Well guys, guess who’s entered in an actual event?
I got to looking at the weather forecast and the temperatures actually look pretty promising for the MeadowCreek show in two weeks. Mid 80’s in Texas in June??? That’s just not a thing. Normally we’re at or near triple digits by now. But indeed the temperatures are supposed to be pretty good, so I was like hmm… Henry could go run around the Novice right? He isn’t the fit, svelte Prelim horse that he used to be, but he still gets ridden a lot and he’s definitely plenty fit for Novice. I mean… is he “tuned up” at this point? Not particularly. Has he worn a bit more than like 5 times in the past 2 years? No. Do I ride him in my dressage saddle at all anymore? Not really. Have we jumped a full course in the past like month and a half? Negative. But even if we’re mega rusty he’s still an experienced event horse, Novice should theoretically be a pretty easy hop-around for him (the after-the-fact benefit of all those years of hard work).
Of course, the reason that the temperatures are staying so mild is that it won’t quit freaking raining. Like for real. Every other day it pours buckets.
Is there a chance of rain every single day in the 10 day forecast? Yup. But, ya know… worst case scenario the show gets rained out or if the footing is too muddy I can just scratch (Henry isn’t drilled and tapped these days, nor was he much of a mudder even when he was). This is clearly a very low key, low pressure affair. If we can go, great, if we can’t, oh well. We aren’t working towards anything, it’s purely just for fun.
But I did start to get a few things together. First, I ran my idea past my trainer who responded with a resounding “DO IT!”, and then I scheduled a jump lesson. It’s rained so much here that my jump field is just a soggy squishy overgrown jungle and that probably won’t change anytime in the near future. I had a jump set up in the dressage arena, but.. ya know… that doesn’t really mimic a jump course nor can you really jump at pace in a small arena. So we scheduled a jump lesson for Monday, come hell or (literal) high water.
Which meant that on Sunday, Henry got clipped.
I usually clip him every summer anyway, to help him deal with the heat, I just moved it up by a couple weeks. I used to be skeptical of the summer clipping thing until I realized just how much hair comes off some of these thicker-coated horses. It’s a lot more than you would think, especially over their back half. Henry always seems noticeably cooler after it’s all gone, so even if there’s nothing worse than clipping a horse while sweating profusely and getting it all completely stuck to you, it’s still totally worth it for him.
I can already tell that I’m cursing myself by even putting this much preparation and thought into it. The show is gonna rain out for sure now…
Anyway. After Friday night’s complete deluge (I haven’t seen rain like that in a very long time, it was INSANE) it was too wet/slick to ride all weekend so on Monday I loaded him up for our lesson with Henry having had two days off. Not a big deal at all, by age 14 he’s pretty much the same horse all the time anyway, with maybe just a little more dolphining in the canter depending on how wild he is. It was the first time I’ve hauled him anywhere in a while though, so there was some mournful screaming for the first few minutes before he settled into his hay.
My trainer’s place got a lot of rain too, so about half of her jump field was quite squishy. What I really needed though, was to jump some lines, and to just have more space to open the canter up to what it needed to be. We had two lines where the footing was good enough, a regular one and a bending, and enough space to get the pace, so it worked just fine. I warmed up, we popped a few singles while I tried to remember what the appropriate jumping pace was (it’s always more than I think, I’ll catch on to that eventually right? Probably not.), and then jumped each line twice. By the third line I remembered how to rev the engine in the corner, re-balance, and then maintain the canter out of it, and tada everything clicked back in. I will say though, I think it’s harder to see a good distance to a smaller fence – they were set Novice height – than it is a larger one. There are just so many tempting options, I want to sample them all. I swear it was easier when they were so big that your only choice was to just keep coming at it no matter what.
Mission accomplished though, and hopefully it’ll dry at least enough to jump a little bit at home in the next couple weeks. If not, well… we’ll wing it.
I’m still waffling on what to do about the dressage part. I’m very tempted to just do it in his jump tack and not really worry about it, mostly because the few times I’ve sat in my dressage saddle lately I’ve just felt really displeased with it, like I’m fighting it a lot. I was never totally in love with how the block hit my thigh (I have a pretty long femur and prefer something more forward), but I think after taking so much time away from it it’s become even more obvious how it’s not really helping me out. Of course, the thought of buying a new dressage saddle for Henry is like… hilarious. Why bother. Granted, if I’m not going to use the one I have I should probably just sell it. All it’s really doing at this point is sitting in my tack room depreciating in value. Not that I want to deal with selling a saddle, which is about as fun as getting a root canal. Anybody want a Devoucoux Loreak? *cries in equestrian*