After much deliberation I decided to go to todays competition. Ive struggled over the last few weeks with ill health and the thought of standing around a show ground for hours in the feeezing wind was not appealing. However, it was the Hunt Show, always a good turnout so worth a go!
On arrival I unloaded Finlay, he was in his usual state of panic. Sweating and obviously stressed! I am questioning whether its really worth it, is making him do something he obviously finds upsetting worth it?
My friend had come a long to help me, so a quick tidy up, tack on I hopped on. Much like our last outing he was pretty fired up but after half an hour of schooling he settled a bit. It was very windy and the wind his Finlay’s nemisis. He can be sharp at the best of times but when its windy he can be downright difficult.
An hour later and our class began, we were second to jump. The course was quite twisting and tight for such big ring, bit disappointing really.
I presented Finlay to the judge and were asked to proceed, as I rode along the top side of the ring just as I was about to turn to out first fence two young girls with a dog suddenly appeared from behind the judges box. Finlay spooked and my approach to the 1st was not straight but we managed to jump it and carried on our round.
Until we got to the 6th fence which was up at the top end of the ring again, we jumped it well, two strides on, he hit the brakes. We’re in a forward canter where your seat is slightly out of the saddle and your horse stops dead and jumps to the right. I hit the deck.
I had no chance, the speed we were doing and the enormous stop combined with the jump to the right ment I went out the side door. It all happened really quickly. I picked myself up and brushed off the muck from my clothes and walked to where the steward and judge were holding Finlay. At least he didn’t bugger off. Oh and the reason he spooked, a pile of wooden planks and rubbish at the side of the ring!
A fall is instant elimination. And this fall was my first on Finlay and my first in over twenty years. I have often wondered when it would come. Twenty years is a long time to have not fallen off and Ive been around horses long enough to know there will be one, eventually.
So I broke my duck today, Id much rather it was not in competition but you just never know when these things will happen.
On reflection I am more upset at the state Finlay gets himself into, than falling off. I didnt hurt myself, might be a bit stiff tomorrow but I feel fine. Im wondering if he’s getting too much haylage, this could make him fizzy and he has been a bit hyper at home recently. I will see how he is over the next week and maybe adjust his feeding.
I love competing, its what I do……. Maybe I have to accept that Finlay doesn’t.