Cross country day in Luhmühlen was kind of crazy. Arthur warmed up fantastically and went out on course making easy work of everything. The course rode very well for most people. The two fences that seemed to worry people were the coffin and the combination in the main arena. The coffin required turning after the A element to put yourself on the line to jump the direct route out over the narrow arrowhead.
I was very comfortable with the direct route but my job was to come here and jump around clean. I decided to go the long route to ensure a clean trip around. He jumped through everything beautifully! There were a couple of massive jumps that he just skipped over. Our major hiccup on the course was when we were galloping down a very narrow lane about 2/3 of the way around the course just before going into the main arena. We bumped into the spectator rope (there were no spectators on that side of the rope) which panicked him and sent him through it harder. We pulled up a bit of rope and stakes and once I got him back on track he seemed fine albeit a bit flustered from the incident. In the main arena the question was a very forward two stride over two massive brush oxers to a very tight turn to a corner. He finished the course very well and pulled up with plenty of run left in him.
We noticed that he had a hematoma above his right knee on the inside of his forearm which we got ice on right away. He walked comfortably back to the barn but the hematoma got bigger and began to move down the leg and became very painful for him. I had to make the incredibly tough decision to withdraw him from the competition. There was a small hope that this would all resolve by Sunday for Show Jumping, but the very best thing I could do for Arthur was to give him an anti-inflammatory and manage his pain. My horse’s welfare always comes first.
Show Jumping Day-It’s always tough to be at a competition and not be competing. Show jumping was fun to watch but I was really disappointed not to go in there and have my turn. I have worked so hard on my show jumping and I am more confident than ever in our ability to go in there and get it done right.
That day I had some good news with the great improvement in Arthur. There was still a lot of swelling but it had moved down through his ankle and he was considerably more comfortable, but still lame at the trot. There would have been no way for him to be ready for show jumping and the best thing for him was to get the medication he needed. His spirits were up and he was coming back to his normal happy self. It was not painful for him to stand or walk, so we planned on bringing him home on schedule.
I am bummed that I didn’t get to finish, but as Capt Mark said I really need to take the positive away from the competition. He was amazing in dressage (in much tougher dressage company than Rolex) and he was brilliant Cross Country. Mark thought he was the best through the water!
I am also grateful for all the emails, texts and wonderful support!
UPDATE: The x-rays looked super! No fractures!!! They re-ultra sounded and were happy with that as well. They were extra aggressive about getting the swelling out of his leg as they did not want to have him travel in bandages! I agreed! I was very happy we were not dealing with a fracture.