Tuesday 18th of January 2022
Pumbaa Goess-Saurau

The Undergrad Eventer: Part 11

Our A Level Eventer, who then became the Gap Yah Eventer is back for 2017 under a new guise. Welcome back Pumbaa! 


Well ladies and gents, I think I have definitely been guilty of neglecting my blogging obligations.

It might be nearly a year since my last post (apologies), but I am officially BACK! That said, with the length of time that has passed, inevitably a lot has changed.

I can therefore proudly (if a little grudgingly) tell you that this is now the blog of The Undergrad Eventer…my days of doss and full-time ponying well and truly a thing of the past.

So where to begin? I think we’ll have to go for a general overview and move from there. I am now studying full-time (ha) at Bristol University. Reading Italian and French my brain has had a bit of a wakeup call after a good 16 month break from having to consider anything other than striding patterns and why all the lead ropes have disappeared again.

Going into my first week of lectures I quickly came to the realisation that my days of learning in English were long gone with all my lectures and seminars being conducted in their respective language. I see you now with your best ‘Obviously-You-Moron’ faces on…well, I mean yes, point taken, but I didn’t realize quite how deep the deep end can be when you get chucked off it…and when the proverbial chucking is being done in French or Italian for some reason it seems even deeper.



Now as I think we’re all aware the priorities of a First Year Student don’t really tend to lie in their scholarly dedication and academic prowess. I thought the Eventing parties were harsh on the liver, then I lived through Freshers’ Week.

All I can say is thank goodness it’s the one organ in the body that can regenerate, or else I’d be going without for the foreseeable future. Having gone from the routine of the average horse person, with pre 7am wake ups and 11pm (at a push) bed times I found my body clock had a mind of it’s own.

This meant despite getting in at silly-o’clock in the morning I struggled to stay in bed much past 7.30. Now for anyone working in horses that’s quite a generous lie in…but I had entered a new world in which surfacing before 11am was practically unheard of and anything before 10am was considered positively barbaric.

They’re a strange breed ‘Normals’, but I am coming round to their way of life…primarily because I value my sleep above most other things, and really…priorities.

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On to the more important subjects at hand: ponies!

My 2016 season was anything other than what I expected, but what’s even more surprising is that it turned out that that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

My 2 best horses were out of the picture relatively early on due to lameness among other things, which left with me with my lovely 2 babies. However, much as I love producing young horses there are only so many wobbly centre lines you can cope with before you want to tear your hair out.

Enter Sooty…the true saviour reincarnate, but rather than long hair and sandals, he came in the form of a 17.2 black beast with a tendency to look marginally alarmed about pretty much everything.

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Sooty and I went from Novice to CIC** over the course of just 12 weeks, jumping round Barbury after having him in the yard for just a week. It’s safe to say he is well and truly a super star and I am extremely fortunate that we found each other.

Life has a funny way of working itself out, and as ever I continue to live by my incredibly clichéd motto: ‘everything happens for a reason’. Admittedly 90% of the time I struggle to find those reasons. Nonetheless I find that in order to hang on to final threads of sanity left behind the trail of destruction that is horses, I need a little something to keep faith…whether it be a silly saying or a very, very strong G and T.

For the 2017 season I am hoping to cut down on numbers to make juggling eventing with my ever-enthralling essays a little easier. If you thought trying to waffle your way through an essay was difficult, try waffling in another language…it takes time. SO much time.

Let me give it to you in scale: it’s the difference between summer rugging and winter rugging; both boring tasks but the former is just a nice simple 30 second sheet, the latter is a sheet, a rug with a neck, a rug without a neck, 3 duvets, a quilt, a mattress topper and maybe a hood too (wouldn’t want the little darlings to get cold ears now would we)…2 hours later and hey presto, it’s Christmas with a twist: Pony in a Blanket.

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So plan wise I’m looking at aiming Sooty for our first CIC***…scary times. I’d love to jump round Barbury since it’s home turf, but having trekked up to Blair last year and fallen in love with the wonderful Scottish countryside and the equally wonderful Scots, that’s also a big one for this year’s bucket list.

My second ride will be our gorgeous homebred mare Ellie, who is a rising 6 year old. Hopefully she’ll step up to CIC* at the end of the year all being well, with a view of making it to the Young Horse Championships at Le Lion.

Let’s hope that 2017 is the best yet, we might say that every year but a little positivity never hurt anyone. Another cliché I know, but at least I’ve saved us all from the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ charade…I mean really? Pull the other one. Anyways, wishing you all the best, it’ll be a cracker!

Until next time,

Pumbaa x

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