( the ONLY time I can groom him without him lying his ears back)
(manly men wear pink)And that would be RING SOURNESS! During the summer I get Muffin out of the ring MUCH more than I have lately. With all the rain, I've done MOST of my riding in the ring as of late. Also, it's not a secret that many Throroughbreds thrive with a consistent and predictable routine. Tiki's routine has been anything BUT predictable and routine; so it's not a stretch to think that the nappiness under saddle could have something to do with general ring sourness.
Rode today and used a baby pad and my thinline. Back in the same bridle I rode him in yesterday. Took him up to the ring and walked on a loose rein. I must say that at the WALK, he actually did feel better today. I had him on the buckle, and even dropped my reins completely and did some no hands work! (was showing off for a 9 year old, lol) When I asked him for the trot, he pinned his ears and actually did that thing he did a few years ago when I rode him in the Myler bit with the port. He literally lifted his head up, looked over his shoulder at ME, and swished his tail like he wanted to get a little light in the back end. I didn't react at all other than to quietly close my leg and squeeze. I didn't nag, I didn't dig in my spurs, I didn't shove my seat at him; just sat lightly and closed my leg. It wasn't too long, and he was trotting along nicely. Cantered both ways on the buckle, then picked up a little bit of contact at the trot. I was just looping around the ring and seeing what kind of a horse I had, basically (and showing off for a 9 year old!).
The 9 year old wanted to see him jump, so I popped him over the stack oxer, then around to the coop, then the crossrail from last week. He was LOVELY. Soft, and eager:) Felt GREAT. I cut my losses, and took him into his pasture and let him walk the perimeter. When I got to the biggest uphill part, I let him trot up. I then trotted him in the flat part of the pasture, walked down the other side, then let him turn around and do a little gallop up the steep hill we usually walk for our hill work. I trotted again on the flat part of the pasture, then walked out. I decided too to take him down the driveway and down by the road a little ways. I walked a short distance out of the driveway towards the trails (we haven't been on in a year), and got a little nervous when a huge cement truck flew by. He tensed up and gave it the hairy eye, but stood like a champ. Went ahead and took him back to the barn, and squeezed around his back pretty extensively and didn't find any evidence of soreness. I'm no vet, but I'd venture to say I'm not dealing with any back soreness.
Overall, I focused on making sure he was not in pain, and tried to figure out how to make him happy with his job. I am going to try and come up with a plan that works with the weather, and try and get him out of the ring as much as possible for a bit.