So here goes… (tissues advisory, wine compulsory) I’m struggling to know where to start so as usual, I’ll take you back to Friday night….
This week had been a right off, I lacked enthusiasm at the start and finally pulled my finger out my arse on Thursday with an excellent ride, jump and grin! Friday night I took Grain Pirate Dan for a confidence boosting ride of his life and we sailed the hedge again and a set of rails and had a few good canters. Auntie Smurph and Pirate Dan are our husband and wife neighbours and yard sharers and I’m glad neither of them mind me f’ing and blinding at them when they ride with me… after all, instilling confidence in people is my main aim in life these days.
So two good confidence boosting hacks and I was feeling much better about Sunday morning eventing!
Saturday I got up and went early to walk the course, rather unusually minus a hang over! I came back white as a sheet. 5 skinnies in a course of 18!!! Now, I don’t know about anyone else but fear triggers Adrenalin in me and that chemical either spurs me up or knocks me out. Well, I slept for 2 hours when I got home!! By which time Storm Brian Big Blows had come to town, just in time for me to run through my dressage test!!! F*cking salt in the wound my friend, salt in the wound!!!
I trundled down the field and bizarrely Pat couldn’t give two sh*ts about Brian and he went the best he’s gone in ages!!! I love him!
Everything packed up, pony plaited and all ready for our 6am departure, I went home for fish and chips and a glass of wine!! I felt okay about not being able to get round the XC, we’ve got plenty of time to practice over winter and as long as I enjoy the dressage and don’t cry getting on… it’ll have been a good day!
I woke up this morning and my mate Brian was still pounding twigs at my front door, I was so close to bailing out. Auntie Smurph was taxi today and she said it was my call… after much deliberation on the loo, I decided to pull my bloody knickers up (literally) and get a grip!!
It was still pretty dark on arrival and after a twitchy bum loose horse moment in the car park where a chestnut figure was careering past us, the mount of death almost brought on a little cry. I got on though, and he settled really quickly in the warm up… thank you Blue Chip Feed calmers!!
Into the test and he was so obedient, I had a really lovely ride. We happily plopped round for what I thought deserved a 28ish. Lucky for us we got a 29.3, with a slightly samey sheet of 7s, nothing more, nothing less. We were in the top ten marks in the section though so I’m very happy with that 🙂
Now to the phase that permanently lets us down. I was so terribly nervous again, I ran to the green box and stayed for a minute hoping it would lock fast and I’d just stay there for the day! I had a cigarette … yep that’s right, and I got on…
We warmed up and I have to say, I felt 100% more confident than I ever have in this phase, I’m putting that down to the French Knights in Turquoise Capes… my Voltaire Design saddle was holding my leg in place, keeping me in balance and to be honest I worried so much less…
I went in the ring, I didn’t panic, I didn’t rush, the fences came one by one and I addressed them all as they happened. WE WENT F*CKING CLEAR!!!! Clear!!! We went clear! Our second ever affiliated clear round EVER!!! I was so frigging delighted, I can’t even put it into words right now.
Oh god… now it meant something…
the course I had resigned my self to getting eliminated at, now meant a placing… urgh… the pit of my empty stomach still managing to churn as I got changed for the death phase.
On and in the warm up, i jumped a jump and went to put my number down… if I had been wearing it, I might have been able to … a quick spin back to put my bib on and I was back warming up trying to pretend not to be flustered. It wasn’t that long until I was called over to face my doom.
In the start box I have learnt not to cry or whinge or turn for home, just be still, enjoy these last few moments of aliveness and breathe without burping bile…. 5…4…3…2…1!!! Bang, like a rocket we soared out the box like our pants were on fire!!!
Number one always jumps crap, I never get a good shot and this was no different, it was a green palisade type jump that looked nothing but by Jove did it make me buck my ideas up! Number two a wooden box fence jumped very well indeed, a gallop around the corner to a dip and up a bank to 3, a roll top; I got a lovely jump over that and yeehaaared my way to the croquet set at 4, he backed off that and I howled at him and smacked his shoulder with my whip, he sailed it enormously in reply!
The first skinny was 5, off a turn where I knew there was an alternative route, I didn’t take it!! I held my line and kicked like buggery and over we got!!! YES bloody yes!!!! One down!!! A gallop up to a log for 6 and a skinny log on the mound for 7a, down the bank to b) a skinny brush, well who ever said; look straight ahead and mind your knees… I frigging well looked ahead, locked him on and kicked… we flew it!!!! It felt amazing!!!!! I could have stopped there and been ecstatic! But alas…
Down to 8 and 9 a set of double rails and palisade that both flew by without trouble, up to 10, the steps (2 of) ping ping!!! Up we climbed!! Down to 11 another down hill into a box house skinny! We were on bloody fire!!! He soared over it and we were away, I’m pretty sure his neck was sore from all the patting by now 🙂 12 was the coffin and trellis and he popped through no bother on to 13, one I toyed with the alternative again… bugger it, he was jumping for his life today and so was I, we went for the direct route and it paid off!!!! Only one skinny left!!! Yip yip!! There it was, the water barrels! He flew and splashed his way through the water and down to the house at 15! We were going for it now…
16a&b and 17 were all in a line and jumped very nicely with a howl and huge pat, we galloped to the last, sailed the shot gun cartridge and burst through the finish!!!!!
The absolute best ride of my life.
I cannot explain that feeling, once youve felt it, there’s nothing that compares, sailing through the finish line having ridden your heart out to end on your dressage!! A double clear!!! I’ve only ever had one and that was Chilham back at the start… it all came together again today!!! What a feeling, what a day, what a horse!!
29.3 double clear!! We finish 6th in our section!!!
I am so immensely grateful for the support and confidence I have been given by every single one of you in here. This was for you today. You made me this brave, you got me through this BE season and you earned this feeling too. I thank you with everything i have.
And everyone else who has supported us this year, I really wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. It’s humbling that you have taken a gamble with an average rider and her average horse who, thanks to you, appear to have become anything but average.
Once again, thank you. I am sobbing with pride over what we have achieved, anything is possible. Never ever give up on a dream. Ever.
Love, as always
Vic and Pat
Enjoy the Daddy Carrot over load, he was on very good photo form today!