A mere two-and-a-half hours sleep last night, on top of the general stress, activity and rushing around of the weekend, all compound together to make me extremely worn out today
Yesterday’s one-day event at Larkhill was a bust.
Despite symptoms of misbehaviour going on underneath me, we somehow achieved a vastly improved dressage score of 39.5 penalties.
As we hacked back to the lorry to change the saddle and bridle I was starting to get very optimistic about the show-jumping.
Unfortunately there was a bit of a balls-up when a critical part of Tom’s jumping tack – the Cheltenham Gag Bit – fell apart in the groom’s hands. So to retaliate she dismantled Tom’s flatwork bridle.
Erm, umm. I may have been a little short – but I maintain that I didn’t shout at anyone or anything – and, anyway, I did manage to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat by finding the two, tiny, popper-like fastenings in the lorry, and the buckle that was hidden on the grass outside the door to the lorry living.
Anyway, with tack duly changed we hacked down to the show-jumping working-in.
Jess – my groom for the day – did a grand job. She set practice fences that were, to start, generous and welcoming, but within ten minutes we were coming in to obstacles that were slightly over-height and over-spread for our class.
But it was all good. Tom and I felt joined. We were together, we were calm, I sat quietly and waited for the fence to come to us and kept my hands down and relaxed (my failing is not doing these things!) and *gave* him stretch room as he basculed through the air.
We were good to go.
Or so I thought.
We cantered in to the main ring and although I rode him forward and kept off his mouth Tom stopped at fence 1.
I re-presented and he flew over it, and two, three, four and five.
At fence six we had issues and another stop and after that everything fell apart (almost literally) because we started hitting them down.
So we were eliminated from the one-day event in the show-jumping phase, because we were over the limit of jumping penalties.
A hack back to the lorry and a feeling of gloom, doom, despondency, disappointment and (even more) despondency invaded my head for the rest of the day.
Not even hot chocolate and home-made brownies managed to lift my spirits.
On the way home we had a horrendous moment as we were driving down the hill in to Marlborough.
A Honda Civic whipped out of a side-road in front of me and then just stopped in the road and indicated to turn across the opposite carriageway – but it couldn’t turn because there was oncoming traffic.
The trouble is, because the driver had just whipped out and, with no warning, come to a halt in front of me, we had to apply the brakes *very* fiercely and a) in a 10-ton lorry and b) carrying two horses, our stopping distance is nothing like that of a car!
Although we were slowing fast, the distance was closing too quickly so I had a choice: smack the Honda Civic up the arse fairly hard or aim for the gap between it and the hedge.
I chose the latter. Although it was very tight, it gave me the 12-feet I needed to stop the lorry.
We were actually three-quarters off the road, the hedge was overgrown and untended and the nearside of the cab was in it.
I signalled to the driver of the Civic to pull forward to a layby and, very carefully drove the lorry out of the hedge and went to join him.
We got out and looked at the car and the lorry.
The car was untouched. You wouldn’t have been able to pass a sheet of paper between the side of the lorry and the side of the civic, but somehow I’d managed to avoid making contact.
The lorry had a few paint scrapes down the side from the branches of the hedge, but other than that was similarly unscathed.
A very lucky escape for both of us, but I wonder if the driver of the Civic understands things like braking distances of *other* types of vehicles? Don’t they set questions on that in the driving test these days?
By the time I made it back to the yard, unloaded Tom, groomed him, rugged him up, fed him, unloaded all of the tack, put things away, tidied the lorry, put that away, switched off the lights and had driven home it was very late.
I don’t know how late because I was too worn out to care. And in the night, as I’ve said, I had far too little sleep.
Oh well, maybe I’ll catch up tonight/tomorrow.
The plan for the week is that Tom is going to have his big brown bottom jumped off him until he’s being straightforward and honest once again.
He’s entered in an unaffiliated one-day event next Saturday, but Sammi is going to take him around because she’s more, ahem, more assertive.
And maybe I could pick up some sleep, here and there?
In other news, I see from our Google Feedburner stats that the podcast has picked up 480 new listeners in the last two days.