I feel like a 10,000 lb weight has lifted from my shoulders. The past year of competing has been rough. Bug just wasn't completely himself, and I just wasn't trusting that. Up until last year, we probably had a handful of XC penalties in his entire career, so when we started having runouts, I knew something was amiss.
After a lot of time and energy and changes, my horse is back, and I can not wipe the grin off my face. This past weekend, we rocked around our first Advanced of the season. Bug was looking for the flags and there wasn't one thought in his head of anything other than going. Having that feeling back gave me so much confidence. I rode the XC boldly and went for it. We came home with a respectable dressage, double clear SJ, and a clean XC with some time. We finished midpack in a huge division of big time horses. I don't think that's too shabby for our first Advanced of the year.
Of course, none of this is to say that I can take anything for granted in the future. There is always homework to be done, and one can never top striving to be a better rider and horseman. However, without that little nagging voice that causes a bit of a lump in the back of my throat, it's a lot easier to step up in confidence.
I am so glad that I know my horse well enough to know when something was amiss. It took a bit to fix it and get him back on point, but I am glad that I stuck with it and didn't just accept it.
Yes, I am biased, but I think I have one of the best event horses out there. Not only is he amazingly athletic, but his heart is bigger than his jump.
Sending out a HUGE thank you to everyone who has kept believing in us and pushing me to believe in it. Knowing I have an amazing team backing me is such a comfort!
Bug gets a little break from traveling, so we can really focus on training instead of running crazy. He will be back out competing at the CIC*** at Poplar Place Farm in mid-March.
Until then... we will be working hard and striving to always be better. Kick on!