If you'll remember, Izzy fell with me last Monday. I seemed to have gotten the worst of it as his injuries seemed limited to a scrape on his knee. I gave him two grams of Bute to head off any stiffness, and he looked great the next day. I was pretty beat up, plus I had some work commitments that kept me away from the barn on Thursday, so given how hot it was on Friday, I opted for turnout and figured we could get back to the riding routine over the weekend.
Saturday's ride wasn't anything special, but Izzy was workmanlike, and I felt progress being made. When I hopped up on Sunday, he was fabulous. He went where I pointed with less resistance, was more willing to bend around my inside leg, and the canter work was definitely improved. It even occurred to me that Sunday's ride was probably not a new normal but was instead a better than average ride. I was okay with that as those kind of rides are what improve your normal.
So even though the weather was not ideal, I took it as an opportunity to school my green bean before the real chaos of El Niño strikes. I knew I was (probably) setting myself up for disappointment, but there was always the chance that Izzy would be able to keep it together for the ten minutes I needed. And that's all I was hoping for - a ten minute walk around the arena.
Yeah. No. That didn't happen.
Things started out okay. He stood politely at the mounting block allowing me to get on, and he even walked about a quarter of the way around the arena before he lost it. And that was that.
He spent 25 minutes bronc bucking, rearing, whirling, darting anywhere but forward, grunting, squealing, and planting his feet. No matter what he did, I acted pretty unconcerned about it. I continued to pat his neck, tell him good boy, and ask for a walk.
I finally planted my inside hand on my thigh and simply asked him to walk a small circle forward. He couldn't (wouldn't?) even do that. I finally got off. He took that opportunity to try and jerk away from me in a pretty violent rear. I just stood there until he was finished, and then I went and got a lunge line.
I didn't want him to run or trot on the line. All I wanted him to do was simply walk. For the most part, that's what he did, but then he'd get a wild hair and shoot forward. I simply reeled him back in until he was walking again. After 5 or 6 minutes, I brought him to a halt and just stood there with him. He knew I was there, but he didn't want anything to do with that arena.
The worst part of the day was that he looked a bit off on the right side while on the lunge line. It was hard to tell though since he'd bucked and spun and reared so many times that he probably was a bit stiff and sore. I would be too with muscles as tense as his.
In all likelihood, Izzy is/was probably really tight through his back and hind end which presented itself as a wonky stride. I am pretty sure that if his fall last week had lamed him, I would have seen it during the week while he was playing in the turnout. And I checked - carefully.
Just to be on the safe side, I did give him 2 grams of Bute as I left. I have an after-work, work meeting tonight, so I won't be able to go to the barn which is actually a good thing. He can stand around for another day without me poking at him while his muscles relax.
The last thing about this that I found disappointing was how far back in his training Izzy went when he was tense. He hasn't been this bad to ride since May. This shows me we have a lot farther to go than I thought.
Monday's ride was definitely an outlier, and as much as I don't want to admit it, Sunday's pleasant interlude was too. Talk about highs and lows. We had both extremes in two consecutive days. Here's hoping our next ride is somewhere in the middle.