This past week leading up to our lesson wasn't too bad. The arena flooded a couple of times and I had to dig mud trenches every day to direct water away from my arena door but I was able to ride 3 days and I had worked the TWH pretty hard in prep for the possible show on the 18th. RB4 rode with me each day and is really enjoying the App, the weather was wet but not bitterly cold and things were looking good. I happened to mention to RB4 that I was looking forward to my lesson on Saturday, I should have known better. The TWH overheard me.
Friday night when I did night check I noticed the TWH standing funny. Of all the subtle things I can notice, I notice him standing with his left hind slightly cocked while he eats hay. Odd, I think. He doesn't normally rest a hind leg while eating. I went into the stall and had him move over and it was obvious the TWH was lame. His left hind hock was slightly swollen and warm, of course it was! This first happened back in 2010, the vet ended up pulling 10cc and 12cc of fluid out of his joints when you are only supposed to pull 6-8cc's. At that time his hocks were pretty swollen and uncomfortable for him and giving him hock injections fixed him like the vet said they would. I know he would have had a pretty hard life before coming to me (hock injections at 8 years old for a pleasure/low competition horse? Shouldn't be necessary) but I am not looking forward to injections every 1.5 years. Not wanting to do injections just yet, I am giving him bute and applying a poultice twice a day and it seems to be working. This morning his hocks are not swollen or warm at all and he is only slightly off. Here is keeping our fingers crossed! Worse comes to worse (and I don't call the vet out early for this), I will have the vet look at him when they get spring shots.
As a result of the TWH becoming suddenly lame (and I am convinced it is because he heard me say he was having a lesson) I rode the App in the lesson with pretty decent results. The instructor only commented on my hands 4 times (Only 4 times!!!!! That means I am fixing it!) and was pretty impressed with my App's improvements. We worked a lot on the quality of canter and the right lead canter is showing tremendous improvement. We are getting a nice push and balance and the counter canter is starting to develop. We are on our way!
It was amusing as the instructor was going on and on about how nicely the App is doing and I interrupted and told her not to get too excited, we still had a direction to go. The left lead canter is pretty nice, not as nice as the right, however the counter canter is non-existent. Even the instructor said that the App is calling us stupid for trying to be on the wrong lead, he knows better and so he just flips his lead. Eventually we were successful in getting some leg yields in the left lead canter but that was about the extent of it. Our plan is to continue developing the right lead counter canter to show the App that he can, in fact, be on the wrong lead to see if that helps. Additionally we are going to continue the left lead canter leg yields until we can develop a little bit of bend in them.
Overall it was a nice lesson, much better than the last one we had which restored my faith in the instructor. I will make my decision on if I am going to the dressage show on the 19th by Thursday. I want to see if the TWH comes sound and, if not, will go only if the instructor goes as well as I want her to see the App. Turns out she does remember him flipping his lid at his last show so I am anxious to see if she can help us work through it. I don't want to bring him and take the chance of having a fight on my hands as it is too expensive to get there and pay entry fees to take the gamble without backup. If it was a closer show and not 1.5 hours away, I got more than 10 miles per gallon in my truck and gas wasn't $4 a gallon, I would be willing to gamble but right now I am not. I will let you know what I decide!