I like the end of the show season for a couple of reasons. Usually it's a relief to get to claim a few weekends and days off doing something besides traveling, competing, or packing and unpacking the trailer. Daylight is running short and football and the holidays are a fun priority. And I like to give the horses a break, plus to be perfectly honest I don't mind backing down on the riding when it's cold and dreary.
This year the season ended one SJ trip short of what I was expecting, when Boscoe's bandages came off the morning after XC at Midsouth and he had a nasty little bump on the back of his right front flexor tendon. An "oh, crap" moment. He hadn't taken a bad step on XC but he did slip a couple of times and I'd asked him to gallop just a little--the consensus on ideal velocity is getting closer, but still requiring compromise on both sides. Ultrasound showed only a little fluid and he wasn't lame at all, but we treated it as a de facto bow and that was an abrupt end to our weekend.
Thankfully, a follow up ultrasound last week shows NO fiber damage, and the best guess is that Boscoe must have struck himself with a hoof at some point. He had beefy boots on but who knows? I'll take that explanation, just so long as it continues to look good. Another 4-6 weeks of mostly loafing and then we'll leg up again and get to work for 2013, where a Training 3-Day is my goal and I'm just not looking any farther than that . . . for now. Too much dressage to focus on this winter to daydream about green flags and we still have a galloping agreement to work on! I have clearly forgotten what going fast actually means after 7 years as Our Lady of Perpetual Novice. (obvious on the video below)
The high point of the weekend (other than a great XC trip) was seeing my darling Bonnie take my friend Niki, who had ridden her exactly three times beforehand, to a win in one of the big Open Novice divisions, finishing on their terrific dressage score. Bonnie has become quite the little event mare this season! My theory is that in addition to just growing up and realizing there are no horses left to dominate and that the world really is not in need of constant vigilance, she's feeling better in general. My guess is her hocks have been quietly fusing for the last couple of years, and now that they're done, she's just happier to do things in general. She was never, ever sore or grumpy or unwilling to work, but there has to be some explanation for her becoming a reliable and dependable horse this year and so this is my working hypothesis.
Bonnie's been so good, in fact, that the thought of her having earned her way back into the gene pool has been floating around in my head. She's built really well, kind and easy and she was born broke, easy to ride and a happy and sensible horse. A credit to her Irish heritage--horses that were asked to do a little bit of everything and were generally happy to comply. That's Bonnie! We'll see.
Keebler is feeling like a million bucks and went out to do half of a Horse Trial earlier this fall, in hopes of getting to Midsouth for a real outing. He was a little fresh, a little green, and I felt like he needed one more trip before I was ready to ask him to handle a tough course with galloping, so we didn't make the trip to Kentucky. He's working at Erika's again and waiting for us to get him hooked up with a rider who has the time--sadly, that is not me! I have tried juggling more than one "active" horse and it just does NOT work. And of the three that I have, Bonnie is the only one that does fine with part-time work. The boys are both better when they work a lot. And since I also work a lot, well, something's got to give!
Boscoe's dressage and XC from Midsouth