The plan worked beautifully! Toby and Hola yahoo'd their hearts out. Then I brought Toby into the barn and groomed him and left Hola in the arena to continue doing his thing. There are 4 horses stalled there. Being the social guy that he is, he went one by one to say hello and to check on any crumbs they may have dropped outside their stalls during feeding time. Hola thinks this is a great past time.
Toby was cleaned up, did some stretching exercises with him and trimmed his bridle path. He was feeling special. He's had a swollen right knee the past few days which I'm afraid is caused by arthritis. It's happened the past two times his feet have been trimmed and while that hoof is trimmed he flinches (or does a small bunny hop rear) when that particular hoof is lifted up to be trimmed. It's the first time that Toby has shown his age for me. Although it's swollen, it is not hot and he's putting full weight on it and trots soundly. Perhaps it's a twisting motion that causes him pain? It has me stumped. It sure doesn't hurt him when he's playing with Hola! Regardless, I'm not taking chances so I'm not riding him right now. :( I kinda miss that...
I put Toby back in his stall and brought up Hola. I groomed him of all the arena footing he was wearing after his roll, tacked him up and went back into the arena to longe him. No draw reins. He didn't do a single twitch. He marched around like a good worker bee in both directions so I went to get on him myself. He's still playing the "back-up-when-your-foot-is-in-the-stirrup" game at the mounting block but eventually he quit and I got on.
Two words describe the ride: ROCK STAR! He pleasantly motored around and flexed and bent for me in both direction. At one point I had to urge him on! He even stretched (BIG TIME) into the bit. I praised him profusely, told him how brilliant he was and we called it a day.
I was thrilled and any doubts I had from yesterday disappeared. There is NOTHING like a horse that will stretch down and into the bit!!
He looked a lot like this:
Happy! Happy! Happy!