I've been quiet for the last couple weeks while I dealt with what amounts to an eventing disaster. An eventer that doesn't jump isn't much of an eventer, after all.
Despite several private lessons and a visit from the vet, no solution was found. Fiona just comes out and some days, she doesn't want to jump anymore. When we went to GMHA, I knew we only have a 50/50 chance of us even completing. She had one good jumping lesson and one bad one. The bad one was bad enough that I fell off of Fiona for the first time. No, I wasn't hurt. It was a controlled fall after she jumped flat and took a rail, followed by stumbling over the rail and lurching me out of the saddle. However, it didn't really help my confidence when I needed to go around at Novice the next day.
In the jumping warm up at GMHA, we both melted down. Fi wouldn't jump and I couldn't manage her refusals combined with a crowded warm up. Since I couldn't get over the warm up fences, I withdrew before stadium even started for us. Our weekend ended with dressage.
My trainer said Fiona looked afraid in the warm up. I agreed, with her taking off like a bat out of hell and refusing fences. The mare that knew no fear is now petrified.
So now what? The pros, the vet, everyone is scratching their heads and trying to figure out how one of the most consistent jumpers in the barn suddenly stops jumping. If only she could talk and tell us what is wrong.
The current plan is simple: no more jumping. Fi has been scratched from her remaining shows this season. For the next month, she will jump nothing. No hunter paces, no jumping lessons, nothing. She will have her stifle and hocks injected to rule out the only possible cause of pain that we've found. Her vision will be checked and we'll do a basic neurological screening. She's also on Adequan now. After a month, so long as everything checks out, we start over with cross rails. As of right now, I'm not planning to take her to South Carolina in the winter or do anything involving jumping off of the property until May of 2013 at the earliest.
She's comfortable and happy in her dressage. She's been getting the best scores she's ever gotten. I had planned on focusing on our flatwork this winter. Looks like I'll be focusing on it more than I'd planned. Second level, here we come.
Everyone is telling me not to give up. Fiona still has a desire to jump, as evidenced by some solid rides at lower heights. She still wants to get out there and gallop. I want to believe that there is something we can fix and bring back my mare that loved her job so much. But if she's truly done, so be it. I've always said that I'd be a dressage rider when I grew up. It may just happen a bit ahead of schedule.