Today Hoss got out for a ride, and Scout got a walk and some in-hand work.
Hoss and I practiced a few "focus" circles around me in the small field at the walk, along with turns on the fores from the ground, and some in-hand backing to loosen up those hocks. He'd been great at the trailer, not wiggly, and he also stood like a rock while I wrapped his lead rope around the saddle horn.
We practiced going over the ground poles, the fake "bridge" the wagon-wheel "spokes" and then trotting off to the other end of the field before coming back to negotiate obstacles a second time. After getting a decent half pass each way, we headed out of the small field and practiced opening and closing the gate to the big field with a side pass to the right.
In the big field we practiced trotting out, half pass, walk to trot and trot to walk transitions and some backing and some "whoa" followed by standing with loose reins. He did a great job!
I think his legs are a bit stiff, he had trouble getting a really nice extension, even going in what I know was his favorite direction. So I made sure to put some liniment on his hocks when we finished, and bucket washed his sweat off.
He got rewarded later with some time to graze in the field!
For Scout, since his lower back has been sore (I rode him last week on April 28th, in a bareback pad, and only at the walk and trot) and it sored up despite having had both the chiropractor out 10 days earlier, and giving him only in-hand and light groundwork for 11 days after his hock injections.
So today I again took him on a walk in-hand to the little hills at the east end. We practiced going up, down, stopping halfway, did turns on fores and hinds at the top, and I also asked for some circles around me at the walk while I was at the base of one of the slopes. This meant that Scout had half his circle on a slope, and the other half on the level. I wanted to see how he reacted.
Going left, he was much more comfortable, although turning and coming down the slope seemed more difficult. Going right his body seemed stiffer as he went up, and as he started to descend on the curve (this was not super steep) he was very uncomfortable in his rear end/legs. So I only asked for two circles to the right, the second one I did not ask him to come down, I went up to him. I believe he is quite uncomfortable, and I need to get the pain and inflammation out of the lower back! We ended by watering down his lower back with cold water and putting on liniment and Sore No More.
At this point I wish we could figure out what is really going on in that back/pelvis of his! This problem has been continuing for a year now, and I believe that he needs to be evaluated above the stifle. A friend has suggested acupuncture, which I think could help. I also want to know what is at the root of the continuing pain!