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  • Writer's pictureLisa Marshall

Hunter Trials… Who’s idea was that?!?!

The boots are out after many years of being hung to dry! In fact, they weren't even my boots as my chunky thighs popped the zips!! 🤦🏻‍♀️ I had to beg borrow and steel before we even started the day. I went to pop my body protector on as we were aiming to take a go across the country. Well... this didn't go so well - as we watch the zip literally pop! Maybe you had to be there to experience the hilarity 😬🙈

To put the next one on to be stuck in it like a turtle - the gingers having to release my flailing self. We eventually found one - not the most comfortable, but it was on and safe. Which was a must for me taking on jumping the great Mr P after 4yrs of NOT!

I must have been inebriated to even suggest such an idea 🤦🏻‍♀️ too late now though as I'd messaged Terri to ask if she would do the pairs with me at the local hunter trial... unfortunately, she said 'yes', it's too late!

We've committed, I can't back out now!

After our trauma of finding fitting attire, ponies are prepped and looking wonderful ready to go

We head off, lorry and trailer packed and loaded with Glenda, Strider, Patrick & The Rockstar...

Matilda & Madi are taking Glenda & Strider in the pairs and myself & Terri are taking Mr P & The Rockstar on the following pairs class.

Wow, we arrived with limited time for Matilda & Madi to get tacked up, warmed up and ready to go! They have the tack check with a bit of time spent covering up piecings 😬 to then head off down to the warm up. It's a bit of a walk, a few photo opportunities on route 🤗🤣 Into the warm up all looks well, Strider has approached and cleared the first fence turns to come back and jump the other (only issue being we're going a little down hill and the red flag is on the left (first flag is there to always be on the right so you know which way to jump the fence)) 🤦🏻‍♀️ Thankfully there were no other horses in the warm up, so all possible accidents avoided 👍🏼, apart from the one with Madi & Strider. He didn't particularly like it 😳 and decided Madi should dismount, and untack on her way down. So bless Madi, she's on the floor with bridle in hand, but not looking too damaged. Everything back where it should be (including Madi) and they have another attempt, they're all good. Jumped it the right way and stayed on board. Glenda is doing so well with Matilda and isn't showing his belly to the world or chosen to do any gymnastics. He's literally just jumping the fences and being pretty well behaved. Here's hoping that lasts 🤞🏻

It's time to go.... as they're the last pair to go now due to us getting there by the skin of our teeth.

Count down begins and they're off.

OMG! Strider has taken the lead and they're off like a bullet. Clearing all of the start fences, they head down the slope and into the technical field... They're flying, no complications and all is good. They approach the water. Well, that's it for a little while, they just approach it. Both ponies just standing deciding if there's something in there that could possible cause harm to their precious little selves. They are literally stood on the edge like dumb and dumber. Both girls also deciding that they'd have to let them take their time here and catch up after, if at all possible? Eventually, Glenda takes a leap of faith, trusting Matilda that she's got his back and the ripple he saw is in fact NOT going to kill him. There's no way Strider is allowing himself to be left alone so also makes a break for it. 🤣 So brave! They're through and now literally flying around the remainder of the course. 🙈

We have the steps and Strider takes a swift swerve, but Glenda comes in behind and straight up for Strider to follow, then they go down the horrible hill where Glenda flies over the dreaded fence, sharp right to more steps (all clear) and up the hill. Strider has found another gear and is literally gone, Glenda isn't too keen and takes a swerve over the roll top at the top of the hill thinking he can get to Strider sooner if he avoids all obstacles. That didn't really work out for him. He had to still jump his obstacle even with his friends disappearance. He gets through the no visual area and sees his friend to spur him on the take the finishing line with ease! Both ponies and riders were absolutely amazing, Strider a little too fast and Glenda just needing a little more confidence. It was his first time, so we're certain with a little more training and parties he'll be loving it and taking Matilda round with absolute ease as his jump is wonderful!! Lots of walking off, a photo shoot and back to the lorry to strip them off, wash down and set them up for the afternoon resting and eating.

We've go a couple of ours before myself, Terri, Mr P and the Rockstar have to take to the field

🙈💩 Oh man!!! This seemed like such a good idea when I suggested it. I can only think I'd had a few too many gins before hand to be that brave/stupid 🤷🏻‍♀️

My stomach is literally doing summer salts and I'm in the frame of mind that I could just not do it. I've not jumped Mr P for approximately 4yrs and/or jumped anything much in that time! What was I thinking???!

