My mum’s a very organised person. She spends too much time planning and writing lists in my opinion, but she always says, “Fail to prepare, Maddy, and you prepare to fail”. I can normally wing things when it comes to it – we’re very different, me and Mum.
My pony, George, shares my thoughts on this and he always saves me from a sticky situation (he’s the best!). My favourite thing to do after school is grab George’s headcollar and my hat, run to his field, climb on board and go for a ride bareback round the farm – not many ponies would let you do that and actually get you home in one piece but, like I said, George is the best.
Anyway, my point is we’ve got everything totally under control, whatever my mum thinks. Well, almost everything… we did have a small hiccup a few weeks ago.
The Halloween Special
Unsurprisingly, George and I don’t take anything too seriously. Mum ferries us to lots of competitions, but the Halloween Special at the end of October half term is my fave because it’s just so relaxed.
On the Monday of half term, I hacked George to the secretary’s house (who also happened to be my mum’s friend, Kate) to hand in our entry. It would be a few days late, but Kate always made sure to save us a space. George waited patiently in the front garden while I ran down the path and knocked on the door.
“Maddy, I was wondering when you’d eventually get your entry in. I wasn’t actually expecting you until tomorrow. It’s only three days late!” Kate said with a smile.
“Well, Mum’s been nagging me all day!”
Kate scanned my entry form, “Just the fancy dress jumping class this year?”
“Yeah, we’re just coming for fun.”
“Okay, I’ll see you on Sunday.”
A minor problem
Sunday arrived and I was so excited. I’d even packed the lorry the night before – Mum told me to write a list but I just grabbed absolutely everything we might need instead.
We pulled into the lorry park and I jumped out to unload George (already in my pumpkin costume). I tied him to the lorry and left Mum in charge while I went to find Kate to get my number. By the time I got back, George already had his bridle on but I couldn’t see Mum.
“Where’s the saddle, Maddy?” she asked, almost out of breath, as she stepped out the lorry. I stopped and thought. Then it came to me and my face fell. I knew exactly where it was – sitting in the tackroom, waiting for me to clean it! Doh! I ran back to Kate who told me point blank that absolutely no one was jumping bareback – that was plan A out the window.
“Can’t you just whizz home and get it?!” I begged Mum. “No, I absolutely cannot go and get it. I told you to write a list, this is your problem and you’ve got,” she checked her watch,
“…half an hour to sort it out.”
Time for plan B
George was such an odd shape that I knew it wouldn’t be fair on him to borrow someone else’s saddle. There was only one way to solve it – I was going to have to ride home to get it. There was a way I could hack from the show to the back of the farm without going on the roads, but I was going to be tight for time. I climbed on, still in my pumpkin outfit, and started back towards the farm. It was a good job I hadn’t plaited George because his mane was suddenly very useful to hold on to as we had to up the pace. “At least you won’t need much of a warm up, George!” I laughed.
About half an hour later, George and I skidded back into the lorry park, now fully tacked up, to see Mum waving frantically by the warm up. “You’re in next, Maddy! Kate’s put you last to go!”
I trotted in, popped a warm-up fence and watched a vampire on a bay jump the course. This was going to be tricky, but at least I had George. Between us, I was sure we’d manage to get round.
In the end we didn’t just get round, we flew! George was amazing! All I had to do was find the next fence, point him at it and he got the perfect take-off every time. When we came out, I could tell Mum was pleased but she was trying to be serious. “This, Maddy, is the last time I’m taking you anywhere until you pull yourself together!” I just nodded at her because I knew she’d come round eventually. Then I turned and whispered to George, “It’s a good job we did all that bareback practice, that’s what I call useful prep!”