Friday, March 30, 2012

Kota - Day three - Kota is a giraffe

Yesterday was our first ride and it was interesting.  Poor guy has the very basic of skills and not a horribly good set at that.  No fear though as I shall whip him into shape in no time.  RB4 was nice enough to ride the App while I worked with Kota, she was interested in seeing and I was interested in the safety in numbers.  We started our session with the basic groundwork, walking with head down, halting, backing and such.  I spent about 5 mins on it, figured he was doing well so I went to hop on.  I knew one of his big issues that need resolved was his walking off while being mounted.  Despite a good strong whoa, he was true to history and walked right off.  A couple of quarter yieldings later I tried again with the same results.  I then went back to groundwork and worked on that for about 5 more mins, this time with the intensity ramped up and making him respond much faster.  This time he appreciated the whoa as a resting reward much more. 

We practiced whoa while I walk away and when he was good with that, I moved on.  We lined up to the mounting block again and I put my foot in the stirrup and said whoa and stood in it for a second and got back down.  Kota didn't move!  I repeated this exercise several times on each side with him behaving quite well.  I then swung a leg over, patted him and hopped off and he put his head super high but stood still.  Good boy!  We repeated that a few times before I swung a leg over and picked up the reins.  And off he went.  I pulled him to a stop and repeated the exercise until he stood even if I picked the reins up.  All in all, mounting took about 20 mins but I think he finally understood and learned what to do, we will see if he acts correctly when I hop on next.

After mounting we went at a walk around the arena, I wanted to see what he did.  What he did was act like a giraffe and kept his head in my face the entire time.  Very.  Irritating.  Despite having the App in the arena with RB4 (so he wouldn't panic about being alone), he was very tense and nervous.  I slowly started to see-saw to get him to drop his head a little and EVENTUALLY got him to understand that an outward pull means put your head down.  As soon as he figured that out, he really relaxed and starting moving much better. 

After some circles, changes of direction, going the direction of the App and against the direction of the App and realizing Kota has no idea what legs mean, all with his head sort of down, we worked on halts.  I found Kota loves to curl up way behind the bit to evade contact.  It took a few different ways of asking before I eventually got halts without yanking on him and/or him putting his head to his chest.  Once we cleared that hurdle however, Kota's inner giraffe came out and his head would go straight up as soon as his feet stopped moving.  We spent about 10 mins working on halting and keeping our head down and while it isn't 100%, or even 80%, it is coming along. 

The only real issue I found so far is bending to the right.  He will bend his body to the left and he will bend his neck to the right but if you try to bend his body to the right he will stiffen and pivot through your inside leg despite your outside rein trying to keep him straight.  When I started forcing the issue he started to really act up and I thought he was going to rear several times.  Thankfully, for both him and I, he kept his feet planted but we will have a lot to work to do on that. 

Tonight is a day off for him, he will be worked twice on Saturday, off on Sunday and worked on Monday.  Another busy weekend ahead and then April will be really crazy.  Does anyone have a week or so they can send my way???

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kota - Day two-The meaning of whoa

Yesterday was fairly uneventful, at least compared to Tuesday.  I finally got my DSL back so I am not operating on an air card.  We will see how long it lasts, hopefully more than the 3 days it stayed on last time.  I have been without DSL in the month of March more than I have had it.  Grrr.

The equines seem to be getting along okay, Kota and Chip aren't fighting and Kota doesn't have any pieces missing out of him.  That's a big step for my bully of an App!  Yesterday at lunch I saw the TWH licking Kota, the TWH doesn't "groom" horses normally, he licks them instead.  It is pretty gross as then you have a soaked horse and the TWH has a hairy tongue.  Blech.  Kota seems more comfortable around the donkey though he clearly isn't thrilled, at least everyone is integrating.

