Tuesday’s ride ended up not being the ride I planned. Wednesday didn’t work out, either. And neither did Thursday. After such a fun and learning weekend, and with a show coming up, it wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for.
First, the problem: the time of night. It honestly has nothing to do with me taking Amber away from her food. Over the years we’ve spent together, that’s really never bothered her. It’s the specific time of night – juuuuuust getting into dusk.
At the old place, I think it became one of Amber’s biggest fears. Not only were the trees enclosing the arena, but the birds were fluttering everywhere, and she couldn’t see them, or they’d suddenly fly overhead, and at dusk I think it really scared her. Going out to an open arena hasn’t changed this much at all. It will only take time and good experiences.
It’s safe to say that didn’t happen Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m positive it was 80% the time of night, and 20% that I put spurs back on. I also could not ride on Tuesday to save my life. She was also trotting HUGE and I could not sit it so….it was a bit of a failure all around. I feel more like one, because I didn’t remember about the time of night early enough, and I didn’t dial it back. I made her keep going, even though I know that pausing and giving her a breather usually helps better. I did do one last attempt, just to let her reach down for a bit of stretchy-ish trot, and she relaxed and it was so much better so I hopped off on that note.
I do know that with consistency and confidence-building rides she should get over her fear of dusk. But this week, with rides that were supposed to soothe her muscles, was not the time for it. I do feel like I failed her because I wasn’t paying attention. Granted, she does not hold a grudge, but I feel I failed because I should know this about her. I should have noticed. Because yes, she’ll need to get over that someday, but we have a long time to be able to do that.
So Tuesday was a bust, so I stepped out Wednesday with a “we will just lunge” attitude and have a nice easy time. Well that didn’t happen, either. Not the exact dusk time, but kind of close to it, something startled her very badly, and she nearly pulled me across me the arena. And proceeded to clunk herself.
However, I actually don’t know if it was done during lunging or sometime during the stormy night because I only noticed it in the morning. So, I grabbed her ice boots, and iced her leg. There was no heat, and seemingly no tenderness when I pushed on it, and she didn’t take a lame step, either. None all day Thursday actually. The bump feels more on her canon bone than any ligaments or tendons, but I feel it’s best to be cautious. I’d intended to ride her Thursday – just a walk, but intermittent storms hindered those plans. Perhaps it’s good I didn’t ride though considering Tuesday and Wednesday…. What I did find cute was that she sniffed and looked longingly at the crossrail after Tuesday’s ride. It was quite funny.
Either way, I feel pretty bad about it. I feel like I let her down because I should know better. I feel that her clunking herself was my fault. But, I also know that we have to take the times we fail with the times we succeed. And while those days were not good days, we have to be able to put that emotion aside and give it another go. Because if there was anything I learned while training the young ones, it was that sometimes you just had bad weeks. Bad months, even. Horses aren’t machines, no matter how much or often they try to be consistent for us. And while Amber is seven and not a baby brain-wise by any means, it’s a new discipline for her. Two, really, if you count our little jumping. So I have to understand that both of us can get overwhelmed with it all.
So, while the past few days I’ve felt like I’ve let her down, I’m going to get back at it this evening and just go for a nice walk. In the arena, to let her muscles work and to make sure she’s not lame and to ice some more. Just in case. She’s still got weight on it, walks fine if perhaps a little stiff – though everywhere, not just that limb – but is still her usual self and loves her scratches and nickers at me to give them to her. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem much to worry about, but I’m still going to be careful.
On a better note the patterns for the show came out today. The club likes to post them 2 weeks early, so I snatched the dressage tests up so I can start studying what I’ll need to be able to do in two weeks.
The purpose says to “introduce the rider and/or horse to the sport of dressage. To show…..proper geometry of figures in the arena with correct bend (corners and circles).” Uhhh….let’s just say I will fail at the geometry of figures. Math was never a strong point of mine. So being able to see how large a 20 meter circle is? Eh….not really. Oh, well. This is supposed to be fun!
I also legit salute in this test. Probably because it’s USDF. Either way, I think that’s probably going to be the funnest part of the test for me. No idea why. I even salute in my western dressage pattern. One thing’s for sure, though: it’ll definitely be interesting.