We entered the arena, two Amateurs, and one junior. Ransom warmed up very, VERY stiff. I saw this coming, but didn’t do anything to prevent it. I regretted not making him more comfortable overnight, locked in his 12x12 jail cell. Turn out was going to be in a group, and it would’ve been a very dark retrieval. Not something I thought highly of. Ransom spent the night in his stall, and while he had eaten all of his hay overnight, there wasn’t time for breakfast before the class. He was crabby, and I understood. Still, a class judged on rider equitation – how bad could it be?
Oooh, bad. Really Really ReALLY bad. Pack yer junk ‘n’ go home bad.. Pout to your BFF bad.. call the BF-R in near tears bad.. Ransom was stiff, he wasn’t forward, at all. We broke gait at canter, and picked up the wrong lead. Just bad. Really bad.
And the judge, of course, saw the stiffness, the wrong lead, gait broke, all of it. She told me about it all, too. “He’s stiff, he’s sore, he looks a little lame, I hope you can feel that. Tell me, how old is he?” I quietly responded, “He’s twenty, ma’am.” I nodded at her remarks of his stiffness.
Would we recover? Could I really get myself out of that slump of crab that came from her comments? More importantly, could I find a way to loosen Ransom up? I hand walked him three times after Eq and before my three tests. He fought us for breakfast, and ended up not eating it all. He slowly munched hay, and some cookies. He even ate a little apple buried in his grain. But when Ransom decided he didn’t want to finish his grain, that was all there was to say about it. He faced the back of his stall, pouting, head over the waterer. I put hay on the ground beside it, and he munched occasionally.
I warmed up for the Training tests, and I prayed. At best, we’d score mediocre. At worst, she’d ring the idjit bell, and send us on our way, with Ransom called Lame, and out for the day. I was horrified.. Lame? I knew he was sore, but gosh me! He’s old! He won’t be 100% fluid like those younger horses that floated across the warmup pen.