Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Breakdown

Well, Sunday was rough.

First of all, Romeo's had basically no jumping since Poplar which was over a month ago, because he was so stiff. What I was thinking in hindsight to take him to an event when he's so green at this, I'm not sure. For anyone who hasn't read, he got his last loading dose shot of Polyglycan the day before the show, and felt WONDERFUL under saddle since about 1.5 weeks ago. If he hadn't felt good, I wouldn't have taken him.

Dressage was actually decent this weekend. Show jumping was TERRIBLE, well for me. I couldn't find a rhythm to save my life and I was short just about everywhere. We were within time and no faults, but that just doesn't cut it for me. I probably didn't help out with his confidence the next day, considering I couldn't get him to more than 1 decent spot the day before.

I trotted down to XC warm up, and he felt fantastic. He's been feeling absolutely fantastic the past week and a half, and I guess that made me think he would be just fine.

I cantered around a little, and I had WAY too much horse. Red flag #1. I was essentially riding a 4 year old 17.2 hand stallion that hadn't been ridden in a month. Well, that's what it felt like. I was on a fire breathing dragon. I did the first rolled coop and he jumped it well in warm up, and I turned left to a log thing (I am limited in terms you see) and I did the nice hunter lean and he slammed on the brakes at it.

That was red flag number 2. He LIED to me. He ran at it, and then slammed on the big ones in front of it. Crap. Crap crap crap. He was fine the rest of schooling, minus being very, very hot.

I started out of the start box at a nice trot, because Betsy didn't want him to shoot out like his butt was on fire. Jumps 1, 2, 3, and 4 rode pretty nicely, and I guess I started getting confident. Jump 5 was almost an identical rolled coop like in warm up, and a log ditch thing about 5 strides after. I assume that I leaned at him and he saw the log on the other side and that's why he stopped. But that was the beginning of the end.

Circled back to it and it was fine. Hesitated at the log ditch but then went over. As far as I was concerned, I thought was the end of it.

I didn't expect the stop at the stone box. He's jumped it before and it was on flat terrain. I gave up, he slammed, I could've sent him over, but I didn't. Circled back, he did it.

The third time, I was expecting it. Galloping up to the rolled log, he felt okay. Got about 3 or 4 strides out, gave him 2 hard smacks on the shoulder, and he did a dirty stop again. I was ticked off! I could only blame myself at this point for not making a point for him to jump it. I was slowly draining his confidence. Circled, and he jumped it.

I was very upset by this point as we galloped down the hill and to the jump before the water. This one, if it has been his first stop, would not have bothered me. There was a huge glare in the water and he probably couldn't differentiate the water from the jump. Unfortunately, I got eliminated by this point, and I never even got to go through the water.

All in all, I can only blame myself. I came in with a horse lacking confidence from lack of jumping, and by allowing him to stop, I kept lowering his already low confidence. I was extremely upset with myself (and a little bit him) and we are going to go school a couple times over winter break before the show season starts back up again. I will be schooling larger SJ jumps at home and BN/N where we can find them. It initially made me nervous that it was his joints. But I haven't felt him feel this good in several years. We might get his hocks flexed over winter break and get him injected too, we will just see how he goes at home after his little vacation from the event.


  1. Ugh. At least you're able to pinpoint a problem and have goals to work towards--that's way better than sitting around confused. Good luck!

  2. Been there. I had a meltdown with this with Smemphis early in the summer. He was all too happy to stop at stuff when I was so freaked out about not finding spots and really didn't even TRY very hard to get over them. Oh well, got my confidence back and all is much better :). I'm sure you and Romeo will do the same!

  3. Oh boo - and I echo Linz, we have all been there. I was there this season too, getting eliminated at the water (wah). But the lovely thing about eventing is we never stop learning and improving, and as you're one of us now (YAY) you dust yourself off, learn from it, look ahead to the next thing.

    I think you are already well on your way by your post. Go get 'em!