6/5/13 we went to the vet. The results are a mixed mess. Well, sort of. Blood work? 100% normal. Flexion of front legs? Totally clean. Dr Sam put the hoof testers on his front toes, and said he got a little reaction. He trotted Harley on gravel - his stride shortened. He trotted him on grass - short, but better. Dr Sam nerve blocked Harley's front hooves, and trotted him again on the gravel. The blocked trot looked more like the grass trot. So we were sent home with instructions to get his feet trimmed, and bute him for 5 days.
I thought about it. I talked to some friends, and I thought about it some more. Then, I used some logic.. If Harley were lame on the front, wouldn't I have seen it immediately in the rides rather than progressing over time? Instead, the more days in a row he worked, the lazier he got. Not more lame, more lazy. Last time Harley's hooves and heels were sore, I had multiple flying lessons.
So I gave him off until this morning. I didn't bute, I didn't rush his trim - he's scheduled for next Friday. I will admit he's done a lot of self-trimming, and he probably can come off the multi supplement he's been on, and transitioned to something focused on joints only. Maybe joint & coat. I haven't spent a lot of time looking at the SmartPak options yet. Anyways..
I free line longed him this morning a little while. About 7 minutes. Walk, trot, canter. He started out lazy, but after some canter in which he voluntarily stretched long & low, his trot loosened up nicely. I hopped on.
We had good free stretching walk.
We had a good slow trot on light contact.
I asked for a bigger trot, still light contact, and I got it.
I asked for a canter, and he stuck with it.
After some more "coming & going" at the trot, I asked for more canter on a loose rein.
He didn't race off, or slack off. He stayed in the canter until I cued him to ease back to trot.
I can only conclude he was lazy at the show from too many days in a row working hard without more than a day off at a time. We over did it.
Back to business as usual. At least as far as the summers go. I'll stick my hard rides (no more than 2 a week) to early mornings. In the few hot evenings we'll work, I'll keep it to light trotting and lots of walking. We're entering hazy hot humid summer, so it's time to lighten up a touch.
Part way through the ride, I pointed him at my crossrail. I giggled when he stepped over. I changed directions, and asked again, with a little more energy before the X. That time, he felt like he lifted both front feet up & over. He still likes his "jumping". :)