Last night was day two of groundwork and tonight will be our first mounted session.  We worked on the groundwork basics more, especially the WHOA.  Because, of course, the whoa was nonexistent when he came here and I feel it is a pretty important part of training.  We did lots of softening in the beginning by making him walk with his head down, showing him he can walk at different speeds with his head down, stopping at different speeds with I stop with his head down, moving his quarters away and such.  Then we worked on moving the quarters until I said whoa and then not moving even if I continue moving.  Then we worked on my saying whoa  and not moving even if I walked all the way around him, this one was extremely hard for him.  After we had that down fairly well we worked on the beginnings of lunging again.  At a walk he walks on a circle at the end of his lead line until I say whoa and then getting him to stop and not face me or step to the outside.  Pretty tough stuff for him.

Overall things went pretty well.  In the end he will halt 90% of the time when asked and will stand until there is pressure to move.  I was even able to get a few trot steps and then go back to walk/whoa without any explosions or big corrections.  Kota only had one almost-meltdown, when we were finishing I switched from leading on the left to leading on the right and he thought he would be a donkey about it, butt planted and refused to move.  He got several hard jerks from the halter which lead to him almost freaking out but was able to contain himself and think about it and then we finished without an issue.  Funny how these animals can be sometimes.  We will see how he goes under saddle tonight, stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kota - Day one in review

So the pony left for his new home and the horse in training came yesterday and things went pretty well.  With the new arrival, the TWH was getting excited and started running around (a lot, bad horse!) so he got a bit of ace (obtained in case he was going crazy on stall rest) and was confined to his stall.  He is still on very strict and controlled movement for 3 more days and he isn't going to be running on my watch!  The new horse is nick named 'Kota and he had NO idea what to think of my poor donkey.  After I put the TWH away I turned Kota in with the donkey as I knew she won't bother him.  Kota stared at her with huge eyes and kept running up to her and stopping about 3 feet away and trying to stretch to sniff her.  It was quite amusing.  After a couple of hours he seemed to relax though he surely isn't thrilled about her.

Amazingly enough the App wasn't nearly the bully I expected him to be and they seem to get along.  There was some mare-ish screaming and ear pinning but nothing bad.  They are stalled next to each other and can touch one another and they were fine last night and again this morning so I turned those two out together this morning.  I kept the TWH and the donkey together to keep the TWH bored, everyone was more interested in hay than anything else and things are still quiet out there. 

Last night I worked Kota for the first time and the owner stuck around to see how things went.  She has owned him for about 2 months and is getting frustrated over some of his quirks and thus he came here.  He is a 6-8 year old paint who is a strict trail horse per the vet due to some severe conformational flaws.  His front leg is angled very strangely due to ligament issues not treated as a baby and his hind legs are almost completely vertical, up and down with almost no bending at the stifle or hocks.  I warned her that good training sessions are supposed to be boring and it was.  It is obvious he hasn't had any groundwork done with him and thus he has almost no manners.  Starting  with basics, I worked on groundwork and getting him to respect space and pressure.  He likes to walk with his head at/above the height of my head as he thinks he is part giraffe and has no idea that he isn't supposed to walk on top of me if I stop.  We spent the first 20 mins learning to walk with our head at shoulder height and how to stop when I stop, back when I back.  We worked on moving the quarters, which he did really well, and learning what Whoa means, which he has no idea the word even existed.  We worked a little on lunging basics, walk and whoa, with moderate success.  It should go better when the Whoa is installed better.

The change in an hour was pretty dramatic in terms of his manners.  Even this morning he is walking with his head down, even though he wanted to lookie-loo around, and stopped when I did with only gentle reminders. I think he will be pretty easy to fix up, he just needed someone to explain the rules to him.  Groundwork again tonight and then Thursday will be my first ride!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rides and changes

I would say things are going along and nothing has changed here at LogDog Acres but that would be a lie.  While some things are still the same, other things are changing very fast.  The TWH is still lame though he seems to be every so slightly better.  I am not going to really check him until Friday so we will see but he doesn't seem as ouchy when walking from the arena to the stall.  That is a good thing!  The donkey is recovering nicely and is at least weight bearing on her hind leg.  Last week I gave her several days of stall rest, much to her extreme dismay, and it seemed to really help.  She may have totally destroyed her stall each day and brayed constantly but she is now walking fairly normal and is relishing the time outside.

