Twelve months ago, Georgie Siggers was at the Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing grooming for her daughter, Rosie, before setting herself the challenge to return in the saddle this year after a 30-year hiatus.
“My daughter was doing the 90cm class and we had a brilliant weekend, but I kept wishing I was here doing it,” says Georgie, who now fits in riding around her full-time work as a consultant paediatrician.
“I had brought Rosie to Keysoe so many times for British Eventing (BE) events and always wondered what it would be like to ride down the centre line — now I am actually here, I can’t believe it.”
Georgie is partnering 14-year-old Roy The Rascal in this year’s 70cm class and has bounced back from confidence issues over the past year.
“I bought Roy in January last year, but when I walked the cross-country course here in 2017, I thought ‘there is no way I can do that’ because we were only jumping tiny crosspoles.
“I signed up to the Wobbleberry Challenge and I was supposed to do it in September, however, when I started jumping bigger fences I was falling off a lot — I had five falls in succession and it knocked my confidence,”explains Georgie.
“So, I thought I should be kinder to myself and stick to the flat over the winter and aim for the H&H Festival of Eventing in the spring.”
Georgie rode as a child but then didn’t get back into it until her daughter started riding and she credits Roy for getting her back in the saddle.
“When I went to try him, I had to get Rosie to ride him in canter because I was too nervous to do so — I was a real beginner,” reflects Georgie.
“After last year’s H&H Festival of Eventing, I thought I’m nearing 50 and if I don’t do this now I never will. I had taken my daughter to events all over the place, and now I really wanted to do it.”
The Kent-based rider, who lives near Sevenoaks, has had a great preparation ahead of this year’s H&H Festival of Eventing having competed at the Riding Club Championships last weekend in the combined training class.
“My friend sadly couldn’t go having qualified in a team, so I stepped in as the wildcard, but I got there and took one look at the jumps and thought I couldn’t do it. However, people told me I would regret it if I didn’t.
“Someone told me to go in and ride like I had been eliminated at the first fence, so I was really determined and jumped a clear round,” she adds.
“I haven’t had much time to fit cross-country schooling in and I was worried about my fitness too — knowing I need to ride every fence — so I set up jumps in my field and did about 15 laps!
“I will be nervous before the cross-country tomorrow (Sunday, 27 May), I didn’t walk the course before my dressage because I didn’t want to be worrying about it all through my test. My daughter has been really supportive, sadly her horse is injured so cannot be here competing — I was really hoping we’d be riding here together.”
Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk.