To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The sun has set on our show

Actually, this was sunrise. This morning. My camera washed out the colors; the sun was really blood-red. Maybe it was a sign.

Russell and I were headed out for our very first lesson of the year. First thing this morning was the only time my instructor and I could coordinate our schedules, so off we went.

When she arrived while we were warming up, Suzan asked me to continue circling at the rising trot so she could see how Russell was moving. She asked how he felt. I mentioned that he had been tenderfooted last weekend on his bare left front foot. She noted that it was the opposite front that seemed a bit off. I stopped him, and she asked about a little bump on that leg, high on the inside. I had noticed it, but since it was small and he didn't seem off, I hadn't given it much thought.

I need to insert here that my instructor, Suzan Davis Atkinson, has the most amazing eye on the planet. Not only can she see and relate what a rider needs to do to get the optimum performance from her horse, no matter the breed or ability, that woman can spot any discomfort or unsoundness in a horse, and usually where it originates from, better than anyone else I know. My husband, an equine vet with extensive training in advanced lameness work, has brought her in to consult on cases.

We worked a little longer in both directions so she could confirm that Russell was indeed slightly off on the right front, although she could also tell he was a bit tenderfooted in the left. Since I was fairly certain the little splint had just recently "sprouted," she told me to have Rick check it, and pressure wrap it to keep it from getting bigger. And definitely stay off him, and don't show.
Rick doesn't believe in the benefits of pressure wrapping but humored me after injecting the site with steroid to help calm it down. To keep the pressure where it needs to be, he had to wrap the entire lower leg; looks like Russell tried to sever it or something!

So last weekend on our horse-camping trip, when these shots were taken, is the last time Russell will be tacked up for awhile. As often as this has happened with this horse, you'd think I'd get used to it.



A :-) said...

Oh Michelle - I'm so sorry. I guess it's the same for horses as it is for people that sometmes the spirit is willing but the body just can't quite keep up. It must be so disheartening that just after you've gotten started again that you have to stop :-(

Michelle said...

Thanks, Adrienne. Yes, it is the same for horses, and very hard to find one with great spirit AND body! And yes, it is very disheartening...again....

Kathy said...

Maybe Russell needs some other line of work???? Poor guy. He's on the bench more than in the squad lately. Maybe he has secret ambitions. ;-)
I do hope he mends well. I know when they hurt, we I know you're worried about your partner.
Give him a pat from me.