Category Archives: Cross Country

Eventually Eventing

 

saLLY.jpg

Way back when – eventing on board chestnut TB mare Sally at Russellstown Riding Club I think this was in 2003. One of the best mares I ever rode and still sadly missed. 

While I have focused on dressage and showing for the last number of years I actually used to event. I evented for a few years on the riding club circuit in the intermediate grade. I used to event whatever I was allowed to sit on. My biggest challenge was a chestnut mare ex racer who went like a bullet cross country with her head between her legs. In the show jumping she also went like a bullet but would either jump clear or turf me off. I used to be terrified as the speed had my eyes streaming but after a few events, some of which we won I finally had control of her. At our last event together we would have won the national championships, having led from dressage only I was so delighted at having the mare going well I missed a fence cross country and had us eliminated. It was a hard lesson to learn and I was angry at myself as it was completely and utterly my fault. Sadly we never had a chance to try again as the mare died from a kick a few weeks later.  I still think of her often – she thought me the power of positive riding and more importantly how to stick your bum like glue to a saddle. My last ever riding club event was in 2008 or 2009 on a gentleman of a gelding who at 21 years old still thought he was a young lad. We had done a few events together and he was so experienced at his job that all I had to do was steer him. At that last event, also the riding club championships our team placed second which was a lovely finish to my eventing adventures. It is safe to say that I had learned from past mistakes and did not omit a fence.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Competition nerves and Winning Against Worrying

er4

I think this photo sums it up. I was at the AIRC festival with friends on an absolute diamond of a horse who never let me down. I loved it I really did but the photo shows the effect the stress and nerves were having on me – pale, tired and hungry. 

My anxiety around competition was never really just about competition. It was a fear of the unknown, of lack of control, of new things.  It started when I was a small child and if I was anxious about something I would feel sick and nervous. Things like exams, trying new things, bus trips. Over time it got worse and I was anxious before things I was actually looking forward to. The anxiety in turn caused illness as I have a sensitive stomach anyway so it got to the point that I was anxious of being anxious. I missed a lot of things because of it – sleep overs, the first day of pony camp, scouting trips. I was afraid to look forward to anything. My poor mother was tormented by it and had the patience of a saint at times especially when it came to high stress events such as the leaving cert (which I did on three Valium and about seven packs of polo mints a day). I managed miraculously to compete on horses as a teenager and adult. It was hard going – I used to meditate on the way over to try and calm myself down (yeah I was the odd ball), couldn’t eat and would be white as a sheet before a competition and exhausted afterwards.

Read the rest of this entry

20 Things I Learned From Starting Eventing Ireland

20170619-IMG_1936

Photo purchased from Annaharvey Photos

  1. Always watch the 1 and 2* riders XC. No one gets it right every time but their ability to handle what comes up is what counts and gets them around. There was me having an asthma attack in case I got the wrong stride at a log when I saw someone get no stride at a massive combination, sit up, ride it with one stirrup and school a horse through clear – lesson learned!

Read the rest of this entry

Getting A Second Chance

sammy as himself.jpg

Sammy as himself

Last Spring I was helping my partner to sell a horse. It was a horse that I referred to as ‘that idiot cob’ having seen him cart himself full speed around the arena with riders on more than one occasion. My partner had bought him as a four year old from a dealer at a sale and always believed in him but unfortunately a career in the riding school or as a student horse just didn’t suit Sammy so as an eight year old he was up for sale to try and find him a new home. We brought him and another horse that was for sale to a local venue to do some schooling. I’ll admit I was very much surprised – with a professional rider on board the ‘idiot cob’ became something else and despite not having left the yard more than twice in four years he didn’t even look at the fillers in the indoor arena.

Read the rest of this entry

The Reality of Being Short Sighted Equestrian

Having no idea which horse is yours without wearing glasses or contact lenses, you just know what colour blur it should be.

Experiencing the unique pain of a horses head bashing your glasses into your face.

Read the rest of this entry

The Best Thing I Never Said

“You see what it is, I see what it was”

I was having a whinge about the horse not going well one day. My coach said this to me and I thought it was a very eloquent way of reminding me of how far I had come when I was lamenting how far I had still to go.  

 

“Ride them forwards”

 A wise man always says this to me. I have since heard it from other wise people. Sometimes the simplest things are the most important to get right.

Read the rest of this entry

Marvelous Sights at Mount Juliet

mj8

This time last year, a friend and I were keen for an adventure on horseback so we headed down to Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown in Co. Kilkenny for a cross country ride out. I had been to Mount Juliet before for a side saddle hack organised by the side saddle association and I was keen to head back to try out the equestrian facilities astride.

Read the rest of this entry

Enjoying Cross Country and Home Cooked Cuisine at Crossogue

Cross country at Crossogue

Cross country at Crossogue

Ever thought ‘no one ever wins those competitions on Facebook’? I used to think that too. I was wrong. People win – I won! Most recently I won a fantastic prize of a two day trip to Crossogue Equestrian near Thurles in Co. Tipperary in Ireland. My trip included two nights stay, meals and four lessons. Having ridden at Crossogue many years ago I was delighted to get an opportunity to head back and even more delighted when my friend Dani decided to book in to come with me.

Read the rest of this entry

Paddys Day At Abbeyfield

Maegen and I at Abbeyfield Farm

Maegen and I at Abbeyfield Farm

It was Paddys Day, it was not p*ssing rain, I was off work. There was only one thing for it, road trip time. Given the proximity of Abbeyfield Farm to the yard it was the perfect place to go for some cross country schooling. I’d been at the yard before but only while hunting so had no idea what the course looks like when you are not going full tilt in a group. I contacted Abbeyfield Farm a few days beforehand and arranged to go over for a spin.

Read the rest of this entry

An Adverse Weather Cross Country Adventure At Grange Farm

Dolly and I conquer the water with a little help from friends.

Dolly and I conquer the water with a little help from friends.

 

It was one in the afternoon on a weekend in January. After three hours standing I felt like I was on a boat. The wind rocked me from side to side and the rain battered my back. The water had begun to seep through the seams of my hard working coat and my wax hat. My ski gloves had given up the ghost and hung from my hands like wet sponges. I was mentally singing the praises of my waterproof trousers and grateful that I had a spare ski jacket in the boot of a jeep. I was not on a boat nor on a ski slope. I was in an arena at the yard. This is Winter. This is Ireland. Read the rest of this entry