Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…

…I opened my eyes.? Looked up to the skies.? And saw … that it is my 50th birthday tomorrow.? I took a quick look-see but as far as I can tell I am not an international show jumper.? I am, however, the proud owner of a Wange Wover and a Wice Twailer.? But I do not have a boyfriend named Wupert.? I have one called Fwedewic.? People who have read my last attempt at being a blogger will know him as “The Hayman”.?? It is wrong to date a man for his tractor but it is not wrong to use the tractor of your date.
So, although I have not succeeded in my self-imposed challenge of competing in an international level class I am a little nearer to my almost obsolete goal in that I can now transport myself and some of my own horses to shows.? No more sharing the back seat of a friend’s car with 6 over excited 6 year olds.? Or freezing my proverbials off in the tack room of the club lorry.? No more sharing a club pony to compete on or riding the dangerous nutter no-one in their right mind would even approach.? And, maybe more importantly, no more driving a car with only a motorbike license.? Ooops.? lol.
After nigh on 15 years of driving illegally (I failed my car test 3 times in my 18th year and became a biker instead) I finally have my Permis B.? I am also booked in to do the 7 hours required to get your BE category that is required by French law to tow a horse trailer.
It is weird.? I am so habituated to using smaller roads and rural routes to avoid gendarme hotspots that actually filling up the car with diesel in daylight hours is an adrenaline rush akin to bungie-jumping.? When I see gendarmes on the side of the road I cannot decide whether to default to a much used ruse of parking up before I arrive at their little money-making scheme or to drive on passed while physically stopping myself from grinning, waving and shouting out “Stop me! Stop me!”
But this simple step into The Land of the Legal has been lengthy and expensive.? Starting with the obligatory 20 hours minimum of Code de la Route lessons (all within cycling distance) before taking the theory exam (almost 500 euros in total for lessons – glad I passed first time.)? Followed by a minimum of 20 hours driving lessons (closed for all of August and some of September) which forced me to continue breaking the law because the lessons were 45kms away and I refuse to cycle a round trip of 90 kms.? Call me lazy if you will but sometimes it makes more sense to be a criminal.? I did this for 6 months.? And had the honour of spending over a grand.? To learn something I could already do.? Thank you France and your delightful obsessions with all things bureaucratic.? For Christmas I am going to buy you a wad of carbon paper.
So!? After a year of living on the 25 euros a week (yup.? You read it right.) that was left after lessons and payments on the Landie I can finally afford to go to horse shows.? Not international ones, mind you.? Just bog standard local ones.? On my 13.3 hh Welsh Mountain Pony.? Here he is:
Beauty and The Punk
beauty and the punk
He is the Punk (not his real name).? Beauty (not her real name either) is a baby who is with me for 3 years while her owner is in the Phillipines working.
He has attitude.? He might be little but he is fast, can jump high and turn on a really small button.? He was castrated as a 5 year old (in fact he is the dad of the bay you can see in the background) so has maintained a little of his stallion past.? And like most well brought up stallions he is soooooooo affectionate.? I know you are not supposed to have favorites but he is mine.
He has only done 2 shows so far but he is definitely capable of taking me to Club Elite as small as he is.? By which point his first-born should be ready to take over the next step and his wife might have got over her issues and can take me up through the Amateur classes and onto Pro.? It is a plan.? And one I am happy to alter as and when I need to.
Although I really did want to be competing at a much higher level than I currently am by 50 I am not seeing this lack of success as a failure.? In the months since my last article I have achieved a lot.
The previously mentioned legal wotsits aside I have managed to habituate a highly strung claustophobe to eating her bucket in the trailer (and once actually managed to take her to the next field in the trailer calmly.)? I have backed and brought on the child of the nutter.? I have straightened the bent body of my Welsh pony using apples to encourage stretching.? I have insulated my house.? I have renovated my Wice Twailer.? (ok? Frederic did most of the work.) I have started a business called Equi=Zen which backs and brings on horses without the use of crops, spurs or bits or any restricting devices such as draw-reins.? I have been sacked from the vet’s because I stood up to? bullies and refused to back down.? I have discovered that my techniques work on sheep and cows and when used with a few changes works on bulls too.? DO NOT TOUCH THEIR HEAD!? THEY DO NOT LIKE THAT.
I am not ready to give up.? In fact, I am more motivated than ever.? So:
I, Ellie Phant, being of more or less sound mind hereby officially delay my 50th birthday for 18 months.? I shall be 50 and an international show jumper by 17 June 2019.? Subject to warranty.? All terms and conditions apply.? Without prejudice.? Corpus Christi.? Mens rea.
All that is left is the new blog banner.
How to become an International Show Jumper before you are 51 and a half.
Why does that make me laugh?

3 replies on “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…”

Your pony looks brilliant and I hope he does brilliantly. Ponies can jump! The first showjumper I followed (I never rode one, far too scared to jump!) was a superb pony called Stroller, ridden by a girl called Marian Cotes I think. He could routinely clear puissance height fences and I think he won the Olympics in the 1960’s.
Oh and happy late birthday! xxx

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