Watching Brego cart my dad and that cute-as-a-button third grader around, you get the feeling that he is the sweetest, calmest horse on earth. And in general, Brego is a good guy. But he is also exceptionally dominant. He's so good natured that most of the time he goes along willingly with whatever adventure you can conjure up. But catch him when he is in a bad mood or hopped up on acorns, and he is downright aggressive.
Brego is not convalescing well. We are at day 4 of the ten day antibiotics and his leg is now normal sized. The gash has stayed open and is healing, no longer smelling so bad. Brego has been pretty much out of work, and pretty much overfed (in an effort to put weight on my TB mare who dropped about 100 pounds last month, they've been on free choice hay). He also has discovered acorns. In small amounts, the tannin is not too dangerous, but they are very high in fat and protein. So Brego is hopped up on feed/acorns/hay, cooped up in a 1 acre pasture, missing his herdmates from the old barn, and today we got a cold snap.
Enter fire-breathing monster. I couldn't even tack him up in his stall, he was literally bouncing off the walls. So I took him out and longed him in a 20' space in my front yard. The usual bucking, rearing, head tossing, threatening ensued. I kept him going walk/trot/walk/trot until he transitioned obediently and without any attitude. I had a big whip and was not shy on using it when he entered my space. He doesn't want to be a bad guy, but he is just too big or dangerous to budge an inch when he is in that mood. Then we tacked up and went for a ride.
Once he got out on the trails, he was fine. Ready to go, but not dangerous. We travelled to the next town on some pretty amazing trails. The retired, ex-engineer neighbors have way too much time on their hands and way too much excavating equipment. You could canter down these trails, they were as wide as a car. We crossed a brook and found ourselves on a gravel road nestled between white plank horse fencing of gorgeous farm after gorgeous farm. Truly horse country.
We rode for about 2 hours, mostly walk, but some trotting and even a little cantering. He is definitely not "right" with that hock, and even when longing it looked hitchy too me. And he was short on it. But the boy wanted to go, so we went, and I let him go fast where the trail was safe. He came home sweaty and loveable and much happier for the ride. On such small turnout, he needs more consistent exercise, wounded or not. And I have definitely cut his feed back. He's been like this before, during the move from Texas, so I know what to expect.
This evening, we also met another set of neighbors, the ones with the indoor arena aka my new best friends. :) They are very kind and their arena is available for hire over the winter, so I can keep up with all my dressage aspirations. I have one more set of neighbors to meet, the dressage riders with the outdoor dressage arena. I am hoping to get along well with them as well. I figure a few bottles of wine, maybe a few dozen free range eggs in the spring, and I can avoid building my own arena for a couple of years. Good neighbors, and horsey-knowledgeable folk at that, are priceless.