Horse Life

Sooo…It’s Been Awhile

Work has been crushing me- seems like the summer, which is typically a slow period for me, was over in the blink of an eye and everything needs to be done RIGHT. NOW.

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There is no greater dream

Not too much has been up with P. Just, ya know, getting eliminated on cross-country at a “confidence-building” HT, going an entire week not stopping at a thing (including his first ever Training trakehner), then getting a chance to redeem himself where he goes clear over a super spooky stadium course, then on XC gets us eliminated again…at jump 3.

P1
But at least he puts in nice dressage tests. Sigh.

He almost didn’t make it home at all. Driving home after the 2nd one, there lots of huge fields with horses and I thought quite seriously about pulling over, unloading him, and setting him free. His lip tattoo is difficult to read- it’d be really hard to trace him to me at all. Only half kidding.

P2
Clearly he can make it over 2’7″ when he wants to

Needless to say, I spent the next few days writing P’s “For Sale” ad (to sell him as a reiner), and stalking horse ads for my replacement mount, until Trainer B ruined it all by talking me off the ledge.

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Meanwhile, Husband built me new fillers
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And then I screwed up the only one I had the responsibility of painting. Take a wild guess which one. Doh. Also please note the sad looking traitor in the background. He knew what was coming.

I’m tired of talking about P stopping. I’m tired of thinking about P stopping. I just want to jump jumps and be happy.

P9
We spent the week of the 16th doing things like this every damn day. Decorating jumps, jacking jumps up high, changing the look of jumps, going over all the XC jumps on the farm, all to establish the response that if I point him at something, he goes over it. And it worked all week…until we got into competition.

Because I’ve made every excuse in the book to explain his stopping.

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Hay scattered in front of and on top of a jump- something he’s never been a fan of

He’s green/insecure/inexperienced. 

This is no longer true. No, he doesn’t have a ton of eventing experience, but he’s done it enough that he knows his job. When I point him down centerline, you can literally feel him become a professional. He knows when he’s pointed at a jump, the intent is for him to go over. And he’s been over enough jumps enough times to know that he’ll be fine. He also has stopped enough that he knows he’ll be disciplined and still have to jump it. Yet, the punishment is worth it to him and I have no idea why.

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The day before the 2nd HT, we spent the day on Kingfisher’s XC course and had zero stops. I thought this would be super spooky for him with the slats, but he wasn’t bothered by it.

I’m not that good of a rider. If I were better, he wouldn’t stop.

Again, not something that’s true any more. No, I’m not suddenly God’s gift to riders, but I’ve come SO FAR this past year. Never have I been more confident, secure and balanced in the saddle. And P doesn’t even seem to appreciate that, or give any indication that he notices (how dare he, right?). There have been jumps where I’m literally pulling on his face, flopping around trying to get my stirrup back on my foot, and he jumps. And there have been times where the stars have aligned and everything is perfect, and he stops. There’s no rhyme or reason for either to happen.

P6
He thought about stopping at this one- grass is growing through the top of it. But after a slight pause, he made the right decision and was praised heavily for it.

I have a few trains of thought going here. I’ve talked to Trainer B at length about this a couple times over the phone while he’s been gone, and his take on things is that P believes his job is negotiable. He knows how to fake me out, and what buttons of mine to push to get me to back off (throwing his head and flailing around in the canter, stopping and spinning) so that he doesn’t have to work hard. I can see his point of view, and 95% agree.

P7
This was at the top of a steep hill and he nailed it.

But I also can’t push down the thought that perhaps something is going on with P physically. While he’s not lame and he doesn’t look or act like he’s sore or off, he occasionally will take a step that feels like his hind end has fallen out from under him, usually at the trot, sometimes at the walk. He always carries on like it didn’t happen, and it doesn’t happen often, so I’ve been just attributing it to weakness that MOAR hillwork will help fix. The other thing that happens is that occasionally in the downward transition from canter to trot, he gets all disunited in the hind end and has to come down to the walk for a second to get reorganized. Again, doesn’t happen often and he always carries right along, so I just thought with more fitness that would fix itself.

P10
Always happy in the water

The other reason I sort of think it might be physical is because it’s hard for me to believe that this is his personality. We’ve all seen the crazy things this horse does for me, right? He obviously trusts me enough to put himself into whacky situations, but doesn’t trust me enough to hop over a log?

B8
Horse, you make no sense.

