"I’m never going to ride around Badminton, but my goodness do I love it!"
If someone asked me what my perfect day would be, you can bet it would be a day spent eventing in the sunshine with my babies, my family and a killer picnic.
My name is Sarah and I’m an amateur event rider and equestrian business owner. Some days I ride really well, but sometimes I flap around like I don’t have a clue! I’m never going to ride around Badminton, but my goodness do I love it.
It’s a long old winter, but now that the nights are getting lighter there’s excitement in the air as a brand new season approaches. This season brings extra excitement for me as I get to share my journey with you guys and with British Eventing, which I’m still pinching myself about!
But before we talk about this season, let’s rewind a bit.
My 2017 season was filled with extreme highs and, in the true nature of horses, an extreme low. In January last year I set two goals: launch my own equestrian performance brand and complete my first Novice on my amazing steed, Woody. I never expected that either goal would go so well!
My brand, Apt Cavalier, launched in June and has been incredibly well received by the eventing community. I’ve actually achieved my dream of making a career out of eventing (in a roundabout way) and I am so thankful and humbled by that. Not many people get to do what they truly love as a job, but I am living proof that if you can dream it, you can do it.
But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about my time-consuming, expensive hobby!
Some people, including me sometimes, tend to underestimate Woody because he is not your typical eventer – he’s a SuperCob! SuperCob and I moved effortlessly from BE80 up through to BE100. After six top 10 finishes (across seven BE100s) it was time to put my brave pants on and head for those yellow numbers – we were ready to go Novice!
I won’t bore you with the details, but we smashed it – a dressage in the 30s, just two poles show jumping and the most exhilarating cross country of my life. We crossed the finish line with grins from ear to ear! I had big plans for 2018 as I hoped to get our Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) for CIC1* and head to Blair International in 2019 to do the CCI1*. But, alas, it’s not to be.
Watch Sarah's 2017 season highlights here.
My poor SuperCob was diagnosed with a hole in his digital flexor tendon and is currently on week 22 of box rest. But all is not lost as we are building up to one hour walking a day and recovery is going well. I love Woody too much to risk coming back too soon, so he will be having a whole year off from competing and we will play it by ear in 2019. He is still getting plenty of carrots, cuddles and kisses, and is now fat and hairy, but he will always be a hero to me.
Just when I thought my season was finished before it even began, while browsing Facebook one night I stumbled across something perfect; something that I didn’t even know I was looking for. He was a 16hh, five year old dun gelding – a beauty. “I’m not looking for another horse,” I told myself, but just four short weeks later, there he was standing in my stable!
Hugo is very kindly with me on loan (how bloomin’ lucky am I?) and I could almost burst with excitement! He has scope to burn, has a really forward attitude and we are starting to click. Tune in next month to hear more about Hugo and our pre-season training!