Susan Gill & IMIRISHTOO (Gerry)
BE Warwick Hall (3)
Warwick Hall (3) had been our goal from very early on in preparing for the challenge. Not too hilly for Gerry (my big fat cob) and a venue I'd really enjoyed as ground crew for friends. I'm 45 with very little experience of competing (neither has Gerry). After dislocating my hip from a fall, we both came back to jumping with zero confidence in spring 2016. With the help of Charlotte Ridley from Park End Equestrian we started with tiny cross poles and slowly built up. We schooled around Warwick Hall (1) at the end of May, which was a good job as the jumps looked HUGE when we course walked. I kept reminding myself we had jumped quite a few plus had rode the course with success many a night when dropping off to sleep. The nerves were not too bad for dressage because Gerry is always tense (too busy looking for tigers) so there wasn't any real pressure. We stayed in the white boards and remembered our test for a score of 43.5. Phase one complete! The nerves stepped up a little for the SJ phase and Gerry was very keen in the warm up. They had moved the course to another part of the grounds following heavy rain which made it quite tight so I was conscious to use the corners well. It paid off and we went clear. Phase 2 complete!! Felt physically sick and wanted to cry going into the XC. Gerry was full of it over the warm up fences and our brakes weren't too great so after 3 jumps I opted to just get on with it. Lack of experience meant we weren't actually in the box on 'Go' so we quickly scooted through. My plan was steady away till after #4 when I'd hope we'd have a rhythm. Gerry's plan was to go like a train!! I didn't quite trust he'd be so bold over the many skinnies so I wrestled to gain a more conservative approach over most. Where did his confidence come from?? By fence 6 I was loving it and breathing again. We trotted through the water due to the heavy rain and I couldn't believe we were on our last stretch home. A dog leg to a skinny was the second last jump and then just the sheep to clear. We did so without a look and I will admit to the biggest whoop and air pump as we crossed the line. Phase 3 and Challenge complete!!! Huge thanks go to my hugely supportive ground crew Lynn, Alex, Tracy and Deb. Thank you to Sally and pals for thinking the challenge up and giving us all the kick up the bums we needed to do this. Thank you Hannah and her family for their inspiration on what can be achieved.