Sunday, July 5, 2009

We never said it was easy...

The past week has been very hard for me. Let me see if I can get everyone up to date....

After the nightmare at Waredaca, we were on edge with Willy's recovery. I was incredible careful... making sure he received the aqua-therapy, 'Ok' from the vet every other day, new supplements, etc, etc and was ecstatic to receive the 'go-ahead' that I could continue intense training in preparation for the upcoming NAYRC ** championship in Kentucky. With the 10 day set-back, we were cutting it close (fitness wise) for the competition, but Willy was rearing (literally) to go and showed every sign of being up to the challenge.

I competed in the NAYRCs in 2006, and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the area teams and competing against peers instead of well-seasoned veterans. For the past three years I have been chomping on the bit to compete again in this competition, though age restrictions and minor problems (aka COLLEGE!) kept holding us back. This year, my last year as a young rider, I was determined to qualify and compete to the best of my ability in the 2009 Young Rider Championships. Though it does not happen very often in the horse world, competitions this spring went to plan - the pony did not have a single XC jump penalty, pulled only 1 rail all spring, and was steadily improving in the dressage arena - he's only slightly convinced that dressage is all evil now :) . So for May-June we were scheduled to do smaller events, just to keep tuned up. So far, so good. Then Waredaca happened. And everything changed...

A setback, but a "full recovery" was the verdict from New Bolton... so it was crunch time for fitness, still not too much of a panic - just another twist to our story. However, after our first gallop post-accident the pony's knee filled. After a frantic call to the vet, the question became not 'When can I leave for training camp' but "Will Willy be able to jump again?". Willy has been my partner for 10 years. 10 years that I look back on with the fondest of memories (despite all the times when I couldn't get Willy past 'x' in the dressage because the judge's car doors were open!). He is a pony of a lifetime. And I consider myself blessed to have trained him.

After ultrasounds, sweat wraps, and cold hosing we had two options. A) Inject everything we had in the knee and take our chances ( of developing additional adhesions of the tendon to the tendon sheath) at the competition or B) Give the tendon/tendon sheath time to heal, inject, and slowly bring him back. While Young Riders meant the world to me, as the climax of our eventing career - this was not a question for me. I do not take chances with my horses, they come first and foremost to me... so now I play the waiting game. We are going to inject his knee with IRAP which we hope will prevent any further adhesions, and then slowly bring him back into work... seeing just how much work he will be able to do now. If all goes according to plan - vets are assuring me that he should make a full recovery by this fall, and we are very tentatively looking forward towards the Ocala CCI**/Training Level 3-day.

--> Try telling the pony that he is not fully recovered now.... (he is most disgusted by my attempts of walking him around the property)

Deacon has had to step up to #1 horse for the finale of the spring season. Unfortunately Seneca was a bit of a disappointment. I thought I was quite smart to leave him out the night before competing - hoping to take the edge off of him - but to my dismay, I was riding the grumpiest of horses! Someone desperately needed a nap! After an under-par dressage (he was til top 5 though!), I was popped out of the tack at the last show jumping fence.

I wanted to quickly redeem ourselves, so off Deacon and I went to the Maryland Region eventing rally at Difficult Run. He had a lovely dressage of 28, which put him far in the lead, clean show jumping, and clean cross country. Unfortunately a small child (spectator) was standing in front of a cross country fence - so I circled to avoid a collision and incurred time penalties. No harm done, I was incredibly pleased with his performance and manners the entire weekend! Then it was off to Surefire, where Deacon put in an obedient dressage, lovely show jumping, and flawless XC to finish in 6th.... in a division filled with past and present Olympians! Not bad for baby Deacon!

As things die down now for Defying Gravity Eventing (no events are scheduled for July) I can start studying for my HA and A pony club ratings (YIKES are they really only 3 weeks away!), enjoying the weather, teaching, and get several young horses going.