I cannot believe what I am about to write – I’ll take you back to Friday night….
New Husband and I went over to LMEQ to walk the vomit inducing XC course at approximately 6.37pm, we arrived, found the start, smoked a cigarette and by fence 13 – PITCH BLOODY BLACK!! I was having a mini (internal) meltdown whilst remaining silently cool on the exterior for the purpose of appearing nonchalant to my rock steady husband. Dinner and bed (an early night… not the norm on, what has been named ‘Pub Friday’ in our usual weekly schedule). I slept well, woke up not too terrified but I was buggered if I could remember ANY of the jumps past number 2!! – Ah well, I can remember my dressage test – that’s a 3rd of the way down my poorly lit BE road!!!
Having plaited the night before, I re-tapped my stud holes and got him ready for the off. We arrived in lots of time, I visited the toilet a few times, smoked a few more cigarettes and desperately tried to strap my spurs on through trembling hands and legs!! Having mounted WAY too early, I bobbled about a bit getting used to riding on grass in an outline – Piss poor planning etc….
Into the test, it was *fine*, no more, no less. I did everything where I should do it but having scored nearly 75% at Novice and Elementary this year, I was annoyed that I hadn’t devoted more time to improving our skills of ‘field dressage’ – 33.6% – Meh… neither happy nor sad over this – I know where I need to improve so I’m trying not to punish myself too much!
25 minutes later, I was 4 holes shorter in the stirrup and flying a couple of practice jumps, pretty much ready to go in – so I did!! – 3 practice jumps is enough to not put the willies up us, but enough to have stretched out any post dressage tension. Surprisingly I remembered where I was going, didn’t fluff too much with him and left him disunited in one corner instead of tampering with the rhythm – wrong or right – it got us round CLEAR!!! I ACTUALLY COULDN’T BELIEVE IT!!!!!
Now onto my doom…
I was TERRIFIED, I mean literally on the verge of tears. I had looked at the course pictures and had a pretty good idea of the route but it wasn’t helping my fragile confidence. Just re-living this now is making me need a poo! I got him ready with the help of my trusty pal and escort for the day and tried to have a bite of banana – NO CHANCE… queue the first gag reflex!!!
Down at the warm up I put my number down and jumped 3 practice jumps (worked for us in the SJing!!) and just walked around trying not to spew bile all over his mane. The straps of my back protector forcing the vomit into my chest I wasn’t at all ready to go. “Number 123, can you make your way to the start please?” [email protected] NO, I cannot!! I want to go home now please.
The countdown of a minute felt like an eternity, I explained to the counter downer that I wanted to get off and go home now please, she wished me luck – That was it… 5,4,3,2,1…crack crack of the whip on my poor horses arse (mainly for my benefit) and we were FLYING…
Every stride down to the first fence felt AMAZING, we were galloping, flying and soared over the first fence – it was the best bloody feeling in the whole world. The second, a set of HAYGAIN steamers, I was worried about him looking at so one more bum smack and he flew it… The rest of the way around I felt like 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 – the steps, flew by without blinking. 8 (the corner) I was worried about, no need – he was bloody flying. The horse that XC schooled like a 4 year old only a fortnight before, felt like an absolute machine – I screamed “Good Boy!” and “YIP YIP!” at the top of my lungs before and after every fence!!! Nothing was a problem for this horse today, nothing – we flew down the home straight over 15, 16 and finally 17 – I let out the biggest wail of joy you have ever heard and then through my horrendous unfit heavy breathing, cried like a baby!!! I dived off, undid everything – NEVER in my life have I felt love for an animal like I did, right at that moment. (Christ, I’m now at my desk in a communal office – CRYING!! SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!) My horse, Me, we were doing it – actually achieving what we set out to in tremendous style.
Back at the box, pony sorted, New Husband and top buddy came running over – I was currently in 3rd place!!! Bloody 3rd place!!!!!!! I didn’t want him standing on the box all day so we decided to take him home and I would come back for the score draws… Driving back, convincing myself that the rest of the section would have overtaken me by now – I was ridiculously delighted to see ***5th*** by our names!!! We came 5th…. Our first EVER one day event, affiliated too – I was beaming – donning 2 rosettes and a great bag of prizes, I drove home – Couldn’t resist going back to the yard to tell Pat the Pony how amazing he was and give him an extra carrot.
We are 3 days on and I still feel on top of the world, pride and happiness over what we achieved – what I have achieved. I overcame some SERIOUS anxiety to even fill out the entry form, let alone give it everything we had on the day. I just want to say a remarkably HUGE thank you to everyone that has offered words of support, well-wishers, wine bringers, to my long suffering husband and team of friends for listening to my woes and mostly to my horse – he is, after all, the best thing I have ever encountered, in the world, EVER.