I avoided typing out what happened Monday, but it was a learned lesson perhaps nobody else wants to repeat; thus I will mention it.
Monday's ride with Romeo started out okay, but got progressively worse. For the first ever time, Romeo pushed straight through a 21" vertical, with zero effort to pick up his front feet. I stopped the ride, walked him out and hopped off. Knowing this wasn't typical Romeo, I carefully untacked, and checked everything I could. As I took off the polo wraps, I saw blood on the back of the wraps. Frantically removing the wraps, I took of his bell boots, and found the problem. The bell boots neoprene "heel keeper" had rubbed the back of his ankles raw, to the point of bleeding. I felt horrid. I hosed his legs down, talked to him gently, and sprayed Furazone all over the wounds. The bleeding stopped, and he seemed to appreciate the treatment. I still feel absolutely horrid about it, and can't believe I didn't notice it under saddle. He's an amazing horse. I brought pain on him, and, rather than buck & rear, or put up a huge temper tantrum, he just stopped trying. I'm glad I didn't force the issue, and didn't insist he jump.
Mike & Robin came together Tuesday afternoon. They both peeked at Romeo's feet, and thought he'd be fit for work. Chewie was caught, trimmed, new shoes, new Equilox. Mike says no need for pads, but he will need to stay out of the loose footed arena and round pen until it packs down. I have the drag, and now should have all the pieces to hook it up. I'm hoping the little drag will pack it down at least some, combined with my mower tires squishing the soil.
Lesson... With Romeo tacked up, NO bell boots, and polo wraps run all the way down covering the sores, we went off to work. High crossrails warm up was good. Robin immediately raised the second rail to 2ft, and off we went. Hang Time! That is, by far, the best fun in riding him. He lifts himself straight up, and seems to truly enjoy the job. I was tickled purple over every fence. Our only rail down was right at the end, last vertical. Robin thought that was the prettiest effort, with the best hand release, forward-leg I had. I found a "sweet spot" on him, where I can tap with my spurs, release with the reins, and get an arched back just before the fence. Total lesson about 40 minutes. It was hot, and Robin needed to get going.
Got all things done around the barn, water buckets washed, litter boxes cleaned. Hauled all but Nelda to the vets for boarding. I'm away from home for work until Thursday. It's Wednesday morning, and I already miss the horses. I'm sad I won't ride tonight, and won't even get a little nicker at feed time. It's a hassle to clean stalls, and sometimes I dread barn chores. Romeo's little nickers when he sees me are a cheer in my day, and that's not replaceable. Summary? I miss my horses...
Romeo will be lunged tonight by Robin, Thursday off. Friday noon lesson, Saturday 9am lesson. Hope to be on the show-road by 1:30, arrive by 4:00.