Oh dear, now I’ve done it. I entered a horse trial. I’m not ready! Eeek! Now what?
Let’s start with the fear of breaking a rule, and roiling in all the worry that my horse and I aren’t fit, and aren’t ready, haven’t schooled enough, need more lessons, running out of time, and ending with the darn rule book on the pillow every night.
In dressage, do I know that test? What about gloves, what color should they be? I have to wear a coat, which one still fits? Where’s my stock? Is there a pad somewhere in my Pad Ho collection that will fit the saddle and look clean and new? Didn’t think so, better get a new sparkly clean one. Is the bit legal? Where is that bit list? Another thing to Google.
For jumping, I need to make sure I’m ready. Tack, boots, stuff you need. Vest, armband, all that plus need my head screwed on straight so I don’t go off course or underpowered to the biggest oxer on the course.
What about cross-country, are the boots all good with the velcro straps attached, the right size for the horse I’m riding, and a hundred other things … and rules. Find the rulebook under the covers from last night. Where was I? Oh yes, the show jumping timer…
The dreaded packing list. The loads of crap that have to go in the trailer for one horse and one rider at one place for the day where we ride just three things is going to require I fill an extended cab truck and three-horse trailer. Really? Yes, if you are a worry-wart, you will have to fill it all up with stuff you need just in case.
The list is sacred and must not be altered. You can’t get away with bringing only part of the items on it. Every single item must be checked off when gathered, then lined out when it’s actually placed within the vessel. It’s a journey, like a journey to Middle Earth, otherwise known as a horse trial.
And food. Do not forget the food and drink, you will be marooned in the field a long uphill walk from any resemblence of edible items, so pack the food and make sure it stays either hot or cold depending upon the weather report. Oh no, the weather report, don’t forget to check that and bring the wet, the hot, and the just-right gear for you and the horse.
And lastly, the phone charger, so you can get a few bars left to text all your friends before you leave telling them all about the day, good or bad. Oh dear. And that darn rule book!