Went out to see my man earlier today. Took him off bute for now. I am planning on only dosing him after hard rides, but we will take it day by day.
I free lunged him for a little bit in the arena. I wanted to see how he was moving without restricting him to a small circle. He was definitely full of himself. Looked like a bucking bronco stirring up so much dust. Then got on him bareback for a bit just to get a feel for him.
He was a little spooky because it was raining. When I felt him tense up I would rub his shoulders, give him a little message. He loved it. Worked like a charm. I think I will ride him bareback the next few rides so I can manually loosen up his muscles like that when need be.
We just worked on some basics. Reminding him how to listen to leg, seat, rein after his short vacation. I also opened some of the doors to the arena in hopes of provoking his spooking to help him deal with it and played the radio in the arena. He calmed down quickly. I was very pleased. I also have decided to stop riding with my dressage whip for the next few weeks. I feel I use it as a crutch too much.
The major issues today were with his "avoiding" the scary corners. There is one corner of the arena he finds particularly terrifying. On bad days he tries to bolt by it. Today he would just avoid my rein and swerve from the corner. I worked on leg yields and bending to tune him to my leg and rein on the "non-scary" side of the arena. Once he was listening a little better, I was able to keep him between my aids and into the corner.
My next day out will be Tuesday. We will see how his leg is doing, but hopefully I will be able to do a little trotting. The vet has cleared him. I just want to be sure he is comfortable before I ask for too much.
I will hopefully get some pictures either Tuesday or Thursday. My camera has been on the fritz lately, but I need to get his Christmas pictures taken this week.