Things are changing all over though.  We had to get a bigger tractor as we were burning our current tractor up.  The hydraulics were being maxed out almost every time we used it and we could smell the pump starting to burn.  Instead of running a new, not paid off tractor into the ground we traded it in on a bigger one that has more than double the hydraulic capacity.  I used it last night for the first time and was impressed, it handled the routine task of the poo box without any issues what so ever.  With our new tractor we are starting to clear some of the brush to make it pasture.  Some of the attachments we have just ROCK.  The chipper we got is amazing and this thing called a Ratchet Rake makes clearing briars and these stupid, thorny, invasive species Russian Olive tree a breeze.  We have a lot to go but how quickly things are being cleared make my outlook on the pasture pretty bright.  Also my super awesome boarder is unfortunately leaving, the daughter has lost interest and the mother can't justify having a horse that she herself can't ride.  Since he is a 10.2 hand pony, only the daughter can ride him.  Thus they have sold the pony and he is being picked up here in a few hours.  The mother has said she will probably lease the TWH for herself when the weather is better so we will see.  Finally, among the list of changes, I am getting a horse in for 30 days of refresher training, they want the horse to be able to stand while being mounted, stand while being groomed, know basic leg commands and such.  He is coming this evening so no rest for the weary!

On the riding front I have been riding the App and making okay progress.  On Saturday I rode him and he wasn't being super cooperative.  RB4 was trying to help with giving a mini "lesson"/pointers to try to help.  Some of it did, some of it didn't but I appreciate the feedback.  I played with the first level 1 dressage test to see how it rode.  O.M.G.  It is much, much harder than a few years ago when I played with first level.  It is also extremely hard to do in a 50x100 arena (a small dressage arena is 66x132).  Those extra feet would sure come in handy!  I may have to ride it outside in my pasture to get a real feel for it.  Hopefully it gets easier on a day the App decides to work with me instead of against me. 

I will probably be blogging about my training rides as a way to keep track of the progress, hope no one minds.  I don't see the point of making a blog for 30 days of info.  Here's to hoping things settle down a little!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Daisy's progress

It is now Wednesday and the donkey is still very lame.  She is boarder line non-weight bearing, she will set her toe down but not her heel and hop.  I flexed her out a bit last night and she only really reacts if you pull her leg all the way back, flexing her stifle, or when you palpate her pastern.  I even tried wrapping her leg but when I checked on her an hour later she was in a full body sweat from her nerves.  I even tried a second time last night and got the same reaction so I took it off and am just applying the Buta-vet sweat.  I will call the vet tomorrow if she isn't better.  Goodness.

When the vet was out he took new xrays of Daisy's feet and he was mightily impressed.  He had the xrays from last year on his computer so he flipped back and forth and was very impressed with how she is standing now.  He does want to take at least a quarter inch of sole off of her, now that we know where her bones are, other than that he is pretty happy.

Here is her left front, exactly 1 day from a year ago:

Note she isn't actually standing on the foot
 Here is her left front today:

Standing like a good donkey
Her coffin bone, connecting the tip and the start of the bone, are now parallel to her hoof angle which is a big improvement.  The bone is also slightly more level along the bottom which is fantastic.  To more easily see the difference, here is the first picture I have rotated about 20 degrees so that her foot is flat:

Her right foot is her worst foot and the one that she was non weight bearing when she first arrived here.

And here she is today:

Here you can easily see how much height we have taken off and we still have more to go.  You can see the angles are much better and her bone remodeling has left her coffin bone now nicely flat on the bottom.  This has caused much comfort for her and has helped her stay sound.

