Feeling Not So Bad
I, as planned, rode Tucker in the arena for perhaps 15 minutes this afternoon.
At first, he laid his ears back and refused to move when I put my leg on. Then, I turned him so he was going in the opposite direction, and off we went...walking at first. I gave him a short warm up at the walk--he'd been turned out all day, so had certainly been moving around a lot on his own. Then I asked for trot. At first, again, the ears went back. Then, on the left rein, off we went in a nice forward, actually springy trot. But then we made the turn that headed us towards the gate to the woods and he stopped again--same balky reaction.
I made it clear I had no intention of going through the little mud puddle there, coaxed a bit, then insisted and we trotted off again. Finally, he seemed to get into gear and just kept going in a nice forward trot that was really pushing into the rein contact with his hind end. This feeling gives a lot of "weight" on the rein but it comes from the horse pushing through with his whole body, not through his leaning on the bit.
I made some changes of direction and finally asked for left lead canter. He took it readily and, I must admit, it was a nice, bouncy, good feeling canter. A bit of that, and I changed rein again, then asked for right lead canter. Ears back, threaten to kick....but Toby was right there on the other side of the fence and he may have reached out to nip at Tucker. When I asked for the lead in a different spot, the depart was not ideal, but he took the gait readily enough. The right lead did not feel as good as the left, but it was a true canter and not much of a problem.
I worked a bit more with a few transitions, then did a test run of shoulder-in and leg yield on each rein at the trot. No problem and I never felt him take an uneven step.
All, in all, it was a short, but pretty good little session. Aside from the few crabby moments, he seemed quite happy to work. Could be pain memory at work, or he may well still be sore somewhere. But overall, there was a decided improvement. The course of Pentosan is not yet done, so there may well be more recovery to come.
I hope so. Tucker is not the most willing horse I've ever ridden, but when he does work, he is a good ride...not easy, but good.
I picked up some flaked barley at the feed store today for Toby. Hopefully it will help put a few more pounds on him. He is not skinny, but I'd like to see some more of a fat layer for the winter. I'll have to see if it makes him more energetic as Mary Lou warned, though. I don't want him bouncing all over the place if I do decide to ride him now and then. *G* He's bouncy enough on his own.