But There's a Downside to Everything
OK, I am a believer now. Tucker is a changed horse.
I schooled him today for about a half hour, starting him off with long and forward, using taps of the whip to encourage him to go. He went, happily.
Then I began half halts to bring him up and on the bit. A few times he overreacted by half-halting to a walk or mini-piaffe, but not once did he shut down or offer to shut down. His feet kept moving and once he understood that I wanted him to go forward into the trot while still a bit elevated, he gave it his best shot.
All the while he accepted the tap of the whip if he needed more energy without even a flick of his tail in protest.
The ultimate test came when I stopped working to give him a rest break. He walked out on a long rein with plenty of energy and impulsion. Then I picked up the reins again.
This was always where we'd run into problems. At first Tucker laid his ears back and started to act as if he was going to balk. I tapped him gently with the whip behind my leg, and he walked off a few strides. Then he hesitated again as if he was expecting something bad to happen, so I gave him another little tap and he marched right off on the bit.
Though it seems like nothing significant, this was a major breakthrough!! I went back into the trot and within a few seconds he was back in the frame ready willing and able to complete two nice leg yields, a trot to halt on the center line, a trot off to another halt and a BIG PAT and a HUG for being such a wonderful boy!!
Toby and I went out on a lovely hack back to the flood area to find it's practically dry. We have had very little rain over the last month, so finally, with the heat, the ground is no longer under water. I was, though really surprised, now that I could ride the trail along the field again, to see just how much land had become "unfarmable." The farmer told me he'd lost some eight acres of tilllable land and corn crop. Until I rode past, I had no idea of how far into the field the flood waters had extended. There is a whole section I didn't know was underwater. When he had tried to cultivate it, he almost lost his tractor to the mud when it sank in. Now I know why.
"Back at the ranch" I decided to lunge Chance.
That didn't last long. He is very slightly off in, I think, his right front. I thought, yesterday, when I rode him, that he wasn't striding out as confidently as he had in the past, but he didn't really feel off. Now, I think I should have listened more to my inner voice.
I checked his feet and aside from the fact that he is definitely due for a trim, I couldn't really find anything--unless, there MAY have been a little heat in his right heel. I have called my farrier, who is really wonderful. Hopefully he can find time to come this week as the Boys are due. If he does come, he will test Chance's feet for me. However, in the meantime something might show up.
So, once more an almost perfect horse day had its ups and downs.
I just need to hope it will all come right in the end.