Graduated and Raring to Go: Starting as we mean to go on

Since starting her new job, Heather has got herself into quite the routine. Here she explains a successful visit to a showjumping lesson for her and Socks. 

I’m not ill. I’m not. My asthma is a bit bad and my nose keeps getting stuffed up, that’s all. I don’t have time to be ill.

That being said, I love my new routine. I can wake up, eat, muck out, turn out, go home and get changed, go to work, ride, then come home and still have an evening. Amazing! And now it’s getting lighter in the mornings, I’m determined to get some early morning hacking miles in.

But with all the wet weather, it’s nice to go off the yard and leave our school to have a bit of a rest. So earlier this month, we went over to Witchford for a show-jumping lesson with Owen Moore. It was our first in a couple of months, so I knew we’d have to blow out some cobwebs.

Thankfully, I will say now that Owen joined the ranks of international event riders I haven’t fallen off in front of – in fact, far from it!

 Wrapped up warm!

Wrapped up warm!

It was a freezing cold day, but it was lovely to see my friend Rachel and her horse Josh again after a couple of months and it was so great to see Josh having such a ball. If you told him how old he was, he wouldn’t believe you!

As soon as Socks came through the gate and saw jumps, she started bouncing. I’ve noticed this is something she’s doing more and more recently, and with all the impeccable behaviour that comes after it, I’m forced to conclude that she might actually be excited. Hurrah!

Owen quickly set himself up as a Fantastic Instructor by saying he could tell I was a dressage queen by the way Socks was going on the flat.

I’d have probably laughed at him for flattery if I wasn’t so surprised! I’m not sure if it was the new instructor, new surroundings or just for Josh, but she was definitely showing off and strutting her stuff. All I had to do was sit nicely and carry my hands. I love my horse!

It only got better as we started to jump

To start with, I was wary, but when Socks cantered over some planks on the floor without even a flinch, I started to smile. 

Next, Owen put up some spooky fences to see what Socks and Josh would do. Josh, ever the gentleman, powered right over them and to my surprise, so did Socks. It was at this point I realised that I really, really wasn’t nervous.

Like not even a little bit. And the less nervous I felt, the more confident Socks felt. And the more confident Socks was, the more relaxed I got. We egged each other on!

Big red wall? No problem.

Green plastic bush branches? “Let me at ‘em!”, said Socks.

Next came the gate. Now, we all know what happened the last time Socks and I tried to jump a gate. (If you missed it, you can read about it here)

As we cantered toward it, I just about heard Rachel calling over telling me to breathe, but, as soon as she said it, I realised I didn’t need to. Somehow, I was chill. We sailed over it and bear didn’t even look at it!

 Boing!

Boing!

“Who is this horse and what has she done with my Socksy?” I asked gleefully.

“It’s called a calmer!” Rachel replied.

For context, Rachel has been suggesting I use one for at least the past three years. Why didn’t I listen?

And then, to top it off, Owen said that Socks jumped adorably and that we had a really lovely relationship. Honestly, I think that is the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me and my horse. Things are looking up for this year! 

(Maybe the sun will come out?)

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now.