There is a time and a place for everything. Chester's time and place is not right now. What I am about to write is going to be extremely difficult and it just rips me to pieces on the inside. Unfortunately, I am sharing bad news, when I should be excited about xc schooling on Saturday, Grandview on May 29th, the rest of the summer and Bromont 2011...
Chester's injury is one that is going to make him stay on the Injured List for the majority, if not all of the summer. We (the Boss, my vet and I) made that decision last night. The Pickle is simply still sore and needs more time to fully heal...annnnnnd there it goes 'poof'...just like that: the hard work, dedication, frustrations, achievements, goals, gone. Instantly.
There is still soreness through his hips. There is still soreness in his back. The most difficult thing for me to comprehend is why. Why did this have to happen? Why is he still hurting? What did I do wrong? Where did I fail him?
I can ride him, there is absolutely zero lameness to him at all...walk, trot or canter...however, when I ask for engagement, for him to really use his butt, he stiffens through his back and gets tense. I feel it instantly. Jumping, isn't even an option. We tried last night and he simply plowed through a tiny cavaletti.
It just isn't fair. This horse has been labeled "the horse who will never jump or event", the horse "who nobody wanted"...and we were so so so ready to tell everyone to shove it. He was so ready to go out there and show all those super expensive 'made' horses that he can kick their asses. He was confident, happy, healthy and FIT. He was loving his work. He was gaining the confidence DAILY which you need to be GOOD. He trusted me, had faith in me as his pilot, even if he wasn't 100% sure about it himself. We were a team and there was nothing that was about to get in our way. And we were so so ready...7 weeks ago. It isn't fair.
Underneath it all, I am mad. Mad that I should have taken him out of where he was sooner and then maybe he wouldn't have gotten hurt. Mad that I didn't speak up more often when I asked for his paddock to be changed. Mad that they just didn't CARE to listen to me.
So - we wait for Chester to be better. I don't know how long that is going to take. You know what I do know though? I know that my horse is special, he was a diamond in the rough. I will not do anything that will make him NOT love his job. I will not go to an event unless he is with me 110%. I want him to be happy, confident and most importantly ENJOY what he is doing. I read something once that in a nutshell said: In this sport, the highs are high and the lows are so very low. I can't agree more with that comment.
I am crushed inside that my horse isn't feeling 100%, that he is the one who deserves to be recognized and take the credit for the amount of distance we have come since October and I can't prove it to anyone. He tries his guts out to make me happy and it isn't fair that I don't get to show that off to anyone.
To try and be positive about it, this setback means we will just have more time to prepare. More time to bond, more time to get every single small detail perfected. More time to get every single point out of our dressage test. More time to trust each other on xc. More time to fine tune SJ so no rail ever falls.
Chester needs time to heal. Physically and Mentally...and you know what, so do I. The past 2 months have been hard for me. I was as high as high could be and then as low as low could be. Overnight. That's hard. VERY hard. Emotionally I have been a wreck. Partly because I blame myself, partly because I know Chester is hurting.
I AM looking forward to the summer. To seeing the kids at the barn all do well and get better each time they ride. I am looking forward to playing the role of Groom for Kelly, who I am so so so excitied for as she takes her AMAZING horses through the levels. I am looking forward to having Joyce in my corner. Always. I am looking forward to everything that lies ahead for Chester...even if that means we are on hold for a year.
And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that he gets whatever it is he needs to ensure that. Whether it be this August or next May, he WILL make his mark and shut up all the people who ever told him that he "couldn't".