I’m starting to think that Henry really IS in cahoots with the weather gods. It’s just not possible for a horse to get his way this completely, over and over and over again.
Somehow he found out that I had signed us up for two dressage classes at the local Thoroughbred rescue’s benefit show. They didn’t offer any jumping classes high enough, but they let you write in whatever dressage test you wanted, so I happily sent in our entry for USEA tests Training A and B. It’s hard to find schooling shows in town that will let you do eventing tests. This was going to be perfect practice.
Or it would have been, had it not started raining last Tuesday and kept right on going through Thursday night. The venue had no choice but to reschedule the show for November, and I swear I heard Henry snickering from his stall, 20 miles away. But a cancelled dressage show didn’t get him out of regular rides, so on Saturday morning I showed up ready to do a dressage school anyway. As soon as I got there the main barn worker told me that he’d been an absolute NUT in turnout the day before, galloping and spinning and leaping and whirling around for almost an hour. First thought: I wonder how many shoes he has left? Second thought: I wonder which part of himself he managed to hurt? Because this is Henny. Those two things are pretty reliable.
I got him out to find that he’d managed to keep all four of his shoes (small miracle) and he appeared to be free of obvious injury. Suspicious. Very suspicious. So I started currying, and he just about hit the floor when I got to the right side of his back. Aha. I knew there’d be something. Pretty much the entire length of his psoas on the right side was super tight and sore. Obviously all those airs above the ground had caused someone to tweak his back. I got to work and starting stretching, rubbing, stretching some more, and whipped out his massager. It got better as I went, so I decided to hop up and go for a long bareback walk to help loosen everything up. After that there was more rubbing, stretching, and massaging, and by the time I put him up it was significantly improved. Nice try, Henny.
On Sunday I had signed up to jump judge at a schooling horse trial a couple hours away, so I was at the barn at dawn to fit a ride in first. He was still tight in his psoas, but much improved, so he got a quick 10 minute massage and stretch, then we went out for a dressage school. He felt tight at first, mostly in the lateral work, but improved quickly and actually managed to give me some good work. More massage, more stretching, and I tossed him in his stall to have his breakfast then headed off to meet Bobby so we could carpool to the show.
I always forget how much I like jump judging. I wish these venues were all closer to me so it was easier for me to do it more often. Sitting in the woods for 4-5 hours with a walkie-talkie, watching horses go by… there are worse ways to spend a Sunday. I was also slightly horrified to find that the Prelim jumps did not look horrifying to me at all, even up close and personal. What. Is. Happening.
So while we didn’t actually get to show this weekend, we at least got to go TO a show, see some friends, and get some volunteer time in. Someday we’ll actually make it to a dressage show, despite Henry’s best efforts. Maybe.