• Hannah Craft

Am I Crazy?! (probably)

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

I'm sat in my new house, overthinking whether I need to go and make small-talk with the decorator and/or offer him further cups of tea.

I already feel annoyed that I had to use my new kettle for him BEFORE the kitchen is finished, and so I have decided to instead write this event report (which is overdue anyway).

So, here goes!

The adjective "mad", and other synonyms thereof, is a word that is often used to describe me (hard to believe, I know....)

But most people, once they realise they are relocating from London to Swindon on a particular Friday, would have withdrawn from the event they had entered on a particular Saturday.

However! I am nothing if not stubborn (aka stupid).

And so I refused to let a small thing, such as moving house 3 hours down the M25/M4, stop me from eventing the following day.

Having transported 4 wailing cats 120 miles down the motorway (I was wailing the loudest by the end of the journey) I supervised First Husband as he unloaded our wordly possessions from the lorry.

After having supported and motivated him throughout ("NO WHY ARE YOU DOING IT LIKE THAT - BE CAREFUL DUMDUM THAT'S FRAGILE - IF YOU SCUFF MY NEW WALLS I WILL HAVE TO DIVORCE YOU - YOU HAVE HOW MANY BOXES OF TRAINERS?!") and having secretly entered FH into box roulette (by taping every other box inadequately and packing them full of heavy items, resulting in a high risk of the bottom falling out when FH picked them up...) I grabbed some food and headed back to London to camp out next to Sid's stable and await the following day.

I arrived at the yard to find my horse beautifully clean, plaited up and with stud blanks in.

My yard owner and friend, Adele, had done ALL of the hard work for me! On a serious note (boring), I could NOT have done it without her. She is a diamond amongst diamonds and I am beyond grateful to her for everything she has done for Sid and I. WE LOVE YOU ADELE!!!!!

My imagination is far too excitable, because I spent the night worrying that I would unwittingly become part of the next horror film: "The Haunting of the Stables" and/or was about to be burgled whilst I slept.

Morning came and I awoke to the sound of birds and the horses kicking their doors for food.

I shoved on some (sort of) clean show gear, loaded my horse and as many of my belongings as I could fit in the non-horse half of my trailer, and began my journey down to AuW.

We arrived and Sid kindly drew my attention to the lovely grass underfoot, by hauling me out of the trailer and immediately pulling his head down to munch.

I can be equally as rude, so I hauled him back to the tie up. Much good it did me as he just stretched his tie up so that he could continue to reach the grass.

I grabbed my numbers, tacked Sid up and we pootled along to the stressage warm up.

I nearly ballsed things up by heading over to do my test a few horses too early (a 6 and an 8 on a number bib look so similar from far away...)

Finally we were trotting down the centre line and I stretched my face into some sort of ugly grimace smile.

My current motivational eventing mantra is "this is too expensive not to be fun" so I chanted that as I bumbled through my test, managing not to go so obviously wrong that the judge had to get out of their car (always a win).

We came to a halt and I gave Sid a big pat for what felt like an OK test!

I wasn't wrong because our score turned out to be 31, which put us 6th after dressage (spoiler alert: obviously we then went and ruined it later on).

Looking at our sheet, it turns out we got some 8s for our canter work and halt - we can either go really fast or really slow well (but not yet in between)!

A few minutes of respite and a Lucozade later (desperate attempt at boosting energy levels) and we were heading to the show-jumping warm up.

Due to some misalignment of the universe, however, there was about 20 horses to go before us. It was pretty chilly and I resolved to keep Sid moving but generally not do very much for a while.

If only success was measured against that yardstick, because I nailed that part of the day. Turns out we are excellent at moving but not doing much.

We began to warm up but - and I truly mean this - I COULD NOT RIDE. I was literally the epitome of horrendous.

Poor Sid must have been so embarrassed, especially in such a busy warm up with plenty of spectator horsey friends.

We headed into the ring with visions of demolition and destruction in my mind, and as I cantered towards the first jump I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a pair of spectators THAT I KNEW - a new work colleague and his son, who was also competing that day.

ARGH. I so dislike anyone "witnessing my terribleness" (sorry), particularly when I may have to see/speak to them afterwards.

Luckily, I can always depend on Squirrel to superhero my awfullest (?) moments, and he jumped round fairly cleanly, just knocking a pole with his back legs.

Not ashamed to say I hugged him all the way back to the trailer!

We then headed over to the XC, with me worrying all the way if I was about to let him down again.

He was Keen with a capital K for the duration of the warm up, to the point where I wondered if I was completely in control...

We headed over to the (very friendly) start team and I, as per usual, told the starter I was probably about to revisit the lunch that I had wolfed down with another Lucozade.

I love the paternal/maternal smile you get when you say that - they must hear it continuously throughout the day and think us eventers are all totally bonkers to keep doing something that makes us feel so ill!!!

We were counted down and we headed onto course, and all the while I was committing the cardinal sin of worrying about one particular jump....

Fence 10.

For those that didn't compete, let me explain: fence 10 is the fence of my nightmares. Worse than hauntings, worse than burglaries, worse than never being able to upgrade First Husband...

It was a brush (fine) WITH A DITCH IN FRONT OF IT.

Now, I'm not being funny, but if I was capable of jumping round Badminton-style courses, wouldn't I be entering them?!

We have historically had many a problem at trakheners and never have we jumped a DITCHBRUSH.

Anyway, we popped the first log, down to the little house and over another log into the second field.

We headed to the first wall (another thing we have never jumped before) and Sid had a little look but decided the grass may be greener on the other side and so over we went...

We hurdled the angled brush combination (a Sid favourite) and then, picking up confidence, took a slightly more enthusiastic jump over wall number two.

Sid loves a saw bench, and so that posed no problems and we gathered ourselves up for the first "tricky" combination - the wall to skinny.

Sid saw number two as we landed over the wall and calmly got his three strides in and over the B element we went - it was all feeling a little too comfortable!

We then tackled the log pile - fine - and headed into the woods ready for THE TERRIBLE DITCHBRUSH.

As we came towards it, Sid's brakes started to kick in a little bit, so I pushed my heels down (show your soles to the jumps you're scared of!) and locked my gaze onto a distant tree.

After a nerve-wracking moment of slight indecision, Sid chose to be amazing and flew over, with me loudly thanking him for his awesomeness for the next jump - a pheasant feeder.

However, my joy was to be shortlived as we came down the two steps and I gave Sid a godawful line to the corner - and we met it slightly deep with me over his shoulders like a numpty, and so he said "sorry mum but I'm not superhuman..." and ducked out.

I swapped my loud thanks for loud apologies and circled, and we represented and he jumped through the flags - yay.

We headed out over another pheasant feeder and he splashed through the water combination like the land-fish that he is.

We popped the last few fences and then we were over the finish line - with me still kicking myself for being useless, but Sid feeling like he had running left to do.

Not our best day on paper, overall, but I suppose this post is more about me being so grateful to my horse, to Adele for being such an enabler in the best sense of the word! and to everyone else that makes the sport so addictive that we keep coming back and spending all of our free time involved in one way or another.

Luckily I don't have to miss Adele for too long as we are back in London this weekend for Chilham - can't wait!

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