Last week, after a two year break I did two events in four days on my unicorn moving up a level since our last time out in 2017. It was great fun but as usual we learned a few things along the way….
- If you are going to drive 3 + hours each way to an event bring a friend.
- If you still like someone after six or more hours together in a car, you are definitely friends
- When adding your route to a maps app make sure ‘avoid motorways’ is unticked
- It doesn’t matter how many lists you make you will always forget something
- However many studs you think you need, buy twice that many
- It is not just horses who need electrolytes and water – drink water if you don’t want to look like a raisin the next day
- never underestimate how terrifying it can be if a flower almost touches your horses leg in a dressage test
- The camera adds ten pounds to the rider and takes at least 10cm off the height of a fence. The giant wooden chasm you had to jump over in real life will always look up to your knee in photos.
- if you ask if you should bring a waterproof rug and your friends says ‘No, it wont rain’ – it will definitely rain. It will rain a lot
- The only thing more of a pain in the swiss than returning from XC soaked to your knickers is trying to wrangle studs out of the feet of a horse who is determined to eat grass in torrential rain
- The flimsier your footwear the more times a horse will try and stand on you with studs in
- When packing spare clothes include socks and underwear unless you like driving home with a wet ass.
- Nothing feels as good as a warm and dry change of clothes after getting soaked.
- When changing in your horsebox make sure your horse cant nip your bum.
- Riders going through adrenaline crash who have not eaten in about six hours do not make healthy food choices.
- When it comes to travelling horses while noise is a concern, silence is suspicious.
- It doesn’t matter how neat and organised your jeep was on the way there, on the way home it will be a chaotic mess of mud / sweat / hair covered stuff that no longer even fits
- Nothing that leaves home white comes home white
- It doesn’t matter how many times you swear you will, no one is every fresh enough after getting home to clear out the horsebox or jeep the same evening when they get home
- It doesn’t matter how many times you swear you will clean out the horsebox and jeep the next day, it will be at least three days later.
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- Ignore excruciating and ongoing pain and stiffness blaming lack of fitness / getting old / an old injury but call the physio, vet and backman at the first sign of mild discomfort in the horse
- Keep horses teeth maintained twice yearly but avoid our own dentist unless the dental pain is so bad that it can’t be cured by whiskey and / or difene
Sunday was quite simply, an experience. I headed off with two friends to our first Dressage Ireland competition of the season. They were keen to qualify for Cavan, I just needed three more scores myself and one wanted to test drive her new lorry so we thought why not and headed off out West to County Clare to compete in the North Munster region.
Scroll through Facebook or Instagram and it is on many ‘inspiring’ quote or hastag #livingmybestlife but you’re not, your horse is. Horse ownership should come with a disclaimer that explains its most about being covered in hair / mud / poo and paying vet bills or replacing expensive broken things. If you don’t agree let’s look at just a few reasons why your horse is living a better life than you right now
Why the national championships?
Goals are personal and what matters to each rider really does depend on their own experiences. For me, competing successfully at the National Dressage Championships has meaning because when I first started proper dressage training a few years ago it seemed ridiculously unlikely that I would ever be good enough to be able to do it.
I’ve been having great fun with the TextingStory app – here is a video I made earlier based on what I reckon it would be like if Sammy could text me en route 🙂
Hail to the bystanders
Always waiting to say
You shouldn’t be riding
Your horse in that way
Always ready with advice
When you fall to the ground
Although their only riding experience
Is reading horse and hound