After Katchi's great run (and win!) in the scorching heat at Loch Moy, I let him take a few days to cool down! And I started to put together a plan for the fall season - I could barely stand the anticipation of Silva and Phillip returning from the Olympics. I'd put circles and stars all over August 1 in my calendar - the day Phillip said he would be flying back. I had a line-up of jumper shows leading up to a "peak" for Phillip's return. Everything this summer was about peaking for the return of Phillip lessons! And then Katchi did what horses do - they ruin plans. I took Katchi out to play with some students cross country schooling at Loch Moy. And he dumped my ass right on the ground when he hung a leg over a maybe 2'6" log. Talk about embarrassing. He was acting really weird and was quite convinced we should go around the log; I was half-heartedly saying 'ah, come on, jump the twig!' - we met in the middle with one front leg going around the log and one leg almost jumping it. I hadn't fallen off a horse in probably 3 years, so I was sort of relieved to have that out of the way and to have survived!
The next day, I packed him up and headed to Leesburg to continue on our path to show jumping perfection for Phillip. I was bruised up from my tumble, but riders have suffered through much worse! The day was a little drizzley and the footing was holding water - not slippery but lots of splashing water. We were scheduled for a 3'3" class followed by a 3'6" class. Katchi's canter didn't feel great, and he was being very spooky - I assumed it was the puddles. In the first round, we got around to fence 7, a one-stride, and Katchi stopped. Wow, okay, we haven't done that in a while. Jumped it the second try, but sticky. Jumped the vertical at 8, 5 strides to oxer at 9, stop. WHAT?? Came around again, stop. Eliminated. What the hell?!?! Asked if I could try the following 3'3" class instead of the 3'6" class and the show agreed (really am starting to love jumper shows!). Hoped over a few low fences in warm-up decently, though Katchi's canter still didn't feel great. Went back in the ring to pick up a stop at the 2nd fence. "Houston, we have a problem." Time to go home, tail tucked between our legs.
It was clear that Katchi's back was really bothering him, but that's not necessarily news. But after a few more days of light work, Katchi was clearly in trouble - just running my hand over his back (flat with light pressure), he was dropping 4-5 inches away from me. It's sort of a bad feeling when you realize you could probably make your 1200 pound horse sit down if you just put a little strength into your finger. The day Phillip got on the plane to come back from London, we were in a bad state. Not only was Katchi's back in trouble, my farrier pulled off his pads to find a serious stone bruise on his front foot (probably from pulling his shoe off during XC at Loch Moy a few weeks before... and perhaps a cause of his silliness at the embarrassing 2'6" log). 10 days of stall rest, muscle relaxers, and tears (his and mine!), $700 in x-rays, and a scratched Waredaca entry later... we appear to be back on track. But on track to what?!?! Only 2 months left in the fall season, and we're no where near fit to event. As I try to bring Katchi back into full work with jumping and galloping, it's one day at a time... with no particular plan at all. A strange and bizarre, and generally unlikable, feeling for me! But I am so relieved to have my pony looking happy and healthy again. There's nothing worse than knowing your best friend is suffering and you don't understand why.
|Katchi and me playing in Silva's sandbox!|
|Laughing after Katchi did a darn near perfect canter-halt transition (look at those hind feet!), but, oops, we were supposed to walk!|
Meanwhile, my Golightly students have been just amazing the past few weeks!! With the return of rain, we've been getting out for quite a bit of XC schooling, and I'm really looking forward to having an awesome fall season with several students moving up a level or making it to their first big events! It is a great consolation that even if I'm sidelined, at least I have wonderful students who really make me smile!
|Zoe & Rachel schooling the double banks at Fair Hill|