About a week ago, I mentioned that this weekend would be chock full of horse goodness. We had the show hosted by my boarding barn on Saturday and then the New England Hunter Trials on Sunday. Well, the New England Hunter Trials were postponed until November 16th. So that left me with plenty of time and horse to play at the show on Sunday.
First off, my favorite 3rd grader did a pair of walk-trot classes on The Brego. They did awesome!
coerced talked my dad into riding Brego for the adult walk-trot. My dad has not been on a horse in about 5 years, has never ridden English and never posted the trot before. But he was a complete sport and did amazingly well! Brego's trot is NOT easy to ride, so I am doubly proud of him.
Next came the adult lead-line. This time I took Dad around on my old TB mare. He always did love Hobby more!
Brego played in the adult leadline class as well!
Next came the costume class. This year, I dressed as a Ringwraith. Ok, yea I am a nerd. And I didn't have time to put together a whole new costume when this costume continues to ROCK! As in "spook horses and make small children cry" ROCK!
After the costume class, I did the 3' jumpers. Brego had good pace, and I felt like our distances had improved, but I got his too deep twice and we took two rails. I was pretty pleased with his round. We blew one lead, but all in all, not too bad.
Fall Horse Show from Eventing Percheron on Vimeo.
So that's the good stuff. Now comes the part about the Bang. The final class of the day was the Gambler's Choice jumper class. They set up a nice assortment of fences, including some Swedish oxers, slanted poles, 3'3" planks on upside down cups. I formulated a plan which included 10 fences. We had 60 seconds to complete the course and I figured that would be enough. We aren't very fast.
I was first in the class and we picked up a good pace. I started with an easy 2'9" plain square oxer to get us going. Brego jumped it big, but fine. Then I made my way around my course. I had a couple of hard rubs, a couple of rails, but in general, Brego was jumping well and my distances were pretty good. I felt much better this round than the previous 3' round. I jumped my tenth fence and there was no whistle so I came around to go back to fence 1, the easy square oxer that I have schooled literally 100 times and Brego had jumped well at the beginning of this trip.
As I lined up the oxer, I thought again about the whistle, distracted, then about two strides out, it looked long. Doable, but long. I figured it would cost a rail. I felt Brego coil and then we went forward and not up. Brego crashed through the fence and we both fell. I got the wind knocked out of me and Brego carefully got to his feet. People rushed over and helped me up and led Brego away. I was fine. Brego was fine. I felt him all over, checked his head for soft spots, blood. His mouth was clean and his nose was clean. he was bending his head in both directions.
So I decided to get on and jump a small fence, you know, "back in the saddle". As I mounted up, Brego stole a mouthful of grass. That's my boy. I was so relieved, he was ok. We jumped the small fence fine, both a little stunned and uncommitted. And then I took him back to care for him.
I decided to go ahead and post the video. I hate the "horse crashes" types of video. And I honestly think I know what went wrong, since I have watched it many times. Warning: The fall is pretty scary. My sister was filming and I know it scared her half to death.
Gambler's Choice Class from Eventing Percheron on Vimeo.
So what happened? A couple of things. The distance is a bit long, but not a full stride long or anything crazy. Brego plants his hind feet to jump at the proper place and then reconsiders. There's a confidence problem there, no doubt. Also, my ride was not helpful. I was thinking about the whistle, thinking about being done and didn't help him. I didn't tell him what to do, just rode him through. My TB mare would have looked at that distance and just jumped farther. Brego, at the end of a ride, and the end of the day, in the deep sand, probably felt my indecision and couldn't make the call himself. He's a green horse and I gave him a bad ride. I didn't stick to my plan and quit at 10 fences and I didn't stay with my horse. We had a great ride and then it all came crashing down, in the blink of an eye.
I asked a couple of people who's opinion I trust, after they witnessed the fall, if Brego should be jumping. They both said yes, but he needs a better ride, a more accurate ride. Any horse can make the same mistake, but I think fundamentally, Brego is lacking confidence. Even in the absence of my direction, he would have been fine if he had just jumped. He still had plenty of pace, plenty of gas. But for whatever reason, he didn't think so. And the question of confidence is my responsibility. We need more fundamental homework, more grids, more canter poles, more free jumping where he gets to make the call. He's a smart boy, he can make the call.
This post was very hard to write. Even though we are both ok, no sane person would walk away and not feel some guilt or sadness. I am so very lucky that Brego was not seriously hurt and that he jumped again. He is no doubt sore and I have everyone at the barn on high alert if he starts acting strange. I've checked on his twice so far today and will make the trip out again soon. He really is ok, and I am so thankful.
With the upcoming move, I am going to be taking a break from blogging. And from jumping. I need to clear my head and it's hard to do in a public forum. I know everyone will understand. At this point, it is my sincere hope to end this season, not with a bang, but with a whimper.