With my new work schedule, and the schedule for the 25-mile competitive trail rides I enjoy competing in, it was time to make some tough choices.
I work until 5 pm on weekdays now, and since I started the job fairly recently (May), I don't feel comfortable asking for time off yet. Plus, I need two weeks off in October for the trip to Peru with First Descents, so I need to save any time off I have as well!
The trail rides in the Northeast region are all scheduled on Saturdays. That means driving up Friday morning/early afternoon, vetting in on Friday afternoon and then riding 25-miles first thing Saturday morning. For Crooked River in May, my friends took my horse and vetted him in, and I drove up after work. I arrived at 10 pm and was in the saddle at 7 am, and then driving home at 4 pm. It was a whirlwind trip. I'm tired just thinking about it, and tired has been a general theme for me lately, as I try to cram a lot of life into less free time.
So I made the excruciatingly difficult decision not to take John to any more CTR's this year. On paper, or perhaps reading this, it probably looks like a no-brainer. But making the decision was like contemplating cutting my right arm off (I'm right handed). It shouldn't have been a hard decision, and in the grand scheme of things that can go wrong, not competing again this year isn't high on the list. But I had a terrible time deciding that it was definitely in my best interest, and given the lameness incident at Crooked River, probably in John's best interest not to compete again this year.
To make sure I couldn't change my mind, I had John's shoes pulled when the farrier was out last week. He doesn't need shoes unless I'm doing high amounts of mileage with him (horses with good feet are a wonderful thing to have!) He put shoes on Secret instead, she doesn't have great feet, so this should really help her, and I can take her to a couple more dressage shows (probably).
John will go on some pleasure trail rides, and hack around the farm. He doesn't seem nearly as upset about this decision as I was.
And, I've found some pleasure rides that I've been wanting to do, but couldn't because we were at or resting/recovering for a CTR when they were held in the past.