Ah, spring. It’s finally here! Everything is greener, I’ve peeled off my fabulous fleece-lined and waterproof jods, and had the yearly conversation with Socks regarding fly spray: it’s only fly spray, bear, not an electric shock. Bless her.
My main event for this month was my fundraising for Hannah Francis’ Willberry Wonder Pony – I’ve been training to take over a role as Duty Manager at work and I feel like I haven’t stopped.
Could I tell you what I’ve been doing while I’ve been rushing around? Nope. I can’t remember for the life of me. I don’t even know what day it is. Help.
22nd April – Fundraising for Willberry Wonder Pony, Ickleford Equestrian Centre
Over the day, I rode five tests without stirrups: three on Socks, and two on Mia’s horse, Ice.
I know what you’re thinking. We’ve heard this all before, Heather. The test will be going beautifully, and then Socks will spook at something silly and it’ll all go wrong.
I’ll be honest, I was expecting the same, and probably to end up on the floor; but no. Not even a flinch or a fluster.
65% for our Pony Club C test was a good start (especially with only five minutes warm up – I’ve no idea how we ended up that way…), followed by 69% for Prelim 7, and 68% for Prelim 12. Not bad at all!
Mum was a strong contender for gold star of the day for beating me in Prelim 7 with 71% - a fab result for her first test back after hurting her leg!
Proud as I am of my mum, for me, Ice won the day.
Intro A and B were his first ever dressage tests and even with a rider with no stirrups, he posted a 68% for his first test and 65% for his second, with some lovely comments from the judge.
I was so pleased for him, and pleased I did him justice! How did we reward him? By putting a pink ribbon in his forelock for breast cancer awareness. I think he wanted to call the RSPCA.
Overall I raised £288.57, smashing my target of £250! I can’t thank everybody who donated and supported me on the day enough, but especial thanks go to Debbie and Richard, my yard owners, who not only let me ride all the tests for free, but donated as well – thank you!
The rest of the month – what have we done?
We’ve also had a couple of revelations.
We always thought Socks was only half an ex-racer – she went through training, but never raced.
There must have been some hysterical spook-related incident where she was sent home in disgrace, we assumed. Not so!
Turns out she raced in one point to point, came fourth, and so is eligible for ROR! Hooray! Watch this space!
Our other revelation might come as a bit of a surprise to those who know us well: jumping is fun again!
This time last year, I wasn’t allowed to ride Socks in my B test because jumping anything higher than 75cm normally ended with me on the floor – luckily, (infuriatingly?) often on my feet.
Even poles on the ground were a bit of a push. So, confidence for both of us was at rock bottom – I was constantly riding in brace position because I was so convinced she’d stop.
But now, a year later, we’ve been chugging away slowly and we’re really finding our stride. I’ll admit, I was starting to feel quietly confident.
My friend Rachel, who was fantastic last year, not letting me give up on jumping, and leting me regain her confidence on her little dude, Squirt, invited us over again for a play over some cross country jumps on her yard.
Socks and I jumped scary turquoise barrels, tyres, skinnies and, our old nemesis, a makeshift ditch, without even a flinch.
Now, I’m loudly confident. Who was this horse and what had she done with my bear?
Even fillers and odd fences at home and in our session with Petros caused minimum fuss. Again, watch this space!