Monday, August 9, 2010

A Curious Cause to Celebrate

I'm sure you think this is going to be a post about light and love and how great a summer I'm having with my metabolically challenged horse, Punchinello. Well, in a way you're right...but it's not for the reasons you think.

You can tell he's just not "feelin it." I'm asking him to stretch and he doesn't want to.

This weekend we had a little set back. Here's the story:

We went to a show at Sunflower Farm in Bristol, WI. This is a truly amazing facility! They have their own tack store, Saddler's Row and Snack Shop! Wow!

Amazing Sunflower Farm Facilities!

I had noticed that Punch was kind of stiff the week before. But I road him and had some great rides. He seemed to warm out of his "hitch." I also had the Chiropractor out to give him an adjustment about four days before the event. It could have been a multitude of things making him sore. Weather, a slight change in the sugar in his hay, not enough exercise or blah, blah, blah.

I loaded up in that morning and gave myself plenty of time to warm up before my first class...just in case Punch needed to stretch out a bit. He did feel stiff. He didn't want to do 20 m circles at the trot. We did some long and low work...he felt better. But every once in awhile I'd feel "something" not quite right.

Streeeeeeetch...let's loosen up Punchie!

I asked a friend to watch me work him a bit. She said it was like he was short striding behind but it was barely noticeable. Maybe a .5 on the lameness scale. Ten would be the horse is walking on three legs.

Well, five minutes before our class, the judge sent someone over to the warm up ring (which is right next to the show ring) to tell me that she thought my guy was sore behind and that she would ring me out (DQ me) if I entered the ring. I appreciate two things: 1) She was keeping an eye out for the wellbeing of the horses at the show. 2) She saved me the embarrassment of entering the show ring and getting DQ'ed in front of God and everyone.

Ears forward...I need to look up!

What I did: Gracefully left the warm up ring. Unsaddled my horse and told him what a wonderful, beautiful guy he is. I thanked him for being such a willing, good sport, even when he wasn't feeling the best.

What I wanted to do: Cry, stomp my feet and go off the deep end worrying that our show career was over.

What I did next: After my horse was taken care of I walked to the Judge's Box and thanked the Judge (in between classes of course!) for looking out for my horse. I told her I appreciated her being there and judging the show and I hoped I got to ride for her sometime in the future.

What I wanted to do: Walk up to the Judge's Box and tell her how, 'I'm not a bad horse owner. I would never ride a lame horse! Thank you for noticing his short comings...can you please convince the show officials to give me back MY MONEY?!!!! AND BY THE WAY...THE HORSE THAT'S ABOUT TO ENTER THE RING HAS HORRIBLE RING BONE...I KNOW THIS CAUSE HIS SHOER TOLD ME AND HE'S WAY MORE LAME THAN MY HORSE WILL EVER BE!!!!'

Deep Breath...Can I tell you once again that I really do agree with the judges decision. He wasn't 100%.

Maybe some long and low will do the trick?

Let me get to the part where we have a curious cause to celebrate. Here is why I'm so happy:
  • My horse loads into the trailer by pointing him in the general direction and telling him we're going some place really cool. In a Marmaduke voice he says, "Ok Mom...where we goin? Hay! I love hay! I can't believe you put hay in here more me! Num, Num, Num..."
  • Punchinello stood alone without any stall buddies near at the show and had NO issues with this what-so-ever. When I walk up to his stall he whinnied at me like I was his long lost Mother. 
  • I got to cheer on my friend who just started showing again after a long dry spell. This was her second Dressage show and she did amazingly well. I got to put all my energy in her direction.
  • I got to meet Katie, a friend of a friend...who is the coolest Polish woman EVER! She calls her 17 hh horses...Ponies. LOL!
  • My teen-aged daughter and her friend got to see how a true horse-woman handles disappointment and learned what sportsmanship really is.
  • Did I mention that it was raining...thank you to Punchinello who faked his slight lameness so we didn't have to do Dressage tests in a Thunderstorm. God bless his heart! *wink*
I've said many times that just because you're not in the ribbons doesn't mean you're not a winner. This experience gave me the opportunity to see the silver lining and be thankful for the great season we've had so far. 

I'm having to do away with self-doubt, which is really hard for me. I won't go through all the things I've thought today wondering if Punch really wants to show...or is actually healthy enough to do, even low level, Dressage. I'm going to put those thoughts away now and move forward.

Tonight I went out and gave my guy a massage and did some acupressure. He is still sore. But we both enjoyed our time together. (Except for the time I hit a really ouchy spot and he tried to bite me!)

I've also asked my daughter if she'd like to help me get him back to "fit" for the next show. She's lighter than I am and is happy to walk, and walk and stretch while riding. This can be a mother/daughter goal that will keep us close. 

My goal? There's a show at the same Sunflower Farms in Sept. I'm going to see what I can do the rest of the month to get Punch moving better. Then we'll see if he's up to going to this one, last, show of the season. I want to end on a good note.

Oh, and one more thing I'm thankful for. My daughter got some great pictures of us in the warm up ring. He looks happy and sound. could have been just that one moment in time.


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