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I took D to an unaffiliated show jumping competition, we had been jumping so much better at home I was feeling vaguely optimistic.

Having been eliminated at fence 2 in the 2 ft 3 i was pleased to see there was a clear round after the class for 30 mins before the next class started, so I quickly put my name down and bought two tickets.

How can I put into words what followed? Humiliating? Yes. Exhausting. Yes. Bizarre. Yes again.

Jumped fence one, refused fence 2 four times, got her over, tanked off with me round ring once and eventually got her to fence 3, refusal, run backwards approx 20 feet, beautiful leg yield to the gate (approx another 20 feet) – only not what i had asked, got her over fence 3.  Now very out of breath, small crowd has gathered and people yelling encouragement.  Fence 4 ooops missed it, tanked off to the gate again.  Back to fence 4 (now at walk as unable to breath), over 4, refused 5 at least 3 times, on to 6 refusal, tanked to gate, walk her back to six yelling I CANT BREATHE, got her over 6 and 7! Shocker.  Refusal at 8 but then got her over.

No word of a lie, i am dying, no oxygen in me, sweat doesnt begin to cover it, purple in face.  She is looking pretty pleased with herself and not a drop of sweat on her.

I ride towards the gate, where all my friends then tell me I HAVE to go round again.  Noooooo I wail, I cant breeeeathe.  Get on with it is the general response but a few choice swear words in there as well.

Fence one and two fine, cue lap of arena again tanking.  Stand up a couple of times and refuse to go near three.  Get her over.  Small crowd? Nope pretty much the whole of Berkshire now watching, varying from ‘that woman can’t ride for toffee’; ‘how embarrassing’ through to ‘beat it’ can be heard from the sidelines.  Fence four refuse, 6 times.  Back to our walking between fences.  Each time she goes down to jump then leaps to the right.  Eventually friend comes in who is in the Household Cavalry and knows a thing or two about horses.  He stands beside the fence where she is running out.  She tanks me into it then last minute ducks out – straight for him – she jumps him.  Heart in mouth, he comes out of it unscathed, thank heavens.  Another two attempts and we are over.  Much cheering.  walk to next fence, still can’t breathe, dying for a stiff drink.  We nap to gate, reverse at 100 mph, spin ourselves round inside out and bunny hop for a good 5 mins. then we are off, clear the rest of the course, no steering from me to be honest I think she just wanted to get out of there.

Much hilarity as I leave the arena.  A smattering of applause.  The close the class.  Yes it has taken me so long to get round twice, there is no time for anyone else.

Embarrassed? Just a bit!!


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