Another short update this week. There's just not a lot happening around here right now! Not a bad thing, just makes for a boring blog post.
We'll start with Al since he's the most interesting these days. He's definitely much improved over where he was, but still isn't right behind. I'm really very confident it's not an abscess at this point as he's happy to have it flat now. I think whatever is wrong is up higher, maybe stifle? Maybe something in his butt? Not sure exactly. Vet comes Friday finally so hopefully I'll get some answers. I did get on Al today so I could feel what I was seeing. And it feels worse than it looks. Which I had an inkling would be the case. He's really not terrible, but for sure isn't quite right. Looking forward to hopefully getting some answers Friday.
So she's been difficult about picking up canter for awhile now. It's something that seems to happen every winter and occasionally in the summer as well. In our lesson last week, she was angrily kicking out when I asked for it, and at one point even bucked fairly hard when I insisted. But eventually she would pick it up and the canter itself felt fine. Once in the canter, she was mostly agreeable like it wasn't actually hard for her. Anyway, we were jumping a course of small jumps (MAYBE 2' if I'm being generous) and after the diagonal vertical she stumbled kind of hard, but in the process of righting herself she let out a HUGE buck. Like her feet were above her head huge. Who knew she could even do that? Anyway, after that happened, she was amazing. Moved forward off my leg, jumped great, zero complaints from her. I'm not sure if that buck fixed whatever had been bothering her, or if the stumble made her realize it was in her best interest to carry herself properly rather than fighting me on her forehand. Whatever the reason, she was great the rest of the lesson.
The next day though, she was trying to be snarky again about picking up the canter. This time, I let her complain but refused to give up on asking. After a couple of arguments she started cantering nicely without complaint. She still isn't as prompt as I'd like her, but as long as she's moving forward and keeping her feet out of the air, I'll take it for right now. I've been really making her work when we ride ever since. Lots of lengthening and shortening. Revisiting the lateral work that we had shelved for awhile. That sort of thing. And each day she's gotten more willing. The last two rides she hasn't kicked out at all, not even for the first canter depart. In conclusion, I think sometimes with horses (and maybe especially ponies) it really is an attitude problem and not a physical problem. Is it always? Probably not. But sometimes it is, and I need to get better at figuring out which problem we're having.