7 dreams every amateur event rider has had (and why the reality doesn’t quite match up)

  • It’s sad, but Yogi Breisner didn’t really call to tell you you’re off to Rio and your hopeless home-bred hasn’t become a four-star horse overnight

    1. You’re galloping round the cross-country at Badminton, taking The Lake, the Mitsubishi L200s, the Vicarage Vee and The Quarry in your stride.
    The reality: you generally manage to get round a BE90 without being eliminated for cumulative refusals, but not always.

    2. You’re receiving a massive trophy and having your photo taken with a Land Rover after winning Burghley.
    The reality: the last rosette you won was in the pairs class at your local hunter trial when you were 15.

    3. You’re the proud owner of a home-bred four-star horse and travel the world watching him compete under a leading rider.
    The reality: you tried to breed your next great eventer from your faithful Pony Club mare, but the result looked like the stallion was a donkey, so while you secretly adore him, you very rarely take him out in public.

    Continued below…

    4. Yogi Breisner calls to tell you you’ve been selected for the Rio Olympics.
    The reality: you know it’s a no every year when the Riding Club teams manager starts the conversation by saying, “I’m sorry, but…”

    5. Fans are queuing up to get your signature on your new autobiography, chronicling your rise to fame, glory and medals.
    The reality: you queue up to get the autographs and the last thing you wrote was a piece for your company’s staff newsletter about that fun trip you all took to Bognor Regis.

    6. Top riders ask your advice all the time at events — how many strides to take in that tricky combination, what bit you’re using on that smart new youngster, what the ground’s like. Yup, you’re the expert.
    The reality: you occasionally exchange some chat with the rider in the lorry next door, but only if they don’t look too scary and professional.

    7. You have an amazingly efficient groom who brings you beautifully turned out horse after beautifully turned out horse at shows — all you have to do is climb aboard and ride away, fully focused after going through your sports psychology routine while dressing.
    The reality: you usually go eventing single-handed — or with your non-horsey mother in tow — so by the time you’ve wrestled with the studs and got a saddle on your wild beast, you’re frankly too exhausted to remember all those hot tips your instructor gave you in your last lesson.

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