Once upon a time, when you didn’t have an idea, you didn’t get the gear either! For your amusement, this is a photo of me at probably my first ever xc competition, a hunter trials near Cranford in the ’80s.
I was riding my lovely Anglo-arab x Welsh 14.2 pony, who I unfortunately outgrew in less than a year. Silver was a super jumper, fortunately, as I had very little clue!
If you look closely you can see that I had no body protector, no decent hat (that was a beagler with elastic band, which we ‘too cool for school’ kids didn’t like to put under our chins, so we did it up under our hair at the back, surprisingly secure really), no boots on the horse (his over-reaching must have been serious – probably because I was letting him go on the forehand, having no idea – because those were definitely the only pair of boots he ever wore on his legs!) There’s no breastplate, probably no numnah or saddlecloth, and that was the only bit and noseband he ever wore!
My position is just awful, I can’t believe that none of my instructors ever told me to lift my hands up so that I couldn’t lean on them in mid-air and pivot forwards far too much. Terrible habit which I still struggle with, after so many years of getting away with it as a kid!
How times have changed. Thanks Silver, you were a fabulous boy and your bravery and generosity got me bitten by the xc bug!