Back home, safe but not sure if I am sound. 2015 wasn’t my most successful year at the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur & Veteran Finals but it was a year where I learnt plenty.
Firstly, tips for everyone is don’t try too hard or change too much in your build up to a Championship because it is a special event. I think I fed my horse Johnny a little too much compared with the work I could get into him, not being able to ride in the evenings and the severe wind and rain we had the weekend before did not help with our final preparations.
Secondly, a note to myself: remember how old I am and it is a hobby! Two horses and five days on my own made me extremely tired especially with the logistics of having the stables a long uphill walk from the arena; I never seemed to have the tack, the lorry, the horses, the dog, the bike or Mother in the right place!
However, after Johnny hallucinating that there were bogey men in the bottom of a very innocent fence and putting me unceremoniously into the flower pots he improved considerably in the next couple of days, jumping a double clear to qualify for the final.
Lissie was a little keen on the first day, ironically she jumped clear but I stupidly got time faults through trying to contain her. In the Dodson & Horrell Minor Veterans she jumped beautifully but blame the jockey (who had a severely bruised behind) who not wanting to fall off again, over checked to the water tray causing Lissie to tip the back pole, confidence is a wonderful thing when you have it. I decided not to jump her in the 1.20m Veteran class as she is still young and it was a very strong technical track, she would have been competing against much more experienced grade A horses , there is always next year, I hope!
The final day was the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur 1.05m final although it seemed like a good 1.10m track. Johnny redeemed himself by jumping a fabulous clear round. I was drawn early for the jump off, and the course wasn’t really in Johnny’s favour, he is great at turning back after a fence but this course was all about turning into parallels with a long gallop to the Dodson & Horrell planks, now looking a bit tasty! So I gave it my best shot, it was not quick enough to win but we managed another clear round to obtain myself 9th place and prize money and of course the reason we all do it... a rosette!
My friends were all so kind and helpful after my fall I couldn’t have managed without them. Thank you to everyone who helped me and of course my two lovely horses. We hope to see you all next year!