Infatuated again

Australian Stockhorse ‘Buzz’ attempting his first ODE

Well after last month being busy helping out committees, this month has been busy competing!

As a lead up to Western Australia’s premier event (the Perth Horse Trials Three Day Event) I took Tempus Fugit (Murphy) to the Gidgegannup CNC**. Not only do I like to use these events as fitness runs, I also like to use them to run through ‘mental strategies’ for me and as training runs for the horse.

In this instance, I had a few mental things to work on with the dressage, including trying to be a bit more blasé in the warmup in order to cope with variables I can’t control. My other task was to ‘let go’ of the canter, to try to develop a slower tempo with more groundcover (easier said than done!).

The aim with the XC was to walk out of the start box! At events where it doesn’t matter if I make the time or not, I like to use them to ‘school’ the start box – something that is hard to do without an atmosphere. I was very lucky when I was younger in that one schoolmaster I rode was very naughty in the start box, and he taught me that a horse that doesn’t rear and leap around at the start is a blessing. It is my belief that constant fast starts (especially on ex-racehorses) can create a demon and by walking out and slowly picking up canter can help defuse them.

Hope Springs ridden by Elizabeth Moore

The weekend finished well, and my young horse Major Moment finished up 3rd in the EVA105. I gave another one of my horses, Hope Springs, to good friend Elizabeth Moore to compete whilst he is on the market – after dressage she sat in third place behind me on Major Moment. However, by the end of the weekend and double clear jumping she moved up into second, pipping me at the post! I must say being on the owners side of the fence is actually good fun – I didn’t realise I would enjoy watching him go around as much as I do, the thrills of cross country, the nerves for the show jumping, I rode every stride! Hopefully it has given me a bit of insight and makes me a better choice for future owners.

From there we had a weekend with client’s horses at the ‘Little’ Gidgegannup – the EVA80 and below classes, as limited parking space means that Gidgegannup committee split their event over two weekends. They both enjoyed a ‘spooky’ weekend away learning the eventing ropes.

Tempus Fugit warming up for dressage with Peter Shaw

From Little Gidge, we frantically unpacked, washed and repacked to head to the Three Day 4 days later. I had Major Moment in the CCN105 and Tempus Fugit in the CIC***. Through trot up and onto dressage, it seems my work at earlier events is starting to pay off – Tempus Fugit put in some great work with Peter Shaw in the warmup, and we managed to hold it together nearly to the end of the test to take the lead on 50.6.

Cross country day dawned, and what I thought was a tough CCN105 track, proved to be so! Major Moment was his usual confident self, and was just having way too much fun on course. The third last fence was an apex dressed with pine trees, that when I walked the course thought was really tough, and apparently Major Moment thought that too – uncharacteristically leaving a leg, and leaving me on the ground! This has to be the first time in four years that I have come off on cross country.

It took me a while to convince the medics that I didn’t need to get X-rays  (I wasn’t in enough pain for anything to be broken), and after making me lay still for an hour or two to let the adrenalin die down, they got the Doctor to take a look and he cleared me to continue on. My body vest was torn apart during the fall (well placed hoof as you can see in the video below!) so I was crazily running around trying to find another one so I could take Murph out on cross country (thankyou Felicity Heggarty for lending me yours!).

wooroloo crash of the day from Darren Dawes on Vimeo.

I will admit I was nervous as Murph isn’t the easiest ride, but thought I would take each fence as it comes and pull up if necessary. After about jump 5 I slapped myself on the head and mentally yelled at myself ‘stop sitting and start bloody riding!’ which helped, as we jumped clear just adding some time and holding onto first place.

Monday morning dawned and a very stiff me realised I had to trot up! The Ground Jury did have a giggle when I presented, assuring me they wouldn’t judge my ‘trot’. But we passed through even if the rider was held!  By the time my showjumping came around I was really worried about my strength levels, as at a Three Day Murph can often gain a lot more get up and go, and can be quite strong for the showjumping. However, I whispered in his ear ‘please take care of Mum’ and he show jumped beautifully! The only one to jump clear in the 3star, we held onto the lead – boy was I glad the Medics didn’t get to say ‘I told you so’.

