Apologies, caution: long and ranty post.
Tetley and I have been working thru our Level 1 HW cards for a little while and it's one step forward, two steps back. But, overall, I've been really happy with his progress and I've seem some glimpses of the brilliant horse I know he can be.
After about 5 days off I made time for Tetley again. He'd been going really well lately, so I figured he'd deserved it, and allow time for the ideas to sink in. He'd also recieved his regular accupunture treatment in this time. (Shuddup... I know... but it does help keep him sound and he looooves it.) Soundness/ soreness issues is something we battle constantly. But, once again, he'd been brilliant. Soft, responsive, forward, tracking up (on a long lunge.)
Tonight, however, was a whole new level of fail for us
Ears pinned, teeth gnashing, tail swishing, humping, short stepping, barging around, refusing to go forward, neck braced, trying to piss off... All not unheard of, but unexpected as we hadn't seen this behaviour for a while. I go into my usual cycle of, 'crap, his back is out again, his sore in his stifles/ wither/beck/poll/hocks/sarco etc etc.... Just as well I've got the chiro out tomorrow to see him.' (Again, shuddup... when was the last time I saw a chiro? Um, never....)
But I stand my ground. I ask politely. I protect my space confidently. I accept the slightest try. I keep the work easy, but interesting. You can see he'd much rather be with his mates on the other side of the rail (this is not unsual, but I can normally regain his focus.)
After I'd thwarted some of the naughtiness, he'd actually given me some semi decent work. And I was preparing to wrap it up there and try again tomorrow. I'd suspected he'd hurt himself in the paddock, as his whole system seemed out of whack. But then next minute, 16 odd hands of Thoroughbred threw himself down on the ground and started rolling vigourously. He's never done this before. And we regularly access sand to work in!
Now I'm thinking, 'crap - colic, ulcers, twisted/ reptured insides...'(can we see a pattern developing here? Hahaha over protective horse parent!) He gets up, has a big shake, has a big yawn, has a big chew, his eye is soft and respiration normal. I let him stand for a l-o-n-g time to just chill.
That's fine, that's all good, he seems happy.
I ask him Tetley to step off again and he shakes his head and stomps his foot. (Also new, for a simple walk off, anyway.) I figure, we'll walk around in a circle, try a few steps of trot, and we'll call it done. Objective achieved with a minimum of fuss, cool. Start walking toward the gate. Tetley stops just before the gate and I can feel he wants to roll again so I quickly slip off the halter and step outside the gate, leaving him in the grass arena. He immediately drops and rolls, flipping over back and forward before springing to his feet, lauching into orbit, throws 3 double barrel broncs that'd make Curio blush, trots to the opposite corner, head down, munch munch munch.
There ain't nothing wrong with that friggin' horses' back.
I fix the gates so he can access water and walk away because I'm beat, it's just about dark and I haven't a Scooby Doo clue what to do with my pony now.
Incidentally, anyone want to buy an athletic TB? Asking for a friend...