Horse Life

Next Steps & Decisions

When the decision was made to enter Leo into the Windridge HT, my biggest dilemma was deciding who would ride him. Trainer B opined that I could do it just fine, but if I wanted him to do it, he would. I hate making decisions like that. I’m no good at it. For being as decisive as I am at home and in my job, when it comes to these horses, man, I can’t make a decision to save my life.


In the end, I decided it would be in Leo’s best interest to have a pro ride for his first competitive outing. Leo’s a bit of a ball of nerves and I didn’t want my ammy nerves expounding his- I want him to find outings to be as positive as they can be. That tends not to be the case when you have someone who’s competed once in the last year to be sitting on you while vibrating with adrenaline.

We didn’t BOTH need to be like this

And the final reason was because of my hand. I’ve mentioned this issue sparingly in some posts, but I finally have a diagnosis (after nearly 2 years of MRIs, nerve tests, injections, therapies, etc) for why my right hand/wrist/fingers are failing to cooperate with me. And that’s because my radial nerve has decided it no longer has a reason to live and is choking itself on some scar tissue and, ya know, dying. In other words, I have a suicidal nerve.  I’m now past the point where there’s hope for anything other than surgery to stop the degeneration, and while I can will still ride until then, the uselessness of my right hand doesn’t make for the most stellar rider.

Which I guess teaches you to sit back while you fumble around for it

But the plan HAD been for Trainer B to pilot Leo around HT #1, then for me to take the reins (literally) for #2. So to prepare, I brought Leo along on my excursion to Carolina Horse Park the week after Windridge. I was already going to support and help some friends who were competing, and got Leo a stall so we could participate in the schooling day on Saturday. Our instructions were to trot all the Green as Grass (18″) and Maiden (2’3″) jumps and work on downward transitions after each fence.

Pre-XC Schooling. Husband came with the fam and Leo’s side eye is spot on

And he was, in a word, AMAZING.

If a bit exuberant after the first fence

He was just so game for everything, yet so rideable, that I never wanted to get off him. Even fences that backed off other horses with much more experience than he had (this was his 4th time seeing XC fences) he took without so much as blinking.

This little jump caused a lot of grief for all those around us…but not for Leo

AND we jumped his first (flagged) BN fence AND cantered into water for the first time. It was so hard to call it a day, let me tell you.

Leo: Get off. Me: No

So two days later, when I was staring at the Rider blank on the entry form for the upcoming HT, I couldn’t understand why I found myself in the same dilemma as before. Leo’s already done a HT, we JUST had an incredibly successful XC schooling, he’s never stopped at A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G….there seems to be no reason why in the world I was still hesitant.

Because this was FUN

But I am. And it’s ridiculous. I’ve done 99% of the riding on the horse, and 99% of THOSE rides are outside of lessons (aka, unsupervised). I clearly haven’t messed the horse up yet, and doubt one weekend would do that, even if I were to ride like a total monkey.

Especially if I could ride like this monkey. Great balance, sir

And it also makes no sense that I would be more nervous to show than to school. Schooling at CHP, which I’ve done twice now with Leo, is not exactly a chill environment. It’s actually fairly insane, with hundreds of horses/riders of all levels congregating at one facility and schooling the same 50 or so jumps during a single 6 hour period. If Leo & I can handle that atmosphere, we should be able to handle anything.

The horse can fall asleep anywhere, it seems

So in a nutshell, I KNOW I’m blowing this way out of proportion, but I seemingly can’t do a thing to stop myself.

Bless both Husband and Trainer B lately

And after talking with Trainer B about it, I decided he’d ride Leo again. Then I hung up the phone and immediately felt sad. I almost called him right back to go, “NEEEEEEVERMIIIIND!” but figured I’d sit on it for awhile longer. And after getting home and staring some more at the entry form, I finally submitted it under Trainer B.


Then I went upstairs and tried on my show clothes.


Let me tell you, it’s SUPER fun being Husband right now.

He loves when I take him out for his birthday at my favorite restaurant to talk about horse shows. You can see it in his eyes.

