When I purchased Houston I didn’t have intentions of eventing. I thought I would buy a jack of all trades that I could dabble around in the Hunters with. Circumstances pushed me to eventing and with some blood sweat and tears I even managed to complete a couple events. Would I go back and do it again? No, probably not.
Buying Annie was a shot in the dark hoping for a horse that would be suitable for the jumpers. I got very lucky all things considered! She can be a bit difficult but she has more athleticism than I will likely ever need. It is very reassuring to know she can get us out of a bind. Annie’s diagnosis created a lot of uncertainty though and only time will tell if she will be good to continue her job as super eventing dragon.
In the meantime I have been putting more rides on Huey. The thought even briefly crossed my mind that maybe I could try to do an event again. When the opportunity to go for some no pressure schooling with a barn bud came up I jumped all over it. Much to my disappointment this adventure just further cemented why I stopped eventing Houston.
Once you have run cross country on a horse like Annie it’s harder to stomach the idea of jumping solid obstacles on a horse like Houston. He has many good qualities but his carefulness or even athleticism over fences is not one of them. I love him dearly but he doesn’t instill confidence and I know that I am perpetually just one bad experience away from losing the nerve to event.
I am writing this as a reminder to myself. There is no reason to try to force a square into a circle. I want to be able to look back and remember how I felt Saturday. Jumping XC on Houston leaves a pit in my stomach that Annie never does. I might be afraid sometimes because I am a chicken but never in a “I hope we don’t flip” kind of way. That is something Houston’s inconsistency over fences inspires.
As eventers we partake in an already dangerous sport. There is no reason to stack the odds against myself by riding a horse that isn’t willing and at least somewhat inclined to jump solid obstacles with his legs up. Grid’s might help him and I might even try that again but eventing will not come back on the table. I am not saying that everyone needs to have a freak of a jumper. I am however saying that life is way too short for me to try to make Houston into something he is not. Especially when it’s really not that hard to find a safe jumper.
There are right horses for a job and wrong horses for a job. Sometimes it is easy to determine and other times there is more of a gray area. It takes a self aware rider to acknowledge and accept that.
Where do you stand on this topic? Are you of the camp that most horses can do all things at a low level? Interested to hear other peoples thoughts.