The commentary starts before we even left the yard because Tom, evidently, was having one those days.
Tom, who normally marches up the ramp in to the lorry, decided he didn’t want to load.
He went up on his hind legs and waved his front hooves around my ears. And again. And again and this time he pulled back as well as going up. And then he did it again.
On the last flying rear-up he pulled the lead-rein out of my hands (I will have rope burn for a week), turned, cantered at a five-bar gate and then flew over it.
He spent the next ten minutes evading capture (despite still having his head-collar on and trailing his lead-rein) galloping round and winding up the horse he’d jumped in with.
I fetched a bowl of feed and he turned, mid-gallop, and headed straight for it.
This time he loaded OK and we drove up to the venue.
Our dressage netted us 39.5 penalties which, frankly, felt that we had been harshly-marked.
Prior to show-jumping, we worked-in over the practice fences brilliantly. But as soon as we cantered in to the show-jumping arena Tom changed gear and wanted to do everything quicker than I did. He had two fences down and gave me a nasty run-out at fence 3, so that netted us 12 penalties.
The cross-country started off brilliantly. We attacked the first six fences with style and assertiveness; they felt excellent.
Unfortunately at fence 7 (the first part of three parts at the water), Tom decided he didn’t want to get his feet wet and no amount of riding could convince him otherwise.
So we bit the bullet and retired.
I’m not scrabbling around for the positives, they’re actually there for everyone to see.
Our show-jumping was more focussed, better controlled and despite Tom’s carelessness over the SJ fences, was far more fun at a competition than we’ve ever had.
The first six of the cross-country fences were also brilliant. I know that last time out we finished the track, but this felt *better*.
Onwards and upwards.