As I walked out of the arena, a smiling stranger said “oh, chickening out!”, I smiled and muttered something along the lines of “ha, yeah, you know,” But in truth she really didn’t know. I was avoiding terrifying Mindy!
Last weekend, it was the British Eventing Jumping and Style Finals at Hartpury College – supported by Baileys Horse Feeds. The wonderful Jack had qualified so Joey and I headed down to cheer him on. We saw a few jump and there were a lot of penalties being had and the judge, Jeanette Brakewell, was not being overly generous on the marks (she is an Olympic medalist so doesn’t have to be!) but Jack was going to have to really pull something out the bag. He warmed up well and we headed down. He jumped beautifully, epically piloted by Southerly Roberts, clear but with time penalties. The mother had said to Southerly before she went in that we weren’t looking for fast, just a nice round – he is a big, young horse and really aiming towards working hunters not speed classes. We were all absolutely delighted.
Southerly was staying on board as Jack was jumping early in the next class but then realised she had won on her other horse, Fizz! She passed me Jack and so I got a little sit on and some quality time while she went for the prize giving on board Fizz. Then the mother calls “He’s second. You must come down quickly.” I thought she meant he was now second to jump in the next class so I trotted down to the arena to be ready for Southerly to get back on board after the prize giving. However, he had actually got second place and had to go in for the prize giving….. with me on board! It was all so rushed, I thankfully didn’t have time to overthink things and went in. It was such a great feeling! Back in the ring on a great horse for the first time in literally years!
We received our prize and I suddenly thought about lap of honour time. And this was an eventers lap of honour, not a sedate showing rider one. Suddenly I thought to myself “Don’t scare Mindy.” Every part of me wanted to finish on a positive note so I thanked the judge and made my way out before the lap of honour. As I walked out of the arena, a smiling stranger said “oh, chickening out!”, I smiled and muttered something along the lines of “ha, yeah, you know,” But in truth she really didn’t know.
When I was standing in the line up, I had the added comedy element of toddler commentary! For those of you who haven’t met Joey or any two year old with language skills beyond their years, he likes to talk a lot and at the one volume he knows which is very loud. At the start of the prize giving all I could hear was “look, Daze is on a horse” (yes, he calls me Daze), “wow, well done Daze” (he is very encouraging), “look Daze is riding Jack” (he likes to point out the obvious) and I could see this soon becoming “oh, why is Daze on the floor”, “oh dear Daze”. Not the way I wished the toddler commentary to go either.
So, another positive experience to add to the list and a step up the confidence ladder… Maybe next time it will be my own prize giving….
Take a look at the video on the How Very Horsey YouTube channel
Thank you to Harvey Wet Dog for the beautiful photo of Jack. Face of an angel!