Junior is calmer and more content than I have ever seen him. He seems to be absolutely LOVING this new barn. THIS is the horse I wanted. His weight is finally at a great place, too. He's loving his turnout time, I haven't had to clean a stall since I left the old place, and the BM and BO have been incredible at communication and making sure Junior and I are happy.
But alas, nothing is ever perfect. He's stiff and a leeeeetle bit off. Not injured, but stiff along his whole right side is stiff. Honestly it's not any worse that I've seen him for a while, but now I am able to concentrate on it because his overall wellbeing is so improved!
Since he's been at the new place we've had his feet trimmed by a very cool farrier, who reported that his feet were "a mess". He said his shoes were too small, his front feet were uneven, and his toes were too long. I had his shoes taken off since the footing is far superior to our old place and we don't have any shows planned. I saw a huge visual difference in his feet when I got back from vacation. If MY untrained eyes can tell the angles and proportions are better, that's major.
He's also been seen by a chiropractor. His comments were limited to one cryptic phrase like "He's fine. Just stiffer in the neck than I expected." Um... than you expected? Does that mean he's really stiff? Why didn't you expect it? Now what? Unfortunately that's all I got. I've got the BM on alert to let me know when he's out next.
Then yesterday he was visibly off. Not "lame" just off. He was not unwilling, just "off." He's so laid back right now that it's hard for me to tell how much is just lazy-legs and how much is stiffness. He doesn't act unwilling, just stiff. I took it super easy yesterday once I felt how much resistance to bending I was getting. I did ask him for a left lead canter and even that felt wonky so we only did a few strides.
Today the farrier and my BO were both there so I conned them into watching him move so I could get some more experienced opinions. Junior was put through a short time in the round pen which he didn't seem to mind.
Then we got him out on the lunge on a bigger circle. Both viewers agreed that he was a bit off going to the right and showed stiffness through that side. The BO showed me some stretches to do with him and demonstrated how much more flexible he is on the left than the right.
THEN she suggested we try this... electric thingie-ma-jig...thing... she has, which turned out to be Electro-Stimulation, the same thing my chiropractor uses on me! Once I understood what she was talking about I jumped at the chance. I think it feels great on me and really helps my soreness and stiffness, so why wouldn't it work on him, right? Well, at least it can't hurt.
Of course it's hard to tell if he liked it or if it bothered him or if he felt anything at all. There was a lot going on (three riders in the indoor on reining horses, Max being led right past him, two horses he could hear in the outdoor and we were right in the middle of it all) while we were doing it so it was hard to read his reactions. I rode him afterwards and thought he felt a lot better than yesterday. We even cantered a lap each direction. I'm going to do the Stim 1-2 times daily for 10 days and work on the stretches and see what kind of improvement we get. Here's hoping!