Thursday, March 31, 2016

Horses, Humility and Disappointments

It has been over 2 years since I last blogged...issues with this site and uploading photos led me to try and find a different blogging site, but none felt as comfortable as this site and I gave up on each site that I tried. Maybe that is a sign of my age, that I don't like change and find it harder to adapt to new situations.
Anyhow, I have had the yearning to blog again and thought it was time to revisit this site and voila, the issue with uploading pictures seems to be resolved. I have lots to write about to, but I don't want to bore what few readers of this blog there may be, so I will go slowly!
This weekend I had entered the spring Rocking Horse recognized horse trials. I have missed several seasons due to Tucker's EPSM, being unemployed, no money, you know, life.
I have been regularly taking dressage lessons with the great Bill Woods (, R judge, clinician and author of the book "Dressage Unscrambled," who has a background in eventing and thus has an understanding of what an eventer needs to accomplish in dressage. He is the first dressage instructor who has managed to get me excited and wanting more of dressage, even if I sometimes feel like a pathetic beginner. I thought I knew how to do leg yields. I thought  I knew how to do turns on haunches. I thought I knew how to do reinbacks. Boy, was I wrong!
I also began taking lessons on a somewhat regular basis with eventer Marcea Funk, who is now based out of Rocking Horse. I first met Marcea in a clinic and was impressed by her quiet demeanor and her attention to detail. When she relocated from Jacksonville to Rocking Horse, I was thrilled.
Last November Tucker injured himself. I came home from Equine Affaire in New England to discover he was lame on the front left. A visit from the vet and some x-rays revealed nothing major and I discovered that he was striking the stall wall in retaliation of a new stable mate. I was advised to ride him at the walk for a few weeks and that he should be fine. I entered him in a schooling show at Rocking Horse in early December, confident that he would be fine to do a dressage test and a 2'6 jumper class.
We arrived late and missed our jumper class so I entered in the 2'11 class. The first 3 jumps were lovely and looking at photos confirmed that he was much nicer over the bigger jumps...he is bored with small fences and doesn't use himself as well. But when we landed after the 3rd jump, I didn't like how he felt and so I pulled him up and excused ourselves. I scratched the dressage class and we went home. I babied his leg for the rest of December and by January, he was sound and fit and we picked up with our dressage and jumping lessons.
In early March, I realized that once again the eventing season was about over and once again, I was going to miss it. We had a lovely dressage lesson, which followed a lesson where Bill pretty much asked if I was going to get my shit together and ride this horse like I should. He didn't yell and he wasn't mean about it, but I wanted to cry. Instead, I sucked it up and resolved to make the most of our lessons and actually accomplish something. The following week, Bill was pretty pleased with our lesson and I decided that it was time to enter a show. The problem was, I had a conflict with the schooling shows and that left the recognized event at Rocking Horse. So I entered.
I spent the last few weeks preparing for the show, while trying not to think too much about it, or else my nerves would get the better of me.
I renewed my USEA and USEF memberships, did some shopping to replace missing items (number pinney, helmet cover), bought some items I didn't need (another saddle pad) and purchased some things that I did need, like a new saddle rack and cart on wheels. Without Jen along to help me, I realized at the show in December that I have a lot of stuff to schlep from the trailer to the barn, and I could really, really use a rolling cart!
We have a new boarder at the barn who has moved here from England, a fellow eventer, and Tuesday (yes, that is her name!) volunteered to groom for me!
Tuesday and I hauled to Rocking Horse last week for a jumping lesson, me on Tucker and she on her lovely gray warmblood, Opie. We practiced our show jumping. This past Tuesday, Bill came and we practiced our dressage test.
Yesterday came and we rehearsed our test, but first Tucker got a trim and reset (he is now wearing shoes, this was his 3rd reset. It is not permanent but after his injury, I felt that he needed shoes...more of an intuitive things more than anything else.)
And then today came. And Tucker was lame at the trot.
Enter humility and disappointment.
Kevin, my farrier came out this evening and I hoped that for the first time in 13 years that he had somehow screwed up and that he would be able to fix it. Except that the hoof testers revealed nothing and while Tucker is off at the trot, he is sound at the walk and canter.
Oh, Tucker, why can't you tell me what is going on?
So I spent this evening letting Marcea and Bill know that I would not be showing. I emailed the show secretary and I hope that I get a refund. I emailed the photographer and videographer, because I had paid them upfront since they had specials for early birds. And I made an appointment with Dr. Porter for next week. I am hoping we find out what is wrong and that there is nothing major and just some rest will fix it.
As my mother used to always tell me, "there will be another show."

Tucker at Rocking Horse in December, before we pulled up
Tucker in our lesson a few weeks ago, looking like a dressage horse!

Yes, we can do dressage!

Our lesson a few weeks ago, ready to go to a show!