While Izzy tries to be a good boy, he still has quite the stubborn streak and has no qualms about shouting his opinion of the exercises that we're doing. In fact, he would be pretty happy to just tootle around with his neck stuck out like a giraffe while I sat on the mounting block watching.
I don't think a whip is a cruel aid, I am just a dork with it. I can carry it pretty effectively in my right hand, but once I change hands, I simply can't keep it across my thigh, so I end up banging it against my knee. I am just uncoordinated with it, and when Izzy starts to be naughty, I end up flinging it around as I am trying to get his head out of the sky or ride through the bucks.
I've hesitated using spurs with Izzy for two reasons. First, he's a green bean, so I'd like to give him a chance to hear a quieter aid before I immediately assume he needs a hearing aid. Secondly, he's not been the quietest horse to ride so I was a bit afraid of inadvertently poking him during a green bean moment.
Those concerns are now long gone. After a wild and woolly ride on Friday night, I dug out my baby spurs and readied them for Saturday's ride. Izzy's been under saddle long enough now that he needs to start listening more clearly when I ask him to move from my leg, whichever direction. I also know what his spooks are going to look like. I am not going to make anything worse if he gets a bit of a spur in the process.
Since he's still lame (a photo and explanation below), I planned to mostly walk, but I also wanted to get some trot work done to see how sore he really is and whether he would work out of it.
The walking went well. I never had to use the whip or the spurs. I've been using the quarter line a lot at the walk to work on straightness and then crossing the diagonal to play around with changes of bend and leg yielding.
He started to get a little impatient with the walking, so I suggested he trot even though he was sore. Immediately, his giraffe neck showed up and he tried to blow through the outside shoulder. Instead of using the whip, I put him in a slight counter bend and put my heel into his ribcage. As George Takei is so fond of saying ... Oh My!
He tried a few more times, but that little baby spur said it so much better than my uncoordinated whip every could. All of a sudden, Izzy was turning from my outside aids and keeping his shoulders and ribcage where they belong. The spurs are now definitely a part of my riding wardrobe.
That made good sense so I poked around his heel and coronet band on Friday. Sure enough, there was a scabbed over area just below his pattern. I picked at the scab and squeezed and poked and prodded, but I couldn't get a response.
I turned him out for an hour and a half on Saturday morning and cringed as he bucked, galloped, and played the entire time. When I brought him back in, he was not only a sweaty mess, but he had re-whacked the exact same spot on his foot and had torn away the scab. I hosed him off and scrubbed the scrape. It didn't seem tender to the touch, but he was definitely still off at the trot when I rode him.
I've tried bell boots, but he has quickly ruined every pair I've tried. If I use the velcro style, he simply peels them off during the first few minutes of turn out, and if I use pull-ons, he chews through them within days.
I am in a bit of a pickle because if I don't turn him out to play, he's going to injure himself in his stall. If I don't ride him, he's going to have even that much more energy. My plan is to keep doing the walking rides with a bit of trotting thrown in. I wouldn't ride him if I genuinely thought he had a soft tissue injury. I think this is just a case of a low pain thresh-hold with a bit of a "stubbed toe" type of injury.
Chemaine is coming next weekend for lessons, so I really hope this fades away by then. It's always something, isn't it?