24 hours, makes a big difference.
Last night, Chester was pretty good...all things considering. I was able to keep his head down, although not full engaged...we resembled an alpaca with an elongated neck...but, that was a million times better then it was on Wednesday night, that is for sure. I will take alpaca over giraffe any day.
Chester is quite the emotional dude who likes to have a job to do. When he doesn't have a job to do, he gets well...grumpy. I noticed it a little while ago (again a sign I feel like a total idiot for not noticing sooner)...ears back in the crossties, not looking happy when I am fussing over him. (He is a complete Metrosexual and if there was a 'spa' for horses, he would be a regular and get his hooves done every 4 weeks). I brought it up with a couple of the people at the barn and their responses were the same. He probably ISN'T happy right now - he hasn't felt the greatest, hasn't been ridden in 2 weeks and is more than likely bored out of his mind. I am sure he would love to go out and jump all the scary xc jumps tomorrow, but unfortunately for him, he will continue to play in the sandbox for a couple more days and on Sunday (depending on how his canter is tomorrow, because we haven't cantered yet), we might jump a couple smaller SJumps instead. The comment was made that the Pickle made its appearance once I had given him the reins. As we were finishing our stretches in the crossties, he was relaxed, happy and that twinkle in his eye was back. I feel like telling myself to be patient and give him a couple days until he is back in fine form. I am now aiming for a jump clinic on May 9 and then off site xc schooling May 16 in prep for our First event on May 29...but, if he isn't ready; I. Will. Not. Go.
I believe in giving this horse every single opportunity to succeed and perform at his best and help him feel the best that he can. I believe that although Chester is not the 'ideal' event horse, he is gangly, all legs and neck, no chest on him at all, that I have a diamond in the rough.
My greatest desire for this horse, is to have a good experience in life and to love and be confident in what he does. I don't expect him to go out and win every event he goes into....however I do expect him to go out there and gain more confidence every time he does.
I figure, if I do my part and give him every opportunity, provide him with confidence in his ability, remember to breathe and ride him to the best of my ability, he will be happy. Realistically though, if I can get through a dressage test, xc course and SJ without too much spookiness and drama, then I will be happy. If I can make that happen this year, then I can almost guarantee next year we will come out with fire behind our eyes...