Monday, March 27, 2017

For the long haul

If you know anything about me, I'm in it for the long haul when it comes to most things - I don't give up easily!

Prophecy is proving to be difficult for me to figure out, so I got help.  Saturday I took him to Practical Equine Training, who had been recommended to me by folks around here as one who has started many a good trail horse and makes sure you understand his methodology and develop the relationship needed with your horse (not just take, train and hand him back).  We have talked on and off a few years now actually, as he was an option for helping me with Tesla's loading issues, and I had talked to him about Prophecy last fall when his head tossing issues came about (which were later attributed to saddle fit).
After much discussion, we decided to meet for a 1/2 day private lesson/clinic at this facility, which took place Saturday.

So much to tell...I'll start from the beginning, and I'm sure I'm still not going to capture it all!

I was feeling a little pressed to get to the barn and be loaded and on the road when I said I would be, and I was worried it would translate back to Prophecy for loading, especially because I forgot his peppermints!  I managed to get hooked up and my stuff into the trailer quickly and did my best to be cool and collected going to catch and load.  He was easy to catch, then I added his safety halter, gave him a dose of omeprazole and walked out to the trailer.  He walked right on with me and hung out nicely as I chatted with one of the barn owners before heading out.  We were even on the road a little early :)

The haul over was uneventful. He backed off the trailer nicely and then we turned him out the round pen to explore while David & I chatted and did some paperwork.  He was his normal mouthy self, taking things off the rails and checking them out. David went in with him to do an assessment and noted how cool and calm Prophecy was there. He never tried to call to another horse, he wasn't racing the pen even when alone, and easily wanted to be with people when given the option.



Next he had me go in to see how we interacted.  While he did pay attention to David, he noted that Prophecy was really fixed on me, so we do have a good bond.  We worked on a few items that we had been having some mis-communication with during our own round pen sessions recently and David noted that Prophecy was "up" and Performance horse minded in working on it - like he has had it done way too much and it is very quick to react to cues. Prior training maybe?,  I rarely get that side of him in the pen, he is more lazy than anything for me!

David's initial assessment - he could not see a reason or gap in training as to why Prophecy was acting out with me the way I had experienced at Blackwater and at the barn the week prior. He seemed very in control of himself, respectful and confident in the situation at hand.

Next was getting a saddle on and ready to ride.  Prophecy's lack of comfort with the whole tacking up process showed true, which David said "shouldn't be there" at his age.  My thought that it is related to being used often in bad fitting tack prior to me (as he always been tack shy since his arrival) was discussed and is a possible cause for his mental anguish on it.  We quickly found out he is very flank & rear end sensitive, another "shouldn't be at this age." He's been tail clampy since I got him, but quickly warms up and loosens up (when it comes to grooming, massage, etc). He has never had a rear cinch on that I know of, nor saddle bags bouncing on a pad.  That turned out to be way more than he could handle and he turned into a total rodeo horse bucking around the pen scaring himself. David noted that Prophecy really didn't like feeling this way, and his bucking continued longer than what is usually gotten out of an un-broke 3-4yr old.

He became comfortable moving to the right, but as not much so going to the left. Another contradiction according to his "handedness." We found no physical reason for the difficulties, he uses all areas of his body correctly and fully...maybe a mental block, maybe something physical we can't see.  We saw this difficulty in movement later under saddle as well; being sticky when asked, taking more effort mentally for him to complete the request.

Here David is working with Prophecy to "let go" of his tension and anxiety over what just happened (the bucking).

He removed the saddle bags and asked him to move a bit more to realize they were gone.  Then he moved on to spook in place lessons with a hula hoop and some pool noodles.  You'll have to turn up the volume to hear David describe what he is looking for with the pool noodles. 1. Stop the feet 2. Face the item and 3. Look to the rider for help.  Using the pool noodles is where we could see Prophecy would look to the other horses, instead of people, for help.  The hula hoop lesson was a bit shorter a process to get him coming to David.





Then it finally came time for David to ride. You can see some of the head flinging in the video when asked to do something that isn't his idea.






And then it was my turn to ride (no pictures!).  We worked on shoulder and hip control, so that in the future I can disengage a meltdown or speed increase, and get his focus back on me without him being able to buck or rear.

