crosscountry jump


Burghley Horse Trials 2015 - Mark Todd by sue oreilly


and my humble self


It is Friday evening. I am standing next to one of the guest stalls. Fortunately, we got one, so we could arrive one day earlier. Paintboy is eating the hay I brought him. I am patting his dark brown head with those pretty long ears, I have already braided his black mane into small chubby dumplings, the white parts as well. Touching his soft fur feels so calming.

I decide to look after my leather stuff, maybe I can clean it for the 167th time. I close the stable door and walk the alley along. I reach the outside and I immediately smell the fresh air with some accents of hay and a chippie which is located some metres away. It is cold, I should have worn a thicker jacket. I put my hands into my pockets and walk to our trailers. The metal of my car is kind of sparkling in the evening sun. With my fingers, I search for the keys in my pockets, thanks god, I find them. I once have lost them and all our entries had to be cancelled as we couldn’t reach our tack.

That won’t happen again, I told myself. I opened the trailer and looked at the black jumping saddle hanging on an iron pole next to the Mexican bridle with the breastplate laying in a box, together with the leg protection. I run my hand over the leather, it seems so pure, even if the saddle is already seven years old. Nothing to do here, everything is ready for tomorrow.

I walk back to the guest stalls and say ‘good night’ to Paintboy before I go to my guest room, I share with Emory.


Now it is Saturday, 11:17 am. I am nervous, really nervous. I shouldn’t be, as Paintboy and I have done this kind of course several times but it is every time we do it again very nerve-racking. One duo has already cancelled their participation, another one had an accident, nothing dramatic but, well, I don’t want to see the grass from the ground. I just hope, everything will be fine and we finish the course safely. Wish us luck!