Expectation versus reality, Sucking diesel and….well….nothing…

Number 12 waiting to rock his dressage.

Eventing Connect is thrilled that Christa Dillon, from Ireland, has joined our team. With a wicked sense of humour she brings a colourful take on Eventing. 

WARNING: Uncensored language. But all in fun.

Winning. It doesn’t mean what we think it means. In fact, it means precisely dick. I had come close to winning an event a few times, but I usually fell foul of some eleventh hour catastrophe that prevented it from being so – the most memorable of these being when the horse tripped and fell over the last fence when in the lead.

My very last event with Mist made for similar reading. Honestly, eventing is the most stupid fucking sport really. Put in entry. Get financially ass-raped before you have even left the comfort of your own home. Get up at stupid o’clock. Drive to the end of the earth. Wrestle your maniac horse into a shape for the dressage, only to be judged and slated by some bitch who hates you and can’t actually ride. Do the showjumping. That bit is ok, you’re either clear or not. Then, attempt to pilot maniac horse doing star jumps out of the box and in the assumed direction of the first cross-country fence. Proceed to hurl yourself at speed at solid objects whilst both kicking and pulling and also trying not to vomit. Eventually get to end, wrestle maniac to a stop, spend hours faffing before deliberately not collecting your dressage sheet – who needs that depression – and driving back to your own time-space dimension, landing home at idiot o’clock. Proceed to feed and muck out entire yard who have wrecked the place in your absence. It’s STUPID. I show jump now.

Anyway, back when I pretended to be Lucinda Green in exchange for my life savings and any harvestable organs, I had this stupid idea that if I won an event, I’d be noticed and I’d begin to make progress. WRONG. Sigh. Well it eventually happened. And I’m not on the road to Rio, am I….

Number 12 was a tall black horse by Bonnie Prince. He came from Cork and he had a huge jump. He was a gentle soul, perhaps not the bravest but decent in his own way. I had a cracking spin around Camphire pre-novice on him as a four year old, and he hunted with his owners that winter. He wasn’t really the better for it as he came back the following season with a question mark in his head where there never was one before.

Anyway. I did a bit here and there with him, before entering him into Ravensdale for a 4 and 5-year-old pre-novice. I took little Mist along too. Number 12 did an ok test and he was the only one without a cricket score in the showjumping – it was indoors and some horses seemed to struggle. Not us. Sure what difference? Mist was uptight in his test but he of course show jumped clear – that’s what Mist does – and things looked ok so far.

Ravensdale is a strange, short course. It’s a wonderful place run by the nicest people you could ever encounter. But a galloping track it is not. Perhaps that was why 12 gave me a stinker of a ride. I was feeling fairly determined, so I did my best A.P. McCoy impersonation and he scraped around clear.

Mist lost his mind at the second fence (visi-vested fence judge, the horror) but once I had reoriented us off the circuitous route the horse was hell bent on. We popped round clear far more easily than 12 did, but with a zillion time faults. Many pats. Mist would have placed but for the sheepdog on speed effort at fence two (this was the theme of his entire eventing career) and you could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw that 12 had won.

Mist after cross-country.

Mist after cross-country.

So now I had won an event. Now I was a big cheese. Sponsors and horses would come. My genius in the saddle would be recognized. It was Olympics or bust from here. Yeah. No. A very nice write up in the paper followed, and that was that. Nothing had changed. Same old same old. Huh. Well whaddyaknow.

Number 12 went on to have a successful career eventing at intermediate level in Italy. I went on to quit eventing totally and now I’m pretending to be a show jumper. I’ll always be grateful to him for showing me that winning is nothing. Keeping on winning, now that’s a thing. Mist went on to record back to back wins and a few placings the following season. The problem though, with being on the crest of a wave, is that you can only fall off it.

Galloping to victory. Overrated?

Galloping to victory. Overrated?


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