When I got Eclipse out today (Tues) I hopeful that things would end better than they did last ride. We first went to the round pen where we played at liberty. He seemed to enjoy moving his feet and did not seem encumbered with any stiffness or limp. One thing that Eclipse does well is draw in to the inside of the round pen at a canter and change leads as he heads out in the new direction. We played with stick to me as well at a trot. Once we got warmed up, I climbed aboard in my Circle Y saddle. We moved off at a trot and there it was again... the limp! So I scratched my head and dismounted. I approached Tamera Woods a fellow boarder who also happens to be a certified Equine Masseuse and asked if she would look into Eclipse's mystery limp. After a good rubdown she had to report that his right front shoulder is to blame. One thing is for sure, when he gets warmed up and then stands for ten minutes or so he definitely walks off stiff. I gave Eclipse his evening food after his rubdown and decided to re-approach tomorrow.
Wednesday was a little busy with training and lessons and with Eclipse's soreness I felt it was best to do a little ground work rub him down again and let him rest today.
Thursday I loaded up Eclipse and headed to a neighbors property to introduce Eclipse to his first Cow!. My thought was even if he was still stiff in his shoulder I could still work with him on the ground and get him confident with cows. We got to the new barn and off loaded from the trailer and started to explore. It was a quiet cow farm with a cute renovated barn. It had a couple of stalls and a chicken coop with, you guessed it...chickens! Eclipse was not so sure of the chickens, but they were curious about him. Eventually Eclipse dropped his head and sniffed the fine feathered friends that were curiously pecking at him through the chicken wire. After the chicken encounter we went off to the cow pasture to warm up and find our bovine friends. The small pasture contained two, year-old calves, that of course wanted to hang out in the scary end of the pasture. The wooded end! We inched closer to the cows who were laying quietly by the fence. With Eclipse more concerned about the woods behind the cows, I was fearing that when the cows did get up to move I would see an instant replay of the deer on the trail ride, but this time I was on the ground. Bracing for that moment the first cow rose to his feet, to my surprise Eclipse just changed his focus from the woods to the cows. I urged him forward towards the cows as they moved off. We traipsed up the pasture after the calves building his confidence by letting him follow. At this point I was pretty certain that Eclipse was not going to bolt so I saddled up and got on. As I warmed him up I was sensitive to see if the limp will come back today. So far so good. Once i felt I had Eclipse's mind we ventured on to the cows. WE eased near the woods where they like to hang out. As we approached they once again got to their feet and started to move away. It didn't take long for eclipse to figure out this game... follow the smelly cows! I left my neighbors place feeling pretty confident that Eclipse will not be hanging from the rafters of the Murfreeboro Coliseum if cows are a required task!