Dawn Paterson & Level Forty nine
BE Warwick Hall (3)
Ageing rider and veteran horse 76 years between us. I completed my ‘challenge’ and not only survived but enjoyed it. I did have a flask of fortifying sweet sherry beforehand, so not sure if that helped! Bailey my horse who I trained on, went lame so bearing in mind the generous sponsorship from mainly non horsy friends I completed my challenge on a friends horse - the 'sometimes difficult' - Level 49 aka Leo. Leo is 24 years old and although we keep him fit I last practiced going cross country 2 years ago. Dressage went ok, very pleased with the show jumping - something I'd worked hard on. Cross country didn't start well as nerves got the better of me but half way round I got my 'mojo' and we flew round the rest of the course. At the end I was irritated with myself for the nerves at the start. But Leo was well behaved on the day and didn’t deposit me on the floor in the warm up arena - he has been known to do this. What was particularly moving was the support of my BS coach Sarah Tubbs who travelled to Cumbria to warm me up and to Pippa Hahn who has taught me so much over the years. They made me feel that I had just completed Badminton. My sponsors and Willberry Wonder pony charity 'made' me do this and guess what - I'm going to continue eventing.