By Cassie Argento-Bird
Cassie worked with Oro during June, July and August. Here is her summary of the many things Oro taught her.
Sacroiliac and Hindquarter Weakness
Until this summer I had never worked with any horse that had a SI weakness — so I really enjoyed being able to be apart of Oro’s journey of strengthening himself. I was also able to see the differences from week to week. At the beginning of the summer, we started doing carrot stretches with him to help stretch and strengthen key muscles in his back. In the beginning weeks, he could only really reach a bit past the middle of his barrel — but now can stretch past his flank. I have also found it interesting to watch the different ways Oro releases or works out some of his tension (especially between the trot and canter transitions).
Oro has helped me improve my groundwork so much! He has given me much more confidence in my ability to do the groundwork exercises — as well as helped me become more aware in general. By doing the groundwork warm up exercises, I could see where he was stiff of tight on that day. I could then assess what the next best step would be, whether it was working through some of that under saddle or free lunging.
Foot Placement and Flag Work
I was also able to learn the importance of foot placement, whether at the mounting block or setting him up to go around me. Along with various other groundwork exercises, I was able to practice some flag work with Linda Hoover during a LOPE clinic. Oro is naturally pretty curious about most things, but it was cool to see him pick up on the exercises I was doing and then relax.
Under Saddle Work
I really enjoyed working with Oro under saddle and on the ground. It gave me the chance to see the same exercises that we did on the ground now translated into riding work. I also got to experience a very different way of riding. Oro is very sensitive to seat and leg pressure as well as the rein aid. Because he was so sensitive in this way, I could make changes between gaits and within the gaits only using my seat aids. Which meant I needed to use a lot of brainpower and body awareness on my part.
Having fun and not taking everything too seriously
Most importantly, Oro has taught me that not everything is so serious. He always makes me smile at his “jokes.” Like how he learned that he will get an extra break if he keeps yawning during his releases. Or how his favorite lesson is teaching me how to keep the reins out of his mouth. I love his personality and I have enjoyed being able to laugh at all his quirks!