I usually avoid dressage, but since my last test did not go real well...horse falling in on the right, not bending well... I decided to have a lesson with a dressage trainer. She worked us alot on leg yields, doing small circles, leg yielding out, over bending to the one direction etc etc, and she had me put on spurs.
So the next couple of days my horse has been really awful and she normally tries very hard to please. She has been like twitching under saddle, like something is really bothering her...twitching the muscle like a fly is on her and she has been just running away, not wanting to pick up the one lead. I had clipped her after that lesson so I was thinking it was something related to that but can't find any reason for it to be.
We didn't leave any marks with the spurs but is it possible that I made her sore thru her ribcage with too much lateral work?
Vet coming tomorrow, but was just curious if I am over reacting. I feel so bad for her especially since I may have caused her pain. Thanks for any input.
If your horse has been carrying herself as she pleases for a long time, asking her to work through her body properly will likely cause muscle soreness.
It could also be that she had some old injury or sore spot that was aggravated when you asked her to use herself - lots of horses with arthritic hocks can't go all day if allowed to move as they please- but will show soreness if asked to flex the hocks and step under themselves.
It's a good idea to have your vet check her out just to make sure its nothing serious.
Definitely could be due to the lesson. Lateral work is hard for a horse who has never done it before (or never done it properly). My guy got sore after his first lesson. And the trainer was only adding lateral work into his other work -- not drilling him on it.
I would not blame yourself at all. I might wonder at the approach the dressage trainer took -- asking a horse to do a lot of bending and lateral work when he is not used to it. My horse's trainer is very careful to introduce it in small amounts ( 3 - 4 steps at a time, then forward again).
Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities Can Make You Commit Atrocities. Voltaire
Good thinking to have the vet out. If the vet doesn't find anything you might have a body worker out. Just like us starting to lift weights, horses muscles get sore when they work on new things. I combat this in a few ways: I have my bodyworker out whenever I can, I use the Back on Track sheet at night - I can definitely tell a difference with it, I do some stretches that my bodyworker showed me, and I do lots of deep and stretchy work at the beginning of my ride. Lots of turnout also helps if possible, the more they can move around during the day the more loose and relaxed their muscles will be.
If it turn out that the soreness is simply overdoing, the best Rx is "Tincture of Time".
If you were suddenly faced with 50 pushups, you'd mostly collapse after 5 or 10, then for the next few days be incredibly sore. You would probably take an anti-inflammatory, and not try to use those muscles until they felt better.
Then next time start with one or two a day.
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.
thanks everyone! Vet felt she was muscle sore all over Giving her dexametha something injection for five days. She seems happier already.
Maybe a stupid question but, in general how much/long do you incorporate lateral stuff in a schooling?
Ummm, I would expect that someone coming to me for a dressage lesson , and who stated to me that they competed in dressage (or eventing) and who felt they needed to improve their horse's dressage performances would actually be "dressaging" their horse on a regular basis. I mean, aside from hacking out/trail riding and fitness work - what else is there? Even between jumps a horse should be carrying itself, be straight, in balance, in a good rhythm and be adjustable (including laterally). Is than not dressage? I think that rather than blaming the instructor, or the lateral work, the rider should be taking a good hard look at their own education and daily work with the horse. A horse should NOT requiremedical intervention after what should be the equivalent of a routine cardio/pilates/yoga session (but kudos for figuring that the clipping might have something to do with the horse's discomfort and for doing something about!)
Equa, I didn't catch where the OP is blaming the instructor. She seems to be blaming herself for causing her horse pain. Now she is asking for suggestion on gauging the "right" amount of lateral work.
OP, I had a horse that used to get hock sore if we did too much lateral work (like 20 minutes of schooling shoulder-in, haunches in and out, half pass ect, without a break). It didn't matter how fit he got, because he found lateral work physically difficult for his build (but he could do an 8 extended trot all day long and be rearing to go!) For him it was all about taking breaks. So do three passes of the arena working lateral work and then either walk (if good) or do non-lateral work. Then return to the lateral work. It's all about not reaching a point of fatigue that is causing too much damage (and risking injury) to be building. There is a fine balance. The key to adding any type of new work is to do so in an interval type format.
On a side note, it is OK to get a horse a bit body sore now and again (not terrible or to the point of lameness of course). They are athletes and gaining fitness means some days of soreness inducing workouts followed by easier training sessions.
An upper level eventer usually has 2 days of week "conditioning" (trot and gallop sets), a supplying dressage day (easiest), and three training days (dressage or jumping depending on the horse), and one hack or off day. The horse is doing dressage at all times. Even trot sets are done as if one is warming up for dressage. That's how you get good at it and how the horse is fit enough to excel at the sport. 99% of horse that are allowed to "chill" on their non-dressage training days really struggle with the dressage phase.