Sunday, 9 October 2016

Weston Park

Hello everyone,

For those that don't know me I'm Mango. Mum's been saying I should write a blog for a while so I had a chat to some of my friends at the Rockley Reunion a couple of weeks ago and they all agreed because, well, who doesn't want to know all about me?

Lets start with a little about me. I am just about 15 hands on my tip toes, nine years old and a chestnut gelding (really? thought I was a stallion?). Apparently my parentage is entirely guesswork, my history is a bit of a mystery as well, I have some vague memories of someone mistaking me for something called a "trotter" and attaching a pony eating machine behind me, I survived but have a few scars to show the ladies, all in all it didn't help my orange personality nervous disposition.
I live with my girlfriends Emy and Isla in Derbyshire, I wasn't sure about our new home to start with, there's no cosy stables like at our last home and the girls seemed to spend more time eating weird stuff out of the fence then grass or hay but then I discovered blackberries, maybe they're onto something?

When I'm not causing havoc running my kingdom at home I compete British Dressage at Novice and British Evening at BE90.
I guess the other thing you should know about me is I keep my feet as nature intended them, naked and un-manicured. More on that another day but anyone with OCD should probably not look down when they're talking to me.

Moving on to yesterdays news.
We went to Weston Park to compete in a 90 regional final. I hate those words, all they mean is it doesn't matter how hard I try mum's going to ride like a sack of potatoes and be grumpy all the way home, we've done a few regionals now and they never go that well. Honestly, it's either the judges fault for needing glasses, my fault for saving her from being savaged by a runaway picnic blanket or even most recently the fault of the 'flu, somehow it's never quite her fault... but today was different. She sneakily caught me with a bucket of warm food in the middle of the night, plaited me with a torch stuck on her head then washed me in the dark. It was about at this point she started getting grumpy, honestly, what is her problem with me dancing around on the end of the rope when she's running late before finally settling with my feet on the hose? Why does she complain that I look like a hippo whenever we've got an early start, she leaves me out on a hill all night, if I didn't camouflage myself I'd get eaten by lions! After a little bit of bad language we set off like we were at Silverstone (whatever, I had a new haynet).
We got there and met with the polo lady (mum's mum) and chief pony holder (mum's dad) before going for a nice stroll through the park to the stressage area. I decided to be a good boy in the warm up, I just had a couple of little bucks to remind mum that "tickling" me with the whip is not a good way to get me to notice that she's kicking me but otherwise I showed off all my fancy moves, aunty Sue was there too so we had a nice little rest catch up. The arena was, as usual, a bit intimidating and I struggled to adequately present my stunning personality to the judge but mum seemed pleased so I got a polo and a walk back to the lorry park with a lovely young skewbald friend to protect me from the evil conkers. Usually I have to be led back after the dressage as I like to remind mum she left the capriole out of the test but apparently my acrobatics at reunion did something to mum's ankle and there was no way she was walking all that way, no idea what she was muttering about.

After a quick bite of some very juicy grass we moved on to the jumping, this has been going badly this year so mum seemed particularly determined about this phase, she insisted I practice responding to her leg (again I expressed my opinion by waving both back feet in the air but this didn't really help). Overall she was a bit less potato like then normal, she found my "big boy" canter, mostly put me in the right place to take off and got out of the way and thanked me when I had to step in and sort it out for her. So I decided to play along and she tried really hard to get it all right and guess what, we jumped clear! Cue lots of presents from polo lady.

By the time we went cross country I was really hot, I'm sporting this seasons latest fluffy hairstyle and whilst it makes everyone coo and give me polos it's not all that practical for galloping. I did a few leaps in the air to see if it was any cooler at altitude then the man started counting backwards and we were off. The first two where easy, I bravely went past the scary gingerbread men and conkers but the light was a bit strange at number three so I resorted to feeling my way over it, then thought I better do the same at number four just in case, mum got a bit cross about this, especially as landed in trot and told me to get on with it and grow up, five and six I cleared but got a bit close after scaring myself, managed to find my cross country gear and the next few went great, gallop, jump, gallop, jump, easy peasy, oh s**t what's that?!? Why does mum always sigh when I try to stop dead in the middle of the course? After a very quick check that the 80 fence wasn't going to unexpectedly move and kill someone we carried on and apart from a minor hiccup at 19 (honestly whatever she says I did not try to stop/runout/climb it) we went clear again.

Mum was really pleased with me, she said I couldn't have done better and we'd just have to wait to see what the judge thought and how everyone else did. Turns out she was a little disappointed with my dressage score of 32 but I did get an 8 and at the end of the day 68% isn't bad. After a very nervous wait we came 6th, with 30 starters and the top 20% to qualify for Badminton she's as sure as she can be that we're finally going! I have no idea what Badminton is but mum and polo lady seem very excited about it, apparently I have to stay somewhere new, a bit like going to reunion which I love so should be cool. Wonder if a superstar like me can bring his girlfriend for moral support to look pretty in the photos?

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