The Thing I Love
I love anticipating eventing. From the schedule going online, entering via BWDP (or similar), checking the section lists, planning with military precision your day – to buying kit, studs, saddlecloths, sponges. What other sport allows you to have 3 separate ranges of kit. Hairnets, hacking jacket, tie, tiepin & a sparkly horse for dressage. Flashy brushing boots, blingy SJ bridles, matching XC colours for the jumping, and 3 saddles potentially – such joy. Once everything is sorted, ordered, cleaned, used and put away, there is the fun of getting out of your long boots into a pair of trainers and wandering round the event. You can have a decent cup of coffee while critiqueing everyone else’s SJ and waiting by the scoreboards catching up with people to see if you have scraped a place.
The Thing I’d Change
What I hate about eventing is the anticipation. That sinking feeling as the day approaches and you wonder what on earth you were thinking entering ANOTHER event, when last time you swore it would be the last. As the terror builds you wonder whether your horse will ever master staying on the correct bend for an entire 20m circle, without dropping entirely off the leg, you decide there aren’t the funds to buy lots of new kit and the rather stained and smelly collection of clothes and accoutrements will have to do for another event.
As you get stuck going up the never ending lane to the event, having to negotiate passing places with all the lorries filled with lucky people who have finished and are going home, you realise that yet again you are late. There is a rapid decision to send long suffering friend off to get number, while you throw tack on horse, remember you forgot to wash the dressage square and gallop to the Dressage warm up.
Horse only owns one bridle and saddle, so quick bit change, jumping out of plough in the SJ warm up at least tires horse out, cue panic about whether it is actually fit enough – or in fact whether you are. I also hate the terror with engulfs me at this point, and the certainty that this is the very last tine I will EVER put myself through this.
I hate the fact that I always get to the start of XC without my medical armband and have to gallop back to the box to get it.
When I have finished and am a red, sweaty mess, I pull on my fairly hideous old loafers after being surgically removed from my long boots, and desperately knock back diet coke. Then I hate the fact that as I hang around the scoreboards furtively, wishing I looked half as slim and elegant as all the people SJ, you can guarantee that if the lorry park containing my jacket & hat is a mile and a half from the secretary’s tent and I am looking like a bag lady I will scrape 10th. I particularly hate the fact that I immediately start thinking about which event I will do next.