Band wagons…

How to start this blog is hard..

Right here goes I guess…

Im sure you are all too aware of the tragic and awful deaths of two event riders last weekend , when the news found its way to me last Saturday afternoon  – it really brought home to me the saying ‘for the grace of god go I’

I am massive believer in fate and truly believe , even as hard as it is to except right now – everything happens for a reason…

That still does not ease the heart breaking feeling that two talented young men have had there lives cut so cruelly short.. As details of the tragic accidents were being released I found myself in shock , disbelief and also feeling anger at just how quickly people were jumping on band wagons of blaming courses builders , fences etc…

I see it like this – two adults lost there lives doing something they were passionate about , they like all us so called ‘event riders’ know the risks.. We put a foot in the iron knowing our horses aren’t machines , nor I’d like to add are we… We nor them work on program’s , that’s the whole point and thrill of our sport – its putting two living breathing beings together and asking them to work together to get the best possible result in each phase.. The chances of cross wires & miss communication are high.. But that is why we train endlessly day in day out with our horses , we try to get them as much on our wave length as possible and equally get our selfs to understand how they tick and think. I have had 3 horse falls in the time I’ve been riding.. A very small number of falls considering how many horses I ride each season – I count myself very lucky that myself and my horse have walked away unharmed in each of them , hand on heart now – I believe in each of those falls I made no mistake.. But my gosh , don’t you worry I’ve made plenty!! Seen a stride I thought was right and my horse (more than likely correctly!) thought was wrong.. In those cases I have had *cough* a few UR’s .. Again thou , I’ve walked away fine… Fate again for you…

My point is thou , who are we to judge? I wanted to say to the people writing/jumping on these ‘blame anyone and everyone band wagons’  – Did you walk the course? Do you ride at the same level that the accidents hapened at? Did you see what happended? Do you know the rider well? Do you know the horse well?  I’m guessing all the answers would more than likely be NO…

A badly built fence can be ridden and jumped well , just as a well built fence can be ridden and jumped badly…

Im not for one second trying to push the blame on to those tragic riders but and this is a massive BUT – they knew the risks , they walked the course and were happy to jump it..

Accidents tragically happen..

The only small thing we can try and take from this is they were doing something they loved and were passionate about.. Let’s save our thoughts for the loving family and friends they leave behind..

Life as we were sharply reminded on Saturday really is to short , if it makes you happy do it… Because there may just never be a second chance or another day…

I raise a glass to you Benjamin and Jordan.

Have a good week everyone.. Stay safe , be lucky and if you have nothing nice to say best to say nothing at all…

P

Being me , square pegs , round holes and great ideas….

Back again…..

So I have news – not much and sadly not good news… The lovely run away Moose picked up a suspensory injury at Houghton which means she will miss the rest of the season , gutting but that’s horses and we are all very geared up to have her back up and running for early next year…  It’s always hard when your best horse gets injured but I’m a very practical person , with care and time she will come back.. What I find harder is when the horses have such wonderful owners (as the Moose does) and the disappointment they feel. That horse will more than likely be there ‘one and only’ event horse , which is why I always make having a horse with or ridden by me fun , it has to be.. Life is far to short to not enjoy the good and bad days – after all bad days are better than no days at all!

Jimmy is on fine form and aims for Barbury in 3 weeks time…

This brings me nicely on to a something someone said/asked me yesterday when I told them about the Moose…

‘Sorry to hear about the Moose , we really thought she might be the horse to get you back on top of the eventing map again , must be hard slipping to being a no body when you were a somebody’

Now don’t you all throw you arms up in horror!! It was said by a great friend who ment it in the best possible way.. Well I bloody hope so anyways!!!

I never was anywhere near the top of the eventing ladder or a somebody and to be honest I’m happy with that , I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending my life trying to be the next Fox-Pitt and then being bitter about the fact I’m just not good enough.. I love drifting , riding my luck and enjoying what comes along.. I believe life is just to short to be someone your not in a bid to conform , its just not me.. Sometimes i feel like a square peg in a world of round holes but I’ve learnt sometimes being ‘individual’ isn’t a bad thing if you own it and are confident about not always fitting in… I spent so many years having a ‘event yard’ trying to be a so called ‘event rider’ and being so unhappy , looking back I think – why?!?! Be who you are not who you think you should be or who other people want you to be , if it pleases you do it , after all if you please yourself you will find you will please the others that count because the others that count want you to please yourself not them..

I struck it lucky aged 17 when I met Val Gingell whom I have ridden for ever since , she found and got the wonderful old advanced horse The Busker who carried me to a CCI3* win at my first attempt at that level , a young rider european gold medal and not only clear but also a top 20 finish at my first CCI4*.. More amazing is the fact he really was just a nice hunter with ideas way above his station in life!! He was as honest and genuine as the week is long and he is loving his retirement at Val’s  aged 24. Mine & Val’s horse of a life time… Or so I thought!!!!!

Then along came Little Tiger , ‘Frosty’ to her friends or ‘The Pony’ to me!! Bred by Val and owned by Polly Taylor..

Some pony Frosty turned out to be too! 14.3hh with her shoes off , Frosty jumped around hundreds of three day events , 6 CCI4* star events and also stopped more times in the show jumping than I care to remember!!! Her sense of humour was wicked if she thought you were napping she would put in the naughtiest stop ever! But when the chips were down and you needed her to bail you out , there she was as tough , genuine and hard as they come.. She also in her retirement finished an amazing 3rd in The Melton Hunt Ride with me , she also carried me for 2 of the most amazing mind blowing seasons hunting I am likely to ever have.. There was no feeling like the feeling of horror I’d have having come across a gate that had to be jumped out hunting on her , Frosty lived by the saying ‘if I can see thou it I can go thou it!!!  But put the biggest hedge you wished to find in front of her and she really was unreal.. My god I jumped some unbelievable places on her , nothing was to big .. I truly believe she would have jumped anything I pointed her at , like The Busker her heart was bigger than her body.

Im so blessed to have also ridden some other amazing event horses but eventing was never my true love – NH racing was and still is what has my heart… I had my licence and race rode both briefly and badly!! I adored it however and would give anything to go back and try again.. I’d love to get back involved in the NH racing scene , in what way I’m not sure but watch this space.. I have a bit of a plan..

Another love of mine is my hunting.. I have an amazing horse called Colin that I hunt – he is mainly famous for managing to keep me alive , I often video on my phone us jumping gates (yep one hand on the reins and my phone in my other hand videoing away!) Now I’ve always wanted to hunt more in Ireland but the thought of hunting a horse you don’t know when you have a horse like Colin at home has never appealed to me.. So today I was costing 2 weeks in Ireland hunting say 3/4 times and the flights etc… In the back of my head was this nagging thing saying ‘do you really want to hunt a unknown horse’ of course the answer was NO I DONT!!!!

So I got thinking… Why don’t I take Colin over and hunt him?! Im sure I could find somewhere to stay etc… Then go off and hunt him as many packs as I can in 2 weeks then get the ferry back… You guessed it.. I couldn’t think of a single reason why I couldn’t/shouldn’t , no more than going over to Ireland for a race or event isn’t it?!

Only time will tell if I can pull it off..

Night all

P