Sorry it's up so late, couldn't be bothered to quite finish it and had exams etc.
What a hell of a year! I've been hit to rock bottom and then picked myself up and carried on again and again. But I've learnt so much.
All the horses began the year on top form. Cruise came back into work after an easy winter and was happy as ever. Dee was performing incredibly, her confidence bloomed however things slowly deteriorated towards February. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with 'early changes in the hocks' which meant arthritis. I was devastated, as this was the second year in a row and a second horse I had prepared to event and it came to the same result.
After Dee's treatment and check-ups she was feeling incredible. A new horse. One clear memory I have was during a lesson I had away from home, and I have never seen her jump her heart out as much as she did back then. And one phrase that stuck with me I got told that day was.. "This is the real Dee. You've never had a chance to ever see this horse behind curtains. This is what she loves, she's happy and you have a new horse." That moment stuck with me.
From that moment, things very quickly dropped in a matter of about 4 weeks. I had applied for teams and registered with BE again. Dee once again was being her stuck up old brat, she wasn't happy, arguing. During team training we decided that she was not at all happy and again it was due to her hocks. The treatment had only worked for a matter of weeks. From then on I we decided that she was only going to be a light hack and maybe be jumped over a small cross once in a blue moon. That's when I hit rock bottom.
I was lucky enough to have Cruise to prepare for teams, and bless him he performed like a star. Dee at this point was refusing to hack out, I couldn't get her off the yard without planting her feet and throwing a tantrum/rearing. I was just sick. I then just left her, let her be a horse in the field, hardly any contact and gave her a huge break.
In the mean time I bought Ben as a little project to work on as I would've been left horseless till next year (2012). I knew people would think I should've gone for something bigger, but I knew he had potential. He was whizzy, had very little flatwork, strong but incredibly brave. If he saw a jump, he would lock on and almost 'bolt' at it. No way of stopping, even on an incredibly bad stride. Yet I still knew with patience he could turn out wonderful.
In October Dee had to come back into work AGAIN, as she was getting too fat. Just hacking, which was no longer a challenge.. I then began t school her, and there was no arguing, I popped her over a few fences and she was pinging them. Was my horse back? After 2 weeks of being in work at a PC Rally we did a Chase me Charlie over 2 fences, and she cleared about 1.25 without batting an eyelid? Hmmm.
After 3 weeks of Dee being back in work, we noticed she had growing lumps, and she had to go under a big operation to remove what were several types of sarcoids. I got told this was actually burning away her skin and muscle under surgery and she would be left with big open wounds. Yet again, things were on top form and we were back to square one again. I always thought at the time 'Why me?.'
In the mean time me and Ben had registered with BSJA and won our first BN at our first event, we sorted a new bit, we now had control of his jumping and backing him off fences. He kept on performing like a little star! He was competing at 1.05 Open classes in a matter of no-time and finally his flatwork came together.
Things at the end of 2011 eased off. Began focussing on Cruise a bit more, Bens flatwork and generally chilling! Then on my Birthday (New Years Eve) Dee had t be back in work as she needed another check up for her arthritis.
Vets are impressed with Dee's progress; she is now bald and is feeling incredible! Really think this huge break has done us the world of good. We share a stronger partnership; we are managing hacks like a walk in the park. Going to jump her Sunday- EEEK! On the hunt for a new bit for Ben, he threw me off twice in 5 minutes a few weeks ago whilst popping a fence at home and wasn't himself. Back checked and was perfect, think he's beginning to panic a bit in the Pelham every now and again. Hiring somewhere Sunday for a lesson to try a few bits and bobs :)
I have gained some fantastic experiences this year, including helping exercise/be a groom a team of my Trainers Showjumping horses, gather a sponsorship etc. It's been fabulous and loved every minute, get to jump them and even get lessons on the ex-1.45 horse! Currently looking for a 3 day show to go to which I think is Rowallan the first week of Feb!
Good luck to all in 2012!