As a horse owner, I pretty much understand that I am one step from disaster. One slip, one spin, one twist, and everything that I've spent years, and months and weeks and days and hours and minutes striving to perfect could change. I mean, have you ever seen horses as they prep for a jog at a 3-day? Pretty much the closest thing to bubblewrap that you'll find.
When Prophet slid a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't that it was dramatic or raised any red flags right then, it was the nagging feeling that I'd lost a bit of my horse's giddy-up. Teddy's situation was burning a hole in the back of my mind, and I just couldn't help but worry... and worry... and worry. See, Ted was on course for the World Games (not with me of course) when he started stopping a bit. He transferred riders and kept stopping, and stopping more, and was a little off, but nothing that was apparent. Finally it was discovered that the injury was in his stifle and that he'd never make a full recovery (to run at the advanced level)... a situation I hate for him, but loved for me since it meant I got to 'play' at the upper levels for a bit on a horse where prelim was like a Sunday stroll.
One of my best friends also had a similar situation with a stifle injury where the horse was 'just not right'. This time the injury was more severe and resulted in a full retirement at age 8 for a VERY promising horse.
UGH... erase. memory. please.
The thing that was nagging at me was that although I'd gotten P checked out thoroughly, and that he was sound and jumping and everything, he just didn't have the same fire. The same 'jump' off my leg when it was time to school a line or gallop up a hill. The same lightness and jazz in his dressage work.
I sort of put my plans for what to do over the next month on hold and scheduled myself a show jump lesson with Melissa and a cross country lesson with Betsy Freedman who I'd never ridden with before. I planned to just listen to my horse and see how these two things went. If he said he needed a bit more time, then it would be back to the drawing board with more diagnostics. If he said "yeehaw! Now this is what I'm talking about!" then I'd beg my way into a late entry at Difficult Run in Virginia to run an abbreviated course, and then full tilt to 5-points.
Thursday's lesson with Melissa went really well. We worked alot of footwork exercises and some oxers at width. We did a trot in line of 3 X bounces, canter poles, and a line of trot in to an X one stride to a big, honkin oxer. P jumped better and better, although he did get a bit bored and heavy. I was very pleased with his jump and his desire to be there.
Sunday's Cross country lesson was JUST what we needed. Betsy definitely takes no prisoners and was perfect to whip us into gear. Lots of footwork again, and Prophet ATE IT UP. Apparently a jaunt around the cross country was all we needed. I GOT MY PONY BACK! He was a bit strong (which I was super happy about), yet really rideable when it came to the fences. All in all, it was fantastic for us. I can't wait to take from her again.
Below is a short video from Melissa's. You can't really see much of what's going on, but you can see how bored the Diddy is! :)
I will post lots of videos from the XC lesson later tonight.