Sunday morning I worked Jackson in the arena. He felt great. He was even, didn't pop out of the contact, and didn't tire quickly. In fact, I had to be careful to limit the amount of work I did with him. I forget that his fitness, from a cardiovascular standpoint, comes back very quickly. When I had Auke, he had joints of steel and lousy fitness. So, I worked endlessly trying to build up his endurance and didn't worry about anything else. Jackson can run forever without breaking a sweat or huffing and puffing. But his hocks can't take that and the arena sand is pretty deep so I am building up slowly for the sake of his joints. It also helps me since my fitness doesn't come back as quickly as his.
We warmed up on the bridle path and I took him halfway up the steep hill that gives him trouble when his hocks are sore. When we turned around to come back down, he paused like he didn't want to go; he took a step and realized it didn't hurt. He went into second gear and marched back down. That was clue number two that his hocks are feeling good. The first clue was while I was grooming and tacking up. When his hocks hurt, it causes soreness in his back. He didn't flinch in the least while I was grooming and he didn't act cinchy when I put the saddle on his back or tighten the girth.
So, I have a comfortable horse ready to go to work. And we have a Pacific storm heading our way from Alaska. Two cold fronts with decent rainfall and gusty winds the remainder of the week. We need the rain, but it puts a damper on my riding plans.