All thoughts that entered my mind during my 1st (and currently only) BE90. As it turned out, my dressage was shocking (47) - I was literally scared stiff and so rode like Pinocchio, a small wooden child, aboard a head tossing disobedient horse/ giraffe who cantered at walk pace for half a lap of the arena after our canter-trot transition should have taken place. My showjumping was on course for a clear...until the final fence, where on a perfect stride, my horse inexplicably sat down in the fence (4 faults). (See this video for your amusement. Only positive would be the commentator and crowd being rather complimentary about my stickability!) Across country we were hurtling round like a bat out of hell (his choice not mine) and flying everything – until half way, where he bailed out partially over the easiest, smallest fence on the course (E). Cue eating sand and mild concussion. An inauspicious debut, which I’ve been dying to lay to rest ever since! Hopefully I will get the chance this year with my lovely ex-racer Pha Mai Blue.
My personal learnings that I will take forward to next time?
1. Not everyone rides like Pippa, William and Mary. You shouldn’t expect to either - at least not straight away. ;-) But we all have to start somewhere; don't worry if it isn't perfect - every small step is progress and experience that you'll learn from.
2. Remember you’re there to enjoy it. Even if you’re petrified, try to smile or you’ll end up looking like this (see my exorcist style facial expression in the photo on the left) in all your event photos....
3. Even the professionals get it wrong sometimes.
4. Whatever you're worried about doing most - someone has already been there, done it, got the t-shirt - and others will almost certainly do the same again!
5. Heels down, eyes up, breathe, be prepared and most importantly of all, always keep the horse between yourself and the ground.
Starting eventing can be a scary thing for newbies such as myself – but if you’re thinking about giving it a go, or you've just started, here are some experiences, tips and stories from a whole range of eventers from grassroots level right up to four star Olympians that might help you on your way...
(You can click any of the pics on this page to enlarge them to full size and see them in their full glory!)