Andrea & Pablo's story: part 2

And so Pablo arrived in July 2010. We got to know each other quietly away, lots of hacking out – we used to go out for up to four hours at a time! We started off in a snaffle as everyone does but after his bolting with me towards a major arterial road and my being unable to do a thing about it, I started riding him in a pelham – good decision! It is the onIy bit that he respects. (I have a dabble with a snaffle now and again but it always ends with him jogging home with his nose touching his chest and me hanging on for grim death!).

I bought myself a trailer and 4x4 and ventured further afield. A trip to Craven Country Ride (a local farm ride/jumping facility) unleashed the jumping beast. I hadn’t jumped before but it is what Pablo was born to do. He lives for jumping and taught me everything. To be fair, it is easy when you are riding a horse that never refuses and carts you over whether you want to go or not!!! We tried dressage but it isn’t really our thing – far too disciplined and controlled for us – we prefer careering around the countryside!

I rode across Morecambe Bay in June 2013 and galloped back as we were encouraged to do…. and then the sky fell in. The day after, Pablo was hopping lame. I assumed that he was stiff from his exertions and quietly led him round the school for a couple of days. The days passed into a couple of weeks so my vet was called. They had no idea and another couple of weeks passed. I then got him referred to a top class vet in Halifax who pretty much knew what it was as soon as he saw him.  A couple of nerve blocks and x-rays confirmed…. coffin joint arthritis. Pablo had the best part of six months off – lots of tlc, lots of anti-inflammatories, lots of joint supplements…. but he came right. I decided that I had to make the most of every opportunity that came our way as I knew he wouldn’t last for ever and the arthritis would get him in the end.

I started showing him (the most tedious time consuming occupation in history) and met with immediate success. The judges love him as a pure white Spanish horse stands out a mile. We do show jumping up to a metre, working hunter, ridden and in hand showing – the full works really. He is 17 now so we have had success in veteran classes as well.

Our keep fit regime involves lots of road walking (power walking and jogging when the pent up energy gets too much to bear as he doesn’t know the meaning of slow) but very little trotting as I don’t want to jar his legs. I don’t ride him in the school at all in order not to stress his joints going in small circles. We go galloping on a cross country course several times a month in summer but only about once a month in winter where we end up missing out a lot of jumps as I have no intention of taking them at warp speed as Pablo is so glad to stretch his legs.

Then along came the wonderful Mane Show. We have loved every minute of our participation in this fantastic institution, even giving the dreaded dressage a whirl (although our warm up and preparation is a half hour hack beforehand to warm up the muscles then straight to it!). I have learnt so many new IT skills thanks to Katie. They say that the camera never lies and Pablo’s on line success is testament to this assertion.

Winning Mane Show supreme champion was right up at the top of pleasure gained from winning any number of real time trophies and championships. We seem to be managing and containing the arthritis so every single day with Pablo is a bonus and a blessing and I count myself so lucky that our paths crossed. Thank you Pablo for the ongoing experience of a lifetime.