Anna has a lesson on Thursday with Jen. I was only able to watch the first ten minutes before I had to leave and from what I saw, Phoenix looked good but excitable. They had just started trotting an x and he was offering lead changes on the off side which is something he hasn't really done since he started work again. When I was showing him, his changes were almost automatic but he hasn't done that for Anna.
I had assumed it was because A) she wasn't doing much with him in terms of jumping and he didn't have to and B) his arthritis was hurting him and it was hard. I have schooled changes on him during the few times I've ridden him and they've been good. We have changed his herbs around, and he's on two strong anti-inflammatory/arthritis herbs, turmeric root and celery seed. I've noticed that he's moving better and is off daily bute. We've also added dried nettle leaf which is a vitamin/mineral/all around good herb. I've also started taking it myself to see if it helps my general health. The caveat with the nettle is that it makes them feel a little too good sometimes and unfortunately Phoenix hit that point.
I had told Anna this, and suggested that she lunge him a bit if he had a couple days off. Well she didn't ride him Tuesday or Wednesday and didn't lunge before her lesson on Thursday. He bucked her off twice. Naughty, naughty boy. The second time she landed on her hip and ended up going to the ER. Nothing broken, just badly bruised.
My initial reaction was to ride the snot out of him, but then thought that maybe he was sore and that's why he was bucking. Checked him out Friday, and he seemed fine so I got on. He was moving great and really worked up a head of steam at the canter. We had to do lots of lateral work at the trot and walk to calm down, but we ended on a good note. Today the massage therapist was out and I had him checked just in case. She said he felt fine, just his normal level of soreness and suggested another herb that tends to work well on TBs, skullcap. It tends to level them out and focus them a bit. I'm going to order some and hope it works. And on Jen's orders I'm going to ride Phoenix during lessons tomorrow and school him over fences under supervision.