Look at where you are,
look at where you started.
The fact that you’re alive is a miracle,
Just stay alive, that would be enough.
– Non-Stop, Hamilton
I told you this entire week would be about Twin. I needed to get it all down for myself, so I can remember everything. There are a few more things to wrap up, a little more retrospective, and a little less gloat-worthy. Though there will still be a bit of gloating — one can’t help oneself after such a weekend.
Between cross country and stadium Murray dug up his entire stall, added a small water complex, and took full advantage of the terrain. I tried to flatten it out when I checked and walked him on Friday night, but dirt that your horse has dug up and then peed on is HARD to move with a pitch fork. And he completely dug it up again the next morning so… I gave up.
After stadium Murray was practically throwing himself on the ground, and I knew he’d been struggling with the fact that he’d been essentially unable to roll all “weekend”. I quickly untacked him and in lieu of a rinse took him down to the lunging arena for a little roll in the soft sand there. Murray was more than happy to comply, and somehow on his first roll managed to unlatch his halter and stood up happy as a clam… and totally loose. Fortunately he was also too tired to go running off, and the other girl in the arena thought it was funny rather than annoying. He had six or seven more good wallows in the sand before I put him back in his stall, which he flattened out over the course of the next day until it was hardly possible to see that he’d completely re-engineered the day before.
The tubigrip solution worked splendidly to ice Murray’s legs. I cut a length of tubigrip twice that (and a bit) of Murray’s front canons and pulled it on over his shoes, folded over, with the fold at the bottom. It was very easy to stuff ice cubes in the pocket that created, and then move the ice around with my hands to give coverage where I wanted it. Since Murray’s extensor tendon swells on front of his left canon, I wanted ice over the front and back of his legs, so this was nice. I wrapped the ice pocket up tightly with a polo wrap, which helped keep the ice up as well as added some cold pressure to the whole shebang. After that they stayed up nicely for 30 minutes, and I had a cold, wet piece of tubigrip to use over the poultice when I was done to boot!
The most wonderful thing about this entire weekend was feeling all of our hard work and training pay off. We have both worked hard — Murray to improve me as a rider, me to teach him some fraction of what he ought to know. And it has been a road full of terrain, water traps, and even a few U-turns and misdirections. There are so many times when I wished I could have bought a horse who was braver, more reasonable, more compliant, a better mover, smarter — I didn’t want any of those things this weekend.
I bailed on our partnership ways only a human could, and Murray stepped up to fill the gap in the only way his pony self could. He went forward when he needed to, woahed when I asked, and let me know in no uncertain terms that he had got this.
It feels so good to come through every phase of an event filled with pride at what we lay down, even if it wasn’t my vision of a perfect or winning dressage test, even if we didn’t perform as well as we can at home. There wasn’t a single time this show when I wished I’d made better choices for my horse — though there were obviously several moments when I wished I’d made better choices for me!
Twin showed how far I have come as a rider and horsewoman too. I didn’t expect Murray to make up for my deficiencies (though he did it anyway), and I didn’t try to bully him through to something that neither of us was entirely sure of. I knew I’d biffed it getting ready for cross country, so I didn’t try to fight him over the fences, and I was ready to withdraw if he needed it. But he didn’t, and I’m so, so grateful.
We have truly, finally, built a successful partnership.