The season is officially put to rest.
I got back on Thursday evening after I drove home from William Fox-Pitt's clinic that finished the day prior. I can barely remember how Friday was spent, except that I ended up at the barn riding that day and I was happy to be back to some version of normalcy.
With 200 plus people on both days, and some fun situations in between, it was well worth it and I had a blast. But somewhere between the final airport run and getting turned around on Route 50 because of construction traffic, I hit the wall.
I pulled over at an overlook and just sat there for awhile, wondering what I had just done and what it will mean. Probably sat there for a solid 10 minutes just looking out before my phone pinged with people sending on media, Facebook, and emails of congrats (Virginia has sketch signal and I guess things catch up when you stand on top of a hill). I found myself wishing for my horses.
The ponies didn't make the trek with me and earned some time off from the under saddle work. Prior to leaving, they were working really well. But at the clinic I found myself really wanting to ride in what little down hours I had and experiment with what was going on.
The horses didn't mind the absence so much.
Prior to taking off, Danzador was working a little passage in hand and doing more than a solid training level/first level work, we even schooled a green change here or there. The last day with him was spent trying to find his gear for the lengthening, the horse doesn't quite trust where all his feet go yet, and can only give a solid five steps, but at least it's progress.
The last few days have been spent stretching and just getting him back in gear but yesterday, for giggles, we put him through a trail horse clinic. After the initial snorts and spooks, he became almost bored with the process as he tried to eat the tarp, the flowers, the sparkly confetti things.
As much as I raise dressage horses, they are horses first. They need to be exposed to a bunch of things that make them good citizens. Often times, as riders, we forget that, we try to sterilize the environment to make it safe, when in reality we're only doing ourselves a disservice. I also believe that submission, one of the core tenets of the sport, is first developed on the ground. What you do there also reflects what's being experienced in the saddle.
I think he's missed the work, and the attention because he's come back looking more mature with a better trot and walk, his canter can be a tad scrambled but he's willing to collect and hold himself together. His walk canters are coming along very smartly. He's ready to do a show very soon.
Sinari's post hock injection work keeps improving, she's way more comfortable in the work and has returned to the level that she was at prior. We're still taking stuff slow, she lost a little bit of fitness due to the compensation she put her body through, but already she's lighter and softer in the bridle, she's not stuck in the back and she's happy about the work.
She's comfortable handling the three's and two's again, and I've been working on cleaning up the pirouette work. It's coming, it's just going to take time. But already she's willing to sit and wait more, just needs the strength. But already things are looking up.