After three days off, I finally got Theo back to work. I spent Sunday trying to convince papi to let all of that excess energy out, then trying to convince him that he could do that without dragging me about the arena like a rag doll. Very rude.
But at least he got it out of his system without hurting himself or me outside of some sore muscles. He also decided he should annoy me by showing off his passage. Who knew he had a passage? Well, he has one now. I guess all of that strength training is good for more than ripping athletic bucks and trying to dislocate my shoulders after bolting on a 15m circle. Dork. But I guess that means he's a Grand Prix prospect! That's how it works, right? He shows me an inverted passage for ten seconds on a lunge line, I tack on about $20K to his price tag?
We only lunged for twenty minutes, including his walking warm up. The joy of a draft horse. He was walk and plod until I convinced him otherwise. He remembered our lessons on acting up on the lunge from last winter. After about ten minutes of being fresh, he was quite done and ready for his blanket and a nap. I cooled him out bareback, showing one of the teens how to get started with teaching her horse how to leg yield. Theo was on board with doing a couple steps sideways at the walk. I didn't want to push him and risk him tying up after three days off and working in temps that were swinging wildly. We were riding in 50* weather after the two days of brutal cold. That night, it dropped to 10* with howling winds. I was riding when the cold front arrived, the wind suddenly whipping up loud enough to startle us both (yes, I bailed, shuddup). The temps dropped twenty degrees by the time I got him ready for bed.
Trainer A rode him gently on Monday as the temps were still quite cold and we wanted to ease him back into the groove after his time off. Today he actually worked for the first time in almost a week. What a sassy, sassy beast.
I like the sass. It's new. It's not aggressive, it's not angry, it's playful. It's going to hurt like hell if he manages to bite me, but at least he's not raging at me. He's just energetic and busy. It's the same body language I see when he wants me to play in the field. He's snorty and up but not stomping his feet. He seems to be figuring out how to let it out without it being a big issue. Of course, this increases the risk of him treating me to some of his massive bucks. That I won't enjoy, but in exchange for eager, happy ears? I'll take it.
He felt quite good today once he settled into the work. He was slow to start, which is understandable after the time off. I had to do some Pony Clubber leg flapping to get him rolling (yes, at the walk, I had to flop around like a complete beginner to get him to move, I'm not proud). We were still wrapped up in a cooler and he wasn't happy to get started in the cold, but he grunted and complied. Once his muscles were warm, he was on board with the program. I was getting moments of head shaking and snorting while cantering, followed by some big jumps over little fences. We were working on him stretching through his neck while cantering around to a bounce set nice and low. He loved it, stretching out and holding his canter like a wanna be hunter princess while I stayed in my half seat and left him alone. He's finally, finally learned how to canter around in a stretch without getting on his forehand. He's a smart enough boy to know he can't jump if he's slamming down on his shoulders.
He was just so dang happy to be back in work, to get those muscles moving and to really stretch. Trainer A commented on how much she enjoys his canter now. He got an apple and a jelly filled Munchkin after a very positive ride that he seemed to enjoy quite a bit.
I'm hoping my enjoyment of the sass doesn't come around to bite me later. Mi papi has a very big buck.