I also decided to stick with riding in the school. As I wasn't sure how sensitive his mouth and jaw were since his tooth was removed I thought it was a good plan to be enclosed to check the brakes! Surprisingly, he has been an angel (I hope I am not tempting fate) when I have been riding. We are obviously not doing too much as he is not particularly fit any more.
The first couple of times I rode him I felt he was a bit lethargic and not his usual keen self. However, the bit did not seem to be causing him any pain or problems which was good news. At Your Horse Live Russell Guire talked a lot about making sure you do plenty of walk work first - 30+ minutes. He did say he was basing this on the fact that most horses have been in the stable for a good while beforehand. This is never true of Basil because I ALWAYS put him in the field for a minimum of 2 hours before riding or lunging him. Mostly, so that he has a chance to get rid of any excess energy, but it also helps him stretch his legs and limber up.
I usually start my sessions with about 10 minutes in walk, and then introduce a bit of trot, all on a relatively loose rein. At the moment we are walking with a little trot for about 20 minutes total. I am not asking Basil to come round although I am trying to gently encourage him to bend correctly.
The last couple of times I have ridden he has seemed to be much keener, he is more forward going and back to how he should be. I am not really sure why he wasn't 'feeling it' the first couple of times but am glad we are back on track now :)
We are including 3 and 4 loop serpentines and plenty of rein changes, all in walk. I think our halt transitions are getting better on the whole but there are occasions when Basil takes a few extra strides. I am gradually increasing the time spent riding and the amount of trotting BUT I am taking it slow.
Basil is enjoying working again, although he would like to do more and I hope that over Christmas (weather permitting) I will be able to ride much more. Now I am confident that his tooth removal has not affected my ability to stop I think I will venture out on the roads soon.
Did you see yesterday's video 'Winter has arrived' on my You Tube channel.
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Until next time!