(Link to the product at the bottom of this.)
So I gave up and gave in a about a month ago and decided that I really needed to try to do something for Bella because she was just getting worse as time went on despite the fact that I couldn’t find any reasons why. She was adjusted by the chiropractor, given a clean bill of health from her vet, got her shoes put back on and was sound, there was no pain reason that I could determine. I even loosened her bridle in case it was a bit too tight and pressing on her poll. But after, what should have been, a forty-five minute ride turned into a hour and twenty minute ride because she was honestly just too wound up.
She was running away at the canter, switching leads anytime I tried to half-halt or close my leg to pick her up. It was a mess. Once I got her around each way once without her switching leads I called it a day and then had to spend forever cooling her out. It was honestly a mess, it was not enjoyable, and I felt like I was back on my untrained 3-4 year old rather than my 9 year old who I used to feel comfortable jumping bare-back.
Mind you, I don’t necessarily blame her. I don’t really blame myself either. This year has been incredibly progressive for my ability to calmly handle her crap. Seriously. I’ve ridden her, calmly, through more antics and anxious moments than I ever anticipated I would be able too. I’ve also gotten extremely frustrated from time to time. But obviously taking a more “aggressive” approach and coming at her bad behavior with making her work harder and ensuring that we finished with the correct behavior (sometimes I don’t think there’s much else to do other than keep asking to canter until I get the start I want because quite frankly, that’s baby stuff not mature horse stuff). So rather than continue doing something that obviously wasn’t giving me results, I decided to look into other options.
Option 1. Get a martingale of some sort so she would stop pulling on my shoulder and just keep trying to calmly ride her through it. Obviously this idea was tossed pretty quickly, mostly because it didn’t tackle the root of the issue. I AM still considering getting a martingale to just protect my shoulders but now that I’m going to the gym on a regular basis I think I can probably forego this.
Option 2. Check into other possible pain-options. I am still considering doing this. Basically my idea on this is have a horse massage therapist come out and work on Bella. She’s always been incredibly stiff to the right through her neck and jaw. I’m wondering if there’s something we can do to fix that. Right now, that’s not an option money-wise as I catch up on other adult things, but it’s still on the back burner.
Option 3. Supplements. I’d never really considered them before. Mostly because I just didn’t see the reason to spent the extra money. But since I’m already shelling out for Biotin for her feet and MSM to help support her joints, I figured why not give supplements a try. Perfect Prep was on my short list but I did a lot of hunting for something reasonably affordable and I already use Smartpak for shipping my supplements to me so when I saw they had SMART Tranquility I ultimately decided to give it a shot. I don’t have a need to have her on something that will allow me to compete, she’s not being drug tested by the FEI obviously, so SMART Tranquility fit my needs.
Now I’m sure someone is wondering why I didn’t opt for some sort of “mare” supplement like Mare Magic. Quite frankly because her issue didn’t strike me as her being a “mare” it struck me as her being extremely anxious about something or a lot of somethings. I wanted something that would target the anxiety and nervous energy. SMART Tranquility offered just that.
Bella started it on a Sunday and when I rode her on Tuesday I already felt a huge difference in her. She was still a little rough at the canter but after one false start in each direction (Bella ripping my arms out and trying to bolt off) she came back, re-focused and cantered off nicely. It was incredible. I haven’t felt that in quite a while with her. I rode her again on Thursday and she was fantastic. Great canter work without any issues. Friday I jumped her, and all I can say is SMART Tranquility got me my horse back.
10/10 for this product. I’m honestly a little emotional about how excited I am to have these results. She’s been better to tack up, better to mount, better to ride, and I feel comfortable jumping her again. I feel like I can finally think about moving forward with her again and that the goal of competing next summer isn’t entirely insane.