Two steps forward, one step back.
We had a string of great lessons and great rides. Theo was gobbling up the Third Level work. Then we had a ride where we couldn't quite get the right hind under him. He worked into it but he was a little hesitant. Then a ride where he was guarding the left to right flying change with Trainer Z. We were watching it, trying to spot what was going on. With the heat he was only in light work and he never looked lame. Then Theo lost his ever loving shit during a ride with Trainer Z after the heat broke and she pushed him.
He usually works into a better and better mood. This time, he escalated and damn near unloaded her. Everyone's radar went off. He was very good the next day but the day after that, NQR. Next day still not right. Put him on the trailer and took him to the vet because something was clearly wrong. Theo had told us in the only way he has that something hurt. Most horses would show a deviation in gait, might even go lame. Theo gets pissed that you're asking him to do something that hurts and lets you know in no uncertain terms that he will not play. He goes from vague resistance to violence awfully quick.
The good news is that the vet found nothing but sore hocks. He was seven months out from his hock injections so apparently he does need his hocks done twice a year at this level of work. No big deal for a horse his age. I threw a box of Adequan on his bill as well to top off any other joints that might not be feeling great. He was an absolute gentleman for the vet and no signs of neck/back/leg pain outside of those hocks. Even with us pointing things out and really hunting. No swelling, no signs of soft tissue stuff. Just a dressage horse with sore hocks that does not tolerate being uncomfortable. It really is a blessing that he's a clear communicator but we could do with a bit less violence in the communication, papi.
But a perfect patient so he has that going for him
He'll get a whole week off since he was quite sore and we want to make sure he gets some rest and time to let his hocks recover after his oil change. We're also off to the breed show so he was going to get some time off anyway. I suspect he'll be delighted to get back to work after his break. Now we just hope he doesn't feel so good that he feels he needs to share his joy with everyone by doing the dance of the land porpoise across the ring . . .