Last weekend I took Justin up to Plantation Field for our last horse trail at training level. He was fabulous, and since I have zero media from last weekend, I’ll summarize:
- Much more impulsion/engagement in the dressage
- I forgot my test, because dressage is hard (P.S. I skipped a stretch circle) (P.P.S. I’ve made that same error before)
- Show jumping was much improved, but I still pulled a bit too much, and would’ve liked to ridden more forward. We left all the colored poles up, though.
- Justin was in beast mode on cross-country.
- I almost fell off at the half coffin, which was seriously beginner novice sized, because cross-country is hard.
- They originally gave me 20 time penalties, but removed them after I refuted – aka we go fast.
Basically, pon was super good, so onward in our preparation for Virginia Horse Trials, until a few sketchy rides this week.
On Tuesday I nearly got bucked off multiple times trying to flat. He threw a fit every time we got the side of the arena where his pasture mate was standing, so I chalked this up to his general sassiness.
Wednesday we headed off to Gordonsdale for a cross-country school. This is a small facility that doesn’t host horse trials, but has many great schooling questions. My plan was to go out there and have a really confident school, and go away from it feeling more prepared than ever for VAHT. As we know with horses thought, things don’t go according to plan.
I think my horse was instead temporarily possessed by the devil. He began to pull out old tricks that I thought were dead and buried. These antics include, but are not limited to: Bucking, spinning, refusing to move, refusing to leave the group, running us into trees, leaving the group, but ultimately deciding he wanted to go back, running sideways at warp speed and general tomfoolery.
Two years ago, these behaviors were entirely normal for him. We worked through them, and they had become a very distant memory… until Wednesday.
Naturally, I begin to panic. Is he hurting? Did he get some type of injury at Plantation? Am I over facing him? Are we just unprepared and this is a sign? Is my horse actually possessed by Satan?
To top the day off, Justin managed to pull off both his front shoes – I attribute this to the running sideways at warp speed. I’d also like to point out that my farrier had just done his feet two hours before this. His shoes only lasted. TWO. HOURS. Utterly confused, I took him home, iced his legs, and packed his feet.
Of all the current potential scenarios, the one that seems the most likely is that is just exhausted. His workload has been ramped up lately, and he really hasn’t had any downtime in the last three months. I think he was just not fully recovered from Plantation HT last weekend before we went right back into super trot/canter sets, and then on with the week.
Because he is still showing no signs of lameness, I think he’s just been over-taxed and finally decided enough was enough! Thursday before work my farrier (who is an angel in disguise) came to put front shoes back on him, and then I didn’t touch him for the rest of the day. Today he will get a light hack, and Saturday I’m entered in a CT at Morningside, so then I will see if a little bit of downtime help clears his brain.
He’s a hard worker and a pleaser. He always gives 100%, so I really feel like he just met a bit of a limit this week. Hoping and crossing my fingers that my super pony comes back in full form on Saturday. I should also note if he still isn’t feeling good, a vet visit will be in order. His welfare is paramount, but since he went so brilliantly at Plantation and then suddenly was kind of rank, I may have a pony in need of a break. This isn’t entirely the most comforting thing going into our first Prelim, but I will, of course, closely monitor him before that point.
A little discouraged – a lot confused, but we will see on Saturday!