One of my double posts yesterday gave an stifle update. This was actually from a few weeks ago. On his first trim post vet appt we added shoes. I had hoped to leave him shoeless this season and I really wish I could be one of the happily barefoot horse owners. Dickie actually has pretty tough feet and they grow a good amount between trims. However, he just goes better with shoes. His front feet grow a ton between trims and start to flare. And his hind feet wear down to nothing. They don't rub so much they make him sore the angles aren't quite right for his lose stifles. He put shoes on Dickie six weeks ago and it has made a HUGE difference. The plan is to square off his toes a bit and having the shoes on has given him enough hoof to make needed changes. I know some people think shoes are the devil. What I know is I put hind shoes on and immediately my horse is happier.
Dickie hasn't kicked out in disagreement going forward or cantering since two weeks after the vet came. Our trot either used to be forward and fast but not slow and forward. I can finally get him to use his rear regardless of how "fast" we are actually going. Sometimes his walk is even swingy enough that it helps loosen up my gimpy hip. A few lessons ago I was super sore and riding with my head a few feet up my arse. He totally took over and helped me through some polework.
We have been working up to actually jumping a little cross rail course. Last week was five trot poles down the long side (raised on blocks), two trot poles on the diagonal (one only four feet wide), and three trot poles on the other diagonal. We cantered away from the diagonals. Usually I help him keep straight but now he needs to keep himself organized for the last five strides or so. He's doing such a good job. He knows the routine. Go between the two white standards, keep yourself in the very middle. I know it sounds simple but he's only four. Lot's of pounding over fences is pointless. Learning how to think for himself and go wherever I point him are lessons that will serve us well for the rest of his career.
This week things will get a little more exciting. I need to actually take him over a few jumps in a row since our first show is coming up in only a few weeks.