Like everyone else I assume, even before the snow began melting in the spring, I started planning my show schedule for the year. Working within my budget, it included a couple of goals that I either hadn’t done in a long time or had never done. One was to compete at Groton House again since I probably hadn’t been there in ten years, and one goal was to compete at Fitch’s Corner where I had never been. Seems hard to believe since I have been competing in Area 1 for more than thirty years! And the third and most exciting was to compete at the Training 3Day at Waredaca in October. Wiley and I had done two Training level events last fall, but I needed two more to complete the qualifications for Waredaca. And they both had to be with no xc jump penalties. No pressure there! I also felt this would be a good stepping stone on the way to Preliminary.
The season started off well with a ninth place finish at GMHA – double clear both jumping phases! Then, it was on to Groton House. Second place after dressage led to some high hopes, but it wasn’t meant to be. Wiley had been feeling a little off, and I found myself wondering if I should take him cross-country. I told myself I would start out, and if I felt him struggling at all, I would pull up. I think I was so focused on how he was feeling that I ended up jumping the wrong sixth fence so that decision was made for me, and I finished with a TE. The TD said I could do stadium, but I opted not to based on the feelings I had had earlier. Long story short, Wiley was having some foot/shoeing issues and we ended up casting his foot so that the blacksmith would have something to nail his shoe to. He started feeling better, and I aimed him for our next goal – Fitch’s Corner. Here he had his best dressage test to date putting us seventh in a competitive division. He felt great over a big and imposing course to finish clear with a few time penalties and a double clear show jumping over a tough course on a very hot day moving us to sixth and achieving our final qualifiying score.
Our next event was going to be Huntington in August. We never made it as Wiley started feeling the effects of his cast and we discovered that there was more going wrong with his shoeing and the integrity of his hoof wall. Unfortunately, this was the end of our season. My vet determined that he would be ok but would just need some time off and light work as we came up with a new shoeing plan to help him heal and grow back stronger hoof wall. I was extremely disappointed especially since after our performance at Fitch’s, I had been entertaining thoughts of doing the PT at UNH. It’s been five years since I even thought about the “P” word. Not this year.
The last few months Wiley has been healing and in light work and is starting to feel stronger than he did even before the 2015 season started. This makes me very excited for next season and the potential that my horse has been showing. We did manage to achieve two of our goals for this year, and despite his setback, I think he will come back better than ever so look for us out there next year striving towards new goals!