Monday, March 14, 2011

It's The Baby Steps That Count Most...

The majority of the time, I get more satisfaction from the small milestones rather then the monumental ones.  The small somewhat insignificant goals along the way to the Big Goal.  If you would have asked me a year ago, at this time, I would probably have been schooling meter+ grids and training level dressage movements in preparation for Bromont in June.  That was my short term goal a year ago.  My goal now is to be prepared with a happy, healthy, CONFIDENT horse going around his first pre-training in June. Sigh.
However - NOTHING could make me happier then being able to accomplish that new - revised - short term goal.  Bromont will always be there next year.  Chester is too talented to be screwed up by me being selfish and not changing my our goals to meet his needs. 
A small milestone was accomplished today.  We rode - for the first time in about 8 weeks.  I got to the barn and thought to myself - the only thing I wanted was a comfortable horse, who isn't moving like his legs are attached to boards.  Free, forward, no restriction in his movement.  Mission. Accomplished.  I did lunge him before I got on, just to see how he was moving.  If there was any sort of hitch in his step, I wouldn't have gotten on - but I didn't see anything but a happy horse so I decided to give it a shot. We walked. A lot.  I didn't want him 'collected' I did want him stretching and looking for the contact.  After a couple buckle laps of the arena, I slowly started asking him to accept my contact.  He almost went 'thank GOD' and accepted it willingly! Yesssss Chester!!  So I gave and he just stretched long and low and stayed that way.  After a couple circles, figure 8s and serpentines, I figured we would trot a little bit and while it was FAR from the medium trot we need for our dressage test in May - he was moving evenly and felt GREAT!
A couple of the girls were going to go for a hack as the weather today is great - spring is definitely in the air!! - and I joined them. We took them through the back fields, around the apple orchard, down the road and back between the paddocks to the barn.  Now, somewhere along the line, I would have liked logic to show up and told me: "now Carrie, how do you REALLY feel about hacking a TB who hasn't been ridden in 8 weeks on the first time out". Well logic - clearly you had escaped me.  On the way out, he was actually pretty calm (although he did spook at EVERY xc jump...sigh...can't wait till I have to make him jump them), then we turned into the field and his head came up, his neck got short and it felt like I was sitting on a rocket fueled spring that was about that <    > far from exploding.  We piaffed/passaged through the field, he balked at EVERYTHING and then literally marched, snorting and blowing at EVERYTHING down the road. God. Help. Me.  One of the girls I was with went "Um - he is definitely feeling better, I haven't seen him take an off step yet"....huh - interesting considering he was speed walking down the road.  If he was feeling any sort of discomfort, I am pretty sure it would have been apparent on that road.   He then decided it would be fun to jump over puddles, spook at the cows and hip check poor Casanova.  And you know what - I laughed at him the ENTIRE time. He LOVED it, was having a GREAT time and was the happiest he had been in ages! We got back to the barn and he gave me a ":if you thought that was bad, wait till next time" look.  I swear to God, if the horse could talk, he would be like an adolescent boy. 

Jen & Bridgette are in front and Abbie and poor recipient of
several hip checks Cassanova is on Chester's left.

So - I still remain cautiously optimistic that we are on the ups again.  For the next couple weeks, all I am going to do is walk outside as much as possible, then take him into the arena for 5 or 10 minutes, let him trot and stretch and build from there. If I thought I had to test my patience before - it will NOT compare to the test I will be doing with myself over the next couple of weeks.  Let's hope there are people around for me to hack with - I am somewhat scared for my safety at the moment with the raging lunatic of a 'dressage' horse I currently have...without bute!
Oh yea - I am so excited about today - that I completely didn't mention his new shoes!! I'll do that tomorrow.
Kick-on everyone!!


  1. Congrats! Take it slow and you'll have him built back up to good!

  2. Thanks Dude. Slow and Steady now so we can book it around XC in a couple months...I'll take the trade anyday!