So, I went to the barn tonight after work and decided to test Ashke in the round pen first and if he was moving okay, I would work him in the training system. He left his food when I walked in the stall and stuck his head into the halter for me. He seemed pretty happy to see me and at least somewhat interested in working. I took him to the grooming stall and set to work getting the mud off of his right side.
From the left he looks white. From the right he looks somewhat pee colored.
Such an attractive look.
He and Cali are both shedding pretty good, even though I would have thought they had both lost their winter coats. I spent lots of time scratching him with the stiff rubber curry comb (as compared to the medium curry, or the soft curry. Yes, it is possible to own too much tack.) And then finished with the stiff, short bristle brush. He enjoyed it. I then put boots on his front feet. I figure as sore as he has been, I need to be vigilant until his toe grows out.
I took him out to the round pen and let him move around at the trot and walk. I hadn't brought out the carriage whip, so he basically wasn't taking me seriously. Sometimes it pays to walk softly and carry a long whip. I left him in the round pen and went to get my stuff. I grabbed the carriage whip, the training system and my bridle. As I was headed back out I saw N and Cali walking down the barn aisle. I hollered at N (hollering is something you do in the West) and she turned around and followed me out to the round pen.
Ashke was very excited to see Cali and flipped his head at me when I explained I wanted him to work. He was the smallest touch tender in the right front for five or six circuits and then he seemed to move okay. I don't know if he was stiff or sensitive, but it seemed to work itself out. I stopped him and geared him up. He stood without being held while I tightened the girth, although he did nip at me which I ignored as a matter of course (I really think he nips to try and get a reaction out of me, and I am hoping that by not reacting he will stop). Once I got him all hooked up, I slid the butt brace down against his back legs and asked him to move forward. He pitched a little hissy fit at the pressure against the back of his legs, but gave it up pretty quickly.
N talked me through what I was asking him to do. She had me drive him forward at a much faster gait than I usually do, and had me watch his back feet. She was having me make him track up, so his hind feet land in the same spot his front feet just lifted from. Once he was moving that fast, with his head lowered, you could see his back come up. I worked him to the right first and N said he was counter bending to the outside. He does that a lot and I think it's left over physical dynamic stuff from when his right haunch was injured. He has a hard time moving forward and turning to the right, even at the walk. It was better after I turned him and worked him from the left. He loosened up a touch and was able to move better to the right the next time I turned him.
N said he looked really good. Ashke was relaxed and chewing on the bit, even as I was asking him to move up under himself. N agrees with me that as we work in that training system he will learn to accept and welcome contact on his mouth while I am riding him. Then maybe he will realize I want him to reach down instead of reaching up. It takes time and I am still learning myself.
After fifteen minutes or so, I had him stop, remove the rig and then removed his boots. They are so hard to get off - they fit his feet really well. Once he was released from all the gear we let him and Cali wander around eating grass together. Ashke never crowded her and they both seemed to enjoy the company. They got to graze for half an hour or so, and I was mean and made Ashke cross the overgrown ditch twice as training practice. Then it was back into his run with carrots. He seemed happy.
Hopefully, N will find time this weekend to ride. Maybe we can ride out on Sunday. Either way, inside or out, I need to work on my stuff.
As an afterthought, has anyone used Sore No More poultice for helping a horse not be tender? I would like to get some for Ashke, but wanted to make sure that is the best product. There seem to be a couple of products and Sore No More got the highest reviews. (There was another product that worked well, but seemed to have application issues.) I would love to know what everyone thinks. I'm thinking that if it works the way it claims, putting some on Ashke would be beneficial.
Tomorrow I get to spend the day at the amusement park with my son and a group of seventh graders. Then I get to watch their band concert. That's right - band geeks get to get out of school and go to an amusement park for the day, then play for 20 minutes and go home. Should be fun. Wish me luck!