So here it is… Number 5 of the year, Number 2 for Pea!
Just to recap a little, Pea is my newer of the two horses and although having had her on loan 6 years ago, I have had her back since the end of September 2018. Before that she was a Feral Beryl for a while so we had a little bit of work to do to get her “eventing ready”.
I’m VERY precious about her and haven’t rushed her training at all, she’s 15 and owes me absolutely nothing. BUT… the girl lives to jump and run!!! She adores jumping so much I can barely hold her and has totally restored my faith in horses and my ability to ride.
So… After a fairly easy week and a little pop over some jumps on Friday, we were all set to head off to the unaffiliated BE80 at Epworth Equestrian today. As you may have seen, Pea doesn’t like being in our van on her own so her mate Daisy towed the line again today and came along as a (hopefully not too squealy) chum. – side note, last time out Daisy screamed like a banshee and I had to tie up out of ear shot at a mates lorry!!
Today I took no chances, I laced three mints with a little nip of dope and in thirty minutes Daisy was somewhere on cloud 9 not calling for her friend! RESULT!
Tacked up, we headed off on the 10 minute walk to the dressage. Last time we were here Pea was sideways all the way napping to the pony… this time, no sideways! I was so happy! In the warm up she was tense and doing her very best jazz handed camel ? impersonations but settled better than before! Very happy with this progress!!
The test really didn’t suit her, lots of serpentining and short canters which she wasn’t massively happy about, so I’d say it was fair to award her a 34.8… however, I got 2 marks added for coloured stirrups that I totally forgot to change over! So we finished on 36.8 for dressage! The free walk scoring 5s massively let us down so that’s something I’m going home to work on!
Back at the van I untacked and went to walk the SJ and XC courses, came back happy with what I saw, if a little puffy! ? So we tacked up again for jumping and off we went… in our Dressage saddle!
Yes, that’s right. My beautiful Voltaire Design Jump saddle no longer fits her and boy did she let me know! So we are sorting something for her and in the meantime I’m eventing all three phases in a blasted Dressage saddle ?Never fear though, it’s not Badminton and I’m damn sure no one had the forward cut mono flap luxuries in the 1970s jumping round there, I figured I’d man up and quit complaining ?!
She warmed up SO well, she felt amazing and I was really confident to go in and give it our best shot. But there was a half hour delay and after standing about squealing for the pony, I didn’t get the same awesome feeling remounting.
She’d gone a bit flat but we had a really good go at it. She is SO much fun to jump, I can’t even tell you how much it makes me smile! And having watched several horses taking poles out, I really wasn’t that disappointed to have two down. We both had fun and that’s all I care about.
So, sitting on a 44 going XC, any pressure of a placing was off and I was really looking forward to it. We did a quick clothing change, not saddle change ? and headed to the XC warmup.
She was VERY keen in there! Bounding into jumps like a gazelle. She is incredible for anyone dealing with confidence, “you just hold on tight Mum, I’ve got it nailed” and that was why I fell in love with her all those years ago.
Into the start box (NOT OF DOOM, but of utter excitement and anticipation of FUN) we were counted down…
I didn’t really need to kick, she soared out of the start box and bounded to the first fence, a wooden arc and took it all in her stride, not once hesitating! I’d seen a lot of horses looking at 2&3 but not Pea, she skipped over the chair at 2 and the log stack at 3 without breaking rhythm!
Side note: I will just add at this point, this little horse has NO eventing experience AT ALL. I took her XC schooling once in 2013, and we did one BE80 back then. She just trusts her pilot and never questions me on anything!
Sailing round the corner, it was the same story at number four, the pheasant house… ping! The castle at 5 was obviously housing a Pea eating lion because she jumped it SO big, it gave me glimmers of how far we could go in the next few years together.
6 a and b were offset skinnies, I asked her to shorten up a bit… I asked again… she finally listened and came back to me a bit and jumped them both very well. ? the house a 7 jumped really well and so did the carrot box at 8.
Groan, I get it, it’s not like Pat where something dramatic happens at each fence…. Pea stormed round the whole course, she didn’t care about the double of scary pipes at 11, she didn’t see the the ditch under fence 14, she was incredible.
She even cantered through the water which I’ve always let her come back to trot for before! And she absolutely soared the big box fence to finish, cantering the whole way back to the warm up before I could stop her ?
Everybody wishes for this, a cross country horse like her; she’s bold, straight and seriously fun and I feel very, very lucky to have such a great bond with this little mare. Today, although other bits could have been better, this was why I came. I wanted to feel that power, the unity and speed of us galloping over that course. She was incredible and I will be forever grateful to her for giving me this to hold on to.
There are obviously things I’d like to fix. The tension in the dressage is purely pony related and hopefully one day soon I can get her travelling alone to shows. I’m going to try her in a bigger lorry and then sell a kidney to buy one if it works. The show jumping doesn’t worry me, we don’t do much of it at the minute so I’ll up this at home and get better. But the absolute most important thing for me is that I’m not scared. Not of her speed XC or the camel jazz hands, I trust her implicitly and I hope that one day I feel this way about Pat too because it really makes you invincible as a pair. Without trust, you come undone but with it, you can conquer anything.
So today we left before the final scores but actually finishing around 44 had us in the top 10!! I’d say we had time penalties to add but today, no rosette could match up to how much I love the bones of that little horse and what she gives to me.
We are best friends and I can’t wait to do it all again!
As always a huge thank you to the one and only Daddy Carrot for his grooming and photography skills, to all of you for the endless encouragement and to my wonderful sponsors KBIS, Topline Vet Physio and Voltaire Design ? without you all, I wouldn’t be doing this.
Thank you Pea, you’ve changed my life.
Love as always
Vic and Pea xxxx