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We Are Flying Solo

July 26, 2013

The Conundrum Of A Sound Horse

Oh yes, they are a puzzle too, albeit an excellent one to have!  You have to decide what to do with them!

Encore feels good.  He's moving well, working well, and improving.  I am sure he will be lame again (he is still a horse), but for the time being, I want to enjoy him while he is GOOD.  Actually, I'm terrified to let Dr. Bob inspect him for fall shots, for fear of him finding a sore spot I didn't know about!!

But it means a lot of decisions.
The flying Throughbred at Becky's in March.  He's back!

He's perched on a brink, level-wise.  We've been hard at work on the assignments from Becky and Eric, and always in the background are our exercises from David and Priscilla, and he just keeps getting better.  He is working confidently in the long lines and I am encouraging him to increase the swing of his shoulder little by little.

What this all boils down to is that he is getting very close to being ready to move up to Training.  How exciting is that?????!!!  So, while he will probably break himself, I'll just pretend...

The jump is there.  3'3" is not an issue for either of us and we have schooled there quite a bit.  My eye is accustomed to it, as is his.  The gallop is there, naturally, heh.  The basics of the dressage are there.  He doesn't have an extended trot yet and we still need to work on crisper transitions within the gaits, but that doesn't worry me very much.  I am completely of the view that the dressage is always a work in progress and even scorewise, you can still do very well even when one movement is not quite there yet.  Heck, you know me, I get excited when I am not last!

Herein lies the puzzle.

I am aiming him at Five Points in September.  I just love the events at Carolina Horse Park, I very much like the new organizer, Marc Donovan, and am intruiged to see what Hugh Lochore does with the XC courses.  I always run into eventing buddies there and it's my own little vacation.  It will be a little longer this year since it will be a three-day event over three actual days (although XC last, poo on FEI format), so I will have to be little more clever with my scheduling.

Jumping into CHP water complex in Sept 2012.  Looky but willing.
Do I enter at Novice?  He hasn't run XC since this spring, but we need to do a school anyway since he needs to practice jumping into water.  He is bold and honest and I am confident on course.  Stadium and dressage will be very easy, even if I manage to hold my breath and crap up our dressage test, it's not like he can't do it.

Or do I go for the Training moveup at my home showground where I know the land and the facilities?  CHP may be familiar, but it is rarely soft for the level, especially after Southern Pines I in March.  The last thing I want is to overface us.  Solo and I ended badly, but it didn't have much to do with the level, nothing to do with XC, just a horrible time snafu.  And, as I did with Solo, Encore will do Training height during at least a jumper show and CT before we go.

All of this will require a financial investment as well.  I need to be sure, via lessons and schooling shows, that we are prepared for anything so no officials or volunteers have to be horrified (I certainly don't appreciate it when riders make me gasp with fright when I volunteer, although I certainly know 'oh shit!' happens!).  I also need to be very frugal and make sure we are getting the most bang for our buck.  It's not like spare change is lying around here.

It's something I am going to have to feel out.  I will be chatting with David about it after our lesson on Sunday to get his feedback and seeing how Encore does there and in our XC school, TBD.  I will NOT get greedy and end up moving up prematurely simply because I want to run at T.  Safety first!!!!

It's an exciting puzzle, even though I don't know the answer.  Were I closer to NoVa and had lots of money, my options might be different, but I'm not and I don't, so I need to find a schedule and an approach that will work best for me and my horse as individuals.  Hmmmmm..........


  1. I say go for it. It's familiar territory. School it, go to some shows before running at the same level even if it's just a few HTs. YOU are ready (mentally) and you already know your horse is ready. You don't have to place in the top 10 to feel like it was a success. Can you go and feel confident? Or will you feel over-faced? If your horse is sound and asking you for more, then there's no reason not to go!

  2. Having run Training at Five Points twice now...I'd say go Novice there and move up afterwards. Even on my two experienced horses (Pop and Revere, both upper level horses) I came home slightly petrified from the course. Granted, I am a chicken, but I think it's one of the hardest move up courses in our area.

    However please do go either way! I want to come cheer you on!!

  3. I have no advice since I am too chicken to even try a BN course ... BUT you two look like badasses in that photo. BADASSES.

  4. Thank you, Karen!

    Ry, I am thinking the same thing. Although Tremaine's courses never suffered fools lightly. Encore is definitely ready physically, but I'm not sure he's there mentally, which may lead us to Option 3 - none of the above, just do schooling stuff, LOL!

  5. Hehe :) Let me know for sure where you'll be locally! I'm pretty excited to see you two in action again!!

  6. Awww, thanks! You'll see it here for sure! You can always keep an eye on our calendar in the sidebar, although I change it a lot.

  7. If you are asking for opinions mine would be, go Novice or stick with schooling ht at N or T. But that is just my mentality with thoroughbreds. Especially athletic talented ones who can potentially go far. The slower the better. I think their athletic abilities, heart and high intelligence sometimes people tend to push them too far too fast. But since they can be such over thinkers one bad experience can set them back farther and longer than some more forgiving breeds. We all know he can and will jump the moon for you but is it his right time? I think if there is even the slightest doubt then it probably isn't quite time yet. Good luck and I am super happy that all is going great right now!! And either way I know you will always do right by him so what ever you decide I will be rooting for team Encore!

  8. You are very right, Amy, and remind me of a very important thing: Encore does scare himself a bit if he attempts something and goofs it up loudly, i.e. crashes a big oxer. He has gotten much better about it, but I DON'T want him to ever have a bad XC experience.

    I purposefully try to set up my horses for success, so they think they are superheroes and can do anything. It has always paid off well!!

    It's funny, just writing something down can really clarify it for you. By writing this post and hearing people echo all the thoughts swirling in my head, it practically makes the decision for me. I do think he can make the move-up this fall on the right course, but it will be far better in a schooling environment!

    Woot! Thanks for being awesome!

  9. So exciting either way! A real show, omg. Keep us posted on what you decide.

  10. I would do a Novice then upgrade, since it is your first one and you haven't been out much.

    Better to move up a day late than a day too soon.