I would like to start by saying (for anyone that might not know), up until July 2016 I was unable to tack up this dear little horse without sweating profusely. I was scared of riding to the point of fibbing to cover it up. I didn’t hack, I certainly didn’t jump and I would lunge for at least two days before I braved a 10 minute sweating session in the school. Sunday marked our 6th BE event, 1 @80, 4@90 and this one – our first 100!!!! I’m pushing my limits, I’m terrified and I’m certainly not afraid to admit it.
So Here goes…
Our 5.45 alarm call to leave the yard at 6.30 hit me like a train. I have been riddled with flu all week, feverish, snot ridden and unable to breathe if doing more than sitting… today was no different. I felt foul.
At the yard, a small panic soon resolved by my beloved Husband Daddy Carrot unsticking the lorry door, we loaded my Patsy and trundled off on our 1hour20 trip to Tweseldown. Now for some reason I don’t like the venue, I feel it is so beautifully and professionally presented now, that I’m not worthy of the ride there. I meant to enter it to face my demons and complete my last BE90 before stepping up… well I entered the wrong bloody class and fate kept me from amending my error!!!
Walking the course yesterday, I felt nothing but ill ????!!! I wasn’t overly nervous because I met a lovely old friend on the course that guided us around and shared her knowledge which helped us a lot today. They were however MUCH bigger than they looked in photos online!!! No offence to Daddy Carrot but his course walking comments usually consist of ‘that looks a bit big’ and ‘are you sure that’s in your class?!’ So a helping hand was very lovely ????
Back to this morning… We arrived at tweseldown, gave Pat his new EquiFeast calmer in a bit of breakfast and went to check in, number 467 today.
I got ready and we warmed up, he wasn’t silly, he was in fact the best he’s ever been in the warm up!!!! AND this continued into the test!! It went lovely, I was struggling to breathe at times but he was soft and round and didn’t gawk at anything too obviously!!! We pulled it out the bag for a 29.5!
Not much time to get ready and jump because I had yet to learn the course ???????? got his boots on and buggered off down to the showjumping. Now this is the second 1m course we have ever jumped so it was still a bit of the unknown. He warmed up super and over jumped all the practice fences like a stag! I went in and had to be reminded that my bell had gone!!! Bloody flu makes your ears feel like you’re underwater sometimes ???????? The bastard spooked and jinked in front of every bloody jump!!! He made me work for every stride as he was clearly TERRIFIED of fillers and poles again!! KNOB!! He launched at number 3 and landed splat on the back rail and then had an unlucky rub of another but my god did I ride for my life. Hand on heart, I don’t think I could have done anymore. 8 faults to add and we were lying in 9th place going XC!!!!
So here’s the thing, I got out of the show jumping ring and felt like a 30 stone fat bloke was sat on my rib cage. I couldn’t breathe, snot was pouring out my face and I just had to get my hat off, my head was thumping. I was still not nervous and this worried me more than nerves. I worked it out with my very basic science, that all of my energy and adrenaline was fighting infection and not making me nervous. But don’t you need adrenaline to focus?! Quite right you do.
For 20 minutes I seriously toyed with withdrawing us from the cross country. Daddy Carrot didn’t really know what to say, he knows how much it means to me to not let people down or myself and so I half heartedly said I would get ready, warm up and then decide.
Down in the warm up I felt committed… there was no turning back now ????????we were 4th on the board and very quickly I was in the start box (of doom) being counted down!!! 5,4,3,2…1!!!! Let’s av it… snot drenched or otherwise- we were off!!!!!
I galloped out and got a crap jump at number 1, a very kind hanging log, but Pat wasn’t paying attention and it all felt horrible. I slapped him on the shoulder as a perky mcperk and because I knew if something didn’t get better, we’d never make it round!!! Number 2 was a house, he stood off a little but we had a better shot at it, up the hill to 3; a log pile, it was bigger and probably the biggest XC jump we have encountered (yet)! He sailed it, on the angle to 4 which was partially hidden by a tree, of course he spooked but we scraped over it!!
A long gallop up the hill to the WATER!! The hanging log that I was shitting my Knickers about yesterday jumped lovely actually, straight in the water and out at our first attempt over 6 – the dreaded CaptainQuackerson – WE BLOODY JUMPED THE DUCK ????!!! First time too!! Now I will add that I thought it was highly likely we’d have been eliminated at one of these two jumps so hadn’t really planned for how I would feel about the rest ????????!! Anyway I found my missing stirrup thanks to the over excitement at the Quacker and off we went!!
7 was bloody massive, a big trailer but it jumped lovely, 8 a bloody great table on a down hill line which didn’t look too friendly, he soared through the air and gave me the most wonderful jump over that, I could barely get my breath but I yelled ‘bloody good boy’ at the top of my lungs!!! It felt awesome!!! 9 a log thingy, was very trappy and wide but hitting a bounding stride, Pat made nothing of it!!! 10 – the second water… with a jump into it!! We’ve never jumped into water but I thought we’d have a bash!! He hopped the log and splashed in and out of the house no bother!!!!
Down the long galloping straight to a big ask at 11, a huge table coming off the corner. Daddy Carrot ???? didn’t like that one so I kicked and grabbed the mane extra tight and we sailed it!!!! 12 the open trakhener, he didn’t even look at to 13 – oh 13 you bastard!!!!
13 was a hanging log to a skinny triple brush… I flew in over the log, didn’t really look, or take a pull or do anything much and Pat got confused and ran out the side. I of course sat there like a dead f*cking pidgeon!!! We re-presented and I slapped him down the shoulder right on take off, he shit himself and jumped through the bastard flag!!!! For F*cks sake!!! 2 refusals at one fence is costly, a 3rd is the long road home… so I trotted at it, full up 1.05 brush and he popped it from a trot like it was a sodding cavaletti!!!! Tit!! Vic you are a total tit!!! The poor horse didn’t understand the question, he was poorly guided and I take full responsibility for those 60 penalties.
We put it behind us and bounded on… 14, the angled brushes actually jumped very well, 15 a log pile also sailed nicely and over the scary dragon to finish!!!
Now I know on paper that when our 9th place and rosette turned into a 3 figure score, most people would feel a bit cruddy but it was the BEST F*CKING RIDE OF MY LIFE!!!!!!
We did it, we survived, we came home smiling and full of running. My bloody beautiful boy, he sailed all of those massive jumps like they were nothing, he galloped across the course just eating up the ground for breakfast. It’s not about the prizes for us, it’s about our trust in each other growing that bit more with every round, the love I have for this horse is incredible.
What a bloody bloody great day!!
Love as always
Vic and Pat