Our plans to continue our XC schooling on Sunday got dashed when it decided to rain for most of Saturday night. The course was just a little too wet by morning, but since we were already there, the facility owner allowed us to make a Plan B: jumping lessons in the arena. It would have been great to get back out on XC and try to correct the mistakes of the day before, but none of us can control the weather. At least we were able to get back on and jump some stuff. I can definitely always use more lessons, in any form, and it was good for me to be able to jump some things to keep rebuilding the confidence from the day before.
Henry seemed to feel just fine despite our mishap on Saturday, but I was pretty body sore. My previously-acquired sprained ankle still hurt a bit, but the main problem for riding was that I seemed to have tweaked a muscle in my back in our fall on Saturday. Well, my whole right side was a little battered. I had bruises from my hip to my thigh, and I was sporting a pretty gross dent toward the outside of my quad. My back felt like I’d gotten punched in the kidney, which… I guess I kinda did. I’d expected to feel a little worse though (don’t worry, by Monday I definitely felt like I’d been hit by a bus, then a semi, then a train).
Mostly the problem was whatever soft tissue runs from the middle of my back to my hip. It was pissed. Trotting was relatively awful, but cantering wasn’t bad, and jumping seemed fine enough as long as I kept my body straight and still. Between the sprained left ankle and tweaked right side of my back, it kinda evened out? I was sore, but capable enough, and I wanted to jump.
Of course, since we’d planned on XC schooling the whole weekend, I’d only brought my XC tack and gear. Henry had to wear his XC boots and his XC bridle, and I had to wear my skull cap. I wasn’t sure how he’d do jumping in the arena in his Dr Bristol full cheek. In the past I’ve had a hard time getting him in front of my leg even in just a plain loose ring, hence the swap to the hackamore. That was over a year ago though, and the horse I have now is a bit more forward-thinking.
I actually liked jumping him in the Dr Bristol a lot, and Trainer agreed. He was more adjustable, and I could get him back quicker and more easily and then let him go forward again. I did have to be careful to not pull, because it was easier to shut him down in that bit than it is in the hackamore. We’re definitely going to experiment more with showjumping him in that bit, or trying him back in a plain loose ring again. Training is an evolution, and if he’s at the point where changing something up is what works best for the horse I have now, I’m certainly open to it.
We jumped a few courses set from T to P height, and also played with adjustability on an outside 4-stride to 4-stride or 5-stride to 4-stride line. Henry was actually really good, jumping well, and seemed to be completely undeterred (both mentally and physically) by what happened on XC the day before. That made me feel loads better. I didn’t hurt him or ruin him. Bless that little horse, he’s a saint.
All in all it wasn’t the stellar, hit-it-out-of-the-park kind of weekend that we always want, but I came home with a lot. A lot to think about, a lot to work on, a lot to be grateful for, and a lot of motivation.
I also have to say, it’s so fun having a front row seat to Hillary and Dobby’s newfound partnership. That horse is learning so much, he gets better and better every time out, and he’s really found his confidence and understanding in his new job. Watching him and Hillary evolve and start to trust each other is so cool, and makes me kind of miss having a green horse. I love this part, when they’re learning so fast. Dobby is smart, and he’s taking to the job really well. Those two are going places, I think! It definitely makes me ready for Presto to be 4.