Her First Badminton Horse Trials

As soon as Neve (my first born) had entered the world, I was planning on her first meet and greet with my then one horse, Jack. I had imagined her riding her first pony and all the wonderful horsey things we’d do together. Riding her pony in fun pony club shows, attending every equestrian event imaginable, dressing her up in the most adorable equestrian inspired outfits, the dream was never-ending – and then real life happened.


Life has a funny way of just getting in the way of all of our best laid plans and stopping them right in their tracks. When she was less than six months old, she came with us to Bolesworth International Horse Trails and a local ODE in Derbyshire, near my in-laws called Catton Park. With her being so young however, it didn’t feel like she was really there with us, taking it all in. She enjoyed the sights and sounds and of course, the strawberries and chocolate that we made into our horsey event tradition but that was it.


I had some wonderful ideas to take her to Olympia, Badminton, Burghley and more but life just seemed to get in the way. When Neve came along, simply having a horse seemed to take up enough of my time when I wasn’t working that I wanted to spend as much time doing ‘normal’ things. I also rather foolishly felt like I were being selfish for taking her to something I wanted to see, not something she had chosen as ‘fun’. I worried my non-equestrian family would think I were being selfish or worse still, forcing my hobby on my child.


I felt like this for far too long, so long in fact that it wasn’t until this years Badminton that I actually took her to her first event. How old was she? Not long turned 4 years old. Looking back, I should have made the time to take her all those years ago and simply not worried about what people may or may not have thought because quite frankly, who cares?


Much to my surprise however, the soft play addicted kid absolutely loved it and sat herself promptly on the XC course line watching every horse that sped by, comparing each one to our herd, the herd she’s grown up with.


From the ice creams to the chips, the shopping to the jumps that must have looked like skyscrapers to her, she absolutely loved it and asked me when we could go again. I couldn’t be more pleased that it would seem we have yet another aspect of our equestrian life that our daughter loves.


OK, so she doesn’t love grooming her pony when he’s dirty (that’s a no to mud) and sort of defeats the object of grooming altogether but she does love painting him in glitter and giving him unlimited hugs. She also loves to tell him he’s a good boy when he’s given her his bounciest trot and proudly wears her jacket, with both their names emblazoned.


I guess what I’m trying to say is, stop putting things off and do them now. They grow up so fast that in a blink of an eye, they’re heading off to school instead of heading off on weekday adventures with you. I can’t wait to take both my girls to Blenheim this year and Olympia, it’s going to be a fun packed year full of ponies, ice creams and whatever else pops up our way.

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