Equines : The Competition Years (84/85)

Following on from Equines : My First Horse we are now in March 1984.

I had just turned 15 when Burntec arrived. He was a 16.2hh 5 year old TBxID and ever so slightly bonkers! Tec was a bit of a handful for a 15 year old girl who’d spent the last couple of years with and very polite 15hh eventer so to say it was a shock was an understatement!

Tec came from a professional yard not far from my house the plan was that we would be under the supervision of John with regular lessons. I was so excited my friends were still riding ponies and here was me with this big horse, a horse that Graham Fletcher had wanted to buy. We got in there first!

My first year with Tec was interesting! He started napping and didnt want to hack out which proved a problem as I didnt have any where to school or jump and used my friends place along the road. He would reverse, spin and worst of all rear. Strangely I was never frightened, the bravery of youth perhaps? I was as stubborn as him and eventually we got over the napping business. Although it did return in the ring later on.

I worked away with Tec having regular lessons with the professional. I was in my fourth year at school or should I say I was supposed to be in my fourth year at school. After the summer holidays of that year I was competing every weekend and frequently travelling to England to compete. The shows down south were usually three day competitions over Friday Saturday and Sundays so with two day travelling either side I was regularly absent from school on Fridays and Mondays. In fact I was regularly absent full stop, I wasn’t a model student and played truant from school on a weekly basis. School never interested me all I wanted to do was ride and compete.

My father bought a 7.5t lorry this was after Tec had kicked the back ramp down on the trailer while in transit, we had a few odd looks driving along with the ramp down! The lorry was an old Ford with wooden body but I loved it! We were travelling a lot so it was great to have a lorry.

My first year with Tec was a learning curve but we consitantly improved and were jumping Newcomers easily. Back then we jumped on grass, yes grass! Some show jumpers these days have never seen the stuff , what with all the artificial surfaces we have now. But it was grass back then and mud, lots of it! We had one indoor arena which held competitions, in 1984 that was unusal. Even then it was tiny and the warm up a complete bog in winter.

In March 1985 I left school having hardly attened that year I didnt see the point and my professsional trainer had offered me a job as a working pupil. My father soon realised it was a losing battle to suggest I stay at school.  I should probably add at this point I was an unruly teenager who thought she knew everything.

But I always worked hard with my horses….In March 1985, only just turned 16 years old, the real work and the real world were just around the corner, the steepest learning curve of all was about to begin. 



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