I pulled into the barn on Sunday morning to ride and was super pleased to see that I was the only one there. 30 seconds later, one of the dressage trainers pulls in and tells me she was going to ride Tyco’s “sister”. They are currently sharing a saddle and halter so I knew I’d be waiting a while. I told her that was fine since I was meeting a friend anyway and she wasn’t there yet.
Trainer rode sister Lippizaner, and I set to the task of scraping a thick layer of hairy mud off of Tyco. I get about half-way into the mud transfer process and up rolls a loud diesel truck. Tyco, surprisingly, wasn’t worried about the truck so I just kept on grooming like I wasn’t worried about it. Seconds later these guys start throwing hay bales into the loft above us with one guy running the bales to stack them and the other dude throwing them from the truck. Tyco has only ever lived outside so loud thumps followed by running footsteps right above us was very quickly too much for him to handle.
Is it too much to ask that the guys shout into the barn that they are going to be in the loft loading hay?!?!?! They could see me in there as they pulled up!! wtf?!?
Tyco was okay with the noise as they loaded the other side of the loft but when they came right over top of us he lost it. Luckily, I could sense things were escalating and quietly hooked up a lead rope, unclipped him from the cross-ties, turned him towards the exit in a very narrow window of time before he scooted out of the barn aisle. I flew my 1200lb gray kite around the parking lot for a minute before he relaxed. Meanwhile hay dude was like “uh, sorry…” Yeah, me too, hay dude, me too.
After all of that craziness, I had a very mediocre ride. Tyco was pretty good; a little spooky and he yanked the reins a couple of times, but eventually settled into some really nice, STRAIGHT, walk work. I focused on some biomechanics stuff and tried to insist on straightness. Tyco wanted to MOVE and blew through these requests in the beginning of the ride. He kept swinging his haunches in randomly and we definitely did some drunk weaving as I tried to toe the line between correcting the crookedness and OVERcorrecting.
He really started responding the second half of the ride. He was very light but connected in my hands and he felt tall and straighter. I trotted a little and crap….he was off. I cantered a bit thinking he might just be stiff and that was only so-so. I did some more walk work and waited for the trainer to come in with her lesson student and I had her watch us trot for a second. She agreed he was off and thought it was the same right front that occasionally flairs up from an old farrier fail (I guess, I don’t know many details). I was disappointed because, as regular readers will know, I only get to ride this guy for another month at the most. He worked so well at the walk though- worked up a lovely light lipstick.
Would it be terrible if I continued to ride him? Mostly at the walk- this super slow, biomechanics focused walk?
I don’t want to be THAT rider who cruises around oblivious to the creature in pain beneath her, but for the kind of lameness that tends to reappear and isn’t really as a result of some obvious acute injury…where is the line? I’m seriously asking…please chime in.
The trainer said that he sometimes works out of it but she is also trying to throw a bunch of alternatives at me: I could possibly ride sibling lippizaner in lessons; I could ride her chronically spooky, low-thyroid, ulcer-prone, stifle injury recovered schoolmaster (i’m sure you can picture my face at this suggestion….), but I am wondering if just seeing Tyco through this lameness with some light work and TLC might be better?
What do you think?
- give me your name so I can turn you in to the SPCA
- a little rest might help, a little walking won’t hurt, go with your gut and keep riding