So this AM, I’m ridding Big Dustina of a few weeks worth of accumulated trash
Shoutout to my trusty gal
And I happen upon P’s last set of discharge instructions from Tryon. Now, I feel like I’ve read and reread these a thousand times. I had to, to recap the visit a couple posts back. But as I’m walking back through the garage to stick these in the house, skimming the page…some words suddenly stuck a different nerve in my brain (or however science works)
Note the phrase “after 2 weeks of canter.”
So I went back and double checked my earlier self- and yep, these instructions call for 4 weeks of cantering before re-check.
So, was I wrong before? Could it be that P can actually begin turnout two weeks EARLIER than I originally thought?
I have a call in to Tryon, to be absolutely positive, but tell me what you see!
So…y’all are the best. For real. I know I don’t post a ton anymore (since there’s only so much you can say about walking in a circle for 30 minutes), but I teared up a bit at pretty much every encouraging comment I got on the last post. So, uh, ::looks at ground, kicks some dirt so you don’t see the red eyes:: thanks, guys.
Despite the bummer riding situation, Black Friday comes but once a year. And while you won’t catch me at the mall at 6 AM, if a local-ish tack store gives you a 40% off coupon if you’re outside in line before 8 AM? You make that happen.
A few barnmates and I caravanned about an hour away to Waxhaw Tack Exchange– a place I’d never been before. I had two things I needed- river boots and tall riding boots. The lining in one of my Dublin River Boots finally tore and my tootsies were feeling quite vulnerable handwalking P in sneakers. Another pair was needed, stat.
I really liked the Dublins because they lasted quite well. I bought them a little over two years ago and wore them A LOT. They go with everything. Even gym shorts.
Don’t be jealous of this outfit
I had tried the Ariat H20s before purchasing the Dublins, and they lasted all of 2 months, so I knew I wanted Dublins again. And this time I went for the fancy ones that seem even more durable. Here’s hoping they wear as well as the other pair did.
Just as gorgeous in person
Alas, they had zero riding boots in my size, so I took it as a sign that I was meant to go ahead and buy the EGO7s that I’ve been eying for, well, years. That brand is carried by another tack store that was going to have it’s own sale, so I figured I’d wait a few more days and buy them then.
UNTIL I got on Riding Warehouse’s website and saw that the Mountain Horse Sovereign Field Boots were already on sale, then marked down AGAIN with their Black Friday 25% discount. Damn it.
So those are coming to me as well. Unfortunately they only had my size in Regular height and not Tall, so we’ll see. I tried on a barnmate’s pair that was already well broken-in and they’re not as tall as I would like, but for less than half the price of the EGO7s, I feel like I can ignore the 0.75″ difference.
While I was on there, I restocked my dwindling supply of Higher Standards Leather Balm and Saddle Soap. That stuff is fantastic and the only reason why my Ariat paddock boots still look decent after 6 or so years of almost-daily use.
And because after the discount it was $17, P got a cooler.
And a new rope halter w/14 ft lead. P’s favorite thing to do in the crossties now is to shake his head up and down repeatedly for as long as he’s in there, making his leather halter and the crosstie clasps jingle, so BO started using her own rope halter to spare her from P’s music-making. The silence is heavenly, so I ordered my own.
Then I made the mistake of hopping on Facebook. Something I really haven’t done in weeks.
This immediately greeted me:
The turquoise stirrup placed in the front was clearly a trap. The whole thing was obvi a setup, as I actually needed a new girth. This is what happens to an HDR girth when it has been used for 8 years:
P: Stop taking pictures of the damn girth and WALK ME
I had actually been gearing up to get the County Logic girth, as that’s the girth S uses and it’s soooo cushy. But with the ME girth at less than half the price, and with the promise of fancy new stirrups thrown in, I couldn’t resist. So this baby is on it’s way to me:
I got the removable liner option for the extra $10 and really hope it works for P, as our XC boots have held up remarkably well. I waffled back and forth on which color stirrups to get- turquoise is obviously our thing, BUT his ITBF bonnet for the jumping phases at competitions is purple.
In the end, I couldn’t resist the turquoise, something I’m sure surprises exactly no one.
No turquoise in sight here.
Note on Majyk Equipe’s customer service: My total for the girth came to $99.99 ($89.99 for the girth + $10 for the removable liner option), and when I went to checkout it automatically tacked on nearly..
