Monday, August 15, 2005

The Good and the Bad

Had a clinic this weekend. Since Zoe is still in her cast, she stayed home for this one, so it was just Jim and me. I should have known from the start that Jimmy would not be a happy camper on Saturday. He didn't want to load in the trailer and was quite persistant about it. However, after about 5 minutes of disagreements, he did go in nicely. We hosted lunch at AW, so I took my time and ate with everyone else (I was the first ride after lunch), then went and tacked Jimmy up. Our warmup consisted of one walking lap around the outdoor arena, and then DB showed up. That was my second signal that Jimmy wouldn't be a happy camper. He didn't get his preferred warmup time! He can be pretty unforgiving about that.

And so this ride was set with the tone of an unforgiving older horse being crotchety about not being warmed up properly. He did okay with the early part of the lesson, when we were still in "warm up" mode, but as soon as we switched to work mode he got tense. For the next half hour we would try to encourage him to release his jaw, supple, come through. For the next thirty minutes, I felt like I had a brick at the end of the reins. He was not about to be loose and relaxed for me. We tried shoulder-in and he did it with his head stuck out, and when I asked him to supple, he got more tense and slowed down. We tried simple changes with more resistance. DB wanted me to ride with a whip to get him to move forward -- it only succeeded in making him quick and more tense. It was not fun at all. Finally, he gave me permission to drop the horrid whip and Jimmy relaxed a bit. He still refused to be supple and through. I couldn't wait to get off of Jimmy. Halfway through I wanted David to get on him so he would understand that nothing I did made Jimmy relax, but I tried to work through it myself. Our very last simple change was decent and then the lesson was over.

Unfortunately, a bad ride affects the rider emotionally. I was depressed the whole time afterwards. I felt awful and nothing was fun after that. At least I could focus on videotaping the other rides afterwards and that kept me from sulking a bit. Too bad the other rides were the babies. That made me think a lot about Zoe and how behind she is. Stuck in her stall for 2 weeks. Even with that, she was already behind the others. I felt like I am wasting her. She should be out there showing her stuff already! But then I remind myself that I have only been riding her since April. The others have been ridden for about a year now. Next summer is going to Zoe's year. And looking forward to that makes me excited.

I take Zoe to the vet tomorrow morning to have the cast removed -- FINALLY. I am more worried about the rub sore from the cast than I am about the heel at this point. It is a nasty sore. I hope there is no scarring and no damage of other parts due to the rub. Of course I am anxious for the confirmation that she will not have any lameness or any problems with the leg. I hope to heaven she is 100% after this. That beautiful gait.....

Oh, I should end on my positive note, and that is Sunday's clinic on Jimmy. It started out better with him getting on the trailer. However, an unfortunate thing happened and that is that the lead rope slipped off his back and he stepped on the end of it with his hind leg, felt the pull backward and pulled his head up and started backing out like a maniac. He hit is head on the trailer, taking a tiny bit of hair off above his left eye, but worse is he back 3 strides out of the trailer and smacked his rump against the corner of the barn doors. Huge tufts of hair stuck on the edge of the door. He scraped off quite patch of hair, but it was all superficial and caused no real problems. He went back on the trailer with no problem. So, before Sunday's lesson I made sure to warm Jimmy up the way I normally do, nice and slow and long and deep. We had a perfect warmup and by the time DB got to us, he was stretching over his back nicely and being very cooperative and happy. My old Jimmy was back. We had a quite nice lesson. Shoulder-ins, travers, leg-yield, simple changes, walk pirouettes all were done well. Jimmy just felt great. Our timing for the simple changes has improved a great deal, so I do expect better scores on those in the next show. Whoohoo!

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