Last night was perfect . . . it was about 80 degrees when we reached the barn and I was planning on riding. I brushed Ashke a lot - he is still shedding the heavier hair from his barrel, flanks and haunches that has been there since we brought him home. The rest of his body has sleeked out, but this thicker hair acts as a reminder that we've only had him thirteen weeks. We got him saddled and I grabbed the saddle cover (a bright purblue) made out of nylonish material. I was thinking that I needed to start familiarizing him with flapping things around his buttocks and flanks in case I ever needed to put on or take off a jacket while riding (cuz like, you never do that).
We went to the round pen and I proceeded to flap the purblue nylon scary thing on his haunches, flanks, legs and belly. He was a little spooky at first, but became accustomed to the thing pretty quickly. I was fairly impressed. We began our workout by walking around the big arena (which isn't even worthy of a snort now) and then to our walk/trot/canter routine in the round pen. Ashke did great, except he didn't want to maintain the canter going clockwise in the pen. I chased him around the pen until I was out of breath. As soon as I stopped, so did he. Stinker. I finally got him to canter for three rounds but when I asked him to stop he did immediately and then held his left hind foot off the ground. I asked him to walk forward and he did. When he moved I could immediately see where he had nicked the back side of his fetlock on his back left foot. There was blood and the nick is right where the foot flexes so it's going to take a while to heal. Since I didn't know the extent of the injury (blood caked with dirt is difficult to assess) we were done.
I was really bummed. I was looking forward to riding him again last night and working on walking and trotting on command. I also wanted to see if the backing practice we've been working on will pay off. It also felt like every time we reach a point where he is ready to move forward something happens and we take a step back.
I walked him back and unsaddled, then took him to the wash rack. In washing him down I discovered that the cut on his fetlock is really just a nick. It is superficial and really wasn't bad enough to stop our workout. Of course, I didn't know that until I had washed him down, but I am confident it won't hinder our progress. My intention is to ride him today after working him from the ground. Keep your fingers crossed.
As I was taking him to put him away, Ashke requested he visit Folly (Fjord horse he knows at the stable - she was being brushed down after being ridden). I walked him into the main stable grooming area where he sweetly greeted Folly, then turned to stare at the huge construction fan that was being used to cool the area. He snorted, with his ears up and his neck arched (it never fails to bring me a great deal of pleasure to see him arch his neck - which he wasn't able to do 13 weeks ago). We walked closer to the fan. He had his head stretched out, all snorty and stuff, but kept looking until he bumped the fan with his nose. Once he had figured out it was just making noise and blowing air he was fine with it, turned his back and ignored that it was there. He's such a smart horse, I can't believe it sometimes.
After tucking him away, we (J, T and I) went to a nearby walking mall. We bought sizzle balls from Melt (a fine kind of bath salt made with herbs - T loves them when he's sick) and then went to Zumiez to look for shoes. T has fallen in love with the Osiris brand and has been searching for a week to find a pair that fit. He did:
He has migrated from the well-fitting, tightly laced, run-as-fast-as-he-can Nikes to the completely impractical but infinitely more satisfying Osiris shoes (which don't lace up). Our first step into the world of designer fashion.