Phew! Todays high was 39! It felt amazing out! This next week is supposed to stay up around the 30-40 range for highs and 20-30 range for lows! Lucky for Boomer, this means a week with no blanket! I love that I have such a nice blanket for him when he needs it, but I really prefer for him to be without it as much as possible to keep the wear on his hair to a minimum.
The swelling on his leg is doing much better. He wasn't stiff on it at all today. I think the swelling should be down 100% with another 3-4 days.
I finally got to ride again since his leg is better! It was the first ride in a week, and the first indoor ride since he went to training, about 8 weeks ago! We were a little stiff and not as supple as I would have liked. He was carrying his head higher than he used to, and seemed a little confused by the rein contact (he gets ridden on a loose rein on the trail). We mostly walked and trotted, with only a little cantering. His canter is still WAY too fast and I'm sure it looks a little out of control, but I try to canter at least twice in each direction each time I ride. I'm sure that isn't enough, but I am taking it slow so that he can get used to his balance and hopefully will start to slow down on his own. At the walk and trot we worked on circles. Lots and lots of circles. One exercise I found in 101 Schooling Exercises for Horse and Rider was to make a group of 5 circles, one in the center and 4 around it. You start on the center circle and ride each of the four circles around it when you get to it. A variation would be to ride from top to bottom (three circles) then left to right (three circles). All of the changes in direction did start to help him get more flexion.
This arena is huge- 80x180! And it has mirrors! Lots of mirrors! Along one side, the mirrors are angled in at the bottom so that you can see your leg and the whole horse as you go by! I think my equitation is still fine, except at the canter, when I tense up. Though having those mirrors makes me realize how much work Boomer and I have to do! He really works in a hollow frame most of the time. I am considering taking some dressage lessons over the winter to see if we can get some feedback and help!
I felt like it was a good ride and a great starting point for our winter riding. I really hope to make some good progress this winter!
Also, Boomer seems to be maintaining his weight well on his reduced grain diet. He gets fed only when he gets worked, so today he got 2 pounds of grain and three flakes of hay. The barn also feeds when the weather is really bad, so for the last few days he has also gotten hay and 1 pound of grain daily. As much as I worry when it gets really cold, I am really liking the pasture turnout situation. I love that he can move around as much as he wants, I love that the two water tanks are heated, I love that he has a herd to interact with, I love that he can graze all day. I love the set up of the facility. The pasture has a feed shed with 20 individual stalls as well as a large feed room. I especially love how well adjusted, happy and calm all of the horses are. As I was catching Boomer today, another horse nearby laid down to nap. It really made me realize how relaxed these horses must be. The barn horses also all seem very happy. Overall, I am just pleased as punch with the new boarding facility! The three huge arenas and heated tack areas are nice too!