Apologies in advance. I didn't edit pictures lol. They took forever to upload full size!! Now I remember why I always edit them... I hate my internet haha.
Anyway I am so happy and relieved today. I was getting the trash ready to take up to the road and as soon as Chrome saw me come outside he walked up to the gate and watched me. When I was taking too long getting the trash cans ready he started nickering at me. :D He can't hate being ridden if he's greeting me like that!
So I went out and got him. I put his halter on and walked him up and down the driveway a few times. He was walking normally, maybe not striding out as big as he usually does, but he was stepping up evenly on both sides and stepping in the print of his front hoof. So I decided to go ahead and ride. I hopped on bareback in the halter and rope, no bridle. We walked around, up and down the driveways. I worked a little bit on neck reining. He did really well, but I don't know if that's just because he knows where we turn or if he was understanding the cues haha. We also did some backing. He is doing so well with backing up off of a really light cue. He keeps his head up and ears back while doing it, but he's doing it with a light cue so that's an improvement. I only ask him to back up one or two steps at a time. If I ask him to do too much sometimes his stifle will lock and he gets upset because he can't pull it backward, so I just avoid the frustration by only doing a step or two. He can back further in hand because I can see if he locks and I can stop him before he gets upset that he can't move his leg back, then I can walk him forward out of it.
I only rode him for twenty minutes because it was hot (in the eighties... not used to it yet) and I don't want to overdo it. The good news is when I got off of him I walked him around in hand for another five minutes or so and he was walking even better!! He was overstepping his front prints, so the heel of his hind hoof was landing in front of the toe of his front hoof. :D So riding and exercising helps loosen those muscles up and makes it easier for him to walk. That makes me feel better that I'm not hurting him. His attitude today helped too. He had his ears up most of the time, unlike yesterday in the pasture where they were pinned back most of the time.
He just really hates it in the pasture. It's boring and muddy and the goats, donkey and Rocky won't leave us alone. When we were out there he was watching Rocky so closely!! Every time Rocky's ears went back (at the goats who were harassing him), even if we were thirty feet away Chrome's attention would fixate on him and he would tense, waiting to see if Rocky was coming after him, ready to spin at any second. I haven't seen Rocky bullying him, but he definitely has him respectful!! Which I guess Chrome needed because he's always been a bit pushy with other critters. Out in the yard he doesn't have to worry about any of that stuff and there is always something interesting to see. I can't really blame him!
Even when they weren't pricked forward looking at something they were like this today, not pinned back like yesterday.
My grandparents were leaving to go to a dentist appointment and they checked the mail. There was a box so I rode up to the gate and got off to get the box. I had already planned on dismounting away from my car since he knows that's where we normally quit (my tack stays in the back of my car), so it worked out perfectly. The funny thing is we were walking back and Chrome started going slow for some reason (he was behind me). I looked back and saw a FedEx truck backed up to the gate. I never even heard it and Jackal never barked!! Chrome knew it was there though. We turned and walked back to the gate (our driveway is long) to get another box. It was so funny because the guy was staring at Chrome like he's never seen a horse before. He might have been avoiding looking at me in my ugly horse hair covered sweat pants haha. I looked a sight for sure! Oh well, I've gotten to the age where I just don't care how bad I look as long as there is no photographic evidence haha!!!!
We walked back to the house with me carrying a box under each arm. At one point Chrome slammed on the brakes and jerked back. I looked back at him in confusion and he reached around to scratch his shoulder. He must have tried to scratch and hit the end of the rope. His poll and neck may be sore from setting back in the halter the other day. The reason I decided to ride in the halter today is because he's been grinding on the bit every time we ride. I don't know if it's because he hasn't worn one in five months or if it's his teeth. He is due in May or June, so it's almost that time. I'll let him wear the halter as long as we are around the house, but off property he probably needs the bridle. He was being kind of looky today especially because the neighbor was doing a bunch of loud stuff with what sounded like sheet metal. I was very relieved that I had already dismounted when a nearby dead tree just decided to randomly fall over causing us both to jump.... what is up with trees and limbs falling when I'm working with Chrome??
I got a picture of his cute shadow when we were working on standing still. He's been trying to walk off when I mount or he gets bored standing still so we did some work on that. Once he realized I was going to insist, he gave up and stood patiently until I asked him to walk again. I think NuzMuz was right and he's testing me a little bit because it's been so long.
One exciting thing I noticed is this is the first time I've ridden him four days in a row!! I've only ridden him three days in a row three other times. When I was first starting him out I only rode every other day (if that) because I didn't want him to get sore. Now I think as long as they are walk only, short rides he can easily work several days in a row. Once we start doing harder stuff I'll either give him days off or really short, walk only ride after just to keep him loosened up and I'm going to hand walk him on days I don't ride if I can.
I also noticed the mosquitoes and gnats are out. We actually had to fly spray them when we rode together the other day. Ugh! It's only March! I knew with how mild the winter was that the bugs were going to be bad this year. Anyway that's probably part of the problem with his stifles. Every spring when he starts stomping at flies again he gets weird about his stifles. Once he builds some strength back up in them it goes away.
I think that covers everything. I'm going to get some cold water to drink and chill out in front of a fan in my tank top and shorts LOL! I love it!! So happy to not be cold all the time anymore! :D