Sometimes you try to find positive things to say about a day and you can't really come up with too many of them. I'll try to deconstruct today without sounding too upset about it, but I am pretty bothered by a few things that happened.
O has been in heat for FOUR weeks. We know this about her, she has horrible irregular cycles in the spring and fall, and we've checked her via ultrasound as well as used hormone therapy to help her along. Last year we had everything cycling normally and decently, but this year she seems to be in a hormonal tailspin again. I *should* have put her on hormones, but I had no idea this was going to happen. As such, she has been disagreeable, resistant, and constantly covered in pee. I had to hack like six inches off of her tail this morning because it was so frizzed and pee-soaked that it was not salvageable despite how many times I have washed it over the past few weeks. I know this about her and I had a feeling she was going to have a hard go of it today at the show, but I was hopeful she could keep her ovaries kind of under wraps.
Her cut was looking fine, so we decided to go for it. And I was excited, even though I figured we would get our butts kicked. There were 9 people in our division and they were REALLY competitive, all of them! It was a lot of quality horseflesh in one place.
While we were getting ready, I was surprised to see the TD roll up in his golf cart. I thought he might be measuring my wheels, but he was not there for that. He is a super nice guy, so he was a bit apologetic when he said that someone has been talking about O being injured, and that he was required to come check her out. I raised my eyebrows going, really? Someone who must have been watching along on Facebook decided that they were going to rat us out to the TD, like I was trying to pass off an injured horse as fine. The TD actually laughed when I pointed out her cut. "Well, you know how people talk," he said. I was annoyed by the whole thing but shrugged it off and forgot about it, and went to warm up.
I have to give her credit, she did warm up well. I don't know if my warmup was just a bit too lengthy for her, or if I did something to offend her, but after warming up decently it just all went to hell in a handbasket right before we went in the ring. We had an AWFUL test. She was rushing, above the bit, flying around the arena, and even halted dead in the middle of our walk for no particular reason. We scored a 67-something, which is a terrible score (think more eventing-type scores vs. regular dressage). It was at least 10 points higher than our test last year. It was just not good.
When she's in heat and she's done, she's just done. And there's nothing I can really do about it except just keep going.
In cones, she was better but flipped her head constantly, which is a sure sign that she is just *done*. EVERY rein aid that was a hair too fast for her was met with a head toss. It's kind of her "I'm really done with this now" signal. We had two knockdowns, which was total driver error - it's all steering. Despite our bad dressage score, we were 2nd in the cones, which moved us up from 6th to 3rd!
And here is where things really went south. B2, who had been filming me, came over after I was done, and told me there were people talking rudely about me during my dressage. They were loudly gossiping, saying things like, "Oh, THAT'S that injured horse... I can't believe they let that thing show!" and the like. Going on about how they can't believe I am getting away with such a thing. I was pretty bewildered when I heard that - how did this even become a thing? Where did this come from? Where are people getting this information? And to have the nerve to say it RIGHT there in front of a bunch of people including people who were clearly with me?
I actually went up to the club president and said something to her about it, because I couldn't believe this was flying around like wildfire. Firstly it was not in any way true, secondly it was said in malice and was truly unsportsmanlike - and where did it come from? If it had been someone who actually knew me, they wouldn't have said it. They got their information from somewhere and it was spreading around.
Later in the day, someone did come and confess to me their part in the whole thing. Sometimes things get said in poor judgement and others run with it, so I thanked the person for coming to talk to me about it - because they certainly could have chosen to not say anything and I never would have been the wiser. I don't know who started the whole thing or who it was that said the really nasty stuff, nor do I know how many people are actually out gossiping about it. And I don't know that I want to know really, because it's only going to make me feel worse about it. The worst part is that these people don't know me. So now, every time all these people see me, they're going to think of me as some kind of horse abuser.
Truly, there is no bigger insult to me than insinuating that I don't care for my horses or put their welfare first. You could call me fat, stupid, lazy, whatever you want - I don't care. But when you insult my horse care.... that's so far below the belt that I can't even deal with it. That is the ultimate insult. When you insinuate that I'm putting my desire for stupid pieces of satin over my horse's welfare... that makes me see red. There is nothing in this world that I care for more than my animals and I would NEVER put them in harm's way on purpose. Had she been lame, or truly injured, of COURSE I never would have taken her to a show. I would not have even dreamed of it. And of course I posted about this cut on Facebook all week because I am neurotic about my horse care and I fretted about this cut all week long. B2 can tell you - I'm out there handfeeding my sensitive mare because she's hormonal and too looky-loo to eat well, flyspraying her every time one fly bothers her, and even choosing to trailer home instead of stable at the showgrounds because I thought she would sleep and eat better at home. I am NOT the kind of person to put her welfare below my own agenda. And these people that don't know any of this think I'm 'getting away' with showing an injured horse somehow.
I've been through a lot with this mare over the past three years. I've stuck with her far beyond what most anyone else would have. I abandoned my home sport to try new thing with her to find something that suited her best physically and emotionally. I changed my own patterns of life for her, because I love her and she deserved the chance. These gossipers could never know all of these things. How would they ever know? And what they say shouldn't hurt or offend me the way that it has, but I can't help feeling horrible about it. I imagine any parent who gets accused of not taking care of their child because of some stupid misunderstanding probably feels about the same. It just eats at you. The idea that this is the first impression all these people have of me, and that they're now going to think of me as such, is really upsetting. This should not have happened. This information should not have been leaked or spread. And while I am glad I was apologized to, it doesn't change the fact that it's out there now, and there is no taking it back.
So, yeah. I don't know. Just feeling crummy about the whole thing. Marathon is tomorrow, and I love the marathon, but I can't help feeling a bit subdued. It's hard to feel excited about it after today.