First Ride Post-Muscle-Manipulation

The best chestnut ears
Dino had the rest of the day off after his bodywork session, as well as the day after that since I was hosting a party and too busy cleaning my house and drinking homemade sangria to ride ponies. (yes, I will share my recipe if you ask nicely.)

So, on Monday afternoon I hopped on EuroPony for the first time with his new shims and hopefully great-feeling muscles. Our homework from the bodyworker was to do flatwork and see how things went, so that was my plan.

Walking down to our pond field was honestly underwhelming.

He didn't feel spectacularly loose, or more forward, or even really stepping under with his hind end, and I kept thinking that he wanted to stop and poop. It didn't help that our neighbors were doing target practice in the distance and I was riding tentatively until I could determine how close to the field they were shooting, but all in all the 5 min walk to the back of the property didn't knock my socks off.

I warmed Dino up with some free walk to working walk transitions, getting him thinking about stretching into the contact and loosening up his topline, and making sure the go button was firmly installed. While it wasn't earth-shattering work, I did feel a LOT more even in the tack with the shims on the left side. It was so much easier to ride my pony straight when I didn't have to fight to stay centered!

The first trot work was similar - not bad but not spectacular, either. Dino felt a little heavy on the forehand as he tends to before he gets warmed up, but was giving nicely to the bit and moving off my leg with only a few reminders from Mr. Whippy.

After some transitions and circles, I asked for the canter.


Dino stepped into the most uphill canter I've felt out of him in a very long time! It felt so powerful, engaged, and balanced. When I asked for a lengthening, instead of kind of going splat and running or bracing against my hand, Dino's front end lifted even MORE as he powered forward. After we worked in canter for a while, the walk and trot work was pretty fantastic as long as I insisted on straightness and really rode for balanced down transitions.

So, I'd say the body work and saddle pad changes are doing some good things!


  1. i'm so glad he's feeling so good!!! that counter sounds like so much fun to ride!

  2. Now I'm even more motivated to do something similar for Mr. Val. How nicely do I need to ask for that recipe? I always love a good Sangria...

  3. Glad to hear Dino is feeling good!

  4. That's awesome that you could really feel a difference at the canter. I hope this means he's excited to get back to work for you!

  5. Uphill and straight canters are so powerful it takes you by surprise, pony or horse! Glad he's feeling better and you are feeling more balanced with the shims

  6. Yay!! Some horses just take a bit to get warmed up. Miles is like that -- his trot is always better after we canter. And our first canter is always worse. It's like he needs a warm-up at all 3 gaits before we can really "get to work"


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