The joys of having a horse who is nearly ALWAYS off.
So yesterday I went out to the barn after work to have a nice ride on Gus. We only worked in the indoor arena and boy did he start off stiff. It was difficult to tell if Gus was truly "off" on the left fore or just sore/stiff. We were able to work though a lot of the issues once I was mounted, but on the ground he just looked a bit uncomfortable (but not so bad that he couldn't stand a little bit of work).
Once in the saddle, we established the same ol', same ol'. So that means down, round, forward and serpentines! Whohoo! I think we are the kings (err, in my case queen) of serpentines. We did trot serpentines and then we worked on transitions on the centerline while in the serpentines. Then it was lateral work time. Mainly just leg yields (from quarter line then center line to the rail) and some SIs. If I was with the program, I would've thrown in some leg yields on the diagonal WITH transitions. Oh well, next time - right?
After some good trot work, we did some big 20m figure eights, working on the stretchy-chewy aspect of the training level tests. Down and forward. Gus did pretty well. Typically we always do these at the end of our rides, but I've come to learn that Gus is usually a bit better AFTER the stretchy-chewy work hence the reason why I should throw those into our schedule a little earlier on.
Then it was on to canter work. Pretty boring canter work yesterday. Just 20m cirlces at every major letter, really focusing on making it a truly circular 20m circle, not lopsided. I tend to make the first 20m of our circle (really only those at B or E) too big, for whatever reason. It's really only at the canter that I tend to take some liberty with the circle size, but I need to work on keeping it truly 20m - so that's what we did.
After all that, we went back to the trot and worked on down, round and forward again. Then stretchy-chewy figure eights. Then I called it a day. Gus was good and tired, as was I, and I figured we'd better end on a good note - especially with him not being 100% himself.
On the plus side, he's becoming more consistently round and holding it for more then just a brief second. Gus's muscling is really improving as well. I'd love to do the benefit show in a couple weeks, but with Gus being off on the footing outdoors, I don't really want to push my luck. It's just not worth it. Instead, I plan to be the official photog of our barn - so if I get any amazing shots, I'll be sure to post them.
However, Gus was still off when we walked outside yesterday to cool down. Just walking outside in the south arena (don't normally work in there as the arena is not at all level - it's just attached to the indoor) Gus was almost head-bobbing lame. Sound in the indoor though. Go figure. Since the mosquitoes were so bad I opted to just hurry up and get back inside the barn. I was otherwise just going to walk him around the property... perhaps I'll do that tomorrow when I go out to ride before work.
The other this is, Gus does not like the baucher bit. I decided to try him in that again - haven't used it in years. He'll listen but was much more resistant to contact with the baucher then he is with the KK Ultra loose ring. Then again, his regular bridle is a crank + flash (not cranked at all tight) and with the baucher, he was in a regular noseband.
Oh and I wore my new boots for the first time riding yesterday. You would've thought I'd been riding in them forever. They feel just amazing. And talk about close contact. I could feel everything. I absolutely LOVE the look of the Tredsteps too. The slim footbed actually flatters my narrow feet nicely - and there is hardly any excess movement, which meant no blisters. I just wish they were taller. So my next boots will most definitely be the Da Vinci's - Tredsteps more expensive tall boot (think twice the price and then some).
So, my goal for tomorrow is to Bute Gus prior to riding (I had been doing this for the last month or so, but recently haven't - primarily because I've forgotten), work in the indoor - lunge/w/t/c working on serpentines and transitions, then go ride outside. I'd like to work Gus a little bit in the jump field and then if he's feeling well enough, do some gallop sets on the cross country course. Of course that plan is subject to change... so, we'll see how Gus feels tomorrow (granted I actually get myself outta bed early enough to ride before work).