|Thomas after 45 minutes of work today.|
Today when I tacked him up he seemed a little mellower than he has been lately. Maybe the change to Carb Safe and Quiessence has helped. It was cold and damp out and the riding without lunging has been going OK, so I chose not to lunge him first today. I walked him for 10 minutes and kept encouraging him to reach long and low. If I don't tell him to reach down, he pops his head up and walks pretty hollow. Lots of 3-loop serpentines and changes of direction in a very forward walk really seems to help loosen him up.
The first trot was to the left and he was pretty good. He was a little fussy with his head, but not bad, and fairly forward. When I switched to the right he sucked back and got hollow. He seems to tip his body to the left, making it very hard to bend to the right. I was making an effort to really stomp on my right stirrup to try to push his right side down. Eventually, he started bending right, flexing his right hind and losing the "tipping" feeling. We did the 10 trot/walk/trot transitions each way and again they got better and better. One thing I have been noticing is that he seems to be moving better. I can't hear his footfalls nearly as much. He used to tromp down the long side like a herd of elephants! His trot is also much easier to sit to.
After a short walk break we did a little canter work, first to the left. Again, fussy with his head, and when we went straight down the long side he swapped leads to the right then broke to trot. Ugh! I had him do several canter/trot/canter transitions and it got much better, so I switched to the other direction. To the right was better (I think because he'd worked through his fussiness to the right). After a few transitions I gave him a pat and cooled him out.
Back in the barn when I took his saddle off he was acting ticklish. He'd jiggle his shoulder like there was a fly on it and swish his tail when I unbuckled the girth and again when I pulled the saddle off. I still feel like he's got some kind of nerve condition in his shoulder and under the saddle. Could this be EPSM related?
Soon I'll have to move him to the indoor arena facility down the road. The ring has been freezing overnight for several days now, but fortunately it thaws out by the afternoon. Now I just have to remember how fast it gets dark out there. I got on at 4:00 and it was nearly pitch dark by 4:45. I have flood lights in my ring, but they cast weird shadows and make me feel all off balance, so I prefer riding in the dark. Maybe I should try wearing my headlamp!