Now I can confirm that I am very, very far from an expert in x-rays.  If anyone sees anything else in the x-rays and would like to share I would LOVE your feedback as I am going mostly by what was pointed out to me by the vet.  Overall I am very happy with her progress and she has been cleared to be a cart pulling donkey!  At least when she is sound again.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vet visit

The vet came out on Saturday for vaccinations, spring check ups and to look at the TWH who is now been lame for 2 weeks.  We started with the TWH and while he looks much better, he is still lame.  The vet had us do a trot/pace out, hoof tested him and then flexed him a whole bunch of ways.  The vet diagnosed a left front medial splint that is very high and close to the knee.  He also suspects suspensory involvement in the left front, not a tear but maybe a small sprain or inflammation.  The TWH is on very controlled movement for 2 weeks, is having a sweat applied once a day and has his leg wrapped.  The vet will come out in 3-4 weeks to recheck him and if he is not better we will haul over to a clinic where he will have a few specialists look at him and we will have more diagnostic tools available to us.  He also said the TWH's hocks were full but he didn't want to mess with them as he would prefer the TWH be ouchy so that he will stay sedentary while his front heals.  We will then reassess the situation at the recheck.

The App's visit was rather uneventful, I did have the vet draw blood for a full CBC to see if there was anything amiss due to his age (19 this year!) and his declining attitude.  The vet did say my App is starting to loose his sight and that he doesn't seem to have good peripheral vision as the "shelf" in his eye is starting to completely cover his iris.  Ugh, just what I need.  A blind cross country horse who thinks he is alpha and can have an attitude problem.  He can still see, however, seemingly quite well in fact, so I am to very closely monitor him when I start jumping.  If he starts acting abnormally over jumps I am to stop jumping immediately because it will mean the App can't see the jumps well enough anymore.  Poor App will be heartbroken though as he loves jumping.

The Donkey had come up lame on Friday morning and was non weight-bearing on her left hind.  I suspected the problem was around her pastern as that was the only place she was ouchy/kicky and she didn't react to bending or palpating anywhere else.  The vet checked her over and agreed, he said he suspects she tweaked it.  He said it would be like us rolling/twisting our ankle and spraining/almost spraining it.  The Donkey is now on a half gram of bute 2x a day and also having the sweat applied.  She is now weight bearing, but is extremely lame on it still and is laying down a lot.  I am to give her a week and let the vet know if she isn't better so we will see.

Turnout now become a challenge as I have 2 animals that have to be on controlled exercise and 2 that are fine, if not rowdy.  If I turn everyone out together they will be quiet most of the time but I can't guarantee they will stay quiet and I would prefer no one stay on stall rest for 2-4 weeks.  In the end I talked to my boarder and she was okay with the App and the pony staying outside in the winter turnout/sacrifice area.  It is a decent sized area, has water and I will put hay nets out however there isn't any real shelter.  She was fine with it, thankfully, so the TWH and the Donkey will stay in the indoor.  The TWH and Donkey won't run around with each other for the fun of it and the App and the pony can enjoy bugging the poo out of each other but one group won't be able to chase the other.  Everyone will share a gate so they can still hang out with each other but antics shouldn't be raised.  It worked out pretty well yesterday so I am keeping an eye on them today.  We will see how it goes.  X-rays will be in the next post!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Karma? I give!

Uncle!  That is what I feel like yelling lately.  Things are going pretty well in most regards but I seem utterly inept at keeping animals sound.  The TWH went from having lameness in his hock to having lameness in his front leg.  His hock appears better, still short strided but better, but he now has a pretty significant gimp in his front leg on semi hard ground.  He has been on bute for 2 weeks now and is still lame.  I am now not sure if the vet will be able to see if he is lame in his hocks thanks to his front leg. 

