Adventures of An Unlikely Eventer

unlikely_eventerMeet Hannah Craft and her trusty steed Sid who are on a mission to make it in the world of eventing. Starting out at BE90 for their first season this year, Hannah shares the honest and often hilarious thrills and spills of their Big Adventure!
A bit about Sid…

Well, hello there! I’d like to introduce myself, Hannah, and my four-legged friend, Sir Duke (or ‘Sid’ to his friends!) I suppose I should tell you a little bit more about us, but we will start with the most important half of our duo…..Sid is a 17hh skewbald horse and he has just turned 9 years old. I think it’s fair to say that he is only just maturing – perhaps boys take a bit longer! He has a great personality (for a horse) and will do almost anything for a carrot or two. He dislikes hard work, me being annoyed at him and scary blades of grass that move in the wind. Sid’s dad was a very famous traditional stallion, called South Hill Duke, and Sid takes after him in stature.

…and The Adventure

When I first bought him, it was difficult to get him over cross-poles. Now, we are competing at BE90 level and hoping to move up to BE100 soon, with our ultimate goal being Novice and qualifying for the Badminton Grassroots Championships. BE90 is the second level up when you start competing at British Eventing affiliated competitions. The dressage test is generally comparable to a ‘Prelim’ test, the show-jumping is at a height of 90cm with one jump allowed to be 95cm and the cross country is at a height of 90cm (although it can feel a lot bigger when you’re riding round!) There are also rules about how wide the jumps can be and what sort of obstables you can be faced with cross country, including water, ditches and steps up and down. Despite being a bit of a wuss, Sid has a huge jump in him so scope shouldn’t be an issue – I worry more about what colour coat the fence judge will have on and whether it will rustle than the size of the fences. He can also prance around quite nicely, and so our dressage scores have been quite competitive recently. When I first started eventing at the end of last year, I had no idea about studs, stopwatches or the hundreds of fancy new saddles I would need….and so this blog will help to shed some light on my experience so far and anything and everything I learn on the way. Happy reading!

Aston Le Walls

Aston-le-Walls was our 4th attempt at a BE90. Our first 3 haven’t really gone as planned, with a silly stop at each where I forgot to actually ride and sat back thinking he’d do all the work (he didn’t!) I’ve not been to Aston before so had no idea what to expect, but it was a lovely venue. However, I’m going to go against the crowd and say that I don’t actually like doing dressage on a surface at an event! Give me back the grass!! Everyone else was doing lovely tests but we were both just so tense. I gave the judge a toothy grin on entry but we completely butchered the test – the smile worked though and we came out with 36 – could have been worse! Our show-jumping wasn’t great, with two rails down. I watched the video back and cringed as it’s probably the fastest (and flattest) round we’ve ever done. Did I think it was a jump off?! Again, bring back the grass!!! Finally we headed to cross country, ready to redeem ourselves. A couple of warm up jumps under our belt and off we went! Sid steamed round the course, flying straight over the tricky corner at fence 4 that had caught a few out, with only a slight hesitation at the jump in front of the water. Happily, he did NOT spot the geese that were chilling out by the pond in the middle, otherwise we may have had problems! He popped up and down the steps, over the table and brush, through a few accuracy questions with the combinations at the end and over the ditch and sailed through the finish line to go clear with only 4 time penalties. We finished with huge cheesy smiles on our faces and plenty left in the tank.

More of Hannah and Sid’s adventures at Firle Place coming very soon!

You can read more about Hannah and Sid’s progress here!

You can also follow them on social media at :

Instagram: @hannahcraft2711 or @sidgoeseventing
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannah.stiles.58

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