Finding my rhythm again has been a little bit of a challenge. At my last job, I had a great schedule that left me plenty of time to go to the barn during the afternoon and still be home in time to do other things. Sadly I found myself not really taking advantage of it due to being so mentally exhausted at the end of the work day.
New job has sadly doubled my commute and I now get home a whole two hours later (may shift a bit when I am feeling a bit more comfortable with my job). But, even with that change in time, I get home and actually want to go to the barn. I was a little afraid I had lost that for good.
Last night I stopped at home just long enough to grab Guinness and then hightailed it to see Gus. We had a wonderful ride and worked through some major stiffness to the right. And afterwards, I actually went through my whole routine of wiping down tack and a full groom… all things I’ve let fall to the wayside when I barely had the energy to make it our to the barn.
I’m excited to start working towards my goals again. We’ve got big things coming up and I don’t want to miss them because I’m too mentally drained to get out to the barn. Although, I’m sure Gus didn’t mind the break!
One of the most interesting things I learned this summer, or at least I think, is how to take care of a horse after a grueling XC run. There are, of course, lots of ways to do this “correctly,” this is just the way my trainer and our BM taught me.
The first few times Dandy ran XC, we just did a basic cool down. He got a long walk to cool down and a good hose down (when available, bucket and sponge bath when not). He would get a second walk an hour or so after that. He was just jumping beginner novice and novice which shouldn’t take too much out of him.
It wasn’t until after the championship at Caber Farms that JLE started to up the game. This was still just a novice level course but Dandy jumps hard and he gallops hard so she had N, our BM, walk me through how to ice boot and wrap. When he moved up to training level at Aspen Farms, he got the ice boots and the poultice under the wraps. I was lucky to find that Dandy didn’t care about standing in boots filled with cold ice water. He just waited patiently for me to be done.
Our new routine for XC care is: walk, hose down and then standing in the ice water with his front boots for 20 minutes and 45 minutes for the back pocket boots. If it’s been a super hard course, I can add a second time in the front boots. He then gets a few hours to relax, take a nap if he wants, while I wait for his legs to dry. He then gets them poulticed up, wrapped and then another walk.
As they say, no hoof, no horse. Hopefully Dandy appreciates the pampering.