His majesty managed to lose 5th pair of overreach boots in just as many months. The mud is so bad that they probably just got sucked into it. Winter like the one we have this year is of very little fun. The world fluctuates between beautiful, white and unusable and filthy, muddy and workable.
We are currently at the filthy state. All Kingsley's outdoor stuff is caked and covered with mud. Himself included. Not that he seems to mind. He would probably quite happily live out.

We are starting this week with today's 21 minutes walk + transitions work. He feels much stronger now then last week and only really tires at the very end. Even then though he feels less tired than he was last week.
The contact is still on-off and I've been trying a few approaches. The physio says his right hind leg needs to do more work but as he is very much in the right flexion all the time I have to deal with the following:
* he doesn't really take the contact on the right rein
* very little response to the left leg when used as an inside leg
* leaning on the left rein
* hindquarters always out on the left rein and in on the right rein

This considering I am first trying to straighten him as much as possible with limited exercises I can do while I am straight lines bound and no lateral work allowed.
I have to keep activating the right hind but as a result I have him constantly shying from the whip on the right and it's not helping when we are on the left rein.

The Straightness

I started off asking for outside flexion on the right rein. It's his better rein in that he walks much more forwards and happier on it. He has an inbuilt little engine anyway so I never really have to be strong with my leg to ask him to go forwards.
Very slowly I managed to get him to take more of the right rein which made a super difference to my control over his straightness. I wouldn't say he moves much straighter but at least now I can correct him. I also got him more responsive to my left leg by just touching him with the whip on the left side which again helps me straighten him and keep him on the track when on the left rein.
If anyone has ideas of exercises to do to improve straightness please let me know. Just remember we cannot: circle, half-circle, sharper turns, shoulder-in, any other lateral work etc and for those who only just read this he is treated for SI strain.

The Halt Transitions

They've been rather bad as he doesn't understand half-halts nor does he give in onto the rein pressure. In fact, he's got a bit of racehorse response, the more pressure you put on the reins the more he pulls and speeds up.
I started off by just repeating very short pressure on then immediately off if he pulled. This has worked to some extent but it makes him hollow, bring his head up and must be rather uncomfortable for him. I used my voice too and made ridiculous amount of fuss over him whenever he did stop.
After having his teeth done he improved and became a lot less protective about his mouth and started reacting much better to the pressure, still not great though.
Today we had a bit of breakthrough with two very reasonable halts, one being very good in that he halted from gentle on-off pressure on the rein almost instantly.
I find it quite difficult to correct him as I don't want to cause him pain but neither do I want him to think he can take one lap around the arena to respond to my aids. In a sound horse the decision would be much easier but I am wary of doing anything detrimental.
I am guessing some of his mouth behaviour is a learnt one and possibly pain memory related so I rode him a little firmer today and resisted passively when he pulled and it worked.
We finished on a reasonable halt and we shall see how we get on on Wednesday.

Trot Transitions

I am suppose to be doing a couple of those on each rein during each walking session. However, my gut feeling is to sort out the halts first. This is because he leans on my hands so much when I try to bring him from trot to walk that I have no proper steering nor track control. We are suppose to only do a few steps of trot at a time which without breaks is quite impossible. I CAN stop and turn by pulling him around but since we are trying to re-educate his aids response so we can straighten him better I think it would be a bit counter productive.
This in mind, I only did one trot transition on each rein. They were pretty bad but better than when we first tried them last Monday.

Stretches and exercises

He loves his carrot stretches and is becoming very good with them. He is also becoming increasingly mouthy because of them and tries to eat my hands all the time. Great!
He isn't keen on the leg-pull exercise, maybe I am not doing it very well.

Plan for the Week 11:

Mon 25th: 21 minutes
Tue 26th: Off; Turn Out all day
Wed 27th: 22 minutes
Thu 28th: 23 minutes
Fr 29th: 24 minutes of Off
Sat 30th: 24 or 25 minutes depending if walking on Fr
Sun 31st: Off; Turn Out all day

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