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.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts After Pine Top

  1. I think this makes a lot of sense. I stopped Eventing Houston for the same reason. He can jump quite nicely but needs a pretty accurate ride and with solid jumps the room for error is less forgiving. Riding a horse like Annie on XC changed everything for me. She is a horse that I know can save me if we get in a pickle and that makes the XC run that much more fun.

    Enjoy your time off. I also have lots of contemplation time coming up. Plenty of dressaging to come to so that hopefully Annie and I can get back out there and kick some but after the baby comes! 🙂

    1. Times like this is when I miss Dandy. He has that magic fifth leg and can get himself out of any trouble I might of caused!

      Oh I know you and Annie will be kicking butt and taking names. Lol.

  2. It’s a lot to think about for sure. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where I want to be and what kind of horse it will take to get me there. And the answers change depending on what sort of time frame I’m thinking about. Wishing you clarity in the off season of figuring out what that means for you and Gus!

  3. I agree with everything you said and went through the same thought process with my Gus. He was a really nice jumper and had cute knees but he struggled to jump from any distance once the jumps got above 2’6″. He could easily jump over 3′ but only if it was from the perfect spot. My good friend and trainer told me if I wanted to keep eventing and move up the levels I needed a different horse and I listened, not b/c she said so, but b/c I knew she was right. It was a hard decision but I’m glad I made it and my Gus went on to have a really great life doing what he was good at instead of doing what I wanted. But as you said novice is very doable for you guys so no rush to move up!!! You can make the decision when the time comes but it’s not here yet 🙂

  4. I can absolutely understand how you’re feeling. I didn’t see it, but I was on the opposite end of the field when Philippa Humphreys flipped at Jersey Fresh 2 years ago, and it definitely took a few days to process and grieve even though I had never met her. We hear about accidents like this often enough, but I think it definitely hits home a lot more when you’re actually at the venue when it happens, either seeing it happen or hearing it (in my case) or watching everyone in the moments after the fall. I can sympathize with your uncertainty regarding eventing, and I’m sure whatever you ultimately decide will be the best choice.

  5. Rough to witness while on the field. Big morality check. My mare was exactly what my trainer had said she would be, great for my 2’6″ confidence, ok at 3′ with someone onboard paying attention. She tended to throw herself on the fore, not ok with higher jumps. She could do 3’3″-3’6″, but needed pilot help. Lucky for her i was a chicken and didnt need to go there, but i could see for those wanting to advance, finding that line where you and the horse are still optimal cam be fuzzy.

  6. I don’t event and I have a lot of respect for ANYONE with the balls to run XC at any level. You’re very self-aware — about your abilities and your horse’s and I think that’s a big step toward safety in a sport that is inherently unsafe. Whatever choices you make, whenever you make them, just know that there will be people who applaud your decision and stick by you!

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