Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Pothunter

Tiffany Lampwick was well-liked at Vaysey Pastures and was a popular member of Dorinda Miggins’ circle. She never forgot a birthday, invariably loaned tack and always joined in the chat over coffee and ciggies in the common room.

Despite seeming one of the gang, Tiffany always wanted to be more than just a happy hacker. From the outset, she had secretly set her sights high and did not intend to settle for anything less.

What marked Tiffany from the rest was her fastidious approach to horse management. Not quite so marked as to amount to an obsessive compulsive disorder, everything had to be just so.

This rigorous mindset was reflected in her dispassionate approach to the disposal of horses which did not quite fit the bill.

An un-biddable thoroughbred soon followed an amiable but stiff cob out of the door. They were succeeded, at considerable expense, by a svelte warm-blood schoolmistress. Everyone agreed the new mare was "very fine". They were told she came from “somewhere up north” and there was some talk of dressage points.

The same remorseless logic used in finding the perfect horse was applied in other areas. A powerful German 4 x 4 and smart trailer were soon complimented by a powerful German trainer and smarter wardrobe and tack.

Now all the components were in place for the campaign to begin in earnest.

Lessons progressed well and Tiffany and her mare were soon able to perform a very respectable test at medium level. At this stage –“given the mare’s age” - it seemed best to enter a walk and trot beginners’ test.

Always immaculate in polished boots, pristine breeches and beautifully cut jacket, Tiffany excelled in competition. The unsuspecting six year olds on ponies and novices on hairy cobs were blown away.

Invariably Miss Lampwick smiled coyly and expressed genuine astonishment as she politely thanked the organiser and collected her rosettes.

Before long, Tiffany was winning restricted Prelim classes and continued to be thrilled at the unexpected success of her "young mare", now approaching 14.

She particularly enjoyed going out of the district to enter other club’s mini dressage competitions, designed to encourage the genuine novice horse and rider. To her surprise Tiffany usually came away with a win or two.

After being on this rewarding circuit for some years, the odd dark cloud is now appearing on the horizon. Worryingly, words like “open” and “novice test” seem harder to avoid.

Unfortunately it was always about winning rather than just taking part for Tiffany, who admits: “To be honest, I only ever really liked the red rosettes. After all, second is only the first of the losers".

No comments: