Winds ended up with about 5 weeks off during the holidays (not the worst thing that's ever happened), but more than the time off - there has been a slow (inconsistent) return to work and that's left us nowhere near ready for show season.
|But we are 100% ready for Leadline|
We think that Winds' left front was nagging at him. And that it might have been the culprit of the not-so-spectacular performance in Paso, as well as what was driving the moments of cross leads and seemingly random inconsistencies last summer.
His symptoms never got objectively worse with work (and there was a LOT of work)..
They also seemed to crop up randomly (though usually in smaller arenas..), which made it really tricky to pinpoint. He wasn't always worse after two weeks of showing. Sometimes it was day one. Sometimes he was great the whole time. Sometimes he was stiff at the end... I sliced and diced and tried to come up with constants that could predict the cross lead - but alas, no strong hypothesis.
The upside of the randomness, is that he never steadily got worse, and the flares stayed small and short lived. But they were there, and that was always in the back of my head.
So, time off.
And ooooh boy does he feel rested and strong.
In fact, he looks pretty awesome. He's put a little weight on (probably more fat than muscle, but me too..) and it looks like he has sorta grown into himself over the last year.
His butt is bigger, his shoulder is filled in, and he just looks more mature than he did when he walked off the trailer 16 months ago.
On top of that he feels AMAZING. His trot feels looser, his shoulder feels swing-ier, and like he's reaching through the bridle instead of leaning on it.
That said, it might be time to put a spur back on... my heel is working overtime trying to nudge him along. oooof
So that's neat, I think we're on a good track, and now that we know he can feel like this, maybe we can figure out how to keep him here.
Sadly time off hasn't had the same transformative effect on me. In November, I felt ready to step straight into the 3' ring. Today I feel less capable (both mentally and physically) of that particular task, and am lacking the urgency I usually feel this time of year about tackling new goals.
I'm not sure what exactly that means - but it has me feeling less pressured about where we're going and what we'll be doing when we go there. (though, knowing my tendencies, that will likely change as soon as I get a whiff of show season).
Our Spring schedule is looking quite a bit difference than last year. Our first potential show isn't until the end of April, and it's possible we'll wait until May.
If we make it to April, it'll be back to Thunderbird, for what will most certainly be a rather wet week.
Winds would do a very light schedule, maybe not even any full divisions... but it would be a road trip and check-in to see where we are at while taking advantage of nice big rings to do it in.
Stay tuned for more schooling updates as we inch closer to the back gate!