A great end to a challenging week!

So for six months, I’ve been tracking a side goal with Grasshopper… My dressage coach Reese Koffler-Stanfield and I have been working the Third Level Dressage tests on Hopper, aiming towards his debut this weekend.   He has been amazing… What was one of the hardest horses I’ve ever taught a flying change to is now a flying change machine!  The 3rd lvl tests are so much fun on him—I couldn’t wait to show him off!

Then this week happened… Hop colicked for no apparent reason (still working on that one) and the world stood still.  Thursday night he was allowed to come home from the hospital, having avoided surgery, and the focus became on tending to his every whim… Not competitions.

On Thursday, when I knew he would be coming home and I had the chance to end my bedside vigil at the vet hospital, I started thinking about the dressage show. I showed up for my lesson at Reese’s with my other horse, Nemo.  Surprise!   “Okay, a little perspective this week Reese… Hopper’s home, everything’s going to be okay, so maybe Nemo will go do dressage and try to fill one hoofprint of his very big shoes…”

So thus began our 24 hour turn around for what was to become Nemo’s third level debut.  Now, before you think I’m crazy or totally unprepared, I’ve been riding dressage on Nemo for 7 years, and have shown him through Advanced and CIC***, so it’s not like I took a novice horse and threw him into it…. It’s just that, as of Thursday, we hadn’t done those tests ever… And hadn’t been schooling changes on Nemo all year, as he’s just showing Intermediate this year.

We thought we’d give it a try, just for fun.  After all, scores don’t matter after all that’s happened this week!  Long story short, he had two very good tests and one where he was spooking at flapping papers in the 45 degree wind.  But all three scores were over 60%, and he finished 1st, 2nd, and 2nd!  Amazingly, he stepped up to the plate so much that he helped me earn the final two scores I needed for my bronze medal!  Something I thought I’d be doing on Hop, not Nemo… Just goes to show you that there are no plans when it comes to horses!

So today, to finish off the most stressful week ever, I earned my Bronze Medal in Dressage competition, riding a combination of my two OTTB’s that we’ve trained from the very beginning here.  What a sweet, sweet way to end the week!

(And for the icing on the cake, I took the WS out to masterson park for some dressage, and a great hack in the sunshine afterwards!)

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About widespreadpanic

Advanced level event rider and instructor at Team CEO Eventing in Lexington KY.
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