Firstly, I have to start with an apology to all Fleygur Fans for the delay in this report. I have been recuperating from what proved to be a stressful and exhausting venture into competition. Based on that experience, I might have to seriously consider my aspirations to be a sports horse. Rambling is greatly under rated you know.
My Mate Roger and I, along with My Mare Gydja and the Woman had been preparing for the British Icelandic Horse Championships for some weeks. Some might suggest that this was the start of the problems and that months, or even years would have been preferable. Anyway there it is. The day had arrived and My Mare Gydja and I were loaded into the stable on wheels. The Landy was packed to rafters and we were off…….all of three miles up the road.
Something was not right. Progress was not as it should be.
There was a smell of something burning and we ground to a halt. Obviously the nice man who had come to the field a couple of weeks earlier to fix the stable on wheels, had not. Fixed it that is.
The stable on wheels was abandoned on the side of the road. Well, locked up like a security van and plastered with signs, saying “NOT ABANDONED”…”waiting to be fixed”, “hands off”……and so on.
The Woman, My Mare Gydja and I walked the three miles home, and My Mate Roger set off in search of the “nice” trailer repair man, and/or an alternative mode of transport to get us to the show.
The next day, in a borrowed stable on wheels we set off again. It was a bit dark and rattley but finally after four hours we arrived in Deepest Darkest Dorset. The stable on wheels halted. There were voices, we waited. More voices…..and we waited. Finally we were driven to a remote part of the the farm. It seems that My Mare Gydja did not have the proper papers and could not stay on the show ground, so we were put in isolation, away from all the other horses!
The indignity. I am a celebrity horse you know, this was not an auspicious start.
The next morning it was time for my first class. The Intermediate Tolt. In this class a small group of horses display slow tolt and then change the rein and show any speed they choose – though technically the rider should actually choose the speed rather than the horse. I tried to stay calm before the start but it is hard whilst also trying to maintain constant vocal communications with My Mare Gydja. She didn’t answer, but she must have been there somewhere, so I just kept shouting to reassure her that I was coming back.
My Mate Roger tried really hard to keep me focused, but I was still worried….where WAS My Mare Gydja!
Finally it was my turn to go onto the Oval Track……..I have never seen one of these before and arriving a day late meant that we had not been properly introduced. I did my best, but I failed to make the final and didn’t manage to secure a rosette even though this was probably my best performance! However I didn’t come last so I can’t have been that bad.
Straight after this this I entered the Zack Tack Happy Tolt, where some special kit is attached to your bit and you have to tolt round the track. Easy peasy. However the catch is that if your rider pulls too hard on your reins the Zack Tack breaks and you are eliminated. Great for teaching the humans to be lighter with their hands. My Mate Roger and I almost made it all the way round, but I do confess I was going like a steam train and still calling out for Gydja, so right at the last minute “snap”, and we were eliminated. Still My Mate Roger did look a little happier……and we got a special rosette for coming “joint second”!
After the exertion of the day it was back to the little paddock, in isolation with My Mare Gydja, though it was a bit disconcerting listening to the stallions calling nearby, especially when My Mare Gydja answered them. Really no loyalty!
The next morning My Mate Roger arrived early and we went for a ramble around the farm. This was his ploy, to lull me into thinking I was just out for a ramble like at home. It didn’t work. I called and called and called to My Mare Gydja and by the time of our next class I was really “warmed up”. This class was the Best of Four. A class for everyone who didn’t make it into a final. Apparently all the other horses who had qualified for this class were too scared to compete with a celebrity horse like me, so it was just me and My Mate Roger.
We were supposed to walk, trot, tolt and canter as directed by the judges. The lowest scoring gait would be disregarded and and overall score awarded. It was early in the morning and not many Fleygur fans turned up to watch – well about two actually. That was probably a good thing. It wasn’t my best showing. I didn’t trot when asked and for the first time ever I cantered on the wrong lead. My Mate Roger has been trying ever since to get me to canter on the left lead and I just can’t seem to do it. All in all it was a bit of disaster. But being the only horse in the class I did get my first ever first rosette – though it is probably true to say I wasn’t really concentrating on that!
After that performance My Mate Roger decided that I had probably had enough and we gracefully retired from the Speed Pace class. My friend Helgi’s stable mate, Erro won this class and Helgi did ok too, getting his own rosette in another class.
There are some photos of the “professional horses” on my Facebook page, so take a look to see how it should be done!
Finally the day came to go home. The show had ended and everyone else had left so finally My Mare Gydja and I got to go on the Oval Track together. I did some lovely four beat tolting and didn’t scream once. Unfortunately there were no Fleygur fans there to see me. Though the nice man who owns the farm was very nice about my performance.
So, we were finally ready to go home. The Landy packed to the rafters again and My Mare Gydja and I were given a last meal before the trip. Tied to the stable on wheels………the borrowed stable on wheels.
It wasn’t my fault my rope got caught round the trailer lights. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to pull back suddenly to reach the nice lush grass near by. I don’t see why it was my fault that we had to wait for the AA to come and were very late home as a result.
In fact none of this was my fault. My Mate Roger should have been better prepared!