Number 3: The one that wasn’t so good on paper….

So, my 3rd BE of the season (can’t quite believe I’m saying this when it’s nearly August!!) happened yesterday at Frickley Park!

I’ve been consciously trying to lighten up about things and try to enjoy having fun with my horse instead of piling on pressure and being a miserable cockwomble. This was the one and only aim of yesterday… no wobbles allowed!!!

I picked up my RF ticket at Speetley with a top 3 finish so this was just an outing to get another notch on our bedpost.

Daddy Carrot had to work with it being a Friday so Auntie Smurph who is a teacher and on school holidays stepped in as chief in charge of calming my nerves and helping me out.

We arrived in plenty of time for my 9.48 dressage (NEWSFLASH: no toilet happenings!!!) and with a 3 hour gap between that and showjumping, in almost 30 degrees, I’d packed plenty of water for Pat and stupidly decided that would be a good time to walk the XC!!!

I collected my number and plaited (still no toilet happenings!!) feeling remarkably calm and actually enjoying the day. At this point, time tends to just slip away so quickly and by the time I got on i only had 20 minutes until I was in the ring!! Ball-sacks!!

Now, on the way we had rain, a miracle really, but it meant the hard ground was then lined with a film of dampness. I put in medium pointy studs on advice of my friend Kathryn who is very experienced and that seemed to do the job of keeping him upright.

For anyone that doesn’t know, the dressage warm up is my biggest fear. The time when he’s usually fresh as a badgers arse, most likely to throw some killer shapes and send me flying through the air onto my head and potentially leave in a neenarrr… Today though, he was seriously awesome!!!

I didn’t take up a contact AT ALL until I had to go down to ring, I let him lollop about and I just enjoyed it… WHAT A BLOODY DIFFERENCE!!!

I went into the test calm and happy, I felt like it deserved one of our better marks. He was forward, on the aids, happy and so was I!! I was enjoying cantering my last 20m circle so much that I forgot to trot resulting in a beep from the judge and 2 marks added but I couldn’t have cared less!!!

I was absolutely over the moon to not feel frightened for the first time EVER at an event that I could have gone home happy there and then!!

On seeing the course photos the night before, I knew what I was in for and because we’ve done this event twice before, my coursewalk was purely to check the going. The organisers have worked so so hard to water as much as possible but the first 3rd of the course wasn’t filling me with joy.

It got better though and I decided to see how he jumped in the showjumping as to whether I would run XC.

By the time I jumped at 1pm, it was unbelievably hot and Pat was really trying his best. He has never jumped that well on hard ground but I think the course was on the best going of the whole show ground! In the ring, fences came and went like they were nothing and 1-5 jumped really well off a beautiful big stride. We had an unfortunate rail at the back of the double at 5 and sadly, I took the shittest line known to human kind around a bend to 6. He slipped a bit, lost his footing and I just took my leg off on the turn to ease out of it… fence six was upon us and with no leg on, the little bugger stopped ?? I didn’t care though, it was entirely my fault and we came round a second time no problem.

The wheels fell off a little bit having the next fence down but finished over the last two brilliantly.

I came out happy and that’s all that mattered to us.

16 to add to our dressage which was an unusually high 36 (reflective of the section, we were in the top 10 dressage scores)… on paper the crappest day we’ve had, but to us… the absolute best!!

Now with the heat and the way he lost a bit of confidence in the SJ I went and withdrew. Bailed out, lost my bottle, stormed off because of a bad score… or, quit while I was ahead! We had achieved everything I set out to in the first 20 minutes of our warmup so I would have left happy regardless.

My little horse has nothing to prove, we didn’t need to gallop on hard ground for 6 minutes on a hot day, there’s always another day but, good gravy, there’s no other horse like him.

We left much cooler than we would have been and we left happy. That’s what’s important.

I had the best day and I know to some I might have failed, but inside my head and my heart and the legs of my horse, we won today.

Here’s to rain, moving forward and our next outing!!

Love as always

Vic and Pat

Xxx

3 thoughts on “Number 3: The one that wasn’t so good on paper….

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  1. Bravo! I love the way you handled this day at the show. He looks like a great horse and you are a wonderful pair! And I am going to borrow that expression ” fresh as a badgers arse”. And btw I have seen Isabel Werth , when she was riding Warum Nicht, ride into the ring and while waiting for the bell to start the Grand Prix test she would trot, posting trot with a low frame. When the bell rang she would halt, pick him up and canter in. Also Laura Graves used to ride Verdades in , at the walk, all the way round the arena , before the bell rang and then she picked up the canter to do the test. If you find what works for you and for the horse in the dressage warm up …go with it!

  2. Good for you! The goal is always to come home from an event with a happy, confident horse, who will continue to be happy about his job. I think you definitely accomplished that.

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