Today it had finally dried out enough for Fuzzypony and I to head over to the arena and get in a serious ride. Well, serious being relative, since we only hacked around for about 20 minutes. It was 85 degrees and quite humid, and neither horse had much gas, so we kept it to a minimum.
I was really worried about how Saga would be. This was our first "real" ride without shoes, AND he was trimmed on Thursday. I've been watching him closely and he's taken some short steps, but I've also seen him canter on both leads out in the pasture and do some other stuff where he looked 100%. I was cautiously optimistic as I booted him up and hopped on...
... until we hit the pavement. OMG he was LAME. I almost got off, but then we got to a patch with fewer small rocks, and he improved. When we hit the trail, he started really striding out and stomping around. Yes, the ground was softer, and he preferred to stay on the grass. BUT! He was stepping evenly and seemed quite comfortable. We took the long way to the arena, and he did well except for the few rocky parts. He actually seemed a bit sore on his hinds, which is new. I think he's been walking on the hoof wall, and now that the wall is rolled, his (thin) sole has more contact with the ground. I'm wondering if I should get him hoof boots all around, instead of just the fronts?
Anyway, the ride went quite well! Both horses were super-sluggish due to the heat, and the flies were pretty bad (as evidenced by Saga's constantly swishing tail). We started with a bit of trot each direction. He was pretty curled up in front, which is a favorite evasion. I let him have a longer rein just to let him move forward, since that usually helps.
We then did a few canter circles each way. The canter transitions were horrid (par for the course), BUT... he picked up the right lead on the first try, and felt quite balanced and comfortable, even if he was a bit sprawly. Contrast this to our dressage clinic three weeks ago where we could NOT, for love nor money, get the right lead, and when we finally did, it was all over the place. Either the stifle injection or the Adequan (or both?) seem to be making him more comfortable, so that was very encouraging!
I'm hoping to squeeze in a ride tomorrow morning before it starts raining, and then we have a lesson scheduled for Wednesday. Fingers crossed!