Today was the general breed ridden day, and it started with no rain and also almost no traffic. Unfortunately, from there it took a spectacular nose-dive when we pulled Arwen out of the stable to discover that her near hind fetlock had blown up like a balloon in the night.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I can count the number of injuries this horse has had in the past eight years on one hand, and still have fingers left over. I found a few superficial scrapes on it, but it wasn’t tender like a typical bruise and she was one hundred percent sound. I can only think she must have knocked it in the night and it filled more than would be normal for a mild knock because she was stabled. Either way, sound or not, it wasn’t going into a showing class. So with a very heavy heart I scratched her from the working riding.
I really thought we had a chance to place well, so it was a huge bummer and really got me down for a bit. But in retrospect, I can only think that God seriously did NOT want me riding that class. And it’s not for me to know why, so – even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.
We spent the morning exercising all the frustrated horses, who weren’t appreciating being stabled. We were without any grooms, so it was Rain and I for it, so she hand walked Renè while I rode the sound-but-puffy Arwen. She was feeling absolutely fantastic. Rather dragonish and leaping about madly at first, but when I realised she was sound and started to school her, she threw herself into her work with that amazing enthusiasm only she has.
We pulled Midas out and schooled him for a bit, too. He was as usual very very noisy away from his buddies,
but also very obedient, and stunning in his nice moments.
When I looked again, it was time to frantically bath and prepare for the flat classes. We iced Arwen’s leg every hour and kept her walking, and the swelling came right down. The more she worked, the better it looked. By class time, it was practically gone – and she was raring to go. I left poor Rain to frantically plait and tack up Midas while Arwen and I went for a nice long warmup.
Again, she started out electric and very hot, but focused. I’ve begun to realise that the tension and bounciness I feel at shows is generally not anxiety of any form from her. It’s excitement. This horse loves to work, and she loves to compete even more. She fairly dances with anticipation of doing what she loves. She’s never more obedient than when she feels excited, and her gaits become suddenly expressive. I just have to relax and roll with it, then she feels amazing. I finally figured this out as we were warming up and from then on she was wonderful.
We hurried back to the stables to wipe her sandy legs, slap on some polish, and quarter mark a cross on her bum. Putting that simple shape on her shining haunches put the whole world into perspective for me, and when we walked into the ring I was beaming with spontaneous joy.
Arwen enjoyed the class greatly and was an absolute pleasure to ride. She was responsive, forward and obedient, slept happily in the lineup and did her individual test beautifully. We had only one wobbly moment when I asked for trot-canter in our individual and from a medium trot she gave me extended instead, but we got the transition and the lead in the end. I guess we’ve been schooling a lot of walk-canter for Elementary this year. Oops.
Apart from that, I could not have asked for better. We returned her to the stable quiet, content, and glowing. She looked so pleased with what she achieved. We finished just outside the placings; when the judge lined us up we were standing in fifth, in a terrific strong class.
Midas was pretty much the same in his class as he’d been to school. Obedient and with nice moments, but he never shut up or stood still for a second. We were placed right at the bottom, but I was happy with how safe he felt. Tense sure, but he didn’t get strong, just really fidgety. There were some very loudly snapping flags beside the arena too, and he didn’t turn a hair. Good little chap.
That concludes the general breed. Tomorrow it’s coloured with the pintos, and after that, Nooities. Glory to the King.