I hope I’m not speaking too soon (side note to universe: please, cut me a break on this one?). But being officially 2/3 of the way through our recovery from surgery feels pretty darn good, and both Foster and I are relieved that it comes with the perks of getting to stay outside for prolonged amounts of time and I get to swing up into that saddle pretty soon.
So I can’t help but start thinking about what’s next. All of our goals this year were obviously trashed, since between the ulcers in the spring and the surgery in the fall, we really only had about 2 months of being in full work. So, time to reassess and set different goals for next year.
While in January of this year we did a combined test clinic at Training level, for 2016 I am thinking of debuting him at Beginner Novice. I have a few reasons for pushing him back a level.
First, we got to cross country school once in all of 2015. And it wasn’t that stellar of a schooling. Hindsight being 20/20, that’s probably because he was both sore and a little ouchy thanks to those negative angles and of course the bum fetlock. So taking it easy to regain confidence over solid obstacles seems like the way to go.
Secondly, I don’t know how his fetlock is going to handle jumping. I’ve already heard an array of medical opinions on this, ranging from him topping out at Novice all the way to saying that full Training Horse Trials and Prelim CT’s are in his future. As none of these come with a guarantee, I’m just going to let Foster tell me. But since the assumption is that it will continue to improve (to a certain degree) with time, it seems best to start small. And personally, I’d rather find out he’s uncomfortable facing a BN or N fence, and not learn the hard way facing some meter tall, meter wide behemoth on cross country.
And lastly… if this winter is anything like last winter (second side note to universe: please, please don’t be like last winter), then riding is going to be somewhat limited depending on whether I can actually drive to the barn safely. Less riding = less fitness. And knowing how much work it will take to get back to full work after all the muscle atrophy of stall rest.. well let’s just say I’m not expecting us to pop out this spring looking like this:
So, thus the plan. We’ll see how Beginner Novice goes, if he’s comfortable, bring him back to Novice, and then if all the stars align, maybe next fall we’ll finally get that Training horse trials crossed off the list.
And if it doesn’t go well, then I guess we’ll just commit to dressage world domination.
Here’s to 2016.