Sarah & Hugo - The Final Fling (of 2018)
Well, it’s officially time for the last event report of the season.
In a world full of sunshine, rainbows and butterflys I’d be reporting a double clear, a rosette and I’d be sitting writing this with a glass of champagne (who am I kidding, *prosecco) to celebrate. However, the reality is that we actually live in a world where monsters live in arena mirrors and crocodiles reside in the water fence. However, I do have wine, although I downgraded to a flat white.
Today was certainly a day to focus on the positives...
The first positive was that I drove the lorry with Hugo in it for the first time and everyone/ everything got to Alnwick Ford in one piece, albeit a little bit rushed as we took a wrong diversion sign and I had to turn the beast on a narrow road! Ideal.
So as mum ran to get my number (Mum rarely runs but we were one SuperGroom down today), I quickly got changed and threw some tack on before trotting off to the white boards. HUGE improvements in our dressage test. I warmed up without stirrups as I ride better without (I know, weird right?) and Hugo was listening and forward. Into the arena and the listening continued, which is always a bonus. So I was super happy for a score of 30.8, a vast improvement on our recent tests!
A long old wait before show jumping meant I had more than enough time to walk the XC course. Off I went, lucozade in hand, as I’m not very good at eating at events and since we had an afternoon slot this week I thought I better get some energy into me to prevent me keeling over the side during the SJing. The course was nice, nothing too big or scary which I though was good for a last run, finish on a high and all that.
SJ wasn’t one for the record books- anyone who has been to Alnwick will know that the arena is lined with gigantic mirrors on all sides and is a whole new world of spookiness! The first time I took Hugo to a pure showjumping competition here it took me about 4 mins after the bell had actually gone to get to the start, so that paints a pretty good picture of how terrifying it is. But only 8 faults later and I’m pleased I haven’t exited through the front door so happy days, we get to go XC!!
Another loooong wait meant time for a sandwich (unheard of) and some cuddles in the lorry. Hugo is super confused by this point as he’s been in and out the lorry all day, studs in, studs out, studs in again- what on earth are you playing at woman?! But EVENTUALLY the cross country boots go on and the body protector appears so surely to god it must be time now?!
He warmed up beautifully- really calm but keen and forward. He came out of the start box like a man on a mission and motored over the first couple of fences, a little quick across the bridge and up the hill so I had to take a bit more of a hold as he was flying and we were already 15 seconds up on our first minute marker! He cruised around the course like it was nothing, absolutely effortless and we both were loving every minute- I had a grin on my face to match that of the Cheshire Cat.
But alas, horses always have a wonderful way of bringing you crashing down to earth in the blink of an eye. It would appear that our water demons have not been 100% slain just yet as we came to a sharp stop at the boat three strides before the water. Damnit (although I don’t think my turn of phrase at the time was quite so polite).
We took a minute and cleared it second try and would you bloody believe it, after all that he trotted straight into the bloomin water itself without a second thought. Horses, eh? So my smile returned and we finished the course FULL of running as I was waaaaay past the finish and up the track before I eventually got him pulled up.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a competitive person and I’m no longer thrilled with “just getting round”. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t disappointed with Hugo at all because he tried really hard for me and I know our water battle will be a lengthy journey, and I wasn’t disappointed in myself because I felt that I gave it my all but I was disappointed with the result at the time. After a long journey home and some goodnight cuddles back at the stables (Woods was mad that we left him again), I concluded that there were way more positives than negatives today. We have loads to work on over the winter and to quote EVERYONE today, he really is “next years horse” (even though that phrase makes me want to scream ????????????).
So here’s to everyone who had their last run today! After Woodys injury I didn’t think I would have a season at all this year so thanks to Hugo for being my little knight in shining armour ????(I’ll do a season review in another post).
And the good news is that it’s only seven months until our next event…
Competing in the Brand new Royal Blue Performance Skin
Photos by the talented and all round wonderful human being Dave Cameron Photography