Typically this time of year is Henry’s vacation. I like to give him a nice holiday every year, and summer seems like the best time since it’s miserable in Texas and Henry doesn’t handle the heat very well. It tends to work out pretty perfectly where we get back from whatever show we’ve traveled to for the summer, and then he gets his time off to rest and relax and recharge.
I don’t give him completely off, since Henry’s not the kind of horse that does well if you just throw him out in the field and forget about him. He’s got to be inside under fans during the day in the summer or he’ll roast alive, and he needs to stay fit and moving in order to keep his body feeling it’s best, so after owning him for this long I’ve gotten it down to a science. Usually I leisurely hack him a few days a week out in the field and do one stretchy trot/canter day. Sometimes on the hack days we take Presto with us, because why not. It’s a considerably lighter schedule than normal for Henry, no jumping and no galloping, but enough “work” to keep his muscle tone and not lose too much fitness.
Normally by the time Henry gets to his vacation every year, he’s pretty ready for it. Since it comes right after a long travel period, he usually seems to like having a bit of time to himself, without too much human attention. I don’t blame him. I’m usually ready for a bit of a break after that, too. I get to read more, spend a little more time at home (I mean, ok, I go to the barn like 5 days a week instead of 6-7), and focus a bit more on doing things with Presto. It’s a nice mental recboot for both of us before Henry and I start gearing back up for the fall season.
This year, though, Henry has been a little different. He came back from Coconino feeling so fresh that it’s kinda like he never spent 36 hours in a trailer and ran a Prelim in between. The night he got home he was tearing around the turnout, bucking and playing with the other horses (generally NOT his thing), and he’s been doing the same pretty much every night since. On our hacks he’s been much more perky and forward, and the other morning he was so wild that I had to canter him for 10 minutes just to get the crazies out.
He’s also been gravely offended every time I focus on Presto. He stares at me accusingly across the barn aisle when I’m in Presto’s stall, and watches me as I piddle around the barn. He’s not a particularly human-centric horse, so that’s a little bit odd for him. And so far this week, every time I’ve ridden him back up to the barn, he’s walked right past where I usually stop and dismount, wanting to keep going. Even during feeding time. How weird is THAT?
I considered taking him to a local h/j show this weekend and jumping around a couple 3’6″ classes, since our last jumping experience didn’t end particularly well. I don’t think he cares about that, but it might have been beneficial for me to just go jump around. But Texas is in the middle of a big VS outbreak, and there have been a lot of cases in our county, so I’m thinking unnecessary travel isn’t the best idea at moment. It also doesn’t help boarding at the vet’s house, where you hear about all the new cases long before they’re actually confirmed and released publicly. It’s spreading like crazy at the moment, and not very far from us either. Please stay away, infected flies and mosquitoes. I’m covering my horses in ridiculous amounts of fly spray, but there’s not much else I can do aside from laying low. So – no jumper show. Which is too bad, because I think Henry would actually like to go.
So instead, I’ve just kind of been… not resting him as much as I usually would. I don’t know if he just feels really good right now, or if those few weeks off in May/June were enough vacation for him. The heat finally broke, too, it’s only been 90 degrees this week and it feels AMAZING, so that might be part of it. He just doesn’t seem like he wants much of a break. I’m still keeping his schedule a lot lighter than normal, but we’re cantering more, and I’ve thrown in some bareback dressage rides.
Normally this is such a good time of year to dial back, with the heat, hard ground, and the lack of shows. Well, except for that one BIG show, but I’ve had little to no desire to go to that since they moved it to the end of August. That sounds absolutely miserable for the heat-and-humidity-intolerant Henry, especially considering it would cost me more than 2 weeks at Coconino did.
So instead I’ll just cheer on my barnmates from afar. I am a little jealous about the KHP aspect of it though, I would really like to run around the cross country there someday. Just… not in August. Yuck. Hard pass.
Henry also needs a cracked molar removed, which will force him into a (hopefully) short vacation whether he likes it or not. I’m not particularly excited about that but it needs to be done before it turns into a problem. The appointment is on the books, and I’m not looking forward to it.
In the meantime I’m just kind of piddling around, and sort of trying to figure out a fall schedule that makes sense. Picking shows has given me some crippling indecision, and I’ve made zero progress. The season will start when I’m in Europe for Burghley, and by the time I get home, it’ll be in full swing. My budget will limit me to 2 shows, so that makes it extra complicated. Thus, like a mature and responsible adult human, I’m choosing to ignore all of that completely and procrastinate on making any kind of plan. Because why not?