I have been playing a waiting game until Natalia was not only fit/well enough but also mentally ready to be out doing the FEI Para Tests again.
Natalia in her head hadn’t got over the ulcers even though her stomach had and there was much associated with the pressure of competition which clearly related to her having a big loss of confidence in the arena.
I can now report that on our first time back she produced a solid clean test and yippee won!
The winning was the icing on the cake but nothing beats the feeling of having my horse back out at that level again, especially as there have been many challenging times and a very bumpy road to get there.
During this time my patience has been tested to the limits, at times I even wondered if I was doing the right thing trying to carry on with her but I always felt she was special and had to persevere.
I can now look back and know I have become a better rider, sometimes things just take time and with much analysing and careful planning and preparation I have learnt to be resilient. I am glad we didn’t rush things and she has taught me so much.
On the day of the competition she was as cool as a cucumber, behaving like never before and certainly felt a whole year older! She didn’t even mind the loud clapping at the end of the test.
In fact she was so good my gran gave up her favourite granny smith apples (not something she would usually be willing to do!) and Natalia certainly enjoyed the tasty treat.
So in the lorry on the way home there was nothing for it but to play her Tina Turner’s “simply the best” this is a tradition for us which dates back many years to my showing days – only ever allowed on if you win!!!