With Mia progressing under saddle, I was time to have the vet was out and took a look at her teeth. I knew Mia was due but the TWH had also been making a grinding noise and wasting hay. Since this is very unlike him, I figured we might as well have everyone looked at. The vet really liked how Mia is coming along, you can almost not feel ribs which is a complete turnaround from when he first saw her. When we got her she was very ribby, a good solid 3.5 on the BCS scale and she is now a comfortable 4.5 to 5. He worked on her teeth first and though she had a set of extremely sharp front molars, the rest of her teeth were in good shape. We did find she is one who will likely need tranq'ed for floating, she was tranq'ed lightly and she still kicked out, moved around a lot and gave them a hard time. The TWH had a sharp hook in his back molars that Dr A took care of and said the rest of his teeth were fine. Hopefully he stops wasting my hay, it is expensive! The App didn't even require a touchup, everyone will get done in March and then hopefully we will be back to the once yearly schedule.
The TWH has had an adequate vacation, being worked lightly since last month and having no real work since the beginning of September, and is now cleared to go back to work. The past couple of weekends I have ponied him as I rode the App around the 3 mile loop and I have ridden him a couple of times these past few weeks but it was finally time to get back to work. I rode the TWH Tuesday and while I am impressed in how he has maintained some of his transitions, he is isn't the same exact horse I hopped off of in September. The biggest difference is his attitude, I think he seems me as The Leader but not as His Leader anymore. I think this has to do with his confidence, since bringing Mia home the TWH is now constantly reminded that he is at the bottom of the list and he has reverted back to being slightly standoff-ish and randomly spooky. Because, of course, just a couple of weeks ago I was just telling someone how I didn't even consider him randomly spooky anymore. I am going to have to work really hard at boosting his confidence again and get him back to being my trustworthy partner. I think we will get there, hopefully it will only take a few rides to make the progress.
We started our ride at a nice walk, putting him in a frame and getting him off of the inside rein. It took a bit longer than I expected, he is obviously rusty. He had really good lateral control though and was quite responsive to just my soft leg. The trot transition was pretty bad to start, he wasn't just picking it up but was instead gaiting for 6-7 steps before trotting. That was easy enough to fix though, we spent most of our workout doing 1/4-1/2 circles of walk to 1/4-1/2 circles of trot to help quicken and improve his transitions. Overall it went pretty well and at the end his transitions were decent. His canter transition was awesome and his dreaded canter/trot transition was actually really good! Going to the left, his bad side, he would give me a couple of gaited steps before trotting but was picking the trot right up. Thankfully I am not going to have nearly as much work as I was afraid of to get him back into tip top shape. Phew! That leaves more time for fun stuff like jumping!
We rode for about 40 minutes before calling it a night, he is resembling a musk ox with his winter coat and I worked him into a sweat. 40 minutes is also a decent amount of time to start with in having a "real" workout anyway. I threw him under a cooler and parked him in front of a hay bag to cool off while I brought everyone in for feeding. This morning he was no worse for wear and his suspensories aren't inflamed or sore, sorry TWH but vacation time is over!