I'm sorry I haven't been about, my laptop seems to have had a mid-life crisis and wouldn't even switch on. I don't know what the matter is, but I think we may be looking for a new one fairly soon.
Anyway, regarding the showjumping on Sunday: The first thing I must tell you is that when we did the first Amber Valley Ride, Zak had cut himself on the lorry partition somehow. The wound is on his hip, which is well above the partition, but he must practically sit down as we go round corners or something, and rubbed himself until he made himself bleed. Poor, poor boy.
So we travelled to Trent Valley Equestrian Centre on Sunday for Mr O to take part in the second round of the Trailblazers. Zak seemed to stamp about a bit in the lorry but was fine as soon as we came out. We'd put purple spray on his wound and padded it up to travel, so it was fine.
It was a very hot day. To our astonishment they were holding first round qualifiers as well as second round classes. This round is split into pony classes, which were held in the morning, and horse classes, which were held in the afternoon. By the time we got there there were still two pony classes to go. They changed the course after each round, and each round had a jump-off, so it went on forever.
Eventually the horse classes started. They split horses and ponies because ponies have a distinct speed advantage over horses because they can turn on a sixpence and cut corners which would make a horse fall over, so this is much fairer.
So once again there was a 65cm class, for round one, followed by a jump off, then they changed the course and had the 65cm second round class, so by the time our class started, we'd been there for three hours. It was incredibly hot and Zak had lost interest a bit by then.
Mr O took him into the warm-up ring and they jumped the cross pole quite well. They went round a couple of times, then went for the bigger fence. I'm not quite sure what happened, but basically Zak didn't want to know, stopped dead in front of it and Mr O went sailing over the fence.
I had one of those crisis moments where I didn't know whether to run to Mr O or try to catch Zak. Fortunately Zak couldn't get out of the ring and some people caught him so I went to Mr O. He said he wasn't hurt and got back on and in the end Zak jumped the fence.
I did tell Mr O not to be a passenger and to ride Zak and get after him.
They went in for their turn and Zak lolled around a bit and had the first fence down. I was so cross. Then Mr O did decide to wake him up and he flew round after that. How utterly frustrating!
So he hasn't qualifed for the finals at Stoneleigh, but he can have another go at a second round, which is good, so we are going to Field House on April 30th (a Saturday for a change, so we won't miss church).
This is the first time Mr O has ever fallen off Zak (we've had him nearly 3 years) and it really worried me. If I'm being purely practical, I can't drive and don't know how we'd get home if Mr O was injured and what would we do with Zak? I guess Pongo and Missis might come and collect him in their lorry, but our lorry would have to stay there until we could collect it so it would all be a bit of a saga, not to mention what state Mr O would be in, plus time off work while he recovered. For those of you who think I'm being a bit OTT, let me tell you that we have been in this situation twice, where Mr O was helicoptored off to hospital and it's not really an experience I'd care to repeat. But I can't persuade him to give it up, so what can I do?
And the other little saga. You may know that I clipped all Barnaby's winter coat out this year and now he's lost a lot of hair, but his summer coat hasn't come through. So now he has the most unbelievable sunburn, my poor poor baby. It sounds like quite a few people have been caught out as we didn't expect it to get so warm so early in the year.
I have put a fly sheet on him, which is a thin rug, and I've noticed it has a strip of fabric up the neck on the inside, so it should at least stop that area from burning, but I have to go to the field every couple of hours and re-apply suncream. It's Factor 50 but doesn't seem to make that much difference. I am putting after sun and wonder gel on, which seems to take the heat out at night, and I'm soaking him with cold water after I've ridden him, which he seems to like (normally he moans like crazy if I make his neck wet). At the moment he seems to much prefer night time to day time, and who can blame him? My poor boy.
Hope it's not too hot where you are.
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