Sitting writing this, ice clasped over my rather bloody lip, I can only think of what might have been. “If only we’d done our standard speedy clear, I’d be in second now,” I think to myself.
But it was not to be our day. Rooey (Little Beau) set off in his usual fantastic way, pinging through the first combinations and making it all feel like a walk in the park. Even the influential double of corners — where I’d decided to take the long route — seemed quite undaunting when I reached them, and we flew through the straight route, and on to the doomed number 16.
Probably the most innocuous fence on the course — a simple rolltop with some rocks spaced underneath it — we met it on a slightly funny stride. I suggested Rooey took off, but he put in a little one and unfortunately there just wasn’t room. The next thing I knew I was under some flailing hooves and we’d hit the deck.
Seeing Rooey canter into the distance, my first concern was — embarrassingly enough — that my teeth were intact, and I was reluctant to let go of my mouth to find out the answer.
The fence judge, unsurprisingly, looked pretty astonished at this, but as soon as I got the all-clear, and they’d decided it wasn’t in fact a horse fall — a decision that had been changed by the time the score sheets appeared — I sprinted off to re-start.
The vet however had other ideas, and before I knew it Rooey was being loaded up into the horse ambulance and I insisted I went with him. In hindsight this probably wasn’t the best idea as I woke up half way through the trip on the floor, still firmly clutching his reins — I have a nasty habit of fainting.
This little joy was unfortunately repeated in the doctor’s presence later, so I was whisked off to chill out in the pioneering, state-of-the-art mobile trauma recovery facility, which was quite an experience.
Absolutely gutting though it is, I can only be thankful that Rooey and I are both in one piece, with only very superficial injuries from what was quite a nasty fall — my cross-country colours were somehow shredded in the process. And it’s lovely for Emily Galbraith, a really good Scottish compatriot of mine, to be in the lead in this prestigious class. Fingers crossed she hold on tight tomorrow!