Loading again went easily to go home and we arrived back to barn just as it was getting dark, so I tied him to the post while I went to fetch his dinner.  He promptly untied himself and went back to his pasture area and munching grass outside the gate.  I think he was done! He gobbled up dinner, drank some water, and then wandered off with Ransom.

So what did we learn in the ~4 hours:
I'd say he has quite a bit of emotional baggage to work through.
- David considered Prophecy a horse with "Performance Anxiety".  He tries to anticipate your request and gets very frustrated and antsy when he doesn't do that correctly, or doesn't understand the request. The more harshly you ask, the more upset he gets.
- While he is a fairly confident horse, he is hiding the side of himself that is very insecure.  He is currently Alpha in his pasture of 2 (sometimes 3), but would likely benefit from another horse taking this role from him. I'm actually hopeful this will happen with the new boarding horses coming this weekend (which includes a mare) without too much drama.
- He may have never experienced that deep bond with a human that allows him to turn to people instead of himself;  Or quite possibly in the "lost time" where I don't know how he was treated or ridden, things happened to make him turn back in on himself.
- Soft and slow... While I am not heavy handed, I need to learn to be even softer with my requests and just wait for the response. If he doesn't get it, walk out of it and try again.
- He really does want to GO...but he needs to learn control.  We're betting a few trips to Graves will teach him that he doesn't know how long a ride is going to be will help that.

So where do I go from here?
1. Looks like back to some basics - getting him more desensitized to the saddle pad and things on his flanks.  My saddle, pad and saddle bag do not have the same contact area as made him meltdown, but still a necessary step to get him tacking up more comfortably.
2. A little bit of round pen work to clean up the areas I have trouble with (being careful not to overdo it), and a bit of walking in the arena to fine tune his shoulder and hip control maneuvers so that I can ask very lightly and get the disengagement I need before moving it up to more speed.
3. Some trail rides...hopefully meeting up with David again to see how it does with just one other horse off the farm.  While Prophecy did occasionally look to horses at the facility for help, it was an unsuccessful endeavor getting him to hook on to another horse at Blackwater and get us back on track for the intro ride, so he still may rely on himself.
4. I plan to continue treating him for ulcers for a month as we work on the above.  Possibly look at a Lyme test with spring vet appointment to see if that is a cause of the hypersensitivity on the flanks, and plan to have him adjusted April or May by the osteopath as we see how things progress.

Well that was quite a loaded post that took me a few days to write... tonight I'll be heading out to see him again and clean up some of the mess I left in my trailer after dark :P  We have the BOT back pad to try out, which will be a good desensitizing tool as well as a relaxing tool. Since it rained last night I'm sure he'll need a good grooming to get rid of the mud and shedding hair too!



Thursday, March 23, 2017

The horse roller-coaster

As I said to a friend in an email this week, owning horses is not for the faint of heart.  I feel like I'm on a constant roller coaster of emotional highs and lows since losing Traveler.  I'm sure some of the peaks and valleys existed between him & I too, but now I'm just sensitive to it. And losing Tesla, and debating whether to even start over again; well it isn't easy on the mind or heart.

All 3 of these boys of mine have proven to be "difficult" in different ways.  Traveler had his share of trust issues and learning to be done under saddle to spare his back (and my rear for his love of fast trotting), but he turned into an amazing horse and we were a team; Tesla had some saddle fit issues and stubbornness over trailer loading, but once we got through those we were on an upswing until Colic took him from me.  Prophecy, well he has some "lost time" we can only assume he wasn't treated the best, with ill fitting tack, and crappy hoof care. His greenness is showing through on his emotions and while we are working through the hoof and saddle issues well, the emotional side is a bit slower a recovery.

As I described in the last post, our ride Sunday evening was hardly back to old standards.  So Monday I decided to see if I could get him focused on me in the round pen, and then maybe ride, or at least go for a hike.  We started out with more easily being caught, so that was a nice change.  We groomed fairly relaxed, despite that the barn that once stood in front of us was completely disassembled (new one going up) and was being used as a playground by the cats; he was shedding crazy like and making me eat horse hair so I paid close attention to his sides to remove loose hair where the cinch sits and checked his feet. Tacking up led to the usual displays of disdain in his facial expressions and a few kicks at his belly for cinching.  Bit & bridle added, reins hooked in place with my rein safe and off to the round pen we went.  And then things got interesting and confusing.

