After we settled Shorty at the vet's, we drove back home, made supper plans, and took off to my house.
Les tacked up Chewie, and they headed to the round pen. Les pushed him pretty hard at canter & gallop around the pen, and then added a lunge line to teach Chewie at Whoa to stop & come to the pen center. It looked harsh, but knowing what he did with Romeo, I assumed it would be okay. Les got on Chewie to ride, and immediately said to me, "He's lame, something's wrong." He said it was on the front left hoof. He got off, and I got on (in his saddle & bit). Chewie to me felt stiff, but there was no head-swinging at all at trot, either way.
Les said he "didn't want to torture or punish him", and abandoned the notion of work at canter. They walked & trotted a bit in the round pen, then went to the arena for more of the same. Work was solely on neck reining. I noticed Les was asking for neck rein much higher towards his head than I have. He got off, I got on, and while hew as a bit stiff, he still seemed to respond a bit better to me. Worked on circles & figure-8s walk & trot in the arena. Les unsaddled him at the house, and poked & pushed on Chewie all over, certain he'd find lameness in the left hoof. No such luck. The sore-spot was on his right shoulder...
I don't know what happened... Maybe the pushed warmup was too hard on him, and he over-extended trying to get out of Les' way... maybe he just wasn't physically fit enough for what was asked of him. Perhaps the strain occurred because he thought he could do more with the right leg & hoof than he can yet. Either way, Chewie stood tied while we caught & rode Romeo.
Les rode Romeo first, took him to his pasture, and immediately asked him to canter out. Romeo obeyed cheerfully. He was a saint... demonstrating I've worked very hard on him, and I guess I've done okay. I crawled on him , and worked a bit on canter up & down transitions. Romeo wanted to toss his head straight upwards for both transitions. I initiated about a dozen transitions, and he started to get it right. He'd drop his head for both, and seemed to glide in and out of the canter a bit more. It's something to work on until the lesson Sunday.
Les saddled Chewie again, and we went on a walk/trot trail ride up & down the road. One of my neighbors was driving aggressively down the road, came around a blind turn, and spooked both of the horses. We got them back calmed down, walked some more, and turned back for home. Walked the pasture fenceline a few times through the trees, and one time I looked back, I saw Chewie buck a bit with Les. He thought Chewie was being mean, I think he was just saying "Get that curb chain off my chin, and let up some rein pressure so I can just walk calmly."
The day was not as I expected, at all. I thought Chewie would be ready for the workout, and I guess I somehow thought Les wouldn't ask for the world from him. Neither was the case. I've considered leaving Chewie in my own lacking training abilities a while, just riding him myself. Then I fear he'll get bored with my round-pen canter, and my figure-9s trot in the arena. I am worried he's going to be this fussy for much longer, and fear that his feet aren't ever going to be right... I've thought about selling him, buy I don't exactly want to give him away, either. I have invested a lot of time and money, and I still can't do everything I want to with him.
Ahh.. stress... I hate it. But I will make no decisions today, but instead wait a while longer, let him rest from yesterday, and maybe it was a fluke, and he'll be sound & sane again soon.