The first 3 weeks of March that I was able to ride Mickey were incredible. It’s good they were because I was able to live off those moments the rest of March and all of April when I had to hit pause on my riding. Then, 29th of April was the magical day I could get back on the horse!
In March Mickey definitely continued to have some spring freshness but he also matured a whole new level again. We were practising our upcoming competition tests and he was performing them brilliantly. And then, 5 days before the show, I fell ill. This led to us cancelling our first spring competition. As my health issues didn’t get any better, I eventually went to see a specialist who sent me to surgery. This mean that I would be off riding for four weeks. I nearly fell off my chair when my doctor told me that! That resulted in us having to cancel a further three shows that we had booked.
Luckily whilst I was in recovery the brilliant Assouline Dressage team kept Mickey going. As soon as I was fit enough to walk around and drive to him, I went to watch him being trained. He looked great and I was pleased to see him maturing and strengthening even more. Even our physio who saw him said he’d grown again, both in height, width and muscle build-up. This was great news (as long as he stops growing in height eventually).
The one day I was able to ride in April (exactly 4 weeks after surgery – I wasn’t going to wait a day longer!), he felt immaculate. I got on him and thought “Wow, he’s huge” and “Wow, he’s powerful“. In the 5-6 weeks I didn’t ride him the Assouline team had kept him going superbly and I could definitely feel that. He felt stronger, straighter and easier when I got on him for the first time. It was also amazing to just pick up the reins and carry on like there hadn’t been a break. Sure the first five minutes felt a bit awkward and plenty of muscle pain followed (I never knew I had muscles in so many places in my body – I swear every inch of my body ached!). But then it was onwards and upwards, step by step.
I think this is party to do with the 4 years of hard work I’ve put in so far. Mickey didn’t react to me being back on board even though he can be a bit dramatic when new people get on. This showed me, yet again, that he is starting to mature in his head as well. The trust between us is clear and perhaps the respect is getting clearer too 😉
In May our plan is simply to get back in the groove, especially for me as my fitness and strength needs to be built back up again after a 5 week break. Our aim is to compete end of May so fingers crossed everything goes to plan!