Monday, 18 November 2013

Why do I do it?

We went to another SJ competition yesterday. The usual sort of thing, had to be up at the stables for 6am (!) to just stand a round for half an hour whilst people faffed about kissing each other, smoking and generally not getting the horses loaded and off in a timely fashion. Such is French riding club life......

Stupid o'clock in the morning.....
Anyway we eventually set off in the dark following two trailers full of ponies. Had to have some loud rock music on in the car to keep me awake. Not much else on the roads which was just as well seeing as we had to keep stopping to apparently deal with something wrong with one of the trailers and thus blocking the road.....then we turned off the main road onto little roads through the vines. Aha, I thought, they know a short cut.....but no, after 20 minutes of driving around in circles it appeared that we were merely lost. Eventually we made it back to the main road and tried a different route and finally arrived at the stables where after a teeth-rattling drive down a track we had to park in the traditional muddy field.

Then there was a mad dash to get a child and pony ready for the first class as we'd missed the course walk at 7.30 (when it was still pretty much dark) due to our scenic tour of the local goat tracks prior to arrival. Then after a scramble to get the rest of them sorted and on board, there was the equally traditional wait - hours of standing around whilst subsequent classes totally failed to start on time.

As a counterpoint to all this frantic inactivity was the local chasse banging away in the background. Not sure what they were after but presumably they were hunting it with machine guns since a lot of the time it sounded like there was a firework display going off somewhere in the woods. This didn't go down to well with many of the equines, who started an impressive display of formation snorting, eye bulging and in some cases, bogging off......

 
The it was over to the collecting ring to watch the usual uncontrolled galloping about, near collisions and unscheduled dismounts. One poor girl managed to get chucked off a total of five times before getting anywhere near the actual competition arena. Think I'd have realised my horse was trying to tell me something long before reaching such an impressive tally of falls. Our kids managed to avoid the action and I was pleased to see the Ginger One taking it in her stride...

Unfortunately a couple of the other kids from the club got eliminated and had falls so there were the inevitable tears and after listening to them being consoled by various parents and the instructor to no effect I lost patience with it and ended up doing The Speech: "When I was your age I didn't even have my own pony so think yourselves lucky you're even here to get the chance to balls it up and fall off!" etc.

Ali did a couple of reasonable rounds on Nahiade, she had one pole down in the Club 3 as she lost concentration and the beastie rushed at it and pretty much the same thing happened in the 80cm class which resulted in 2 down. They looked pretty good together though :-)

Between rounds we discovered a nice TREC course in the woods so sneaked off to see what Nahiade would make of it....
Then it was back to standing around, trying to drink thé pas bon which is all you ever get at these things and eating cold anaemic frites. Still, there was always the ongoing spectacle of people hitting the deck to give us something to watch, and the usual unpleasant handling of frequently stressed equines by over-horsed children wearing spurs and carrying big sticks. And not just the kids, one bloke treated us to such an abysmal display of terrible riding and totally unsympathetic handling of his horse that I had to suppress the urge to go over and kick him in the bollocks. Could be the last show I attend in this country for a while and I don't think I'll miss it.....
Still, gets you out of the house, eh?

3 comments:

tailsfromprovence.com said...

Sounds pretty much like a day showjumping in Ireland, apart from La Chasse banging away next door. Oh wait, there was that day at Inishannon when the Carbery hunt went through the woods across the road. That was interesting.

English Rider said...

Hilarious word-images, until the last paragraph. It brought back memories of horses being "corrected" after getting a pole down or refusing in the ring. I did go after one such example, yelling at him in my vache-espanol French. My boss was embarrassed, but for the right reasons. He said he was embarrassed that they'd all left it to a young foreign girl to say something.

trudi said...

In years to come you'll remember it more fondly, I always felt quite raw and emotional at SJing comps in France, the exception being your friend with the grey mare!

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