Thoughts After Pine Top

Normally by now, the week after a show, I’d be knee deep in show recaps and bothering my husband to edit photos (okay, I’m still doing that but only because there are other people waiting) but this show left me with a very different taste in my mouth and it’s taken me a few days to process. Even now I’m not really certain how to feel. I was on the opposite side of the field but I saw the accident out of the corner of my eye and I saw that horse lying on the ground as every free hand went sprinting towards them. And as I watched, knowing what the outcome was long before any official statement was released, I cried. That could have been Gus.

Gus has never been a super star jumper. I’ve complained about it here over and over again. He’s not always careful with his knees. He still jumps over his shoulder if we get a really bad distance. He isn’t naturally brave (though he is willing). There has been some improvement from when I first got him and he does love being out on XC. We’ve run him through grids and chutes and I’m also getting more confident. He is better than he was.

But is better good enough?

I had no plans to go training any time soon (the novice fences at Pine Top were huge, in my eyes, and the training fences even bigger) but this is definitely making me rethink if I want to take Gus training ever. While accidents can still happen at all levels, I am confident that we can handle anything at the novice level or lower out on XC with minimal risk. Not that something couldn’t still happen but then Gus could trip on a trail ride too and I can’t stop riding all together. Riding horses is inherritantly risky.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to lower it where I can.

I’m not sure at this point what the future is for Gus and I. Everything is as clear as mud right now. Luckily we’re in for a little bit of a break around the holidays so I’ll have some time to think. Gus doesn’t have anything to prove and, more importantly, I don’t either. There’s no rush to move up to training and I have plenty of time to decide if Gus is the right horse to take me up there or not. For now we are going to have fun at Novice and keep the higher heights to the stadium ring.