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                 A day of mixed fortunes! By Julie de Joncaire Narten

It seems a long way back now, but glorious June was also glorious Queen’s Jubilee month.  Some of us ex-pats felt a bit left out of the celebrations (even though secretly I have to admit it was lovely to watch it all on TV on a baking hot day and see the rain pouring down in the UK).  
The only jubilee event that I could participate in was the Interdressage “Red, White and Blue” Challenge, so I went around the house and tack-room gathering up anything of a red, white or blue nature.  Patient Quiz was plaited, draped and bandaged with the stuff on the due date that we had bribed our long-suffering cameraman to stand out in the full sun and hopefully produce an Oscar-winning performance.

Before: All dressed up and not a clue where to go!

We needed to warm up before said cameraman arrived, but just as I put my good leg in the stirrup and was about to throw my replacement hip over Quiz’s back (precarious at the best of times) the biggest horse fly I have ever seen (believe me it sounded like a helicopter) landed on Quiz’s lip of all places.  Poor Quiz was off and unfortunately so was I!  On my dramatic descent to the ground all I could think was “just don’t land on the ceramic hip!”.    As I lay on my back, totally winded and wondering whether I could move or not, Quiz trotted back and extended her neck down to nudge me.  Do horses ask forgiveness? It certainly seemed like it and it made me smile through the tears of pain as I managed  to ease myself up and assess the damage.  Everything seemed to work – so nothing broken then!    Mindful of all the dressing up we had done and no other opportunity to bribe the cameraman, the only thing to do was to remount and ride the test!  No warm up, no practice, no re-take.  When I discovered the grazes and bruises later, I don’t know how I rode at all!  There was plenty more red and blue which the camera didn’t capture!
To my great surprise and delight, not only did we get a rosette, we won the red, white and blue prize too!  Our “Surprise Prize” was a voucher to spend at Bespoke Browbands.  I chose something really special for Quiz.  She is such a kind horse and like me, she is old and stiff and has come to dressage very late in life!  Apart from that one incident she has been so careful and patient with me – so “thank-you” Quiz – I hope you love your new browband (and yes- of course you were forgiven!)

After:  Quiz with her beautiful prize.

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