#Maredrama’s debut show season definitely has not gone as planned. She went from a magnificently fit white dragon confidently schooling beginner novice and ready to take on her first maiden horse trials, to self-prescribing a nearly four week vacation while she blew out some hefty abscesses. Sigh. I jokingly told my vet and farrier we just wanted to help turn a profit for the month of June and kissed the small amount of fun money I had saved up for shows goodbye!

Truthfully, if there were ever a good time for your horse to not be ridable it was when #Maredrama did. For the past year I have been on and off applying for jobs looking for the next challenge in my professional career. During the time that the mare was laid up, I was busy polishing my resume and interviewing for a multitude of positions and finally scored what I would call my ideal job where I will get to combine my love for horses WITH my professional goals! If my horse had been fit and ridable, I would have felt guilty putting so much time and effort into *gasp* myself and my personal goals. It is an absurd thought process that I think many equestrians go through. Yes, your horse and loved ones often come first but think about yourself every once in a while!

During #Maredrama’s layup, she was unridable for a couple weeks while the abscesses worked their way out. Both my farrier and vet were consulted (multiple times) to ensure we nipped this thing in the butt the right way. She just seemed uncomfortable in her haunches so I called up our equine massage therapist and she came out and worked on her hamstrings and lower back. She prescribed us a week or so of easy walking and meandering, adding on a bit of “work” as she loosened up and felt better.

When working toward an equestrian goal, one sometimes forgets the simple power in enjoying a leisurely bareback stroll with your horse. Sure we hack out all the time and enjoy the trails on the property but I tend to look at it through a competitor’s eyes: this low grade hill is great for strengthening and trot work, that puddle is nice and big and safe for practicing a gallop through, etc. We literally were told to not have an agenda while she was recouping so I had to turn off my competitive drive and just enjoy the ride.

I brought back some natural horsemanship skills that I hadn’t touched in a while with a bareback and bridleless work. We enjoyed strolling around the property, munching on snacks, and enjoying the hot summer sun that BLASTED its way into North Carolina this month. I added in some simple lateral work. Sure she’s lost some muscle and her topline isn’t what it was four weeks ago but she retained her training. I needed to remind myself I know how to build all those things back up and the best part is, she already knows the skills to get there!

Our first ride under tack was in true #Maredrama fashion with blasts of supersonic energy, spooking sideways, and un-assisted fancy prancing. We still have a bit of recovery to do before she will be back in full work but obviously she is feeling better. Who cares that my goals were sidelined for a while? So what I took on a new job that requires weekend hours so I probably won’t be able to make it to a show for the remainder of the summer months? My horse is almost back to feeling 100% herself and that’s what matters.

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