Good horses change your life, great ones define your life….

This is a bold statement. I have had several life events that have changed my path in life. I can think of 3 moments that I can attribute to this, but are any of them life defining? The truth is, I am not yet sure.

Changing disciplines:

One very rainy August day back in the Year 2000 I went to a Pony Club event at Berrington Hall. I knew it was a BE (was BHTA back then) course but I don’t think I had actually take too much notice of what I had entered. Walking the course following all of these yellow numbers I realised I had entered a class that was quite big. Only now I know that my first one day event was around a novice track. Fortunately I had been BSJA show jumpy Foxy around courses up to 1.20m. Up until this point I had firmly seen myself as a Show Jumper but from this day forward I wanted to competitively move to being more of an Eventer. I had always loved watching eventing and loved the thought of doing it through my childhood fantasies about riding around badminton, but hadn’t really ever had the right type of horse. Berrington Hall was one of the most memorable days of my life and not because I had won or been placed. In fact, due to the horse before me napping and being eliminated at the first fence, I couldn’t get Foxy going until after she had walked to the first fence and looked at it. She grew wings and flew the rest of the course.

Unfortunately it is an incredibly expensive sport. At that point in my life I earned £700 per month. With affiliated event entries, transport, start fees etc costing over £100 an event before looking at memberships, it was not a sport I could really afford to do. I did lots of unaffiliated PC events round some really decent sized 3ft 6 tracks, had the fun of doing 2DE etc. I did a few BE PN but sadly at the time that I had the talent, horses and bravery as a rider, I did not have the money to be trained and compete at the level that I could have done.

The beginning of the end:

On 29th May 2004 my dreams of being an eventer died on the side of the road. It is today 15 years since this date (at time of writing). I’m not in the right place to go into details just because of today’s anniversary, but I lost Harvey and he was an incredibly talented horse. His competition record does not reflect even 1% of his talent or what I believed he could achieve because he really was a season hunting, or team chasing, off being great. He never let the hand brake off XC and was a bit looky which often lead to faults in this phase. I firmly believed that he just needed to learn to run and jump. Sadly it never happened. I stumbled through another season and a half and gave up.

Starting again:

So with Harvey’s grandson Beau I have restarted eventing. On the 16th September 2018 I woke up after doing Monmouth BE. It was my first 90 on him. I woke up and after 14 and a half years I knew I was better. Better from something that I hadn’t realised was wrong with me. So now, having probably had nearly 15 years of PTSD I am back where I left off. Sunday is my first BE of the year. I feel as prepared for it as I could possibly be.

So Foxy, Harvey and Beau have all been good horses. They have all changed my life. Are any of them great? Are any of them able to be attributed as horses that defined my life? I don’t yet know. My suspicion is that the best is yet to come and each day the magnitude of this belief increases. Time will tell and so with a sense of great anticipation we will let our journey unfold 😊.

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