I had absolutely very little of his interest.  It wasn't that he wasn't paying me attention and that it was elsewhere, he was actually very "sulky" and grumpy, not even trying to look at me, but also not focused on anything outside the pen. He would just stand and look grumpy when stopped.  I changed my tactic and just sat on the block waiting for him, yet he just stood, sulking, looking somewhat off to the side but not at anything, head lowered. I even left the pen (and took this pic) with no interest from him.  Highly unusual - this being the horse that picked up and brought me his line not even a week before and loves to knock over the block trying to pick it up.
I decided to just take him on a hike to ease both our frustrations and we walked a short loop and came back to the barn to remove tack. He never showed any signs of being off when he was moving, and no heat found.  But when I worked on his back he was showing some sensitivity to the back right and left wither area.

I had come home Sunday very discouraged not sure what to think and Monday I was heartbroken. My thoughts went towards training and figuring out where I went wrong - what was I doing that was making his respect dissipate, losing interest in me, and resulting in this stalemate in the round pen along with many difficulties getting responses out of him the past two days?  I began to doubt that he is the horse for me... thinking that maybe we aren't the best match and he needs to be someone's project horse to bring along where I can't.  But I know things were good a few months back, and they have been better recently, but now we have had a complete shift in just a few days (minus the emotional meltdown at Blackwater)...

Tuesday - Ok, take a step back.

1. He was back sore...  I wonder if he took a spill or slip in the mud to have the diagonal soreness? (not present the week before and didn't see the reactions on Sunday doing a quick spot check).  I contacted the barn manager to discuss, and while we don't know of anything in particular, she offered to do some stretches on him to see if it helps.

2. The belly kicks... they were much more than usual, and even occurred when standing alone in the pen (with no bugs out). Going back to Dr.DePaolo's acupuncture video, the areas he is showing tender on the back lend to possible ulcers and hindgut acidosis (or ribs/sternum out of place).  It just so happens that he started the Excel gut supplement this week by chance, and according to conversations with the company it may start to provide relief in as a little as 3 days.  I have also gone ahead and ordered some omeprazole paste to start him on a week long course and see if there are changes.  I have always suspected ulcers, but the vet, chiro, nor the osteopath he has seen seemed to think it, so I have only had him on Daily Gold.  I had made a decision a few weeks back to try the Excel instead, and I guess it was good timing...but boy will I feel guilty if ulcers has always been it and I should have done this months ago!

Tuesday afternoon I spoke with the trainer we are scheduled to start working with on a private lesson basis this weekend... I told him about our recent bad days and we discussed postponing till I get him figured out, or continuing on.  He feels strongly towards ulcers as it seems an acute flare up of issues, and as we spoke he said something that set of a *bingo* in my head: "Most ulcers are episodic, but some horses just can't emotionally calm themselves causing it to be more chronic."  Hmmm.... maybe we are on to something here then?  We decided to go ahead with this weekend and assess his physical condition for work on Saturday together. He is kept the 'optimal way' for horses with ulcers anyway (24/7 pasture, no large grain meals) so all I can do is see if treatment gives relief.  I know this trainer has much experience in dealing with horses and physical issues so we will be able to assess if in fact he has thrown himself out of whack again and get that straightened out next if so.

So here we are it is now Thursday, which happens to be day 4 of the Excel at their performance/treatment dose.  DEC said many see improvement in 3-7 days, but it could also take up to 3 weeks on it alone.

Initial responses to the sore areas straight out of the field: a few dirty looks, but not trying to nip me or cow-kick.
Whether it is from the Excel or the stretching, I really don't know. I did not use tack at all today, just gave him his first dose of the omeprazole paste, groomed, let him have dinner, and then did some work in the round pen.

He was much more himself, and played with things again which brings me great relief...  We did some more brushing after and then I sat with him in the grass to graze a bit.





Tomorrow I am getting a Back on Track back pad in exchange for some hoof boots laying around :) I hear BOT products can really do wonders for horses (and people) and while I can't afford a sheet for him, this back pad can be used under a blanket, etc if I so choose, but my plan is to throw it on him while grooming, before and after work, to help relax his back.

So the next big update will be after our lesson/clinic this weekend... stay tuned!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

ice, hooves, and birthdays!

A week long recap...
Last Sunday was a nice enough day weather wise so Kayla & I took the boys for a trail walk.  Sprite (her TB) likes to think boogeymen are everywhere, so leave it to my trusty hiking buddy Prophecy to show him that trails can be relaxing and fun to wander!

