The days are flying by as we prepare for the end of the year. I have been riding a lot lately, in comparison to normal anyway, and have been riding 3-4 days a week. Yay me! I have been working really hard on riding the TWH to get him up to speed so we can start working on the real tasks at hand, getting his dressage up there and then refocus on our jumping efforts. The App has also been ridden a good bit, RB4 has come out pretty regularly to ride with me and between her and giving lessons, he is also being ridden about 4 times a week. Despite the extra riding he is still gaining weight and I won't have to buy another bag of rice bran supplement when this is done. Wahoo! Getting the App to gain weight when winter starts is hard, once he has his winter weight he is typically good. Last year was really bad so I am happy that his year he is gaining without a fight.
Riding the TWH has been about a 50/50 split between bareback riding and saddle riding though a lot of the saddle riding has been stirrup-less as well. My seat has came back and I think I am almost as secure as I used to be in the saddle which is fantastic. We have been working on riding in a bridge and keeping in him the outside rein which is hard for both of us. Last Monday I was able to get him in the outside rein after only a few dozen circles and while we had our moments, especially in the trot, he is doing better. Lots of transitions from canter to trot were worked on and they are... coming along. RB4 did notice that he was a little off looking in his right front, like he was flicking his foot, but I couldn't see when I put him on a lunge line so I worked him to make it better or worse.
Last Tuesday I rode bareback with RB3 and was quite pleased with myself. The TWH worked pretty well and despite a couple of arguments in regards to consistent contact in the outside rein, we had a good ride. On Thursday I had a lesson with H and I was quite excited, I was ready to show off my rediscovered seat and all the work I had done with the TWH. As we warmed up, however, it was clearer that something was amiss. H confirmed, the TWH is lame and wasn't working out of it. DANG IT horse!. I took some video to try to find the root cause and swapped horses and hopped on the App.
I hadn't ridden the App in several weeks, he has been being ridden by everyone else while I was working on getting the TWH back into shape. It was pretty obvious to as while the App did a pretty good job, he was a bit resistant to the sudden request of accurate movements. H said it best in that he has quickly adjusted to doing what he wants because nothing is really being asked and he is okay with that. Ohh, Appy. I went and grabbed an encouragement stick/whip and tried again. While he wasn't trying very hard to push his hocks under himself when doing lateral movements, and was instead gliding over with his shoulders, his trot became fantastic and was beautiful. We worked on some oval figure 8's, where he pushes his haunches around the top of the oval instead of moving his shoulders, some canter transitions (need work! He is absolutely doing things the way he wants) and some extended trot before calling it a night. Overall I am very happy with the ride as with no prep, the App performed well.
When I lunged the TWH last night he looked sound so I will try riding him tonight to tell. If he is still lame he gets until Friday off and then we call the vet. Progress made, hopefully progress not lost.