I wandered into the tack room this evening, rain still pouring down outside (occassionally turning to snow), and felt water dripping onto my head. Except I was inside...
And my tack box was wet. And my brush box...and the floor was soaked...the saddle on the rack was wet...
...and the ceiling was leaking. : O
So I moved the saddles under the leaking spot to new, dry racks, placed W's saddle pad which had absorbed most of the moisture (better then a saddle!) where it could dry off, and scooted my tack box over enough to get it out of the drip zone.
And then trudged back through the mud puddles to the house to let W and her dad know.
Boourns. W senior (he's a W too...) showed up at the barn by the time I led Moon out of his stall (yes, they spoiled him and brought everyone in for the icky weather!). And quickly identified that the vent flaps on the canvas building (that lovely canvas arena also covers the viewing room, tack room and side entry) were wide open, and with the east wind, the rain was streaming in for most of the day.
: ( He got them all closed and cleaned up as much of the water puddles in the barn as he could. I felt pretty bad for him, as the weather wasn't nice and it's a royal pain in the arse. But at least they knew about it now, rather then the next morning or later that night.
Mr. Moon was muddy, and after a good brush down (and me breaking a sweat) I decided against "jazzing him up" in prep for show day. Largely because tomorrow he'll be running around in the mud again, defeating the whole purpose : P TOMORROW, I'll start working on getting him prepped, and then spiffy him on Saturday morning.
I had stopped at H's to grab her spare medium-wide gullet and after borrowing a screwdriver, I swapped Moon's wintec over to the wider gullet (from the medium that was already in it). I put it on Moon and stood back.
...hmmmm...I *think* I like it better. I'm not sure I have enough clearance around his wither when I'm sitting (it might be *just* enough), but I think I love how it reangled the saddle. His girth didn't seem to be cutting into his shoulder as much and sat a bit further back then before.
When I got on in the arena, I almost felt like my position improved as well. My legs felt more under me, or at least, easier to put under me. Anything less chair-seat-y is for the better!
I figured, well, let's send Moon out and see if he's any improved.
After a couple of circles, serpentines and changes of direction, I wanted to dismount. Quit. Get off. Bail. Drop the reins and stop riding.
He was awesome. So I had either tacked up the wrong horse, or it was too good to be true (and I best quit while I was ahead!).
Now, we're not talking headed to the Olympics awesome. Let's put this in context people. Yes, yes, he'd win hands down if there was a competition for "sweetness", but there isn't. Which reminds me, W senior informed me that his granddaughter *loves* Mr. Moon. Because he's such a sweet, kind, gentle and pleasant horse. My heart swelled.
Anyway, for a Moon, he was awesome. And for a Moon coming back from time off, after a gallop trail ride, a half-a$$ ring ride and a miserable lesson, he was spectacular.
I felt like something changed or clicked, more then anything.
I wondered about that change in gullet. Seriously wondered.
He was maintaining a lovely low head carriage and really rounding over his back. By the end of our ride, he had that lovely *woofing* at the trot. And his head carried so horizontal, his movement so rhythmic, his responsiveness improved.
I even felt like I could maintain a nice level of contact with him. I just kept staring at his head, amazed.
Did the change in gullet actually make it easier for him to round??? Seriously, was he understanding the concept of what I wanted from the start, but physically unable to do it? Or was today the result of yesterday's lesson? Or the time off? Or did I ride different? Was the gullet change a placebo? Was it spending the day warm and dry inside?? The fact he was with his buddies? Was it even real? Did I envision it as more then it was, to feel better about our crappy lesson???
I don't know yet. But I'm excited to find out! And very hopeful.
Boy, I hope he performs on Saturday like he did today!!!