So when I left off nearly 2 weeks ago (SMH, I swear someday life will be more interesting), S was entered in his first HT at BN. Which was a pretty lofty goal, considering the horse has never seen an XC course in his life, and I’ve been riding him for all of 4 weeks. The original plan had been to school him Saturday and just enter him in the BN CT, but they schedule the CT division for after the HT division, and I didn’t want to wait until 4:30 PM to ride. So we decided to enter him in the HT with the likely plan of scratching after SJ.
Saturday was the schooling day, and they were running the BN SJ ring first. We were all on a pretty serious time crunch, with 4 horses on the team entered in BN and Trainer B doing dressage that morning with 2 horses. So S and I arrived to the SJ warmup ring at 8:30…and it was a ZOO.
S impressed me with his cool head about all the horses, as he definitely got all the crazies running up behind him and head on. We even experienced jumping a warmup jump while a horse and rider FELL right next to us after crashing through a fence. It was an exciting time down there for sure. (note: horse and rider were both ok)
We went in the ring and he was a little startled by the atmosphere in the ring. In his defense, it’s a huge ring with lots of decorations, tents, banners, the loudspeaker, etc. Jump 4AB was a 2 stride- a max height/width obnoxiously orange oxer to a vertical. In our first go-round, he stopped at 4A, received a smack, and went over with no additional issues. But he was quite wiggly down the lines, and a bit bulgy through some of the turns, so we opted to go back in for a second round.
S Schooling BN SJ - YouTube
I was happy with him in that round, though he still cut the turn from 2 to 3 and wiggled pretty hard down the line from 5 to 6. I struggle a little bit in his saddle (it’s fitted to him, so I use that one instead of mine), and am experimenting with stirrup lengths so for sure some of the issues were mine as well.
After that he got a few hours to nap in his stall, then the 4 of us headed out to XC. I was expecting S to be a bit tired, but as soon as we headed across the street and he saw the wide open fields with horses galloping and leaping, his brain seemed to turn off. Suddenly I had *THAT* horse that was jigging, bumping into horses sideways, and acting like he was about to run the Kentucky Derby.
For warmup, we all trotted the Green as Grass course, which are 18″ inches. We went single-file line, with 2 other students in front, then me, then Trainer B. We made it over jump 1, then S tried repeatedly to take off with me down the hill (again, this horse has never been on an XC course and has no experience with terrain) and I thought to myself, “Well, this is where it ends for me. On a Green as Grass XC course,” and thought of all the jokes that would be cracked at my funeral. The thought crossed my mind at least 5 times during that little course, but by the end he was much calmer.
I think this was the last jump on that course.
S Green Bean Jump - YouTube
Then we went and trotted the Maiden course (up to 2’3″) with everyone, and he had sort of figured XC out by now. He didn’t even need a lead into the water, so was much better.
Then it was time to go to the fields with the BN+ courses. I wasn’t sure if we should even attempt BN, and thought maybe we should just end on that note, but Trainer B had us try out jump 1 just to see. And he was great, so we went to 2. And watched 3 horses refuse that jump. Definitely the widest jump he’s ever seen, so Trainer B just said, “Trot, canter, gallop, and sit back.” Oh, is that all?
While we were standing around on the backside of this jump waiting for the others, a girl came galloping at the Training level version of this jump just to the right of the BN one. The horse stopped at the base, then tried to leap from a standstill…and GOT STUCK. Like, front feet on the ground on the landing side and back legs on the ground on the takeoff side. The girl got thrown off and the horse was scrambling trying to get off the jump. The horse did eventually make it off and though he got cut up quite a bit will be just fine. But poor S- first horses are falling down next to him in SJ warmup, now he’s watching horses get stuck on XC jumps. Definitely a great first experience.
Then we came to 3, which was the BN version of this:
So another quite wide one. As we were galloping up to it, I could feel the exact moment S assessed it’s width and he was just like, “Uhhhh, WUT?” and ran out to the right. So we re-approached, this time adding a little smack on the right shoulder, and he sailed over.
The next few jumps were uneventful, and the real test was going to be the water. It was a different water than the one he had already gone into on the Maiden/GAG course, and this one was much spookier- you had to go downhill into it, it looks much deeper than the other one, and has jumps/decorations around it. And while he hesitated, he trotted right in with no lead required. Good boy!
There was a tricky jump out of the water that required following a slightly uphill approach to a bench, which with some whip encouragement, he went right over.
S bench - YouTube
Then onto a rolltop to a down bank combination. The first time through he galloped the rolltop incredibly boldly and I had no idea we needed to turn right after until I saw the flags out of my right eye. It was too late to turn, but neither S or I realized that we were headed straight for an unflagged bank until we were Supermanning off of it. I was worried he would balk at the down bank as we re-approached (in a much more controlled canter), but he popped down with no issue.
