Graduated and Raring to Go: Against all the odds

Heather and Socks haven't had the best time recently - falling victim to a hacking disaster and a gang of thieves on the same day. Would they make it to their competition? 

Earlier this month, we had a slightly stressful week.

I’d entered another BD competition, mostly because I felt like I’d been neglecting my dressage a bit, and also because I’ve decided I’d like to have a crack at the RoR champs this year. To qualify I need to actually compete at some dressage!

Sadly, with the rubbish weather we’ve all been struggling with, our preparation was not particularly great. Socks would definitely have preferred to be jumping around in the snow still…

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But sadly for her, we had work to do. Sadly for me, Socks wasn’t in any way in the mood. So on the Thursday of that week, I thought we’d go for a nice, de-stressing hack, since it was just starting to get light enough after work. (Yipee!!)

We had a nice ride, jumped over Socks’ favourite pile of sticks and a few puddles, and had a nice run around. Just as we were trotting on one of the tracks toward the yard, I felt Socks become a little bit uneven.

Immediately I started praying. “Please don’t let bear be lame, please don’t let her be lame, please, please, please!”

So I hopped off and had a look. There was the culprit - a missing shoe.

Socks’ feet are useless without shoes, and her pain threshold is non-existent, so she got a massive pat for being so brave and grown up, and we walked back to the yard.

But the night wasn't over. There I was, at ten to seven in the evening in the pitch dark, searching for Socks’ lost shoe by the torch light on my phone, grabbing any dog walker who passed me and asking if they’d seen a horse shoe.

I was cold, fed up, and hungry. “Could today get any worse?” I asked myself.

Turns out, yes, yes it could.

Falling victim to thieves 

Just then, I received a phone call from our local police force. They had some horse documents that they thought belonged to me, and could I check my horsebox to see if it had been broken into, please?

“Have you got my horse’s passport?” Was my first question. Luckily, they did, so that was something less to panic about.

Don’t ask me why we kept Socks’ passport in the lorry, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

By then I’d given up hope of ever finding Socks’ shoe, so turned back to our top yard to check the lorry.

Sure enough, somebody had put a rock through the window, ripped our rear-view monitor out and made all kinds of mess.

More fool them, even they'd got away with the things, they wouldn't have been worth anything. Just very, very inconvenient for us.

Picking up the pieces

So poor Mum not only had to attend the saddle fitter the following morning, but the farrier (our farrier, Jay, is a wonderful, wonderful man for coming out at such short notice!), and the forensic team from the police as well.

Dad appeared in the afternoon and fixed up a makeshift passenger window for us for the lorry, so we could still get to Brook Farm the next day. My parents are truly the best!

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There we were, the next day, with me still pulling tiny shards of glass out of my bottom, on our way to a British Dressage fixture. Dad’s window was ingenious, but it wasn’t half noisy on the M25.

Obviously, I was in a bit of a state still because it’s always a bit of a toss-up as to who’s more hysterical - me or Socks; but my little bear was brilliant. She kept a lid on everything, and I’m pretty sure she held my hand more than I held hers.

We could've done better tests, but 62% in both is not bad at all, I thought, considering. We still got points, at least! And we placed in both, 6th in Novice 22 and 2nd in Novice 39.

Look at us go, against all the odds! Hopefully we’ve now seen the last of this rubbish weather and we can get stuck into some proper jumping over things.

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