In an attempt to keep my motivation levels up, I’ve decided to join in with this month’s equestrian blog hop. Not only does it mean I get to write something without having to think up a title, but it means that if anyone reading this wants to procrastinate a bit more, there are plenty of other great blogs you can hop over to.
So, November’s theme is: What is your riding ambition? Do you have one?
My riding ambitions fit neatly into two categories:
- Somewhat reasonable
- Downright deluded
I once rode for someone who said it’s not worth riding if you don’t have something to aim towards. And I really agree with this: whether your aim is to have a canter through that huge open field; to hack by yourself; to pop round a course of bigger-than-usual fences; or to compete at Badminton, these goals and ambitions are vital in keeping us motivated and enthusiastic.
My main ambition with Floyd is to event. Next season we’ll start out at BE80, and thanks to British Eventing releasing the 2018 fixtures, my plan is to aim for Munstead in March to start. Depending on funds, transport and progress, I’d like to think we’ll do a season at 80, finishing somewhere like Tweseldown. From what I’ve heard, it’s a more up-to-height, challenging course, so we can test the waters for trying a 90.
I’d love to say doing a BE90 is a doable ambition, but seeing as we’ve never evented before, I can’t. However, if it all goes to plan next season, then maybe 2019 will be the year of trying a BE90. Floyd undoubtedly has the talent to storm round a 90, it’s just whether my nerves hold up. Maybe it’s time to start stockpiling gin and rescue remedy…
Until the eventing season starts, my ambitions are to qualify for BD’s Petplan Area Festivals. We’ve got one score out of three, and depending on funds and taking time off work, I’d like to secure at least one more qualifying score before Christmas. However, Floyd has been a bit tricky to ride lately, and those two scores are looking a lot harder to get than I thought.
We’ll also be putting on our dancing shoes. Dressage to music is one of my favourite equestrian disciplines to watch: from Valegro to Blue Hors Matine, I cry buckets at them all. So, we’ll give dressage to music a go, either through our riding club or BD. I’ve already picked out some awesome songs to ride to, and I’m really excited about this from a creative perspective.
My last fairly reasonable, short-term ambition with Floyd is to join some of the riding club teams. We’re lucky to be part of the super supportive, friendly South Oxfordshire Riding Club, and as I’m part of the committee now, I think we should try out for the teams too. However, we don’t have much competition experience under our belt yet, so we need to get out and about and prove our reliability before we join the teams.
Like every amateur eventer in the UK, I’d love to ride at the Grassroots Championships at Badminton. However, when you’re up against approximately eight-million talented riders all competing for a very small number of places, it’s an ambition I’m unlikely to reach. Especially when you consider that it requires us to not just complete a BE90, but complete a BE90 competitively enough to get placed.
So, while we’re on this theme, why not chuck completing a BE100 into the mix? Floyd’s more than talented enough, it’s just the jockey who needs to get a grip. But in all honesty, if we compete confidently at BE80 and 90 for say a season or seven, then maybe I’ll downgrade this onto the ‘ambitions when drunk and cocky’ list.
I’d also, at some point, love to find a dressage saddle to fit Floyd. Does this count as an ambition? I’m not sure. But either way, I feel like Prince Charming searching for Cinderella, with only a crappy shoe to help. Except in our case, I’ve got my Cinderella, and I’ve got to find a shoe (read: saddle) to fit. I’m wholly convinced, like the Prince, that finding this saddle will complete my life, let us live happily ever after, and bring peace to the country. However, after trying nine different brands, sizes, makes and shapes, we’re still no closer. At this rate, I think it’s more likely that I’d find my own prince to marry, rather than finding Floyd a saddle.
Which brings me onto my biggest, most deluded, most inanely hopeful ambition: to complete a dressage test, have a lesson, or go out competing, and not hear the words ‘well sat’ after Floyd’s displays of athleticism…
So, there we go. It’s fair to say I’m quite ambitious with Floyd, and writing this post has made me realise I’ll need to win the lottery and give up work to see this all through. But when I first started looking for a horse, I had nothing more ambitious in mind than completing fun rides and doing the odd unaffiliated class. Now, while I’ll never be able to do a fun ride with Floyd, his talent and trainability has opened up a whole universe of new opportunities for us to try.