2017 was a wash-out regarding showjumping. I entered the three day event again, in the minis class, again, went clear in the cross country, crashed and burned in the showjumping, and crushed the dressage.

I tried another round, later in the summer, and once again, no luck: couldn’t even get round or stay on. In late autumn, I hit the dirt two weeks running and so didn’t take part in the winter league.

What was going on? I was going backwards so fast it was like I was in that film, what was it — Inception. Then, for the third time that year, I had an awful blockage in my ear that olive drops and hot compresses could not shift… Hmmm.

The GP was like, How long has it been like this? Eh, a couple days? I replied.

Yeah: no.

I was aware that the inner ear had more than a little bit to do with balance — my dad couldn’t do certain amusements at the carnival because he got stung in the ear by a jellyfish when he was a child — and sure enough, once I did my course of antibiotic drops, the ear infection that had been lingering, disappeared, and all systems were go again.

I decided to jump last Friday in the spring league mainly because we had a meeting for the newly reinvigorated riding club after the jumping. Remembering those crashes and burns, though, I went back to zero and decided to do the course of 60s. Just me and the munchkins, thanks very much.

There was ample side-eye as Connell and I joined the group. We warmed up together because seriously, these kids were only small, and then jumped the course as a ride. Almost: the yard invested in some fancy-shamancy new standards and rails, all kinds of shapes and colours, and by the time we got the lattice-work double Connell was like, Nah.

We went last. I circled him round to pick up a good canter; he squealed his way to the first fence, which thankfully no longer makes me panic but laugh; we made it out of the pocket and over the fourth fence, a tricky proposition with him, always. He landed, disunited, and ran out of the fifth. I took him straight back to it and over, and we finished clean.

So… when we lined up at the end, Paul had a handful of rosettes and he was like, Okay Sue, all the children get these, but you didn’t go clear, and I said, Nope, give me that.

FIRST OF 2018

Something red for both of us.

LOL. No way all the kids were getting one and I wasn’t. I have an absolute… bloodlust when it comes to these things, and if it’s merely a ‘participation’ rosette, then so be it.

Also, the munchkins were duly impressed by Connell even going round at all, much less keeping the canter the whole time — he has a terrible reputation [that he has earned] amongst the infantry — so that was satisfying; I like surprising people with what we can do together. There was so much going on: first time in the upper arena, first time going over a course of those flashy new jumps, Connell amongst the ponies which was nearly a recipe for disaster when we did our victory lap and they all thought they were running for the roses… [It was fun.]

As the next class gathered, I looked at the 70s, but decided against it. There’s always this week!

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