So, this time last year I made the decision to retire Bert from eventing after he struggled to make the step up to novice and it hit me hard.
Now I have always been lucky enough to have access to lots of horses to play with, and thankfully, this time was no different. I had just taken Claire Penfolds Dantastic to his first BE90 at the lovely Munstead Horse Trials. One year later and Dan has not only taken that step up, at the same event that Bert retired at, but tackled it like a true pro.
Normally at this point I would wax eloquent, and spin a humorous account of how we tackled the SJ beast and then nailed the cross country…… But this event was different.
Our dressage was flawed, but a valiant effort; we scored only 4% behind first place (and only 2.5% behind Sir Mark Todd!!!!)
Then the sj beast got the better of us….. I tried too hard to achieve what we are capable of, and in the process made some mistakes. But they are my own mistakes, I own them and learn from them and will do so much better next time.
But then it was time for cross country; oh my god….. this is what we were made for. The course challenged him, and he answered that challenge like the true hero he is. He answered every question I asked of him, took every stride I put him on (whether it was right or wrong) and didn’t question me once. He made it feel effortless.
I have my faults, Dan has his, but over the last year we have become more than the sum of our parts. We may never challenge Ollie Townend or Pippa Funnell, but with the help of a large amount of people we are going to challenge people’s perceptions of us.
This little horse made me so very proud at the South of England Horse Trials and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone that has helped us come this far. There are so many people that have invested time in us so thank you to all of you. Claire Penfold, Helen Warren, Caroline Jeanne, Charlotte Stephens, Spring Hill Dressage and everyone else that has been there for us; and of course our wonderful sponsors and supporting companies.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we will get another run this year (work gets in the way!) But here is to next season! My BE family, you have been great, and I look forward to seeing you all at the SEEL ball in November!