S bank - YouTube
Then we continued down the hill to a rolltop set next to what looked like Swamp Thing’s Home Base. He definitely gave that water the hairy eye ball, but popped over the jump.
S rolltop - YouTube
So we went back and redid that jump, then finished with the final 2 jumps on course, a feeder with some feed bags strapped to it and the little orange and black rolltoppy thing. He spooked at the volunteer sitting in golf cart, but jumped the 2 unfamiliar jumps just fine.
S last 3 BN jumps - YouTube
So when everyone had jumped the final jump, I was all ready to hop off and give S lots of peppermints. But Trainer B had other plans. And that plan was for everyone to go around the course on their own. So off he went, then the 2 students went individually, and when they were out of sight, I started. He popped over 1 just fine, then 2, then took off galloping and I was concentrating on slowing him a bit and almost didn’t see the woman who came running in front of us, waving her arms and yelling at me to stop. I finally got him pulled up…and saw a loose horse. The student who went first after Trainer B had come off at jump 4 and her horse was trotting around. The student was ok, and caught him and decided to head back to the barn. So I headed back to the start field to let Trainer B know what had happened, and then started again.
And S was…great. Cantered through the water, popped off the ditch, was a bit easier to regulate….it was a lot of fun and I was glad I’d had the chance to do the full course.
So as we were walking back towards the barn, Trainer B goes, “You know how you weren’t going to run XC tomorrow?” And I said, “Yeah,”(thinking daaamn, he’s going to say this was enough for him), and he said, “You’re running XC tomorrow.”
It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Not really exciting to report on 30 minute handwalks with P and basic flatwork rides with S.
But here’s an exciting report: P can TROT!
I took him to Tryon last Wednesday for his final shockwave treatment and for an ultrasound. The vets watched him trot off- first trot in 30 days- and he was completely sound. Completely.
So off to ultrasound he went, which was just another beacon of good news: all the fluid has been reabsorbed, all the swelling is gone, and the fibers have filled in. It’s healed.
BUT. It’s still fragile and the vets have him on a gradual rehab plan. They stressed again that he should make a complete recovery as long as he doesn’t injure himself during rehab. So no turnout where he can go wild and twist that leg. He’s still on stall rest for at least the next 7 weeks, then he’ll go back to see if turnout and cantering are in the cards for him then.
But trotting is better than nothing. His rehab plan is as follows:
Week 1: One set of 2 minute trotting
Week 2: Two sets of 2 minutes
Weeks 3-4: Three sets of 2 minutes
Weeks 4-7: Three sets of 3 minutes
He continues to be super calm in his stall, and can still be trusted with the 4 year old:
Noah & P - YouTube
But has recently become a little wild during walks, so a small dosing of sedative will most likely be needed from here on out.
S is doing well- we’ve gone to Trainer B’s a few times and his honesty to fences has allowed Trainer B to fill in an important hole in my jump position- the hip hinge. Something completely new to me, really. When you ride P, you almost have to be behind the motion if you want to have a prayer of staying on should he decide to forego leaving the ground.
Sitting back is highly recommended
So the last couple lessons have just been grids upon grids upon grids. S is not as athletically gifted as P, so when the fences got higher (3′) the sound effects were quite hilarious. But he’s a trier and I really appreciate the opportunity to ride him.
We did play around at home with the new jump fillers Husband made! P hopped over them on the lunge once, but since then they’ve been sitting at the edge of the arena. BO told me S would give them the hairy eyeball when he’d see them, so sorry S, but now you have to jump them.
And while he did peek a little, especially to the brick side, his honesty came through and he popped right over.
S stone wall - YouTube
S brick wall - YouTube
He’ll be going back to Carolina Horse Park next weekend to do his first HT at Beginner Novice. Maybe. At first I was going to put him in the BN CT since he’s never really even schooled XC (besides the one limited outing we had a few weeks ago), but after talking to Trainer B yesterday, decided to enter him in the full HT. We’ll do the schooling day the day before and if there are issues, I’ll just show him in dressage and SJ, then withdraw him. If he’s great for the schooling day, then I won’t be regretting not running XC.
My biggest concern is the water. Yesterday after we did our million grids, Trainer B had us go through his new water complex. Much like he did when I took him to KHP for schooling, he said “Hell naw,” and sidestepped around the entire thing repeatedly until another horse led him in.
Sooooo, that could preclude him from running XC. We’ll see.
Signing off now to FINALLY go catch up with what everyone else is doing!