Fletch and I went show jumping at the weekend. I had been looking forward to this for so long but now the time had arrived, my adrenaline was getting the better of me. I just needed to focus, to shut everything out around me, and to try and remember the god-damn order of jumps.
"And next in the ring we have number 133, riding Fletch"
I waited for the bell to ring while we trotted in. I told Fletch he could do it, I told him that I would love him forever if he didn't dump me in front of all these people and more importantly, I told him I had polo's - lots of them - if we got a clear round. I asked for canter and looked for the first fence, Fletch pricked his ears and we were off. Over the first, second fence, next the combination and then he wobbled at the fourth and nearly ran out at the fifth - suddenly my 16 year old self kicked in, and I growled at him to get himself over the fence and not around it. He leapt like ungainly giraffe and understood that I now meant business - we had a little uncertainty at fence nine, but that was my fault as I temporarily lost my way - and then we got it back to together to get a clear round.
Woop woop. A double clear....yeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
My grin was enormous, I might have just cried a wee tear, the relief was palpable and the feeling of accomplishment insane. I did it, faced my demons and at the grand old age of 40 I was flying fences and feeling fabulous.
Cross-country next. Gulp.
Thank you Fletch - you amazing horse you - and thank you to his owners for letting me have the privilege of climbing aboard His Royal Gingerness!