The big day

6.30am- alarm goes off. I haven’t really slept due to suspected tonsilitis. Turned alarm off and went back to sleep.

7am – still can’t breathe properly. Time for Lemsip and cough mixture and Sudafed.

7.30am – still in bed drinking Lemsip and looking at test sheets. Should probably get up soon. Caspar needs a bath.

8am – Remembered I have to petrol and have to go into town to get some before I go to the yard.

8.30am – Finally arrive at the yard. Delayed as there are lots of holiday makers around as it’s bank holiday. I’m having to wave at everybody this morning as I’m actually barely audible when I speak. Couldn’t have happened on a better day.

9.00am – Bath time! Out we go to get Caspar nice and clean, poor chap looks at me like he’s thinking ‘how could you mum’ I’m going to guess that’s because it was tipping it down.

10.00am – One very clean and heavenly smelling horse! Secret weapon… silvikrin purple shampoo on the legs. Brilliant.

10.30am – I’m halfway through plaiting. Halfway through dying from whatever it is that’s stopping me from breathing and socially interacting like a normal person. I think Caspar is glad I’m not gabbing away to him to be honest.

11.00am – The plaits are passable for a first proper effort. I gave up on the French plait for his forelock.. I just couldn’t get it to look nice so I just did a normal one and it looked fine. (But I knew it wasn’t how I really wanted it, so that bugged me.) Time for the calmer. This should be fun. In actual fact he took most of it pretty well, only minimal amounts went on me and the floor. He then looked at me like I was a traitor when I offered him a polo. I had smelt that calmer after, it wasn’t all that enticing.

11.30am – Time to get me ready! I am soaking wet. Cannot breathe, my jacket is still a bit tight. But at least I can get it done up now unlike 6 months ago! I decided to keep a separate pair of jeans in my bag until we arrived as the weather really was foul and if my whites didn’t go see through because of the they would be brown from the mud. Figured it was best to change into those on the lorry.

12.00pm – I’m starting to flap now. I need my husband to come pick up our son as we need to leave in half an hour… shame the calmer isn’t for people too. Mind you.. I do have some rescue remedy? Had a drop of that.

12.30pm – We are loaded up and on our way!! My very kind friend Jo is taking us in her lorry. If you’re reading this Jo, THANK YOU!!!

1.45pm – We have arrived, I’m flapping more now. My dutiful husband has arrived with our lovely little boy and I’m in the back of the lorry using my yard boots as something (kind of) dry to stand on whilst I swap into my breeches.

2.00pm – Both horses have been unloaded and tacked up, I’m still flapping and I go to mount and realise the steps aren’t quite high enough so I start to flap again. So we are going to get on in the warm up. That’s fine. I have also started to notice that the glands on my neck have swollen to three times their size and it’s very difficult to speak, make any kind of noise or breathe without feeling like I’ve inhaled a bonfire.

2.30pm – We are now in the warm up and I know I am first, I am feeling so tense right now. Despite chugging the rest of the rescue remedy before heading to warm up. Caspar is feeling quite tense and is a bit looky but he settles down quite quickly after a few turns around the area and some trotting. I’m up there singing away and and repeating ‘flabby bum’ to myself over and over. I must have looked like a mad woman. The bell has gone. Oh shit.

Sometime after 2.30pm – Its a bit of a blur now, I’m feeling a bit delirious from all the cold and flu stuff I’ve taken. But I’ve spied a friend who has come to watch and seen the other liveries warming up, I think the test went well. My instructor Katy called it out for us as my little brain kind of went blank. But over all I have really enjoyed it and have relaxed at last. I’m actually looking forward to my next test now!

3.22pm – We are called again, Caspar slightly less willing to go in again this time but he did brilliantly. Katy called for us again, I had made a couple of mistakes but that was to be expected. But we smiled and we had fun!

3.40pm- We took some group photos as there were a few of us there from South Woolley today which was really lovely.

4.00pm – Horses are un-tacked and in the lorry and we head off to go and get our test sheets. I am so proud of Caspar today, he really has done me proud. We got a 4th and a 6th!! Some really helpful feedback to work at for next time was given. Needless to say I have got the bug and can’t wait for the next one!!

5.30pm ish? – We are back and the stables, I’m taking Caspars plaits out and my brilliant husband is taking out all of our stuff from the lorry. I’m at this point wobbling around the yard where I am so out of it. Time to go home for a roast dinner and some Prosecco.

Thank you so much to everyone who has believed in us and supported us and all of your good luck wishes. I’ve also achieved a goal I gave myself around a year ago. I have never won any kind of prize for anything in my life, so I had vowed by the time I turn 30 I need to come home from an event with a rosette. Doesn’t matter what one. So a 4th and a 6th I am thrilled with.

Next goal – maybe a first place?! I still have 11 months until I am 30!

A huge well done to everyone else who had their tests today – you were brilliant! Special thanks to Jo for safely transporting my lovely Caspar and being a fab groom for the day. Sam Parker (My wonderful husband) for looking after me all day! Katy Malone, for you never ending support, Amy for coming to support us and for taking off Caspars tack and getting his boots on whilst I had a coughing fit, and of course Samberwill Equestrian for always keeping my spirits high and keeping me comfy when I am training!! Emily Barker for Caspars massage (I think he is looking forward to his next one) and everyone else who has been behind us!!

Jen & Caspar xx

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