What Incredible Weather!
Who can ignore the weather when it's about 60F and sunny! I took the Boys's sheets off early this afternoon so they could enjoy the sunshine--and, from looking at Toby about a half hour later--the mud.
I lunged Chance, and even had him jump a little one foot high rail just for fun. He did really well and seemed to enjoy the attention. He's not happiest lungeing, but he works just fine and I think the jump made things a little more interesting for him.
Then I saddled up Tucker. He was quite willing to have the halter put on and seemed to want me to do something with him, so saddling was not too fussy. Sometimes he gives me a hard time about the bit--he was trained to do it right at Kenny Harlow's but does need remediation now and again--but today he was fine. He had been watching me lunge Chance and I think he decided he deserved some special attention too.
We started off at a walk which I soon asked to be round and stretchy into the bit. He resisted a few times and then dropped his head and took the contact. I did a lot of circle left, circle right, changing him from one outside rein to the other, asking him to step forward into the contact at each change of direction.
Then, still insisting on round, I gave the cue for "trot." I got "balk." I cued again. "Balk." Bummer. I'm not sure what it was all about because with minimal persuasion he was soon trotting off, quite forward and quite connected to the bit. He will take a lot of contact when he's going like that, so I was working as well.
We did some half halt hesitations, some trot/walk/trot transitions and eventually progressed to a little canter. He did not resist at all on either canter depart but for a moment on the left canter he was "strongly suggesting" that he was going to buck. Since that wasn't exactly in my riding plan for the day, I brought him back to trot for about halfway around the arena and cantered again, keeping his head up a little more. All was well, but I don't think I would have pushed the issue to do too much more to add to the excitement.
On the plus side, he was forward and willing on both reins. I don't know if that means his hocks are feeling fine for good, or if the time off has just eased any soreness he may have had. Regular riding and the expectation of his working more off his hind end as he gets more fit will tell the story. So far, so good, but I am not jumping to any conclusions at this point.
I had to laugh a bit at Peppercorn, the barn kitty, who really thinks he is "big stuff" around the horses. Today, while I was lungeing Chance, he was lying at the side of the arena snoopervising the whole process. He finally decided to gallop across the arena to watch from the woods side for a while until he disappeared on some sort of adventure or other. He is not afraid of the horses and they seem to take care around him, but I do hope he doesn't get careless enough to get stepped on.
He is getting friendlier and friendlier, so it looks like a trip to the vet is in the near future. I should do it before Spring really does arrive as he is prone to wander in search of ladies and for both his and their sakes's he needs to stay closer to home. As it is, I am sure there are probably a few black gened kittens already in the area. I'm not sure how old Pepper is, but it's not all that important since cats can start breeding at pretty young ages.
I plan to do the right thing for him, but it's taken quite a while to gain his trust and I don't want to lose it too quickly. That's why I am handling him as much as I can and cementing our relationship.
Meantime, I can enjoy his company and the affection of all three Boys who seem to think I'm OK as long as I bring carrots. *G*