Every time I watch Eventers on TV I am amazed at the courage and stamina of both horse and rider. They make it look so fun, galloping across the countryside, leaping over giant barrels and flowerbeds. I start to wonder if I should try eventing again.... then I remember.
Apart from Pony Club Combined Training Rallies (which were actually kinda fun) I only competed in one real Eventing Competition when I was about 16. I'm not even sure why we did it, I had been showing dressage for a while and I usually went to other shows if I was tagging along with friends, but I remember being there by myself. Maybe we just wanted to try it out. It was a learning experience none the less, I learned I am not an eventer.
Cross country was first, I had my watch, I had walked and memorized the course. It was different than our little course at home but had most of the same elements, logs, tires, ramps, ditches (well we didn't have ditches at home, but we'll be OK right?).
The buzzer rang and we were off to the first jump. LE (my QH mare) looked at it and backed off a little but sprang over it. On to the second... I see it, LE sees it, I'm looking over it and LE is looking at it. Nope, first refusal. It's OK, new course we will just try again, nope, second refusal. I start to get a little flustered, LE doesn't usually refuse. So I give her some "encouragement" with my legs and crop (sorry LE) and I'm sure there was some loud "GIIIT" noises. I think I would have been much calmer except despite that fact that this was a small event they still thought they needed an announcer. And I could hear him, I don't remember exactly what he was saying other than it was to the effect of "Rider #4 freaking out and beating her horse at jump #2, less hope she gets over this jump soon." So I think we refused one more time then got over the jump.
Next was show jumping. Surprisingly LE got her jumping legs back and we did the course with no refusals, maybe a few knock downs though. But being as my trainer wasn't there to tell me different and I was so focused on the time, I took every tight turn available. If there was a long way or a short way, I took the short. Yanking poor LE around tight turns. I was a nervous wreck but she did well. I started to think I might place (certainly not win). All that was left was dressage and I knew dressage! This was the part most people struggle through, they had jumpers they were forcing to do dressage, I had a dressage horse I was forcing to jump.
Finally dressage, we could do this! And there were individual ribbons for dressage so I was confident we would at least go away with something. As we walked around the ring waiting for the bell to ring the scribe asked me if I would like her to hold my whip. What an odd question? No silly scribe I'll keep it, I don't usually use it in the test but it's nice to have, thanks anyways. We did the test well, dont' remember much of it as it wasn't stressful or brilliant, just a good test.
After a good break I went back to check my scores... Cross Country - bleh, Jumping - OK, Dressage... DQed. What?? Disqualified?? (Apparently you can't use a whip in combined training classes, you can in Pony Club so I had not clue). They still showed my score - best score in dressage... I would have at least gotten a ribbon in that class. Great. Stupid me for not reading the rules or questioning why someone would want to take my whip. Hey, they tried.
So that was my first and last Event. Not because I'm a quitter (maybe a little). But because overall I wasn't having fun, LE wasn't having fun and it just wasn't our cup of tea. We still jumped over our jumps at home, with no pressure or time constraints and still had fun, but for showing, dressage was it.