But I Rode First!
The ground was pretty good in the arena, with only the edge near the fence on the shady side a bit hard. That left a nice big area to ride in.
Chance was decidedly determined for some attention, so I saddled him up first for a schooling session. He was lovely. From the first he was nicely forward with his head down, stretching for the bit. He still steers a bit too much off the inside rein on the right hand, but even that was easy to fix with just my whip on his outside shoulder to bring it over where it belonged. The canter was so much better. Again, for the most part, his head was down and he reached for the contact. But I did have to keep my leg on, because he was also too quick to break back to the trot. I didn't catch it quickly enough about three times in the whole ride, so that's not bad at all. The important thing is that he is making constant progress and becoming steadier and steadier with each ride.
I cooled him off with a very short little hack behind the barn in the woods. He didn't show his usual enthusiasm for the trail so I just kept it super short.
Tucker was next. As planned, I focused on simply insisting he keep forward no matter what. I started with some bending walk work, one rein to another. Then, I did lot of walk, trot, walk transitions, insisting that he step off each time with energy. Then I repeated the exercises with walk/canter/ trot/ canter transitions, again, insisting on forward.
I do feel a definite difference in his right and left leads with the right being less "smooth," for lack of a better description. If his left hock is bothering him, that might account for it. Again, I will just keep working him until something definite shows up as a physical problem needing vet attention.
After his work, I took him out into the woods for "his" trail. All was well until we entered the woods. Then, something spooked him. It might have been a distant gunshot as someone was target shooting a ways off. Now, though, I wonder if it might have been his stepping on himself, or a combination of both. At any rate, he tried to bolt/buck off. To be frank, for a moment there, my "life flashed in front of me" as I thought I was going to lose control of him. But bless his heart, he listened when I "purred" him back down and, though he was a bit unsettled for a short time, he settled back down for me and we managed to safely finish the ride.
But when we came back into the arena, I heard that dreadful metallic sound of "loose shoe, " and sure enough, his right front had "sprung." It wasn't totally displaced, thank goodness, but the nails on the inside were all out and the shoe was hanging on by the toe clinches and outside nails.
I did not take it off, but instead locked Tuck in his stall and called my farrier. Perhaps his assistant can come by and tack it back on. Technically, the Boys are due for shoeing by the calendar, but with winter in full force, their feet have not been growing too much.
Ah, well, I should have known it was too good to last.