My First 'No Stressage' Event | Emma Goodfellow
So, this wasn’t even a competition, this was just a “Fitness & Training” event run by Lands Eventing. It involved two parts, a show jumping course in the amazing Dallas Burston Arena and a course over 1400m involving a number of XC jumps.
Now, its important to stress here, this was kind of a BIG deal for me… this time last year I embarrassingly fell off at our second refusal to the first fence at the Area 5 Solihull 70 cm SJ class. I ungracefully landed ON the jump. It really knocked my confidence as my horse, Dave (yes, that’s his name, his full passport name!) was keen on both approaches to the jump and I was convinced second time around we were both committed and on our way over before he put the brakes on… and I ungracefully landed ON the jump!
I was devastated as I was there on my first outing out with the most amazing and supportive team, Rugby riding club. I just wanted to be one of the team and at least get round the course. Alas, it did not happen. They were all so lovely, but I felt so envious seeing them all fly and do really well!
So, coronavirus and the lockdown meant me and the boy had time to just ride together. There was no pressure, no competitions and to start with very short limited rides. I felt this did us both the world of good. It also meant that Dave, along with myself were able to become the fittest we have ever been together as a riding partnership.
We had a rota at our yard to minimise contact. I was in the early morning slot with a friend who I look up to as her and her boy literally fly! I confessed as to having lost my confidence as we had had a few more stops since that fateful day last November. I had started to ride defensively so that should he stop I wouldn’t fall and it was affecting Dave as much as me.
Super long story short, my friend helped build my confidence, changed the way I rode (no more jabbing him in the mouth when he chipped over a jump), which resulted in us both jumping so much better! I had gotten my mojo back! We started hiring out Lands arena thanks to the amazing Lloyd Hunt making it available and safe for us all. You can imagine I went with a tummy full of butterflies the first time. But over a number of visits we managed some of the best and most amazing times I’ll remember forever.
So having jumped all of the 80’s and a few decent 90’s I decided to book us in for the Lands No Stressage one day event 80cm! “I’ll smash this!”. I was convinced, it’d be mildly concerning (the prep, the times, remembering the course etc) but, I’ve got this!
Until, the fateful realisation the night before when I walked the course, shivers ran down my spine and my tummy ripped a dozen times! Lloyd had covertly made use of a steep bank before a substantial 80cm XC jump!!
This is an image from where I first saw it….
Now, you may think, get some brave pants on girl just ride it and jump! But, it was steep, Dave is a clumsy footed cob, and mostly I’m new to this!
I had a friend who is an experienced rider with me and we paced the distance, from the bottom of the bank to the jump, if i were to walk/trot it would be three canter strides. Dave would not jump this from a trot, it’s just not in his or my little box of “can do’s”.
So, we went back to our arena and we used our AMAZING POLYJUMPS HEDGEHOGS, and we replicated THAT XC jump… I put a cone three strides back from the jump and I practiced.
Dimensionally, it was identical which was what I needed for us newbies - jumps like this feel formidable! I’d much rather ride the same upright than this! So, we were able to ride three strides and a POP… we could do it (just be sure I did it a good few times). It was great and it meant I was able to sleep that night!
The following morning loading up and I took a peep at the jump again, my tummy did a few roly-polies but I knew we could do it!
And guess what, after a whole course of show jumps (one unfortunate pole down) and over half the XC course.....
WE DID IT!
I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN HAPPIER! Nothing else mattered that day, that one jump was all that had worried me and we did it!
The PolyJumps Hedgehog Jumps helped so much prepping for this, in fact what other jump could I have used to make that jump ride the same?
Thanks for reading to the end!