At the end of hunt season I rode badly to a big vertical. I didn’t realize that the ground dipped slightly before the fence, making it larger than I realized.
I could tell that Freedom didn’t like the fence but he’d been jumping really nicely this fall. After treating him for Lyme I brought him back slowly and he’d felt good. The weekend before we’d had a particularly good school over a xc course at a hunter pace. We were ready, I thought.
But I though wrong. Freedom came into the jump, got his front end over, and stopped. There were were, straddling the fence. This had never happened to me before. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I bailed. Freedom backed up, got himself free from the jump and galloped on up the hill without me.
I was glad to see him look unscathed and sound so I climbed back on and finished the hunt. When we got to the next fence, I wasn’t sure how he’d feel, whether my bad ride would make him uncertain about the wisdom of jumping. But other than jumping the fence with plenty of room to spare, he was fine. In fact, he jumped really well for the rest of the hunt; he was a good, brave boy.
When I got him home, I found that he had scrapes on both stifles where he’d caught them on the fence. I couldn’t see the scrapes out in the field under his hair. That made me feel really guilty. I shaved the area around the scrapes and applied antibiotic ointment.
The next day, he was sound but oh, were his stifles sore to the touch. He got a few light days of riding, some bute and my gratitude — for being a willing and trusting partner who chose not to hold my poor riding against me but who was willing to give me the benefit of the doubt and face each new challenge without