Recently, the yard that I rent has seen the arrival of a new tenant - Swedish event rider Ludwig Svennerstal has come to share the stables -
the blond haired, blue eyed stereotype that is rather pleasant eye candy on a daily basis……I’ve had to ban him from dating more than one of my staff at a time though, so trouble is clearly brewing on the horizon!
One of the other positive side effects of this is that my horses are
jumping more……Lou has no patience with me over cross poles and cavalettis though, so ashen faced, strapped into my dressage saddle, I’m launched down grids, poles hovering at the top of the wings, with the phrase‘get some gravel in your belly’ thundering in my ears. It’s clearly far too late for a career change. I’m never going to make a show jumper.
My year was supposed to kick off competitively with a trip to s’Hertogenbosch last week for the World Cup Qualifier. It was Sophie’s (one of my lovely grooms) first show away with me, Pasoa had been firing on all cylinders and felt amazing in training, Erik had his flights booked to join us out there, and so with great excitement the lorry was loaded, jelly sweets and chocolate in abundance….and off we set for the relatively short journey to the Port. It all went rapidly downhill from there. The weather had been awful both here and in France, operation stack on the M20 was in effect, which is how I imagine the roads in hell to look, and over five hours later we arrived in a crowded Dover. It took forever to
get a ferry. Sophie was encouraged to flirt with every official in sight to try and sneak on an earlier boat, but either she’s out of practice or jodhpurs clearly weren’t their thing. By the time we had reached Calais I was
already worried that Pasoa had been on the lorry a long time and the trot up was only 24 hours away, but figuring we only had another four hours to drive we pressed on. Our good mood came to an abrupt halt in a snowstorm near Brussels however when a front tyre blew on the lorry. This was the final straw. Despite an extremely good looking mechanic arriving like a white knight, albeit in a dirty grey van (every cloud does have a silver lining!), I took the very disappointing decision to abort my ill-fated trip. My poor horse would have been on the lorry nearly twenty hours by the time we arrived, which wouldn’t have allowed her nearly enough recovery time before having to compete….so tyre fixed at vast expense, back to Calais we headed to stable overnight and return home the following day.
Stabling in Calais was an experience. The facilities are minimal, the lights are all on money saving eight minute timers - so periodically you’re plunged into darkness – bedding is sparse and the stables look like prison cells, but what it did teach me is that Sophie never stops smiling, you can microwave pasta…& that if you find an open, half bottle of famous grouse in a disused tack room, when desperate enough you’ll drink it. From now on, it’s an offence…punishable by riding B maybe…..to forget to pack alcohol on the horsebox.
When we arrived home I took Pasoa off the lorry and straight into her field. She loves her turnout and like all my horses spends all day, every day in the field. She must have thought I had completely lost the plot – maybe not, maybe she enjoyed her day and a half road trip around Northern Europe with Mum…..whatever the case, it’s not an adventure I fancy repeating! Addington CDI is next on the agenda……its only 45 minutes away from me so hopefully the next time I write, my performance and not the journey can be subject matter!!