Some of the horses and I have had a few first time experiences in the past couple of weeks. It’s what makes each and every step of a horse’s development exciting and is why, if you become involved in this game, it’s got to be about the journey and not the destination.
A first time experience for Ed (Edison) was going to his first CIC* at Osberton. Hugely popular and growing in stature, Osberton is a great showcase for the talent we have in the UK and beyond. Ed threw in the odd uncalled for buck in a jolly excitable dressage which detracted from pretty solid jumping performances, especially across the country where he was exceptional.
We got home and immediately turned round to truck to Little Downham with Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit), Vinnie (The Rutman) and Hugo (Woodland Rock). We were stabling with Freddie’s owner who was also providing digs and dinner for the entries secretary, technical advisor (TA) and steward of the event.
We went into the house for dinner at 8pm to be met with Wendy Evans (entries secretary) on the phone to a competitor and David Merrett (TA) on a computer beavering away filing details of that day’s competition and preparing for the next. The effort, time and energy that goes into these events was accentuated for me in a split second. I think we become so bogged down in how busy we are as riders and how much work goes into it from our perspective that we easily forget the amount of blood, sweat and tears that go into running an event. I took my hat off to every organiser and official at that moment!
Back to my job, and the following day Vinnie and Freddie did their first novices — so exciting. They were excellent and lived up to my expectations. I took them both steadily cross-country but both still picked up lower placings. I absolutely adore both of them, particularly when jumping and it was the most enjoyable day. Hugo also finished sixth and once again was unbelievably good fun. On days like that, I feel a blessed man riding such wonderful horses.
The following day I took a couple cross-country schooling before packing for Weston Park. Chatty (The Loudest Whisper) was in the CCI2* and Hugo the CCI*.
Weston wasn’t the best week for us. Chatty didn’t feel right across country, and so I pulled her up. Hugo however tried very hard. He’s not a classic event horse, but has a wonderful heart and completed his first three-day event with a green run out early on at fence three, but it was an otherwise solid performance. He’s a super little horse who is a yard favourite.
It’s been great seeing a lot of friends doing so well towards the end of the season and Weston was a huge success this time. It’s such a shame that there will be no more three-day event there. It’s a wonderful venue, and the Plant family have turned it into such a great occasion. Replacing it will be a tough challenge and makes me very sad — I have fifteen years of wonderful (and at times mischievous) memories from there.
With two more events left, my season is drawing to a close, but there’s still plenty more excitement to come. Stay tuned!