Part of me doesn't want to write this!
I had the brilliant idea of finding some showjumping for Mr O to do so he could get some practise in before his second round of Trailblazers on April 17th. We had a look around and found a competition at a place called Hargate Arena. As it happened, it was part of a combined training competition, which meant there was dressage on at the same time. So clever old Mrs O. has a brainwave and decides to enter the dressage, just as a bit of fun for her and The Bardy Lad.
It was quite warm on Sunday morning so I got up early and bathed Barnaby. I have to say, he looked stunning afterwards. His tail was like silk. I put him back in his stable and he promptly rolled. He stood up and had straw all over his head, grinning away at me like the village idiot.Marvellous.
Anyway, the time came to load up, so we set off for Hilton, just south of Derby. We parked and decided to leave the horses in the lorry for a few minutes while we went for a look round. It was a beautiful place, with a huge show jumping arena, a big indoor arena to warm up in and then we walked further along and found a huge dressage arena. The warm-up arena was completely separate too, the whole place was vast and looked fabulous.
We came back and got the horses out of the lorry. They stood quite happily munching on their haynets so we went off to sign in and watch the showjumping. There was a 1'9" class, followed by a 2' class, with about 8 competitors in each. Then there was a 2'3" class which seemed to go on for ever. We'd been there for ages by then.
My dressage was on at 1.22pm and it was 12.30 so I thought I'd better go and tack up. Mr O didn't come with me which felt a bit odd. Barnaby was quite calm so I tacked him up and got on and rode off to find Mr O but he'd vanished. I get very flustered when things like that happen but decided I had better concentrate on what I was doing so I carried on round to the warm-up arena. Once we got in there Barnaby completely changed as he realised he wasn't with Zak. I tried to trot him round and get him to concentrate but it was awful. I was in a snaffle, remember, so had a lot less control than I would normally have. The test has canter in it, so I thought I'd risk a little practise, but Barnaby just cantered round with his head between his knees. I knew it was ridiculous to keep going and decided to quit while I was ahead so I rode up to the judge's caravan and said I would withdraw. So that was that.
I rode back to the showjumping area and found Mr O. in the warm-up arena. Zak was behaving very oddly as well. Basically, he just refused to jump. It was so strange, he was getting right up to the fence before running out. He has never done that in his life. He did it a couple of times, then Mr O asked me to leave, as Barnaby was being a bad influence on Zak!
I walked back to the lorry and made Barnaby stand and eat some grass. After a few minutes of worrying that Mr O was going to get thrown off, he appeared at my side and said that he too was going to withdraw. He tied Zak up at the lorry and stomped off to the secretary's caravan.
So what a total and utter waste of a day. We were both so disappointed and frustrated. We loaded the horses and drove home, knowing we were going to have to say to Pongo and Missis that we hadn't even done it, whilst putting a brave face on it. As so often happens on these occasions, we talked and talked about why on earth it had happened. Basically we've decided that apart from the Amber Valley rides, the horses aren't going anywhere together in future. I really don't understand how a horse like Barnaby, who is as bold as brass at home, can't be separated from his best buddy once he's travelled with him. He used to do it with Max. We were at a hunter trials once years ago when it was announced over the tannoy, "Could the owners of the blue and silver lorry please return to their vehicle as their horse is distressed." Distressed? Barnaby was rearing up and typing his name into the bodywork with his hooves. As soon as he saw Max he calmed down.
So, bear in mind that we sold Max last year. And what happens? Barnaby immediately latches on to Zak. Blooming marvellous.
But the good thing is, we've had a look at the things we want to do and Mr O has finally agreed that I can do some TREC on my own. Because it does seem that if Mr O wants to go somewhere, like the showjumping, he goes, but if I want to go somewhere I can't unless Mr O wants to do it too, and if he doesn't it never occurs to him that I might want to do it on my own. Or he'll make an excuse such as the entry fee is too high or it's too far to travel. It doesn't seem fair to me. So we have decided that if one of us wants to go somewhere they can go. If we both see something on the same day, the most important competition wins, eg, I can't go somewhere on April 17th because we've agreed that Mr O's second round is the most important thing on that day. I think this will work out very well, and am so excited to be able to do the TREC training day and a ride in Clumber Park on April 16th which I am desperate to do.
Oh, and just to cap it all, when we got home the heavens opened with hailstones, thunder and lightening so we got drenched. And then, the cat came in and threw up in Barnaby's water bucket, just to finish the day off nicely. It's a good job I can see the funny side now, isn't it?!
Have a great week, everyone.