When I was in the warm up with Charlotte Dujardin.......
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted....so what’s been going on?
Last update was just as I was travelling down to Hartpury, excited and nervous for the competition that weekend ( in equal measure). We were on time, on schedule...& then we broke down on the motorway, which was terrifying. We managed to wedge the wagon on the chevrons between the slip road and roadside, & sat there with traffic whizzing past on both sides at 70mph while we phoned for assistance.
Thankfully it wasn’t too long before the police arrived, and helped us get on to the side of the slip road, which was a slightly safer position. They coned the road off behind us, and sat for two hours with blue lights on, to stop anything piling into the back of us. The breakdown company kept in touch, as a decision was going to have to be made to get Oscar off the wagon if we couldn’t get fixed and back on the road in a decent timescale. He was an absolute saint, standing quietly, even with the constant buffering from traffic flying past.
The breakdown man arrived....& after scratching his chin, announcing that he only usually worked on cars, disappeared under the wagon with a can of WD40 & a hammer. 30 seconds, and two hammer blows later...& the exhaust break that had locked on was free, & we were good to go. Not before I climbed under the wagon, so he could show me how to fix it, if it ever happened again!
The delay meant we didn’t arrive at the venue until after 9pm, and had missed the slot to ride in the arena to stretch Oscar off, and try to settle my nerves. I’d never been to a competition as big as this, & was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.
After not much sleep, it was time to get on the horse, and do the arena walk. If everything went to plan, that would also give me an hour in the general arena to stretch him, and check he was feeling ok. Arena walk was pretty uneventful, so we headed to the arena. He was starting to tense, but I relaxed when we went into the indoor, as there was only another four horses in there....result!
The feeling lasted all of about one minute, as I clocked the first horse we walked by, being ridden by Charlotte Dujardin. Being perfectly honest, my backside fell out of my jodhpurs..... & I lost the ability to ride again... my legs didn’t work, my brain wouldn’t engage, & I immediately tensed up. This transferred straight to Oscar, who during the arena walk had been calm, chilled and laid back, & turned him a coiled spring, ready to bolt off, and spook at anything.
I know everyone says to just concentrate on yourself, no one is looking at you ( I’m certainly not deluded enough to think Charlotte even noticed my lack of riding skills) but that’s so much easier said than done? I need to do some serious work on my confidence and mindset to get on top of this, as if this self doubt hits before show jumping or cross country rather than stressage, I’d be just waiting for a disaster to happen.
The test came and went, and we stayed on board, stayed in the arena, and didn’t go wrong, but it was tense from start to finish....me and Oscar... & I was just relieved when it was over. The judges comments were all fair, & I learnt a lot from the whole experience.
So the dressage is now parked, while we get on with working towards our wobbleberry challenge.