28 thoughts on “Next Steps & Decisions”

    1. You’d really think there’d be some way! It’s funny (in a terrible sort of way), but I wasn’t exactly this hesitant about riding other people’s horses- something about Leo being my own that’s freaking me out 😂


  1. you would have been fine riding Leo in his 2nd trial but I get it. I hope the third event is the charm and you ride him. Also ugh on hand issues. I have numbness issues in both of mine (So need to go see a doctor). it sucks.

    Leo cracks me up how he expresses himself in that one photo 🙂 HAHAHAH you can’t have a just normal horse can you? 🙂


  2. A) Leo is adorable and B) I’d like to know more about your hand if you’re willing to share. My right hand does some weird things with grip weakness and fingers going numb, seemingly randomly, and I’ve been wondering if I need to take it more seriously.


    1. A) You’re completely right. He IS adorable ❤️ B) I’d definitely get it checked out sooner rather than later. I didn’t really take it too seriously at first because I have zero pain. It started with my wrist sort of drooping when I’d pick something up, and has gotten to the point now where I can’t use 3 out of 5 fingers, and the other 2 are barely functional. It took 3 nerve studies though, to figure out the extent of the damage, because MRIs didn’t really show a clear issue. I don’t go numb, but my hand will cramp randomly and it takes a lot of shaking my hand out to get it to stop. So definitely get it checked out and let me know how it goes!


  3. OK WordPress. Stop eating my comments.

    A- Leo is adorable and I’d like to smooch him. B- I’d love to hear more about your hand if you’re willing to share. My right hand does weird things with grip weakness and numb fingers seemingly randomly and I’m wondering if I need to take it more seriously. I have to be mostly dead before I’m willing to climb on the mystery lameness carousel for myself.


  4. Oh god that sucks about your hand! Hopefully it comes good quickly after the surgery. When will you book in for it?

    As for Trainer B riding the horse, I completely get where you’re coming from BUT don’t forget just how many shows you and Leo have in the future. If you’re unsure best to let Trainer B do it one more time so you can feel 100% stepping in next time.


  5. Awe man I hope the hand gets better. As a friend and a doc- please please please follow post op protocol. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have complications. So many horse people push the envelope and I’ll tell you the restrictions are there for a reason.

    Ok. Rant over 😉

    As for who rides Leo – go with your gut. It’s always right. He is young and you are new to him. Do what feels right to you and you won’t ever go wrong.


    1. Yeah, I’m not one who blatantly disregards instructions because the end goal for me is always to recover as close to perfect as possible. To avoid temptation, I scheduled the surgery for Dec 2nd, which is the day after Trainer B leaves for Florida, and he’s taking Leo with him 😭


  6. Next time have Matt fill out the entry form so you don’t have to make a decision!!!! He’ll do it for you and then you don’t have to stress about it 😀 HAHAHAHAHA

    ALSO OMG YES TO LEO IN FLORIDA (totes read your response to Sara!!!) Will also be jealous of Leo in FLA when it gets cold and shitty here…. and what a great excuse to go visit warm weather!!!!!


  7. aww happy bday to your hubby 😉 also fwiw i don’t think there are really any wrong choices here in bringing along the green horse. personally i’ve preferred to do everything myself with the idea that the focus is on relationship building and developing my own skills.

    there are huge advantages to giving a horse a more complete and correct education with a pro in the irons, but ultimately my feeling was that at the end of the day it didn’t matter what the horse could do if i couldn’t do it too.

    that said, tho, i was kinda in a different place with charlie when he was very green, with different circumstances etc. sounds like a great opportunity for Leo to go to florida, and hopefully you can get your wrist in order asap!!


    1. Yeah, there really wasn’t a clear wrong choice, it’s just me being all waffley 😂 It will never be bad for Leo to have B ride him, obviously. But it appears I’m holding off until it’s guaranteed that nothing will go wrong. Which means I’ll never compete him, because uhhhh, horses.

      I so badly don’t want Leo to be a stopper that I’m giving myself ulcers. Send GastroGard stat 🤦‍♀️


      1. omg i routinely ask myself if i’m doing to charlie the same thing i “did” to isabel…. which is unfair on more than a few different levels, but yet the mind is a cruel cruel place sometimes!! so i totally get it haha. you’re NOT gonna ruin this sweet sweet horse tho, i promise!! (also tho, ranitidine is the breakfast of champions LOL #justsayin!)


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