Can we discuss our horses and their ability to go from 'everything is fantastic' to 'hell in a handbasket'?
Theo and I were running through our dressage tests today. It was going well. Trainer A was busting me for my habit of not riding during a test. Her comment was 'as soon as I ring this bell you quit riding and start trying to look pretty, knock it off'. It's a valid comment. I swear she's just going to ring that bell at me until I get over my little Pavlovian issue.
The indoor arena has a new sprinkler system that's still being dialed in. Right now, we have one corner that gets sloppy due to two sprinklers overlapping. Not a big deal most of the time, you step around it, it's not big. When running a dressage test, it's right in the corner by A and you can't really avoid it. Theo is not a big fan. The fancy textile footing gets slick and heavy when that wet and he struggles to get through it, but it's a small spot, probably only three feet across, and not really considered a big deal.
During our second run through, he slipped in that corner and I heard something loud, like a hoof hitting something. Theo immediately yanked his left front in the air and refused to put it down, hopping along on three legs while we slowed without dropping him on his face. I was next to him before we'd even stopped, grabbing that foot to check for blood or a badly twisted shoe digging into his sole. Trainer A ran across the ring to help. I'd never, ever felt a horse do that before. I saw him in the mirror and it was horrible seeing him trying to slow down with just one front foot.
We got his bell boot and polo off, inspecting his leg. We both feared he'd broken a bone with the dramatic response. We found nothing, no heat, no blood, and his shoe was fine. We eventually located a sore spot at his heel, but nothing big. By this point, he'd put his foot down and was watching us with a curious expression. I trotted him off and he was completely sound. I hopped on and trotted him and he was still completely sound.
Freaking horse interfered when he slipped and then acted like he was dying. Seriously, like a horse that had broken a leg and would never walk again. Then he just walked off like it was nothing. It was scary enough that the kids in the next lesson were huddled together, scared that Theo had broken his leg and we all know what happens to horses that break their legs. The parents in the ring were rather horrified when I got back on the 'badly injured horse' and Trainer A had to explain to them that Theo is a bit of a princess when it comes to injuries.
He is a mare in a gelding's body.
So after the lesson, there was no sign of swelling or soreness. I think it was like stubbing a toe. It stings like the devil for a few minutes, you swear it's broken, and then it's fine. That's the heel that he's sensitive on to begin with, so it makes sense. It's just not what you want to have happen the day before a show, or ever, in the case of our broken leg fears. I love that horse but man, what a PITA some days.