So here it is…. my long awaited Regional Final at Shelford.
I had been working hard all week preparing as best I can for this day. I went XC schooling, jumped him in the field and practiced my test. I was getting horribly nervous and putting stupid amounts of pressure on us to be the best we can be for 14 minutes of judged performance ?
Carrot and I walked the course on Saturday which, because of bad traffic, took way longer than planned! There wasn’t anything there that I was terribly worried about and not too many plant pots or fillers in the show jumping either!! RESULT!
Now, honesty is the best policy so here it is… I was so desperately wrapped up in this stress and pressure that I failed to be anywhere near a decent wife and quite rightly my Carrot was getting increasingly peeved over my stress and inattentive, selfish behaviour. We had a very rare argument on Saturday which wasn’t helped by my transport mix up and having to drive miles to get another lorry!! It was fair to say that this event took over my life. Something I will never ever let happen ever again!
I was on at 8.30 so I had to leave at 5.45am. I left my Carrot ? sleeping and thought ‘I’ve got this, I’m going for it on my own!!!’ ??? arrived at the venue of Shelford, a very lovely unassuming place that is only an hour away. I got my number, notified the secretary of my lone trip and head for the green box to relieve my terrified bowel ??
I got my Patsy off the box and tacked up, normally I have to get someone to feed him while I get on but I have been trying a new syringe calmer by Blue Chip Feed and it meant he just stood there at the water barrel while I scrabbled on!! I was so happy right there, it’s the little things and what a long way we have come. One of my biggest fears I’d getting on at a show, today put a lot of those demons to bed ??
He warmed up without any tension or sillies… I couldn’t believe it, I felt safe and happy and gaining confidence. Then who should arrive, my Carrot ?with his camera ??. Into the test, and I thought it was okay. I have felt better tests but I thought it was due around a 28 comparing with my other tests this season.
A quick change and into the show jumping, I have a new tactic in the jumping that I am still working out but it is getting so so much better already. He is so sensitive, spooky and then racing about that its hard to get a balanced and consistent canter round a course. I tend to hook him up and cripple the canter so today, just like my clear round at Epworth, I let it bum twitchingly bowl forward!!! It worked again!! One silly duff stride at number 6 was all the wobbled us for 4 faults!!!! I was over the moon!!!
I was perplexed however, to hear my dressage score was 35!!!!!!! What the actual fig!! Bull sh*t did I deserve that hammering, he did a sweet test and I rode very accurately indeed. My marks were lost because his mouth was open ? that my canter transitions were abrupt and my halt ‘drifted slightly’ – it is the worst mark he has EVER had and it certainly didn’t feel like the worst test, by a long way. I know it’s all relative and everyone else in the section was marked hard too, but it left us right down the leaderboard and definitely not going to Badminton.
At this point, I was so bloody thrilled with being able to get on by myself that I didn’t give two sh*ts about the score!! ? we went to get changed and have a cuddle before the cross country ?
He warmed up well, and in 15 minutes we were being counted down!! I screamed with joy out of the start box, YIP YIP and over the first, I gave him a little left handed shoulder tickle with the whip as a gentle reminder that darting to the left isn’t going to work today, he sailed the palisade at 2. He flew round the corner for a giant leap at a hedge at 3, I slipped my reins and squeaked with terror as I was left shocked to the core again, he NEVER takes over but he gave it his biggest hairy balls over that hedge!! Galloped down to a ladder at 4 and up and down a dip in the woods and out over a big log for 5!! He was FLYING, no hesitation, as soon as I kicked and shouted ‘go’ oh boy, he went! 6, 7 round the corner to a shavings bale filled table at 8, hit a perfect stride for that and sailed it!!
Pinged the yellow pipes at 9 and back into the woods for a sticky jump over a log for 10, hopped off the step no problem and galloped down to another big log for 11. 12 was a ditch/step up with 4 strides to a hedge, he bloody nailed it. Hopped up, perfect stride and flew the hedge like a lion! Down to a huge beer barrel clad wagon, hit another booming forward stride and soared through the air, I squealed again, this time in shear delight, this was possibly the very best he’s gone, ever… galloped over a steeplechase brush with tears of pride stinging my eyeballs ….DONT GET COMPLACENT VIC, YOU RETARD! Focus!!!
Down at the sloppy, murky water, he splashed in and out and over the roll top no bother and screamed down the home straight to the last fence… we soared it, we did it!! We bloody well did it. Ahhh you just can’t put into words, tears are beading down my face right now, I had the best round of my life yesterday. He was unreal, like never before. I couldn’t have given less of a crap about not going to Badminton, I was and still am, over the moon with the whole day.
So, we did it again, me and my tiny boy. He is just my dream come true, it has taken all my effort, confidence and patience to get him here but together, we’ve done it again! In any other section he’d have earned a rosette to finish inside the time today ??
Now I said it would be a long one ?….
You may have noticed a brand new logo attached to my saddle pad this weekend. I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have been selected to represent FALPRO as a sponsored rider!!! Pat has been wearing the rugs for a few weeks now and I cannot tell you how brilliant they are… I will go into more detail about which ones I love the most, but I seriously cannot thank them enough. I know we will do them proud after today ???
One last thing… ???
Yesterday was also magical for another reason… we welcomed our beautiful new boy into the family. 7 year old Bentley joined us yesterday from Cheveral House Racehorse Rehoming run by the lovely Kate, who we will continue to support for the rest of the year. She works so hard to find the very best homes for these lovely horses and I couldn’t be more thrilled with our lovely boy. Watch this VERY exciting space.
So what a day, I hope everyone takes a second to squeeze their ponies today, to reflect on how much happiness these animals can bring us, regardless of the endless heartache and fears, they are just wonderful.
Love as always
Vic and Pat xxxxx