I am, by nature, a worrier. In case you couldn't tell that already from reading my previous entries. Most of the time, it's nothing; sometimes, it ends up helping.
Anyway. Yesterday, I got up early and was saddled up and starting with our walk by 7:30 a.m., so that I could go to a staff meeting at work and then have my day free to run errands. (My second office, in the admin building of my organization, is only 10 minutes from the barn; home is closer to 25; if I was going to go in for the meeting on my day off it made sense to combine the trips.)
Walk felt fine, though he was a bit ticked about working before he'd even had grain. The trot felt, quite frankly, awful for the first 3 minutes or so. I couldn't get a consistent contact or bend, and he was tripping all over the place. I was worried enough to get off and jog him out and watch the RF.
He's totally sound on the RF, but he was overall stiff and a bit wonky. At the time, I worried, and I'm still not thrilled, but I've reasoned it out: he'd been in his stall all night; Sunday is a shorter turnout day because of the barn staffing; he's been working hard to build muscle and he's probably low-level sore.
Sure enough, in our second trot he was much more even and fluid, and when I had him actually moving forward and on a bit of contact he felt like a million bucks. It was when I let him go behind the leg, or when I dropped the contact that he got uneven and a bit trippy behind. (Once or twice when I asked for a bit of bend it was like he'd forgotten how to coordinate his back legs, went for a teensy bit of crossover with his hind legs on the turn and whooooooosh, goodbye hind end, as in it dropped out from underneath me as he tripped. Sigh.)
This week, our pattern is 15 walk - 5 trot - 10 walk - 5 trot - 5 walk, for a total of 40 minutes. We'll stay indoors so we can work on flat, even, forgiving surfaces and resume a bit of hillwork next week. If it weren't so bloody cold and rainy I'd be giving him some Vetrolin or other liniment rinses after work, but he'd stay wet the rest of the day if I did that. Summer seems to have forgotten about Vermont.