Getting Started – By Grace Webb
Getting Started- By Grace Webb.
I’m five years old, gripping onto my dad’s hand as I was about to attempt my first ever trot. Fear overtook my body as my hands trembled and I shakily reached to tighten my reins, before gripping onto them with all my might, I felt unbalanced and unsafe as I took a shaky breath “Are you ready?” my Dad asks as I nodded looking down at the ‘huge horse’ which is what I thought at the time, I felt as if I was perched on top of the sky tower, but it just amazed me how I had all this control over this huge animal. I kicked the horse lightly and it started moving slowly as I then picked up the courage to go into trot. Sit up. Squeeze your legs. heals down. Look up. With all that was circulating through my head, it was everything I could do just to be able to stay onto the huge creature underneath me. As it moved forward into trot I felt as if I was going as fast as a cheetah and this was the moment where I fell in love with horses.
Five years later and I am now ten years old. I was at one of my very first horse shows, jumping around one of my very first courses, set at a whopping 60 centimeters, fear, nerves and excitement rushed through my body and I didn’t quite know what to do. I felt as if I was going to throw up and didn’t know if I could even that. I trotted into the ring smiling at the judges before I picked up a canter and eyed up the first jump, I felt so nervous, but as I flew over a couple of the jumps, I started to regain my confidence and a huge smile was on my face as I came up to the last jump, I flew over it before I reached down and stroked my horses neck with a huge smile on my face, as everyone clapped for me “Yay a clear round” I thought to myself, the judges then gave me my first ever ribbon “Fourth place” they said as I smiled before I walked out of the ring. I was sitting with my Mum watching the “ring one” which was the ring where all the big classes were, I remember watching the “Pony Grand Prix Super Series” set at a height of 1.20m it was HUGE and I watched in amazement because I didn’t understand how people could do that. I set my ultimate goal to one day do 1.10m because I knew that the “Pony Grand Prix Super Series” would be too high for me to ever do, especially with having a timer of only 7 years left on ponies.
Five years later and I am now fifteen years old. I am at yet another horse show, jumping around my third ever “Pony Grand Prix Super Series” I was so nervous. I walked the course with my coach and I felt so nervous as I walked up to the 1.20m jumps, that were up to my chest as I took a deep breath and tried to take in all the information my coach was giving me as we walked the distance from jump 8a to 8b “You’re going to have to put your leg on in here it’s a really long one, chase him to it so he won’t land on the back rail of the oxer” my coach said as he patted my back and we walked round the rest of the course as I tried to remember every tip and trick he was giving me. I got on my horse and he kept encouraging me while I attempted to warm up, my brain was being completely overloaded with information as I tried hard to remember it all. “Grace Webb to the gate please” I heard my name being said by the gate so I took a deep breathe and patted my horse walking over to the gate as my coach firmly implanted more tips and things to help me to improve my round before he wished me luck.
I waited at the gate and closed my eyes imagining myself jumping ever jump and how it will feel at every jump while trying to remember every single tip that had been drilled into me. I then got the all clear from the gate lady as i thanked her and trotted into the ring, showing my horse all the scary fill and every jump I possibly could as I heard over the loudspeaker “This is Grace Webb riding Lay ‘Z’ Lad, Grace is a…” they carried on with my introduction as I took a deep breathe trying to calm my nerves as I walked up to the biggest jump in the course, the wall.
The bell then rang and I picked up a canter as I centered around to the first jump, my horse spooked at the side and I smiled to myself giving him a pat ensuring him that it wasn’t scary whilst also giving myself a mental note that he might be a bit slow and spooky in that corner.
I was 1/3 into the round and was coming up to the trickiest combination- the treble, I tried to remember all of the things that I had been told to do coming up to it and before I knew it I was over the first one and I instantly had to sit up and put my leg on to make the distance for the second jump and the same for the third, I cleared them and I gave a quick pat to my horse before instantly mentally preparing for the next jump.
I was coming up to 8a and 8b which I knew was a bit long so coming around to it I clicked and put my leg on creating a more forward moving canter to try and make the distance before I sat up again and silently counted my strides.
I flew over the first jump and instantly put my leg on and let out a little growl making my horse move forward to try and get the distance, I went over the second jump and I heard the dreadful noise of the rail falling down and I looked back and saw the rail fall, which instantly angered me but I knew I couldn’t get mad and that I had to keep prepared and focused to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
I finished my round and everyone clapped as I patted my horse with a huge smile on my face. The judges did the final placings and I ended up being fourth, they put the neatly formed rosette onto my horses bridle and I shook their hand thanking them before we cantered around and did a lap of honour and heard everyone clapping and cheering as i patted my horse with a huge smile on my face.
These moments are when all the hard work pays off and I realise how amazing the sport truly is.
By Grace Webb