Speedy still hasn't taken a lame step which would suggest that Dr. Judy's treatment plan is going well. He is also behaving extra-ordinarily well with just being hand walked. He has gotten a bit whack-a-doodle in his stall a few times, but he quiets down pretty quickly.
And Sydney? Meet Captain Awesome.
OMG is all I can say about my big brown OTTB. We've had a solid, two-week string of fun and relaxing rides.
My barn owner has been doing a lot of work with her own gelding this past month. She prefers to ride when someone is around, so she's been timing her rides to coincide with mine. This has given Sydney a chance to school with another horse. When he and I have finished, we pick a spot in the middle of the arena and encourage my BO through the rest of her ride.
At first, Sydney would wiggle, lean, or begin drifting toward the gate; he even bucked once. He has now learned to just suck it up and stand there with a hip cocked waiting for Marty's ride to end. The other day, Marty started to throw a hissy fit so I asked BO if she'd like me to hop on; she quickly agreed. She held Sydney while I rode the naughtiness out of Marty. Sydney just stood there quietly while Marty tried to run off, spin around, etc. I was so proud of him!
On Thursday, the wind was gusting pretty good as a small front moved through. I almost didn't even ride as the wind is guaranteed to give Sydney reason to be naughty. During our walk warm-up, we could both hear the neighbor scraping something loudly (he was shoveling dirt off cement). As we got closer to the sound, I could feel Sydney begin to tense. He spooked reasonably hard, but I was right there with a steadying outside rein, and he stopped in place.
We circled a few times while I called out to the property owner to see what he was doing. He's always so apologetic when he's making weird noises, but I told him not worry about it. As we continued to yell over the fence, Sydney took a deep breath and returned to a completely relaxed frame of mind. We ended up having a very nice ride with no issues.
The piès de résistance was yesterday's ride; Friday afternoons are usually the worst. I am sure it's because I am usually cranky and tired after a long work week and probably in a rush to finish, but I followed my usual routine and saddled up as always. As we walked into the ring, I had a sense of all being well within my little world: Speedy's happy, I am healthy, Sydney's making progress. I mounted up, gave Sydney his usual good boy pat and started off.
No matter what I asked for, he gave it willingly. We did a fast and slow, fast and slow trot warm-up, leg yields across the diagonal (not pretty, but he's trying), and 10-meter figures of eight. The best part of the ride was our canter. We cantered the whole ring, including the long sides, working on hand galloping and then coming back to a working canter. And we did it to the right, too!
You heard me; we did a hand gallop to the right and he came right back to me! So there you have it. What else is there to blog about? Who wants to read about lovely, quiet rides day after day? Since he's a horse, I am sure there will be a return to days when I want to sell him, but for now. I am going to express nothing but gratitude for Captain Awesome; he's a much better ride than Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde!