I went to a couple events with my horse Oliver this year (ahh! Sorry,) LAST year, which was really enjoyable! Some history; In 2017 I took him to one Event, and… let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. It was his first event ever, and my second. (Actually, third if you count the one where I rode my sisters horse Rasty and fell off basically into the water…) plus, it was only about my third time doing XC with him😬 we went Pre-Entry and I think At the time I was not quite sure about that… and then Ollie realized that I was not sure and it all summersaulted from there. We didn’t actually get eliminated. But we had the max number of refusals on XC and FOR REASONS UNKNOWN TO ME I spent forever trying to get him into the water instead of just going over the alternate jump after we decided he didn’t want to get his feet wet?? So we had mega HUGE time penalties as well. I also got heat stroke just as I was finishing my XC and pulled out of the rest of the event. ☹️🤷🏽♀️😑 It was around 37 degrees out though! And galloping around in 37 degree heat in long pants, long sleeve shirt, hard vest, air vest, pinny, helmet, Gloves, and tall leather boots is not the best way to stay cool. Just saying.
Anyways! That got off topic fast😂 back to the events I went to in 2018. The first one was easier, jump wise. it’s a great event to move up a level, or, in my case, to be able to go And have fun/get XC confidence back! I was really happy with Oliver, we went double clear on both XC and Stadium. And while our dressage needed work, it was mostly me just panicking and forgetting how to get Ollie on the bit. We didn’t place, but I’m fine with that because I had a blast and I’m still pretty happy about going double clear☺️
As for the next event we went to! while the first one we went to in 2018 is known to be easy, this one was known for the exact opposite. The Pre-Entry course looked like how to the Entry course did at my previous event! So of course I was panicking a little bit. It was also at the exact same time my coach was away on vacation! We’d arranged for a different instructor to coach me, which worked out… but was still slightly difficult. We got though Dressage in the normal fashion; we had a fantastic warm up, only to have me turn into a rubber chicken the moment we enter the dressage ring. The problem with finishing your Dressage test is that you know the next thing you have to do is go out on the XC field. So.. yeah.
XC day rolled around bright and sunny. We’d set up camp with some friends, and Breakfast was interesting. Basically it was my Mom, Dad, and my sister Brianna (the ones not riding) sitting there munching away and laughing while the rest of us (the ones riding) stared at our untouched plates, and tried to breathe. But of course we all wanted to watch the Prelim Horses go, as well as some of the other people who we knew at this event. the preliminaries got to ride first (Lucky them.) so we all went up to the top of the hill to watch… unfortunately about a gazillion people fell off!!! Which did absolutely nothing to soothe our nerves. Quite the opposite actually.
We were, at this point, obviously panicking. I actually had to sit down. So after we had seen everyone who we knew go (in the time that we had) we headed back down to the trailers to change and tack up. After all that was done, it was mostly just remembering to breathe. you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget how to do that! AND THEN while I was warming up, yet another person fell off!! (I believe they were fine though!) so that definitely didn’t help my nerves and was really unfortunate for them as well obviously!😢 Then I was on deck… I FINALLY got to walk around the start box, although I had to ask them. normally they let me know when I can walk in it. And then It was trying to breathe, not faint or have a panic attack, (I failed on the first one (breathing btw) again. Then 10, 9, 8… etc. And then go!! and the rest is pretty blurred, I remember realizing that I had no breaks just after jump 5, and taking in my first breath after jump number 9, (a good 3-4 minutes into my course, turns out someone can not breathe for awhile?) and then crossing the finish line after jump 15. It would be an understatement to say that I was happy. I was so pleased with both myself and Oliver, who had really given it his all.
Also I would like to say that my sister is the best!* She was ready at the finish line of XC with Gatorade for me and made sure ollie was cooled/sponged down. And Stadium passed by with a second double clear blur, earning us our first ribbon in eventing. We got 7th, I nice pretty purple ribbon, and loads of fun! I’m excited to event with Oliver this coming show season! I am hoping to move up to Entry level. Anyway, thanks for reading this, a lot of time and effort goes into just getting to the event and surviving the course of the weekend. Huge thanks to my sister, (who is the best human ever.) for being Ollie’s amazing groom, (and waking up WAAYYYY to early🙈) and thanks to my mom and dad for bringing me there and always having millions of water and Gatorade bottles on hand. And thank you to my amazing horse, who truly is one in a Million.💚
*sorry about that! My sister ran in and edited my post right before I published it… and added all that stuff in😑 all the stuff I crossed out was her, so Please don’t pay attention to it!