I took a deep breath last night before I got home and reminded myself of the poem I posted last week: Don't Quit. "It's when things seem at their worst that you must not quit."
Last night - I teeter-tottered on thinking the worst.
The weather for the past couple of days have been dismal. Rainy, cloudy, damp, dark, blah. I have noticed steady, albeit very slow, improvements in Chester over the past 2.5 weeks since we have started blistering and he has been staying out 24-7. I have him convinced that he can move happily (at the walk and trot only) with his head down and in somewhat of a frame and it is okay for him to step up underneath himself. We are continuing with our trotting outside (which he loves and is determined to make my ass hit the ground at least 3 times per ride) in long straight lines and up and down hills....although we haven't been able to do a lot of that this week because of the weather. I think regardless tonight (even though it is supposed to be raining) we have to go out there.
He was in when I got there last night and standing at the back of his stall, head down, ears flopped over. I think he was tired because IMO, I don't think horses sleep as much outside as they do inside. Anyways, I pull him out of his stall and he takes a couple 'locked' steps. Hummm...interesting. I ask how long he had been in for and it was about 90 minutes. Okay - not that big of a deal. I press and prod along his back, no reaction...phew!!...I'm VERY happy about his back...!....apply the dish soap and he doesn't flinch...phew to that too...those two non reactions are HUGE in this process. There was a lesson finishing up in the arena (because of the cyclone that was going on outside) and they had to get by. So, I go to move Chester over and something happened that caused a mili-second of panic to run through me; his hind legs didn't want to move and he almost fell to his knees in the middle of the isle...situation over, he sorted himself out and moved over without a problem....But still, he has NEVER done that before and let me tell you, every ear twitch, every head jerk, every reaction, I now pay extremely close attention too...
So, we ride. And I could tell he was a little uncomfortable at first. He didn't get as frothy as he usually does, and it took me a little longer to convince him to put his head down. I KNOW we have to work through his uncomfortable-ness and I know it is scary for him and he doesn't understand why he feels off, which makes it soooo super hard for me to 'make' him try. I keep reminding myself that he is an althlete coming off an injury, going through rehab...and know what it is like to go through uncomfortable-ness in rehabing a knees (I screwed mine pretty badly a couple years ago when I was still young enough to play rugby.) But, we worked out of it and he was feeling good enough to 'spook' at all the things I knew he was going to spook at...like people sitting in chairs and the door being 1/2 opened...he is such a freak...by the end of the ride, he was a little frothy, light in the bridle, his head was down and we were doing upwards and downwards walk-trot transitions in a consistent frame. There was no 'locking' of the patellas after we rode while in the crossties, so I was happy about that.
Yesterday we were supposed to be out on the trails, so I reallllllyyyyy hope the weather cooperates with me tonight so we can do some long trot sets.
Remember how I mentioned the weather? Well, I'm wondering if damp dismal rainy weather, can have the same sort of effect on horses that it does on humans? Like - someone who has arthritis feels more achy and sore when it is damp and rainy out then when it is bright and sunny out. Let's hope so.