Keep Fighting the Fight

Jhett Jenkins is a 16-year-old Area IX eventer who rides with the Flying W Stables out of Wilson, Wyoming. We met Jhett and her horse Street last year. Street had a rough past and was an unwanted horse until Jhett came along and gave him the time, patience and love he deserved.

Jhett and Street at a Tom Ordway clinic. Photo courtesy of Jhett Jenkins.

Jhett and Street at a Tom Ordway clinic. Photo courtesy of Jhett Jenkins.

Well my fellow EN friends, I come to you with a lessened hope in my heart, for this sport has gotten the best of me once again. August 20th both of my boys made their debut and in great style. Street ended on his dressage score and my other greenie added only one baby stop on cross county to his score which could have been avoided if his pilot was a little more direct. Street came third and Mowgli was fourth. So, I went into the next weekend with some confidence and high hopes of a stellar weekend. Boy was I wrong.

Street put in a decent test early Saturday morning with only a small amount of tension in his walk, and that can be resolved with time. His stadium was calm and happy with a piloting error that resulted in one rail. Again, could have been avoided. That afternoon we left the startbox, had a stop at the first then went over it quite well. The second jump he was nervous but was a good boy and gave it his best. Unfortunately an awkward jump and a miscommunication on the back side resulted in my falling off. Another rider error.

Now I don’t remember much after that due to the fact that I was not allowed to ride for a week due to a concussion. But, I have been filled in on how I was feeling, and it’s most easily summed up by my concussed, confused, defeated self in one sentence: “This wasn’t how it was supposed to go”.

A few weeks later when I was cleared to ride, Street and I started to prepare for one more go round at an event before winter hit at the fall Skyline horse trials. The first ride back was an early morning one before school, and every time we cantered Street would buck and buck which is very uncommon for him. I assumed it had something to do with the cool morning and the time off. I tried to not think too much of it, but something felt off.

Getting ready for cross country at Pumpkin Event. Photo courtesy of Jhett Jenkins.

Getting ready for cross country at Pumpkin Event. Photo courtesy of Jhett Jenkins.

The next day I rode him and he started to buck in the trot. This is not Street like. Long story short, several chiropractors, vet visits, and tears later, we decided that Street had strained some muscles and would need a month off with no work. Which meant no Skyline. Though I was happy nothing too serious was wrong with him, I was incredibly disappointed to have to sit through winter with our last outing ending so poorly. I wanted to give him confidence. I needed confidence that in the spring we would be okay to try to go out and do what we have been working towards the past year-and-a-half.

It is now February. The winter is long and seemingly endless. Street and I have been in work at our local indoor just doing flatwork and rebuilding his muscles. I have jumped once since August in a Tom Ordway clinic which was incredible. Street is still learning how to use his body and really just building and strengthening muscles again. It’s a give and take. Some days are good, some not so. I hate that we were not able to get back out and fix what happened in August, but the season is coming and sooner than we know it will be time to learn and grow.

The fall was full of lows and an occasional high, so for now we will keep trying. This sport is rough and this horse is a challenging one, and will always be. But maybe that’s why I love him so much.

My eventing friends, we can keep our heads high. This sport tries to knock us down, but we always get back up. So take the winter to work and get ready for the season. Wherever you may be, stuck in snow or enjoying the sun in Ocala, there are horse people all around us who want to see us succeed. Keep fighting the fight. We truly are a community. Happy trails my friends, see you all in the spring!