I spend much of my time taking my two, now teenage, children around various events. They were fortunate enough to be selected for the Scotland junior eventing teams on several occasions. In 2016 my daughter was competing in the junior championships which were very much dedicated to the fund raising efforts that Hannah had started. It all felt very close to home for the riders and the parents and many of us were very moved by her passion and dedication.
I had in the past competed my own horse just at 90 level in the years when this was considered very intro. I retired my horse from competing several years ago but wanted to contribute in some small way to the fund raising. I decided to join the wilberry challenge and learn to ride something that was not my old faithful who would take me round anything. Putting on my brave pants, I started riding my son's horse - a very capable beast and perhaps much more capable than me ! We spent time learning to jump with a few screams and bumps along the way. I decided I had to do this at the start of the season as I knew later on would be busy with taking my son and daughter off to compete. So we entered Forgandenny 1. All went well in the dressage and then on to the show jumping. Clever horse took me round very nicely. Then my biggest fear off to the cross country. The horse - Charlie was raring to go, much more so than me ! After a few fences I started to relax and feel I was almost enjoying it. About half way round it was all going great when some people walking the course decided to walk right in front of the line I was taking. The only way to avoid them meant a left turn as there was a novice fence to the right. I ended up with a hand brake turn to avoid running in to the string and sadly slipped over his shoulder. Poor Charles got such a fright and ran straight off. We were eventually reunited and carried on round. I couldn't believe my eyes when I went further up the course and the same people were sauntering along the track again in front of me. This time I shouted really loud and just kept going. We eventually finished the course but were out of time so officially eliminated. The organizers were great and kept putting announcements out for people to be careful walking the course. So we went away and tried to rebuild the confidence and entered Kirriemuir. Not ideal as it is such a long drive and I knew it would be a very long day. Charles was a superstar again doing a lovely dressage test, jumping clear in the show jumping and also clear round the cross country. We got a few time penalties as I took a slight detour having a brain fade on the course route at one point but was just so delighted to finish. We even got a rosette and came 4th. Charles was delighted to get a feed voucher from the lovely sponsors - Top Spec ! I was so pleased to have done it but was totally exhausted. I was even more pleased to reach more than my target for fund raising. Some of it was sponsorship, some birthday money, and some from a tack sale. It was so worthwhile to do and I don't think I was have gone back out after Forgandenny otherwise. Frickley junior championships honoured Hannah's work again this year and raised funds by auctioning Wilberry's for riders to wear around the cross country course. My duaghter Sorrel was very proud to carry Wilberry around with her (see BE photo). I hope everyone else gets there with their Wilberry challenge in their own time. Hannah is an inspiration to so many and has touched so many lives. Long may it continue.