After Thursday’s lovely ride, Val had Friday off, and then Saturday I went out to jump him around a bit and make sure everything stayed normal on the weird leg front. All of the poofiness was gone when I got there, and the hole in his eye lid was looking better as well. He warmed up pretty ok. Not his best, but not bad either. I’m definitely still playing with how to get the best canter work out of him, and we probably need another dressage lesson before I start contorting myself too much buuuut whatever.
I tried to time our ride so that we avoided the worst of the heat and humidity, but I don’t think the humidity dropped below 85% all day. Dude still didn’t act tired even at the end of our ride, but he sure was sweaty and gross, even just 10 minutes into our ride. Blegh.
I figured he’d pretty wild over fences even if he was pretty relaxed on the flat so I just pulled out our single exercise (jumping a single on the diagonal into a corner, alternating leads) rather than doing any course work. Instead of going for a little height which I often do with this exercise, I wanted to work on getting to the base and asking Val to really rock back and jump across well without getting too over his shoulder or flat. I’m going to pull this exercise out again later in the week, because in an effort not to jump him too much, the jump never really got wide enough for him to actually work hard. Darn scopey horse making things too easy.
We hopped over the wall by itself a few times to warm up Val’s legs and get out his peekiness, and then J helped out by gradually building up the jump.
Other than forgetting how to walk, and preferring not to halt on the back side of the jump, Val was actually pretty good. A few times he pulled me past the distance and as a result that jump got ugly, but I let the exercise correct the issue and resisted the urge to over correct. Eventually he got really good about waiting all the way to the base, and even kept it together when I made a really bad choice and tried to leave a stride out before the fence. Even though he could have come back and rushed up to the same distance, he was patient all the way to the base.
We did have one hairy moment when Val landed really nice and soft, and I decided to give a big whoa like we were going to halt again, but then let him keep cantering to do the jump off of the other lead. As soon as Val figured out we weren’t stopping though, he took full advantage. So maybe we should have just stuck with the plan but hindsight is 20/20 right?
Big surprise: Now that Val’s leg is normal again, it’s raining and isn’t going to stop until maybe Thursday, only to start again on Friday. I really shouldn’t complain, since plenty of people in the Louisiana area couldn’t even get to their horses for a couple of days, but watching the Olympics has me super motivated to keep improving.
Once things dry up though, I’m planning to pull this exercise out again with a swedish oxer to get Val jumping a little rounder again, and I’m going to put on my big girl panties and give it a bit more width. Even though it looked wide as we were cantering to it, the jump was still not as wide as they can be at rated shows and I want to be sure we’re well prepared when we finally get to one, plus my horse clearly was not all that phased.
After all of the jumping, Val’s leg still looked fine, so who knows what was going on. I’m still going to keep an eye on it for a few more weeks, but I think we’re in the clear, especially since he never even took a lame step. Now to cross our fingers we can get some good work in before a couple of shows in September! Between spending Sunday watching barn mates show, and watching the Show Jumping qualifying round at the Olympics, I’ve definitely had a motivation boost.