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Tomorrow marks two months since I unceremoniously yeeted off my horse and wrecked my knee. I’ve been in weekly PT since it happened and up and mobile by day 5 or 6. Surgery is scheduled for Friday, March 11th, so knowing I’ll be out for a few months minimum, my PT actually let me get on this past weekend and hack around as long as I didn’t do anything “stupid”.

Luckily Archie has been in close to full work with two friends since I got hurt and will continue to through the spring and summer. One of my best friends Paige ended up filling in for me at WEC last month so we still got to go and Archie was fabulous with her.

We hauled out Wednesday and eventually made it, despite having our truck literally DIE on the side of the road at one point. That was… not fun. Thank God we have great ponies who hung out on the side of a highway in 30 degree weather and just grazed without a care in the world. We finally made it that evening and got everyone settled in before passing out late.

Thursday, she showed her mare in a schooling round, then had Archie in the 0.80 and 0.70m schooling rounds. In ‘things that don’t make sense’, the .80s went first, so Archie’s first round was the bigger of his two. He’d shown inside before, although never with me, but never at that height. They had a great round until the very last fence where he just didn’t quite focus and it snuck up on him, causing a stop. They jumped it nicely the second time and I was super happy with him no matter. His 0.70 class went a little while later and now he thought he knew exactly what was going on and jumped everything like it was 6″ bigger and easily. Show off. It was a great first day and I was thrilled with the great experience he got in a busy new environment.

Friday they moved to the bigger arena this day and I was a little nervous how he’d do in the much busier setting with lots of fill and decor. His first round, he had a stop at 2 where I think he just got a little overwhelmed and pulled the back rail the second time, then jumped around really nicely until the last combination. It was a one stride, away from home, right along the rail with a vertical to an oxer and he jumped in to a slightly long distance and backed off and they had a second stop. I wasn’t (and still am not!) upset by it at all – this was still completely new to him and on top of that, Paige had jumped him once before showing him.

My new favorite pic

Later that day, they had their first division round in the Intermediate Child/Adult Jumpers. She really rode the hell out of him here and gave him lots of time to see things. Three to four was a really tight rollback on the right lead (his weaker side) and he didn’t get his eye on it early enough and they had the rail, but otherwise jumped a lovely forward round.

Even with the rail and a (planned) slow round, the round was enough for 7th out of a class of 20+. I was giddy – to come home with any satin at all was more than I could have expected.

When you get to help yourself to the whole bag

Saturday’s round was definitely the biggest course he’d ever jumped to date, but he’d already proved scope was not going to be an issue. I told Paige to take the longest, widest turns to let him see stuff and just keep him moving and they’d be fine. Sure enough, he turned on his afterburners and jumped the hell out of everything. They had a perfect double clear round until the he got a little deep to the last fence and had the smallest tap on the front rail that came down. Honestly, I could not have cared any less. The round was absolutely everything I wanted from this horse, he was confident and you could tell having a blast out there.

The classic was Sunday and we debated if we even wanted to take him in it or just end on a great note from the day before, but ultimately opted to go ahead and show. Archie left no doubt in anyone’s mind if he understood the assignment by now, because Paige had essentially no brakes, whoops. He was straight up taking her on a one way trip to every single fence and Archie was sure she was there just to be a passenger. Um, okay dude. No lack of confidence here. He jumped into the line from 6 to 7 long and they cut the turn after 7 a little tight, causing him to bring a hind foot down on the vertical, but even with the single rail they ended up with a 10th out of 21.

A rail, a stop, whatever – none of it bothered me at ALL. The entire point of going was to get good confident miles at a new height for Archie and holy cow was that successful. For a horse who hadn’t shown indoors in over 2 years, never shown in the jumpers and never shown anywhere close to that height, I was (and am) absolutely thrilled with him.

“Dis dumb feed me cookies”

Not to mention, he showed us the height was downright boring for him. Paige said it was apparent how much fun he was having once it clicked and he could have gone around four more times. WEC is no small atmosphere and he handled it all like an old pro, demonstrating why I absolutely adore this horse’s brain.

Since then, he’s done a clinic with Sharon White, given me a handful of pony rides and tolerated a spa day from me last weekend.

“Iz not amused mahm”

I’m so excited to see what they do this summer while I’m off, although I’m still super sad to not be riding and showing myself. At this point, I’m ready for surgery to be done so I can get to rehabbing and get back to riding.

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