I can’t tell you how many non-refundable horse show entries I’ve lost because my horse (or my body) had other plans.
An untimely hoof abscess.
A last minute heel grab.
A rider injury……
I’ve lost at least a dozen entries in the past couple of years to unplanned “events.”
So when the entire year is based around getting to “the big 3 Day Event” at the end of the season…… at some point the absolute paranoia sets in.
Every itchy spot or tack rub becomes a crisis. The bellybands come out to prevent spur rubs. I apply extra lip grease to prevent lip splits…… Every insect bite is cause for concern.
Then there’s a phenomenon I’ll call the “fear of hope” or…… call it superstition, Murphy’s law, pessimism……
When a well meaning friend predicted how well I was going to do & even looked forward to reading my blog about how well I did……. I lost my mind a bit.
And then another friend sent a note and said, “This is so exciting! I’m going to fly in for the big event to watch you compete!”
And while I definitely appreciate the support & always welcome a cheering squad…… All I could think was, “Great, now we won’t even pass the jog!”
But let’s face it. Horses provide unending unknowns, and while this sport can be fantastic & exhuberating,
it’s also humbling,
and often down right heart breaking.
Originally I had planned for 3 or 4 of the ponies to go to “the big one”. The big one is the “long” FEI event at the end of the season.
One pony decided not to play for the first 1/2 of the season.
And while she has become a superstar since then.
We just don’t have enough experience at the level to justify the $1200 entry fee.
That’s one down.
Then pony number two also had a bit of a rough season. The 3*s just weren’t going all that well.
We are finally getting back on the same page, & figuring out where the disconnect was
but he’s not quite prepped to justify a CCI3*L
That’s two down.
I can’t tell you how many announcements I’ve seen over the years when riders withdraw just before big events. For whatever reason, it always seems to be right after “the last gallop.” So when I loaded my two remaining horses in the trailer for our last gallop before the event this weekend I had some trepidation.
But before I could even get the saddle on my fears were more than realized…..
Even talking about the following chain of events & “mistakes” makes me a bit crazy.
I bought an uber fancy horse. She’s huge (17 hands+) & prissy. She was supposed to have room in her accommodations for the shipping. Instead they stuffed her in next to two other horses & she panicked. She got hurt before I even got her home. Then it took 8 months of rehab to get to our first competition.
But eventually we started competing & checking the boxes.
At our first FEI event (where she was a total rockstar) a farrier that was not familiar enough with eventing put super slippery pour in pads on her. And to add to the comedy of errors, I wasn’t experienced enough with this type of pad to know how much trouble I was in……… until it was too late.
We literally slipped & slid around the entire cross country…….. it was terrifying. Next came my absolute panic to cut those pads off my other horse before his cross country start because he was wearing them too.
Fortunately I got them off the second horse before his round, but for pony #1 the damage was done. My super star was injured from sliding before and after every jump. I can hardly even talk about what a difficult “lesson learned” that was. After an 18 month rehabilitation she has been storming around 3 stars and I finally got to experience exactly why I bought her.
But Sunday, even before our “last gallop” the injury from the previous slip & slide experience………..reared its ugly head again.
And that’s three.
If anything gets BadEventer to stop eventing……… this just might be it.
As of today……………I’ve still got one left in the game. Here’s hoping I can keep her in one piece for a handful more days.
Horses, and especially eventing……. is definitely not for sissies.