Annie Bevins & Askan Van Overis
BE 80(T) West Wilts (3)
Well. What can I say. Askan is nothing short of a super star! Due to his showjumping commitments ( he's won the PS Para League , placed at Scope and qualified for the Bronze League semi with Toby) I have had little or no chance to practice. Suddenly it was the end of August and we had only jumped cross country fences once 6 months ago! So 3 outings in two weeks got him over his fear of water and he was terrified of a newly built ditch last week. Lots of encouragement and treats got him over. A showjumping commitment with Toby's other horse at Aintree meant no more time to practice and then whilst we were away Askan got kicked and had a massively swollen leg on Wednesday. All day Friday I was hoping that the rain would cause postponement, allowing more practice time and his leg to fully recover. However my some miracle he was sound on the lunge. We were ON! A frantic rush round on Friday evening, making up a dressage bridle and trying to find some clothes to wear as (I had not seen my hacking jacket in years) meant I had no time to worry and slept well through exhaustion that night A reasonabley early start meant no panic time in the morning either. A friend kindly drove my lorry which allowed me to have a quick look at the rule book on the way. We were first to go in the dressage and when I got on , I felt that he wasn't absolutely 100% on his leg but thankfully he soon loosened off. A pleasing enough test and then a long wait for the corse walk. I decided to cut the corner through the water so he could see the bottom despite the trainer saying that a lot of horse would spook at the pump! Fortunately Askan has been part of the family for 9 years so I knew that was not the case. The other potential problem would be the bank on and off as he's not been too sure about steps down. Then it was all systems GO! To be truthful I was quite worried about the show jumping as if there had been a hiccup there I would never have lived it down. We did go clear although he was quite strong Quick change and then to cross country! I was a little worried about both our fitness as all my plans to do fast work etc had gone by the board. So we were off! Over the first ( phew) second and third, fourth and then the water. I felt him come back to me and shouted " come on you can do it!" and he picked up the bridle again and on we went. By fence 7 we had found our rhythm again and were enjoying ourselves. The bank was number 14 and again I took the easy route but he flew off without a problem and on to the finish setting himself up for the last few fences way out. A whoop from me and a large cheer from my supporters and we had finished! I can honestly say that this was the best day with horses for several years!! I am so so grateful for the opportunity to get my act together and complete again. My only regret is that I have not reached my target for fundraising yet.