Speetley BE90: The one where it all came good…


So, Here it is… Speetley BE90, my 2nd BE of the season.

As most of you will have read, I had a total knock in every sense last Sunday at Epworth with a refusal in the show jumping and another out on course… It was a day for learning not to ride like a sack of sh*t but it was also a BIG wake up call to how fragile confidence really is.

I went out and boxed away my show jumping demons at Willowbanks on Wednesday night with TWO clears at 80 and 90cms to put some wind back in our sails for today.

Yesterday evening I ran through our test again and he was so lovely and worked so hard that I slept quite well (after a few cheeky whites in the pub afterwards!)

I wasn’t on until 13.36 for dressage and with the venue only 1.5hours away, I didn’t have to leave until 11am… Good and bad having afternoon times as you get all morning to empty your pride into the loo but you also don’t have to rush around or wake your husband up too early… RESULT!!

I sent the usual message to Daddy Carrot, who was out for an early fishing trip saying “I don’t think I want to go today…” STANDARD wet fish!!

We arrived in good time, stopped on the way for fuel and a McDonalds (YEP… that’s right, I actually ATE something for the first time EVER on the morning of an event, 4 and a half “chicken” McNuggets with McKetchup!!!!!!!) and once parked up, went and got my number and registered my attendance!

I didn’t have much time to fret and got him ready and mounted for my dressage time. He warmed up the BEST he has EVER done. I’m trialing a new bit, the Neue Schule Ltd Verbindend on the advice of the UBER knowledgeable Liz Park from Right Right Equestrian…. What a difference this has made in just a few sessions! He’s forward and not blocked in front, much more rideable and I thoroughly enjoyed our prancing today. In the arena he spooked at EVERYTHING down one side and I thought there would be a lot of marks reflecting that tension, but alas…. with some good marks for not so tense parts we managed to score a 30, bang on the nail for a top 5 score in our section.

Next up, the course walk… Holy Mother of Christmas…. the HEDGE OXER was bloody gigantic!! I mean seriously large. I think if I had walked the course yesterday, I would have bailed.

The show jumping was also causing problems and had TONNES of fillers …. NOT GREAT!!

I got back on and went down to the warm up… a few things I changed today. Number 1. the bit, Number 2. I put a fly veil on him and 3… I didn’t just sit there like a wet fart on a hot day. I jumped 5 or 6 jumps and we elected to go in before our time.

In the ring, he was having a good look but I tried to keep the rhythm, I brought him back to change a canter lead and other than number 7 that he gawped at and got a big kick, he jumped a fantastic CLEAR ROUND!!!! I cried with utter joy when I left the arena, but lucky for me waiting to go in was the nicest young lad who hugged me (both still on horseback) and sent me on my merry way <3

So, I didn’t know my dressage score yet and I didn’t want to. We got ready and walked down to the death phase feeling a little green. It was seriously quiet, in fact there was only me in there warming up and the course didn’t have a rider on so I jumped 2 or 3 jumps and went to the box…

3….2….1…. Out the start box like a bullet we flew, pounding up to the flower box at one, I kept my leg on firm and he sailed over for a confident start, a gallop up hill back towards the lorries and he was giving it great guns until 3 strides out, I snapped out of wet fart mode and smacked him on the bottom, he replied with a lovely jump over the 2nd, a milk churn under a rail. Round the corner to three, a bloody fruit and veg stand… he eyeballed but I wasn’t letting him stop… I got an awful shot at it but we cleared it so who cares eh?!

A gallop to 4, a roll top of sorts I think, he didn’t look much because I was driving like Nigel Mansell on acid.. down to the double at 5, a roll top, which jumped really well on a great forward stride to a rail with a flower box in the hedge line. He dropped the anchors and we ground to a snail pace, but my heart had sailed over long before and by some miracle, my body and my horse made it to the other side too!!! 6 was another open rail with a left turn and gallop to the HEDGE OF DEATH… I kicked like never before, I growled, I shouted obscenities that would have been heard in all neighbouring counties, and we bloody soared like the wind over that big beast!!! (see photo!!)

Down to the water, 8, a jump before the moisture, was very aptly named the ‘PUNT’ (replace one letter if you will!!) that was causing a few problems for others. I brought him back to a more balanced canter and growled like an old fish wife and we were over it… splish splashed through the pond and out over a fallen branch!! BOOM… HALF WAY!!!

9, a wooden table jumped nicely, to 10 a chair, again he backed off but got a firm leg on and we made it to the other side! Back up the hill to a hayfeeder at 11, one of my better efforts on the course and over a coffin and rail out at 12. 13, I think was a house, I got a good shot and we had a confident stride down to the rails and skinny nearing the end of the course. I rode the skinny like I meant business, nice short reins, closed leg… straight as a die, we soared it … BLOODY GOOD BOY!!!!

The next one I had doubts about but collected him up and nailed the skinny blue roll top on a dog leg to a corner…. I got my line, tapped his shoulder with the stick and we flew them both.. a gallop to the last, sailing over it and through the finish to come home 21 seconds under the time… 2.4 penalties to add to our dressage finishing on a 32.4!!!!!!!!

WHAT A F*CKING HORSE… What a bloody tremendous result. Out of 43 in the section we came 3rd, got our Regional Final ticket and jumped a bloody DOUBLE CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I literally cannot put into words how much today meant to me, how that bond we have that gets me so choked up has conquered another outing in the most rewarding way. My horse is not easy to ride, he is by no means a confidence giver and all of his training is 7 years of putting up with my chubby arse guiding him through. Today we proved that you don’t have to be technically skilled or have a big bold jumping horse to go out an earn that placing. I feel I deserved it, I’ve been working hard and I didn’t let my jelly legs and last weeks balls up get the better of me.

So, so much love for that little horse that will do anything for me, who answers my (sometimes, very vague) questions and makes my heart burst with love. I owe everything to him.

Massive thanks to Daddy Carrot for grooming and videoing, sadly we forgot the camera today!!! (I know!!!) but I didn’t care much because Julia Shearwood Photography got some AMAZING shots that sum up our day perfectly. Thank you for your endless support everyone and a big thank you to all the lovely people I met at Speetley today.

I cannot tell you how happy I am right now…. It’ll be a few days before I hit the floor again that’s for sure ???xxx

Vic Brant

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