|Start and end of the last hunt|
With a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach I could sense an air of good times coming to an end. Trunks were being pulled out of garages and army batmen were arriving to help their madams pack. We Air Force wives had to manage on our own and I decided to only start winding up once we were done with all the equestrian events.
I bagged the first prize in dressage on my beloved horse Charisma and then began practising for the show jumping which was to be held at the Wellington Gymkhana Club. A day prior to the event we were taken around the course for a familiarisation tour and I completed it perfectly on Maharajah, who was not a known animal since he was specifically ear marked for his skills as a show jumper and not given to us amateurs until we were deemed capable of handling him. I was extremely nervous since this particular area of the sport had never been a strong one and I was participating only because my husband had bullied me into it. When it was finally my turn there was complete chaos - I lost my stirrup after the second hurdle and while trying to slip my foot back in, got completely bamboozled and took a reverse jump so was disqualified! I have rarely ever in my life felt so awful about failure and the thought of that terrible day still sends shivers of dismay down my spine.The only positive thing was Sandip winning the men's title so that made up for the abject misery that I was feeling.
|Sandip in action|
The last big contest was the Point to Point race being held at Windy Saddle on the Ooty Downs which we were all looking forward to. Three days before the event I got a message from the field saying Sandip had been in an accident and broken his collar bone! It was a cold and dewy morning and in a routine ride his horse Chetak had slipped and unfortunately fallen on him. I rushed to the hospital and found a dejected looking husband with his arm in a sling. It was a bad end to a fabulous riding year since he was supposed to get back to fighter flying on completing the staff course and this mishap would delay his fitness rating.