Patience is a Virtue

“Patience is a virtue, 

Virtue is a grace.

Grace is a little girl who doesn’t wash her face.”

This rhyme was said over and over to me as a child because, regardless of what anyone thinks, I’m not a very patient person. If I want to do anything I want to do it now. Which usually means I get less help or end up struggling on my own because I won’t wait two hours until another pair of strong arms gets home.

At the moment my patience is being tested with Otis.

Last weekend (as in nine days ago not three days ago) we went to a BE100 ODE. Only the second one of the season because of inconveniences like weddings and honeymoons. I didn’t feel hugely prepared as he’d lost a shoe the previous Wednesday and I’d missed our final fast work session having a “get your bum in gear” showjumping session the weekend before.

Anyway, I didn’t know the dressage test that well. Well, I didn’t read it properly and made a slight error on both canters which meant we ended up on 32 penalties. When really it should have been sub-30 and near the top of the board. Showjumping was fine, one down but neither of us ballsed it, which was an improvement from the weekend before. Then he flew round the cross country, obviously not inside the time as we aren’t fit enough, but only 1.2 time penalties. It was close, but enough for eighth place. Frustratingly I know that had I got that sub-thirty dressage score I would have been placed higher.

As soon as we were back at the trailer I noticed Otis wasn’t quite right. He was pointing his near fire slightly. He was walking fine as we cooled him off. Then we noticed that shoe was loose as I took out the studs. There wasn’t any heat, but it’s hard to tell on a hot,sweaty horse. I couldn’t decide if there was any swelling or not. On a turn I thought he was struggling slightly with that foot, so I bandaged both front legs before putting his travel boots on.

When we got home I couldn’t see any thing and Otis seemed comfortable on his foot. My suggestion was that galloping and jumping on a loose shoe, on fairly hard ground, with a stud, stressed the foot and leg because it wasn’t flush.

First thing Monday morning I rang the farrier (we’re making such a good impression on our new farrier; lost shoe and bringing his appointment forwards within five days) and Otis was reshod on Tuesday morning (how about that for service?!). But he had some puffiness on his mid cannon, about the size of my baby finger nail. It was very soft swelling, I half thought I was imagining it, and it went down with cold hosing.

By Thursday there was no swelling but still a lameness in trot, so I resigned myself to more cold hosing and field rest over the weekend. It’s a good job I had a DIY weekend planned in the garden.

But Otis still isn’t quite right. It’s annoying because there isn’t anything to see anymore. I spoke to a vet who’s a friend, who said that because it was such a soft swelling it was likely to be excess fluid from the joint caused by concussion, and some form of inflammation of the tendon sheath. Which is what I thought and studiously tried to ignore. If I had Otis’s leg ultrasound scanned it’s unlikely anything will show up, especially as the swelling has gone now. If he’s still unsound in the next ten to fourteen days then it may well be a vet visit, but for the time being I’m doing the right thing.

So, gutting as it was, I had to withdraw from Team Quest this weekend- it leaves me with one more venue at which to hopefully qualify for the native championships – and I’ve had to withdraw from my Riding Club showjumping team at Hickstead the following week. The last two months have been building up to Hickstead, so I’m disappointed, but actually now that I’ve confirmed my withdrawal I feel like there’s less pressure on Otis coming sound in the next forty eight hours and I can bring him back into work as slowly as he needs.

On a brighter note, I can use these two free weekends to get organised for the new bathroom, finish the patio, and maybe even dust the house, so I’ll be keeping busy which will hopefully make me more patient. And of course, playing with the kitten!


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