Saturday was my very first try at eventing, an equestrian sport which tests the horse and rider to the maximum. A dressage, a show jumping and then a cross country phase. I have tried to question myself why I was so terrified and have come to the conclusion that most of those adrenaline jangling nerves were excitement - I bloody love riding and I especially love going cross country at speed.
Thank you firstly to his owners who entrust me with their very special horse. Thank you to D who feeds Fletch and looks after him every day; mucking him out, changing his rugs, cleaning his wounds, turning him out and loving him dearly. Thank you to D, B and K who have been so patient to teach this old lady who really has no idea, especially about dressage.
Thank you to him, who puts up with my smelliness and my passion. And thank you to my kids who are running along beside me encouraging me at every moment of the journey - 'if you think you can do it Mummy, you will do it..." they repeat in unison - at least my teachings are sinking in!
Thank you to my friends who put up with my absentee-ness, knowing I will be up to my knees in horse-poo and trying to work on my flying changes somewhere. Thank you to those who supported me yesterday - it meant a great deal.
But mostly thank you to Fletch. It wasn't the winning, or the rosettes or even the incredible ride he gave me yesterday. Thank you Mr Fletcher for being the sweetest horse I have known, for still giving so much after twenty years, for still having enthusiasm for a coloured pole or a brush fence. Thank you Fletch for being my guru, teaching me humility and understanding of a horses thinking. Thank you for not always making it easy.
I hope we have many more rides together - and I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.