Today was my first attempt at working with Gus under saddle again, least since he saw S almost a week ago for his massage/myofascial release therapy. We started off the "usual" way - with lunging. He was sound, but VERY stiff starting out. I opted to work him through the stiffness though to see where he went from there (if he got better or worse). Thankfully, he got better.
After attaching the side reins, Gus really wanted to plow around on his forehand - nose to the ground. I opted to keep letting him truck around like that ... as he seemed comfortable doing that, so I opted to let him keep doing his "thing". We had some nice trot to canter transitions today as well. A few crabby faces but I can certainly deal with that. Thankfully Gus opted to do no aerials above ground ... so he was taking it easy as well.
Mounting up, Gus and I set off to work on some suppling exercises. We did two circuits of the 10m half circles and then proceeded to do our shoulder stretches. We went 1 1/2 laps around the arena, both directions, working on getting Gus to loosen up his shoulders and back. He was quite resistant going to the right (so the left front was crossing over the right) but we did manage to work through it.
He did actually offer to trot well before I was ready to ask for it. So, I took that as a very positive sign. Eventually, I asked for the trot on the long sides ... first going to the left, then going to the right. And he was sound. THANK GOD.
I did notice that he kept trying to drop behind the bit and avoid contact ... even with the little bit of trot work we did. To try to correct this, I asked for a slower trot (think jog-trot) and had, what I call "saddlebred-hands". This helped tremendously.
We ended on a good note, after about 20 minutes of riding and about 5-10 minutes of trot work. Gus was an excellent boy today and I didn't want to push my luck.
I did do a few exercises prior to working with Gus today. They were recommended to me by S. One is a rib cage stretch ... or least that's the best way I can describe it. Basically one hand is on the shoulder, the other on the hip and you streeeeccccchhhh out your hands, slowly in opposite directions. Gus absolutely LOVES this and it's suppose to help keep things elongated. I also did some tail pulls too, just before mounting up. Gus seemed to like that too ... oddly enough.
Gringo was neglected today. I plan on working with him on Wednesday, when I'm out next. I do know that he's starting to shed like a crazy boy. It's crazy! But, that's Gringo for you. He always has to be different.
Here's some newish photos of the boys for your enjoyment.
|Taken on Gringo's 10th birthday ... February 8th.|
|He prefers this look ... it's supposed to be intimidating, ya know?|
|Gus ... after his 1 1/4 hour massage and myofascial release therapy. Looks pretty happy, no?|
|Enjoying the new hay bale ... with the wind in his hair.|
|Gus (and Novio's) Pacman creation. They are QUITE proud.|