The Wobbleberry challenge is for “middle aged, wimpy riders to compete at a BE80 and raise money for the wonderful Willberry Wonder Pony – inspired by Hannah Francis”
“A shy, elusive creature, the wobbleberry’s natural habitat is spectating at BE events, and supporting other riders
– not currently fit enough to get round a cross country course
– not currently brave enough to get round a cross country course
– old enough to know better, and know that this will hurt!
– dedicated – to raising money, to training, and conquering the fear
– supportive of each other – aiming to be weeble-esque, “we wobble, but we don’t fall down”.”
Dammit. That had me written all over it!
I have had the goal of competing at a BE90 since I got my first horse Uni way back in 2000 but we never achieved it.
Sadly, Uni does not share my enthusiasm for competing, she prefers to stay in the warm up ring with the other horses. I have genuinely been eliminated at jump 1 more than any other person on this earth (I even broke my thumb getting eliminated at jump 2 at my first and last affiliated British Showjumping Novice competition). About 8 years ago, I decided to retire Uni from competition and concentrated on finding myself a second horse who would help me achieve my dream.
In March 2015 I met and fell in love with Gus, 17 hands of gorgeous gingerness. He was PERFECT. A gentleman and very laid back. THIS IS IT! I thought, I will manage that BE90!
His temperament is fantastic, so we started training and I started regaining my confidence on the big man.
When I saw the Wobbleberry challenge I knew I had to sign up.
Gus was diagnosed with Navicular Syndrome in January 2017 and we started on a long road of barefoot rehab and the Wobbleberry Challenge and a BE90 once again became a distant dream.
Later that year I had the unbelievable good fortune of being able to loan Alton, another big gentlemen and we were back in the game.
Alton has a fantastic temperament, like Gus, and he really helped me to get my confidence back, but the thought of jumping anything larger than a log came and went.
In 2018 though we completed the 80cm Hunter Trials at Berriewood and came 7th in the BRC HunterTrials at Llanymynech, so full of positivity, we entered the BE90 at Llanymynech on the August bank holiday weekend.
You’ll remember we had a fabulous hot summer last year, except on the day we were competing we had torrential rain. It chucked it down. Still, we did a good dressage test and I flew around the show jumping with 1 down. Sadly on the cross country we had a stop at the first, and scrambled over the second and third, which is just not like Alton so I retired.
Another year gone.
At the start of 2019 Llanymynech (1) and Berriewood BE events were cancelled and feeling rather despondent and wondering whether I even wanted to do a BE90 any more the first half of the year just disappeared but then we went to VVRC camp and all that changed. We had an amazing time and were flying over all the 80 jumps like a pro.
Now I was in a quandary. I was talking to the vet while he did Alton’s vaccination, saying I couldn’t decide what to do or if I should be doing anything and he basically said, “ Just bloody get on with it and enter the 90 at Llanymynech!”. So as soon as he left, I did.
I had 6 weeks to go. I started C25k (again), got my mate to give me a circuits routine (she had me jumping jumps in the arena and rolling over bedding bales, and pushing my old garden roller around) and Alton and I had a cross-country lesson at Berriewood;he FLEW the 90 jumps so we were prepared!
It was a gloriously hot day and I tried not to think about the previous year. I was very pleased with our dressage, scoring 36.3, an improvement on the previous year, we flew around the show jumping and had one down again. Off to the cross country. Well, what can I say. Alton was AMAZING. BRILLIANT. He FLEW around the XC (we did have 1 stop at the owl hole but no probs on representing). I didn’t even have time to get scared, we were over them before I even saw them. He’s the best horse in the world.
Luckily for me, completing a BE90 also completes my Wobbleberry Challenge and we raised £275 in the process
So what will we do in 2020?
Who dares to dream?
Sara Wright and Alton