On Saturday afternoon, I was helping Jen set up for one of the schooling shows in her series, that was taking place the following day. I was actually really excited about it because Jen - who has a super tough time delegating anything -had asked me if I wanted to design the 7 jump courses - ranging from x-rails to Open Jumper - she needed for the show. Heck Yes!
So, we were setting up the three jumper courses and making sure they were rideable. They were. YaY Me! At one point in time as I was walking out to get Colby, I witnessed Chester doing laps of his field, at a gallop, trot to a stop and then do it all over again. When he came out of his stall after eating dinner, he didn't fall on his face. He was absolutely loving life at the moment. Brought a huge smile to my face. He is definitely feeling better. Warmed my heart.
Yesterday, when I got to the barn, Jen suggested to me "Why don't you get on Chester?" after noticing that the Duchess has some proud skin on her lower inner hind left under her ankle...which decided to start bleeding the other day...I figured I would give it a couple days...to be on the safe side.
I looked at Jen: Pardon?
Jen: Why don't you get on Chester? See how he feels.
Me: I don't know. You think it has been long enough? (In my head going, I was going to give him until the end of the year.)
Jen: He is moving like a normal horse and he clearly feels good enough to gallop around his field for 10 minutes. Why don't you get on him and see what he does?
Me: -as I feel the colour leave my face - Sure. Might as well right.
Jen: Good - just remember he might not feel how you remember him.
Me: Oh God.
I get Chester from his field and told him what was about to happen. I swear it is weird, but I always think they know exactly when you are telling them something important. Anyway, when I put the saddle on his back, he didn't flinch...and had nothing to say about the fact there was a girth being done up. Same thing with his bridle, it was like it had been 7 hours and not 7 months since he had been tacked up.
As I lead him into the arena, my heart in my throat, I gave him a pat and said 'now or never'. I walked him around the indoor once, stood on top of the mounting block while Jen held him, looked at her and started to cry. OMG - what if he felt that same way he did in February when we realized something was wrong. Really wrong. I bit my lip, took a deep breath, put my foot in the stirrup and swung my leg over Chester's back and then this happened....