Fidla is my Icelandic mare. She was 20 when she came to live with me in 2015. She had not been athletic. She was trained and had trail experience, but her main job had been as a hair model on The Horse Show with Rick Lamb. She had no lameness or old injuries of any kind; clean legs and a smart mind. She has a beautiful high action Tolt. She is a very well bred mare. 

Horse description and history

She could not bend to the right at her pol. She braced against the bit when I asked for lateral flexion under saddle. She had been trained to soften and give at the pol so she would flex her head downward. She would not pick up the left lead, unless she (gently) bucked first. This was about her lumbar being stiff. She is dish backed (saggy), in part from not being strengthened, in part from having been overweight, and in part from natural conformation. 

I wrote these notes in Dec 2017 as I began to keep track of this  journey:

21 year old Icelandic mare. Given to me at 19 years old. Fat, out of shape and restricted. Been working on her for 2 years to release severe restriction in C1-C3 that would not let her turn her head to the right. Mostly resolved over small sessions over the years. 

Sway back, and reluctant to do anything -  will pull hard against the bit and fight, bracing her right side of the neck. Major improvement over the years. 

She has been in a dressage program for 3 months and is getting fit. Her back is lifting. BUT she will not take the left lead. When she tries to her left rear leg will not come forward. Pelvis is stuck in a right forward left back position, Her stance is to have her left leg slightly behind. 

Fidla Dec 2017 Evaluation Chart

Fidla Dec 2017 Evaluation Chart

  • The first session she started to release the lumbar. Her rear legs started to soften and relax. She continued to take a staggered posture. Releasing the tendons in the right pol I could feel the tendons above the wither left side release
  • Releasing the right shoulder by lifting E and the right rib cage rib cage. Lick-chew
  • Figure *8 on the pelvis. Not too effective. Pelvic rocking with hand on sacrum more effective.
  • Compressions from dorsal to facia lata line is good. 
  • The right side of the butt is quite solid. Not easy to release. 

NOTE: August 5, 2018

Fidla and I have been training with Manuel Trigo since September 2017. Clinics and private lessons. The first accomplishment was getting her to raise her shoulders and head and carry herself in a lifted manner. The second accomplishment was shoulder in and haunches in, where she has to raise her back and with a strong abdomen allow her rear legs to cross as she moves forward. These exercises are critical for building her balance and strength. They have made the body work much easier, and by combining the two she is progressing very fast.