On Sunday I went to our local hunter trials. We were a bit doubtful whether I was ready but I don’t get many opportunities to do cross country and I want to make the most of the ones I do get. This time I tried riding Galahad in a kimblewick – we had some steering issues last time!
I was very pleased with how relaxed he felt in the warm up. He can get a bit wound up and bouncy but this time he was listening very nicely and I had no worries. The grass was a little slippery but wasn’t too bad and I was pretty happy setting out.
That changed rather quickly. We had an awful lot of refusals which is quite unusual – Galahad is far more likely to run out than stop dead. I think he was worried about the new jumps and after my few weeks off my legs just weren’t strong enough to keep him going.
The course was set out over two fields and we refused at least once at most of the fences in the first field. At the chair we even slipped and very nearly fell but just managed to hang on. The fence judge made us skip that fence! At the next fence I had a friendly helper who stood to the side to encourage Galahad over and after that we did a lot better, with only a couple of stops in the second field.
By this point I knew that I wasn’t really fit enough to ride as positively as Galahad needed. I was also coughing quite a lot between fences – thankfully not very much when we were actually tackling a fence. I’m pretty sure the adrenaline controls it a bit! It was a good experience though and I hadn’t expected to be competitive anyway.
I also had a pairs class in the afternoon. My partner was riding a very green horse but he had been jumping better than us so I was hoping for a bit of a lead from them. I was not disappointed! We flew round most of the course, with just a little trouble coming out of the quarry – a fence we had not had to tackle individually. We even managed our dressing fences very nicely.
Galahad and I were responsible for getting into and through the water as our partner had been having issues with that. I was a little worried but Galahad popped straight over the fence and into the water with no trouble. Sadly our partners managed to go over the flag instead of inside and as we didn’t go back to correct it we were eliminated. Still, we had a fantastic round and Galahad was definitely enjoying himself. He was much more forward than he had been in our individual round!
I went with the others to check the results at the end of the day but I was obviously not expecting anything for myself – we had clearly been eliminated in both our classes! However, so had quite a few other people and the riding club was nice enough to present rosettes to us anyway – the later in the course we were eliminated, the higher we placed. Galahad and I managed a fifth in our individual class and a ninth in the pairs.
The rosettes were completely unexpected but very welcome indeed. We may not have had the best of days overall but our pairs round was wonderful and I think we learnt a lot. I was very glad I decided to go.