Welcome to the first of the Equo brand ambassador content blogs. Our central brand ambassador, Leanne Ehren, kicks off the blogs by telling us about her trip to JumpCross HQ.
Bang. Well, it was more like, ‘thud, bang, bang, bang’ to be precise. It always seems to happen in slow motion as well, doesn’t it? It was our second serious fall of both horse and rider in 10 weeks – and this one hurt a lot more than just damaged muscles and cracked bones.
Buddy had torn his sacroiliac (which I quickly learned was a very important big muscle in his back) and my confidence was broken. I was adamant I would never jump again; never canter on grass again; and most certainly, never attempt a sunken road on a cross-country course again.
The partnership between horse and rider that we had spent four years building had been broken.
That was in spring 2014.
18 months on, dozens of trips to the vet and countless human physiotherapy appointments we’re now fit and healthy… So there was no excuse for us to not get back out there.
But I was scared. Too scared to even canter a circle on grass in fact, let alone contemplate jumping a cross-country course. After nine months of rehabilitation we were back jumping in an arena but I was very adamant that’s where Buddy – now nine years old – and I would firmly stay. Then JumpCross happened.
The local riding club organised a session and I somehow ended up booked on (a bit of team encouragement can clearly be a good thing!) and I soon found myself ingesting large quantities of Rescue Remedy when I arrived at JumpCross HQ in Peterborough.
Studs were in, body protector was on, and I even had my brave pants on – well I thought I’d left them at home, but it turns out I packed those too as Buddy and I started to tackle the course, albeit in trot at first.
Supported every step of the way by friends on the ground and an experienced JumpCross instructor Buddy and I started to explore the hills, the numerous water complexes and the interesting lines the course provides.
JumpCross is not like anything I’ve ever done before. The terrain really requires horse and rider to work as one and understand exactly how the rider’s position and balance impacts the horse – and if you muck it up you’re thankfully not hurled into a solid fence, it just means the jumps knock over and you start again.
The two-hour group session challenged me. It asked questions of my horse that I never thought I’d be brave enough to ask, it made me think about how riding through different terrains would affect my horse’s way of going, but most importantly, it gave me confidence again.
I was buzzing afterwards and booked a second session straight away! Thanks to another positive JumpCross experience, Buddy and I have now completed our first low-level hunter trial.
The next baby hunter trial is in the diary and we’re about to enter our first ever JumpCross competition through Equo Events (who needs a cheque book these days?!).
It’s been a tough 18 months and there are many people who have helped us along the way. A shattered partnership and broken confidence takes longer to fix than any physical injury but we stuck to our motto: love, laugh and ride. And thanks to that, Buddy’s back!