Well hello again Ladies and Gents, I trust you’ve all been keeping well? I’d love to tell you that I’m on sparkling form, but unfortunately I fear that I’m likely going to die. From a cold. Very soon. You think I’m joking? At school my teachers have now accepted that I spend more time hunting for tissue than I do in their lessons. At the yard, I prep myself fully before getting on a horse – setting off for a hack I have enough tissue in my pocket to film a Kleenex advert.
However, despite my impending demise the horses have been going extremely well! We kicked the season off to a great start at Moreton with both Dell and Kenny in the ON. Surprisingly, all 4 feet remained on the ground at all times during their tests, though admittedly that might have been due to the suction of the quick-sand like mud in the arenas. Dell isn’t exactly your average Valegro when it comes to movement, so we went from ‘extravagant shuffle’ to ‘wannabe sewing-machine’, but he behaved himself nonetheless for a respectable 33. Kenny went on to jump a lovely show jumping round with an annoying pole followed by a flying clear cross country. Dell, being the little legend that he is, pulled off an awesome double clear, so there were smiles all round at the end of the day!
In between events I like to keep on top of my show jumping – before my trainer/magician, Sorrel Warrick, worked her magic it was always my weakest phase, so for me every round is a useful training exercise. So…off we ventured to some BSJA at Hartpury. Perhaps though the word ‘ventured’ is a little too dramatic for how we travelled there. Our ‘big’ lorry was in for a service, so we were assigned the ‘little’ lorry, a.k.a the ‘ice cream van’. Think tin can on wheels and you’re on the right track. Having chosen what I’m sure was the coldest day in March for our trip, we hopped in the lorry and quickly reached to turn on the heating. Mistake. Out from the vents came half a bale of hay. The hay, however, was nothing compared to the arctic air they were blowing out – after being told by Claire (Super Groom Extraordinaire) that stealing the rugs off the horses’ backs really wasn’t an option, I went for the nummnahs instead. Arriving at Hartpury rocking a particularly fetching scarecrow-esque hairdo, I then got changed into my tweed coat and skull cap. I might as well have tattooed ‘EVENTER’ in large letters across my forehead. The boys did me proud though, jumping 2 solid rounds in the Newcomers, meaning we rattled home happy!
School wise I have been just a little busy. You thought Mount Everest was the World Largest Mountain? Well you were wrong – that you be Mount Essay. A rather daunting prospect to face I have to admit, particularly since it seemingly grows as you climb it. Sometimes I do question my sanity when I chose both English and History for A Level. Recently I’ve been tackling my Historical Enquiry, or as it has now been dubbed the ‘Hysterical Enquiry’, a piece of course work that accounts for 40% of my A2. I am now extremely well acquainted with Mary I. After a number of hours so large I don’t even want to think about it, it turns out she was actually a pretty great gal – ‘Bloody Mary’ she is no longer. English is the same old, same old…reading unnecessarily deeply into literature (in my case Macbeth, The Pardoner’s Tale and The Bloody Chamber) to find meanings that the author never even intended for their narrative. The final of my 3 subjects, French, seems to be running pretty smoothly at the minute – slightly irritating course content though, when I’ll ever have to discuss genetically engineered crops or cloning in French I don’t know.
Most recently I have been at Aldon, with Kenny in the ONu18 and Dell in the OIu21 – our first stay-away event of the season. The main excitement of the weekend was however, Mum’s new hoover. Yes, really. By way of explanation I should probably tell you that we’re a rather superstitious team, one of our main superstitions being that it’s bad luck for Mum to watch me jump. How it came about I don’t really know, but it means that she’s left alone in the lorry while Claire and I go off and do whatever needs to be done – for someone who gets bored easily as it is, this isn’t exactly ideal. So, she takes to cleaning. Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Lucky you, you’ll come back to a clean lorry!’ No. This isn’t your average polish and spruce, it’s full a scale ‘Aggy and Kim’ style monster clean. So when we return I can never find ANYTHING! But worst of all, is that she’s in some sort of cleaning denial…
‘Mum, where is my *insert extremely important piece of kit needed in 5 minutes here* ?’
‘I haven’t touched it.’
‘Well unless a small tribe of squirrels have come in here and stolen it, then you definitely have.’
‘Oh. Well then I don’t know.’
Dad on the other hand opts for the easier option: sleep. It’s alright for some.
Day 1 was admittedly a little dull with just one dressage test, but Kenny most definitely channeled his inner-Valegro for a solid mark of 28.5! Then there was the course walking; both the Intermediate and the Novice. Ordinarily this wouldn’t have been a problem, but at Aldon you’re either going down, or you’re going up – flat doesn’t happen. Towards the end of the course there was the mother of all hills (think Mount Essay), but thoughtfully they gave you a choice: Option A ‘Cardiac Arrest’, or Option B ‘Slight Heart Palpitations’.
After my little excursion I then had to walk the show jumping too, however my feet vetoed the decision – so off came the boots and I trundled round in my socks, I got some funny looks to say the least! All was put to rights though, when I returned to the lorry to supper – Mum’s definitely a fan of ‘experimenting’ with whatever she can find in Waitrose, so we had Chinese on the menu. Definitely the right way to end the day – if you shop at Waitrose, I can now safely tell you that The Sweet and Sour Chicken is in fact both sweet AND sour and the seaweed is also crispy – definitely recommended.
Day 2 was much more exciting, and true to the nature of equestrian sport we were up at an obscene hour for an 8.30am show jumping! Kenny jumped well but had an unfortunate 2 poles, one out of lack of respect and the other because I tried to put 3 strides in a 4 stride distance – perhaps I could have done with another hour (or 5) in bed? Kenny well and truly made up for it cross country though, he stormed round clear making light of Cardiac Arrest Hill and jumping out of his skin!
Up next was Dell, who did a lovely obedient test. However, while I consider the Wonder Dun to be the love of my life he is the Dressage Judges’ equivalent of marmite: they either love him, or hate him. Unfortunately for us this weekend it was the latter, so we ended up with a mark of 35. Nonetheless, we moved quickly on from our dressage woes for the jumping. It may be true that pigs can’t fly, but it seems that Wonder Duns clearly can!
He jumped his little socks off show jumping putting the biggest smile on my face, and then proceeded to fly round a very decent Intermediate cross country course – at which point my grin nearly split my face in two! What a weekend!
As we’ve now broken up from school for Easter when I’m not on a horse I’ll have my nose in a book! So up next we’ve got Gatcombe, and, joy of joys, 3 weeks of revision!
Until Next Time,