Thursday, my trusted assistant and groom, Mikki and I hit the road with William in tow to the 20
I was greeted by our friends and stablemates from Beyond Dressage and shared our excitment for making it this far with our horses and clients. It was so much fun seeing them again! Mikki set off to get some massages in for her clients and I got on Will to take a walk around the facility and find our arenas. The walk was fairly uneventful, lots to look at but true to his form he stayed relatively relaxed (God, I love this horse). I find ring 4 and get to work with walk laterals and some transitions from walk to halt and vis versa.
I start our trot work and he's sluggish. Well, no big deal it was 4 hours in the trailer. I'd be tired too. I start asking him to supple a little more with haunches in to encourage him to stretch out of it but then the rhythm changes. Suddenly, I have a flat tire. This never happens. For as long as I have ridden and owned this horse he has NEVER taken a visibly off step. Naturally, I panic. I hop down, and walk him all the way back to the barn to find Mikki in mid Dressage. As calmly as I can I explain what I'm feeling. She picks out his feet again to make sure we didn't pick anything up and then she comes with me to a much closer schooling ring to have a look. Sure enough there it is, but to her it just looks like locked up joints from stiffness. She stretches his legs a little while I'm on him and we start to work through it. I spent the next 30 minutes just stretching and stretching and leg yield, haunches in, move him around before the trot starts to feel better and the canter gets looser. I'm still not happy with this but I don't want to over do it. He gets a bath and another mini Mikki stretch session and dinner.
Friday morning we gave him another deeper massage it's time to go warm up. I'm breathing. I'm staying positive (well, kinda) but I'm also ready to get it done. He felt stiff and sluggish in the warm up but even. I got to work like I knew how but did had a heck of a time getting him to bring that back up for the trot. He was throwing me around something awful in the medium and extended gaits by the time we needed to head in. I took a deep breath and decided I could only do my best.
So, yeah. It definitely felt worse than it looked (except from the late changes, those looked as bad as they felt). It was not by any means our best ride this season (possibly the worst, actually) but I am so proud of the effort this amazing horse has given me. Honestly, a 61.090% is not a horrible score. I cannot be disappointed. I owe a big thank you to everyone that helped us get here:
Mikki Fallow of MikkiFallow.com for her bodywork, braiding and emotional support
Felicitas von Neumann-Cosel, my amazing and inspirational trainer
Patrick Spaulding of Patriot Shoeing Service for his amazing Farrier work
Kathryn Schiess of The Perfect Ride Bodywork for her bodywork and feedback
Dr. Mitch Lowrey of Equine Sports Medicine and Chiropractic Care for exellent adjustments
Dr. Reece Myran of Country Side Equine Medicine for being our totally amazing Vet
Cindy Adcock and County Saddlery for the most amazing saddles to ride in