We were supposed to go to Windridge in 2 weeks for our recognized debut together at Novice. It would be my first recognized HT *not* at the starter level, and P’s 2nd. But after the last 2 weeks, I decided no, let’s not have the first entry on my record be “E.” I was going to scratch, but Trainer B offered to take him so he’s still going to go, and hell, he’ll probably jump it all. Of course I’m incredibly thankful for Trainer B because it’ll be another notch in the experience belt for P, but I want to compete my horse. Scratch that. I don’t want to compete him, but I want to WANT to compete my horse. Big difference right now.

P8
First big-boy trakehner: no stops any of the 4-5 times we jumped this, despite the big ditch underneath. Next day’s HT: stops at log shared with STARTER.

If he needs a 4* rider to get around a BN course, then clearly I’m all wrong for him. Because…never going to happen, kid. I try my best every ride to be correct, but I’m an amateur with limited time and will, quite frankly, never be at the skill level of Trainer B. He’s so ammy friendly in every other way, I just can’t figure this out.

He’ll be seeing the vet in short order, to see if there’s something that has been previously missed to explain this behavior, and then Trainer B and I will plan from there.

So there’s my doom and gloom for the day. Now I’m going to catch up on everyone else’s blogs (feels like forever since I read anything from anyone), and hope you all had a much better week than I did!

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Monday morning mood for real

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33 thoughts on “Sooo…It’s Been Awhile”

  1. ohhh no i just emailed you as I thought you might have fallen off a cliff or something but all that sucks that I just read. I can’t believe he stopped with you at a competition BUT not out schooling over some creepy ass jumps. I do love your new filler jumps (even the messed up one hey at least you do straight lines) HA!….

    I am sorry and hope you figure it out SOON. That sucks. And i am glad Trainer B is taking him anyway. It is worth it to see how he (P) acts. NO help for you but am here for you to vent at or throw rocks at if it makes you feel better! 🙂 Hugs…

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    1. Ha! Work has just been so insane. I’ve started a bunch of posts, then days would go by 🤦‍♀️ I couldn’t believe he stopped either at the second one…seriously they have the most boring XC course ever. And he flew over all the scary SJ jumps without even a peek.

      Matt’s planning on fixing the jump I did 😂😂 He said he can’t stand to look at it.

      Venting is what’s needed the most! Poor Matt was trying to give me advice and finally I yelled something like, “DON’T HELP, JUST LISTEN DAMNIT!” 😂 Poor guy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. haha Mark and I were yelling at each other in the tractor supply yesterday he was asking me something and I was like if i had known there would have been a test i would have studied for it. NOT my finest hour i was bitchy to a tee 🙂 HA HA

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  2. Ahh man. I’m so sorry. That’s seriously sucky. Since he has been doing so well recently, I think you may be on the right track with maybe something being off physically. Whisper is actually getting an SI injection today because I think she’s really sore. And it started with rides where I had to remind her too much to be on her hind end, her lope had lost it’s rhythm and she started biting the air when I’d put my spur on her. She hasn’t done that for 2 years, and when I massaged her SI and Psoas area 3 days in a row her mood improved greatly. So she’s getting the SI injection today which I think will help her immensely. Hopefully you and the vet can see if maybe P needs something when he gets in for the appointment! Crossing my fingers you can get it sorted soon!

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    1. I’m hoping it’s something physical, though I know I’ll simultaneously feel like the world’s biggest ass.

      I’ve heard horses with stifle issues tend to prefer trotting while those with hock issues would rather canter, and P definitely prefers trotting. So it’s definitely on the possibility list.

      My vet asked for a video of him falling out behind if possible, so here’s hoping I can get that soon.

      Keep us updated on Whisper’s injection! I knew that was a thing, but don’t know anyone who’s done it before.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh never heard of the trotting versus cantering! That’s really great to keep in mind – I’ll certainly carry that with me as Amber and I continue going forward. Hopefully you can get that video! Amber did the same thing at the canter to the trot actually when her stifle was bugging her, so P sounds very familiar to that for me, so I think you’re right that it’s a possibility.

        I actually had Amber’s SI done last year – omg she felt like she was floating after that injection. I don’t think I’ve ever felt her so springy. She was certainly miles better. Will do for Whisper! I’m thinking this is all she needs so we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

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  3. Just blllaaahhhh. I almost commented on your last post this morning to see how things were doing, since I was afraid I wasn’t getting updates anymore. Disappointed to hear that P is still having difficulties. I think chatting with a vet is a good idea. He’s an athletic enough horse that the questions shouldn’t be difficult for him, and yet, he finds it more mentally exhausting and overwhelming than a dinosaur outfit and dragging stuff around the arena? I vote for a medical issue. Fingers crossed it’s a quick find and an easy fix.

