We had a bomb scare at school yesterday (Monday), so we ended up outside the school building for well over two hours while police and search dogs scoured the territory for any signs of explosives. Apparently they had six dogs/teams from several other counties in the State called in and they went over every inch of the building.
Meanwhile all the students and staff were outside, eventually sitting on the bleachers at the baseball field for nearly the whole afternoon. It wasn't cold, as you might figure. Temperatures were well up into the 50's F and the sun was out. The students were really well behaved and everyone cooperated, so that was good. If the weather had been bad we would have walked over to the mall next to the school and stationed ourselves in the movie theaters there as we did one day last year. Outside on a nice sunny day was far better.
Still, the day was a mess. Kids missed lunch and several classes were canceled, but in the end our administration did a really good job of organizing things so the day ended smoothly.
However, my knees were really unhappy after having to hike all over the school grounds and sitting out there supervising students was not exactly my idea of a pleasant day.
Yet, the weather was so sweet that when I got home I managed to saddle up Tucker and give him a good school. He stopped once, and with voice and a tap of the whip, I got him going again. From then on, if I even felt the slightest hesitation, I used a voice command to encourage him and it all seemed to go well. As we went on, I actually started to bring him up into a frame with a little elevation and he seemed quite accepting of it. He did have a little more difficulty in the canter than the trot, but I suspect some of that is his need to develop the rest of his back strength back again after his stifle injury.
My vet is coming again on Saturday to do any needed acupuncture, so hopefully the rest of the problems will resolve. If the weather cooperates for most of the winter, I should be able to get his hind end fit enough for our dressage. But, one can never count on the weather as well all know, so I will just have to cope with nature.
I long lined Chance next. He is really interesting as he finds it hard to keep any kind of steady frame around and entire circle, even with the lines to depend on. As I watch him, it's hard to tell if it is his balance or his brain working against him. I do tend to suspect it's a combination of both. When he does get going in a nice forward gait, into the bit, he can manage, but there is an element of uncertainty about it that, I think, just makes him toss his head. Still, as the session went on, he got better and better at it, and I am pleased to say, he finally managed to complete two circles without his head going up to finish. His head went down--not up, so it wasn't exactly a steady contact, but it was an improvement.
I ended the evening with my new ring lights illuminating Toby on the lunge line. The lights are white, so colors are "grayed" out, but they do the trick. I can see the whole perimeter of the riding ring, and near the center, there's enough light to ride cavaletti or a small jump. I wouldn't want to do any serious jump or obstacle work.
Once again, I just enjoyed watching Toby on the lunge. He really is a lovely mover and very athletic looking. He isn't the best conformation for dressage his his neck is not set high enough on his shoulder to make the elevated carriage of the upper levels easy for him, but his gait is well engaged and elegant. I keep thinking that he would have been a really successful show hunter--at least on the flat. I don't know about the jumping as he is spooky, but he does have really good form over a fence and I think with experience he would have built up his confidence enough to face strange fences with no problem.
Any yet, he is now going on 18 and he still moves as fluidly as a young horse. I see no signs of arthritis or other soundness problems that plague older horses. My one acupunture vet always commented on what great shape PJ was in as he aged and concluded it was the fact that he was a dressage horse. He theorized that the physical training PJ'd had contributed to his condition.
I'd like to think that's so and hope Toby will have a happy time of it as a senior citizen. He certainly deserves it after all the good rides he's given me.