A Really Mixed Bag
I rode Tucker tonight and he was very forward and enthusiastic. We trotted for about 20 minutes, repeatedly going over the cavaletti and he never once even thought of backing off.
Even though he laid his ears back a little at the canter departs, it certainly was not exactly resistance, but more of a "commentary" since he cantered easily off on both leads. This was a huge improvement over last week, before his second acupuncture/chiropractic treatment. I would say he feels almost as good as he did before the Axel Steiner clinic, so that is a good sign he is nearly recovered.
When I stopped to take a break after the 20 minute trot, Tucker headed for the gate to the woods and stood there, kind of "leaning" towards the trail. When I tried to turn him away, had a a very mini tantrum, making it quite clear he wanted to go OUT for a hack. I finally convinced him to move to the center of the ring where I dismounted, tied his reins up and told him to wait for me while I went back into the barn to get my neon orange jacket--an essential for riding during hunting season. When I came back out, he was waiting for me. I remounted, trotted him over the cavaletti four times on each hand, and then headed out to the woods.
Tuck strode out in a bouncy, happy, forward walk and we had a perfectly lovely ride along his "safe" trail. It was great!
Then, I rigged up Chance in the long lines the way Gabriel had used them on Tucker just to see if it made any difference. While I do think it encouraged Chance to use his hind end a little better, he was very inconsistant and somewhat resistant in accepting the rein contact. I am not sure if it was the configuration of the lines through the lower rings, or my not to certain understanding of exactly how to create exactly the right response from him. Overall, it was a good session, but I'll have to do it a bit more to see if it will help him or hinder his progress.
I long lined Toby next, with the lines set up as I normally use them. What more can I say? He was practically perfect in every way.
Now to the other half of the mixed bag.
My friend Stacie has a lovely 8 year old warmblood cross, Lucky, she has owned and trained since he was a yearling. He has been very successful at the lower levels of dressage and has the potential to move on up. Stacie has been taking clinics and lessons to move up and things were going really well.
Then, a bit over a month ago, at a Patrice clinic, Lucky suddenly went dead lame. Since then, Stacie has numerous vets examine him, take xrays, prescribe treatments, inject him, etc. and nothing has brought him sound.
Finally, this week she took him to New Bolton, The University of Pennsylvania for a bone scan.
Well, as it has turned out, Lucky has a portion of dead bone on his front cannon, near the fetlock joint. The theory is that at some point he seriously bruised his bone there and the injury eventually killed the healthy bone. I did just get an email from her telling me that the necrotic tissue is only about the size of a dime, so it's not very big yet.
The only course of treatment is surgery to remove the dead bone and then a long layup until, hopefully, the damaged bone heals and grows anew.
Lucky is going to have his surgery tomorrow (Friday) so all good vibes are appreciated.
Stacie hopes to trailer him out of Pennsylvania on Saturday and set him up at the New Jersey Equine Center where he can be cared for while she takes a seminar in saddle fitting she had planned weeks ago.
I told her I'd try to visit Lucky at the Center at least once while she is away. In the meantime, I am saying a few prayers to help him along through the surgery and then, of course, to a speedy recovery. Hopefully, he can come back to being sound so he and Stacie can continue their dressage career together.
He's a sweetie pie, and Stacie is a very special person. I wish them both well.