So with our late entry accepted into the Pachesham Hunter Trial for the 85cm Pairs, the usual nervous course walk Friday night was a little less toilet trip inducing that other events. I’m not overly sure why – Maybe my fragile confidence is slowly being coated in honey ready for being rolled in feathers – but nonetheless, I felt quite ‘alright’ about most of the fences and the warm up and not dying! I had 3 small glasses of red in the pub afterwards to quash any last minute terror, I think it worked! I woke up Saturday morning feeling like I might well be able to stomach a slice of toast… VERY ODD INDEED!!
Got Pat ready for a 10am pick up from my trustee sidekick for the day. Let me introduce to you my lovely friend and unofficial confidence coach, Lisa – She and her lovely little mare have been dragged to many an event in support of us over the last few months, despite having hung up her competition boots a little while ago!
In true style, the bubbly was the first thing packed into the trailer – ponies on and off we go! WAIT – ‘Check the trailer lights will you?!’ Sure enough 15 minutes later, we were watching the course video in a garage whilst being fixed up by some odd looking chaps – our ponies stood munching on the back! Off we went again… BLOODY RAINING!!! Can you believe it?! We toyed with turning around a few times… Any excuse! No such luck, we arrived and registered and open the champers for some last minute dutch courage. It worked a little too well as with only 25 minutes to go, we decided it might be an idea to get ready and get warmed up!! IDIOTS!! What a bloody stupid thing to do – My horse needs a bit of time to get his confidence XC and I should have downed the fizz long before getting on with only 2 to go before us!
Now the nerves that weren’t present in the last 24 hours double barrelled me in the guts… I was (for want of a better word) B@STARDING USELESS… I relied solely on my sidekick to lead the way while Pat jinked and spooked at every bloody jump for the first 5 fences and I sat there inadequately riding EVERY fence! What a let-down I was to him – he deserved much, much more from me. I’m pretty sure the long gallop down to fences 6 and 7 woke me up a bit because I suddenly felt awake again. I actually stopped passengering and started riding!! We were flying once more, feeling confident and galloping and soaring over each obstacle – I love this horse beyond belief when we become one together – it is the most magical feeling that you simply cannot put into words. We are quite simply made for each other, both taking a little coaxing to come into our own.
Sh@t – The bloody great Trakehner… hold on – 3, 2, 1.. Kick kick!! I hear screams ahead… Lisa has managed to go flying into orbit at the last minute, hanging on by the seat of her unstained pants…. SIT UP, SIT UP!!! Crikey she did well to stick on… regaining her balance, we entered the woods for fence 16 (quite a meaty fallen oak) – She was belly aching about not being able to find her stirrup and was trying desperately to turn a circle …KICK ON – Forget it… bloody Pat The Pony locked onto the log and barged Lisa and little Maggie over the jump whether they were wanting to go or not!!!
I had assumed, at this point, that she had regained her missing pedal and flew on to the next 3 fences and home!! WOO BLOODY HOO!!!! Home – Fast, Alive and so desperately happy that I had regained some level of riding prowess over the course – I turned to my rather red faced, panting chum and inappropriately couldn’t control my laughter!!!!
Her stirrup wasn’t retrievable for the last 4 fences because it had in fact flown out of the bar and was hanging from the keeper, dangling under the pony!!!! What a trooper!! We walked them off, sponged down and finished the fizz before we headed off to see how we had done.
Well…WOULD YOU BLOODY BELIEVE IT….We were one of the only pairs clear and inside the time!!! By 23 seconds no less! FIRST PLACE!!!! Let the squealing commence!!!! I was elated, not just for me but for my trier of a horse, for my super-duper sidekick and for everyone that wished us luck and words of support. We did it!!! I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be doing this and doing it at an ‘above par’ standard to be getting placed!
Thank you, as always, to every single one of you that has us in their thoughts and wishes us luck – It keeps me going in times of (undergarment staining) crisis – This red ribbon, hopefully one of many, belongs to you.