Today was a good day that will look horrible on paper. It started out with a big question mark as to whether or not Gus would be sound enough compete. Jenn worked on his back yesterday, and this morning he was MUCH less sore. I was at the barn at 5am to feed him, give him some bute, and get him ready to head to Altoona for a 9:10am ride time. It takes an hour and a half to get there, and we were pulling out of the farm by 6:30am.
We arrived at Rocking horse at 8am, which gave me a few minutes to walk the stadium course again before I had to tack up. The stadium jumping arena at Rocking Horse is really small. I was slightly concerned that with Gus being sore he may have trouble holding a good canter in the turns. I tacked him up, hopped on, and met Elissa in the warm up area with 20 minutes before my ride. I could tell as soon as he picked up the trot that he was MUCH less sore than yesterday. He felt like my horse again. Warm up was great, and I was thrilled with his stadium. He had one rail, but for a good reason. We have been working on jumping him out of a bigger stride, and his stride was just a hair too large coming into a combination. He pulled a rail on the way out because he just got too close to it. Not bad. I was thrilled at how well he jumped, and I couldn’t wait to get out on the xc course. Maybe I should have grabbed a GPS on my way to the start box???? Or perhaps a tour guide???? Or maybe I should have walked it a third, fourth, or fifth time????
Anyway, Gus was machine on the course. His idiot rider got lost 3, count them 3 TIMES!!!! Any time there was a patch of trees with a jump inside of it, you could bet your life that I would take the wrong path to it. Gus was amazing and was forced to jump about a big combination at a 45 degree angle. We tiptoed our way through the brambles to search for another fence. And we made the mistake of heading toward a prelim table instead of the training table WAY OVER THERE!!!! I had been extremely worried about being way too fast and getting time penalties, but I actually had time penalties for being so slow…..or should I say, taking the LOOOOONG way. Gus was actually galloping at prelim speed, but when you gallop an extra mile due to the directionally challenged rider on his back, there is not much you can do. He was brilliant, and I am looking forward to preparing for the next show. Tomorrow he is off. Hopefully it will give him a chance to heal up from whatever had been causing him to be sore.
I wanted to cry when I had to drag myself over to the other barn to ride Murphy today after the show. I am exhausted and sore from my week. Murphy was waiting for me at the gate, which I was grateful for. I put my jumping tack on and spent the next 30 minutes (which is all I could handle!) doing some light jumping and flat work. He was a little bit “looky” for the first few minutes, but ended up doing some nice work. Elissa is going to give me a lesson tomorrow sometime, and I am starting to form my own opinions about whether or not he will be my next upper level prospect. We will see what she thinks.
I’m meeting all of my roommates at the Olive Garden tonight for dinner. It will feel so good to sit down at a dinner table in something other than my breeches and boots!
The weather is beautiful here. Today was nearly 80 degrees, and I’m happy to say that I am just a bit sunburned.