Tucker has been turned out for a week now, and is definitely starting to feel like himself again. He's been a much more pleasant horse to be around. The first few times he went out, we gave him some Ace just to make sure he wouldn't go bananas and hurt himself, but after that he was content to graze and visit with the other horses across the fence line.
I've ridden him four times now, and that is going well too. I can't tell you how good it feels to be back on my horse again. It was like my whole body breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I swung my leg over and looked down to see my favorite view:
I can't explain it really, but this horse just feels like home to me.
The first three rides were at the walk, and I did my best to make it interesting for him. The first two times, I gave him a 1/2 cc of Ace just to take the edge off, and realized the second time that I didn't really need it, but I just wanted to be sure -- again to avoid injury (either to him or to me). During our walking rides I alternated between working walk and moseying along on a long rein, extended walk, collected walk, leg yields, serpentines, spiraling in and out circles, etc., just to try to keep his mind busy and get his parts moving. He pretty much thought this was a complete snooze-fest, but complied nonetheless. I thought I would be bored too, but surprisingly 30-40 minutes went by in a blink. Amazing how much I missed riding my horse -- it's been two months since he's done much more than walk, and almost three weeks since I've sat on his back.
He feels great. Nice and relaxed, forward, not too stiff (though he was pretty stiff the first couple of rides at the walk), and very, very happy to have a job again. I had a crazy moment right before I started trotting where I got worried about whether or not he was sound... but of course he is, and I was just being paranoid.
I have never met a horse that looks more pleased with himself after he works. I hope I captured it well enough in these photos, but my horse was downright cheerful after our ride last night. He absolutely loves having a job.
(Does this expression remind you of another photo?)
He's getting nice and shiny too, which I love. Guess that's what happens when all you can do is groom for two months! He looks so darn skinny though, I hate that. He definitely lost muscle in his neck and his topline, and probably dropped a little weight just from the stress of stall rest. He is a hard keeper and drops weight really fast. All this nice spring grass will hopefully help take care of that though.
His leg is looking really good, it's healing a little more every day and doesn't seem to bother him at all. Here's the progress:
Much better than the way it was before, huh?
And Miss Julie is doing well too. We wanted to quarantine her since she came from so far away, just to make sure she wasn't sick and wouldn't be bringing any foreign bugs to the other horses. So, she's been a little cranky about being stuck in a stall, but she's starting to go out now, so that should settle her right down. She's been very well behaved about hand-walking and grazing so my guess is she just doesn't like the idea of being stall bound (can't say I blame her). I helped Allison groom her last night and she seemed to enjoy it, although she needed some gentle encouragement that the show sheen bottle was not going to hurt her. She got over it quickly with some patting though, and appears to be very smart. She is very affectionate and likes to groom you back when you scratch an itch for her, which is very sweet. Here she is greeting me when I pulled into the barn last night:
Sorry about the bad photo quality and the glowing eyes, but I thought her expression was too cute not to share. I have some better ones on my camera from the night we shipped her in, so I'll post those soon.
All in all, two very happy horses... I must be doing something right!