Cavan show in 2016 was our first big show and our first sleep over! In Australia the logistics of being on the show jumping circuit are not easy and often involved weeks away from the home yard. I always slept in the back of the horse box in a ‘swag’ and being so close to the horses on a road trip was something I really loved. So needless to say the prospect of driving off into the sunset, just me and my horse and not having to rush home to do the kid’s bed time routine was hugely exciting.
I only decided to go to the show on the Monday before the show started on the Friday and had initially thought I would drive down and back in the same day. My dad had been critically ill a short time before this and things were still a bit shaky at home, but I really needed a change of scenery and in all honesty a bit of therapy with unfiltered ‘me time’. I set off for Cavan on the Friday morning in the sunshine with an emotional grading that could only be compared to that of Thelma and Louise before they drive off the cliff.
I was like something let loose. I didn’t know where I was going, what I was going to, whether Tag would travel ok and then go into a strange stable, whether he would spend the next 18 hours going round in circles. Never mind the fact that I had no groom and was intending to do the open racehorse class.
When I look back now it was definitely borderline insanity, but it had to be done if I was going to bring it back to the right side of the border. We arrived without incident and I found my stable, which Tag went into with no dramas. There were horses neighing everywhere and the whole atmosphere was huge, but amazingly Tag seemed completely un-phased and settled to eat his hay and have a sleep. I had a few offers of accommodation, but knew if I was going to feel like I’d had a complete rest from the daily grind of worrying about other people, I had to be able to suit myself, so I slept in my car.
We were fourth out of sixth in the class and I was delighted. He behaved reasonably well and I knew that had been a huge hurdle for both of us to get over. Cavan 2017 was a different story and me and my two kids travelled to Cavan in a friends’ horsebox and comfortably enjoyed the buffer of having a back-up team and great company. I still got to indulge my inner child and took Tag for a ride in the main indoor arena early in the morning to see how we would get on and generally got to play ponies, but with the added bonus of having shared it with my kids.