Thomas Goes Schooling Again, And I Go To A Show!

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy busy and exhausting. It all started at the American Eventing Championships at Tryon where I drove 7 hours with our intern and put in four 15 hour days before driving 7 hours home.

It’s not often that I get stressed on assignment, but I can say I was extremely overwhelmed and fatigued by the end of each day with 21 divisions plus trying to pay attention to other interesting people. There just wasn’t enough time or manpower to get to everyone. I made a dozen or more trips up and down the media center steps every day, so I can say I’m getting better at that with my ankles!

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A rainbow at Tryon!

I went to the barn when we got back on Monday and was unpleasantly surprised to find Oh So with a nasty puncture wound on his upper leg.

I ended up calling the emergency vet because it was a toss up between stitching it or not, and she decided not to because it ended up having a very deep pocket that I had to flush every day.

So I assumed we wouldn’t be going to the VADA/NOVA recognized dressage show I’d signed up for on Saturday.

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Burghley or beginner novice?

But by Wednesday it was looking a little better, and he was sound, so I hopped on to see how he felt. He was definitely bored to death in the rehab paddock, so I put him to work, and he felt good!

We had two decent rides on Thursday and Friday and off we went to my first show back from my injury at Morven Park.

I had signed up for training level test 3 and first level test 3 because I wasn’t sure I could make it through two first level tests back when I entered, but I probably would have been fine.

He had a lovely warmup but the minute he trotted into the ring and saw people getting up from the stands and then saw the photographer that was the end of that! He’s only 17 you know….

He completely tightened his back and neck, and I felt like I had no control over the ride. Not surprisingly the comments were, “short in neck, behind the vertical,” etc.

We ended up with a 59 percent, which is absolutely embarrassing. It’s frustrating because he’s capable of solid mid to upper 60s work on a good day, and probably better on his best day, but it’s all just tension.

The second test a few hours later was the training test, so I just kept it simple in the warmup, and he felt the exact same as the first warmup. I was able to hold him together for the first half of the test save for the trot loops where he assumed he was going on the diagonal to a medium trot, but we lost it a bit after the free walk. That’s always been his MO, and I can school it at home until we’re blue in the face, but he will still be a jerk in the ring.

We ended up with nearly 66 percent, and I know he could have been near 70 if he’d just been more relaxed. We did get a third place ribbon, so that was cool for our first foray into recognized dressage.

It’s frustrating because he knows better, and I got into a bit of a defensive/leaning forward/wide hands position that the judge commented on.

I’m giving us both a (reluctant) pass this time though because I haven’t seen a video or photos of myself riding since my accident, we only had one lesson and off property ride in four months, and he’d been cooped up in a small paddock for several days.

I’m trying to look at the positives of the weekend, which were that it was a beautiful day, I was at a horse show, and my horse and I were both sound!

I’m hoping to try a bit more jumping this week to see how I feel and maybe enter the Morningside combined test in two weeks to either jump or do two dressage tests.

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“Do I have to go in there again?”

Thomas got to go schooling at Loch Moy on the Friday before the show, and he did a good job with Meghan. They popped on and off a bank, went over a ditch and through water and over some logs.

He definitely doesn’t care about the hard stuff, that’s for sure! I’m hoping he can go somewhere this weekend, but if not, Oh So gets to have an outing!




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