Guys. Let me tell you about P’s first canter after 125 days of stall rest, aka the story of NOT ENOUGH DRUGS.
Unfortunately I wasn’t wise enough to ask anyone to video. A video could best tell this harrowing tale of a horse who realizes that for the first time in forever, he’s being asked to go faster than usual and has flashbacks of his old glory days of yore (aka racing, where he won a whopping $17,000 in 11 starts…aka he sucked at it). But you’ll have to settle for my words.
So for the 3 weeks leading up to Cantering Day, P has been on the following schedule:
Minutes 0-10: Walk
Minutes 10-15: Trot
Minutes 15-20: Walk
Minutes: 20-25 Trot
Minutes 25-30: Walk
Minutes: 30-35: Trot
Minutes 35-40: Walk
Exhilarating, I know.
So for the canter, we were supposed to replace the middle trot set with one minute of canter. Total. Not one minute each lead. Oh, and only canter every other day. Not even every day. Contain your excitement.
So leading up to the canter, all day I’m super nervous. What if he’s lame? What if this MAKES him lame?
So the Big Moment arrives: a few circles of trot, then I oh-so-timidly asked him for the left lead canter.
And P goes into this super calm canter, canters a few large circles, and comes right back to the trot.
Someone is such a grown up, amirite? I was bursting with pride at my super mature poneh.
So I turn him around, ask him to trot a few circles then ask him to canter. And P…TAKES OFF. That video of his spook from last week had NOTHING on this. All 4 off the floor and me, helpless, not being able to make any sudden movements…just glancing at my stopwatch periodically and watching a minute tick by…a minute and 30 seconds…until P was all, “Oh, this wasn’t what you meant? Cool, let’s just do an extended trot. No? Ok, regular trot. No? Walk? FINE.”
I swear my life is now shortened by 30 years AT LEAST.
The next day, I only rode him for the beginning walk, then hopped off to lunge him at the trot so I could stare obsessively at his right hind. And he was all, “canter now? Canter now?” but stayed in the trot so long as I did a zillion transitions so he wouldn’t get faster and faster.
And the next day when I cantered him (on the lunge)? Perfect gentleman. And still sound, thank the good Lord above.
Then yesterday when I hopped on and asked him to trot for his first set, he would shuffle a few steps, then break to the walk. And I FREAKED.
“He’s lame, he’s hurting. Clearly he’s on death’s door because what horse in their right mind doesn’t want to trot at the EXACT MOMENT MY WATCH SAYS 5:00? I’ve done all this work, I’ve kept him jailed in a stall for 130 days, and he’s lame and we’re going to have to start all over and MY WHOLE LIFE IS RUINED BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO TROT.”
BO (once I finally got him going): He looks totally sound. He actually looks really good.
The closer we get to completing rehab, the more neurotic I find myself becoming. I think this will all get exponentially easier once he starts going outside again, so if we can make it through these next 8 days, hopefully I’ll be able to CALM THE F DOWN.
EIGHT DAYS, GUYS. EIGHT DAYS.