First - send me your dirty horse pictures to win a can of the new ShowSheen ! Go here for details. Contest ends June 18.
Now, Part 2. The emotions of last week's dressage show.
I went to a dressage show this past weekend. I've been to lots of dressage shows, mostly with Kaswyn, but I have gone to other shows without my horse and have ridden other horses. For a variety of reasons, this last show was different.
Kaswyn has been "not quite right" for six years now. I've done just about everything I could to return him to work. I did actually show him in 2009, at this exact show, but I only rode one test and scratched the other two because he wasn't right. He scored a 62% (I think) at Fourth Level Test 3, but I knew he didn't feel right.
We've been doing biomechanical and chiropractic therapy on him, and for a few weeks he seemed to improve. Then he went right back to being off. He was taking a short stride on that left front again, and I could tell by the way he acted that he was in pain before we even started. I can tell by the way he greets me, how he acts when I put his halter on, how is is when I groom him. He's usually very social and mouthy with me, and it drives me nuts sometimes but when he does that I know he's feeling good. When he's quiet and withdrawn, I worry. He'd been like that for two weeks prior to the show.
I was signed up to show Lee at the show. His trainer showed him on Friday, so I would get two rides on Saturday. I love showing Lee, cause he's fantastic. But I showed Kaswyn a lot at this show, and at different shows at this particular facility. The horse I love to show the most is Kaswyn. And he was not quite right. Again.
I cried on the way to the show. Naturally I saw a lot of people at the show that I knew. Almost all of them said "Hi! Is your boy here?" or "Hey, how is Kaswyn?" or something like that. They just wanted to know how he's doing, but each time it was like a little stab in the chest.
"No, Kaswyn's not here. He's still not quite right. So what tests are you showing?"
"Kaswyn's not in full work right now, we're struggling with an injury... How were your rides?"
"Kaswyn's okay... wow I hope it doesn't rain, look at those dark clouds..."
I held it together until a gal from my barn was asking about Kaswyn. She doesn't know the whole absurd history of his lameness issues, and wanted to know did I ever show him, was I going to show him, did I think he was going to get better, stuff like that. She's just getting into dressage, so she's interested. I started to try and explain what our current treatments are and I blurted out "I just don't know if he's ever going to get better..." and then I burst into tears.
I had to walk away and compose myself. Why did this have to be so hard? I really needed to focus on the job at hand - showing Lee. But that was getting very difficult. I was distracted by my horse and all of his issues.
When I got on Lee, I started thinking "I have to do well. I need to get good scores so that he can be sold and get a good home. I want to prove to myself that I don't NEED to show Kaswyn to be happy."
I didn't make any HUGE mistakes or anything, but I certainly didn't ride as well as I could have. Lee was great, but I wasn't on my game. I usually don't ride for "big scores" or ribbons. I ride for improvement. Riding with something to prove is not the way to go. I got a 65% and a 63%, so not terrible, but he broke from the canter to the trot in both tests. I should have felt it coming, or been more prepared, or something. But I wasn't. Shame on me. There were other things too that I didn't like. I could have ridden better but I didn't.
I cried the whole way home. Then, that night after I put the girls to bed I cried some more.
The next day I didn't want to go to the barn. Craig knew something was up, and I told him I was feeling pretty down. He asked if it was about my horse, and I started to cry - again! Then we had a conversation that, like last time my husband and I had a serious talk about my horse, has completely changed my way of thinking about Kaswyn.
Part 3 - The road before us, as I see it now