Well here it is, my first blog for Team Wimpy 2018. Well actually my first blog. Ever. At 52.
When the BE dates for 2018 came out, I immediately started diligently planning my ‘season’, just like a proper eventer; Some 90s for True, and the idea of a BE 80 for Spirit, who at that point hadn’t actually jumped anything, but it’s good to have a goal! Then came the forces of nature with a vengeance, forcing pre-season clinics booked to make me braver in a one hour session to be cancelled, along with my first event booked for True at Epworth.
I’m not really mad keen on mud and wet, but needed an early run to convince myself that it was still doable, as over the winter BE 90 xc fences had taken on Badminton proportions in my head.
Cancellation of pretty much anything not on a surface continued, so plans changed weekly. We are so lucky to have the beach 15 mins away so this enabled canter work to carry on, although True scares the life out of me most of the time with his ability to grow even taller than his 17h, snort wildly and spin like a barrel racer at the sight of a dog walker 3 miles away.
Spirit has proved to be a little trooper, taking to jumping really well after some early steering issues… as in no steering at all, cocking his jaw and running left…. but a visit from Tom the Dentist, Faye the magic back lady, lots of work with poles has turned him around dramatically . Lots of trips to different places to school , and a great xc clinic just before the Beast from the East hit, have helped him grow up loads in a very short time . He suffers from difficult skin, but after various trials and treatments, we seem to be on top of things now.
He competed in his first competition, 2 intro dressage tests at our most local venue at Kenwick, managing to win both classes with super behaviour, and lovely comments.
Both boys then took part in the Riding clubs area qualifier for the Festival of the Horse challenge at Epworth EC… this competition is usually run with a round of sj, straight out onto xc, and judged on optimum time. The weather struck again, but the super team at Epworth were able to modify things to arena type eventing over two arenas.
Spirit had eyes on stalks in the 80 class, as the sj was very bold and bright, and the xc fences of maximum dimensions. He was very green, but totally honest, with a couple of sj poles but a lovely clear xc, feeling really bold by the final few fences, and it’s proved to be a huge growing up curve for him …. he’s a man now !
True was on best behaviour, with a lovely double clear, just a little quick for a place, but felt great, and very happy to be out .
We did a bit more xc schooling, with water and steps for Spirit, in prep for a one day event on 1st April, but this again fell victim to the incessant rain, and True was getting a little naughty to hack as he was so ready to go out and do something . I have made a new neckstrap that’s thinner and easier to hold with my reins most of the time for the first 20 mins of work !
Round about Christmas, I’d been asked to ride in a demo by Yogi Breisener, (former Olympian, British team trainer and all round very important coach !) organised by our local BHS. This sounded really exciting, and a great opportunity , so I agreed without really thinking it through.
When the day arrived, I spent most of it feeling sick, realising that there was a very real possibility of;
A. Crying if he scared me,
B . Being dumped in front of 200 people and
C . Being totally incompetent alongside some brave and experienced riders on fab horses who would sail through it all and find it easy!
As it turned out, although being pretty scared throughout, I didn’t fall off… couple of hairy moments but survived… True was really good, and jumped very well, and we tackled some really technical stuff and managed to do it! I thoroughly enjoyed it , and am actually feeling much more confident about the whole xc thing.
Trues first event run will now be on 22 April , with Spirit entered for one on 29th. In the meantime we have a combined training qualifier for our Riding club team, and an arena cross planned, so plenty to keep us going!
So that’s it for now, well done if you’ve made it to the end… I’m loving the Team Wimpy idea, and I think facing your fears head on and sharing them goes a huge way towards controlling them.
Good luck with all your horsey plans, but above all, enjoy your horses.
Liz, True and Spirit xx