Ashley Harrison & Aughris rock

Norton Disney



Strangely I wasn't all that nervous in the run up to my chosen wobbleberry event - expertly selected by my friend and trainer as it was in her words 'quite low key and flat' - she's aware of my drop phobia!! In fact I was more excited than anything else - until I entered the start box that was and 25 years worth of 'I don't jump, I'm a dressage rider' came flooding back to punch me in the guts!! But back to the timeline of the day... Dressage went adequately - hilarious that it's the phase I find hardest to crack on Rocky, seeing as 'my other horse is a Porsche' of the dressage arena and at advanced medium! A modest 34 was the outcome, nothing to write home about but nothing to run and hide from either. Showjumping went a little awry though! We were pounced on in the coursewalk by a very helpful and enthusiastic BE80 trainer who advised me the 90 degree turn between 5 & 6 was actually a quarter 10m circle and that unless I was a stunt rider, attempting to ride that at a hunting canter was foolish if not kamikazee. It started me thinking - always a mistake to over think the showjumping I find, and lo and behold her words echoed in my head as we cleared no 5 and I took a pull, rocky's head went up and his feet went down - on the back rail of no 6. He also walloped no 8 - the upright after the double off another turn, for good measure, giving us 8 to add after phase 2. A nice way to go into the xc phase as my score meant no need to go for it competitively (can't help myself normally). I desperately wanted to get near the optimum on the xc - mainly because my new to BE 11 year old daughter had been struggling with times in her first 3 events - too fast mostly! I was intrigued to see if you could firstly hear your watch beepingand secondly give 2 hoots about your minute markers when they went off as you hurtled around the course - obviously didn't work for her! I pressed start as the steward counted me down from 5 secs and threw all my churny nerves into kicking like stink out of the start box then pulling like mad to steady up for no 1! After we were clear over the first 3 the inner 'gallop on every grass verge and jump every possible obstacle in your way ' child took over and we flew! I heard my watch beep bang on my 2 minute marker - excellent I thought, didn't hear the first one as the wind was obviously whistling in my ears but there's the second, this is a piece of cake! Then I checked it only to see it was my first minute marker and we were a whole 60 secs ahead of ourselves 😬. Easily done!! However my bogey fence was coming up - an 80 set of rails with a generous 10cm brush leering out of the top 🙈 I knew I couldn't stop kicking til I was over that then I could coast home. The second part of the course was actually enjoyable and I was so elated I had a tiny weep on my way round 😆. The optimum time beep went off as we jumped the last fence and galloped for the finish. What an amazing feeling it was. I ran through the whole spectrum of emotions but plumped for complete delight. What a day, what a horse and what a journey. I'm totally hooked. Dressage has gone on the backiest of far back back burners and I'm off to do it all again next weekend. Trainer had even mumbled about moving up to 90 - once I get my sj sorted of course! I have profusely thanked my trainer, my friend and groom, the people who sponsored me and all the friends who supported and encouraged me along the way, but the biggest thanks should surely go to Hannah Francis for her vision in the face of adversity and for inspiring others to challenge their demons and live life to the full. Thank you Hannah, your love and enthusiasm for your sport and your incredible bravery is inspirational and you have given so many people the courage to step putside their comfort zones and get a huge thrill from what lies beyond! X

Featured Posts
Recent Posts