For the first time in way longer than I care to even think about, I had a very riding-centric weekend. That had been my plan all along, but there for a few days it didn’t look like it was going to happen. First, on Tuesday I came home to this.
Yes, that butthole pulled two shoes in one day. He was kind enough to leave them where I could easily find them at least (he’d been playing chase with Presto up and down the fence line and spun/ran/bucked right out of them) but COME ON HENRY. He’d only been wearing them for a week and a half and my poor farrier lives like 1.5 hours away. My vet, who used to be a farrier, was out that afternoon for Presto’s tooth appointment, but he didn’t have his tools with him to nail the shoes back on. So I put Henry’s sparkly boot (that thing has already saved the day multiple times now) on the front foot with the missing shoe and told him that if he tore up the hind foot I was going to eat him, starting with said foot.
Then the next day it rained. Like that gross rain where it’s more than a drizzle but it’s not really RAIN, and it lasts for a solid 14+ hours. It soaked EVERYTHING. I was concerned that the little schooling show I’d wanted to go to on Saturday would be rained out. Not that it mattered much at that point, since my horse had 2 out of 4 shoes. But on Friday morning they gave word that the show was a go, and on Friday afternoon my farrier made it out to put the shoes back on, and suddenly our weekend was back on track.
The little schooling show was at a facility we’ve been to many times… it’s only about 25mins away from me now, it’s VERY laid back, the classes are cheap, the shows are small, the courses are soft, and they tend to let you do whatever you need to make your day a success. I wasn’t going to actually show, I was going just to jump a couple courses and get off the farm. We’ve jumped at home a couple times now but I’ve only got 4 jumps set up and they’re all single fences, so I wanted to do an actual course or two. We haven’t done that in… 5 months? Maybe more?
So I rolled onto the showgrounds at the very leisurely time of 12:30 (it was really nice to be able to get up, feed horses, clean stalls, go to breakfast, move hay, drag the arena, check my trailer tires, load the trailer, groom my horse, and still have time left over before I needed to leave. That’s literally never happened before.) and signed up for a couple of 3′ classes. Since it was such a close show, the SO opted to come with us. This is only the second show he’s ever been to, and the first one since AEC 2015, where we got in a fight and I banned him from coming to shows. I guess 5 years of time served is long enough to give him another shot? At least at a small, in-town show.
We got there when the 2’3″ was starting, so I unloaded Henry and tied him to the trailer with his hay net, and the SO and I set up our chairs in the back of the trailer out of the wind, facing the arena. Eventually they got to 2’6″, and there had been one person entered in 2’9″ by herself and then the 3′ with me but she scratched, so I got on and did a quick warmup. Henry was snorty and spooky, trotting sideways past a gate and leaping backwards at the sight of the world’s tiniest log in warmup. Yes folks, hello, this is my Prelim horse scrambling backwards away from a 4″ log as if it was set on fire by an army of dragons.
I told the organizer not to worry about setting the jumps to height just on my account since I was only there to school anyway. So we went in, did our two rounds, and Henry was super rideable. Like… weirdly rideable. Like… we added in a line at one point because I whoaed and he listened a little too well. If not for all the spooking and dolphining in warmup I’d have thought I was on the wrong horse. He did everything I asked in the ring, whether I was right or wrong. Can’t complain about that.
SO had seen just enough rounds to put him to sleep by the time I got on, so I ended up with video from about half of each round and some questionable zooming, but… it’s more video than I would have had otherwise.
By the time all was said and done I was on my horse for 25 minutes and we jumped a grand total of 23 fences between warmup and two classes. I was back home by 3pm. THAT is a show day I can get down with, and I think exactly what we needed to start knocking some more rust off.
Sunday was beautiful – 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, so I spent forever down in the barn currying more hair off of Henry and giving him a bath. He’s shedding like crazy now. I also opted for a bareback and bitless flatwork ride, something relaxed since the previous day had been more serious. The barn owner has a SoloShot which I played with for a while before losing patience and tossing my phone up on the fence to video instead. Someday I will actually take the time (all of it. all the time.) to use the SoloShot, but yesterday was not that day.
Henry is slowly but surely starting to get some of his strength back. When we first started riding again he wasn’t really able to stay off his forehand for more than a few strides, but it’s steadily improving. He’s incredibly downhill by nature so that’s always been the first thing to go when he loses some strength. It’s a balancing act of asking him for enough to build on, without asking too much or for too long and making him sore. Slow and steady, slow and steady.
I have no actual plan for the coming weeks or months, we’re just going to keep plugging along and take things as they come. It’s kind of a nice change of pace, living in a world with no pressure or timelines. I don’t hate it.