Well that didn't go how I planned. :( I just don't get it. I think I'm giving up. I.. .just... don't have it in my heart anymore to be disappointed in myself and in my horse. I want to be a proud momma! I want to come off my rides telling him what a freakin' rockstar he is! I want him to feel like a beast! I want him to dance back to the trailer. We don't want to do the walk of shame anymore.
But it's okay. We've been eventing 11 years. We've accomplished a whole lot of stuff. He owes me nothing. I've been able to accomplish pretty much all of my dreams and we've had a blast for the most part. So... whether it's a soundness issue, a "I'm just tired of eventing" issue, or a Me issue..or even just a prelim issue.. I just need a break. There's still plenty of stuff we can do to have fun! (And I'm not naive enough to admit that I can (and probably will) change my mind next week... that's the beauty of it. I can! And if I don't, who cares? Fleck and I will still have fun).
So yeah.. It had the makings of a good weekend. It wasn't flooding. Heck, it wasn't even raining. I was with good friends and at a place we've been before. He felt great and was schooling great. I really thought that we could do it. There was really no reason we couldn't. (Unless he was sore from the stud/boot incident yesterday). I was nervous and excited but not terrified. And yet...
It is hard this time of year to run prelim though. It's very hard to get up early enough to get everything done and not freeze and give Fleck ample walk hack time. But I did try. And I didn't get quite the warm up time I wanted but Liz kept me focused and made me walk more than I wanted to do. I was getting anxious and nervous and feeling the need to get it done. But Liz was right. He needs the warm up time. And it was actually a pretty nice test for us. I was kind of pleased. We had moments that weren't great and there was many things I wanted to fix. He was rushed through the centerline and the first turn. And I was distracted and didn't plan early enough for my first 10 meter trot circle, so that was a little spazzy. I managed to get it back a bit and our second circle was better. Then our leg yield left was awful. He was lagging horribly. I honestly expected him to be much more animated being that it was cold and early but he was almost lazy. I was wishing I had brought my whip. But our second leg yield was actually quite nice. And then our trot lengthen felt pretty darn good til the very end. Our canter wasn't quite as nice as at home but not too bad and our simple change was quite lovely! Then I made sure to not hold and brace in the canter to trot and it was super smooth and nice. So... not a bad test. I wanted to fix a lot of things but it wasn't bad. I didn't want to know my score, because... I didn't want to be bummed if it was bad and I didn't want to feel pressure if it was good. Liz told me that it was a good test and that my score rewarded me for the good parts. Which, could have meant that the good parts were good and the bad parts were bad. Regardless, I figured I was middle of the pack, which is typical.
When it was time for stadium, he still felt good. I didn't feel any issues from yesterday. So we studded up and got ready for stadium and cross country. I did stud, but only in the back. We went in to warm up and Liz wasn't quite there but Julie Z was and helped me out a little. He felt pretty good and was jumping well. We went to watch the course and.... it wasn't pretty. It looked like a fun course but tough. There was a triple that walked long. There was a double off a bendy line. But it looked fun. Well, the first girl had issues but managed to survive. The second girl was Parham and it was... wild. Libby was bolting and running off with her but she managed to get through it. Another girl went and had a stop at the triple but got through it on second attempt but added a stride to each one. Great... Not what I wanted to see. So I went in. Our first fence was behind the leg and my brain realized it but I didn't fix it. Our second fence was better as was the third. The fourth was awful icky though and he rolled his shoulder over it. Then he drifted and it was a horrible line to the one stride. Which was a big wide square oxer to a vertical. Fleck cantered up to it and just stopped. Like at Windridge. It was like he couldn't pick his front end up. I turned him around and after they set it back up, we came again. And he stopped again. This time I smacked him because I really didn't think he had any reason to stop. Julie told me to ask permission to jump another fence so I jumped him over the first fence again and we did it, though it wasn't pretty either. Sigh...
So I walked out and went for a hack to the day haulers parking area and cried. I just didn't get it. I didn't know what was wrong and why it went wrong. And that's pretty much when I decided it was over. I mean, I had sort of put all my eggs in this basket. I didn't have to win. I didn't have to do well. I just had to finish. And well... yeah.
After I settled down a bit and got Fleck taken care of and cheered on Liz and Devon, I talked a little bit about it. Liz and I decided that it would be worth trying to school stadium at the end of the show to see if we could figure out the problem. Lara agreed. They ended up running intermediate last, so all I had to do was drop fences. I dropped them to training level and we went in and jumped the course. And of course... it was fine. He jumped it all and we went clean. It wasn't beautiful and there were times when I thought it could have been a better jump. But we managed to get through the triple fine. So then we raised up a handful of the fences, including the in and out one stride, and tried again. He jumped the brick wall okay when it was bigger but he did it. And he jumped the next fence that was bigger okay. And then the training level fence, and again, we got to the one stride and he stopped. Only this time I felt it a stride back and I smacked him to make him jump it. And.... he did. But he had to heave himself over it and I didn't go with him, so I lost my stirrups and my reins. Bless his heart, he jumped the out too and took me with him. But.... It broke my heart. I turned to Liz, started crying and asked if it was something I did or was I basically just beating a dead horse. It just felt like he did it because I MADE him. Not because he could. Not because he wanted to. But because I made him. And that was NOT a good feeling. I don't want that feeling ever again. Its one thing to make him do something when he's being naughty. But... Fleck just isn't naughty. Not in that way. So... I then jumped him over another 3 training level fences to finish and got off.
It was awful. I never felt like he was being naughty or even being lazy. I just think he just couldn't do it. And he tried to tell me he couldn't. But it wasn't that he didn't want to. Because he was very game and happy to go jump the other fences. And he tried. When I said you HAVE TO.. he did. But that's not fair.
So.. it was a long ride home. I tried hard not to think too hard about it. But I did decide that we were done competing for a bit. Or forever. At least at Prelim. Maybe eventing. I will still do lessons and school and jump big things. Because for whatever reason, when it's not at a show, he's a freakin' rockstar. And most importantly, we have fun! So we'll do that and just go back to having fun.
(at least for now.... Remember, I said that I was not above changing my mind)