Piss and Vinegar = Winston
Sunday morning Brett was up very early, in the pre-dawn pitch dark, to feed the horses before loading up Flash for a trail ride in Orange County. They pulled out an hour before the sun rose. I stayed in bed until it started to get light. Since I didn't have to feed, there was no hurry to get down to the barn and muck. It was 31F outside so I made some coffee and had breakfast first. When I went down to do my chores at 8:00, it was beautiful outside. It was up to 40F by then and the sky was blue. The storm was supposed to arrive around 11:00 am but other than a band of clouds on the top of the mountains out towards the Pacific Ocean, there was no evidence of rain.
I gave the chickens a pail full of scraps from Kyle's birthday dinner -- all the mushy veggies from making the sauce, artichoke leaves and some other odds and ends. They were quite pleased with their breakfast.
I decided to ride Winston since the weather was so nice. I quickly changed into my breeches and headed back to the barn to get him. By the time he was tacked up, the wind was picking up and it felt cooler. In our warm up he was full of energy, walking very fast and almost trotting off. When we did move into trot work, he was amped and not paying attention. We worked for quite awhile just going in circles and on the rail and across the diagonal to try and get his brain focused on me. He was throwing his head in the air, then taking the contact, then throwing his head again. It was work!
I finally got him to relax a tad and listen. Just about then, a neighbor did "something scary" -- I think it involved opening a car door or another highly unusual activity (I saw nothing odd anywhere). Jackson was in the pasture (feeling better!) and he, Kalvin and both donkeys bolted from one end to the other. Winston decided he should bolt from one end of the arena to the other. He came back to me quickly (thankfully) and we continued with our work.
I have learned that you can't argue with Winston; you wait him out and ignore the antics. So, I ignored the spooky bolt. After practicing our spirals in and out, I called it a day. 40F and we were both sweaty. I turned him back out in the pasture and let him relax for a few minutes before putting back on his blanket. In the meantime, the clouds had really started moving in. The rain started around 2:00 and was blowing sleety stuff, almost hail, the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Brett and Flash arrived back home at noon, just as I was leaving to take Kyle to the train station. He used his dressage saddle instead of the western one to see if Flash got sore. When I got home, Brett told me that the ride had been very beautiful but also very steep. Flash hadn't complained and behaved like the good soldier that he is. That evening, we checked his back. Very sore. So, the problem is hill work and not the saddle. Both saddles fit Flash well and neither cause any trouble when he is worked on the flat. After hill work, he is sore in both saddles. So, blogger buddies, what are your thoughts? I'm thinking it might be his hocks although Brett said he went downhill with no hesitation (and that is usually a hock red flag). We will discuss Flash's back with our vet, of course, but Brett also requested that I ask all of you for your thoughts as well.