It was a rough winter on the farm. Back in September, we unexpectedly lost Bourbon, my first dog, after a short but sudden illness. He was 11, not young, especially for a big Aussie-cross, but not that old either.
In January, we said goodbye to Beauty, after a long battle with her many health issues.
Just a week later, Roscoe, the big pitt/rottweiler mix, went to the road and was hit by a car. I rushed him to the vet, but nothing could be done for his massive internal bleeding and spinal injury, so we had to put him down.
Then there was the rain....it didn't stop. All winter long it was 30-40 degrees and raining. My truck also died, and the repair bill was so high I had to sell it and get a new one. During all this time, I also was under extreme stress at my other job, the one that really pays for the farm. I remember thinking that there was no way things could get any worse.
Despite all that, I pushed on. Both Ludo and Knox were going well and showing a ton of potential. In February, I brought both of them to Texas and had a few days of super helpful lessons and XC schooling with Rebecca Brown. With all the other bad stuff that happened during the winter, riding these two horses was definitely a bright spot. I was pretty excited about the 2019 show season!
I'm not sure what higher power I pissed off, but fate definitely had other plans. Just a week after coming home from Texas I was riding Knox in the outdoor ring, cantering over a couple small jumps. I landed, made the turn, sat up and half-halted, when suddenly I hear a "pop" -my hackamore chin strap had snapped! My reins pulled back to my chest -I had nothing. Knox cantered on, accelerating slightly, so I reached forward and tried to grab him by the cheekpiece. In doing that, I actually pulled the entire bridle off his face, and that's when he decided to really go for it. Before things got horribly out of hand, I decided to just jump off. While my normal brain knows that jumping off a cantering horse and trying to land on your feet isn't the best idea (drop and roll everybody), my slightly panicked brain didn't get that memo. I landed on my straight right leg, got a little hung on the left, and planted it hard, twisting as I landed. When I went to stand up, I felt a "slithering" of some things moving in my knee and my ankle wasn't working properly.
At first I thought I would be fine, then I did that thing that all injured horse people always say they wish they didn't do...I took off my boots. The pain was pretty extreme and I was having a hard time walking, so I drove myself to the urgent care (using my left foot). I sat in the waiting room crying for an hour, thinking that taking time off riding, work, and the farm, due to an injury, was the ONE thing that my life absolutely could not handle.
I was wrong! Although it seems crazy to say this, this injury has been a good thing. I leased out Knox and he has had a great time doing some spring clinics and shows. Ludo went down to Rebecca Brown in Texas and got 6 weeks of professional training. She rode him in the May Texas Rose H.T. and placed 8th, with a super clean XC! I am continuing to recover from surgery and spending some time working slowly on my flat work. The farm has continued to run, and I've been able to re-focus some of my efforts on teaching and even planning a little show.
Sometimes a little time off can be a good thing!
Two Phase Combined Test/ Event Derby
SHOW DATE: Sunday, June 23, 2019
Always August Farm
530 Habberton Rd., Fayetteville, AR 72703
Organizer: Christy Zweig Niehues
What is a combined test?
A combined test is two of the three phases of eventing. This competition will include a dressage test and a jump round consisting of 8 stadium fences and an additional 2-4 XC style obstacles. All XC obstacles will be inviting and appropriate for their level. This is a fun and casual show, but we will stick to USEA rules/regulations for tack/bitting and scoring. Protective vests must be worn for jumping at the BN level and up (we are happy to loan you a vest if you need one). ASTM/SEI Certified Helmets Required at ALL times while mounted!
All entrants will receive a score on their dressage test, converted to penalty point (for example, if you score a 70%, you will have a dressage score of 30).
The jumping portion will have an optimum time and speed fault time, and penalties will be assessed at 0.4 points per second for exceeding optimum or speed in excess of speed fault time. Rails incur 4 points, and run-outs/refusals incur 20 points. A horse/rider total score is tallied with the lowest score winning.
*Please note this will take place on grass with some terrain. If you have never evented before, I urge you to enter at a level slightly lower than the height you are used to jumping at home. Dangerous riding will not be tolerated.
Ride times available HERE the Wednesday before the event.
STABLING: Limited stabling/paddock space available $25/night
o Light concessions available on grounds.
o Please leave your dogs at home.
o Dressage and Jumping will be in outdoor grass arenas.
o Riders will ride dressage prior to show jumping
o This is an informal and fun competition!
o Dressage tests available at https://useventing.com/events-competitions/resources/dressage-tests
Adventures eventing as a semi-pro in the mid-south.