”D” Day is here...

Ive been a bit quiet of late....just a case of life taking over, but so many positives have happened! Ive ticked off so many firsts, its starting to feel like I can complete this challenge, and not only that, but do it the way I wanted to, actually enjoying the whole experience.

Heres a brief overview of what I have been doing over the last couple of months, & then we're bang up to date.

So, five months into the year, and still no decision on which horse to complete the challenge on. I decided the way to do it, was to take both cross country schooling on the same day, & see who I felt most comfortable on, & see what the expert thought too.

So off to Parkend Equestrian Centre on the hottest day so far of the year, on two horses who were ever so slightly fresh due to lack of turnout with bad weather- hard to believe on the day with the temperature hitting 25c and not a cloud in the sky.

Oscar was up first, and after 15 minutes of tanking around, getting more excited looking at all the jumps in the field, & Ive got to admit, my stress levels started to rise, & I could feel myself get tense every time we passed a jump, just at the thought of going over one.

Charlotte Ridley has this amazing knack of spotting this without me saying anything - although the fact Id turned into a block of wood in the saddle, and was going blue through lack of breathing may have given it away- so she suggested we just go and have a little play in the water jump. Distraction technique worked perfectly, and within 5 minutes he was calm, & listening to me, rather than just me just feeling like an unwanted passenger. Before I knew it, Charlotte had us jumping some small logs, then a ditch, & trackener, and he felt awesome, feeling like he was just stepping over them. This was just making the decision harder........

Next up, the Padster was ready to go, and within 5 minutes of starting to jump, at the same time as the thought popping into my head, Charlotte said “this is your wobbleberries horse”. As ever, bang on, as I ride him differently, he doesn’t stress me if he starts to tank, and although he’s still very green at cross county, his sharp little run outs don’t phase me, and actually make me concentrate, and ride better.

Mission accomplished, decision made, having had two awesome lessons. Drove home grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

Next stop, Parkend Eventers challenge. As I’d never jumped in a competition before, and never really strung together more than six fences in a lesson, I realised I needed to get some practice in to keep this challenge on track.Entries put in for 70 & 80cm classes..... what could possibly go wrong?! Factor in a rider with no satnav.....& eliminated in the first class for jumping the same fence twice 🙈. However, it’s such a great fun event at Parkend, especially for people just starting out, they still let you do the XC phase. And we loved it, a few sneaky run outs...but completed the course with a huge grin on my face. Super groom Carole was in hand to help out in between classes & offer advice, then we were off again. This time the show jump course was imprinted on my brain and we flew round with just one pole down, Paddy seemed much better jumping the slightly bigger fences.

On to the XC and this time we picked up the pace....but still had the run outs.... rather than just walk back after being eliminated I carried on and jumped the rest of the course. Massive achievement.....& the way I felt you’d think I’d won a gold medal, rather than eliminated from both classes?!

I now realised I needed to get out and get as much jumping competition practice as possible, so entries in for High Plains unaffiliated show jumping, 65 & 75cm. All good to go in the morning, Paddy, who loves a poo pillow 💩 at night, bathed and plaited and as I lift the ramp on the wagon, I hear (& feel!) an almighty tear in my right calf muscle..... it’s agony! Quickly had to decide what to do....& on the basis had just spent two hours getting ready... I figured if I could drive, we could get there, then if I got on board and felt I couldn’t ride, there would be plenty of help there to get reloaded for home. Arrived at a High Plains, and managed to get on. To be truthful, as long as I didn’t put any weight in my right stirrup, riding was easier and less painful than walking.

We tried a couple of practice fences and Paddy was chilled, calm & foot perfect... so hey ho, lets give it a go! Clear in the first class, straight into jump off, & clear again! Second class, clear, & clear super fast jump off now we were getting the hang of it! Leg pretty sore, so headed back to the wagon to get Paddy sorted. Was laughing away to myself about my half decent riding with just one leg, when the lovely Jules rocked up in the buggy, with my results.....a 3rd in the first class.....& we only went and won the 2nd class! I’m beginning to enjoy this jumping lark!

No faffing now......entry in for an unaffiliated event in a couple of weeks, & if all goes to plan, the wobbleberries event will be just around the corner. Better start practicing the stressage again??

#wobbleberries #stressage #leroyandbongo #thewobbleberrieschallenge #bidfood #workwearexpress #50in50 #equineproductsuk #parkendequestrian #highplainsequestrian #dltphotography  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jane-shepstone1

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