There was a great distraction in taking a completely new horse to a show. Khan Cobahn's very own Seaborn Sirren had been offered to them as a lease to keep her active, and having only a few horses to compete, Anna jumped at the chance. Anything to keep her busy, anything that wasn't rehabilitating Kasper.
Anna would have done three hundred times the amount of work she was doing to help Kasper recuperate; at present he required slow walking once a day, just around the outside of the stables to stretch his legs and to make sure his muscles didn’t waste. He wore a custom made boot – a gigantic hideous thing that went up past his knee. There was a heavy version that he wore at night that Anna could barely carry herself. He needed special feed, but only small amounts to save him from putting more weight on himself and his leg. And, at last, he had regular vet checks and quite a few injections for the pain, the possible infection, and the calcium deficiency that was an eminent threat.
So of course, it was hard work, but it was not the work that exhausted her. It was the very thought of Kasper as her responsibility, and it weighed her down like stone. Damien tried to help, where he could, but he hadn’t had mobility of his left arm for some months, and still used it gingerly for the most basic of tasks. Such a basic task he was faced with now, as he stood outside the dressage arena, trying to hold onto his coffee whilst taking off the lid. Anna knew better than to offer help – whilst Damien offered help, he had made quite a vicious point about not needing it.
She let him fumble, but when he started to swear she took it from him gently, but with impatience. “Jesus Christ Damien,” she said, taking off the lid and placing the steaming cup back into his good hand.
Damien looked at her, and out of the corner of her eye she wondered if it was sheepish, that he looked. He mumbled a thankyou before they both turned their gaze out to the big grey mare that was trotting calmly, like elastic in her experienced rider’s hands.
When Emily had told her she needed to go back to Sydney for a little while to ‘catch up with friends’, Anna hadn’t stopped her. For the first few months of Kasper’s rehabilitation, Emily had been in his company almost the entire time. She had taken everything on board, until one morning when she tearily came into her room and told her she needed to see friends. Anna had sent her off in the car not an hour later. So, as a replacement, the reins of the dressage horses had been handed to German rider Thomas Meuhlenbeck, a charming and funny older man, whose thick accent often made his jokes twice as enjoyable. On horseback though, he had quite a different demeanor. He was subdued, soft, with quiet hands, legs and seat. A totally different man, she thought, as he raised his hand for the music to start and entered at A with a beautiful passage.
The mare had a carriage that was almost out of this world, and with Thomas’s hands she found the pair totally entranced with each other. She was a little bit in love with Wren, a little bit in love with Thomas, and completely in love with the pair together. As Thomas saluted, Wren wobbled back a step in her halt, but her rider caught, before gently moving off into trot. They were quite lovely to watch – peaceful and delicate together, with strength but softness, and Anna felt calmed by their routine. Their half pass was well balanced, two time flying changes lovely and high, and Wren really looked like she enjoyed the piaffe. Aside from a stride or two of canter in the extended trot – when Wren told Thomas “Let’s go!” – and an endless supply of tail swishing as Wren grew slightly impatient, the routine was classic, solid dressage.
Anna found she hadn’t been holding her breath like she did when Kasper performed, and didn’t quite know what it meant. The audience applauded as they exited the arena, riding to Anna and Damien.
“She’s a good bird, for sure,” Thomas said as he gave her a big, slapping pat on the neck.
“Thanks Thomas, that was lovely. Good girl Wren,” Anna said, rubbing Wren’s forehead. Wren looked back at her with her big black eyes, and for the first time in a long time, Anna felt okay.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________KhC Seaborn Sirren
competing in the CCI **** Dressage Phase of the Yawarda 3DE.
Thanks to Sealle
for letting me lease her! She's a babe to paint <3Edit: Guys, I know this sounds insanely silly, but when I put a lot of effort and perseverance into a piece and it gets like ... barely any comments, no feedback, anything, I find it really discouraging. I want to make something that you can all enjoy! But I don't feel like I'm achieving that when it seemingly goes quite unnoticed. Even if you don't like it, tell me what you think! Help me improve - I'm always looking for ways to do so, and comments and feedback from you guys is one of the fastest methods of doing so.