Here it is, my first BE of 2018…
So, my routine outing before the big day was complete with my dressage trip on Friday night, I gave him a little pop over some jumps in the field yesterday to round off our prep. I then went to my big brothers for a family barbecue, drank a bottle of wine to myself and got a crap nights sleep… brilliantly done you whopping sack of crap… why did I do that? Why? Maybe to dull the nerves, maybe that’s it ??
But anyway, I woke up feeling like a turtle had deposited its innards into my skull and had no one to blame but myself!
My first AFFLIATED 90 of the season, only my second run out this year too and because I was dressaging at 12.30 with a two hour gap before jumping at 3pm I left the course walk until then. We arrived in plenty of time and I began flushing my system with litres of water ? and went and checked in. I was nearly last to go and there were already some very competitive scores in my section ? which I don’t think I should have looked at!
He warmed up well, not too many moments where I felt scared this time. I’d given him the calmer syringe before we left home so it was in full flow in time for my most dreaded part (the dressage warm up). I came out quite optimistic for a sub 30 but alas …. a 33 was what we received and I haven’t seen my sheet yet to learn how to improve… he was a bit behind the leg at times but I’ve done much worse tests for better marks so it’s all a learning game ??
Lying around 8th going into the SJ… I’ll take that.
The cross country course walk, not ideal, not a disaster but definitely not ideal. There were a few I didn’t like; the skinny house at 4, the feed bags infront of number 9 and the size of the hedge at 13… but aside from that, it wasn’t horrendous.
Into the showjumping warm up and the calmer had almost definitely worn off, Pat was salmon fishing, squeaking and ballooning after every jump… I was not having a nice time AT ALL. He was thoroughly enjoying himself whilst my white knuckles clung on for grim death.
In the ring, I felt totally out of my comfort zone, normally my quite easy to manoeuvre horse felt like steering a double decker bus through silt… he was strong and I didn’t like it. The jumps felt small, there was nothing to back him off much and Ill admit it, I needed a bigger fence today. I never thought I’d say that…. but he was running on and I was not enjoying it! (See non smiley showjumping photos!!!). But despite his exuberance, we just rolled one rail where I over checked and only 4 to add to our dressage score!
Now, I will just add that this time last year I would have been thrilled with that, but I’ve been working so hard to ride him better, I can’t help but pick holes. I left him too slow, I needed more power, it was totally my error and I will fix it!
A quick change of clothes and we were turning a very lovely shade of green walking to the XC warm up. I don’t think I’ve been this nervous for a long time. I walked for a good 20 minutes before the chest tightness subsided, I stopped blubbering and I got my sh*t together!! We sailed a few practice jumps and went into the Startbox of Doom….
It really is now or never when you hear that “you’ve got 30 seconds” call out… what the f*ck can you do about it then…? NOTHING absolutely sweet FA, so you may as well give it everything you’ve got!
3, 2, 1…. we flew out of the start box and galloped down to the first, a log shared with the BE80 course, phew…!! a nice easer inner, and it jumped nicely which always gives me extra beans. A short gallop to the second, which was a wooden upright shared with the BE100… excellent ? but I gave it some power and shouted “GO GOOOOO GOOOOOOOOO….” and go he did! Soaring over it with room to spare, and onto number 3.
Three hadn’t looked much when I walked it, but he bloody backed off it a treat (wasurk!) so I had to ride for my life at 3, long before I had anticipated, it wasn’t pretty…but we got over it! Down to the skinny house at 4, I shortened the canter and rode through the funnel with nice short reins and a firm leg and he pinged out over it like a bloody pro!
A gallop down to 5 a trailer dressed with two (obviously, life threatening) wooden acorns… he looked, looked again, thought about stopping but I caught him, picked him up and carried him over with a lot of vocal encouragement ? I’m used to his backing off now, I know if I want it enough, he goes! Into the woods for a palisade at six and a set of ladders at seven, both jumped really nicely after the killer acorns.
8 was a double of plastic pipes and he was so busy spooking at the jump judge we almost didn’t lock on, but we got there, Pop! Pop! By now I have two things running through my head, ecstatic delirium and holding back tears of joy and how likely is it that a human being can cough up an actual lung? ? I’m not fit enough yet that’s for sure!
9 was the bags of feed… he backed off but I was seriously ready for him and kicked his arse so royally over those bags that he galloped like the clappers over a log and drop for 10a and b into the trees. I grabbed a lot of mane down the bank and good job because 11 (a log out of the wood) left me a little unseated, but golly did he help me out there!
12 was a step up which was no bother for his nibs, then a gallop down to the whopping hedge at 13, probably the best jump I got all day. It felt amazing… soaring through the air squealing with joy! 14 was on an angle back into the woods again and was catching a lot of people out, I pulled back to a strong trot just for the turn and cantered the last few strides.. ping! We nailed it! Out over the palisade at 15 and a nice gallop down to another hedge before the ? water!
In we splashed and out over the yellow pipes, soaring and squealing down the home straight to fly over the last and through those wonderful finish flags…. huge pats and squeals all round!!! Pat came bucking and leaping, full of beans through the finish. He genuinely felt the happiness I feel, he was having the time of his life today, I could just feel it bursting out of him! The love I have for that tiny boy, I don’t care that he’s not the bravest, or the most careful or that we haven’t won one yet. All I care about is how we gel together, how we are a team, we know each other inside out and that’s worth more than any rosette could ever be.
So that was it, inside the optimum time too for a finishing score of 37 leaving us in 11th place. Not bad at all for our first run and lots to take from it too. I’m happy, he’s happy, that’s what it all boils down to.
Thank you to my Carrot ? for being the best groom and chief photographer and to my lovely sponsors, Voltaire Design, FALPRO, FoxyEquestrian, Topline Vet Physio, Pegasus Jewellery and Point Two.
Also a big thank you to everyone that came and said hello today ? you guys are the reason I’m doing this, you keep me going, you’ve built up my fragile confidence and given me hope. So thank you with everything I have left ????
Good night, God bless and so much love, as always
Vic and PatXxxxxxx