Two hundred and thirty-three days since OTTB Bruno underwent surgery to clear a long-time infection to his coffin bone, Lauren simply headed towards this X and Bruno jumped.
Regular readers will know all the trials and issues we have endured trying to get Bruno back to sound. Five months in his stall, totally. Months confined to a small area. Boring days and critical accidents that we did not think Bruno would survive. But he has and since his shoeing (with a cast, straight bar shoe and equi-thane filler) a week ago last Saturday each day he has been moving a little better and with a less of a limp. We will need to do exercises to strengthen his hind end so he does not fall so hard on his forehand. Any dressage trainer anywhere near Wharton? But we can do that. It will take some time.
Lauren usually works Feather in the morning. Then Bruno and Pixie are worked in the early evening. I have not been ready for her to ride Bruno when I am 100 miles away. But each day that he has been worked his attitude and mental state are better.
Last night, Lauren wanted to ride Feather so she would have me there as she worked Feather through the jump grids assigned by Dev as homework. I had Pixie saddled. I wondered then what would happen when Bruno got to the ring and saw the jumps. Like a lot OTTB owners we don’t know a lot about his life before us. We can chronicle and even watch some race footage. But there are big gaps for us. Questions like why did such a big, well-bred colt start racing so late (at age 4)? Did he have hoof issues all along?
We know he came here to Texas to Sherre Sims, an excellent hunter-jumper rider and trainer. But we do not have details about what work she did with him. Has he ever been jumped through a course, if so how high?
Lauren texted me early this morning that she was getting on Bruno. Just like I had with Pixie a few days ago, we set a time limit and if we have not heard from the rider within say an hour, it is time to dispatch the ambulance. We are out in an area without close neighbors (or at least neighbors would might even notice if we fell off) and we ride alone, a lot.
I kept track of the time and saw Lauren’s call come in on my cell. I was scared-was she okay? She told me I would be mad at her-heart pounds faster. “Why what did you do?” “I jumped Bruno”. The rule is no jumping when you are riding alone. Still, instead of from fear my heart started to pound with excitement. “How did he do?” I wanted to know.
She said they were just going through the paces, the X came up on the outside line. Lauren made a decision to jump. Bruno continued his even pace, rounded his back, jumped, landed athletically and continued to canter. So, he cantered. He spotted the X. He jumped the X.
And he walked off sound! I will get some photos soon. Tonight all I have is photo of what the jump must have looked like to Bruno as he cantered up to it.
Praise God!! It has been a long time coming. A new big chapter in the Bruno, My OTTB story has just started. Please keep riding along!