And Back At School
It was kind of hard rolling out of bed to go to work after a week off, but I managed. I had a pretty good day at school, but it surely was hard watching the sun starting to drop lower in the sky as I headed home. By 4 PM it was looking pretty bleak.
Still, I saddled up Chance as soon as I changed my clothes and took him into the ring for a short school. The longlining is making an impact already. He put his head down, rounded on to the bit and trotted off. His lateral suppleness is not there and I have to work my legs and body weight to get his correct bend in the corners, but on the straight sides he felt great--EXCEPT when we passed the gate going out to the woods. That was like a magnet to him.
So, after the school, I headed out for a short hack. He was eager at first until he realized we were heading along the same trail we'd taken on Saturday. Then he slowed to a snail's pace. I let the reins hang loose to let him make the choice and as soon as we reached an intersection, he headed off to the left, towards the lake. Once we'd veered off the old trail he perked right back up and stepped off again. I didn't take him around the lake as I was a little worried about all the mud and water Toby and I had encountered--the ATV's and minibikes have really messed up the footing where it used to be dry. But we did take the little trail on the ridge. He was happy until we turned again for home when he slowed back down. I've never had a horse go slower on the way home in all my life. It really is kind of fun.
I rode Tucker next in the ring as darkness began to fall. I put some linament on his stifle before we began to work. He was still "sticky" at the trot depart and laid his ears back a few times, but once he got going he felt fine. I had a similar problem asking for the canter, and at first on the left lead, he was very crooked. When a horse has a right stifle issue, it often shows up in left canter as on that lead, the right hind must step "around" and under, putting an extra lateral strain on the stifle joint. Later, though, when I asked for canter again, he was straight on the lead, so I suspect he is either having "pain memories" or twinges that go away.
I also put Tucker into a tighter frame towards the end of the session, getting him to step more into the bit and carry himself more on his hind end. Surprisingly, he actually seemed more pleased to go that way. I wonder if getting him to really lift his back actually balances the weight and makes it easier for his joints to carry him. I'll go for that a little earlier in my ride today to see if it makes him happier.
Toby supervised all the riding, and I gave him the night off. My annoying ring lights were not working well at all, with two light fixtures not working again. I've had trouble with them ever since they were installed. That will teach me to listen to myself instead of the professionals when setting up something like that. I had wanted a different kind of like and got talked into these. They are totally unreliable.
That reminds me. I need to call the electrician to see what we can do about replacing them with what I should have gotten in the first place. *sigh*