So, here it is…. my fourth event of the 2018 season, an unaffiliated event run at Epworth Equestrian.
Now, for anyone wondering… yes, I have my BE90 Regional Final at Shelford in 2 weeks and yes, I know I did the 80cm class today but I want my horse’s confidence to blossom, I want him happy and keen and I also want to enjoy it too. Epworth was a challenging track last year so I decided that instead of fearing the full up 90, I would have much more fun jumping 80 and letting him have a go at finding some balls too!
I’ve been quite slack this week on the riding front, mainly because the ground is rock hard and also because my lorry broke down on Thursday pre-jumping lesson!! (Its fixed…sort of!!) I had a quick run through of my test but I gave him yesterday off and a pretty easy week all things considered.
We set off, (Wimpy Wagon started up like a peach) arriving in plenty of time to let Pat chill his beans and for Carrot and I to walk the course.
Within two minutes of course walking my belly burst out of my breeches through a zip fly which apparently, could no longer contain my sizeable gut!! Lucky I had a pin spare!! I was also assigned number 13… EPWORTH EQUESTRIAN are you trying to do to me?! It was a nice course however, and the guys at Epworth have some excellent covered going!! I was happy!
Without calmer syringing or his daily powder I was surprised that, when I plaited and tacked up ready for dressage and walked down to the warm up, he was so chilled. I mean HORIZONTAL!!! If any of you have been slipping him something… own up now!!
He was lazy… Kickable and we were having FUN!!!!We were enjoying the dressage warm up!!! I didn’t spoil it by picking him up too much and in the ring it showed. He did a sweet test and got the second best mark of the whole class for a 30.3 but the going down there was firm and I was thrilled regardless of no sub 30.
Back at the box and a quick change for show jumping. I was really happy, content even… no nerves, no snapping bitch from hell, I was even nice to my husband I watched a few go, learnt the course and warmed up.
There were not many people going clear and Epworth is renowned for having a spooky jumping arena (we’ve had a few disasters here too), so I walked in like we owned the joint, no flapping, no rushing, just mooching about like we were on a trip to Skegness having chips on the sea front. Popped up into canter and lolloped our way around the first few and he started TAKING CONTROL!!!!
My horse, that spooky, backward thinking fella, picked up the bit and started taking ME to the jumps!!! I nearly soiled my self out of shock not fear this time!!! It was sensational, I’ve wanted him to pull me into a jump for 7 years and today was his day. It was his day to start a journey and what a magnificent one it will be.
So, with only one unlucky rub of a shady jump at number 6. We headed out of the ring smiling our biggest smiles EVER!!!
Getting ready for cross country, the nerves were there but manageable. I got us both ready and we set off to pop a few practice jumps… the lovely starter man said we could go straight through but knowing how excited Pat gets in the startbox of doom, I asked the man if I could settle him in there as good practice before he sent us away. And away we went!!!!!
Determined not to gun it too fast, I let the rhythm just come as he felt comfortable, like a medium to fast canter I suppose. The first fence was a bit sticky, he wasn’t going to stop but he did hesitate and I kept a firm leg on to number two a box fence with holes in it… he looked but again I was right there to catch him, soaring it and cantering away round the sweeping turn to 3, a table thing and 4 a log pile. I let him take the lead, he decided to go himself… HE TOOK ME IN!!!! I wiped tears of joy from my eyes before number 6a&b, two narrower jumps, b being quite gappy and bright… he nailed it, bang on stride like an absolute pro!! Crikey I need to stop pride making my eyes leak when I’m going round!!! Next, a house which he also took on all guns blazing and onto the carrot table which, never getting complacent, he needed my help at… I just put a bit of extra leg on and we sailed it.
Round the back of the woods and over three more jumps on a new track none of which a problem, and back out into the field to 11, something wooden I think… he was back to being in charge!! Pulled me in and I loved it, whooping a cheering to the next!!! 12 a pipe and flowers jumped well, onto the water which he usually likes to come back to trot for… not today my friends… he cantered through it and out over a previously problematic wishing well like it was nothing!!!
A leg stretch up to the top of the field over 15, a roll top and bounding off the drop, he soared 16 like it wasn’t even there..!! Through the woods I began tiring, I need to get fitter!! We steadied up a little bit but out the trees and two from home, we both whooped with joy!!!
The last two fences came and went as we burst over the finish line of the most amazing round and day out Eventing I have EVER EVER had.
Turns out we went over 30 secs too fast ? giving us a penalty of 8.8tf to add. We still finished 5th in our section and got the most amazing PINK rosette!!
Placings, numbers, prizes and records mean absolutely jack sh*t if you’re not out there having the absolute time of your life. It’s all meaningless if there’s no passion, no love for the sport or appreciation of anything other than the win.
For us, it’s not about winning.
For us, it’s being the best team we can be.
Today, we were the best, Pat was the best and he continues to surprise me with his big lion heart. Growing his confidence is more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done.
Thank you to my wonderful support team, my darling Daddy Carrot ? and to you, for your encouragement and love, it means a lot.
Love as always
Vic & Pat