but wider bar. Could my old saddle have been the culprit of his sore spots? She didn't think so, stating Koda would have been sore on both sides of his withers. It could have been a lot of things. Whatever caused it, the deeper knot has been there for a while and likely contributing to what I have been experiencing for a while, a different Koda.

I haven't had a good nights sleep since I fell, rehashing things and searching for answers. Of course it doesn't help that every movement I make is a reminder. I called Trainer Patty back, and discussed the above and what's been on my mind. I had been thinking, if Koda is only sore on his left side - could it be related to mounting? They had thought similar, she planned to begin working on alternating mounting sides and so will I. 

I also asked her about the new saddle I rode in. It's a trail saddle, if it flips up - how can it be for trail and who is it good for? Simple answer, a short backed horse. Something Koda is not. Short tree = short back, makes sense to me. I am sure there is more to it, or Kathye wouldn't have even suggested it.

We also discussed again about how to address his reaction to something not being quite right (aka bucking) and the fact that his sole job is to take care of me - no matter what, and he didn't. I would like to believe Koda didn't intend for me to fall off, just stop the pain/scariness of the situation. While I can make excuses for him up one side and down the other, and some are very real and justified - the reality is, trust has been broken and has to be rebuilt. The only good thing about all of this, is that everybody learned.


Shirley said...

It looks like you have a pretty thorough investigation going. I wouldn't rule out your old saddle being the cause of Koda's back pain; the saddle I was using last year on Beamer caused knots in his muscles on the right side only. Horses can have differences in their muscling -like us they can be right or left sided, and a saddle that looks even to us might be uncomfortable to them. Once I stopped riding that saddle Beamer's back sorted itself out rather quickly; I've been riding bareback since then, waiting until I get my custom built saddle home.

Dreaming said...

Oh, man, I know about those ongoing "replays" of an incident. It's terrible the way our minds can get into a loop and won't let go of something... and sometimes seem to add details that weren't even there! But, it seems like you and all of your wonderful support folks, are taking all of the right steps to sort things out.
Oh, on the short saddle thing... haffies tend to have short backs and most traditional western saddles and blankets irritate them near their hips. Trying to get the saddle back enough so it doesn't impact shoulder movement and not so far back that the hips get tickled is sometimes a challenge. You'll see that most haffie saddles have round skirts and the skirts are very shallow, they don't go far down their sides. The other thing to keep in mind with any saddle is the 'pounds per square inch' thing. If you have a saddle with a smaller area, the weight on any part of that area is going to be greater than a larger saddle.
Good luck! I'm thinking this is going to be one of those "Ah, hah" things that you will look back on in fascination!

allhorsestuff said...

How scarey-for horse and rider.

You're talking my road of experince here. I wish you had Thermography expert there. Mine has helped me so much.
You have very good friends to help you through. Hope you are feeling better.

Well, and if you've been following my saddle delima, I'm not much for wood trees anymore. They just can't move with a horse, they will always bridge somehow, and with the new technologies, I'm unable to buy a wood tree'd saddle. When I do get a Western saddle, it'll be an "Ansur".