Of course he acted like a dang toddler the whole time reaching out touch my shoulder, grab my hood, grab a twig or leaf ... silly thing. But, Sprite was fairly relaxed himself and we hope to continue on these walks together at least once a week.



Monday the storm rolled in...
And left us with some ice here at home, which cancelled the preschool and a 2hr delay for the county.  So I got a day home with Skyler to work - except we lost power right after my shower!  So, we ran around town and met Doug for lunch.  Then we had to pick up Asher from school because all after school activities were cancelled due to no power at his school as well! (they are only 2 miles from home)...I was finally able to get some work in late afternoon and have the kids watch some movies.

It was pretty while it was here; quickly melted and turned to mud ... Here are some pictures from our property romp with the kids early that morning.






Fortunately it did not dump on VA as much as they thought it would, so my long awaited appointment with a new farrier/trimmer was able to still happen Wednesday!  We have a plan to help Prophecy grow more hoof vertically instead of laterally, and I will learn how to keep up the trims in between.  I am now on the "schedule" for when she is in our area every 5 weeks and she has a thought for another more local guy that might be willing to become part of our team to keep his hooves functioning the best.  It was very interesting to have someone to explain the anatomy as we worked through the trim, and she made a few changes on the back hooves as well to see if it alleviates some of the lower back/hip 'lock-up'.  The WLD isn't as bad as I thought would be, and I will persevere with the white lightening on occasion and artimud to pack the gaps. It appears the area of concern on the right front outer quarter is more of an "anatomy thing" that isn't detrimental to him, just something to keep up on.  For now, no x-rays, and we will work to get his feet where we want them before putting shoes on.  No reason for shoes at the moment, as we can use the Scoot Boots for conditioning. Shoes will be for when we get to some competing - hopefully late summer or fall.
He gave her a run for her money on the back hooves, especially that back right he has always been sensitive over holding up.  She put up with his red-headed antics patiently and commented on his toddler like mentality... such an impatient guy who must keep that mouth busy!  Next time I think we will try the duct-tape trick on the nose and see if it occupies/entertains him a while!

Before...(not quite 5weeks post last trim)

All done

Thursday
I decided to make it a round pen day for Prophecy.  He does pretty well, until I ask him to switch directions, then it we have a mis-communication for a bit on him thinking I want him to yield his hindquarters or back when really I'm just trying to send him off!  We worked through it, not our most successful day, but he knows how to lighten the mood.  I had left him to walk over in the sun as it was cooling down... I'm not sure if he was saying "I'm done, here's what I think of this" or "Hey, aren't we still going?"


Dragging the line to me


Happy St. Patrick's Day, Doug's 40th and Obi is 4!
After I was done with Prophecy I went back to work to decorate Doug's cube... I also had some help decorating a conference room for Friday morning and we pulled off a surprise breakfast for him.  We went out to lunch, and then he took the afternoon off to enjoy at home.  Then we had steak for dinner and enjoyed a Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Ice Cream cake!





Obi & Asher relaxing

Sunday was Prophecy's birthday (9)!  I went out and rode a bit, just over 2 miles. First "ride" since we returned from Blackwater actually....and I wish I could say it was back to our old selves... While it generally went better - he got into a big fit of throwing the head and body around and refusing to go where asked nicely.  Eventually my patience of moving forward just a little a time, calmly without flailing about, got us to our end point.  I walked him back in and then made him work some more in the round pen after.  We ended on a good note and gave him some carrots to enjoy and a toy out in the field for a birthday treat.

Carrot?!

Yum



So what is next for us? Well, I have an appointment with a trainer that was recommended by a few friends about an hour away to do two 1/2 day private lessons/clinics starting this coming weekend. I'm hoping to figure out what the holes are that we need to fix and how to work through them myself with him.  If things go well with that, my hope it is to go to Bull Run trail ride with him at the end of April which is 3 days of riding for fun, and would be good mental and physical work for him - if he can handle it.  If not, well then we wait to do something else later.  I will get this figured out!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Regroup and Adjust

