I was so upset with him for not being braver to the downhill combinations. The thoughts flooded my head about how much money and time I had spent to get here only to feel like a huge failure. We had been so good up to that point in the course that I feel that we should have been able to make it around. I was disappointed in Gus, and began to wonder if he has what it takes to get through technical courses that are expected of horses at the one star and intermediate levels. I feel that he lost his mind a bit when the area became congested with jumps. Instead of figuring it out piece by piece as he went, he chose to see the whole picture as a big scary mess and stop. Luckily, I was able to get him through both combinations before we were stopped on course. Otherwise, I would have been really worried that he would have carried this issue to the next show.
I was feeling pretty upset about it all until I had time to think it through with food in my system. It also helped that Diana Rich came to my stall afterwards to talk to me about my ride. She had watched my course up to the part where we were eliminated, and she had some really nice things to say about how I had been riding. We talked about the fact that downhill issues are sometimes related to front end soundness. She told me that I can’t think of the weekend in terms of money lost or failure, but that it has been an investment in my education as a trainer, a rider, and an instructor. She was pleased with what she saw in my riding, and I was grateful to her for spending the time to come find me to talk about it.
Elissa and I spoke in great lenght about it also. She’s not ready to quit on Gus yet, but feels that it is a matter of practicing that same question over and over again very soon. We will have to try to create it somewhere, seeing as there is nothing remotely similar to it in Ohio or Kentucky.
After Gus was iced,wrapped, and fed for the day, we spent the day sight seeing. We ended up visiting Stonewall Jackson’s home, checking out the Virginia Military Institute, and driving around Lexington. It is a fantastic town, and if I were to be forced to move to Virginia, I would pick Lexington.
With a feeling of failure fading into the back of my brain, I am beginning to feel my spirits rise. We are close to being able to do xc at this level. We are a piece away. I felt really strong as a rider today. My dressage test was great. My stadium jumping is solid. We are close………..
Gus will get 2 weeks off. I will start walking him again for the 2 weeks after that. I am SOOOOOOO excited about having a little down time! I am also looking forward to getting back on Murphy. Will I be going to Florida this winter? I still have no idea……ask me in late December.