I've decided to give Rogo four days off. He's been ridden 5 to 6 days a week all summer, and lately I've noticed that although he is sweet and willing to meet me, get tacked up and go out, etc., his energy level is dropping. I thought the break in the heat might help him, but it hasn't. I rode two days ago and in some respects it went very well - lots of canter work, holding his canter, bending nicely, trotting over cavelletti, but...he just doesn't have any bounce or joy in it. Not unhappy, not sour, but my gut is telling me to back off before it gets there.
One thing that we're missing is hacking out. He's never been ridden outside a riding ring, except for a little bit in an adjacent pasture. Doug and I HAVE to take he and Savanah for some hacks before we go back to Cheryl's the first week of Oct. My goal is to go for a beach ride with him before he heads to winter quarters. This could be a little more challenging than it sounds for a quiet horse like him. He isn't a bucker or rearer or spooker, etc. etc. His one bad habit is that he'll run for the barn when he's being longed if he gets unhappy with it and he'll try to run for the barn when ridden occasionally. He hadn't done it in months until I tried riding him bare back last week, but then it popped up again. When I led him on the beach earlier this summer he ran from me when we turned for home - not to the barn or the other horses - but to a patch of clover. He isn't the least herd bound, so that's in our favor.
I'm hoping getting out of the ring for 'fun' riding will be more interesting for him. He's worked really hard this summer and made a lot of progress. My other thing to try is nutrition. I've increased his grain again and I'm putting him back on alfalfa cubes. The later is Cheryl's suggestion - he may need more protein than he's getting.
A final note - Anky has dropped her ridiculous law suit against Astrid Apels. The up side of that story is the huge amount of bad publicity garnered by Anky and her husband for their training methods, and their bullying behavior.