It's a nice feeling to know that everything is on track for once, both with my horse and just in general.
So this realization that I speak of came along while rewatching my King Oak videos. I know why he stopped at the stadium fence now. Sometime between dressage and stadium, I'm thinking stadium warm-up, he must've done something silly to his right hind leg. He was off, just a bit, in our stadium round.
His left lead is always the better one, he'd rather be on the left than the right any day. Watching the video, he landed off the first fence then immediately changed to his left and then flipped right back to the right. As a side note: my horse apparently does tempi changes! As we came around the corner, I trotted to do a simple change because he wasn't doing the flying. Trotted, asked for canter again, he still picks up the right lead. By that time, I was turning onto my line, so I decided not to fuss with it too much. But as we made the turn, he did a flying to the left lead about three strides out from the fence, probably said "Ow, that hurts," because he was pushing from his right hind, and then stopped at the fence.
Then, watching the whole rest of the course, he was either crossed if he was on the left lead up front, or on the right lead. So, at least that explains the stop. I feel a little bad that I didn't feel the lameness, but it was mild. My trainer was even there schooling us and she didn't notice it so that makes me feel a little better. Plus, he still felt like dumping me at the ditch and taking off so it couldn't have hurt that much. He had a day off after the event anyway, so whatever was going on was solved by that and he is perfectly sound now.
I have made up a final plan for the ending to our eventing season. My hope is that it will instill confidence in both of us and we can come back next season ready to be competitive at Novice and then prep for our move up end of next season. The first thing on the list for this month is Frazier Farm Fall Horse Trials on October 2nd. This is a schooling show. It has no ditch, just a small water pass through, and a step up. We will be going Novice here due to the lack of ditch. This is where we made our move up to Novice last fall and we placed second. Hoping for a repeat performance!
Then we will go to Ethel Walker. I think I am going to go Novice after all because the only thing stopping us is the ditch but there's a ditch on Beginner Novice too. It might be smaller than the Novice one but that doesn't really matter much to Ben. The plan is to walk before the ditch, loopy reins, eyes up, and kick on. I don't care about the time, I don't even care if he steps back a couple of times and they count it as a stop or two. I just want to get over the ditch, and cross the finish flags.
Then we will finish off the season at Novice at Fall Mystic. I think this is a great plan that will work out really nicely. My goals for these three events:
1.) Have improved dressage and preferably score below 40. I'd even take below 42 at this point.
2.) Cross the finish flags on cross country at every event.
3.) Clean stadium rounds. No more silly stops, whether due to lameness or not!
Basically I just want to have three solid phases. Not too much to ask I don't think.
So the exhausted horse part of this title? We moved Ben to the new barn at the beginning of the month and he is turned out on 2 acres of steep hills and grass with a 5 year old Oldenburg. All the two of them do is gallop around and play all day. When it comes time for me to bring him in and ride, he is falling asleep in the crossties and literally does not want to move. I actually had to ride him with a crop yesterday.
We rode our test for Frazier yesterday and he was really good. Then I popped on him bareback for a few minutes. See, I told you he was really tired :-)
It's raining pretty hard here today so I'm thinking even our fabulous rubber footing will be a little too wet and slick to ride today so he'll get to rest inside today. Tomorrow we have a jumping lesson which will actually be the first time he's jumped since King Oak which is weird. We'll see how he does.
Thanks for reading!