I’m taking that “put her back to work” advice from the vet seriously, and starting to think about our plans for the rest of this year, and looking ahead to next year. Last week and the beginning of this week, we just did flatwork, hacking around, working on getting suppled up a little, stretching out, and relaxing back into work. She felt really happy to be working again, rather than just toodling around like we’d been doing for the month prior. So when a friend emailed about possibly going XC schooling next week, I figured, what they heck, I’ve got these schooling passes, we can at least get off the farm, hack over some terrain, jump a few little jumps. Then I got to thinking…if she can do that, why not see about going and doing Elementary at MDHT’s final starter horse trials of the year? That’s only 2’3 max, and no water or ditches or anything tricksy, so there’s no reason she couldn’t go trot all of that.
The paperwork’s printed out, and I think I’m going to go ahead and send it in. If schooling’s a hot mess, I can always just scratch down to doing a CT or even entirely. But it should be completely within our skill sets, since I’d initially hoping that that HT would be the one where we could end the year by moving up to Novice. Dropping back to Elementary seems a big change of track from that, but I’m hoping it gives us a positive experience and ends a roller coaster year on a good note.
Which led to today, when I figured maybe I should try actually jumping something on Cally, and see how she felt about doing that. I got to the barn and freaked out a bit to find her inside, thinking something had gone wonky with her leg and I’d missed a text or call or something, but our BM informed me that they’d seen her name on my farrier’s list for today, and helpfully left her in. There were a couple of horses to get done first, and my farrier hadn’t arrived yet, so I went ahead and tacked up, and headed up to the top ring to ride.
It’s been over a month since she’s been up in the big top ring, and it was windy as all get out today. So we walked around a lot, to just settle in and not be so amped. After a lap each way, she’d taken a big deep breath and relaxed a bit, other than in the one corner where something is sitting waiting to eat her. So picking my battles, we just avoided that corner. It’s a big ring, we didn’t need it. The footing was great, nicely damp and soft, and she felt quite happy making her way around, lots of big loops and circles and figure 8 type things. Given that, I just sort of turned off one of the circles and popped right over a crossrail, and I felt that moment Cally had of “Whoa, what, what’s this now?” Then she felt so happy landing, that little bit of happy bouncy forward that we just rebalanced at the canter and came on around to a little gate, which she locked on and hunted down, then on her own, she locked on to a pole on the ground half a dozen strides away, and took herself right over it.
Oh yes, she’s happy to be jumping again!
After that we took a bit of a walk break as another barnmate came into the ring. We chatted a few minutes, and i gave her a heads up we were going to try a few more fences, a roll back from a bigger plank jump to the little gate, and away we went. Cally picked up an easy canter and happily locked onto the target fence, and though she left more than a little long, she came right back and settled to find a good distance to the gate, than just as before, took herself down the bending distance to the groundpole; I then asked her to turn left and to another pole, and she politely did a lead change and went. Definitely ready to be working and jumping again! We called it a day on that, with lots of pats and praise. I think she looked pretty pleased with herself, if unimpressed with the itty bitty fence.
She got quite a few mints as we were untacking and cleaning up, and a good grooming. Most of the small bits of rainrot she’s gotten this year are now clearing up, with the help of some MuckItch and being covered from the elements with a sheet. By then my farrier was working on someone else, but I touched base and told him she was great and happily sound without shoes behind, so we’re going to keep her that way for at least one more shoeing cycle, until we’re doing more jumping of things that actually require her to jump.
Once I got home, I optimistically did some way overdue horse laundry, and got all my show pads all cleaned up. We’re now good to go, and I can entertain myself by mainlining the live stream of the Washington International Horse Show! It’s been a pleasure to watch all week, and I’m really looking forward to going to meet up with friends and watch the Grand Prix tomorrow night.