Victoria Bax Blog – A Sore Ankle Hinders Play

Alberta's Pride storming through the finish at Brightling Park

Victoria Bax Blog – A Sore Ankle Hinders Play

Courtesy of Victoria’s sponsors Aloeride & Golly Galoshes

So with not much practice or training due to my previous ankle injury, I strapped it up and we headed off to Brightling Park at the beginning of July with Alberta’s Rose and Alberta’s Pride.  I was a little apprehensive due to the lack of riding I had done but also so desperate to get out competing again.

This was to be Alberta’s Pride’s first BE event so I wanted to finish with a good result.  After a few excited bucks in the dressage warm-up, he produced a safe dressage test for a score of 33.

Alberta's Rose at Brightling Park
Alberta’s Rose at Brightling Park

Moving onto the show-jumping, the course was decent for a 90 class and busy too with trade stands on one side, the cross-country course on another and the warm-up on the other, mixed with very brightly coloured fences, so the challenge was on!  He jumped confidently albeit a little distracted at times resulting in a couple of poles rolling where he wasn’t thinking much of his technique, but he had completed.  

A quick change and we headed down to the cross country start, which again I thought was quite decent for this level, combined with the deep going, this was another challenge!  We started out very well making light work of everything until we came to the first water which had a decent roll top about 3 strides away from a spooky water which is like a small pond, it’s a down hill approach and surrounded by banks and a fence in the water for a different class.

Sadly this was all a bit too scary for young Frankie and we encountered a stop at the roll top.  He was very cheeky and tried to make a quick exit “stage left” resulting in me clinging on very tightly indeed so as not to hit the deck!

We came round again and he still wasn’t all that confident, so repeated what he had already done.  The next time I really meant business otherwise it meant that we would be walking home as there was no other alternative around it, so I growled and I kicked and thankfully, we plucked up the courage from somewhere and over we went, through the water and out the other-side, hooray!   We continued around the course with no other problems and completed safely our first BE event together, not quite with the result I was after but with plenty to work on.

Alberta’s Rose was next and after producing a fair dressage test for a score of 31, we moved to the show jumping where she sadly got distracted with too resulting in a couple of rails down and even very so unusual stop.  We regained our thoughts and completed and moved onto the cross country, which I was in two minds whether to run around as the going had become very deep in deed with all the recent rain.

After some consideration, I made the decision to run and I am very glad that I did.  I figured that she should learn to run on the deeper conditions while at a lower level as there will be no doubt in years to come she will need to run around bigger tracks in these conditions so she should be given a chance to learn early on.  I had nothing to worry about as she was off and happy and completed comfortably with a clear round and a handful of time penalties.  So not the greatest day on paper but an educational one for both youngsters.

The following week we headed off the Barbury International to contend Crystal Ka in the CIC2* which has been a regular occurrence for us over the last few years.  This year however was sure to be more difficult than usual due to the lack of runs we have had at Intermediate/advanced level either due to the weather or our previous accident; Added to this Crystal Ka managed to come in from the field 6 days prior to travelling with a swollen fetlock.  Obviously if I had any hope of running as I couldn’t give him any medical pain relief, so I had to think outside the box and do as much as I could to make him more comfortable, cue the cold hosing, ice booting, hi scrubbing and our Arc Equine!  This all seemed to work well as I managed to reduce the inflammation and got back on board him 4 days later, leaving me just 3 to go before travelling!

It is a big expense travelling to, staying away and competing at these bigger International competitions so as we had already paid we decided to go anyway as my husband and I treat Barbury a bit like a holiday so whether we competed or not it was 4 days away with only one horse to ride and look after.  This is just as well as things really didn’t go to plan.  Our dressage was better than it had been in previous years but still no where near as good as it could be as Crystal Ka gets very “hot” indeed in the International environments.  Next came the show jumping and as I was warming up and started jumping, I started to feel some discomfort in my ankle again, the same one that I had injured from my fall a month previously.  I continued to warm up as actually Crystal Ka was jumping very well, so in we went.  We jumped a lovely round until the last line which was a bit tricky, being a huge triple bar, 6 strides to a double with planks on the way in, to a short one stride to a huge oxer and then 5 strides to a final vertical.  Things didn’t quite go to plan after the oxer and we completely missed at the planks causing us to crash right through them then pulling out of the second part of the double.  After they had rebuilt it, we continued and completed, but sadly by then I was in huge discomfort with my ankle and so with a heavy heart, as I adore riding at Barbury, I made the decision to withdraw from the cross country as I felt it wouldn’t be safe for me to try to ride around the decent course that was.  This is the very first time I have withdrawn from a CIC event and really don’t want to make a habit of it.

The following week both Alberta’s Pride and Alberta’s Rose were due at Eridge, however, on the drive home from Barbury I received a message from my groom at home to advise Alberta’s Rose had come in from the field with a hugely swollen front leg and very lame. My groom was very concerned and wanted to call the emergency vet.  I was close to home so decided to wait until I got home.  However, my groom was right and as soon as I got home and looked, I was straight on the phone to the out of hours vet as I was very very concerned that she had damaged either a tendon or ligament due to the swelling on the area.

The vet arrived and had the same concerns as me, so complete box rest and lots of painkillers were administered in order to try to reduce the swelling over the coming days so that a scan could be done to see what damage had been done.  I did everything I possibly could to aid the reduction of swelling, so I was back to the cold booting, ice vibe booting, arc equine etc which all appeared to be going very well indeed as the swelling did start to reduce very quickly from the previous appearance of a drainpipe leg from knee to fetlock.  I was very surprised how quickly it did reduce actually which made me a little suspicious in a good way mind you!

Still, I arranged for the vet to return at the end of the week for the dreaded scanning anyway to be sure what was going on.  The following day, I let her out into the yard to have a little walk around as she hadn’t been out of the stable for 5 days and she appeared much better, then decided to pick out her feet.  As I looked down at her hoof to pick it up, I noticed a bit of blood and bedding stuck to the coronet band and low and behold, upon closer inspection I realised an abscess had burst out through the coronet band; I had never been so pleased to see an abscess in all my life, no wonder all the swelling in the leg had gone down and she was sound again!

Alberta's Rose and that blooming abscess!
Alberta’s Rose and that blooming abscess!

The vet thankfully confirmed the same and apologised for her original diagnosis, however, I was just thankful she was sound and her tendons and ligaments were in order, so we could continue our season.  Although it did mean that because of the original diagnosis I had already withdrawn her from her next two events in order that I could get a refund as I knew there was current waiting list, so thought I’d better make the best out of it as these things are expensive enough when you do run, let alone when you have to withdraw!

So with Alberta’s Rose missing Eridge, it was up to my youngest Alberta’s Pride to shine and that he certainly did, with a 31 dressage followed by a lovely easy double clear, although the handful of time penalties which we got on the Cross Country dropped us from 3rd to 12th.  This was a bit annoying, but I look at it that if I hadn’t taken my time to set him up for some of the combinations, we might well have come home with 20+ penalties, not 6.4!  An educational and very positive day.

The following week saw Alberta’s Pride head off to Little Downham for another 90 class.  This boy is becoming very consistent, as he managed a 31 dressage and another lovely double clear, this time however finishing 5 seconds inside the cross country time to earn himself 6th place and his first ever British Eventing rosette; a super proud day for my youngest at just 5 years old!

With lots to look forward to for both Alberta’s Pride and Alberta’s Rose, the training will continue with the aim of stepping them up to the 5 year old classes and Novice classes respectively.

Until next time…

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