|Weee big table!|
We thought the first couple of days were a little rough, but really it was just a warm up for xc day. I walked my course three times with friend E, and thought I had a good grasp of it. The two things that stood out the most to me on course were the coffin and the drop. Bacon had only done one coffin combination ever, and that was more than a year previous. And we hadn't done any drops in a while as well, especially one of that size. Ever. I was also hoping to make time, but most importantly, just have a safe and fun ride.
|Jump the Meatball!|
Warm up wasn't too bad. Bacon was pretty strong and some of the previous head flipping started to show up again. I don't think she is in love with her gag snaffle anymore, but it was the only bit I knew I could do something with out there. She loves to hang on your arms and pull, and I need help getting her up onto her hind end coming up to a jump and to SLOW DOWN a little bit. But, she jumped the warm up jumps fairly politely, and before I knew it, it was time to head to the start box. Once I got over there, I looked up and could see a horse running loose on course and EMTs casually walking to the ride down at the coffin combo. That was a confidence booster. The nice start box ladies just kept telling me how shiny Bacon was and that she was like a rainbow. After what seemed like an eternity, I was allowed to go. Bacon started to dance for the countdown. She is figuring this game out.
|A view of the coffin combo|
|And the first water complex|
Off we went to the first jump. She took a small look at it, but a little kick and she was over. Next was the giant axe jump. Bacon looked over at the highway next to us, then the jump judge, then the jump and I gave her a kiss. That seemed to get her head the game, and she shot off like a rocket after. The next few fences were a blur of her hauling ass and me trying to ask politely for her to slow the hauling of the ass. That wasn't working and with the coffin coming up, I had to sit back and use all of my strength to get her to listen. Finally, I got through to her. Instead of the nice three stride to the ditch, Bacon made it into two, but we made it through the coffin.
|Through the first water|
|Under and through the castle tower|
My watch was not quite set right, so I wasn't sure if I was hitting my minute markers correctly. We soared over the oxer, tables, trakhener, and upright. The two water complexes were a non issue, and the drop was coming up quickly. I just tried to sit back and not look down as we approached the edge, which was good because somebody has a crazy hind end. A quick turn at the bottom over the B brush element and we were on our way to the last jump and finish. As we were jumping the last fence, I heard my watch go off, so I thought I had time penalties. Optimum time was 5:10. I came in at 4:45. Yeah, no time penalties. My horse was thrilled with herself, I was thrilled with her, and she wasn't even tired. I went to cool her out and put her away.
|Second water complex|
We had a junior rider in the Novice division, so we were watching her round finish up on course when we were on the super cool castle watch tower. As we were standing there, E got a phone call and all I heard were "down in warm up, horse flipped". Our friend M was warming her mare up for their Novice run when, at some point, she got claustrophobic between two horses, spooked and went straight up and over. We raced over on the mini bikes as fast as we could to find M laying on the ground, totally calm and coherent sharing that she knew she had fractured her pelvis because she heard the snap and she didn't want to move her legs. E is all nursed up and whatnot, so she went with the ambulance to the hospital and I took care of her mare. Fortunately, her mare looked great. Unfortunately, I believe part of this incident was caused by the chaotic warm up from Spokane where she was T-boned by another horse, and now her trust of other horses is quite shaken. So, we will have to see what we can do about that.
M made it to a great orthopedic trauma center about 40 minutes away. She had one surgery that evening to put in an external girdle and secure her many many breaks and to help control the bleeding. We were able to locate her husband, who was out on a remote fishing tournament and get him scheduled to fly out that next morning. She would need a second surgery later in the week to try and fix the damage and put her back together, and once stable, could be life flighted back home. Through it all, she remained optimistic and sassy. The swelling was quite impressive already the second day, but I did not hear one complaint. We just wanted to take her home with us.
We made it back home from the hospital late late late that night. We were all feeling a little broken and sad, but ready to tackle the next day on behalf of M, who demanded that we come home with some damn ribbons. And I know I didn't want to let her down.