After getting home early this morning from the MN Twins game last night (they won!), this morning came around way too early. Since I had the day off from work, I bumped my lesson up from 6pm to 11am. So, instead of sleeping in until 9am, I was up at 8am (not really that early, but still ...) to make sure I had enough time to make it to the barn for my lesson.
Well, this morning I woke up to torrential downpour. Yes! Not that the downpour was awesome, but the fact that it was raining was. Tucker wasn't too excited to go out in the pouring rain but well, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
This is what met me when I got out to the barn:
Yep. He was soaked. Soaked so badly, in fact, that I had to run the sweat scrapper over him before I could tack up. And grooming? Yea, forget about it. Gus had a nice rub over his back and on his face before I tacked up (and picked his hooves, of course) but there's no point in really "grooming" when they are soaked like this. You just end up making a mess.
This is what Gus looked like post-lesson:
Yep. I "rode him dry". Except of course for the area beneath the saddle pad ... he was drenched there.
The lesson was pretty good again today. And, like in previous weeks, I haven't worked with Gus since my previous lesson. With my schedule and the crappy, hot weather - it just wasn't happening.
Today, we started off with some basic lateral work (after doing our usual 15 minutes of lunging). All lateral work was done at the trot and we began the exercise going to the right. Basically, we would turn on the quarter line (or center line) and LY to the rail. The first few times through, though, we just took a couple steps towards the rail, then back towards the center line, then a couple more steps back towards the rail. After rinsing and repeating that a few times, we ended up doing full LY ... sometimes it was quarter line to E or P or F or etc. Other times, it was from the center line to a spot on the longside.
After repeating that exercise ad nauseam, we finally picked up our canter. The canter(s) today were really nice - even the dreaded right lead was a nice. We cantered almost exclusively on the second track, with 15m circles at R, S, V and P. That was followed by 1-loop serpentines on the long side ... keeping them as shallow and simple as possible. Again, the RL canter was pretty good. By the time we got to the LF (at the very end of my lesson), Gus was exhausted. He tried hard but you could tell he was done.
I was very pleased with Gus today. He's a trooper.
Today was also farrier day for both boys and it happened to work out perfectly that J was just showing up when I got done with my lesson, so I was able to get Gus done first.
Here's the photos. For once, I was able to get photos of his fronts without shoes on ...
|This looks really upright ...|
|A start of some nice concavity (is that even a word?)|
|Look at that HUGE frog! Nice big hoof ... I like.|
|Another nice, big hoof and a nice sized frog ... looks like some flaring is going on though.|
I asked J what he thought of Gus's hooves (just kind of a broad question) and if he saw anything "negative" going on. He said we're definitely dealing with navicular hooves and the hoof clipping below is an example of proof of that. It's hard to see, but you can see a red line on the bottom of the clipping - that is off Gus's toe (left front, actually) and shows typical bruising associated with navicular horses. So, shoeing like we are (as if Gus has navicular) is probably doing Gus a world of good ... so we'll just keep doing what we're doing as long as it keeps working.
I also took some new body shots of Gus today. I'm thinking about upping his grain just a little bit again. He's still on 3/4lb twice a day (and he's finishing it!). B thought he looked like he may have lost some weight over the last couple weeks ... likely due to the extreme heat, so I'm thinking a small increase in his grain wouldn't hurt.