So I brought everyone in last night and everyone was okay.  Or at least as much as I expected everyone to be.  Everyone also appeared okay at night check, though I admit I don't specifically remember seeing the hind end of everyone.  I went to feed this morning and the donkey was resting her hind leg.  Odd, I thought, she doesn't normally cock her hind leg like the horses.  I dumped grain (donkey gets one pathetic third of a cup of oats and a hoof supplement) and it was pretty obvious, the donkey is non weight bearing on her left hind.  I palpated her all over and can't find an obvious source of pain though her heel is slightly warm.  She was a little kicky (more snatching it away than a kick) when I kept picking her foot up, something she hasn't done in a while, but other than that she didn't react to anything.  I tried to put her out and she just couldn't do it.  She won't put weight on her leg so I threw her a flake of 2nd cutting (spoiling the donkey!  She only gets first cutting when in her stall), gave her a gram of bute, put some poultice on her heel and left the radio on for her. 

Poor gal, I've heard her bray a couple of times wanting to go out so I checked on her at lunch.  She was laying down and got up when I came in, she took her time and it was obvious she still didn't want to use her leg.  She wasn't as kicky and she let me completely inspect her leg but she is still very sore.  Leave it to me to have 4 equines and have 2 of them be dead lame.  And neither of them are the "old fart" you would expect to be lame due to age. 

The vet will be out to Sat morning at 11a to check everyone out and give yearly shots.  He is bringing the xray machine so we should have plenty of options in terms of diagnostics.  I will share what happens and hopefully post some of the xrays.  Happy St Patty's Day Eve!

Monday, March 12, 2012

A three hour tour

This past weekend was super busy, going to a horse expo and then hauling out to go trail riding kept me going nonstop.  Saturday was the horse expo and it was a pretty good expo.  Fairly minor in comparison to the Equine Affair or Congress but much, much better than a horse expo I went to last month.  There were about 120 vendors, all pretty small companies, and I got some info and a lot of freebies.  I also entered a ton of drawings, we will see if I win anything (though I never do). 

Sunday was more interesting as I hauled over and picked up RB3's horse and met a bunch of people she knew over at a state equestrian center.  Originally there were supposed to be 4 of us going so I brought my camp stove and a pack of hot dogs for a late lunch and everyone else was bringing something else.  That morning some people RB3 knows told the other friend they would join us at the equestrian center and thus the 4 of us suddenly became 9 of us.  I felt bad (at first, more on that) because I had brought enough for just us but RB3 told me not to worry as they were bringing stuff too. 

We hauled over without anything notable happening and since the TWH is still lame I brought the App.  The App can be a rock star or an insane freak and I never know what I am going to get until I throw a leg over him.  The 4 of us got there first (actually, just on time) were ready to head out when the second truck/trailer of people showed up.  We decided to wait on them to tack up and we would go warm up in an arena.  They were almost done tacking up when the third truck/trailer showed up, 30 mins after our planned start time.  The second set of people insisted we wait for the third set of people and thus it was almost an hour after our planned start time when we finally headed out.  The youngest of the group, a mid-teen, was not comfortable on their horse and wanted everyone to walk so we all did.  Mostly. 

The people from the second set of people kept running ahead of us and making several of the horses antsy.  The App had been pretty quiet in the arena but once the other 8 horses arrived he decided he was a firecracker on a pogo stick.  Grrrr.  I had a pretty hard time keeping him at even a jig and at one point RB3's new horse kicked him square in the chest for getting "up in his bizniz".  What I found amusing was the App not only didn't slow down, he didn't even flinch.  It was as if he had been tail swished at.  The App was threatened a couple more times by another horse as well with no results.  On the plus side, other horses were kicking and being kicked at so it wasn't just my App. 

We had a fairly good time (minus the constant struggle to stay a speed) and went through woods and into a lot of water and up and down nice hills.  The people were...okay... to be around and I didn't have any major beef with them.  Yet.  Not the kind of people I would hang out with, as they had way too much drama and complaining going on, but they were okay.  We were finally headed back to the trailers and I tried, for the first time in the 3 hour ride, to take the lead so the App could possibly relax.  And it worked!  The App was walking at a very fast clip but was walking on a loose rein and had his head down and wasn't trying to jig or break pace.  This went on very nicely for about 2 solid minutes before people from the third group decided to gait on past, stirring up not only the App but most of the other horses as well.  And then the last 20 mins of the ride was exactly like the previous 3 hours.  Prancing, jigging, cantering in place, running sideways, the whole enchilada. 

