Marcus and I qualified for both Area VIII Championships and AECs for 2017. I chose to stay in KY for a couple of reasons, one being the quality of “XC” (using that term lightly) at AEC’s and the other being well, I would be competing pregnant this year.
Overall I’m thrilled we qualified during after only eventing for two years. While it didn’t have the outcome I would have hoped for, it was a great experience overall and I can’t wait to come back and fight for that neck ribbon again.
I worked really hard this summer on improving our dressage and at A8s it finally paid off. Marcus and I had a great ride, and ended up with a personal best dressage score for USEA BN Test B. He looked spectacular and felt awesome. Even more special was my in laws had purchased him for me as a birthday present, so it was the first time after 7 years of leasing, that I trotted up center line as his owner.
I had a huge cheering section of my parents, my in laws, my boarders and my barn friends.
We went into XC sitting 5th in a big championship division. I warmed up, and immediately Marcus didn’t feel right. He wasn’t lame, he was just blah. Super backed off which is not like him-usually he is jazzed to do his thing on XC. I chalked it up to just a weird day and we headed to the box.
I probably should have pulled up even before the first fence and had it not been just BN, I probably would have. He was backed off, and I had to smack him out of the box to get any forward momentum. He jumped the first two jumps and we had an uncharacteristic stop at Fence 3. I was super bummed.
The rest of the course rode the same, leaving me with an unsure feeling about the whole course. He normally drags me to the jumps and I was having to drive him to everything. I’m not sure what happened, but I pulled up after crossing the finish line in tears. I think it was a combo of sticky footing, nerves and maybe I misjudged my warm up for dressage (it was awful footing, and we warmed up longer than I planned) which tired him out.
I talked to Julie and my family and told them I was going to retire and not jump on Sunday. My family said I needed to do what was best for both of us, but Julie convinced me to see how I felt in the morning.
I will be the first to admit, I did not want to jump on Sunday. At all. Julie said tack up and see what you had in warm up. So I did, and Marcus jumped around great. I still wanted to scratch. She told me walk in the ring and jump the first jump and pull up if I’m still not feeling it.
So 4th from last, I walked in with Marcus and picked up a trot. We trotted past a 2 stride, and he spooked and jumped sideways and I relaxed a little. My horse was back to normal.
At fence 4, he jumped me right out of the tack and I laughed, because I then knew I had my horse back 100%. I relaxed even more and enjoyed our ride. We jumped around double clean and ended our 2017 season on a happy note.
So while it wasn’t the victory gallop ending I had hoped for, I did it and I completed championships-I even have the little sticker to prove it. I hope to qualify again this year and shoot for a better ride. But overall it was a great experience and I was thrilled to even be there.