The snow is melting; the horses are shedding; it's staying light well past 6:30. Winter may actually be on its way out. And along with the yearning for all things green, warmer weather and weekends full of horse-related activities, I'm feeling like Thomas might actually be feeling good enough to join me in enjoying spring.
We've had several days this week in the high 40s and low 50s, and each of those days Thomas improved from the day before. Today the wind was clocking in with gusts of over 50 mph (!), so the plastic-covered arena was an interesting place, to say the least. One of the gusts at the beginning of our ride, made it feel like we were inside a balloon- the pressure changed and then the doors at the end banged and creeked. Thomas was incredibly brave. He only spooked one big one at the beginning, and to tell the truth, I spooked at that one too. It really felt like we might be carried up and out to the stratosphere! When he's brave I know he's feeling OK. His confidence is the first thing to go when he's feeling bad.
Today we worked on transitions trot to walk, walk to trot, over and over, until he relaxed and reached out to the contact through the transitions. Then I moved on to canter work. By the end we were doing a few collected strides to several lengthened strides on the circle. To the left was pretty good all along; to the right he was still reluctant to soften in his jaw. The tongue came out and he seemed to "tip" to the left- chucking his right rib cage out at my right leg. But it got much better and when he gave me a light, soft collected canter and happily lengthened the frame to a bigger stride I called it a day, gave him big pats and hugs and put him away treating him to his beet pulp, 2 cups of oil, Vitamin E and Magnesium.
I am very hesitant to say that the effects of EPSM are worse in cold weather, but so far it appears that might be true, at least for Tom, at least for this week...