We go up, around and down 3 times right now and tonight will be the first time we attempt 4 (depending on the weather, it is super HAAT and humid here today)....now, the hill itself takes about 60 seconds to get all the way up...it is a gradual incline and pretty 'easy' in terms of cardio. What I am hoping to do by the weekend is go up, down and around, all at a trot 2 times...right now, we walk down. Also need to add in some longer straight trot sets, which will start tonight. This horse, is such a tourist. I am finding there is a very fine line with him when it comes to keeping my reins long enough so he is paying attention to me and short enough that he doesn't get pissed and start shaking his head. I use these hacks to really connect with Chester and honestly, to work on my position...heels down, shoulders back, looking UP and WHERE I WANT TO GO...staying balanced in 2 point...I try to do most, if not ALL the trot work in 2 point. Helps TONS with my balance and it keeps me off his back. I find myself holding mane (I'm not embarassed to say it!!) to help balance me a little bit - AND it helps for any of the sudden side steps that he is so fond of doing. My other hand, is usually on his neck, patting and telling him he is a good boy. He likes to snort a lot and I think he is feeling pretty good. I am hoping to get the all clear to go into the ring on the weekend and do some grid work over trot poles...
Last night, we were setting out on our jaunt and came across some of the workers the family farm hires - SIDEBAR - the barn where Chester is living, is part of a farming family. The fields that we hack around are their fields and like every farming family, they hire additional resources as needed during key parts of the year. So - last night as we are coming up the middle of 2 hay fields, there is a truck and about 5 or 6 people working out in one of the fields...like 200 yards away. Well, you would think it was the second coming and the people were 5 headed monsters who eat horses. Imagine my surprise when we are happily trotting along, then all of a sudden, Chester sees said monsters, plants his feet, throws his head STRAIGHT up into the air like the giraffe he thinks he is, snorts, jumps 12 feet to one side, spins and tries to hightail it back to the barn. Repeat x3. Now, I have absolutely how I am going to get this chicken shit of a horse around a cross country course. The advise I have gotten includes: big spurs, big crop, ride very forward, and a neck strap. Holy smokes, he is going to get a beating the next time he tries something like that.
His back is a million times better - thanks to the horse strength robaxacet - AND a dressage saddle that actually seems to fit him much better - which happens to be a Stubben, which happens to be pretty comfortable. The much dreaded blistering has finally made the scurf appear, which means the blistering is happening as it should. It took about 4 'blisterings' with the dish soap for it to become visible. So, now it is once every 3 days that the dish soap is to be applied. He friggin HATES it, but as long as he can munch on grass while it is being scrubbed in there, he seems to tolerate it. It is almost as though he knows it will do him some good.
If is it one thing I am not, it is patient. Chester's rehabilitation is a good exercise for me in patience. If it takes him 6 more days, 6 weeks, 6 months or a full year for him to be better, then that is what he gets. I'll listen to him (and my Vet) and what he (they) say, goes.
Saturday - was supposed to be Chester's big debut...but rather then his debut, he will get the day off and I will assume my role as groom for Kelly and her amazing horses. The other 'young gun', Tiki will be making his debut and I KNOW Chester will be cheering him on from his field and wishing he was right there with him!!