Wow! What a day! We arrived, little old us, amongst all these huge beautiful lorries, as usual a little late. After checking Parker had travelled ok I ran off looking for the course walk mentor that BE had arranged. I felt so overwhelmed by the size of the venue as I’ve never been to anything other than very small local shows! After eventually finding the cross country course I headed into the course and caught up with the group. The mentor Sue Ringrose was excellent, giving tips on angles to take fences in order to line up for the following fence, places where time could be made up, and places where horses might like to run out. Looking at the jumps I felt a little sick – less at the height and more at the width!
First stage dressage deep breath we can do this!! We warmed up nicely and were very calm. Parker looked with interest at dressage arenas on grass which he thought was a little odd. The dressage was a mixed bag. It wasn’t terrible, but as in BE you aren’t allowed to carry a whip we were a little under powered and did a few dodgy corners. But we got through and didn’t make any glaring mistakes. Anyway, brilliant thing about eventing: no time to dwell. Onto the showjumping!!
The showjumping warm up was a relaxed nice big open space and three nice simple jumps to pop over. Parker being Parker obviously refused the first practise jump. Nothing like routine! The round went so quickly and we had a few cat leaps over the scarier jumps much to the commentators delight (I heard the crowd laugh as she commented on our unusual style!) but we got a clear!!!
It was a quick trip back to the trailer for a complete change and a quick snack before heading out to the cross country warm up. On the way I heard that I had got a decent dressage score and was currently in the top five with some scores still to come in. Talk about pressure! Once again we refused our first practise fence but I’m starting to understand this is something he does! I watched a few riders head out and noticed a lot were having trouble with the very first fence. It wasn’t very inviting and looked a little fake. I was told to enter the starting box and off we went. As predicted Parker look a good look at the first fence however my friend Tori’s favourite phrase entered my head ‘if in doubt kick and shout’ so a quick pony club kick and a GET ON! And we were off. I can honestly say those 4 minutes and 45 seconds were the best of my life! We galloped along and jumped everything in front of us, Sue’s words of wisdom came rushing back just at the right time! It was the oddest sensation to keep hearing my own name being called out over the tannoy telling people which jumps we were up too. About two fences to the end my legs began to give out and I had to summon everything to keep going but we got home and Parker greeted everyone with a whinny like he had just come back from a stroll around the lanes! Me however I had to fall in a sweaty heap and was struggling to breathe. However we had done it and from what I could make out had jumped clear!
After cooling the beasty down and returning him safely to the trailer I was excited to see where we had come. Much to my shock we had got 7th out of a section of thirty! We had had 8 time faults (probably due to my shaking legs and gasping for air) but 7th! I was so proud of my little man he was amazing! Our first time out and we have a better idea of what we need to work on over the winter to come out next year as strong as possible!!! The thing I couldn’t get over was how supportive everyone was of one another, there was a lot of congratulations and laughing which I thought was wonderful sportsmanship!
This first event is dedicated to my wonderful friend Tori who lost her beautiful mare Pollyanna. Tori lent me her cross country colours and gave me so much advice in the run up to Norton Disney! Polly defiantly galloped around the course with us! Thanks Tor!! Xx