A lot! Feel free to not read this. It’s more to lock it into my own memory. It was a great lesson but perhaps a little boring.
Unlike after Tucker’s last chiro adjustment this time the results weren’t instant. I may be back on the crazy train just a smidge. But we’ll ignore that for now. I talked to G about the adjustment and what exactly I was feeling.
He asked if I thought it was a physical issue or a training issue. Honestly I’m not sure. I know that he didn’t have this problem when I first started riding him. I didn’t feel it until we were into our second summer together. I know that chiro K definitely found a difference when she lifted each back leg. It looked like she hit an invisible wall when she lifted up his right hip. I also know that it could be something that I’m doing or not doing when I’m riding.
G had me start off walking on the buckle on a right rein and getting him to track up. Just ask for forward. Alternate leg aids, follow with the hips (as his stride gets big you’ll feel more movement in the hips) and stretch up tall (no sitting on your pockets). Get him to stretch out. Build those hind muscles by stretching not contracting. Make his stride as big as possible. Find that walk-trot boundary. Get him to just before the point of him thinking it’s easier to trot than maintain so much forward impulsion at the walk.
Slowly pick up contact. Creep up on the rein. Maintain the same walk. Contact does not mean slow down or speed up. Follow with your hands and elbows. Don’t lock the elbows! Restricting the movement at the elbow indicates you’re going to queue the trot.
Trot. Ask for that same forward impulsion. We weren’t quite getting it and I was still feeling those wonky steps. G stopped us here. He said it looked like Tucker was taking shortened steps because he was concerned about hitting his front feet. Being round, in hunter frame is no longer our goal. We need to raise his poll. Which will raise his shoulder. Which will make it easier for him to lift and extend his front legs. G described it like a hinge. He said there are two hinges one at the poll and one at the withers. The way Tuck was rounding was to much at the withers.
We started again. Forward impulsion with contact at the walk. This time when I asked for the trot I made sure to elevate my hands. So much better. I still felt a few wonky steps but it was improved. Once we established the right impulsion and the correct frame G said to let out the reins again. Slowly let go of the reins until you’re on the buckle again. Maintain the same rhythm. This was really cool. We could see Tucker playing around with the most comfortable frame to maintain the level of impulsion.
Then we did the whole thing all over again on the left rein. Only I had more trouble because apparently I like to lock up my elbows. So I’d ask for extended walk and I’d get trot. Next ride I’m going to try riding with a driving rein. I’m told that it stops you from locking up. We’ll see.