After the show at PVF and my personal best score for dressage I had three weeks to prep for my next show. Only, I was hurting pretty bad from wreaking my shoulder. Still, time waits for no woman, so I pulled up my big girl panties and headed to the barn on Tuesday to take a lesson with Amanda. Plus, I wanted her to watch my dressage ride, so we could discuss what I needed to work on.
Ashke had different plans.
Tuesday morning during turnout he and Nemo, his bestienemy, decided to play stallion games. They were tearing around their turnout at top speed, coming together in the middle to rear and strike at each other and then tear off doing zoomies again. There was bucking and kicking and striking. The BO heard the ruckus and separated them early, but they were both a bit scratched up. Nemo had a decent rake along his haunch and Ashke had a swollen right front leg.
I thought he had popped a splint from a glancing blow from Nemo. He was head bobbing lame on the lunge at the trot and worse when he was moving counter-clockwise. I cold hosed and put the quick wrap on it. No lesson. No progress. Lame horse.
Thursday night I went out and pulled the quick wrap off, since Ashke had managed to pull most of the batting out of the wrap with his teeth. I swear, horse! Then I took him out and rode him around the back 40, keeping him at a walk, even when he wanted to jig. He felt a little bit off, but fairly solid at the walk. Then the following Sunday we hauled out to Chatfield for a very brief ride, since we was head bobbing at the trot.
The swelling was going down slowly and it was determined to be a bruise on the bone and possibly tendon, but no heat, no tenderness to palpitation, no reaction to direct pressure on the spot, but it was bothering him. So more time off.
Last week, on Sunday, he was mostly sound. Not 100% yet, but sound enough I felt I could ride. We did about twenty minutes worth of mostly transitions, and I scheduled a lesson for Tuesday. He was about the same. Just the slightest, lingering cautionary step. Although, that is when we discovered he was dragging his right hind again.
He hasn't done that for a long time. But after asking for shoulder in along the rail, Amanda had me go back and look at his tracks. You could see in the arena dirt that he was not lifting the right hind they way he has been. There was a nice crescent circle in the dirt with every step. Amanda and I talked about whether I should show or not. It was decided I would wait and see how he felt on Friday night and make the call then.
I messaged Dr D and set up an appointment for the 22nd, to see what is going on in his body. I suspect the SI Joint area and possibly the shoulder/withers, but we will have to see. He was not bending as freely to the right and this seems to be his go-to for body issues (kind of how I carry stress in my shoulders).
Friday night I went to ride. He was stiff and stumpy at the canter and felt awful. I was only on him for twenty minutes, but none of that ride felt good. I decided to scratch and called both J and Ch to let them know. Ch talked me into waiting until Sunday and see how he was then. On Saturday, after the first day of the show, I went to the barn and lunged him. He was playful and energetic on the lunge line, so I bathed him.
Sunday we hooked up and hauled to the show. I got Ashke prepped about nine and into the dressage court for our warm up. He was really off. Head bobbing lame. I asked two other riders to see what he looked like to them and they both said he looked lame. Since it was a schooling show, I scratched. I did find a huge bit on his left hind, on the back of his leg, about half way down, that was swollen and hot. I showed it to Amanda, who thought perhaps that was what was causing his lameness.
Then I helped work the show and left him tied to the trailer for the day. He did awesome!! The rider who was parked next to me helped us out with water and snuggles for my boy.
Monday, I went out to see how he was. He was fine. I rode for about thirty minutes with no issues.
Last night we had a lesson. We did ground poles on a circle at the trot and canter. I'm okay at the trot, but I suck at the canter. Ashke has figured out how to adjust his strides to the poles without input from me, but has decided speed will help when moving clock wise. We did transitions and serpentines and square corners. We did turn on the haunches to turn on the forehand down the center of the arena and sidepassed the ground poles. Finally, I did leg yields to the left, then asked for a transition into canter onto the right lead, which completely confused Ashke, which was the point. He really tries to predict what is coming next, and this exercise really made him think. We did it in both directions.
We also revisited the Raised Rocking S snaffle bit from years ago, to see what he thought about it. He loved it so much it was like it wasn't even there. I struggled to get him to stop. He didn't listen to my seat or legs and pretty much did whatever the hell he wanted. Which are all the reasons I moved away from that bit years ago. We will keep looking. I would like a bit that he would listen to and respond to, without throwing his head straight up in the air. Snaffles are a no go, so we keep looking.