Where do I start? Well how about with the wagon, it was due to go through its Manx test a week before we were booked on the boat. It was on its way, we asked someone else to take it for me as I was at work & as he was taking it down the lane at the farm the brakes failed, if it was me I’d have panicked & probably just gone straight across the road, but lucky for everyone he’s an experienced wagon driver & steered it into the bushes, needless to say it didn’t make it to the test centre, so the search was on for transport to the nationals. Luckily help came in the form of a nice blue horsebox leant to us by very kind friends, with full living, so no need to shell out a load more money for accommodation.
The day we were booked on the boat came but it was blowing a hoolie,so horses weren’t able to travel, the same for the next two days with the tail end of hurricane Katia was it? We got on the boat on the Weds evening, only just, after waiting to be loaded on the boat, we tried to start the wagon….nothing….the battery had gone flat, we needed the boat men to jump start us, eventually we were on our way, arriving at Pam’s in Knutsford at 1.30 in the morning….yawn. With Mr G in a barn we got our heads down after making up our beds, we were in for a cold night, but two duvets later I managed to get some sleep. Thursday it was time to head down to Stoneleigh, it took us about two and a half hours to get there, arriving there it dawned on me how massive a competition it was & the nerves kicked in. We found Anamour his stable & got him bedded down & hayed & watered. Mum & Becky arrived late evening & we got our tea, & afterwards mum plaited Mr G up, then it was an early night for me as I had to be ready for the arena walk in the morning which was between 6.30am & 7.30am, again….yawn!! My test was at 8.43am, the warm up arena was pretty chocca & every time I stopped to speak to Pam or Wendy for advice I was quickly moved on, that’s where I needed an ear piece & someone with a microphone. It was test time & I entered the arena, until then I thought I’d managed to keep my nerves in check, but my breath disappeared & my body went a bit weak. Centre line x halt immobility salute, nowhere in the test sheet did it say, Anamour do a poo, I lost marks as he halted “wide behind” personally I think he should’ve gained a mark there as he was only trying to keep the poo off his white socks.
After all the rushing around, which didn’t help the nerves we didn’t get as good a mark as I’d hoped, in fact nowhere near, but in my defence I qualified, which was this years goal. Luckily there was no wind on the way back so we were accepted to sail, which was lucky as Jimmy was threatening to leave us there if we didn’t get on. At least I know what to expect next year if I qualify again & have plenty of time to try & control the nerves. Now it’s time to get plenty of competition mileage under my belt & get to the qualifiers for the winter & summer championships next year.