Level competing at:
Hey guys! I’m Hannah Craft, also known as “the less important half of Sid Goes Eventing”. I am a lawyer by profession, but this is mainly to fund my addiction to the wonderful sport of eventing! Up until recently I lived in the City, but I have now relocated to Wiltshire to be nearer family and for a better work/life balance. I have been riding since I was a child, following in my late mother’s footsteps (although I am reliably informed that she fell off more than I do)! I have a wonderful husband (affectionately nicknamed ‘First Husband’ to remind him that he needs to tow the line or risk being upgraded), who is a long-term member of the ‘Non-Horsey-Other-Half’ club. One of his favourite pastimes is being woken up at 3am to the sound of me frantically scrabbling around for my missing stock pin.
About my horse:
Where do I start with Sid?! Well, he’s 17hh of pure awesomeness and has been the yard favourite on every yard I have ever been at. He is a skewbald and, particularly when he’s overdosed on grass, does resemble a member of the bovine family. He has excellent manners on the ground, despite his size, and loves a cuddle, as long as that cuddle comes with a handful of treats! He has a talent for throwing himself over big, wide spreads, whilst I hold on tightly and try not to visualise our impending doom…. In Sid’s world, faster = better, and so our cross country form lately has involved more galloping towards the fences than I (and my instructor) would like, but I just can’t fault his enthusiasm! Most of all, he looks after me and never fails to ignore my occasional catastrophic and unstylish riding.
What is my favourite thing about eventing?
Where do I start?! Whilst I love that it forces me into improving my flatwork (if I’m honest, dressage is not my discipline of choice), and I get such a sense of achievement from a clear round show-jumping, for me it has to be “that feeling” you get when you cross the finish line after a great round cross country. There really is no equal to that buzz as you slide off your horse, exhausted, but with a huge grin on your face. In response to me telling them I felt sick, a well-known cross country starter once said to me “You’re nervous because you’re about to do something really special” and that touched me, because it’s so true! To ask a horse to gallop around a course and jump all sorts of weird, solid, testing obstacles and for them to do that without blinking and come home safe and sound is nothing short of miraculous.
Who inspires me?
I am still, to this day, massively inspired by my late mum. Not because she was a fantastic rider (my grandad used to tell me they hired a hospital room out every weekend because she fell off so often!) but because she was so incredibly brave and because I have so many wonderful memories of her with horses. Eventing is a test of courage, it’s a test of determination and it’s a test of stamina, and she had all of these attributes in spades when facing terminal illness. My cross country whip is embroidered with “Kick on for Hilary” and I take a look at it every time I enter the start box in her memory. In terms of professional riders, I went on a clinic recently with Ros Canter where she explained that she actually finds cross country at speed pretty scary! To be competitive, she adopts a seat where she sits back at all times and slips the reins, rather than hugely folding, so that she’s secure in the saddle no matter what. The clinic was really educational for me and so reassuring to know that it’s not just the average grassroots rider that gets a bit terrified of the fences!!
What motivates me to event?
My motivation comes from wanting to improve all the time – when I go out to event, I’m not competing against anyone else in my section (which is just as well, really, seeing as we never do very well in that quarter!!) but rather I’m going out to try and ride a bit better than I did last time! I also love new challenges and for Sid to be exposed to different things, like a new test on the cross country course or a slightly more technical set of show jumps. We have learnt so much along the way, from a few years back where neither of us had ever evented before, to today where we are confident at BE100 and looking to make the huge step up to Novice. There really is nothing like it.