Pole work!

Our best result so far, 6 poles!
After another very interesting session with our physio,  Vallu has been put on a 'strict' regime of pole work twice a week. During the session the physio noticed that Vallu's back has lowered slightly and that his hind legs aren't lifting as well as before... Nothing serious at all, but enough to make her notice it and recommend more pole work to help with this (as well as getting a WOW saddle too, which I am super excited about!)

So far he has been very good about this. Along with my 'improved' seat and hands after my mechanical horse lesson, I think with a new saddle and a continuation of pole work Vallu could become better than before :) We've done walk in hand work over poles, starting with just one pole and increasing it so that so far our best result has been 6 poles.  I've also lunged him so that he has had to trot and canter over some poles, and now that he didn't fall over I might be brave enough to try and ride him over some too.
Lunge work over poles
I do love lunging, it is so interesting to see how your horse moves, and I think it also helps Vallu to listen to my voice better. After a year of a lot of work on lunging with Vallu, I don't need to use a whip since he will happily do what I ask for with a very quiet voice. It's amazing to have witness him develop from an untrusting and spooky horse who wouldn't do anything for you on the lunge line if you didn't have a whip, to a relaxed (he's even starting to become a bit lazy!) and confident horse. Truly lovely. Just by moving myself closer or further away from him he knows to move further away or closer to me, so that we can change from a 10m circle to 15m to 20m without me having to say a word. 
Before riding, cute pony!
I'm really hoping that this will help him loosen up through his back and SI joint so that he can become looser and more relaxed. Muscle soreness/tension behind the saddle and stiffness in the SI joint has been a constant thing with Vallu, but we've always had it under control (lots of physio and massaging by me) but hopefully a change of saddle to a WOW will hopefully help us get rid of the rest of it. A break from proper hard training for a couple of weeks will also hopefully help him to feel better too.

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