It seems a long time ago, but the last time I wrote my blog we were preparing for Chatsworth. Chatsworth has always been one of my favourite events as it has a feeling of a very big and grand event, yet it’s only 2 hours down the motorway from us. This also means I can save a bit of money on stabling, save Siren a bit of stress and keep him at home, travelling down for each of the phases. From when I got on him he wasn’t really with me. He was quite stiff in his neck, not moving through from behind and was very lazy off my leg. But we went in and did our best….we spooked at the judges boxes, didn’t do any flying changes in the correct places, didn’t do any counter canter, didn’t do any relaxed walk… You get the idea! It was probably the worst test I’ve ever ridden: And the mark reflected this. But hey ho, off we trundled home.
On the Sunday we were back for the jumping phases. We both felt really up for it and he felt good. He show jumped lovely. Until I thought it was a good idea to drop him in the last line, sit like a lemon and do nothing. I would have understood if Siren had stopped, laid down and gone on strike. But the legend he is, he powered though, only rolling a few poles. Cross country was big, technical and imposing!! Whilst walking the course we saw two rotational falls, luckily both horses and riders were ok, but this isn’t what I wanted to see!
He gave me the best cross country ride. Perfectly straight, honest, and brave….Until the final combination. He jumped the hanging rail, bounced down the step and then ‘SMACK’!! He thought I would like to use his mane as dental floss. His front feet were at one side of the fence and his back feet just slipped from under him. He was doing his best to get over it but I pulled him out. Unfortunately due to being smacked in the face I couldn’t really see very well. Unbeknown to me, the directed I turned him was directly into the path of a low hanging branch. As I was laid on his back with stars in my eyes (hoping my point / wouldn’t go off!), a fence judge chasing me to ask if I’m ok, my new fancy Free Jump stirrups tangled up all over the place, I did contemplate going home. But we only had 4 fences left, how hard could it be!? So I wiped the dripping blood off my nose, had a quiet word with Siren that it’s up to him to get us home safe and kicked on, over the alternative and headed over the last few. Before I had even crossed the finish line the doctor was there and instructing me to stop worrying about my horse and listen to him. All was fine though, Siren was fine bar a few scratches and no harm done, except an unusual 20 penalties on his record. But as I am known to say very often ‘his record doesn’t matter as he will NEVER be sold’.
The day after Chatsworth we had him booked in for a gastroscope. We have always suspected ulcers as he is very fussy, very stressy and goes off his food very easily. After the extensive surgery on his head we thought he had been through enough, but it was something I couldn’t ignore. It turns out he had grade 3/4 ulcers. Me being me, I have now researched and read every paper on ulcers! What they can have, what they can’t have, what’s worth buying, what’s not worth buying. He has started on Peptizole and thanks to the fab team at Topspec has had his diet according adjusted. Typically he decided he didn’t like it, but he’s now feeling a bit better and has learnt that’s all he can have. He has had a 3 weeks of treatment and he look amazing! He’s eating well, doesn’t look ‘tucked up’ all the time and it’s very relaxed. So with our next event being Bramham CCI *** (our local event – 30 minutes down the road) I was unsure what to do. He hasn’t been in the arena since Chatsworth as all he has done is hack to try and keep stress down (except a 4 day spa break at the pool), I didn’t know whether Bramham was a good idea. But after some deliberation he is going. But we are going for fun, no pressure and no drama. We are taking it back to what we do it for, not worrying about FEI points for future events, not worrying about what people might say about him, and just going for a good time. At the end of the day it is my hobby and it is easy to forget that we do this for enjoyment! But, and a big but, at any point he doesn’t feel 100%, or if he doesn’t feel like his heart is in it, he is coming home.
Much love, Charlotte and Super X