Gus didn’t eat his grain Sunday morning. That was the first sign that something wasn’t quite right. He wasn’t very dirty either, which meant he had done most of his sleeping standing up. Also weird. I was slightly concerned about colic due to the chilly evenings and really hot days over the weekend, but he was eating his hay and otherwise seemed normal. The swelling in his right knee was completely gone, and his legs looked great when Erica took off his wraps. His back was really sore to the touch, and I was already beginning to wonder if his back adjustment held.
He warmed up at the trot well, but when I asked for the canter I knew his back was not right. He didn’t come under himself and was extremely tense and stompy. Another thing that made me think he was really sore was that he stood quietly at the end of the arena (while mounted) to let me watch some stadium rounds. That also never happens. He jumped the warmup crossrail well, but when I tried to jump the vertical he never even picked up his knees . It was like we were stuck to the ground. He tore the whole fence down, standards and all. I knew it was going to be a long morning.
He jumped a few fences well after that so I decided to try the course and pull out if I needed to. He jumped #1 beautifully, and I thought maybe we were going to be ok. We came to the next line, a combination with 4 strides between them and I knew we were in for some trouble. He knocked the rail on the first one and the second one ,and I could tell that he just couldn’t use his back end correctly enough to push off. I raised my hand to signal to the judge that I was withdrawing, and hopped off of Gus.
I think Gus was extremely relieved to be done with the show, and as soon as we put him back in the stall he ate all of his grain. It took us another 2 hours to pack up the trailer and get the heck out of Dodge. I left the show with a REALLY cool picture of Gus jumping through the keyhole jump, and a knowlege that he can jump a big, technical course with no whip.
It was a long drive home. Waiting for me back in Waynesville were 500 bales of hay needing to be picked up out of my field. A perfect ending to a perfect weekend! Thanks to all of our helpers we were able to get it done in a couple of hours. The hay looks fantastic, and now we can try to get a 3rd cutting.
The show is over, the hay is in the barn, and I have 300 people coming to my house for a big party this weekend………..Barn Bash 2011 is upon us……..and it makes me want to cry just a little.