What a fantastic few weeks, around 2 years ago I jumped my first XC jump with Rosie and at that point even the thought of doing a XC event seemed years away. We played with small unaffiliated jumping competitions and finally this year I felt brave enough to put my name down to participate in the Wobbleberry Challenge 2018.
Snow and bad weather was against us at the start of the year, and my plans had to adapt. I finally entered Hopetoun BE80 on the 30th June. Preparation really started two years ago for this, and by June it was the case of just doing the final preparation touches, we had Matt (CEV) visit for our yearly vaccination and teeth check at the start of the month.
We attended our final ODE at foresterseat with a lovely double clear, and headed to Equiteam confidence camp for 3 day of training and jumping!
The week on the lead up to Hopetoun, Aimee Gardiner came over for our final show jumping lesson. I can definitely say I felt prepared. The only thing I was really worried about was the heat, so she was given a sporty summer clip. The night before I attended a fantastic course walk with Sue Henry, which was great to receive an experienced opinion on the course and how to ride it.
The worst bit about the whole thing was waiting, as it was the last class and I was not on until late afternoon. We did a shocking dressage, it took all my powers of persuasion to keep Rosie in the dressage area. She was spooked by the horse before us that had removed its rider mid test and she was convinced something was going to eat her. Onto the show jumping and when I walked the course I felt it was all within our capabilities and was actually looking forward to jumping, especially after the terrible dressage. Rosie was on top jumping form as she happily skipped round the show jumping, but we picked up 3 time faults. I spent too long at the start showing her the ring! Ops.
This was followed by a very quick turnaround for the Cross Country. And off we went. We had one stop at fence two, great big white jump! She was genuinely unsure what I was asking, so I let her have a look. Turned and she flew over the jump! Then we had a ball. She gave me a great ride round the rest of the course. I was delighted to finish and if you had asked me at the start of the day what my aim was, it was to canter through the finish line!
The day would not have been possible with the help from my husband, who looked after my boys while I have been riding, they came to support and definitely enjoyed themselves while waiting for me to finish, Steph and Susan my grooms for the day really helped and made all the difference in keeping me calm as well. However the biggest thanks has to go to Rosie was being such a little superstar and it would have not been possible without her keep me safe!
I wanted to raise funds for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, which has two principal objectives – to fund research into osteosarcoma fulfil Hannah's wish that no-one with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma in the future would have to endure the bleak prospects and archaic treatment regime that she had to go through and to provide equestrian experiences (“Willberry’s Wishes”) to seriously ill people in the hope that these experiences inspire others in the same way as they did Hannah, bringing a little happiness and hope during the darkest of times. For Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity to grant a wish, the person needs to be a UK resident and fighting a serious or life threatening condition, or an immediate family member of someone suffering from a terminal illness.
I am happy to report I have raised over £4,000 for this worthwhile cause. I am humbled and delighted for all the donations I received. Definably a tick of my bucket list!