• Hannah Craft

It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN (doo doo dooooo do)

Keysoe Arena Eventing 100.

A few days post-entering Tweseldown and getting excited for the 2019 season, and Sid came in from the field with what can only be described as "a massive hole in his belly".

Cue an emergency visit from the vet, several stitches (a large bill) and crying on the phone to my non-horsey brother.

I even withdrew from Tweseldown and First Husband started dreaming of all the things he could buy with a season's worth of no entry fees.

However, what I had forgotten, whilst wallowing in self pity, was that Sid is basically a superhorse.

He has an incredible ability to heal (unfortunately, his ability to injure himself is also incredible).

Two weeks later and the vet had removed his stitches and told us to "crack on". With the help of my yard owner, we brought him back into full work and last weekend we returned to competing!

The night before Keysoe I had managed to wave an iron in the general direction of my show gear and hence felt justified in spending the rest of my evening at Magic Mike Live.

I arrived at the yard slightly worse for wear the next morning after a few "cheeky" G&Ts.

I can confirm that I now have a renewed appreciation for the Arts (and Mike really IS magic).

Moving on...!

First Husband had kindly made us an eventing packed lunch: cheese and pickle rolls, cheesy doritos, chocolate brownie bites, lucozade sport (non-fizzy) and some token fruit for good measure.

He clearly felt the need to remind me of his worth (sure, Magic Mike can dance like THAT but would he make you rolls?!)

I arrived at the yard with my provisions and very unhelpfully watched my yard manager muck out, whilst I finished off a McMuffin and attempted to beautify Sid.

To the lady who posted about owners of greys deserving a 10 penalty point reduction: I wholeheartedly support your campaign, provided that it also applies to owners of skewbalds (particularly when said skewbald is mainly white).

I did not vomit.

We headed off to Keysoe and I managed to maintain an acceptable level of conversation throughout the journey, although my singing was fairly limited, as my voice kept cutting out on every other word. Too much wolf-whistling?!

Missing my bed, I warmed up for the dressage a bit apathetically. Our test was (unusually) accurate, but lacked a little oomph. We were given a 32 which I think was more than fair!!

We reached the show-jumping arena, to discover that it was decorated with what can only be described as "Barbie" pink drapes around the edge.

This did not help my queasiness.

I watched a fall and several refusals and felt very positive about my impending round...

The distressing thing about show-jumping is that the bell always rings, and so we headed into the arena after a warm-up where I had spent more time daydreaming of Mike than jumping.

In our new world of problems, Sid has decided that, instead of picking up his knees, he will just jump a little bit bigger.

Our round was therefore a little bit casual, if I'm honest.

I think where we are schooling over slightly bigger jumps, 100 does not make us quite so imgoingtowetmyselfandbesickallatonce-terrified anymore. I'm sure it's a good thing.

However, Sid, as always, was still awesome and gave me a great feel round the course in terms of control (this is an improving area).

We had one pole due to me getting to a slightly deep take off and Sid deciding not to gymnastically haul his body out of the way of the jump (fair enough).

I was massively relieved not to have seen my McMuffin again.

Feeling pretty pleased, we headed to cross country. I didn't have a chance to walk the course but it looked sort've fine from my vantage point on Sid (if a bit solid - bring back rustic poles!).

I popped a warm up jump, told a few bystanders I was probably about to throw up, and headed in.

We got off to a really good start and I even braved a little bit of a smile and remembered to breathe. I've realised that breathing is fairly important (along with not falling off).

There were some interesting fence placement decisions, making the course slightly tricky at times.

One of these nearly caused disaster when Sid locked onto a skinny in his line of sight, just as I tried to turn him right to the wide table.....

I hauled him round like a motorbike and we had zero canter, but I flap-flapped my orange whip and squeezed with every inch of the calf muscle I wish I had and Sid said "OK mum, let me help out" and hopped over! We then soared over the last rolltop and finished CLEAR!

I was so chuffed with my superstar - really an example of him responding instantly and being super honest in less than ideal circumstances.

To top it off we finished 4th and came home with a green rosette (probably the only green rosette we will ever win but I'll take it!)

We ended the day with a hot chocolate and a handful of treats (respectively) and I have been grinning from ear to ear since.

Can't wait to get out to some events this season!!!

Also well done to Adele and Marley, who also had a really positive day with lots of improvement from our last visit to Keysoe. Sid was very happy to have a travel companion (but not so happy when Marley had to disappear off to do his test/jump)....

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