Saturday morning, I went out to have one last look at the course by myself. I went through my plan at every obstacle, and made sure I had a plan B, C, D…etc! I felt comfortable that my horse and I could answer every question and that we were prepared for the day, and even if we had to really work for it, it was possible for us to make it to the finish line.
Back at the barns I decided to sit in the riders canteen, watch a few of the first horses go and check out how the course was riding. One after the other, I saw horses and riders fall victim to the Vicarage Vee, and I decided it was time to head back to Rocky’s stall to get ready before I changed my mind and decided not to leave the start box!
After so many falls at the Vicarage Vee, even when it was given a proper ride, my coach Kyle thought it might be best if we played it safe and took the option just to help us secure a clear round. I completely agreed and with some nerves lifted we headed up to warm up.
Rocky’s warm up was probably one of the best he’s ever had, and it really helped me feel more confident and ready to get out and tackle the course. He came out of the box completely on his game and taking everything in his stride. It’s such a great feeling to be sitting on a horse that absolutely loves what they’re doing and will try their heart out for you!
My gloves were a bit slippery and I was riding on the buckle a bit more than necessary, but he was right there to help us make it through whatever flags I pointed him at. By the end of the 12 minute course he still felt full of running, and a few minutes later seemed like he could go out and run it again. We’ve worked so hard to make it overseas and I’m so elated that we made it around. I don’t think I’ll come down from this high for a while, no matter what happens tomorrow.
I’m gutted for the other US competitors, Boyd and Buck, who unfortunately didn’t make it around but have been so helpful and kind to me for the past week here. This sport is incredible because your ‘rivals’ are also your friends who want to see you succeed as well.
Rocky is all tucked in now and ready for the morning jog. He looked great tonight so I hope he’s feeling fresh tomorrow to leave all those rails up…