Mr. Thompson (Nike’s owner) and Karen
We eventers never expect things to work out the way we hope they might. It’s just not realistic in our sport because it is unpredictable and there are too many factors for everything to be perfect. That is one of the reasons why I love eventing. You always have to be thinking quickly and responding instinctively when your “plan A” doesn’t work out. Karen always says “sometimes you’re on ‘plan M’ by the time you make it through a difficult question”– but it’s making it to the other side with your adrenaline pumping and horse running for the next difficult challenge that drives us on.
That being said–Nike and I had a very ideal event last weekend at the Fork. Not everything was perfect, obviously, but we both really enjoyed the whole weekend. He was fantastic on the flat and I couldn’t be happier with his test. There are always things to improve on but he tried his heart out and gave it his best. I absolutely love a horse that gets competitive in the dressage arena. Nothing makes me more content and confident than trotting around the ring and knowing my horse is right where I need him and completely listening and understanding that this ride counts. Nike is turning into one of these horses 🙂
He was quite strong again on cross-country. I had backed him down to a plastic straight-bar Pelham with a cover on the chain because I was worried that the jointed would be too much. I was wrong. He was very strong! I was planning on not going for speed but he needed to gallop between the fences so he could listen for the combinations so I was quicker than expected. He was straight and understood all of the difficult questions and I was thrilled with him.
Show jumping was pretty twisty and looked big because of the small area they were using in the sand arena but it was a great course for us because we had to stay forward around turns and keep steady in down the lines. He jumped clear and ended up winning because a lot of people had rails down. We used the same bit as the day before and it was perfect. We’ll be bumping up the brakes for xc but I’m happy with the show jumping.
As for the next couple of weeks Nike will be having a really easy workout schedule. He’s completely off until Thursday and then he’ll be hacking out and walking/trotting on the pavement to build up his soft tissue through the weekend. He’s been working very hard lately and I don’t want him to peak too soon. Just like with any human athletes, you have to time everything right so your horse is peaking physically, mentally and emotionally for the event/3-day your shooting for. It’s a delicate balance and takes a while to figure out because it’s so specific to the horse/person. I read a lot of sports psychology books and try to relate them to my horse. Training is equally as important as recovery, so that’s what I’m focusing on for Nike in the next two weeks to try to keep him enjoying his work and want to get back to the daily grind. I also get to compete Ms. Mars’ Harbor Pilot that David has trained and competed in the CCI* at Ocala next weekend and have some young ones there as well so I’ll stay good and busy even if Nike’s having a bit of R&R!
Nike’s headed to Jersey Fresh CIC*** next Hope to see you there! -HSB
PS: Thanks for all of the facebook posts, texts and messages of encouragement and congratulations. Y’all are the best!