Tucker and Chance Go For A Ride
I wanted to see how Tucker felt with his new shoes on, so I decided to ride him for a little while in the arena. It was tee shirt weather--maybe even tank top weather--with temperatures up in the 70's. Rather a nice change from winter, but a bit too soon. It's supposed to cool off again tomorrow, so we'll be back to the 40's and 50's again.
Anyhow, I saddled Tucker up using the Le Tixerant girth I got on EBay. He did not try to bite me and hardly seemed to notice the tightening process at all, so that might be a good sign about the girth. I mounted up in the arena, and we moved off on a loose rein. After a little walking, I put my leg on to ask for trot. He laid his ears back, got all fussy and threatened to kick into my leg. I gave him the rein, and nudged again--same reaction. And then, he trotted off. Could be anything, or it could just be Tucker. Once he was going, there was no question of his stopping again. He was perfectly willing to trot along.
I cannot say he felt wonderful, but he was not limping anywhere. For a totally unfit horse, he was pretty good. Even when I picked up some contact, he was still OK. On the other hand, I also would not say he felt either engaged or totally "through" his body. If his hocks are sore, or of he is still just a little foot sensitive, either explanation could account for it.
After perhaps 10 minutes of trot/walk warm up, I decided to try a little canter. I asked for left lead out of the trot and he moved right off in a kind of almost too slow, but definite canter. It was a little more "up and down" rather than really forward, but for the time being, I'll take it. Then I crossed the arena, changed direction and through the trot picked up the right lead canter. After a stride or two, he dropped down into a trot and then got really "I'm going to kick or buck if you ask me to canter on this lead." So, I swapped directions, picked up the left lead again, reversed directions, and moved into the right lead canter again. This time he was fine.
The right lead was the problem one before when I know his hocks bothered him. Since I know his hocks are an issue, I will cope with this for now, hoping that as he gets more fit, he will feel better. I have at least one injection of Pentosan left, maybe two, so I can give him that, and I will increase his joint supplements. If all else fails and he really seems to be uncomfortable, I can have his hocks injected, but I'd rather avoid that expense if I can. I do not need to compete him, so if he can be happy enough playing around in the arena and going out on the trails, that's just fine. After I finished his little school, we took a five minute walk in the woods.
Even so, he came in all lathered under the saddle and between his hind legs. He has always sweated a lot and today was just too warm for his unshedded body.
After I sponged Tuck off, I saddled up Chance and we went for a nice quiet ride through the woods. As usual, he was practically perfect in every way. It was a nice day for it.
Then, I took the shedding blade out to the paddock and worked on Toby for a little while. He his shedding in huge piles of winter hair. I think he enjoyed the grooming. I KNOW he enjoyed the two carrots afterwards.