The Ocala HITS hunter jumper winter circuit started this week.
I had planned to get back in the game and jump a few rounds this weekend. So I decided to pull The Zebrasaurus out of his most recent sabbatical.
We had a bit of an accident back in August of 2020. That story can be found here. The Bermuda Triangle.
So after several months in a bandage he was just finally getting back in action.
And if you don’t follow BadEventer on social media – this is what happened to The Zebrasaurus 5 weeks ago.
“Don’t be like BadEventer. Occasionally someone posts how their horse (or rider) got injured in very preventable ways as a Public Service Announcement. Things like, “don’t use bungee cord ties.” I’d truly hate to know just how many horses (or people) have lost an eye due to those. (And don’t even get me started on retractable leashes!) Don’t wear flip flops to the barn. Seriously, I can’t count how many broken-foot, amputated-toe injuries I’ve seen from inappropriate footwear around horses. Boots people, boots. If they take too much work to put on get barn clogs or boots with zippers.
I’m pretty good at not doing things like that……….But, here’s my “butterfly effect” story that ended in a horrific & 100% preventable injury. I had a great time XC schooling 4 horses yesterday. <This was 5 weeks ago.> Oh yeah. Everyone was fantastic & The Zebrasaurus is finally getting back in action after his injury from The Bermuda Triangle (see Tales from a BadEventer for that story.) For some reason the battery is dying on my cute little golf cart. Just perhaps I shouldn’t have named it after a sloth “Bradypus.”
In spite of the lights indicating it was fully charged at 8am by 10am it was fading so we parked it by the show barn at the XC venue to charge it. At the end of 6 hours of riding & everyone being FABULOUS I loaded up & left for home. When I got home I pulled down the trailer ramp & immediately realized I left the golfcart at the show. I thought, “Good grief BadEventer, you’re literally bad at truly everything!” Fortunately the venue is not THAT far away, so much to my annoyance at myself, after a long day I’d just have to go back & get it. I decided I’d quickly unload horses, feed, blanket & go back before Brady happened to find a new home. I unclipped the 2 big grey boys believing that they would just follow each other down the ramp. They’re unicorns after all. The Zebrasaurus was walking out when his sequel TwoPointOh decided he should go out at the same time & pushed him off the ramp. If he had just stepped off the ramp in literally any other spot except right next to the trailer & hinge he would’ve been fine.
But nope – he stepped down directly on the only “corner” on the entire trailer and did “the laceration of all lacerations. “I’ve had more than my share of horses need sutures but nothing like this.
Two severed arteries, pints of blood, 75 stitches later and another lost show season…….. The golfcart definitely wasn’t worth it. (And yes, I did retrieve it after the vet left.) I think the worst part is how preventable this was. Don’t be like BadEventer. Taking “shortcuts” rarely helps. Put on those boots, throw away those bungee ties (& retractable leashes) & walk out the ramp one at a time.”
Sooooooo……. that was 5 weeks ago. And after 6 months of bandage changes, first the one injury at the show & then the second, this weekend I decided my personal unicorn, The Zebrasaurus, could manage a 90cm jumper round.
Or so I thought…..
The first round he was a literal run away! But the Zebrasaurus is such a rock star we blasted around a couple of rounds after 5 weeks of bandage care. And everyone survived!
The new kid, TwoPointOh, has been in work so in spite of not jumping more than a meter in MONTHS, I thought that we could do a 1 meter round and then step up to 1.10 meter right after so it would be easier.
But <there’s always a but right?! > the venue put the classes in different rings……….
And those 1.10 meter jumps in the big spooky ring looked MASSIVE.
I was intimidated.
And I came THIS close to chickening out.
But I eventually decided to give it a go, and went in the ring with the goal to just go a little faster than I felt like I wanted to.
Really, the only “plan” was survival, and I managed to get around my first 1.10 meter round since last August ( 5 months ago.)
After getting my land legs back a bit, I felt a little more confident for day two.
I entered another 1.10 meter class with TwoPointOh and it was going pretty darn well until he had a green moment spooking at a jump next to the fence. We stopped which was fine. He jumped it the second time but this was a power and speed class so we didn’t get to do the “speed” portion. I’m still figuring out jumper land and some of these classes are a bit of a mystery to me. The power and speed classes have a set of jumps that you have to clear in a certain time, and then if you are clear to that point you just keep going into the “speed” portion which is a jump off where you want the fastest time. If you’re not clear or too slow they ring the buzzer after the power portion and you don’t get to do the speed portion. Due to too much time from the stop we didn’t do the speed portion.
That mattered for what happened next.
Back in Texas, before I moved to Florida as the world’s oldest working student, I had a Fearless Leader who
at least tried to teach me a valuable lesson.
It went like this.
“People waste time on course by replaying what just happened, the jump they just navigated, in their head.” He said, “Don’t do that. If you want to replay the jump buy the video. Instead, the moment you’re over the jump be looking and kicking for the next one.” He said, “If you “land & go” after every jump you can save a second at every one. With 25 jumps that’s 25 seconds by the end.”
“If you want the replay buy the video.”
After jumping 5 rounds successfully over 2 days on 2 horses I went into the ring on The Zebrasaurus who had gotten his wildness out the first day ready to “give it a go.”
We had gotten pretty good at this jumper thing last year. And he had really stepped up & learned how to jump, turn, jump, turn.
BadEventer has failed at competitions in more ways than I can count.
I’ve gotten eliminated.
Have I mentioned that I’ve fallen?
If you remember back to the very beginning of the BadEventer Tales I actually fell off at my very first event as a child, so I have a hisory.
But there is one thing, in <cough> 40 years I’ve never done.
I’ve never gone off course……………
Remember, how I didn’t get to the speed portion on TwoPoint Oh?
So I went in the ring on The Zebrasurus and we rocked around the power portion like I knew what I was doing. The speed portion had what I call some “sketchy jumperland turns” where you could weave between decorations & timers and jump some crazy angles to save time. I did the first two jumps on the speed portion like I was meant to be a show jumper. I had just pulled off my tightest craziest turn of my career and was
doing what you’re not supposed to do celebrating what I’d just pulled off in my head when I jumped and turned……..
and ended up next to, instead of in front of, my next jump and had to make a circle to get back to it.
I had hoped not to add “off course” to my list of BadEventer-ness…….but I guess I knew it could happen eventually……..
Buy the Video.