It is every eventer’s nightmare to spend hundreds of dollars and months of preparation to get to The Big Event only to get spun in the first jog. Jessica Bortner-Harris recounts the tale of her “almost” Fair Hill.
Top: Bug and Jessica at the jog at Bromont. Photo by Jordan Lambert.
As many of you have probably read, Bug and I withdrew from Fair Hill yesterday. I jogged him up Tuesday night, and he seemed perfectly fine. He also felt wonderful when I rode him. I was so excited to get started with the competition, but as with all things horses, plans can change rapidly. After I jogged him, I awaited the “Win the War accepted” announcement, but it never came. Instead, the dreaded, “Win the War to the holding area” came instead. Bug has always been a very sound horse, so this suprised me greatly. I have never been to the holding area, and my coach hadn’t arrived yet. Que queasy stomach. The vet in the holding area explained that the ground jury was worried about his right front. He palpated his front legs and found some sensitivity high up on his right leg. He told me that I could represent if I wanted to, but he was going to recommend to the jury that my horse seemed to have a high suspensory soreness.
Now comes the hard part. With no experienced coach by my side, I had to make the tough decision of what to do. I could try to represent and take the risk of getting spun, or maybe I would pass. If I passed, I would definitely have his leg scanned before moving forward. However, how would it make me look if I tried to represent a horse that the vet had just told me has a high suspensory soreness? No matter how much Fair Hill means to me, this horse means so much more. He has shown me that he is so incredibly talented and takes such good care of me. It was my turn to step up to the plate.
I chose to withdraw my superstar and start the journey of finding what is wrong and fixing it. There is no heat or swelling, and try as I might, I can’t seem to recreate the palpation soreness. I am hoping that this whole thing was just a minor blip, and he’ll be good to go very soon. I already have my vet lined up to scan the leg when I get home, so I’m sending up a lot of prayers that it all goes well.
I appreciate all of the positive thoughts that I have been getting from everyone. This was definitely a disappointing experience, however, after losing my filly this summer, I have a lot more perspective than before. He is alive and well and still nickers to me when he hears my footsteps. We will fix this and move forward.