About me: I’m Brook, a 29 year old philosophy/linguistics/ethics graduate. I currently work full time in the NHS (yes that degree combination CAN lead to a job, who knew?!), helping improve the way care is provided for a better and safer experience for all. [A quick note on safety: I’m acutely aware of the risks in our sport. I by no means want to change the fundamentals of what we do and love, but the more we can manage the risks effectively the better. With my day job hat on I think a lot about safety in healthcare and how we can improve it, and more and more I can see how learning from this area could be applied to eventing; an intriguing prospect I hope you’ll all agree].
I compete regularly, sit on my local riding club committee, volunteer at about 15 competitions a year and struggle to say no to any opportunity for learning more about / getting more involved with horses. It is no joke that Al has to ‘book’ non-horsey weekends about 6 months in advance during any time other than winter (and occasionally in winter too). Somehow I find time for interests outside horses too… I enjoy watching films provided they don’t have any gore in them, I like baking/decorating/eating cakes, and I like getting a bit of culture every so often; going to the theatre or visiting a museum.
I’m really proud of what I’ve managed to achieve so far in my riding career. I’ve regained confidence after a life-changing and potentially life-threatening fall, I’ve competed [occasionally successfully] in 8 national championships (pony club and riding club), I’ve ridden for my country (the World Riding Club championships, not quite the Olympics but still VERY exciting), and I’ve completed a CCI* (completed being the operative word, I’ll not mention what place I came…). And, AND, I’ve qualified for the Badminton Grassroots Championships (eeek, still over the moon about that one!).
About the horse: Corey (aka Cobs because he was offered for sale as a show cob at 3) joined us as a 4 year old nearly 4 years ago. We bought him with the intention/hope/crazy pipe dream of eventually going to Blair CCI*. I wasn’t bothered about being competitive when we got there, just capable of finishing the course; I’d made the decision to sell a talented mare that was far too happy to make a perfectly balanced canter-halt transition in front of fences rather than attempt to jump them and I was quite frankly sick and tired of getting eliminated. So Corey was bought for his willingness to jump above all else and as an amateur who works full time and with only the one horse to compete, plan A was to take Corey’s education slowly, have some fun and not worry about being competitive.
That was until we started competing. We were having masses of fun, building up Cobs’ confidence and putting ‘miles on the clock’. We were also discovering that Corey was capable of getting some pretty tasty scores. Plan A became Plan B (still concentrating on the route to Blair but taking opportunities to qualify for Badminton if and when they arose) and then Plan C – creating as many opportunities to qualify for Badminton as possible before we upgraded to novice and took ourselves out of the running. I became slightly obsessed and determined to get there. And so here we find ourselves, qualified and just over 2 months away from riding on the most hallowed turf of all eventing-dom. Bring it on! [Though I will add here that I say ‘bring it on’ with some trepidation. I have watched videos of the Badminton course about ten times now and continue to wonder, through the tears*, how on earth I’m going to get round without somehow stealing Opposition Buzz and disguising him as a bay connemara cross…] *Tears have become a inevitable part of my eventing life since my fall. I do not apologise for them, but do apologise for the fact that any pictures of my face at Badminton may appear a bit ‘blotchy’!
And briefly, the all-important Team Supercobs support team…
Al: husband, chef, photographer, groom, long-suffering-man-of-awesomeness
Ann: my Mum, Corey’s number one fan, chief groom and stable jockey (deserves an extra special mention for not only looking after my horse 7 days a week whilst I live an hour’s drive away, but also taking him out for hacks and creating the most spectacular spreadsheets detailing his fitness and competition plans)
Jeff: my Dad, assistant to the chief groom (Mum) and forever making sure I have enough to eat/drink and keeping us amused with questions about eventing that suggest the last ten years of my riding career have somehow passed him by.
And that is Team Supercobs – I’m not 100% sure what our prep for Badminton will look like given the weather and our already changing plans (Mum has had to change her spreadsheet, imagine!!) but I am sure it will be exciting. I look forward to sharing the journey with you!