I’ve been away for a while, so this report is slightly late! I’ll not dwell on it for long, but the long and short of it is that I decided I’d give up being negative about my riding and myself generally for Lent, and I realised that most of what I was doing on here was pointing out all the negatives in what I was doing, just so that no one else could. I think the thinking was if I put myself down first, then there’s no room for anyone else to. Which is a really awful way to live. So I’ve taken a break, and come back resolute in that I’m not going to be down on myself.
So let’s go!
Great Witchingham – 24/3/19
The story of our second event of the season starts the day before, when I looked at the course pictures on Twitter Eventing. I thought I saw a Trakehner. That was that. I was on the floor.
I couldn’t eat, I felt wobbly, I was stammering. And I was furious at myself. Socks and I can take on Trakehners. We’re fine. So why was it getting to me so badly?
I got down the yard, and whipped out my phone to show Mia why I was in such a state. Then I looked at the pictures again. Not only was the fence I was panicking about not a Trakehner at all, it was an alternative for if I didn’t want to jump a corner.
For God’s sake, Heath. Get a grip!
After that, I felt much happier.
The next day, we arrived at Great Witchingham on a lovely sunny day, met up with a couple of friends, had a lovely chat with my old Pony Club DC who is over the moon that we’re finally jumping again (which was a lovely boost!) and walked the course. There were plenty of questions, but I like a technical course because it means I’ve got more to think about rather than just “oh please I hope Socks doesn’t stop”.
We went down to dressage in good spirits. That was, until I got there and realised I’d learnt the wrong test. Arse.
Luckily, my years of being a full time dressage diva had prepared me well for this moment, and I learnt the new test in twenty minutes and rode through it without any mistakes, coming out with a 35. Not too shabby!
Things only got better when we then showjumped clear.
Phoebe’s advice for the cross country was short and simple: “Heather, you kick like <guess the word> round that cross country.”
I even managed to smile in the start box. Somehow. Off we went, and I was determined. She was not stopping at the first fence like last time. And she didn’t.
Fence four I thought she’d look at – nope, flew over it – fence five was a corner off an odd line and she has been known to decide at the last minute that she isn’t a fan of corners, but not this time! Straight over it. It was fast, it was flowing, and I was having a great time. Such a great time that I completely stuffed up my line to fence seven, a wall into trees, and we picked up some stupid penalties.
But we put it behind us almost as soon as it had happened, and off we were again – two ditches, a steep quarry and the water later and I realised we were nearly done.
Then, this happened:
Not really how I wanted to finish the round!
Coming out of the quarry over a rail, Socks saw something. I still to this day have no idea what. She went from three quarter canter to halt in no seconds flat and I ended up hanging off her side.
I was bloody well not falling off that horse.
After I finally managed to get myself back into the saddle, I got Socks over to the fence, made the correction and we popped over it on a representation. Although the fence judge hadn’t said anything, I knew we must have racked up at least two refusals but I wasn’t stopped, so on I went.
We finished, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Event two, done and dusted.
Mum jogged up to us looking grim. We’d been given three refusals at fence sixteen and we’d been eliminated.
Again, I was FURIOUS at myself. Why didn’t I think better? That was easily avoidable! I am so lucky to have everyone in TWF behind me, because without their encouragement and kind words afterwards I’d have been looking at another week of being miserable and feeling like I’d failed. Not too long after, I realised that actually, the positives far outweighed the one negative. I’d got a decent dressage score, even though I learnt the wrong test. I’d showjumped clear. We’d jumped through all the difficult parts of the cross country phase no problem, and my friends who were fence judging said that the other judges were really complimentary about our round.
All that remains now is to get that elusive double clear. Our next event is the Riding Clubs qualifier at Keysoe, also known as our second home, so I’ll be gunning for a double clear there. Let’s go!
And, just to prove a point:
Here I am, jumping Trakehners not just on Socks but Gem too. THEY. ARE. FINE!