Monday, October 14, 2013

On the AECs and Where Is Toga???

Well our trip to Texas was a great success.  Ari didn't place, but he jumped the best he ever has.  I'd say that this was the hardest Training level cross country course I've ever ridden, as it should have been, almost a move-up Prelim course.  Questions Ari had never seen before he took in stride and all with a smile on his (and my) face.  GOOD fun.  After two days on the road, the third day ride was the best all week.  He felt amazingly loose and forward.  Every day after that was different, ending with Ari as a slug on dressage day, and me unprepared for it with a too short warm up and no whip.  At any other show I would have said "eh, that was OK" but this one I wanted some flash.  I wanted what he does when he wins the dressage.  But I didn't get it, so we started at the bottom.  At least I'm used to that :)  But it wasn't sooo bad I was definitely more disappointed in the score than the horse.

Like I said, cross country was challenging and fun.  It was HOT down there so we were lucky to go early in the morning.  The start was delayed because of the sun in our eyes (they didn't know that was going to happen???????????) and they had to redecorate the ditch and wall because we couldn't see it in the morning light (they didn't know that was going to happen????????) .  So after a lot of milling around and hurry up and waiting we were off over a true championship course.  Kudos to the AECs this year for providing what was, for me, the first championship level course I've ridden at a championship.  Thank you.

Show jumping was like being at Wellington (I was told) it was a GORGEOUS course with some of the most ornate standards I've ever seen.  Very nice, flowing course it rode so well and enabled directionally impaired riders like me to navigate around without the fear of making a wrong turn, without making it too easy.  Ari was quite impressed with the decorations and was a bit distracted at the first two fences, but after that he jumped like a big horse.  I'm so proud and can't wait to share the video when I get it.

Overall, the AECs this year were fun, at a great venue, but I sure wish they would do it later in the year down there.  There wasn't any shade, so watching the other divisions just about melted you.  We were so lucky to have the BEST stalls on the property (NOT telling) with the most shade available all day.  And Ann Adams and I had the BEST camping spot under a tree (also NOT revealing the location) If we go back we will for sure try to get those spots again.  We'll see!

As Ari and I were traveling, Toga was home with his eye patch on.  We are checking to see if his odd behavior is truly because of changes in his vision.  Well, I know we should take time to make SURE, but I am SURE he is tortured by that vision issue.  When I put on his eye cover, he instantly settles.  No spooking, no anger.  When I ride him, he is straight, confident, and only spooks off the eye he can see out of..  It's really strange.  I didn't know what to expect, but I did think he would be a bit nervous about what was going on on his left side that he couldn't see.  Oddly, it's like he just doesn't care.  I jumped him last week and he was completely confident and went to the fences straight and quietly.  Just jumped little stuff, but it was little stuff he had a meltdown about a few weeks ago.

So this means something has to be done about that eye.  My main concern at this point may seem silly, but I wonder if horses know when they are different in appearance.  If he doesn't have an eye, will he feel he is less beautiful than he is??  Will the other horses treat him strangely because he looks strange? I've seen them pick on horses with masks on, and watch them spook at little ponies on a daily basis.  So they recognize different. Toga is a beautiful animal -who knows it - with a big ego.  A bully already in the field, and grouchy to work around, I wonder if he will be more defensive if the others treat him differently.  Remains to be seen, I guess, because I think the best option is to remove his eye.  The surgery to try to fix it would involve three separate issues - removing the vitreal "junk", removing the cataract, and then lasering some holes in the front and back of the cataract (which I think they just take the inside out of it to start with) because of some's pretty complicated and has been done so infrequently they can't even say what the odds are that it may work.  That in itself is bad odds for me.  Plus there is always risk of future issues with any surgery that leaves the eye intact.  Removing it totally is the sad option, but the safest.  I feel confident he will be a much more settled horse.  The doctor said most horses come back to the level they were at - fine with me what ever he gets back to!!