Better Late Than NeverWritten by Joshua Riker-Fox
Saturday, as I was fencing at the Hokkaido Cup in Red Deer, I should have been on a plane to Rome for a training camp. Apparantly I thought it was Sunday I was leaving. At the least the fencing tournament went fairly well to make it worthwhile. Saturday I have a fit as I realize I've missed my flight. By fit, I mean I stared angrily at this UK Expedia e-ticket I was sent that is a mixture of text as it's been forwarded a couple times, willing the date on it to change. But it refused. Not to pass the blame, totally my fault. I call Expedia in England, on hold..... I call Lufthansa, they are closed. Eventually get a staffer in the AM who says it'll cost about 900$. Frick! Not an expense I had planned for. So I get dropped off at the airport, thinking maybe I can sweet-talk my way to a better price; get a ticket for 550$, which again does not fit my budget, but what can I say? I'm late for this camp and I'm determined to get here. Needless to say my camp-mates have poked some fun at me. O well. This is the international riding camp hosted by the UIPM. There are five riders here - Marguax Isaksen (USA), Will Brady (USA), Elena Rublevska (LAT), Melanie McCann (CAN) and me. We are the Italian Pentathlon Centre outside Rome. It is a fantastic venue, not the type of place I would want to live and train, but still a very cool place for pent. There is a range of athletes here from little tykes (8 years) to the senior national athletes. Tons of athletes always running around. All events are avaiable to train here, so it's quite handy and they've obviously got a good program going.
We are doing two riding lessons a day and my first was yesterday. Mel and I are doing all our other workouts here as well. First lesson was pretty ok, indoor ring, basic flatwork and some smaller obstacles. I am on this fairly big boy - 16'2 or so. He is willing, but trying to test me out. Second lesson, we go to the cross country course. Each horse is a little more testy and excited and there is a little more excitment. I'm feeling fairly comfortable and confident, which was mistake 1. One our second passing of a bank, we go up, turn right and drop, turn right again and drop. This big burly chestnut threw the odd buck in earlier after fences and this time he does the same after the final downward bank catching me off guard. I was a little too relaxed and trusting - mistake 2. As it was a drop he conveniently has his hind end up in the air naturally and decides to put it higher to test me. I hold firm and assume he won't test me again - mistake 3. One more large buck and I'm feeling horiztonal, skyward, looking down at him, who also has no feet on the ground. At that point there was not much I could do but soften the fall, doing a quick mental scan before moving hoping I've hurt nothing, and then hop back on. He didn't run, just hung out beside me, no doubt smirking as he'd got the best of me. So yes, Day 1, and I've been humbled. But I can live with that. He may have taught me a lesson that'll save me in some future situation. No bruises on my body, just a little on my ego. haha. I think this camp will be really valuable and I am looking forward to all the work ahead. We are eating really well and more or less wake up, swim, breakfast, riding lesson, lunch, riding lesson, and then fill in our other training. Cannot complain as the days are high-value, despite the fatigue and at least for now, jet lag.
I will keep sharing stories, as it is only day 2 and lots has happened. Internet is not easy to get here, so no pictures or video I don't think. We will see though.Thanks for following.