Well after 23 years not competing only taking it back up last summer and thinking I could start off where I left confidence wise how wrong was I?!
A 38 year old brain doesn’t think like a 15 year olds brain!! To get me going, I did a few unaffiliated jumping classes most not planned because if they were planned I wouldn’t sleep or eat and my tummy would be doing all sorts of things.
We had a few good results so decided to join BS club, I only jumped the 70cm classes as they were big enough and made me have melt downs sometimes not even walking the course just watching others ride it before me!!
Summer went and winter jumping started and over the winter I qualified for the Cricklands Winter league Finals at David Broomes in Wales, 70cm and 75cm classes.
Never in my whole horsey life have I ever been away for 4 days jumping so I made sure I rode Lara everyday to get her fitter , and with the Team Wimpy support I even did a couple of 80cm bs classes before hand with good results!!!
I was told by Harry Meade to always ride my courses like they were 1.50 courses little did he know that 80cm to me looked like 1.50!!! The courses absolutely terrified me even the thought of an 80cm course made me feel physically sick!
Before we were to leave for the finals on the 20th of April I had to make sure I had enough breeches, that the tack was clean and the lorry was loaded. Mum was in charge of the food situation, Dad was in charge of making sure lorry was all good and I was in charge of me and Lara.
We arrived at 1pm unloaded Lara and thankfully, the sun was shining, my dad took Lara for grass while mum and I went and booked in and got stable number and made Lara’s bed comfy for her. The stables were a decent size which was nice and not many people were there yet.
Thursday afternoon I did a clear round on her just so she could get a feel of the arena and surroundings and was glad I did as there were unicorn jumps , giraffe jumps and Bertie basset jumps all very scary to a spooky big baby like Lara! But she was amazing jumping everything and only backing off a silly black and white plank.
Friday morning up at the crack of dawn, I didn’t sleep well at all… all that pressure especially as I said I would be a team member for the 2ft6 teams (OMG not only myself to let down but 3 others!!).
Anyway, first class was 2ft 3 speed class she jumped amazingly fast but a unlucky pole on the skinny jump! On meeting my much younger team members I already apologised to them for letting the team down before even jumping!! They laughed and said it’s meant to be FUN !!!
Anyway the afternoon came and our first team member went in and clear, 2nd rider didn’t go clear and the 3rd had a pole too. My turn next… we didn’t go fast but we went clear!!!!!
I could have cried I was so proud of Lara she jumped amazingly and got us out of a couple sticky points I was so happy , even happier that we actually came 6th out of 14 teams!!!!
Saturday was heats day, a different ring and different jumps so was praying Lara was going to be on best behaviour! I met a lovely lady Nicky who was just as nervous about this whole competion as much as I was and her horse Copper was lush!
2ft3 over 35s Heat One…we went DC and came 7th!!! Which was amazing as it was against ponies too who are so blooming fast. 2ft6 over 35s Heat one… jumping absolutely amazing till I had sat nav issues, I think I was concentrating so hard everything just went a bit fuzzy NEVER HAVE I EVER FORGOTTEN A COURSE!!! I was mortified but main thing was we did jump amazing as some of the back poles on the spreads were 85cm/90cm in the second phase … it was a closed eyes and kick on jobby!!!
Sunday, we were both tired we had jumped in the heat for 3 days and I had not slept well while we were there Lara felt tired in the warm up but 2ft3 Heat 2 over 35s we went in she felt dead under me which I think put me off as once again lost our way 🙁 actually I went straight past the jump I was ment to be jumping!!! I came out the arena and went for a walk as I got upset by this point letting myself down and Lara.
I Walked the course for the 2ft 6 Heat 2 with Nicky who encouraged me to do it! I had lost all confidence in that one split second, but my name was called and in I went we managed to find our way to fence 7 which she refused but I turned her round, aimed at it again and went over it followed by fence 8 and then buzzed out as it’s 2 phase but glad I found my way to fence 8 …phew!! We were exhausted.
Back to stables, we packed up and headed home.
I had an amazing time and met some lovely people who I will be friends with for a long time. The atmosphere was amazing and the whole competition ran so smoothly it was great. Big thanks to my mum and dad who took me and supported me and my partner Elvin who stayed home and looked after kids and other animals without them I couldn’t have done it.
Roll on to more qualifying comps to go back again!! Also, big thank you Team Wimpy for your on going support great little wimpy family we have and if there is anyone out there who wants to give it a go if I can do it, then you can too!!! You only live once so do what you love. Life is too short for regrets…