Merry Christmas everyone!
We made it out for our Christmas day ride yesterday, after a rocky start at the yard. Rio has been a beautiful field ornament for a week and a half so a good blast was in order to blow away those cobwebs. However, when I went to lead him around the barn to go onto the trailer, and he spooked and fell over, that wasn't the first thought on my mind. Luckily he had his cooler on, so whilst he did scuff a chunk of hair off his left knee, the main damage was to his cooler rug... He now has armpit ventilation!
He was a bit of a sod to load, having freaked himself out, but after walking a few circuits of the car park, he chilled out and off we went. True to form and living up to expectations, he was super fresh, and we had a bouncy, joggy walk down the track. We had walking and trying to sneak trot strides in, trotting and dropping in canter strides, and cantering with gallop thrown in for good measure! We hopped puddles and dips in the track, yelled ahead for Sarah and Franks to hang on a sec (little did I realise that we were in fact going so fast, we'd already made it to the end of the track, and they were then pulling up anyway!)
Franks was being such a good boy that we even got to take lead file for a bit, so that Rio could practice his bravery. We went up the super steep hill, where much to my amusement, we launched up and over the crest, and had a lovely canter after that, and then we went out for a trot back towards the trailer on the stubble field. Inevitably, that turned into a canter, which was not so bad until Rio tried to drop his head! Little bugger. I brought him back, and we had a great trot along the grass track, and walked down the hill. Rio was still up for it, so we decided to turn them around and have one last blast!
Rio went nuts for it, and I had my first "ohmigosh" canter moment. We went hard up the hill, and as we levelled out, Rio's bottom tucked in, his back came up, and we had the perfect canter and I felt on top of the world. (I didn't realise this until afterwards when I explained the sensation to Sarah). He was still up for it, he's obviously feeling much better for having his clip and not being a sweaty blob! When we went to go back down the hill again, he decided that walking was not an option, and much to my horror we trotted pretty much the whole way down. EEK. We survived though! I would like to say that I did stay rather calm (surprisingly).
We even found the Christmas Star on our travels! All in all, I was super pleased that I bit the bullet and took him out despite my concerns. If I can do that after a week and a half of him doing nothing, and come out of it smiling - darn it, I can do anything! Rio enjoyed a special Christmas dinner after working hard. Two parsnips, two carrots and an apple with his usual feed. Yum yum.
So this afternoon, we did. I tacked him up and we went out around the village on our own. It was rather bumpy. I'm not sure if Rio was trying out Piaffe, but aside from some nice walking down one of the roads, it was certainly not the smoothest ride we've had. We made it though! I was a bit naughty, and forgot to put his sports boots on, which I regretted when I realised after we did the scopiest trot I've had from him on the way back (on the road...) I was hoping it would settle him a bit. We covered the ground faster than I've ever known him to.
I'm not sure if I'd mentioned the lumpy bump and its prognosis from the second (better) vet when Rio had his jabs. It is a splint, so now it's just a case of looking after it (wearing boots. Please!) and monitoring it. On the downside - it's close to his knee, so I just hope that it's not going to interfere in his later years. Also - a footnote on his clip - it's really not so great now it's growing out a bit again. There are lines everywhere, so that's definitely something I'm going to have to work on for next time... I did get show trimmers for Christmas though, so we will be clipping away at those!
I'm hoping to get chance to ride tomorrow afternoon, but it all depends on this horrible rainy weather - it sounds awful out there at the moment. Me and hubster are away for a few days after tomorrow night to have a break, so Rio will be mooching around until new year's day when hopefully the fun recommences. Bless his little patchwork rug. He's got a couple of friends at the yard looking out for him whilst I'm away, I'm just hoping the weather isn't too horrible so his rug doesn't end up soaked through!
Ride / play safe x