On Sunday I went team chasing. I have wanted to do this for absolutely years. I used to look at the pictures in the Horse and Hound and be desperate to try it.
Sadly, with my confidence issues, having a family, travelling troubles with the mare, and everything else, it looked like something that would never happen.
We walked the course on Saturday. Some of the jumps were tiny, some were pretty meaty and full up to their 3'3" height (possibly with a little extra brush added to that) I felt kind of numb walking the course, like there were nerves there somewhere, but they weren't vying for attention. Perhaps the Benylin cough medicine helped :-D
Sunday morning I was up just before 6 to fill water containers, make lunch etc. Went to the yard, packed horse and horse stuff and on the road for 7.45am. We arrived shortly after 9am.
I was on board for 9.25am, and that is when the nerves hit. At that moment, I could happily have gone home!
My warm up consisted of walking for 40minutes, thinking about anything but jumping. I had one little trot and a pop over the practice jump, but then back to walk. The other team members started to get a bit jittery at this point, even the super confident one. I'm afraid I just had to walk away and do my own thing.
Then we started circling at the start, and we were off! I would like to say I started with some control and it slowly deteriorated, but I would be lying. She started with her nose level with her knees, and tanked - the whole time!
By jump number 2 I was upside rider 2, it was clearly a race (according to the mare) jump 3 was possibly the meatiest jump on the course. No hesitation there, although I think I swore rather loudly!
Jump 4 and 5 were a blur, think I jumped them. I then tried to circle to get some control before going through a gateway. The mare decided that what I actually was doing was pointing her at a hedge to jump. We were over it before I realised what was happening. It was a jump from the intermediate/open classes. She then locked onto a wooden fence around a tree, it took both hands on one rein to pull her away.
After a few more terrifying jumps and a slope where I honestly thought we were going to die, I dismounted and walked back. But I was beaming! Ok, so zero control, but Wow! The walk of shame has never felt less shameful :-D
Pictures are me jumping no.3, me stood with a team member in front of jump no.3, and me with my kids in front of the hedge I wasn't supposed to jump.