Sunday 2nd October
Given the enormity of what I’m about to undertake, I thought I’d make a weekly diary so I can reflect on the highlights, lowlights, progress, challenges and pitfalls when I’m in my rocking chair!
As I only found out I’d been accepted on Friday 30th September; this week I thought I’d take the opportunity of introducing you all to Team Wildcroft, who will be taking the Wobbleberry Challenge with me.
Whilst I’m fronting the Team for this Wobbleberry Challenge, the total stars of this show are the horses and humans making all this possible! So whilst I’ll start with me, by no means think I’m top of the crop!
I’ll keep this brief. I’m a 50 something wimpy rider and although I’ve had my own horses for the last 12 years I’ve chosen to keep all four feet firmly on the floor and haven’t left the ground on a horse deliberately for close to 40 years.
The thought of it is totally terrifying … and then you add the complexity of a course of show jumps or hurling myself over solid fences at speed. Suffice it to say, there is much work to do and I’ll introduce you to my long suffering trainer once we’ve met the horses.
First up, let me introduce Oscar. He’s a 7 year old 17’0″ Chestnut Hanovarian by Hello Oscar, has a canter to die for and is a gorgeous pony to have around. Ozzie, however, has a bit of a story!
I bought him on the basis of a four week trial back in October 2015. Three weeks into that trial, after a few behavioural issues had come to light, I phoned the dealer to say he wasn’t what I was looking for and I wanted to return him. After three months of tooing and froing it was obvious I had a choice to make; either sue the dealer or sell him myself.
It was a tough choice because suing the woman would take forever and Oz would be sat in a field doing nothing. My only other option was to sell him myself and be honest about his behavioural issues. Not great choices but with the latter, at least I’d know where he was going, and that was important because, I have to say, even at that point, he was under my skin.
So off he went to sales livery and things were going pretty well. Becky was dealing with his behavioural issues and he was off out to dressage competitions, cross country schooling and show jumping clinics.
Then it all came crashing in around me. You see, the thing is, it all got too much for him. He’s what we call a right brain introvert. Which, in lay terms, means he has very little confidence in himself and is worried by everything. When it all gets too much for him, being introverted, he either leaps, rears, bucks or shuts down and doesn’t move at all.
At his last dressage competition after he’d done one almighty leap, Becky had the good sense to get off rather than ride him through it. However, when she loaded him on the lorry to go home, he stood on the ramp for about 20 minutes refusing to go on and looking like he was about to go to slaughter. He’d shut down!
So after much soul searching he came home to have a couple of months off before we started down the route of selling him again. This time though we’d take it much slower and let him adapt gradually.
As you’ve probably realised, that was the worst thing I could’ve done! He’s now a permanent fixture and I couldn’t be more delighted! 🙂
This journey with Oz is going to be an interesting one, not only do I have to overcome my demons, I have to help Ozzie with his. The thing is this, I know you could say any horse is too big for us, because let’s face it, they are! However there are some bigger than others … and when Ozzie’s not okay, he’s 17 hands of engine that’s not okay! Interesting times ahead me thinks – although he is so adorable I’d forgive him anything!
Tickety Boo on the other hand is much simpler! He arrived in March this year. He’s a 5 year old 15’2″ Appaloosa and his cheeky side is just emerging! Before coming to me he had just started going out to little showjumping competitions competing at 80cm.
Boo arrived because obviously I was selling Oz, and his seller was quite happy to come to an agreement where I paid the balance when Oz had been sold. What could possible go wrong with that deal?!
Boo is a great guy, he’s an RBI too, but a much more confident chap who, whilst needing his hand held, is pretty willing to give most things a go. The lovely thing about him is that when something worries him, he doesn’t react, he thinks it through and when he gets really worried, he bends himself to a stop!! He’s such a straightforward pony. I’m going to really enjoy having him on board or should I say being on board him!
The two horses are completely different to ride mainly due to their conformation. Ozzie has a trot and canter to die for but you have to sit so still and keep out of his way completely.
Boo on the other hand, in theory is much easier, he’s incredibly responsive, much more forgiving and I just have to think something and he’s there. Although strangely enough, I do find him more difficult to ride – go figure?! May be that’s just a ‘for now’ thing and once I’m into this challenge I’ll be able to adapt my style much more readily – let’s hope so!
Moving on to the two-legged team. Of course, I have all my fellow Wobbleberries who are organising events for the Wobbleberry Challenge throughout the year and as they come up I’ll keep you posted.
The first two unsuspecting humans that just didn’t duck fast enough;
First up is Tracey Duncan. She’s been my trainer and friend for a few years now. Not only is Tracey is a 2* Parelli Professional she’s a 1* Event rider. She really is the embodiment of putting principles to purpose and I’m so glad she’s agreed to help me with this challenge.
Tracey has the patience of a saint, adapts to people’s learning style and never makes either the horse or rider wrong. All of that wrapped up in the Savviest of horsewomen. If I have a horse related problem, she has several ways of dealing with the cause, not the symptom.
Apparently she reliably informs me she’s putting together plans; lots of plans! I will have a Foundation plan and a Horse Fitness plan and I need to organise a Me Fitness plan.
What’s with all these plans??? I’m a wing it and whistle kinda gal! Now I know it was never going to be a wing it and whistle event per se, but really!!! 😀
Then last, but by no means least, is my gorgeous hubby, Graham. We’ve been together for 18 years now and he’s been my rock. He’s wonderful in so many ways but as far as the horses go, not only does he muck out and poo pick for me during the week he organises the farrier, cleaning of rugs, general horsey duties and the odd play with the horses when he’s got five minutes! He also takes time out to drive me around all over the place making sure we all get where we’re going in one piece.
So there you have it, introductions to Team Wildcroft complete for now!
’til next week, have fun and kick on.