Overall the ride was 3 hours and 20 mins long.  The ride was very pretty.  The ride was also pretty miserable as I had to fight the App every step of the way.  The people kept me separated from RB3, the only person I knew, just about the entire time and were certainly not sincere in their questions and comments. 

When we got back to the trailers I set up my grill and "stuff" on a picnic table that was next to my truck.  The second set of people then came over and completely took over the table, putting everything on the table and not even giving me room to keep my camp stove open.  RB3 drug over a second picnic table and so to keep the peace I set up there.  I had brought spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard and ketchup for the hot dogs.  We are about halfway through eating when the people from the third set of people had the nerve to comment "Over at the rich table..." and then "Where is your Grey Poupon".  I did a double take, did they just say what I thought they said?  Yes, yes in fact they did!  I told them all I have is ketchup and 2 mustards and dropped it.  I was, and still am, fuming.  How dare they when I was nothing but pleasant?  Where would that comment have come from?  I may have had the nicest trailer but someone else had a nicer truck.  I was riding a 19 yr old horse in a synthetic saddle.  In no way do my actions or tone scream "Rich", I am not rich.  I happened to get abnormally good deals on my truck and trailer and I brought 2 kinds of mustard so I was deemed rich?  Grrrrr!

I had a fairly good time and am happy I skipped going back out with them for a second loop.  I have no desire to go out with those people again and don't really want to go with the App again either right now.  I will wait for Mr Steady, aka TWH, to be sound and go with him.  I didn't like that everyone's horse kicks at each other, I didn't like fighting the App and I didn't like the other people's attitudes. Thankfully it was a gorgeous day so it wasn't a total waste.  Here's to looking forward to next time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Donkey, TWH and a show

So on the plus side, the TWH no longer has a swollen hock, it is nice and cool and tight.  On the downside he is still a little short strided on it.  I have kept him on bute for 6 days now and had hoped to flex test him this morning however alarm fail, I ended up sleeping until 7a!  Thankfully I had taken the time last night to fill hay nets so I didn't get too far behind but as a result I didn't get him flexed out.  I will try again tonight and see what he looks like.  I do have the vet scheduled out on the 17th and we will inject him if we think it comes down to that.  We will see.

For the horse show I have decided to pass on the show on the 18th.  The TWH is certainly not ready and I am not confident in the App being a rock star so I am going to wait.  My instructor is going to a show on the 31st, however, so I am now looking at going to it with the App.  The instructor said we certainly should do First level 1 and either First 2 or Training 3, depending on my comfort level.  I got the tests printed out last night and will try to ride tonight to see how they go.  First 1 isn't a hard test, per say, however the transitions will come FAST with almost no room for error.  I am excited to see how it goes and am planning to take another lesson on the App after riding this a few times.

While I understand planning on showing the App goes against the plans for the TWH, I am going to push forward.  Hopefully by the time I take my next lesson the TWH will be sound again and I can re-evaluate.  I am torn as I want to keep showing the App, especially since he is finally making good progress in his dressage, but I don't have the resources to show two horses.  It sounds like I will have the same dilemma as last year, we will see how it goes.

On a side note, I tried something new last night.  I tortured my donkey!  My boarder is a 10 hand pony that used to drive.  The owners are selling him and offered to sell me the harness and cart if it fit.  I tried it on and it doesn't look like it fits, some pieces do and some don't.  The donkey was not pleased about any of it but handled it really well.  I am going to try putting it on her again tonight and make sure it doesn't fit before passing on the offer.  The donkey is only 11.2 hands so she isn't that much bigger, the biggest part of the pieces that don't fit is the length of the crupper and the breaching is a little high.  Going to see if adding extenders would fix it as those are the only pieces that are too small.
I am not amused.  Not amused at all.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lesson time!

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!