I am feeling much better today. I got rechecked by another doc and he said that I have some sort of bronchitis/walking pneumonia going on. The only way to diagnose walking pneumonia is a chest x-ray, so he just assumed I had it and gave me a Z pack and an inhaler. I already feel better!
I went out and rode Boomer today for the first time in 10 days. I think that is the most he has ever had off. I did put him in the round pen for a few minutes the last two days to start getting the stink off of him. Today he was great. I was very proud of him. We started in the arena and he was great. His canter was even better than usual! I am really happy with his progress and getting closer and closer to trying him in a hackamore. He has always been very sensitive to leg and hand cues (I like horses like that) and he really doesn't need bit cues very often. He rates pretty easily (we are still working on that at the canter) and he doesn't have a stopping problem. His problems on the trail have nothing to do with his face/mouth, so there is no reason to not try it. The times I have ridden him bareback with just a halter and a lead rope, he was very responsive to everything I asked of him.
After we finished in the arena I had him work on side passing towards the gate so that I can open and close it. He is pretty good at that! Then we rode up the hill and towards the trails. He threw a little fit and didn't want to go, so I spurred him pretty good and I think he got the idea. He walked on and was very good the rest of the time. He gave a little spook at a gate to the big pasture along the way and I used a Mugwump trick and started singing and shaking the saddle to distract him. He calmed down and seemed to enjoy my singing (no one else does, so that was a surprise)! I kept on singing and was just singing what I was thinking, what I expected of him. I think it calmed him and it also gave me the chance to say out loud what was expected and that gave me a clear idea of what I should be cueing rather than just being the 'monkey tied to the dog'. Sometimes when he freaks, I go blank and don't really ask him for anything clearly. So, I started singing about him going forward and straight and pointing out to him that his left shoulder wasn't always keeping up and that I didn't like his head tossing. It was easier for me to focus on what to fix. Plus, you can't be grouchy when you are singing!
After the ride I hosed him off and tried working on the wash rack with him again. This time I used an apple as a bribe and just asked him to step closer to the black mats. I didn't expect him to step on them today. He got pretty close a few times and got to snack on his apple. Even if we just walk past it he always hugs the opposite wall. When he was down to one bite of apple left, I set it on the mat and he lowered his head to sniff it and you could see that he was nervous and trying to be brave. I am going to take that one slowly and see if I can just get him more comfortable being near the wash rack before I try getting him in it.