Finally got back in the saddle today for the first time since last Friday. I have been so poorly with a stomach bug, just haven't felt up to riding at all. Needless to say, Diesel has really enjoyed his long weekend off, so much so that he really didn't want to be brought in from the field today. He was very unenthusiastic and I had to drag him in! Then had a real battle to tack him up (do you ever get the feeling it is 'one of those days'). I really should have predicted what would happen next, but hindsight is a wonderful thing!
As you can tell, his behaviour didn't improve at all while I was riding, he was very spooky, particularly in the CH corner, which we shied away from on three occasions. Diesel tried to throw me off a total of three times, twice in the CH corner and once as we passed the barn door. This really does show how much better I am feeling about riding him, as I ride through it and continued to work. Eventually I decided to cut my losses, and after two consecutive 20 metre circles without spooking I got off and lunged him instead, and of course he was an angel to lunge - because other people could see me then, and he never misbehaves in front of anyone! Today was the first time I felt like I was riding a recently broken 3 year old, and I hope he settles down to his normal laid back behaviour soon!
I have been a little concerned about Diesel's back recently, thinking that maybe his saddle isn't fitting very well. This would certainly explain the aggressive behaviour when I tack him up. I am fairly sure that this is just being naughty and evading being tacked up, as he doesn't mind having his girth done up in the school, or in the yard, just when he is being tacked up. Also he has always been fine to be ridden so I had dismissed the idea of a bad back or saddle problems. However, while I was riding today he did seem a little different, he kept turning his head round to the left and trying to bite my foot, and chewing his side, and he was also scraping the floor with his left foot. The flies were out in force today, which is the most likely cause of the behaviour, but it is definitely concerning me. I wanted to be sure he wasn't lame, which is why I lunged, and he was absolutely fine. So after my ride I stopped of at my local saddlery (I am very lucky to have one practically on my doorstep), to ask their opinion and see about having my saddle checked. So the plan for now is to keep riding for a week or so and monitor the situation, and to book Diesel into a saddle fitting if he is still misbehaving (more expense that I can do without at the moment, horses are so expensive!).
I have also noticed that Diesel seems to have a touch of sweet-itch or some other reaction on his tail. It has gone very scurfy and he has started to rub it, and damage the hairs. So yesterday I used some Net-Tex Itch Stop cream to help. So I will give it a go for a while, then a review!
If anyone has any ideas on Diesel's strange behaviour I would love to hear them - thank you.