Once again I have been off gallivanting without Galahad to compete for the riding club. This time I was taking part in an eventer’s challenge – a round of show jumps immediately followed by a round of cross country fences.
I have only done a few cross country courses over the past couple of years and those were on Galahad so the jumps were very little. I probably haven’t jumped a big round of cross country fences for about ten years so I was more than a little apprehensive.
The horse felt quite tight and wound up underneath me and we had a couple of argumentative moments in the warm up ring which did not help my confidence. However, I am nothing if not determined and we made our way into the ring.
Of course, we had to have a very good look at all of the scary tents and vans along the edge but once we were past those I asked for a canter and he shot off at top speed. I felt like I had no brakes at all but we had gone through the start so I could hardly turn away from the first fence to settle him before we began. I just had to commit to the jump and hope for the best.
Thankfully once we were over the fence he started listening to me and we finished the show jumps at a much more respectable speed. In fact, it would have been better if we had gone a bit faster but I was just grateful I wasn’t being carted away!
We finished the show jumping with no penalties and moved on to the cross country fences. Suddenly we found our rhythm and the scary, solid fences flowed beautifully. We had an unfortunate stop at one of them – the team had noticed that several people were having trouble with horses ducking out to the left at that particular fence and I think I overcompensated and sent him the other way – but he jumped beautifully and I found myself enjoying it more than the show jumping.
We even managed to clear the tricky joker at the end of the course – a show jumping gate 10cm higher than the rest of the fences. I had the most wonderful day and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is so good to be part of the team again!