I’m feeling a bit down. D is showing improvement, but the going is slow and I’m getting physically and mentally exhausted by those raised trotting poles. We’re so far from managing nice trotting under saddle and he and I have both put on weight since the break from our usual workouts, so his saddle’s tight and so are my jodhpurs. Around us, the other riders and their horses practice the dressage tests we were supposed to be rocking this summer. I sigh wistfully as I see them worry about the accuracy of their canter transitions. This was supposed to be the summer we did the tests with canter in and we can’t even manage a proper trot.
So I’m writing this to cheer myself up
- I have a gorgeous horse
- He could be a hell of a lot worse off than he is, or he could be failing to show improvement.
- There was a moment during the in-hand trotting … the curve of his neck, mane standing up in the wind, black sheen over muscle, movement and power. Close enough to touch but far enough to show respect. We were herd.
Well as I say, the saddle was getting tight. The shims that the saddle fitter inserted when she last saw us were making the front sit up too high and I thought – I’m not seeing her again until September and I really can’t get her out again now (for one thing that would be another day off work). I took the saddle home to clean, and while I was there, had a little go at taking it apart. I did not do this without a healthy dose of fear, I have to say! Also I watched the Bates videos again first. It went OK. It’s basically 1 screw on each side, then everything slots and velcros together (or apart, depending on your point of view). Shims removed, saddle back together and sitting much better on his back. Yay me! Another great perk of having a Bates.
If and when he loses the weight no doubt we’ll need the shims back in again. Whether at that point I should try putting them back in or wait for professional help I’m not so sure. It’s more challenging to position something correctly than just yank it out 😉 Anyway, judging by our current workouts we’re a long way from him slimming down, so I won’t worry about that yet.
I probably ought to cut his food. My head says cut the feed. My heart says … but… there’s so little grass in his field … he needs good feed to heal … it’s his favourite bit of the day … you’re comfort eating, why shouldn’t he?*
To be honest I suspect my heart is making excuses to cover its fear: if I cut his food it makes this real. He’s not just having a bad few weeks – it’s an official problem. So he’s still on his usual feeds.
Back on the mission of cheering myself up: I’ll be volunteering as a dressage scribe at the summer show on Sunday. If I can’t ride the tests at least I can learn more about them from the judges’ booth. Of course I’ll share all about it afterwards, although I imagine it will be an exhausting day so it might take me a while to get a post together about it. But still, watch this space 🙂
Also on the “watch this space” front I’ve been bringing a camera to work more often. Not to photograph the flora and fauna of the office, but to capture the wildlife on campus. There are a lot of fledgling birds learning about life and the squirrels are quite active too. While the undergrads are away, it’s not just the staff who get out under the trees more often. At some point I’ll pick some of the better photos to share.
*Sometimes my heart is a little bitchy.