Back in the Saddle… Part 9

//Back in the Saddle… Part 9

It’s been nearly a month since you had my rambling words drop into your sight and there’s a good reason really for that.  Not an awful lot has changed since the last blog when my little ex racehorse, Tiny, had the mother of all hematomas and that had that stopped play for us both.

Well, I lie, it has changed as the knee went down, he remained sound and went back into full work rather than just being on the lazy/easy list.   However, the lack of serious forward momentum as far as how I’m feeling about things like jumping haven’t changed because we are still suffering from a lack of a good run of weeks out together that would really help build on that.  

The frustrations of never really feeling like I’ve got into the swing of jumping again are constantly in my head….  On the ground there’s no issue.   Out hacking he’s also a dream really.  We go out alone or in company and he’s good and to be honest I thought that would change the fitter he got, but it hasn’t.  

I just have it in my head that I really need bout of hunting twice a week to really get into a habit of not even thinking about the jump and just letting him go on at it.  We only got back to hunting just before Christmas after the knee episode with that tiger trap fence, so he’d had nearly 3 weeks away from the hunting field.

♥︎ ♘ ♥︎

One of the things I’ve never done in my life is attend a Boxing Day meet on a horse.  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been there on foot, across a variety of hunt packs all over the country.  I’ve followed either as a great observer or with the camera from a professional aspect.  This year I was determined to ride and to be able to soak up the atmosphere a bit.  Once Tiny’s knee was totally fine I knew I’d be in that market square.  I did wonder how my ex-racer would cope with the atmosphere on the way into town as our hosting town is always jam packed on Boxing Day, firstly to see the hunt move off and then for the annual pram race.  I came into town with a friend about half way down the field and he didn’t bat an eyelid and once in the small area we are confined to he didn’t worry either.  Such a little gem.  I’m so thankful that he is good at things like this.  However I couldn’t stay with the main field, I needed to relieve Tony of Hugo so he could gather money from the riders.  So we were quietly placed at the edge of the square.  He stood rock still with me holding Hugo too. He allowed people to pat him and scratch him and didn’t worry at all at the people that surrounded us or the milk tankers still driving past our backsides.  Seriously, that was good.  Sadly I didn’t have enough hands to be able to enjoy a quick celebratory drink with friends and family there supporting us.

Once we’d moved off and the crowds were behind us, and boy did we all get a really good send off, we settled into the countryside.  At that point Tiny was buzzing, the experience had got to him a bit but it wasn’t a surprise as a lot of horses in the field were a bit wired.  I’d already decided not to jump the initial hedges that are part of the traditional start to the fields day.  Tony and the jumpers went one way and I led the non jumpers to a different point.

I was asked after the day why the Trail Layer for the hunt was still in the market square when we left.  Simple, there is no point him laying a trail in the middle of a heavily smell congested area – people, perfume, dogs, burgers, candy floss, car fumes…!  When the jumpers went off into the field for a little play with some hedges the trail layers then set off on their route for the day.  The rest of us regrouped, along with the Huntsmen and Hounds, and set off to follow…

The day progressed and the field was large and Tiny continued to be buzzy.  For this reason I was a bit choosey about what I jumped and when.  Some of the jumps on that route I’d jumped before I left out this time.  I probably should have done, because what I did put him at he jumped really nicely, but I did what I did and I can’t turn the clock back.   I went home sort of happy.  Pleased I’d done the whole Boxing Day thing, but feeling a bit low because that bloody demon on my shoulder got the better of me a few times.

 

Then the lurgy struck.  Hard.

Utter pants!

I managed a couple of hours out hunting twice more over the next 10-14 days but really shouldn’t have done those at all.  I’ve never really been one for taking myself off to bed.  But this lurgy (which I still have at the time of writing) had me reaching for a duvet and a cup of ‘sorry old me’ a few times.  But with a fit horse at home though I did my best to keep turning out when I could.

HOWEVER, what I did achieve on my latest days hunting in early January was to merrily jump that flipping Tiger Trap that did the knee damage at the start of December!!  I had a really good day with him. He felt well.  I felt bloody awful to be honest and was best friend to Mr Paracetamol and Mrs Ibuprofen but I did a couple of hours.  I put him at just about everything we came across and he flew everything.  The approaches weren’t pretty and I’ve winced at some of the video footage of those but I finished the day with a grin despite seriously not knowing how to stand up when I got off.  Jelly legs aren’t amusing.   I was really getting somewhere and despite the lurgy making me feel like a really old lady who needed an ear trumpet in one hand to hear everyone, hacking and spluttering through the day (I also looked seriously divine with a massive red nose), I was super happy – I just needed to get home, unpeel the 100 layers I’d got on (the MIL got me the most magnificent 180 denier thermal tights from M&S, oh god they were amazing, maybe they are now my lucky piece of clothing?), and then hopefully fall on a glass of port or two and devour some more festive cheese.

I say festive.  In the case of cheese its Christmas all year round in my fridge.

Then Monday came round and we found Tiny had thrown a little splint!!

Massive big fat way beyond Bridget Jones pants!!

His legs have seen a lot of action as a racehorse.  There’s quite an array of damage from his flat and hurdling days, but I guess not a massive amount of roadwork is done with racehorses. Up the road to the gallops I guess that was about all I’d guess?  True he’d have done a degree of road work in his Point to Point home after he retired from ‘proper’ (!) racing, but the reality of that is that he wasn’t in training there for all that long and of course it’s a seasonal game anyway for Pointers.  He was brought into his fittening work  properly before I had him and we were careful to carry that on from a roads aspect.  It just happens though and so here we are.  It has at least formed and he’s been sound again. However he’s back on the easy list and I’m trying very VERY hard to remember that the last jumping day was a good jumping day because I’m flaming well going to really need to draw on that once we are back out in the world again.

Whenever that might be…

♥︎ ♘ ♥︎

 

With love from me and The Orange One, see you next time!

Rachel xx

 

If you missed the first part of this series and you are wondering what on earth I’m wittering on about, head here to start the saga…  Back in the Saddle – Part 1