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Charlotte's Blog: Don’t forget the lessons we have learnt…

KBIS horse insurance
KBIS horse insurance

So how is everyone getting on? In my last blog, I wrote about our chimp ‘coming to terms’ with the changes that were happening in the world. It seems like a distant memory now when we were first told we had to stand outside a supermarket waiting to be allowed in and we couldn’t quite believe how different life was to normal. Now, on the other hand, seeing someone without a mask on seems an odd thing, we have all really had to adapt to the "new normal". I imagine this is how we are going to be living for some time so if anyone is still having chimp issues I will point you in the direction of the Chimp Paradox again….

In the Spring my diary was full of plans, training camp, competitions, qualifications to complete and goals to achieve then suddenly it was all gone, nothing to aim for, no deadlines, no goals, everything was on hold. If I am honest, in my head I had written off the year, I genuinely thought that 2020 would be a year of training only without any competitions… so to think that last week I got back from competing at Keysoe CPEDI 3* really does feel quite surreal.

We all have to be so grateful to all of the federations and venues in charge of allowing us to get back in the arena. I cannot imagine the work that has gone on behind the scenes which has made this possible. So thank you to anyone out there who has been on one of the many zoom meetings to discuss the specifics of starting equestrian sport and again and thank you to the venues out there who have made changes to the way they run their shows to get us back in their lorry park. We are all so grateful! I have to say there are many elements of the ‘new’ way of competing that are so much better than before. One venue I have visited had emailed me a copy of my sheet before I had even got my horse untacked and loaded on the lorry – now that is efficient!!

So back to Keysoe, off we went with both boys to try and show off some of our lockdown training. I know camping was a big thing this year as abroad holidays were not on the agenda but as we set off to Keysoe in the pouring rain I did question whether October really was the time for ‘camping’…oh well…flip flops packed for the inevitably muddy showers and we were ready for anything. Oh, how it took me back to my eventing days.

Over the three days of competition I had many feelings, shock, surprise, delight, (a little emotional at times), grateful, but more than anything, overwhelmingly proud. Both boys absolutely danced their socks off. We had PB’s all round, our first international ‘9’ and a whopping 74% plus from one judge! I have so much love for these horses, they tried their hearts out for me. I can honestly say that despite the rain I have not enjoyed a competition so much for a long time; was it because we hadn’t had the opportunity to compete internationally all year so appreciated the chance to do so? Was it because the show went well for me? Or was it because I have stripped everything back over lockdown and remembered why we all do what we do… because we love riding our horses and the relationship you gain with them, once you have that you feel like you can achieve anything together. It really was a lovely way to sign off major competitions for 2020 in what has been the oddest of years.

Mum was a complete superhero at Keysoe, getting the ponies ready, listening to me re-ride every movement, (and over analyse any errors!) and generally being my rock. All this alongside MANY dog walks!!! Somehow Minnie and Pumpkin’s walks seemed to be scheduled into each day’s schedule, with minute by minute precision, heaven forbid the dogs missed a walk. It seems as though we all really did have a lovely time, dogs included. The dogs are very grateful that mum could carry out these all-important walks as earlier in the summer she had a really nasty accident, from which her recovery still ongoing. A very, very nasty leg injury which happened doing something so very simple with a horse. It was a stark reminder how quickly accidents can happen, out of nowhere, when you least expect it. All I am going to say is please don’t get complacent when around horses, no matter how experienced you are, or how lovely the horse is. Accidents happen. With this in mind if you don’t have personal accident cover in place have a word with a member of the KBIS team to get a quote.

Finally, as per the title of this blog, I think we all need to remember the lessons we learnt through this changing time. I for one during lockdown really said to myself, ‘I won’t let this slip back to normal when this is all over’ so many times. I made changes to my routine for the better, I ate better, I managed my time better….but sure enough, when life started to get busy again little cracks started to happen in my ‘new’ way. It was inevitable I guess, but noticing it happening was enough to nip it in the bud. We have to find the positive of this time and if we can all remember the good changes we have made, and perhaps the new way of competing can be one of these things, then we can all take something positive from this year.

Stay safe everyone

Charlotte xx

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