So, we started off the lesson with some lunge work, as always. Gus was reluctant to really move out and down - and that's where we were seeing the short-stridedness. Under saddle, we began with working on getting Gus down and round. Today, he was having none of it. He was sucking back a lot and wouldn't get ahead of my leg. It seemed like every other stride for a while was kick, spur, whip, rinse and repeat. Finally, Gus seemed to get with the program. To attempt to get him round and giving to the bit, we first worked on small 10-15m circles at the trot. These circles were done at R, S, V and P. That then proceeded into serpentines, with a 10m circle thrown in at A, C and either B or E, depending on the direction we were going.
After getting a nice forward trot - and round - we proceeded to the canter. We did 15m circles at A, E, C, and B - switched directions and repeated. Pretty simple canter work for the time being. We ended up ending the lesson with leg yields on the quarter line to the rail, then cantering a 15m circle once at the rail, then trotting - rinse and repeat.
My homework for this lesson is to work more on leg yields again - incorporating more canter work into them as well. That and making sure that Gus is always down and round. No exceptions. He doesn't seem to like that, but once we get him to his happy place, he is always much more comfortable. It's just getting him there that is the issue.
Tomorrow is farrier day again for Gus. It has only been 4 weeks since he was done last, but there are some fairly significant changes in his hinds that I believe need to be addressed - along with whatever the heck maybe up with that left fore. I took a few photos of the right hind - it, in particular, has started to flare REALLY bad - or least looks like it has to me.
It really looks like it's flaring a lot on the outside wall, but looking at the shot of Gus's sole (the last photo posted), you can see a really round hoof - all the way around. So, we'll see. Looks like we may need to stop squaring off the hind toes...
Just for comparison's sake, this was Gus's hoof (sole shot) from July 20th:
Anyways, on one final note - we're dealing with some horrible bugs out at Gus's barn. It's been a battle for the past few weeks now to get these massive bites healed. I'm thinking they are from horse flies, but gosh are they such bad welts. Thankfully Gus is pretty nonchalant about everything and they don't see to be bothering him at all. But, I'm definitely not at all happy to be dealing with them. Plus being that they are right were the girth goes, we have to be extra careful. Here's a couple photos that kinda show what Gus is dealing with:
There is at least 3 or 4 large, quarter-sized lumps on Gus's right side - this picture really doesn't do justice to what he's dealing with. So, for the time being, I"m still applying a combination of Vaseline and now Patch N' Go (a natural ointment/fly repellent) to see if we can get those healed up. We'll see what works.