There can be knowing denying it any longer, the weekend dealt me a hand of misery and on getting home last night, i had to scrounge around for exta blankets, this morning found me putting on warm pants and a jacket....All these signs,point me to one thing, winter is on its way.
My weekends was one of the most miserable i can remember, in fact i know i have never ridden my horse in such bad conditions. With over 400 entries, on cross country day, less than 50% even started there horses. In my division of 25 only 10 started the cross country and only seven finished, including me. It rained the whole weekend, cold, biting, unrelenting rain, that forced dampness into everything, nook, cranny and remaining dry space. Horse yards turned to knee deep mud overnight, and every big horse truck was towed from location by a tractor, as some people found themselves sunk down to their axles in mud by morning..
For the first time in my life i awoke on Sunday, and thought about not actually completing an event. My night of very broken,cold and wet sleep, in my horse trailer, had left me exhausted, my horse not looking much better outside in his yard. Trudging around the course again at 6.30am, sinking into almost knee deep mud in places, didn't leave me reassured about ground conditions either. With a bitter salty, wind from the sea, driving the rain and cold right through my body, i felt thoroughly depressed about the whole situation, battling the elements back to the semi shelter of the trailer.Only to be met by person after person packing up and heading for home. To make matters worse even the coffee guy had given up the ghost, and hadn't shown up for the morning.
But i don't know what it is, something inside me, i think is probably just to stubborn for my own good. the thought of giving up, irked me to much.I can handle giving it a go and pulling up halfway through if it was just to wet, but not even trying would bother me far to much. Plus i needed a second qualifying score for nationals. While i do have a boyfriend, and a wild stallion, my eventing horse is the other main man in my life, and i trust him completely. I knew he was up to the jumps, is good on his feet, and could probably handle wet conditions. So after scrounging some hot tea, and breakfast, which lifted my spirits tremendously, i saddled up.
heading to the warm up area, rider after mud splattered rider passed me heading for home. None when asked had anything positive to say about the course. Still i always feel better on my horse, and still feeling like we could do it, continued to the warm up. Only to find, where there should of been at least another twenty riders warming up, there was one lone horse and rider popping over the jumps.
This was not ideal, i had to do a fast warm up, getting both my horse and me limbered up and mentally awake, before popping over the practise fences, he handled this fine, not finding the footing to hard going, deep yes, slippery no. So after angling a couple of practice fences to really sharpen up my horses jump, we headed to the start box.
As a rider and especially an eventing rider, you have to be in tune with your horse, this is whay in training at home i ride in all weather conditions.there also has to be a certain amount of trust that your horse can take care of itself, and you as a rider let it do so, and don't interfere because of your own nerves. This is what i did. Instead of pushing for time, i let my big boy find his rhythm and stay in it, the whole way around the course.
The going was deep, especially in between jumps, where you had long gallop stretches in bog like conditions. at least right before the fences the ground was so churned it actually made the going lighter. My boy cruised the whole thing in his big medium canter, not having any problems with the jumps or footing. We made it home clear with a couple of time faults, but not as many as i expected so all in all i was pleased.
I'm glad i didn't call it a day and go home. I am proud and take huge satisfaction in the fact that i finished and have my ribbon to take home, as proof that i survived the cross county at Puhinui 2011!