Jackson is finally sound to ride, AGAIN. I have a feeling that this is going to be the story of our relationship. Great rides, lost shoe, sore foot, lost fitness, great rides, abscess, etc.
Our farrier recommended that I get him Italian rubber bell boots to hopefully prevent him from stepping on his shoes and pulling them off. I bought large - even though he usually takes a medium in the front - and even so, I had a heck of a time getting the suckers on. There is no velcro. You have to pull them over the shoes. I yanked and stretched and cursed and pleaded while Jackson stood quietly with his hoof between my knees. I finally got them on but I was sore for days afterwards. I will never buy these again. Never.
Tuesday morning, I was up early and raced through the morning chores so I could hop on Jackson for a few minutes before work. It was cold and frosty and I was anticipating a frisky horse. Jackson was happy to be ridden but he had lost quite a bit of fitness over the past two weeks of no shoe/abscess. He tried hard, but he tired quickly. I didn't push things, focusing on being correct and feeling where he was at. I put him back in the pasture and dashed off to work.
Wednesday, Brett and I rode together. Kalvin had been moved into the barn because he lost a shoe. Have I mentioned that we don't have dirt here? We have shoe sucking clay. When it rains, it's guaranteed someone will lose a shoe. Kalvin doesn't love being in the barn, stuck in a stall. He'd much rather be in his paddock. Flash and Jackson were keeping him company over the back of his turnout.
Actually, Flash was keeping Kalvin company. He chased away Jackson and the donkeys. Flash: the neighborhood bully. (sorry Brett. You know its true).
One of the many things I love about Jackson is how quickly his fitness returns after time off. We went for a long walk on the buckle around the neighborhood to warm up. Then we worked on intervals. This serves a dual purpose. It helps with fitness and it also gives us an opportunity to work on transitions. I asked Jackson to go forward into trot with a very light aid, we trotted around the arena once, came back to walk from my seat, walked to the next letter (7-8 steps), then back into trot. We did this a number of times in each direction. By the end, he was prompt and very much in front of my leg. The trot work was perfect. We did a bit of canter in each direction and the transitions were also very nice.
Yes! I'm hoping for more of the same. Lots more.