Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back to the Basics

Sometimes, things don't turn out the way you pictured them in your thoughts.

This is basically the summary of what happened to us at Jersey Fresh.

All season long, I was gearing to Jersey. Our dressage was improving at home and our show jumping was in sync. We'd had three amazing cross country runs in a row, and I felt that it wasn't beyond our capabilities to finish in the top ten or even the top five if things went extremely well.

Mostly though, I just wanted to get around and get a qualifying run.

Our problems began about two weeks prior. I noticed that Dante's lateral work was stiffer and less willing on his part. Dante has a weak right SI ligament, and while he usually begins the season with beautiful lateral work (for him), it tends to weaken throughout the season. I was hoping to make it through Jersey without it getting sore, but unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. So our lateral work went quite downhill literally the week we were in Jersey until I mainly thought to get through the right-handed lateral work. Lovely. (It doesn't affect his left lateral work at all interestingly enough. However, I had refrained from doing any lateral work in the previous week or two and so the left lateral work suffered from lack of practice.)

However, both my vet and I discussed at length and concurred that the ligament did not bother him at all for jumping, cantering, galloping, and most trot work save right-handed lateral work. We decided to go and let the chips fall where they may.

Sure enough, we got through the dressage test. That was about it. I had hoped to make up some points in the canter work, but we were both tense and the canter-walk-canters became canter-halt-canters which scored very badly. The scores were running quite high throughout the day, which didn't help my case any, and I definitely felt that the score was a few points higher than it should have been. However, I squeaked out a barely qualifying score, so at least there was that. I was through the first phase.

Onto cross country. Dante was amazing out on course, other than spooking a little at the second jump and the trakehner. Every other jump he just attacked and jumped as if he had been doing this level his entire life. It was a touch course, with riders like Phillip Dutton and Kim Severson falling off and retiring. Dante ate it up like it was a Novice course and we cruised in twelve seconds under time, no problem. It was amazing. So now we were up to four awesome cross country runs in a row.

After cross country, I iced Dante in the ice boots twice and jogged him up for Mike. Mike and Heather both thought he looked great and I thought so too, from what I could see while running next to him. We just jogged him up in stabling, not on the roads outside of stabling, but he looked great.

The next morning I got to the stabling at 6 am and jogged up Dante. So far as I could tell, he still looked good. Heather and Mike saw him job around 7 am and also thought he looked good. However, when we got out on the asphalt right before the jog, Dante took a few slightly funny steps. We got held, and the vet said he was a little short on his left front but couldn't find any soreness at all. We reinspected and I thought Dante looked a lot better on reinspection, but unfortunately, the decision didn't go our way.

Looking back, I think Dante was affected by the hard ground, but only a tiny bit...enough to be sound on the (very) slightly softer ground in stabling, but bothered by the hard asphalt in the jog area. If I had iced Dante that morning, I believe he would have passed with no problems. From now on, Dante will get iced in the morning before the jog, since he does seem to be affected by hard ground just a bit. I'll also make sure to jog him on the hardest surface available to make absolutely sure that he's sound.

Dante's had a long season, and he's on a long vacation now. I'll be working and in summer school throughout June, so he'll start back up in July. For the fall, we'll keep it as short as possible and only do three shows, Richland, Poplar, and Fair Hill CCI**, with Galway CCI** as back up. The vet will come out every two weeks to check out Dante and make sure he's on track too.

Hopefully, we'll be good to go in the fall.


  1. What a bummer! Eventing can be such a heartbreaker sometimes. Is he looking better now? I know that an equine chiropractor has worked miracles on my boy, who is perpetually tight in his lumbar, which may be an option for you. Also, SI injections, perhaps?

    I would love to see you and your boy at the Galway CCI**! Who knows, I may be competing against you by then. :)

  2. He is looking better and is very happy to be getting fat. :-) He already got his SI injected last week along with his hocks, and will be getting his coffin joints injected next month before going back into work. He has rotated coffin bones, so I have to be particularly mindful of his coffin joints, and I let that slack a little bit last season which I think may have contributed to his being off at the jog.

    I read your blog and love reading about your old man! If I do go out that way, I would love to meet you...but honestly, I'm hoping to head to Fair Hill for a number of reasons. Being halfway between the two coasts can definitely have some advantages!

  3. I hear you on injections! Ed also has some navicular changes and is due for his coffins and hocks in early June. I can already tell that he is due since he starts to become just a bit off on his front right. He so wouldn't pass FEI jog right now, but we are only doing trials till October. He is still happy as clam to jump crazy things, so I'll go with it.

    Thanks for the compliment on my blog and Ed. I also really enjoy your blog. It's refreshing to read about the grittiness of eventing amongst all the overly romanticized eventing blogs.

    I am very tentatively thinking Fair Hill in 2012, so maybe I'll see you then if everything goes well for FH 2011!

    Just wondering, why not Rebecca? Or is that just too far?

  4. A few reasons for not doing Rebecca, although I would love to go one day. For one, it's a little too soon after Jersey and since he's had a bit of a lameness issue, I think it would be too quick to try and leg him back up and also give him enough time off. Another is that it is HOT HOT HOT here in Texas in the summer, and honestly, I lose a bit of my drive to ride. Dante doesn't love the heat either. But mostly, I have an engineering internship that requires me to work full time as well as a June class for school in the evenings, so my time to ride is very limited and I can't get away for a show in the middle of the summer. Oh, and it really is too far, it's further than Jersey and maybe even further than Bromont.