I tried to help him relax with partial disengagement and stretching, which started to help. As I started to try to play with Frame, it wasn't happening. He kept bouncing on and off the contact and it was really hard for me to keep it. Eventually I decided to go back to stretching, but he wasn't having that either. He kept stopping and gaping his mouth instead of stretching down. I could tell he was getting frustrated, but I kept at it until he would stretch down and hold it for a while.
I wanted to end the session on a good note, so I tried to do what Royal loves: go for a canter/gallop on the dirt road. It started well enough, but as we were cantering along, a bird shot up next to us, causing Royal to spin and stop. I was waffling between two-point and sitting (which was stupid. I should have chosen a position and stuck with it), and being caught by surprise, tumbled out of the saddle. I tried to save myself and land on my feet, but it all went wrong and I landed on my left knee. Ouch! It hurt, but I couldn't see any damage to my breeches or boots. It was the first time I've falled off in a long time. Royal, despite being a little freaked, stayed where he was and let me get back on. We walked back a little way, cantered the other way for a while, and walked back to the farm. Interestingly, when we cantered the second time, he gave me a nice soft canter on a loose rein. It's like he remembered I was up there and he had to take care of me. He seemed to be okay, but I didn't feel like we accomplished anything. When I got home, I found these on my knee.
Hmm. So I did some superficial damage to my knee, but my boots and breeches looked fine. Well, good on Mountain Horse and FITS. They may be expensive, but won't show any damage even if you fall off on a dirt road with lots of little rocks.
Saturday was Horse Expo day, cold and rainy. I went to a very interesting Colleen Kelly talk about rider biomechanics. She was pretty funny and suggested some exercises to help with balance. I haven't tried them out yet, but hopefully they'll help. Otherwise it was shopping and looking at the fabulous living quarter trailers. Seriously, if you've got $70,000+, you could get a trailer nicer than a lot of homes.
Sunday I went back out to the farm, but Royal was REALLY not in a playing mood. He played kinda hard-to-get, which is very unusual for me. He almost always comes up to meet me, so I figured he wasn't feeling top great after our last session. We went for a walk instead, but even that was odd. He was interested in grazing, but didn't want to be touched and seemed kinda moody. Hmm. I wondered if he was feeling sick, but his vital signs were normal. Maybe he was just having an off day; it happens.
Tuesday I was hoping to do some free jumping, so we went to the arena and after I groomed Royal, I put on his splint boots. He did the exaggerated goose-step/stringhalt walk after I put on his hind boots, which is normal. The not normal part was when he didn't stop doing it on the right hind. I checked it, thinking it was too tight. No... so then I took them off. He trotted around sound, but stiff. Hmm. I did my little one-person-amateur lameness exam, stretching and flexing. He was okay with the flexing, but not the stretching. Double hmm. But, again, no lameness or excessive heat. I gave him some bute before I turned him out, which hopefully helped him feel better.
But, all I can say is "hmm." We'll see what happens.