Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vital Signs

Although I felt like I was making progress with Cupid I still had some concerns that he was uncomfortable.  Plus he was due for vaccines anyhow, so we scheduled a vet appointment. 

The vet measured Cupid at 15.3 hands, and just over 900 lbs. (the first time he's broken 900!)  His temperature was 99.9 degrees.  The vet watched him trot and checked him over from head to tail, and said that overall Cupid looks like a very healthy horse.  The only thing he could find was that he was a little reactive to the hoof testers in both his front feet, and recommended packing his feet a few days to see if that helps.  Also he is due for dental, but just for regular maintenance.  We discussed the behavioral issues, and the vet's conclusion was that Cupid was a little bored and just taking advantage of me!  He suggested I try helping the feet, and also seeing if Cupid is more willing to go outside the arena.  He didn't think a blood test would turn up anything, and said if things don't improve we can do a more thorough lameness workup and maybe xray the feet.
Getting kisses - apology for misbehaving and causing me to worry?

The following day I resolved to be more firm if necessary in our ride.  It started off well at the walk, but as soon as I started organizing myself to ask for a trot transition Cupid started balking and sure enough when I put my leg on he stopped dead.  I gave him a few taps with the whip behind my leg, and he swished his tail and pinned his ears and kicked out.  I squeezed again, he didn't move, so I gave a few taps with the whip and he kicked again.  I asked again, and he reluctantly trotted off.  Once he got going he was fine.  We did trot work for a little bit, then I let him walk.  The next time I asked for a trot it was much better!

The next day was Saturday, and I rode him outside the arena.  The ground was a little muddy but not too bad.  We went all around the property and found a few places where we could trot a little.  This time he was good about picking it up.  We also did (I think) our first gate.  Cupid was a little confused, but good.  We were facing the gate, so first I asked him to move his hindquarters around so I can reach down and unlatch it.  My old horse used to always push the gate open with his nose but Cupid doesn't know that trick so I pushed it open.  Then I asked Cupid to swing his hindquarters the other way so we can walk through.  It was the gate to an empty large paddock, we rode a loop inside along the fence, then walked out and closed the gate behind us.  It's not trail-class worthy yet, I definitely can't keep my hand on it the whole time, but it was a fun exercise.

Since then I've had one more ride and a lesson.  Each time I had to be a little firm the first time I ask for a trot, but afterwards Cupid is very good.  We also were able to get the left lead canter each ride.  In our lesson today we did some trot poles (three poles each one trot stride apart) and Cupid was a little excited about it.  We circled before the poles until he relaxed a little, and halted after them.  I went through the line of poles three times halting afterwards.  The next time I went through he was good - until all of the sudden I felt him losing steam under me.  He thought I forgot to halt and would help me out!  He does seem to pick up on patterns.  Originally we were going to end with a crossrail but decided that was enough for today.

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