Thursday, March 1, 2012

Post-Entry Anxiety

I've always had some level of it, but ever since last spring, I've had a bad case of Post-Entry Anxiety. You know, that disorder where try as you might, you can't stop worrying that your horse is going to find a way to kill himself just as soon as you put a big entry check in the mail. There are many ways Post-Entry Anxiety may manifest itself, but the telltale symptoms include a terrible sinking feeling every time you imagine your horse rolling (getting cast), running in the field (tearing a tendon), or getting shod (and promptly pulling off the shoe(s)). Side effects include obsessively over-treating minor injuries and excessively contacting the vet who surprisingly still picks up my calls.

To explain the source of my anxiety, last spring Will decided to get what I have dubbed "the stone bruise from hell" one month before our debut event of the season, Spring Bay. I needed to go to Spring Bay because even though I'd gotten off the Crazy Train to the T3D (that's for another post), I still had the T3D on my mind and needed a spring warm-up horse trial to get there. Will suddenly "wasn't right" and after a vet appointment, Will was diagnosed with a stone bruise. I was pretty happy with that diagnosis because stone bruises usually take about a week to heal and are a minor bump in the road. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that most stone bruises are a bump in the road, and some are a big fat pothole that can put your horse out for a month and a half, make you lose your entry to an event, and put your future events in jeopardy for lack of preparation and fitness. 

I may not of been able to ride Will, but that didn't stop me from harassing him! My mom got him this sweet fly mask at Rolex and of course we had to make him model. 

The whole Spring Bay/stone bruise predicament turned out ok in the end- I scratched Will and was able to steal Riley away from Louisville (where he lives with his leasees) and take him Novice so as to not lose my entry completely. (And we actually got something like 3rd place- a whole lot better than Will probably would've done!) Being a Thoroughbred, Will was able to get fit enough for a T3D after his injury with only 4 weeks to prepare. The T3D turned out to be one of my best ever eventing experiences and Will even got the Best Conditioned award. But thanks to the ordeal, I now face some serious anxiety as soon as I mail an entry. 

Little Riley was quite the stand-in for his big brother. Photo by Kristen Janicki.

So now I get to the whole point of my post- I have a BAD case of Post-Entry Anxiety right now. I finally decided to stop sitting on the fence and mailed my Ark entry yesterday, knowing very well the consequence that I'm feeling today. Will's already been trying to secure himself a proper spring break (swollen knee, sore back, who knows what's next), but now I'm really worried he's going to find a way to get a vacation. Here's to crossing my fingers, knocking on wood, and holding on to any and every lucky trinket I can find between now and March 31 so that we make it to the Ark sound, fit, well-schooled, and successfully jumping prelim courses again!

- Maggie

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