Its been a bit of a slow start for me so far this year on the riding front. My superstar horse Humphrey is very sadly out of action for the foreseeable future as he had soundness issues at the end of last season and after treatment with little improvement, we bit the bullet and opted for an MRI scan. This sadly confirmed our worst fears that Humphrey has quite a lot going on in his feet including degeneration of his Navicular Bursa and two tears to his Deep Digital Flexor Tendon. I was absolutely gutted as we had just had our first successful outing at Novice and he was looking so impressive as a 6 year old.
Anyway, my point behind telling you this is that the whole thing has rather affected my motivation. I’m sure everyone involved with horses understands how sole destroying this sport can be and with some major highs often come extreme lows and although we all know everybody else is in the same boat it doesn’t make it any easier to pick yourself up and carry on.
I feel like over the winter I should have been putting all my energy into George my other horse but I’d forgotten just how hard winter is and with a 16 month old toddler now in tow, starting back at work, and trying to find babysitting help at the weekend from a busy farming partner, it has made finding time to ride nigh on impossible. We have also had the added complication of our lorry breaking down and taking several weeks to get back up and running. All in all, not the most productive start to the year so far.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The evenings are getting lighter (2 minutes each evening in fact) I even managed to squeeze a very quick ride in after work last week. The British Eventing calendar is out which is always exciting and its time to start planning.
So, what’s on the Agenda this year: I first of all like to set a few goals and work out what it is I would like to aim for. This year I would love to try and get George qualified for the 90 Mitsubishi Motors Cup and try and consolidate George’s 90 record. All going to plan we could aim for a 100 at the end of the season.
Once I’ve got a goal in mind, I look at all the events that I’d like to enter. I tend to go through the calendar and look at the ones that aren’t hundreds of miles away.
Once I’ve got the events I’d like to aim for in the diary. I then like to plan some training shows/ schooling sessions in to make sure we are competition ready. I always like to make sure we have done a bit of dressage practice at a competition for some feedback from judges on things to work on. I have come across a great new scheme where you can film yourself at home doing a dressage test and then submit it for judging. This is great for us eventers as means you can set up some markers and white boards in a field and practice on a grass arena.
I like to make sure we have been cross county schooling several times at a couple of different venues. This year I think I am going to aim for my first event to be at a course that you can school around. That way George who is still quite green has familiarised himself with a lot of the jumps/water/ditches he is likely to come across, hopefully giving him a bit more of a fighting chance on the day.
Lastly, I am going to try and get out to some Show jumping schooling and competitions as although you can try and jump lots of scary stuff in the arena at home. Nothing quite compares you as much as getting out and about to lots of different venues, this will give your horse exposure to as many different jumps as possible.
Its also a good idea to have thought about getting all you eventing equipment ready. Write a list of everything you need. Pull out all your stuff, make sure its clean. Make a list of anything that needs replacing or that you want to buy new. Are you stud threads worn out? Are your hairnets full of holes? Does your jacket need a dry clean? I always finding time to do this makes you feel prepared and a little bit excited. Don’t forget you can get new xc colours, Jodhpurs, number bibs and restock you riding wardrobe at Hardy Etc.
So Just writing this has made me feel so much more excited, I hope you guys feel inspired reading. Have fun planning and good luck for the coming season.
Over and Out
Charlotte, Humphrey and George
If anybody has any major tips about juggling motherhood and eventing, I’d love to hear from you……