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  4. Ugh, stopping sucks. And wondering about physical causes is the WORST and a slippery slope of a million unfindable things that could be wrong. LOL, I’ve been horse shopping a few times this past week too–dreaming of a quiet thoroughbred gelding to replace my annoyingly emotional mare that is driving me crazy!!!

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  5. i’m sorry, but am relieved to hear an update finally. i saw the results from your first E at war horse (bc yes i’m that person that casually scrolls through live scoring, esp if i think i might know somebody competing) but couldn’t figure out what had happened. and didn’t have your email so couldn’t reach out. i hope you’re ok tho. what a crappy situation, i definitely know how you feel. there’s no real advice or wisdom or life changing insights or anything like that to make much of a difference. and i’m sure everyone gets tired of hearing all about “going back to the basics.” but… ya know… the path forward happens one step at a time, even if those steps are kinda crappy. sounds like you have a solid plan for going forward. good luck and keep us posted!

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  6. Man that’s frustrating, and I’m sorry. I think you’re right to want to cover all the bases as far as physical issues first. I’d do the same. It’s tough when things just don’t really line up but you aren’t sure why. Hoping for improvements for y’all!

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  7. I’m sorry KC that sucks. He had improved so much this past year with his stopping habit. Very frustrating that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when he says no. I too am hoping it’s a simple physical issue and not a mental one. I suppose you aren’t interested in a young Orange appy? Or an older but perfectly sound bay mare?

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  8. Don’t let this distract you from the fact you have seriously done an amazing job with this horse, when so many others would have given up.

    I hope with time and some investigation you can sort out what the issue is, because as you said, he really doesn’t seem to be the personality for this kind of thing and when you guys get it right you get it SO RIGHT!

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    1. 😭😭 Thanks for making me tear up. I appreciate it!

      He’s got a vet appt tomorrow morning, so at least I should have some answers tomorrow. If he gets a clean bill of health then at least I won’t have that worry in the back of my head anymore. Which means he may be heading off to B’s for awhile 🤞

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ugh. I’m so so sorry. I really am. This sport, and horses in general, are supposed to be FUN. He’s an odd duck, huh? Hopefully the vet appt shows something… I know for me, the only reason I tolerated Macy was because she jumped anything. Because we’ll put up with shit for a solid jumper. I feel like you have the opposite issue. A solid horse except when jumping. I have zero advice but just know I’m rooting for you and hope you two can make it work!

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    1. Ha, he really is super solid until jumping. And since jumping is what I want to do…unfortunately that’s not negotiable. While I really hope it can be figured out, I just want to have fun

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  10. It is so frustrating not knowing what the problem is! I am so sorry you guys are going through such a tough time, especially as you have come so far! You do a great job with P.

    I hope (but also don’t if you get what I mean!) the vet gives you an answer. Sometimes fixing something physical is easier than trying to change a mental setting! But I wouldn’t wish is to be something physical!!

    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks so much! I can’t decide if I want him to be lame or sound 😂 It seems like we have a breakthrough and coast for a little, then have a major setback. He gives me the feeling he enjoys jumping most of the time, so I can’t figure out the refusals.

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  11. Oh man, this all sounds SO frustrating! It sounds like you’ve really done the full gamut of things up to this point! I think your plan forward is really honest and I hope it will turn up some answers and give you some kind of mental peace.

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  12. First, don’t get down on yourself, because I feel like you have so far beyond what many riders would do in this situation. From my perspective, you have given him every opportunity, which is probably why it’s so hard when it doesn’t work. For that, I’m really sorry!

    Secondly, I think you are totally on the right page as far as checking all the boxes so you can continue to make the right decisions for both of you! My stopper was my dream horse in literally every other way, but I couldn’t deal with the fear and doubts that I had every time I jumped her. Sometimes we have to recognize that riding really is about the rider too.

    Fingers crossed that answers come out of all of this for you!

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    1. Thanks so much! The plight of being an ammy, right? He’s just so perfect in every other way. And when things are good, they’re very, very good. Makes the bad times all that much worse.

      For sure the fear and doubt are real, though. This is sort of the last shot because I’m not sure how much more my confidence can take.

      The good news is though, that P has taught me A LOT about riding, so I can’t really say it’s been time wasted. But I do want to move up, and maybe P doesn’t.

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