Well, I have no significant updates on Tobes, except that he's gaining weight well and misses getting all the attention afforded a working horse. A horse that was bullying everybody in that field was bought and switched to the boarders' field, so Toby gets somewhat more peace to eat his outside hay and gets brought in a couple of times a day. Two or three more weeks of this and he should be doing better.
In the meantime, I am working with Jasper. It is easy to forget that Jasper is several years older than Toby, with all his energy. His leaser apparently works him in the ring and he does well, but we've just been on the trail.
A few things make it a good challenge. One, I've ridden Jasper only a hand of times at all, so I don't know him as well as Toby. Two, Jasper isn't really (if not at all) used as a lead horse, because Jasper has a long stride and is full of beans, figuring if we're gonna go for a walk, let's GO. He's only hesitant going out of the yard - more in a "hey, this is different, is this a good idea?" And then I haven't led much either.
So we led together last week for the first time and did ... Ok. We had to fall back for about 50 yards or so to chill Jasper out (he's a bit programmed: certain spots are safe to trot, so they do think oh, trot now, but I just want him to walk for now.)
Yesterday, we led a two hour ride with a third party along to learn the trails. He's 14, one of the pony kids, and approximately as sensible as a teenager ever is. He borrowed one of the boarder's horses, with permission, a lovely old chestnut arab. My trainer followed on Steel, who enjoys the weekly opportunity to be lazy and attempt mischief.
It went very well. A varied terrain - through a creek, uphill, up high tension wires and across railroad tracks, into dense and bug ridden woods, etc. All over the place. Lots to challenge me - keeping Jas in check, stopping and turning him to check on everyone else, maneuvering around obstacles and cautioning those behind (my trainer knows the trails, but it's good practice as part of being a guide). It was tiring I think for both of us, but we did well. I'll feel more confident on Toby later on, and hopefully Jasper is learning from me. It's nice that my trainer trusts me on him as a lead pair.
My body did let me know later, but I didn't pay quite as harshly as I expected. But I don't think the disc herniation isn't going away without the surgery no matter how hard I try (it's been two years off and on, trying everything, and it's getting worse.) I'll just try and build up my core and enjoy what I can before I have to be on the injured list. Appointment with the actual surgeon is in mid/late September. I... Haven't brought it up with my trainer, or much of anyone, because I don't like people to fuss. I'll have to soon, though.