• Hannah Craft

Sid goes double clear (but sadly, I do NOT...)

After a last-minute entry into Goring Heath, I sat for about a week crossing my fingers that I would make it off the wait list.

Now, I didn't wish ill on others per say, but I did cross my fingers for enough people to withdraw that I would get a run!

Sid had been full of beans in the run up to the event, and I was hoping for an explosive dressage test...

Well, he still hasn't quite learnt to focus on me and got a tad "argumentative" (this was written on our test sheet - facepalm) in the middle of the test. NOT the kind of explosive I was looking for but, nevertheless, he showed some really nice movements...or so I thought.

The judge clearly did not agree as we got 41%!

Looking at the test sheet though, I think that was largely because there was a medium walk movement with double marks....and Sid jogged, so got given 2 x 3/10.

Which I thought was a little harsh, but there you go.

The section was marked quite harshly so it's all relative!

Onto the show-jumping and Sid lit up.

He wasn't a fan of the course as, honestly, it was not up to height and he just doesn't bother jumping properly when they're small.

I did my best to hold him together and we had a very average round but managed to go clear.

I much prefer the likes of Tweseldown and Firle where you actually feel like you're having to ride the course - but on the other hand, if you've got a smaller horse or hate show-jumping, it's a good choice.

Onto the all-important cross country.

I had walked the course and felt confident.

We had planned on doing our first BE100 if we went clear....so the pressure was on.

Sid warmed up very enthusiastically - I suppose that's the best way to explain his desperate urge to charge at the jumps and gallop around like a lunatic.

Anyway, he was having fun.

We were given the nod to start and off we went!

Sid jumped boldly over the first and slightly hesitated to the second and third (fence judges were right up against the jump and Sid is NOT about fence judges) but a quick tap tap and he popped over.

The fourth was a nice open chair and he just rolled over the top.

Then it was downhill to the house and 5 strides right to the skinny corner.

I was determined to not let this be our bogey fence, so I steadied him up earlier than perhaps I would normally, held him straight after the house and clamped my legs on to keep him straight over the corner.

I was rewarded as he flew through and into the woods.

He isn't great at hay bales and they lined our gallop through the woods but he soon locked onto the next fence, a wooden ascending spread with brush on top.

Over we went and then a few seconds later, out over the palisade and back into the fields.

A box fence next and he just got a bit flat and rapped it with his front legs.

I kicked on and focused on the next - a wave rolltop into the water. He had a tiny look - the water was murky black! - but hopped over and through.

We came around the corner to a table - not a problem - and over the brush to step up.

All was going swimmingly.

He even locked onto the ditch to log combo and pulled me through it! This from a horse that wouldn't go near ditches!!

We came downhill towards an innocuous green roll.

I still cannot tell you what went wrong.

I must have lost my balance because all of a sudden I was flying through the air and landing on the ground with a thud.

Sid was very confused (what was I doing on the ground?!)

Looking at the video, I was falling off two strides out but managed somehow to hold on (and what an honest horse Sid is for still jumping) but couldn't quite get back in the saddle after the jump.

I was devastated but got back on and finished the last three jumps (which, even more devastatingly, he jumped beautifully) - a log, a wagon and a pheasant feeder).

Perhaps it was karma for wishing myself off the waitlist at the expense of others? Or maybe a sign that I'm just not good enough to step up a level yet?

Either way, we are taking the positives from today - Sid was bold, we had a great round and we came home safe.

We are determined to get those double clears - see you at Little Downham for our next attempt!

H&S

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