The para vaulter: A week at vaulting camp in numbers

Lizzie's had a busy week at vaulting camp, here's how she got on. 

This week we had vaulting camp. As you might imagine, this was quite exhausting even though I got to go home at the end of each day!

Drastic times call for drastic measures, and, since this month I can only stretch to bullet points, this is my overall experience in numbers:

  • 4 days of vaulting
  • 3 nights at home making me the 1 person getting some sleep
  • 1 torn hamstring pre-camp
  • Still only 1 torn hamstring post-camp (result!)
  • 1 pony ridden
  • 2 different horses vaulted on
  • 4 to 5 full barrel loads of poo and wet bedding from 1 horse for each mucking out
  • Many more stables mucked out
  • 10+ haynets filled or topped up
  • 3 new trot moves attempted (0 mastered)
  • 1 tunnel worn as a giant upright caterpillar costume
  • 1 crispy cake, 1 chocolate fairy cake and 4 small bits of flapjack eaten in 1 meal
  • 1 move attempted on the barrel which was an utter disaster every time I attempted it so maybe I should go back to that video from the World Champs and figure out what on earth they were doing before deciding that I might be over-stretching myself
  • 1 new freestyle routine, plus 1 or 2 other freestyle routines because I haven’t fully decided what to include yet
  • 7 new freestyle moves which could be included in the final routine
  • ZERO additional injuries for me after four days!
  • Well, not including xxx dislocated or subluxed joints (precise number censored in case my doctors see this)
  • 1 splendid roast dinner at the pub followed by the world’s number 1 apple and cherry crumble
  • 6 thin mats and 2 crash mats hauled about, average of 3 dislocations per mat per occasion
  • 1 pony bathed and scrubbed with around 500ml of shampoo
  • 4 legs with very dirty feathers made beautiful through lots of scrubbing and rinsing
  • The same 4 legs with very clean feathers made distressingly dirty again a few hours later
  • 4 children who hate me now because I made them do stretches properly, or hold a plank properly, or wash a pony properly, or <insert other excuse here>.
  • 2% - extent to which I feel bad about the above
  • 1 outstanding obstacle course constructed by the team and some of it actually attempted by me (lesson learned: a crutch can be employed in a very basic version of pole vault to launch yourself over a fence, but it’s easier with uprights than spreads).
  • 3 pairs of very wet vaulting shoes (one red, one blue, one white kind of grey and poo yellow/brown coloured)
  • Too many minutes spent holding planks and splits
  • Approximately 10 gallons of sweat lost
  • Approximately 1 cubic metre of arena stuck to or inside my person
  • 1 new CVC camp t-shirt in pale pink (stash-tastic)
  • 0.1 hours - how long said t-shirt stayed pink (the time it took to get onto the yard)
  • 1 very confused little grey pony wondering if the multiple children putting his bridle on and taking it off again repeatedly actually wanted him to do some work or whether he might be allowed to scoff his hay in peace
  • 4 gymkhana games as part of ‘Team Dougie’, including the classic ‘Leaning out and putting a body brush down on a bucket then picking it up again on the way back’ game, won by Team Dougie thanks to the skill of Sheri-Anne Smith who was the most accurate even though she was the only non-rider on the team!
  • At least 1 gymkhana game which needs a pithier but universally-recognised name.
  • 5 new wheelchair racers trained during the breaks
  • about a mile’s worth of tack cleaned
  • 1 shoulder that probably needs another MRI to compare pre- and post-camp abnormality since it is now getting stuck in new and exciting ways
  •  20-odd vaulters across the 4 days, 5 stunning vaulting horses (plus 4 for riding/turnout and more for lungeing practice), 4 amazing home coaches and 3 equally amazing visiting coaches
  • 1 stiff and sore para vaulter who is hoping to repair that hamstring in time for the English Champs in one month’s time!