Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Beginning of the End

Dante has finally begun walking under saddle! The other night, Stephanie of Graystone Stable in KY got on him for the first time and proceeded to walk him for 45 minutes. According to her, he spent about twenty minutes pretending he had never been ridden, then settled and was fine for the rest of the ride.

This ride marks the beginning of the end of Dante's vacation. For the next couple of weeks, he'll walk under saddle for 30-90 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of trotting on the lunge after the shorter rides. Dr. Newton decided to keep him barefoot until after the holidays; as soon as he re-evaluates Dante, we'll add shoes after the first of the year. If all continues to go well (and at this point, there's no reason to believe that it won't), he'll get a new set of shoes in early February. At that point, he'll come home to me in Virginia.

Having a tentative date set for his return to me is a huge relief. I know that if anything goes wrong, that date will be pushed back again. I know most of you are aware that Dante has been living in Kentucky while I'm starting my new life in Virginia. What I haven't been very frank about is how much I miss him, the horse, and not just riding. Since I bought him almost six years ago, I haven't gone without seeing him for more than a couple of weeks. He's been with me through three cross country moves (not counting this latest ones), four relationships (with the fourth still going strong!), and two years worth of vacillating over my future. Not having him with me through this latest upheaval in my life has been a lot harder than I thought it would be.

So it's with a great big sigh of relief that I have a tentative date. And with that date, I can start planning for the show season in 2013. I already had my official USEA schedule worked out, but now that the local farms are putting out their schooling show schedules for winter, I can start penciling in dates for February and March. The vet is on board with my show schedule, provided all continues to go well, and hopefully we'll begin making appearances at dressage schooling shows at the end of February, with our first official USEA event scheduled for Loudoun Hunt at the end of April.

In the meantime, I have the holidays to distract me, and after the New Year, I'll put my nose to the grindstone and find Dante a place to live. At the beginning of January and February, I'll be helping out at Destination Farm's schooling jumper shows. Over MLK weekend, I'll head up to NJ to see my SO. The end of January brings Nicola Wilson to Locochee Farm, and I plan on auditing every second. So my time will be filled, and hopefully time will fly by!

(Dante pretends that he has no idea what is going on. What is that strange saddle thing?)