Everything Else The Eventing Vet

Venturing out…


Photo courtesy of www.thehorseeventphotographer.co.uk

Photo courtesy of www.thehorseeventphotographer.co.uk


Having moved a long way from (my old) home it’s not just the hacking routes that need to be discovered, there’s a whole new world of competition venues out there too!

My first couple of weeks at work have gone pretty smoothly. Because it’s a new venture we’ve been on the quiet side whilst picking up new clients , but that’s worked out well as there’s a whole heap of new top-spec equipment to familiarise myself with – a stunning compact ultrasound scanner which will do both legs and repro work and is actually smaller than the laptop that I’m writing this on, and a digital DR X-ray system which is something I’ve dreamed of for years (yes, I’m sad, but I consider myself too old to dream about Robert Pattinson).  The rep came this week to teach us how to use all the bells and whistles but I couldn’t really picture it in the office so we decided we needed some live practice – hence roping in the more reliable of my two horses to act as an ‘X-ray model’ for the morning. In the spirit of Not Really Wanting To Know I didn’t look too closely at the pictures but suffice to say that the machine is capable beyond my wildest (even those with Ewan McGregor in them) dreams and will even take reasonable spine pics, which it shouldn’t technically be capable of!

Having worked and been on-call solidly for a fortnight might have been a bonus as it meant we’ve been confined to barracks so the poor horses have been subjected to more, yet more and even more pole and grid-work. It would appear that it has done them wonders!

I was thrilled to find that Vale View lay a mere hour from our door and may have got slightly overexcited but ended up there for two consecutive days this weekend. Nothing like overdoing it…

First up was Fugly for some BS. We start eventing in a fortnight and neither horse has been XC schooled – in fact Jerry hasn’t seen a XC fence since Belton last year (at least I think he saw one, it’s hard to be sure considering he spent most of the distance between the first 4 fences standing on his hind legs). So with only one free day to spare to prepare Fugly for the forthcoming eventing season we went… show-jumping. Clever, huh?  Anyway who’d have thought that the confirmed pole-basher would jump double clear round the Disco and be placed in a class of 40? We even won enough actual money to cover our entry fee. Amazing! Especially when you’re used to winning a dandy brush and a bag of horse treats for a whole day’s work at BE. Anyway the success must have gone to our head as they changed the following class to a speed class due to a surfeit of entries and we slightly overcooked it and had one down. I’d hate to trot out the predictable BS/BE stereotypes but I think I won the ‘least tack on the horse’ and ‘best dressed for a day’s cubbing’ awards.

So home for a celebratory glass of something nice before returning today with Jerry for the arena eventing. I thought this might take the place of XC schooling as there is at least a water complex and some steps, however I was slightly concerned to find a skinny rolltop in the water in the giddy heights of the 85cm class! Skinnies weren’t really this horse’s ‘thing’ before he was injured and we haven’t practised anything similar since! They’d roped a pro eventer into doing the commentary, which was hilarious. Most people got the bog standard (though a step up from Mike Tucker) treatment, those that he knew got some very cheeky comments indeed. It’s probably as well that I was concentrating on the horse! If the BBC’s looking for a new horsey sports commentator though they could do worse than look out for a young male pro based in Leics…

So Jerry set out for his first jumping round in nearly a year. As I explained to an onlooker I’ve done a bit of damage to my brain over the years. Let’s just say that time and alcohol have taken their toll. So the thought of remembering 29 fences (including that skinny in the water) was slightly concerning. Having left my hipflask at home I had also to endure competing without the help of a wee dram. Well bless Jerry. After a Harrier jump jet effort (his speciality) at the first he settled down to jump merely the top of the wings. He was clear round the SJ section and whizzed round the XC. No worries at the water (a previous bête noire), skinnies or steps and we stopped the clock, without having particularly tried, at a time worthy of second place. I love my overgrown JA pony! With 30-odd competitors still to go I wasn’t confident of a placing but in the end we were 4th and best of the horses. Darn those nippy ponies!

So the sights are set. Both horses have, at the very least, had a run out and are ready for eventing in a fortnight, though if the weather’s no better than it was today I’m not going! I just hope that they haven’t peaked too early. I could do with some of those double clears later in the year! Now to knuckle down and work next all this week, next weekend and the week after. Oh, and my husband appears to have gone AWOL during a stag weekend in Amsterdam. It was handy for a couple of days as I could play ponies without disruption, but if anyone should happen to find him I’d be grateful if you could return him to The Eventing Vet, East Midlands. A second class stamp would be fine…

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