We didn’t do the two-phase competition today.
We did go.
‘We’ being The Lovely S, Vinnie (the horse formerly known as ‘muckbucket’) and me.
We just didn’t compete.
The weather and the going were so awful when we arrived that I left it to the last possible moment to decide whether we would competeÂ or not.
And then the decision made itself anyway.
The day went a little like this:
Up at stupid o’clock; stagger and lurch about the house trying to get brain and body talking to each other in the same language instead of one speaking a kind of Serbo-Croatian dialect whilst the other only ‘spoke’ British Sign Language.
Breakfast and morning tea delivered to The Lovely S in bed.
We left the house with the usual things completed and arrived at the yard more or less on time to findâ€¦
Well I’m not altogether sure what it was we found.
It was in Vinnie’s field and it looked vaguely Vinnie-shaped but whatever it was it had been hand-sculpted out of Worcestershire’s finest mud.
Then the pile of mud looked at me and made a Vinnie-flavoured whicker so I guessed that my horse had been used as a kind of mould-maker by a group of itinerant countryside mud-sculptors.
I approached the Mud God. He took one look at the head-collar in my hand and legged it pronto – proving that he wasn’t a mud-sculpture after all!
I tried to approach him again; he ran away further and broke in to a canter around the field.
Hey, I studied military strategy. I know when to withdraw to strategically regroup.
In the kitchen.
With an apple, a sharp knife and the washing-up bowl.
Then I picked up the head-collar, the apple slices in the washing-up bowl and advanced again on the Mud God.
As soon as I entered the field he spotted the head-collar, trotted and broke in to an effortless canter.
Then he spotted the bowl.
I could almost see the word ‘food’ form in his head.
He did a 90° turn and made straight for me, reducing his speed as he gained on his target.
He skidded to a stop right beside me. I fed him the first slice. Then the second.
But to get his mouth to the third apple slice he had to put his nose in to the head-collar.
I thought: Gotcha!
Back in the wash-down bay it took me almost half an hour to remove the mud.
With Vinnie looking distinctly equine I finished loading the lorry, put him in his stall, put the tail up and drove out of the yard.
A hundred minutes later we arrived at the venue.
Fcuk me it was raining.
Like a couple of soppy (quickly becoming soggy) loons The Lovely S and I walked the cross-country course.Â We got back to the lorry soaked.
I was now feeling very edgy about Vin going cross-country in sheeting rain with the take-offs and landings turning to mush.
He’s a green, youngÂ lad. At this stage of his development and training I need every experience he has to be good, relaxing and rewarding.
The Lovely S and I had a reviving cup of tea then I inspected the show-jumping. The warm-up take-offs and landings were dire. To compound matters – out on the track the landing after fenceÂ one and the take-off over fenceÂ two were shocking.
The Lovely S and I had lunch and then I drove us back to Worcestershire.
With Vin back in his field (rugged up!), the lorry cleaned out, back in its bay and oil-level checked we swapped to the car and drove home…
Where we cuddled up on the couch and watched the first of the Bourne films.
This evening we’re watching Big Brother prior to crashing out in bed.
I have to be up early tomorrow to drive to Wiltshire for the start of a new job.
It’s been a disappointing day.
If I’m honest… despite the fact that I was absolutely crapping myself, I really would have liked to have competed today.
But it would have been wrong for Vin.