The trip back from Blackwater Sunday was uneventful and he was happy to be back out with his buddies. I figured he'd run off for a roll, but he was more interested in the grass and later I heard them running about while I was unpacking the trailer.
waiting to be turned out once stripped of the cooler back home
Sarah chatting with Kayla & I while he chills
Monday he enjoyed a magna-wave session from Sarah @ Hands Hooves Hearts.  I had scheduled it before our ride for a "check-in" on how he held up to a 13 mile intro.  Well, obviously he didn't do as much riding as I hoped, but it has been a while since his last appointment and I went ahead with this appointment anyway.  (Besides, I won sessions for him in a drawing earlier this year we need start using them!) Before Sarah arrived I had planned to work him in the round pen a bit...Since dinner had not been served yet, and now Marty is out in the field too, the boys decided yet again to run around playing (notice his chest marks from such playing).  Ugh.  Someone does not want to be caught before dinner anymore!
His session went pretty well - she remarked on how much better he is looking - trimming down and getting more fit since she saw him last in Nov.  He was a bit more sensitive to the magna-wave as a whole on the right side of his body compared to left, and he was desperately trying to convince us he was not enjoying it with his glares; but his sighs and one cocked back leg blew his cover lol

So now we re-group and move forward, with the goal to get to some rides and be both physically and mentally ready late summer or fall and get some completions! (LD or more)

First & foremost with him, I'm starting with hooves. No hoof, no horse. He isn't lame, but he is back to being sensitive on the hard ground...I have already scheduled him with farrier/trimmer recommended for my 'area' (she is really like 2 hours away, but will be in our area on the 15th). I'm totally willing to haul him to have his feet addressed properly going forward, and when I meet with her we can figure out if X-rays are the next step or if what is going on is more obvious relating to his growth tendencies and trims.

Once we have a plan of action to get him comfortable and growing/trimming correctly, for the riding part I plan to haul out for small group rides at least once a month with him to get exposure and slowly add on to increase the "pressure" of being like an endurance ride.  We will continue to work on ourselves with lessons as well, and maybe if we luck out with taxes this year I can send him off for a month of more intense work with a trainer to solidify his base and help us work through any holes.




Needless to say, my thoughts of what we might do this spring have changed. There are several "fun rides" in the area to camp at coming up, but I don't know that he is ready for that either. He needs more time to mature and settle into what he is being asked to do. I know he loves the trails, now we just have to make it less overwhelming to enjoy with other horses around!

In general, the list of To-Dos never seems to end in spring...March the trailer is due for inspection, the barn is doing spring shots, and he is also due to see the Osteopath again soon to have his body rechecked and adjusted.
We will just keep moving forward, One step at a time...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Blackwater Swamp Stomp Recap

Sunday was Prophecy's debut into the endurance world (beyond camping and volunteering at IMJ last summer) at a new ride, fairly close to us in Ivor VA.  I felt it was the perfect opportunity to dip his feet in, without having as much stress about times and completion, with non-rocky footing since we haven't begun mountain conditioning yet.


The full recap.... (written before & after the ride)
As you read last week, my confidence and his kind of took a dash for a few weeks.  I decided I needed to do something that made us feel good together, and while we both love the trail, the tension I had about riding alone was not in our best interest.  So, we started the week on Monday with a lesson with the barn manager.  Kayla is in the world of Eventing and previously in the Hunter Jumper circuit.  She knows my intentions with Prophecy, so while she is teaching me/us she can relate what we are doing to how I need to use it on the trails. As a bonus, she handles him daily on the farm and can relate to idiosyncrasies 😃 No pictures, but we did work for a good 45min!  I have some work to do on picking up the right diagonal for trotting (always has been an issue for me as I naturally pick the left), and learning when to push him through his antics.  It was a good ride; nice to have someone to "pick at me" and remind me of what to do with my hands, etc and also see how he was moving and reacting to me (including his attempt to slam us into the fence).  I did the lesson with his Scoot boots as well, since we are approaching 3 weeks post trim to see how they are fitting and to keep 'breaking them in.' He is apparently pretty fit, and didn't sweat or breathe hard during our session despite the warmer temps.  Nor during his antics on being caught - he now sees me coming and starts a play session with Ransom racing around together. I can hear Ransom breathing when they fly around, but not Prophecy! 🏃
He is definitely changing body shape, as I had to adjust the cinch another hole!

