Tilly – ‘Practice Makes Perfect’

As the clocks have changed and the days are sadly getting shorter it seems a good time to look back at the Eventing Season.


This season has been full of highs and lows and with lots of lessons learnt. It didn’t get off to the best start with most of my events being abandoned due to the horrible weather, however when the season did start it was with great excitement. Sammy and I competed at Northallerton in the BE90, we had a good start coming 8th. Unfortunately from then on it didn’t go so well!!  We did our 1st BE100 of the season at Richmond and we were having a fab time until….the second to last jump where I fell. I couldn’t believe it,  I was so cross with myself but you have to move on and learn from your mistakes….NEVER approach water too quickly even if your horse loves water!!

Our next competition was at Floors Castle where it was another day full of highs and lows. We had a fab dressage , a tricky show jumping, obtaining lots of time penalties due to a little disagreement between Sammy and I followed by an epic cross country round over a bold track. XC is definitely my favourite phase of eventing and when it goes to plan it gives me the best feeling.
Sammy produced a great dressage test with a good clear in SJ at Warrick Hall U18 BE100. It was all going to plan until a run out in the cross country towards the end of the course.  This was majorly frustrating as we had gone through the hard bits and the combination was one of the easy ones. Lesson learnt, never even remotely relax towards the end.

It was now May half term and time for a change of scenery and a long, hot journey down to Hickstead with George for the NSEA Eventers Challenge Championships. This was a great experience and it was amazing however on the  first night I  somehow managed to fall down an open manhole  on the way to walking the course. I knew I had broken my wrist but with 2 days of competing still to go I did not want to miss out so with vet wrap and paracetamol I managed to get through the weekend.

Once we were back from Hickstead my parents were desperate for me to go to hospital but I knew I had one more chance to qualify for the U18 championships and if I went to hospital I wouldn’t be able to compete at the U18 Belsay qualifier the following weekend.
As hard as it is to admit, I should have listened to my parents!! I fell in the show jumping as unsurprisingly I had no strength in my wrist. That night I had my wrist put in plaster and 6 weeks later I finally had my plaster removed!!
Whilst I was unable to ride it was a good time for me to think about the future and Sammy. It was the hardest decision but I new I was getting taller and Sammy at just 14.1 was sadly not growing taller with me, it was time for him to move on and have fun with someone else.

I did my last event on Sammy at a Skipton BE  Regional Final where he produced an amazing test, followed by a double clear. It was definitely the most memorable competition for me as it was quite an emotional one. Sammy really was the pony of a lifetime, we did all our firsts together and I know that he has now gone to the best home and he is being his usual self and getting rosettes again!!
As heart breaking as it was to say goodbye to Sammy at the end of August it was also an exciting time for me because Diva arrived and she sure is a DIVA!  Moving from a pony to a horse was such a change and something I’m still trying to get used to. We have done some unaffiliated events and one BE90 at Askham Bryan where we came 2nd.

To end the eventing season we went down to Somerford Park during  half term for a Northern U18 training camp. It was a really great way to get to know Diva a bit better and to see what she’s like away from home. I’m very excited to see what will happen next season but before then I will be practicing lots over the winter because practice makes perfect and we have lots of practising to do!

-Tilly Milbank

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