So that is it now - for the time being anyway - the last event all over and done with! Brightling couldn't have been a better way to finish though - despite pilot error cruelly snatching the ribbons away from us!
It was a fabulous day - I went with the attitude that whatever happened I was going to have fun. The course was lovely and inviting - big and solid - but nothing technical (or so I thought?!?) I had the added bonus of my dressage expert friend as my method of transport and she helped me get the best warm up for dressage that Ernie has done. Our test was average in the end - 35.5 - and I know it sounds like an excuse but the photographer lurking in the corner by the arena didn't help matters when we leapt four feet off the track each time we passed him!
Next step was to befriend the arch nemesis of the show jumping - bearing in mind at this event last year we got eliminated in this very show jumping arena - I was determined it was going to be good! We went in and every fence went to the exact plan - he was perfect - he felt confident and bold and jumped each fence like a dream! It wasn't until we popped over the last fence - clear - that I realised we had managed to keep every fence up - needless to say there was some air punching and I had to restrain myself from shrieking at the top of my voice to just a small squeak under my breath!!! One year later - and I think (touching lots of wood as I don't ever like to count my chickens) that we have cracked it! The reaction I had anyone would have thought I had just won Badminton!
I was buzzing and could have gone home at that point happy - but composed myself and quickly changed into my streamlined, aerodynamic, go faster cross country gear - and we were off. What can I say - from the moment out of the start box he was awesome - he even helped me out at fence 3 when I got in a bit deep - he flew it all - even the huge double of boxes which were quite imposing - we both just loved it. That was until the second water - he absolutely leapt in and leapt out - but the evil course builders had put a brush fence on a tight turn from the water - now people had warned me about this fence and I was like, 'yeh, yeh - we'll be fine' - which we would have done had I ridden properly! Unfortunately we ran out of oomph - it was not a stop or a run out - it was a trickle to a halt and thankfully Ernie had the sense not to try it from a stand still. I definitely said the words "Dammit" out loud and saw the fence judge give me a look that said "I knew you were going to do that" - hrmph, smug! Back round and over we go, last three fences and we were home and dry! We would have taken home 5th prize if I hadn't ridden like a lemon!
I couldn't fault my gorgeous boy though - he was a superstar - I enjoyed every second of it and whilst cross with myself we were both home and back in one piece and it was entirely my fault - he didn't put a foot wrong. All in all - a great way to end the season! Until after the wedding anyway.
So, now it is on to the wedding - 7 weeks to go (not that I am counting) - no eventing but I think dresses, cakes, table plans, flowers, decorations and jewellery shopping should keep me out of trouble for a couple of months anyway! Will keep updating with the drama's that will no doubt unfold!
PS- thank you to my lovely fiance for taking this fab pic!!