Enjoying his dinner post lesson
The weather played some crazy games again this past week, with a high of 81 on Wednesday and some hefty thunderstorms and wind that evening.  Thursday we were back in the 50s and very windy.  I was hoping for a trail ride but thought better and just headed over to the arena with him alone to work on our trot rhythm.  A few times I thought I was nuts watching the stone dust swirl around, but Prophecy did really well and stayed pretty focused with some reminders.  Now I feel a bit more ready for the weekend. He'll get to rest until I throw him on the trailer 😁

Heading back to the pasture - leading himself

After finishing up with him, I continued loading the trailer - making sure I have all my saddle stuff, extra cinch, etc.  I'd rather bring along more than I need... So while it isn't a true completion ride for us, I've still been just as nervous!  I guess it is the new horse jitters as he hasn't been asked to ride at an AERC event before.

My Excel list... 

Saturday
It was time to load up and head over to Amanda's place to trailer-pool to the ride. Camp opened at noon, so we targeted our arrival for ~1pm. Another cold start of the day, so I put his cooler on to help keep comfy on the drive there.  He loaded fairly nicely - one huge balk backwards where ended up smacking the side of the trailer but quickly came on after that.  He has lost quite a bit of width since Dec and I was able to put the butt-bar at the back door back on without him banging it trying to load. We were actually running early and left on time for camp from Amanda's.

Loaded up and leaving Still Pond

Heading out of Amanda's driveway




We arrived at camp and tied up the boys so we could register/check in - do our own potty breaks - and then set up camp.  I set up my portable Panels and Stryder was on his hitie



We vetted the boys in - which included standing in line a while - and they took it in stride.  Both very calm, despite the wind and sheer number of horses around.  Prophecy vetted in with all A's, a 40 initial HR and a body score of 6.   We settled them in and had a good dinner and ride meeting, some hanging by the fire.    Later there was a controlled burn on the outskirts of the horsepark that got a little hairy and kept us on our toes!

It was dang cold tho this weekend... Oh yeah - I got to the barn Saturday morning and my water tanks had all frozen!   The two camper tanks defrosted on the way to the ride, my internal 25gal not fully - so I had to use my propane heater to finish it off for a few hours.

The "controlled burn"

I was pretty comfortable temp wise going to bed, just had a hard time getting comfy with a pillow.  About 230 my heater started making a funny noise, so I turned it off figuring the propane was low and I wanted it when I woke up for a bit.  (My roof vent cracked and CO detector in the bed area with me)


My boys with me, pillow and bracelet

Sunday
This is what I woke to ... and changed my clothing plan for the day! lol


The boys got a bit upset after seeing that Elvis disappeared for the 50, then Prophecy had to deal with so many others leaving around us in 30min including Stryder, so we did a lot of walking around camp, lunging, and respect check-ins.  He came around nicely despite another horse hollering a ton, and I was able to put him back in his pen for a nap in the sun while I warmed up in the truck a bit and charged the phone.

Being a good boy napping
The Intro ride out time was 10am, so about 9 I began tacking up - boots first, then saddle.  He was decent, not too much dancing; I kept him tied pretty short. Then we went for a quick lunge before adding the bridle and mounting up.

Pre-ride lunge
I used the fender of my trailer to mount, and he was good. We had some 'discussion' about making our way through camp up to the volunteer area to meet the intro group.   And there is where things got interesting...
Prophecy seemed to get overwhelmed with all the goings on once riding.  He did well starting out, but then got exceedingly anxious right after a water crossing that had a swamp on the side. He got so balled up and sticky I got off and walked him a little bit to a spot I could remount.  Lois, the tail end rider for our group who would help anyone who might need to turn back after ~5miles, hung back with me to get back on and offer a buddy for Prophecy.  Even just a single horse didn't help. Once we entered the field he really just couldn't handle the openness, seeing horses around the edges on other trails and just not knowing what do with himself. He would spin, back up, go sideways, a few steps forward and do it again. I sent Lois on and after a few more attempts to follow I turned him back to the start.  Every time he caught sight of horses on the trails he would stop, unsure of what to do, but eventually I was able to keep him moving forward - until the swamp again!  I got off and walked him in.  We did our vet check out/Rider Option after only 30min.  He unfortunately turned into a complete jerk as well 😠so there is some work to do on his brain.

The "Vet Card"
So, I had an inkling that he was not mentally ready for a ride, and that was why I took hi to an intro instead of LD - and this proved that to me.  I wanted to see where he was at, and yes we have work to do!  Physically he appears pretty darn ready if we continue on our path, now I just have to figure out how to get him mentally up to par! 😔