At least autumn is pretty. And I re-roached his pony mohawk.
Domino was going terrifically on Monday night. Energetic trot, moving freely – I even hopped off and free lunged him a bit since no one was around, and I was pretty happy with how he looked (lazy – which he always is on the ground, but not notably lame or uneven or short anywhere)…
So last night I took him for a quick evening hack and had that instant “something is wrong” feeling just getting him out of his pasture. He kept tripping behind and losing his hindquarters which is not normal for him – he’s built so balanced and compact that even when he’s lazy and trailing behind, he’s still not totally disjointed like this. I tried to trot a little to see if he could work out of it and he was totally jackhammering behind. Argh. Also very unlike him – he kept trying to jump into the canter, which I’m assuming is because he couldn’t balance or keep his butt under himself to trot up and down the gentle hills.
Yeah. He didn’t work out of it at all. Commence standard treatment of “don’t panic, one week of bute & rest, damn it don’t panic, reevaluate”. Sigh. Probably gonna give the holistic vet a ring and see if she could come get him adjusted and possibly do another round of shockwave treatment, too. It’s okay, I totally don’t need to have any money. Whatever.
He had just started looking better from the initial injury after lots of really painstaking slow long walks and hills… Hopefully it’s just another speed bump for us this year and nothing too serious, but I’m still in the phase of not being able to think it through yet – the time off is honestly probably as much for me to process as it is for him to (hopefully) heal.
But there is some good news. Tebow was great again. We rode outside under the floodlights and he was totally cool about it. We worked on our homework from last lesson: yielding from 20m to 18m to 20m, getting me to release my inside hand, controlling the shoulders, and canter transitions on a 20m circle.
The canter transitions are definitely the hardest of those things right now. It’s really obviously not easy for him to coordinate himself through “canter a few strides, trot, rebalance, canter again, repeat” (with walk and halt transitions liberally thrown in to stop him from anticipating aids). On his strong side – to the right – he’s getting the hang of it. To the left, he’s still very wonky. It’s definitely partially my fault because I have a long history of collapsing my left side. I ended up resorting to the trick of asking for the counter bend before the transition to 1) make me sit up and 2) free up the inside front leg. He insisted on lurching and then leaping off the ground with his entire front end into the transitions, but for now I’ll take that over him getting flat and rushing them. I’m hoping doing some more strengthening and balance work over the winter will get that smoothed out – in fact, that’s already what is happening with his right canter. My trainer and I both think this is a pretty important thing to nail down, because once he can balance himself in the canter, we can start adjusting his stride, and that’s really the only thing left that he needs to be able to move up to novice successfully.
Generally it was a really mixed bag… But thank goodness I have a jumping lesson tonight that I desperately need – logistics have made us miss the past couple weeks, which in hindsight my bank account appreciates, but which also means I’m really ready for some direction and other stuff to work on. The timing isn’t great since I decided I’m going to Emerald Isle for my dad’s birthday/a mental health horse-free weekend from Thursday to Sunday because Domino’s issues have me feeling really burned out. I’m hoping a good lesson and a few days’ absence will give me a little boost.