What to do when the wheels fall off

     One of the MIM clip oxers at Tonimbuk with Shina Kuma - 8th at her first ever CIC2* start


At Wallaby Hill 3DE two months ago, my best horse, La Muso added his first cross country faults to his FEI record in the CCI*** class. Unfortunately the faults weren't a simple glance off, but something that could have gone rather pear shaped without the presence of MIM clips on the fence, which fortunately  allowed it to collapse. You can see the video here

Please excuse the language!

This was not exactly the highlight of my week, but after viewing the video, I allowed it to be used online to demonstrate the effect of MIMS. I'm glad I did, as they are now being recommended for use on open oxers, and have been purchased and put into use by many events worldwide (the video clocked up 40,000 views worldwide, JUST over Facebook...)


       Back to it - La Muso at Tonimbuk

Initially after the incident, I was immediately, of course, rather shocked and disappointed. I then became angry at myself for making a mistake. By the time I'd made it back to the vet check, my Montage of thoughts and emotions had made it to; 'oh well' the horse and I are both safe and sound to compete another day.

However, before I'd even reached the vet check, my Eventing GPS had already developed another route to my goals, with the major events that we needed to attend already set out, namely Sydney 3DE in May of this year. A new plan... but it's not that simple when something has gone wrong with a horse! Sure, there's goals, but you've got to work out how to get to each individual goal, and make sure your horse still wants to go there too!


      Jumping under lights in the indoor at Tonimbuk

With the new goal being the 3DE at Sydney, (but first of all, another clean run at 3* level beforehand), I've showjumped Muso extensively over the summer, and been out a couple of times on cross country schooling sessions to ensure we were both confident and also test out my next tack changes. I've isolated anything that could have vaguely been determined a continuing factor to Muso misreading that fence at Wallaby Hill, and done my best to attend to and eradicate those factors. This involved further schooling of fences like the one we had our incident at and some minor tack changes.

So my answer: what to do when the wheels fall off? Take a quick moment to yourself. Don't listen to negativity, but do listen to ideas and constructive criticism - listening to praise is just as important!

Remember how far you've come, analyse your road map in the bigger picture, and finalise each of the smaller hurdles that you believe will help you get there. All is not lost, what's broken is almost always fixable with the right attitude, time and elbow grease! Don't be afraid to step down a level or two, but have confidence in yourself. You know yourself and your horse better than anyone else!


La Muso jumped a perfect clean round over a big track in the 3* at Tonimbuk this weekend (above), and three of the fences on course strongly resembled the one at which we had our 'misshap' at Wallaby Hill... I'm proud to say; we are back! smiley