On Sunday I woke up early, ready to ride Drifter early so I’d be ready for dressage scribing duties before 10.00. One of the first things I realised as my senses slowly turned up for their day’s work was that I could hear heavy rain. Then I realised I didn’t know if he’d been turned out in a fly-sheet or a light waterproof. Was he going to be too wet to put a saddle on?
The rain was pretty heavy on the drive over but when I got there I found his body was dry, so I set to with my grooming kit. Once he was tacked up I threw another waterproof sheet over him to get us to the indoor school. It was really rather wet. Drifter is not really keen on wet, in any situation, but once I got him inside and took the rug off (and my raincoat) he seemed much happier.
I got on and he felt so very forward and willing and free through his back. He felt more like my horse again. His walk swung along happily… until he suddenly tensed up. Even as I was thinking “Oh **** what’s he done now?” he relaxed again and I realised we’d gone under a leak in the roof and a big cold drip had suddenly attacked him. There were quite a few substantial leaks and he wasn’t going to risk trusting them again! He snorted at them and headed away from them, while I, just as determined, insisted that he at least had to go near them, even though I didn’t make him go under them again once I’d realised where they all were and just how much water was pouring through them!
We did about five minutes of very forward walking (well most of it was forwards, apart from arguments about how close to drips it was safe to go) and he managed to offer a reasonable bend on each rein and happily went in a much better outline than he’s offered recently. He seemed so comfortable with this that I asked for a trot earlier in the ride than I have recently, because he felt like he might want to trot. And he trotted so much more nicely than he has for weeks. It was reasonably balanced and in a reasonable shape and he didn’t try to stop. I bought him back to walk and tried the same on the other rein, and the improvement was there also, so we did more trotting in both directions. We did almost five minutes of almost constant trotting and it felt so much better. At one point he even chose to go beautifully on the bit. The trot time we’ve had in the last few weeks has all been either totally head-in-the-air-hollow or nose-in-the-dirt-on-the-forehand so I hadn’t dreamed he would have this for me today. He would happily have offered more, but I brought him back to walk and cooled him off. I felt although we only did about 12 minutes (rather than the 21-22 I’d been planning to aim for) he’d done such quality work I didn’t want to do too much too soon. Perhaps I should have done another 10 minutes walk after the trotting but I felt we’d both enjoyed what we did so it was a good place to stop. Also I was aware that I still had scribing duties to prepare for and time was ticking.
Once I had him back in his nice dry stable, untacked and fed him an apple, I went off to get sorted to scribe. But unfortunately so many entries had withdrawn because of the weather that the show was cancelled.
So I didn’t get to try my hand at scribing, which was disappointing, but it would have been so much more disappointing if I’d been going to ride in the show, and at least I hadn’t bathed and plaited up and dressed up for it. Ah well. So bad luck to those of you looking forwards to a post about scribing – you may have to look elsewhere because I hope that by the time there’s another chance to dressage, D and I will be back on our A game and I’ll be heading down the centre-line rather than sitting looking at it.