Poor Terri, who also suffers with competition nerves is now also questioning her life choices as to why she agreed to do it with me!! Sorry Terri!! 😬

The hours go by quite quickly, it's time to tack up. I feel like the queen as Matilda is all over that for me, whilst I'm attempting to put myself in Madis boots as she's extended the laces, the now only body protector that fits me, a scull hat (which I've not worn since Eventing) and now all dressed up feeling like a sausage (that's a big sausage (no chipalata)) wrapped in clingfilm. The Tena lady is on for protection against any eventuality... very much required!! 😳

Terri has groomed, tacked up, dressed herself and mounted without any dramas and is possibly dying inside at the thought of having to take this course on with me as her fumbling side kick. Sorry again Terri, but there's no going back now! 😫

We head off to the tack check, we're in and out, stickered up and sent on our merry way. We take the long walk down trying to be brave, but asking the question 'WHY?', we try and tell each other we'll be ok, discuss that Terri & The Rockstar will take the lead with Mr P taking up the rear, we'll take it back to trot on the corner before the water, we'll attempt a dress fence over the barrels and crap our pants on the downward hill to the dreaded fence before the steps. Plan in mind, we enter the warm up. There's a few in it, Mr P has realised we're now actually at a party and he's grown, I've shrunk and I'm not overly keen on cantering let alone even jumping a warm up fence. I see Terri take on canter and thinking crap... I've got to! So I pop up a gear, it's not too pretty, so I decide not to prolong my pain, jump both warm up fences once and ask Terri if she's ready??? 🤣 She's also jumped them once and I think as happy to get out of there as I am.

The only issue now is, we're at the start and the and the starter is already counting down! Sh*t, I'm not ready!!!! I've previously knotted my reins in the warm up as Mr P was taking a few pulls and well... self preservation! But there's no time to sort anything else out, we're off and bloody hell - Terri and The little Rockstar pocket rocket are off with Mr P thinking all of his Christmas' have come at once. He is literally flying, we do the first line of fences, take a left down the very muddy slope to the castle, I'll slow down just to take care in the not so nice ground... NOPE! I won't, Mr P has literally taken the reins! Thank flip for the knot, I am literally doing everything in my might to keep him behind Rocky. When I say behind, we are literally on his tail, some fences I think I'm jumping him as well as the fence. But on a plus note at least we're jumping!! So the corner was taken (not too carefully, but slower at least) for our approach to the water. Matilda telling me I needed to approach in trot. Well... I tried!!! Ricky took his leap of faith with his pointy toes and Mr P dove in to then realise what he'd done looking at the water flying up the side of him... I kick on and we're through. Oh wow! We've gone up a gear as approaching the next fence I'm shouting to Terri that we are literally on Rockys backside, so they've had to step up the pace. Man!!!! It's a bit quick!! We get to the steps, Rocky is on fire, Mr P has a little trip, I have a little scream, poor Terri shouting to check we're ok?! We gather ourselves and continue approaching the flipping horrible downward hill to the dreaded fence for a then sharp left to more uphill steps! Wow! The hill was not for me, Mr P was like a flipping machine, I couldn't take a hold as he just pulled harder, I've got a hold of the knot in my reins, my inner thighs and stomach muscles are literally on fire, I'm in a pretty much permanent brace position, but we are going over the obstacles. We complete the dreaded hill, the sharp left to the steps, Rocky has a spook at the pigs 😳🐷, Terri rides like a pro and has him right back on focus and we're in very hot persuit up the hill.

One more fence in here, through the muddy track and onto the finishing line. We're out, we've got the manger, the wishing well and one other, then we're there. Dare I relax??? Nope! So we're going great (very fast) guns, we're over the manger, the wishing well next. Rocky isn't sure does the strangest of wiggles over it, takes out both flags and they're everywhere... Oh pants, my legs are clamped on and we're so close to Rocky we're not stopping. We jumped the wishing well and it's flags to take the line to the last fence!! Thank bl**dy goodness!! We're finished, we're still on board, we had a blast, only issue now being, I can't stop!

Terri & Rocky have peeled off, but P is still in party mode! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ I manage to get him back into the real world and turn him to a stop!

WOW!!!! I'm not sure how the horses feel but I'm absolutely elated, the adrenaline is absolutely pumping and myself and Terri are buzzing beyond belief. Terri asked, did I love it? Mmmm... Not sure 😬 next question, Would you do it again? Hell yes! Maybe a stronger bit (which doesn't often come from me) shorter stirrups (Thanks Tony) and more practice!!

Neither horse are too hot or puffy, I am for sure! So a walk off, obligatory pics and Terris Sam joins us who's been sat around the course to catch shots of all four of us all day! What a hero!! Thanks Sam! Can't wait to show the pics off. For now, you'll have to see the experience through our photography!

We waited a while for the times to come out. I'd retreated back to the comfy seats at camp as my body was starting to sieze whilst standing. After a few back and forths, the times were in, I get a call from Matilda to head over. I did question if I had to, but I had to show willing... the adrenaline had started to wear off, I was feeling my age, cold and getting tired, yet to drive home and do the horses, etc. etc.

Well, here's a thing!!! Myself, Terri, Mr P & the little Rockstar only bloomin won the class!! I actually can't believe it! We did it! I am so, so, so proud of us!! I was proud to complete the course, stay on board and have fun... to take the win is literally the absolute cherry on the cake!!

Until next time!!!!!

Hey, Terri! You're my hero!! 🥰

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Unknown member
May 01, 2023

Oh man what a day, absolutely incredible ponies and what an amazing team of people.

I’m Still absolutely buzzing!!

I’ll be remembering this one for a long time!!

Hey Lisa, back at cha!!! 🥰😘


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