I arrived with cut up apples and carrots and put them in his feed holder. The horses were in for the day because of crummy weather so they were all interested in a piece of the apple/carrot action. We shared but Toby got the most.
I cleaned him up and took him into the indoor arena to try to capture some freedom shots. The problem is that he just wants to be around me and I had nobody to help. So I'm out in the arena with my camera up to my face trying to click away while shaking a whip that has a plastic bag at the end of it. Toby would charge down to one end turn quickly then come back straight towards me to see what I was doing with this big piece of equipment next to my face.
He was looking pretty good!
Just look at the shoulder extension in this trot!
And this photo of him turning towards me really shows excellent shoulder and hip movement. It's my favorite shot.
After his romp in the indoor arena, I tacked him up and rode him for a little while. We need to strengthen his back and hind end so I am asking him to stretch out and down with his neck and head which raises his back and engages his hind end. At this point I'm working on just getting his neck stretched out as far as I can. We are also doing many walk/trot transitions keeping him in a rounded position throughout. He did great! Once we get better strength in these areas we will start to ask him to bring his head up a little so he's not looking so much like a "pea pusher" when we trot around the arena. It's all about working in stages.
After his ride in which he received tons of praise for being a good guy, I undressed him, put his blanket back on and gave him a birthday flake of hay, some more carrots and an apple. He was pretty pleased with himself.
Happy Birthday Old Man!