Sapey ODE Sept 2nd 2018 02/09/2018
I joined this challenge and worthy charity as I needed a kick up my bum to actually get on a do something I have talked about for 15 years.
This was a huge challenge for Oliver and I, as cantering around fields and jumping the odd jump is a far cry from competing in an actual event, especially as they don't allow you to stop half way through to have a breather and a cup of tea!
Unfortunately in 2017, after a season of training and preparation I had to forgo the challenge, due to the death of my Dad from Leukemia. However this season I was determined to complete it with him in mind.
Nervous with worry that I'd forget my way, fall off or worse my bladder would give up (!) we arrive on the day in plenty of time and feeling more relaxed than I hoped. My daughter Lucie was an invaluable source of comfort with roles reversed; she had the tissues, spurs, water and words of advice!
I knew the Dressage should be ok as we could only be eliminated if we had all 4 feet more than 23cm off the ground and Oliver never liked to expend more energy than needed so this was a safe bet as long as I could remember the Test. A lovely symmetrical test, it was fairly easy to remember and although my circle were more like squashed tomatoes we left the arena feeling so much more relaxed.
The Showjumping was a nice course but we nearly came a cropper at the last jump; the planks but thankfully he jumped high even if it was from a virtual standstill!
Now for the Cross Country: The previous days XC course walk by BE80T Instructor Bryony Wilson was invaluable and I knew that after jump 2 everything was going to be ok; Oliver wanted to jump and I just needed to get him round. I had Bryony's comments in my ear the whole way round and although at 9A the first water jump Oliver wanted to stop for an icecream, he jumped clear and we ended completely the course; a minute off the time but we completed.
My lovely Oliver who I have had for 13 yrs since he was 4, just was fantastic and seemed to really enjoy himself I was more proud of him for doing it with me on his back, who is more similar to a sack of potatoes than anything else!
I was so focused on jumping, it was only after watching the video that I heard the lovely commentary on my Wobbleberry and explaining why the Challenge was set up.
I am indebted to the wonderful Team of Wobbleberry organisers who firstly thought of this, then encouraged those like me to "Feel the Fear" and just get on and do it. Thanks also to all the instructors and fellow Wobbleberries that I have met on the way and whose encouragement has helped enormously.
I will do another event. I am acutely aware that time is precious and whilst we are lucky enough to have our health and our horse's health - we need to keep LOVING THE RIDE!