BE Chilham Castle (1)
Hi my lovely fellow Wobbleberries!! Sorry I've not reported before on our Wobbleberry 'D' day competing at Chilham BE80. Been a few long days with Course walks, competing and volunteering at Chilham today.
Well, what can I say! Apart from the fact that I now know exactly why the 'proper' eventers do this sport! What a rush!!
On Saturday morning, I surprised myself on how eerily calm I felt, I even managed to plait up without shaking hands and eat two pieces of toast!
Walked the XC course 3 times..Lol
😆 First two times Friday night and did Course walk with Alex Hudson the BE official trainer on Saturday morning. So very useful and I would highly recommend to all of you to help you to know how to approach both the course and jumps. Felt quite nervous after first Course walk, but next two times much more focused and taking instructions in.
Well dressage was interesting! Gracie was quite full of it and a bit inattentive. So dressage a bit below par from usual. I didn't want to push her on too much as I was worried she'd explode out over the white boards!! I still managed to smile (actually sometimes it was a grimace!) all the way through my test as I couldn't believe we were there doing it! So penalty score of 44.5. Not the best, but at least not the worst!
Next was the Show jumping phase. Grace had gone to sleep in the sun, and was a bit sluggish in the warm up. We got going and jumped a couple of the warm up jumps, then onto a third which was an oxer. She slipped up round the corner to the jump and put in a stop! Next time round cleared it. Onto round.... Went in again amazed to be there! Gracie was a bit stagestruck by all the marquees and spectators, looking a bit but not overly spooky. Onto to first fence which had been causing problems... thinking she was travelling forward, she surprised me by stopping! So unusual as normally she takes me! Round again and she cleared it. Round the rest of the course thankfully with just one pole down. We end up on 8 faults + 14 time penalties due to the stop. Bit disappointed, as Gracie was not her usual up for it 'Pocket Rocket' and I had to really ride her round the course.
So got back to the lorry and got ready for XC, at this point shaking so much I could hardly get changed! I had a chat to Mandy who was one of my many kind friends who were grooming/supporting me, and I asked if I felt Grace was tired on the XC and not taking me, that there is no shame in pulling up. Plan B!
So onto XC warmup.. I was thinking all sorts of things. Is Grace feeling the ground too hard, was there something more than we could find on her tendon etc etc??. Another rider rode up next to us, and she said 'so what is it that is worrying you?' I told her about the SJ and she was so kind and gave me a pep talk. She said to put what happened in the SJ Arena and to leave in that arena. After chatting for a bit, I asked her had she done many BE's and she said 'I do it for a living!' So this pro rider who was warming up herself took the time out to help me. I later found out her name and met her today to say thank you for her help.
😊 So thank you so much to Kate Greenhalgh! Watch out for this talented young lady
After this I managed to gee myself up and gave myself a good talking to! I had a word in Gracie's ear and asked her to help me out as she'd done this bit before!! I pepped myself up saying 'this is for Hannah, and this for Indra Morris' our lovely fellow Wobbleberry who is poorly due to injury.
At the start box the starter guy was really calm and kind, next thing it's 3, 2, 1, GO! We shot out of the box and onto the first. Gracie definitely had her mojo back! She was awesome!! She made the hills feel easy and she took all the jumps on. We climbed the hills all the way to the top of the park where we had lovely Wobbleberry support, then onto the huge brush fence combination which I had made my mind up if she was tired we wouldn't do. However, no worries!! Grace was still full of running! I think we flew off the drop jump at a canter, over number 11 which was being fence judged by our other fellow Wobbleberries who cheered as we went past!! We cantered through both waters up the hill towards the end. Last of the testing fences second last two houses. Gracie says easy peasy!
It was so hard to contain my emotions as we rode to the last. I was quite loud and people could hear me saying 'oh my god, we've nearly done it!' I managed to gain my composure to jump the last fence and ride for the finish line!! Oh my gosh! I just couldn't contain myself! I think I can remember shouting 'This is for you Hannah, Go Wobbleberries!'
I got off and burst into tears!!
So... to my complete surprise we finished clear XC, but not only that but inside the optimum time by 2 seconds at 5 mins 25 sec!!
Thank you so much to everyone that supported me, for all the good luck wishes and for such an amazing experience!!
We finally ended up on a score of 64.50 and finished 20th overall out of 35 riders!!
Good luck to you all lovely Wobbleberries!! We will be cheering you all on now!!
Love Vicki & Gracie xxx