Ailsa Clarke & Interest Free
Can’t quite believe that myself and Jake have actually completed a British Eventing ODE! My decision to undertake the Wobbleberry Challenge wasn’t one taken lightly. I am a very nervous jumper resulting from an accident several years ago (my right leg is held together with pins and screws) when the horse I was jumping fell on top of me. Also although Jake is a fabulous little cob with the biggest heart he is not, let’s face it, your archetypal Eventer lol! Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity however does such great work that I thought it was time to pull on those brave pants and #kickcancersbutt!!! Our venue of choice was Offchurch Bury run by the absolutely amazing LandS Eventing. The ground had been prepared beautifully by Lloyd and his team and rode perfectly in what was somewhat challenging conditions (temperatures in the high twenties and no rain for several weeks). Jake and I have put in a lot of work and although I have definitely had “Wobbly” days I thought we were as well prepared as we were ever going to be and it was time to, quite literally kick on! As part of my preparation (and the chance to eat lots of yummy cake) I spent the Saturday at Offchurch Bury as a fence judge. This gave me the perfect opportunity to get a feel for the place, how it was running and most importantly how the xc course was jumping! Ironically the fence we were judging was my “scary” fence. Well that should be scariest fence as quite frankly they were all rather “meaty” and well up to height! Having watched several combinations jump it I felt fairly confident that I knew how it should be ridden in order to get safely to the other side. You can see from the video that I completely ignored that information on the day 🤣. Jake was as per usual an absolute star but the heat definitely sapped his energy, despite this he gave his best. Our Dressage was very obedient and accurate but possibly a little lacklustre due to the heat resulting in a score of 37.3 (middle of the range as several combinations were in the 40’s). He was much more on it in the showjumping and had a great round despite a rider error which meant we got a bit close to one on a dog leg and had a pole down. He tried his hardest but just couldn’t manage on the stride that I gave him.
The xc country, as I mentioned, was very well built and more than just a little bit chunky compared to what we’ve tackled previously. It is also over very undulating ground so is a bit of a “testing” one. It took quite a bit of riding and although it was definitely an “attack it” type of course there were also quite a few questions for the uninitiated (ie us 🤣). We had a refusal at fence 4 which was a very large square trailer (complete with wheels). It was the first fence where you have completely left home so to speak and I simply didn’t have him in front of my leg enough and so when I again gave him a rubbish stride he very sensibly said no. If he had given it a shot it would’ve almost certainly resulted in a parting of company so I thank him for saving our necks, clever coblet! On representation and on a good stride he absolutely flew it! Our next sticky moment resulted in a run out at the B element of 7 which was set up as a bit of a sunken road type fence and I quite simply didn’t prepare him well enough for it 🤷♀️. I’d been worrying too much about the drop in I think. Again he breezed over it on second attempt! The rest of the course was fairly uneventful (but still terrifying lol!) and possibly because I took the handbrake off, we had an absolute ball! All in all I had the most incredible day! I definitely feel like Jake and I “Challenged” ourselves and embraced the whole spirit of Eventing! Which I have to say is quite unlike any equestrian discipline that we have tried in the past. The sense of camaraderie and support has been just incredible and I can say hand on heart that I will be something that myself and Jake the supercob will be doing again soon 😁.
Massive thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me to do this Challenge, it has meant an enormous amount to me! So big hugs to all and anyone who knows me know that I really don’t do hugs so that should give you some indication as to how very grateful I really am lol!!!
Most importantly thank you a bazillion times over to my fabulous little horse who just keeps on giving me his everything no matter what I ask him to do. Love him so much and couldn’t have asked for a better partner with which to do this 💕.