Sunday, October 21, 2012

Starting back when I was getting ready to go to NY for my dad's funeral, I forgot to call the blacksmith to tell them Toga's feet were a mess even though he wasn't due to be shod that week.  Forgot until the day before Middleburg, so I went to that show with shoes hanging by a thread.  Lost one in dressage, had the show farrier put one on, went on that day to jump clean in stadium.  Next day was XC and when I went to jog in the warmup he hopped three legged for about 8 steps.  I jumped off and looked at his foot and thought well that's it.   While I was waiting for the vet I got back on and then when I jogged he was completely sound.  So (against the bad feeling in the back of my head driven by the fact that I was 2nd going into XC and could WIN) I went to the start box where he almost walked in.  THAT should have been warning enough because usually we go into the box on two legs with fire up his ass.  He stopped at the fourth fence, I felt it coming from ten strides away (another LOUD signal I ignored).  Once again I went on against my better judgement so when he stopped at the seventh fence I pulled up ashamed of myself for starting in the first place.  He had lost the other shoe by then.  He was sound, but I knew something was up.

The next week was a cluster**** of trying to get shoes on.  We wanted to wait a day to see if he'd stepped on a clip or nail, then decided to glue shoes on since Fair Hill was three weeks away and again we'd be at the end of a shoeing cycle.  I turned Toga out for a few hours before Tom got there - my NEXT mistake since you can't glue shoes on wet feet.  SOOOOO another day goes by.  Finally get the shoes on and Friday Toga was sound and schooled amazingly.  But on Monday his LF was on fire with a little filling in his leg.  We gave him banamine and amacarb (sp?) for two days hoping to slow down what might be a bruise.  But he's just a little off on that foot and there is still heat and a pulse.  In the meantime, he hasn't galloped since five days before Middleburg so even if he's completely sound today, there's no way he's fit enough for 9 minutes of XC next weekend.  My head keeps saying "well maybe if...." but no way.  I'll wait till the last minute to scratch - not sure why I'm definitely not going - I guess that voice in my head is still hopeful in spite of everything.

In the big picture though, this has been a great year for Toga and me.  We got to Bromont CCI** early in the year and it was a BLAST to ride there and we did a respectably good job. Finished in the ribbons at Stuart CIC** and the AECs.  My show jumping phobia is slowly going away as we are more experienced every time out.  We jumped a few clean rounds this year, and the rails have been simple tips, not blatant mistakes or misses.  We finished in the top ten six out of ten starts...not bad!! Toga is a cross country MACHINE it is soooo much fun to steer him around.  He just looks for the flags :)  If I can get south enough this winter, I'd like to shoot for the CCI*** at Bromont...yikes but totally possible.  Really the only thing standing in our way of doing just as admirably at Advanced as we have at Intermediate is our mutual distaste for dressage - mine because I never seem to know when it's right (it feels great to me the judges hate it; it feels like crap the judges hate it) and his because he's a TB and we are too wound up for that stuff.  Jump jump jump.  Plus lead changes, what a drag.

I'm going to take both horses to the Virginia Horse Trials - if both are sound...- and that will be it for Toga for a bit.  Ari may do some unrecognized stuff but he'll go with me this winter with the hopes of moving up quickly to Training.  I lost a lot of time with him this year between his weird two-week-long fever and the foot issues that followed.  He's very brave and loves to jump just needs to get the back half into the same county as the front half.  He is a gorgeous mover and soon he'll be getting amazing scores - maybe Ari and I won't have to jump our way up from the bottom :)  No offense Toga, but that gets a little disheartening.  Next year could be an outstanding one I'm really looking forward to it.
More after VHT :)