So, here we are again… on the eve of an event and having just walked the course, I didn’t feel horrendous. Certainly no where near as bad as my last event at Shelford. I put so much pressure on myself there and I didn’t enjoy a single bit of that feeling. Frickley was all about having FUN as a priority. The course was very technical with 26 obstacles and lots of combinations to catch us out! These were my bogey fences that I thought might be an issue for us:
My dressage was at 8.18am and I was set to be finished by 10.30, so only two small gins in the pub on our Friday ritual night and we were home and in bed by 10pm all set for our 4.30am alarm!!
The feeling that usually hits me “how easy would it be to just withdraw?” when the alarm sounds wasn’t there today. I sprung out of bed and hopped into my breeches and out the door feeling almost excited for the first time in ages!!!
We loaded Pat and set off on our 1hr45 journey. Made a pit stop for coffee and toilet necessities and after a short directional malfunction we were parked up at Frickley albeit running somewhat behind schedule!!
I plaited in record time (about 3 and a half minutes!!) and got ready whilst Daddy Carrot trotted off to get my number and pay the start fee. Minutes later we were heading down to dressage with only 20 minutes to go before I was in!!
I stupidly gave him a bit of the calmer syringe when we stopped at the services just like in times gone by. I thought it would help me with our recent show jumping stops but alas, it just confirmed what I already knew, that it just creates more tension and excitement in him and was probably the cause of my last two years of fear to mount at shows!! He was a total d*ck, buzzy, wired and I was back feeling scared again. I will happily admit that this was a big mistake on my part and one I will not make again.
Settled and in the test, the same one I’ve done pretty much all season, I went bloody wrong!!! I got the sodding horn of shame, I knew instantly what I’d done by cantering in the wrong place but I gathered myself, redid the bit I screwed up and finished the test.
Walking back to change for jumping, the rain fell heavier and heavier…
I felt anxious about slipping and skidding about in the ring and when I finally got my act together and got back on, my legs had turned to wiggly tentacles of uselessness!!
We only had a few to go before us so I popped a couple of cross poles, knocked down an upright or two and saw a crappy stride to an oxer and we were in!!
He spooked at the first fence but we made it, he had a little skid in front of the second and just ground to a stop!!! B*LLOCKSSSSS!!!! I forgot to do anything again, I sat there like a wet fish on a soggy day… I did NOTHING!! D*ckhead Vic, you really really are!! I circled and rode like I actually wanted him to do it and guess what… he did it!!! ??
I actually, totally got my arse in gear then and rode my very best hunting style round, growling and shouting and kicking like stink. It was not pretty but he was jumping so well!!!
We actually came out with only 1 time penalty thanks to my forward riding so that was 5 to add to our dressage score and left us sitting in the top 3!!
A quick change and we were in the XC warm up within 20 minutes! I was just aiming for getting round, building his confidence back up at the steps after his fall at Shelford and if we made it to the end, well that would have been a bonus!!
The starter man was so so nice, but his 3…2…1, still made me want to set him on fire and chuck him in a bush! The first fence came up so quickly, barely 100 yards from the box, but it was kind and we sailed it confidently and galloped up the hill to a wooden flower wall at number 2.
He backed off and we hit a duff stride but we were over it and it made me buck my ideas up a bit!! Three was a roll top that I really had to ride him at, spooky little sod! Flying over that, I pulled out left and cornered into my planned line for a double of offset hedge-topped boxes. WOW!! What a jump we got at those, he locked on and understood what I was asking!! Result!!
5 was the hedge and rails which he jumped so big, it felt like we were in the air forever, such an amazing feeling! I wish I’d got a picture of that, I was seriously beaming! 6a&b was a wooden box jump and down quite a large step, he pinged the jump and confidently flew off the step pulling me down the hill towards 7!! He was loving it, and so was I!!!!
7 was a white house which jumped fine, to 8 the trakehener. I pushed for a big bold stride to that so he would look into the bottom and it worked, eyes up, legs on and we soared! 9 was up a bank and just one stride down to and a wooden palisade, pinging over like a little dear, my first question on the course was looming so I shortened him up ready for a skinny log and step up for 10.
He came back to me well and popped the log, I held the mane and kept the rhythm and this time he pinged up the step no bother at all!!! Huge squeal and pat on the neck and we were off!!
Over the rail at 11 and a lovely wall at 12, my only two let up fences on the course… we hooked right into the woods, left and right again to a military style rail with hessian sacks under it… he backed right off it, ground to what was almost a stop and I had to think fast. I growled, kicked and waggled my whip and he hopped over it like a little stag!! Bloody spooky sh*t bag! And complacent jockey! This did not bode well for the double of skinny offset logs at 14a&b…
I brought the canter right back and made it VERY obvious what the question was, he answered correctly and nailed both parts!! I’ve never screamed as loud or felt such pride, I apologise to the spectators for my monster scream of “You are a F*€king GOOD BOY”!!!
What a bloody horse though!!! Into the water at a trot because I literally didn’t care about anything other than how amazing he was!! We popped out over the roll top and bounced down to that hideous green and white corner!!
I collected, steered and he thought about running out… there was nowhere for him to go, I held fast and he jumped it bang on! A hard left turn to the flower box skinny that he’s always had a look at and just like before, I held him securely together and true as a die he pinged over it!!!
At this point I thought it had felt quite a fast round so I let him cruise a bit over the last few fences, we flew the flowered wall and saw a duff stride at the last but we were clear and through the flags, screaming with pride!!!
I hopped off and undid his girth and nosebands, and hugged him so tight!!! We did it, we did it!!!
He was so unbelievably amazing, just the ability for him to understand what I ask and agree with what I’m telling him to do. I’ve taught him to jump these jumps, I’ve made mistakes too don’t get me wrong, but what a feeling it is when it comes right. Having a horse understand what is required at each testing obstacle and do exactly what is required. It’s just amazing.
I will never take for granted how magnificent my horse is, how brave he and I can be when we are working as a team. We have something so special and I adore every little inch of him.
Back at the box, we washed him down and settled him back on the van with a big haynet and plenty of polos and sugar lumps. We went to buy photos and peeped in to find that I had actually gone a bit too slow and should I have not “cruised” home on the XC, we would have been in the top 5! Alas, 11th place for us but who gives a fat rats ass?! Not me!!
My horse makes me feel like a winner every time!
Here’s to the next one, the final one of 2018!
Love as always
Vic and Pat xxxx