PAIN: Let’s start with pain. A week ago, I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed… Somehow, I’d injured my back. After five days of trying to “tough it out” (including xc schooling my two most challenging horses) I relented that I couldn’t stand up straight and might need to do something other than tough it out. I went to the chiropracter for the first time in my life, and he worked on me every day this week. At first, the pain was so excruciating that I had to count tiles on the ceiling of his office to keep from tearing up. On thursday, he asked me if I was going to have a quiet weekend in bed…. I replied, “Something like that.” And off we went to a horse trial. 😉
TENACITY…. We drive 90 minutes each way to ship into this horse trial every day, and let me tell you that driving a horse trailer was SO. MUCH. FUN. when sitting still makes you feel like your hip bones are being slowly sawed off by a steak knife. It was a tough week anyway… Expedition lost a shoe, and it took four days before his farrier could put it back on. So our dressage test was fine, but left something to be desired, to be expected with the preparation we’d had this week. When we left the box for XC, my little cross country machine wasn’t himself, so after a couple of fences I retired to let him play another day. Oddly, that was my first time in three years not crossing the finish flags XC at the lower levels, and the first time in two years to not bring every single horse home clean on XC. But I did what was right for Ex, and he’ll be fine to play another day. I next rode Wapentake at novice, to an average test (he’s still quite young and green). Getting ready for XC for my fourth ride of the day, my back was like I had been beaten with a baseball bat. Considering it took me 90 minutes to walk the XC course, I’d say I was a 4 out of 5 lame! I had to walk all four levels at once, as I knew I couldn’t get around it more than once on foot. But I was proud of myself—I did get around it walking! (hobbling) Jerry was very good on XC though, and jumped double clean in both phases to end on his dressage score of 40 in 7th place.
The welcome relief of the weekend came when all I had left was to ride Lovesweetlove (Buddy). Buddy is an awesome packer, and always a good boy. Despite my misery, Buddy was his typical saintly self, and had a great dressage test. I was really dissappointed with his 35 score, as he’s frequently a 20’s kind of guy, but I couldn’t be happier with my horse. He was super again in SJ for double clean, and perfect on XC for another double clean. He finished 6th in a really competitive, brilliant group of pros.
THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE IT ALL WORTHWHILE: THE STUDENTS: (1) Team CEO student Jerry Barnette had a triumphant return to eventing after a couple of year’s hiatus, WINNING the open beginner novice division of 25 impressive pros, leading from start to finish on 28. Congrats and so excited for the future! (2) Student Nikki Burgio picked up her final CCI* qualification by scoring 30 in dressage, 0/0 SJ, and clean XC with just a couple of time penalties. They finished 6th in a tough division. Congrats for her last qualifier! (3) Jeri Fuller had a gorgeous test with her young horse Mouse, with some incredible moments. They were terrific, and Jeri happily proclaimed at the end that Mouse wants to go novice! (4) Back at home, students Erin & Erika went to their first CT… Erin won the dressage on 28, and with just 4 in SJ finished 4th in her first BN outing! Erika and Zoe WON their division! Woohoo ladies! (5) For a special treat, I took the working students XC schooling around the course afterwards. Alexis jumped around all of the Novice clean with her 4yo, and they’re looking great for
their jumpstart moveup. And WS Andrea rode sales horse Vie around the entire training from start to finish, clean and were absolutely brilliant the whole way!
Such are the moments in eventing… One weekend the boys win at the upper levels, the next weekend you’re fighting pain just to make it through a novice on a 5yo. 😉 But then again, at the end of the day, those special moments make it all worthwhile.