Let's see... how to sum up how we've spent the end of winter and beginning of spring.
As the winter progressed and Tucker got bored with seeing the four walls of the indoor, those four walls began hiding dangerous (read: imaginary) predators. My patience wore increasingly thin, Tucker's theatrics grew increasingly more... spectacular (and I do not mean that in a complimentary fashion). Finally, just as I was ready to give him a vacation until the snow melted, I went back through the blog and figured out that every time he stops listening to reason, I can usually fix it by treating his tummy for ulcers.
This time instead of treating him with a prescription ulcer medication I kept him on his SmartGut and added a half-cup of aloe juice to each of his meals. On the advice of one of Tucker's vets, we give him the aloe for ten days and then two days off, so his stomach pH-levels stay normal. The spooking has become less frequent and much less explosive (ponies and children no longer cower in fear while we ride) . Either the invisible mountain lions living in the indoor have decided to migrate elsewhere, or he's feeling slightly better. So that's where we're at on that front.
The more we worked over the winter, it became clear that Tucker had a weakness in his hind end -- which is part of the reason we started doing dressage in the first place. We decided to give him until Spring and keep working on strengthening. When the "weakness" started looking like slight unevenness, I made a vet appointment for him, and we ended up injecting his hocks. He wasn't seriously lame, but Tucker is not exactly stoic when it comes to pain. Delicate little flower that he is.
So, we had three days of hand-grazing and then gradually back to work. I took some great pictures while we didn't have much else to do.
That was about three weeks ago (sorry, I wanted to make sure he was back to work and sound before I wrote about it), and he's feeling really great now. An expensive vet visit, yes, but well worth it. I'm just happy that this was the first time I've had to inject my eleven-year-old horse. Unfortunately they only come with a ten year warranty...
As for me, I am loving dressage and what it is teaching me. I feel like I've got a whole new toolbox full of ways to deal with all my horse's various evasions and to get him really working to his full potential. He's always been like one of those smart kids who goofs off in class, so I'm trying to find the right balance between keeping him challenged and motivated, and not letting him think life is getting too hard. We go back to jumping this week, so I imagine that will make him happy. Hopefully not too happy.
For right now, I'm a little too worried about the EHV-1 threat in New Jersey right now to take him to any shows, so we are going to stay home a while longer and keep working away. I know it's probably ultra-conservative of me, but there's only one Tucker, so I'm not taking any chances.
Anyway, that's where we are at. I'm going to start providing more regular updates on the blog, so we can avoid these somewhat tedious summaries in the future. Thank you for reading... it feels good to be back in the blogosphere!