Thursday 29th of July 2021
Pumbaa Goess-Saurau

The Undergrad Eventer: Part 16

After surviving an adventurous trip to Ireland, our Undergrad Eventer, Pumbaa Goess-Saurau files her latest blog ahead of the start of the season.

Well hello again Ladies and Gents, I hope you’ve all been keeping well – I know it’s been a while. But fear not, I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet, I’m back and I’m ready to baffle you all with some more of my waffle. Since I last blogged at the end of the season I am now well into my second year of university and the horses have gone through the fat, fluffy stage and come out the other side again as we once again recommence the winter training regime.

As I’ve said in the past, my life functions around a triangle with a crucial element at each point; horses (obviously), social life (it can happen) and university work (I know, I’m not fan of this one either). However, there’s a catch to this triangle: if you want to function as a normal human being you can only choose one side. So, in the Summer I cheerfully enjoy my time with ponies and parties, I then go back to university and the horses go on holiday so from September through till the end of December I enjoy life in Bristol while simultaneously enduring essays and various grammar exercises (I’ve been questioning my sanity more and more recently after choosing to read languages). But then…then there comes January – cue self-implosion.

From January onwards I try to make the impossible possible as I endeavor to make the triangle work in my favour…spoiler alert: it doesn’t. I’d say I’m currently running around like a headless chicken, but I think that would be unfair to headless chickens.

The next 5 months will be a whirlwind of chaos, deadlines, horses and the M4. Between Friday and Sunday of last week the M4 and I spent some serious quality time together – back and forth 3 times…perhaps I can now add ‘yoyo’ to my CV.

It seems, however, that my ridiculous antics are paying off as the horses are on absolutely flying form. Sooty is still yet to realize he is now firmly in OAP territory age wise, and continues to pull my arms out in his blissful ignorance. Ellie, having now outgrown her ‘baby’ status, is now adopting a more Kevin The Teenage outlook on life. Thankfully she has rather better hair, but the attitude is certainly there.

I’m really looking forward to getting the season under way with these two, and all being well (having written that I’m sprinting to the nearest piece of wood to touch), I’ve got some big plans for them. I want to take it nice and slowly with Ellie, I hate seeing young horses being pushed to quickly, so hopefully she’ll do well in some CIC/CCI*s early on and then step up to Intermediate. Then with Sooty I hope to tick off a few more bucket list destinations – Bramham being at the top of said list. Maybe this year I might also be able to get my butt in gear where speed is concerned…I’ve been told I’m at risk of being mistaken for a snail if I don’t so let’s hope I’ve got the muscle power to stop Soots at the finish line.

Talking of muscle, I might also add that I’m spending a lot of the time in the university gym now. On being spotted in leggings (for the 100th time) by a friend the other day, all she said was ‘you can tell the event season’s around the corner’. That said, despite the dodgy wardrobe choice, with the help of my wonderful PT Stephanie Jenkins (check her out on Insta (@fitinifit) for some great tips), I’m really noticing a difference in my riding…and my newfound capacity to eat an inordinate amount of protein.

However, I’m not going to try and pretend that my winter months have been filled only with essay writing and rowing…my already diminished sanity would be gone altogether if they were. Thankfully I’ve had hunting to help with my eventing withdrawal symptoms…and what a great substitute it’s been.

In December, 3 friends and I, all of whom are at Bristol, decided it would be a good idea to put our lives on the line and head out to Ireland for a couple of days with the Limerick and Duhallow. Quite honestly I have never seen anything like it…the Hickstead Bank would have been a nice warm up for some of things we climbed down – or even up.

I’d love to tell you that I managed to stay in tact with my steeds over the course of the 2 days, but that would a lie…a very muddy, slightly bruised lie. It turns out that banks on a horse that likes to take his time are doable, but on one that is keen (or perhaps has a death wish, I couldn’t decide which) it’s not unlike trying to cling on to a roller-coaster without a safety bar – I didn’t realize going grey by the time I was 21 was something I had to worry about, but after encountering the Duhallows banks I was ready to book a dye job with my hairdresser. Even so, it was the MOST incredible experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone lacking in any form of self-preservation!

As some of you may have seen on the news, over the next few weeks lecturers from 61 different universities are striking due to a cut in their pensions (completely understandable). I in turn have booked up the diary with XC schooling, BS shows and the odd day at BD too (equally understandable). If they’re preaching about ‘needs must’, then I shall go and take care of my own furry, four-legged ‘needs’ too. Fair is fair.

Well, I think that’s just about it for now, until the event season starts really I’m more ‘undergrad’ than I am ‘eventer’ and I know for a fact none of you want to hear about Italian grammar or French medieval literature and the wonderful work of Froissart (and if you do, then frankly I’m worried), so I think I’ll have to leave you all to it. I hope none of you freeze in the mean time as we live out the joys of the British winter…

Until next time,

Pumbaa x

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