Clear!

So, after our rough start to my relationship with Murphy earlier in the year all the ‘marriage counselling’ and persistence has paid off, as I am now well and truly infatuated again – I don’t think any other horse would have looked after a nervous me the way Murph did, and I don’t think I would have trusted any other horse as much as I trusted him that weekend! Now, it’s to keep the love coming all the way to Adelaide!

Photos and videos with thanks to Redfoto

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Reviewing Resolutions

Tegan Lush

In the office at Future Eventing, with fellow Eventful Life blogger Makayla Wood (event secretary) and Felicity Heggarty (event president)

It’s July which means it’s time to evaluate those New Year Resolutions (who thinks about them at this time of year!). And my new blog resolution this year was to bring you the little things that I am learning each month – and this month has been a big month of learning!

I’ve actually only made it to one event since my last blog, the Dryandra CIC. This is my ‘local’ event (which means its less than 2 hours away), and I put my hand up to help out the committee. The events Co-ordinator Jacqui Early is one of WA’s most amazing volunteers, and a very good delegator making her a joy to work with. I was in charge of helping out with the dressage for this event, and boy can I tell you there is a lot that goes on – and Pythagoras theory will be the death of me!

However once we got dressage arenas set up, most of the hard work was done (for me) with just a little bit of running around between dressage tests on Saturday morning, and I was enjoying helping out the committee. I had 2 horses run in this event, both in the top 3 after dressage.

All I need is a parrot to complete the look

Sunday morning loomed early, and my first ride around XC resulted in me trying to go around a slow rider (who I thought had some trouble on course), and not really paying attention to where I was going – which resulted in jumping into a low hanging branch and catching my face. I managed to finish the course, one hand holding my face and ran to the ambulance where I learnt that I had a scratch to my eye and wasn’t cleared to continue riding. They flushed it and gave me an eye patch to rest the eye, and after a couple of hours I was cleared to finish the day.

My last ride for the day was Tempus Fugit going XC – after how the morning started my plan was to just jump around, enjoy myself and get home safe and in one piece. It worked really well for my psyche, and I had a fabulous run XC, realising after fence 4 there was no need to go slow and coming home with only a few time penalties, we secured the win. There is no other feeling in the world quite like jumping around a tough 3 star track that easily with that much enjoyment.

Tegan Lush

Tempus Fugit cruising around Dryandra CNC*** (photo credit Reset Equine)

Since then, I have been working hard as the Cross Country coordinator for the Futures Eventing Committee. Futures Eventing is a committee created last year by Felicity Heggarty, made up of young riders, to give back and ensure the future of the sport (hence the name!). My role as the Cross Country Coordinator consists of booking and working with a course designer/builder, helping with flagging and dressing, jump judges, liaising with the TD, organising crash crew and horse ambulance etc.

I also took on the role of Chief Cross Country Judge – a role that I was told is really good for riders who aren’t competing at that event, to be the liaison between riders and jump judges, who may have a query or a complaint. I wasn’t riding so I put my hand up thinking ‘it doesn’t sound that hard, it’s only for 3 grades’. Boy was I wrong! The scorers had lots of questions for me, and 90 percent of them were resolved straight away, but it was amazing how much I was needed. It quickly became an incredibly busy day.

Our event finished without too many dramas (that we let you see!) and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of it. All of those that aided the committee, including our TD Jenny Brett, were extremely forgiving towards us and really encouraged the learning process, which made me feel a great sense of personal achievement – and being the ever perfectionist, to try and do better next time.

My last words to you, I ask, have you ever thought about putting your hand up to help the sport you love? It doesn’t have to be a big role, it could be something as small as making yourself available to confirm dressage judges, to help flag the cross country course or to be someone’s off-sider for the day. I dare every rider out there to put their hand up to help out a committee, just one event a year, and I think we would all learn to be more forgiving once we realise what an incredibly tough job it is to get our sport off the ground.

Til next month…

The Futures Eventing Committee having some fun at the end of the day (photo credit Wayne Edwards)

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