Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When a Moose has Wings!

The usual expression of disbelief is, "When pigs fly!" but I have to say that it is just as amazing to watch a Moose fly ... in this case, Fezzywig (named Moose by his former mother). Yup, that's right, he can fly.

If you have been following my blog then you know that Fezzywig is my roach-backed warmblood gelding. He suffered an injury when he was quite young (he is now a coming 5 year old) and developed a roach back as a result. Although is very well-bred for dressage or jumping, his injury has limited his athletic ability during the time he has been with me.

Now he has wings!

From Stuck to Soaring
How did Fezzywig learn to fly? Literally via "trial by fire." Although I had done a lot of bodywork on him, and equine veterinarian extraordinaire Dr. Madalyn Ward had done a deep bodywork session on him last September, he was still stuck.

When I rode Fezzy he was stuck in his feet and could not move out well. He walked and trotted slowly, and getting him into the lope was a challenge. Internal adhesions and his funny roach-backed posture seemed to be hindering him.

I decided to try jumping him over some significant jumps to see whether stretching his body over jumps would break loose some adhesions and free up his gait. It turns out that jumping Fezzy is no easy task. He knocks over every movable jump and delights in taking them apart and dragging them into the ditch at night.

The solution? Jumps made of concrete blocks, barrels, heavy poles, and other similar immovable objects. Aha! Now here are some jumps that Fezzy has to really try to get over since they don't come down so easily!

The result? He has learned to soar, and his gaits are getting much freer with each jumping session. Being a pretty big galoot, it took some good-sized jumps to get his attention. We started at 2'3" and moved up to about 3' because he didn't bother picking up his front legs over the 2' jumps.

What's Next for Fezzywig?
Now that jumping has freed up his body, I am going back to doing a lot of the lateral work that I could not get him to do previously. He simply didn't have enough "steam" to do side-passes, leg yields, or haunches in. Now, after having jumped quite a bit, he does.
The ability to move freely forward at the walk has made those lateral flexing exercises so much more possible!

In addition, Fezzywig continues to be on his program of Horse Goo (made up of blue-green algae products and this healthy juice) to keep him limber. I've been giving him double doses on the days I jump him so his muscles and joints don't tighten up. It seems to be working well for him, as he moves better after every jumping session.

Stay tuned for more on the Flying Moose!

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1 comment:

  1. wow! Fezzy looks fantastic. I think we can get too focused on trying to get our horses perfect doing flatwork. Sometimes it is best to just go do something to get them to free up mentally as well as physically. great job. Madalyn