First off, let's talk about the fact that Soon now jumps liverpools with minimal discussion prior to agreeing to flinging his body from one side of it to the other via the top of the fence.
Meaning: MY HORSE JUMPS LIVERPOOLS THANK YOU TINY BABY JESUS
Had a lesson with Awesome Local Trainer on Monday morning, and after only stopping at it once (liverpool was fully opened, no babying it that day), Soon took the hint and jumped it the rest of the morning no issue. It was a good day. It was hot and miserable, and I was borderline useless all morning, but he was good. We had some cross canter issues during the warm up that frustrated me and I needed to handle better.
The next day, I had the vet out to look at Soon's back/SI joint because of the cross cantering, and also to check his eyes (because let's be real, Homeboy missed BIG TIME the previous week by removing my shoulder with his incisors).
Bubba will need injections in the lower hock joint as both hocks were pretty sore, which is likely causing the back to be sore and all of it is likely contributing to the cross cantering. We'll start with some Depo in the lower joints, leaving the acid and potential upper joint injections for later if needed. Both the vet and I like to start simple and use the minimal treatment necessary - and I hate screwing around with injections.
I'm also going to do a four-round course of Pentosan as well as starting him on a Cosequin powder. Injections will be next week; I'm hoping to line up a chiropractor and massage therapist to get him done on his down time. That way, when he starts back after a short break, he will hopefully be feeling better all over. BTW, his eyes seemed fine, at least with the non-scientific farm call version of the eye exam.
In the meantime, we had another lesson with Joe Fargis scheduled for today. Soonie got a gram of Bute this morning just in case, and we hauled out with the barn team to Upperville. Soon was fantastic - after a short hack around the farm, we rode in the indoor again due to the rain, he was super relaxed and settled well into the work immediately.
Joe was extremely complimentary the whole lesson. He said multiple times how well we had come along since the first lesson, that we had really done our homework. He was impressed with Soon and how he looked, he was happy that my hands were soft and declared that problem "solved" (haha!). Now my homework is to keep my foot to the inside of the stirrup and turn my toe out more, which Joe believes provides a more stable, consistent foundation/footing for the rider's balance. I have to say - I don't disagree with him. When a stirrup would slip to the outside of my foot mid-course, I could feel a huge change, and noticed that having the foot on the outside of the stirrup reduces the contact and feels less secure. But having ridden like that since I was a little kid (and something I will have to change again for George Morris, as he wants feet to the outside of the stirrup), this will take some adjusting too.
There wasn't a lot new or groundbreaking in this lesson (which is a good thing, I suppose, I like to think that means we're on a good track). Joe did crank the two square oxers up to about 3'6"-1.15m ish. Which isn't by any means huge, but not having jumped more substantial fences lately, it at least made me sit up and notice. I tried not to ride it any differently - maintain a soft hand, giving with the hand on the approach and closing the leg and allowing Soon to find the base himself. He jumped well and handled the rollback turns off the big oxers like a champ. He did have a rail or two, so Joe had us repeat just one oxer off the long approach a few times to solidify his jump.
I don't know - this horse over the top of a reasonably sized fence (one that at least requires some decent riding to) feels amazing. I can't wait to keep exploring his potential and seeing where it takes us. Makes me want to be a better rider. A better horseman. A better student. This horse could absolutely do the low Jr/AO jumpers...maybe or maybe not competitive, depending on how well this hunter princess learn to ride jumpers! But he can do it. I used to joke about it. No more joking. If we never jump again that's fine - he's done enough already. But for now I'm happy to ride this ride, keep pushing and training with the best, keep learning, keep doing the homework...and see where it takes us. These are exciting times.
I needed this day. In a big way. Especially today. This horse just keeps giving and I am thankful for each opportunity I have with him.