To start, let's back up to Southern Pines. While there visiting Cherie, her husband came for a visit. Tom is a vet. A very good vet. During my weekly conversations with Cherie, we often discuss lameness issues and things Tom sees and learns about when he goes on calls or to continuing ed conferences. Several of those conversations have centered around the S-I joint. I've become more and more convinced since the October vet visit that Charlie's true soreness was in his S-I joint and not his hocks. So I begged Tom to take a look at Charlie when he came to visit Cherie and he kindly agreed. He watched him go under saddle with me as well as with Cherie, performed extensive flexions on him and came to the conclusion that he needed the left side of his S-I joint injected along with his left stifle, left hock, and the left side of his neck. Poor pony! The good news is he feels amazing!!! According to Tom, many vets don't realize how often the S-I joint is the true culprit and instead focus on the hocks or the stifles. I will say it's important to note that Tom did not feel Charlie was lame in a clinical sense, just uncomfortable and these injections will allow him work correctly and therefore build the correct muscles to support his joints.
Jumping forward to the end of February, Charlie and I did indeed make it to the jumper show in Aiken despite some truly crappy weather. I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of the farm we got to stay at but it was really pretty. It was a shed row (not my favorite style) but the stalls were super roomy (I'm thinking 14x14) and the ceiling was really high so it made the stalls feel very open even when the dutch doors were all closed up. The farm was in a planned equestrian community and it had an amazing common area with a dressage arena, banks, and lots and lots of show jumps available for all to enjoy.
I drove down to Aiken on Friday evening and we puttered around Aiken on Saturday during the drizzle and rain. It stopped raining in the afternoon so I had a jumping lesson in the common area. Cherie focused the majority of the lesson having me supple Charlie laterally and keeping him in front of my leg. The Pony was simply amazing. After riding, we headed to Maria's for a lovely Mexican dinner accompanied by an even lovelier margarita. ;)
Sunday was the show and despite some stress over the whole start time thing (how do you H/J folks do it?!?! Start times are a beautiful thing...), Charlie was really good. He was a little wired when I first got on but settled down nicely. I felt really badly because I ended up on him way longer then necessary but he was very good. I didn't realize they would hold the class until you were ready - it took them about an hour to run a class that only had about 5 people in it because they were waiting on folks to show. Anywho, on to the important stuff. I entered two classes, low schooling jumpers which was 3' and Children's/Adult jumpers at 3'3". Both classes were power and speed which was a new concepts for me - you jump the first 5-7 jumps and if you're clean, you get to do remaining 5-7 for speed. First class was good although I'm an idiot so we ended up with some time faults but Charlie was clean so we got 6th and won $10! The second class was about an hour or little more after the first and by that time Charlie was pretty tired. He was very good but pulled first 2 rails so we just did the first half of the course. All in all, it was a very good outing for both of us.
Another random tidbit - for the 3 weeks between Tom working on Charlie and going to Aiken, Charlie was a little nappy in the canter especially going left. Needless to say, I was a bit worried that it had something to do with the injections as that was the only thing I could think of that was new. Then it hit me - I had been using regular saddle pads which for some odd reason slip back under the flaps of my saddle. The whole saddle doesn't slip, and the pad under the saddle doesn't slip, just the part under the flap. This in turn pulls the pad very tight against his withers. When I use a Poly Pad, this does not happen. I have no idea why this works but it does so I guess that means Poly Pads and nothing else for the Pony. Lucky for me I was able to score a used one from a tack shop in Southern Pines to add to the two I already have.
Charlie modeling his new used poly pad.
Riding has been a bit sporadic with work and the weather but now that I'm switching to nights, I plan on going straight to the barn in the AM to ride and feed the Wonder Pony. Hopefully this all works out the way I've planned it in my head...