Chapter 4: In Which We Learn A LOT

Our first jumper show is officially under our belts! While I had dreams of bringing home straight blues, that did not happen. But by our last class we did make it around every jump on our first try, so I’ll take that as a win.

Let me explain.

By dawn on Saturday we were already on the trailer and on the road to Loch Moy. No joke, I was at the barn before 5am. We got there before 7am and I tacked up real quick to take advantage of the open schooling. Addy was an absolute dream- relaxed, focused, and moving around comfortably in the three different rings I dragged her to.

Fun fact- apparently you’re not supposed to school over jumps in the jumper ring. Everyone looked at me like I was an idiot when I said I didn’t know that. Now I know. Oops! We only got 3 in before the lady came running and yelled NO JUMPING IN THE JUMPER RING anyways, so not that much. #irony.

Addy went back on the trailer since our classes weren’t scheduled to start until 10:30 at the earliest. Naptime by the the hunter ring, helping the leadline kids get ready (CUTEST LITTLE PONIES), and watching the lower level jumpers go. We started to tack up around 11:15 as the 2’6″ jumpers started, thinking that would be perfect to get ready, head over to the warmup ring, and stretch out a bit before the 2’9″ opened up.

So we warmed up, which looked a bit like this:

Feeling very sassy/sun in my eyes/sassy about the sun
Addy and I both giving the WTF face/squinting at the sun/saying WTF to the sun
DragonMare popping over a little vertical like it’s no big deal, and both trainers in the patented Trainer Pose.

….And then we waited. In the sun. Hot. And waited some more. Then it was finally time to go in for our 2’9″ classes! And I wish I could tell you it all looked like this:

All purposeful and whatnot
Trotting into the ring because WE’RE AWESOME
Sleeping over this vertical BECAUSE WE’RE SO RELAXED

Yeah. LOL. Nope. We got excused from our first round after two refusals. They weren’t dirty stops, just new jumps and I wasn’t backing Addy up enough with my leg. As my trainer put it, I was waiting for something bad to happen…so Addy delivered.

Our second course did go much better, though we still had a refusal going into the 2-stride combo. Again, this was entirely my fault- she had stopped at this before and I didn’t have a chance to correct it since we were excused from the ring, so she thought stopping there was OK. I whooped her butt over it and we managed to finish the course.

Then we waited for them to drag and water the ring before the 3′. I honestly considered scratching- I thought I was going to pass out from heat and hunger, and Addy and I were clearly having an off day. It looked a bit like this:

Patting pony because she really was trying to give me what I asked for and I love her.
Finding the one patch of shade in a 2 mile radius and trying not to melt off the side of my saddle.

Finally it was time to go back in for our 3′ rounds. The first was decent- we had seen all the jumps except for one, so of course Addy ducked out at that one. Honestly I think in a usual situation I would’ve been able to hold my leg and boot her over it, but the combo of heat and exhaustion made me feel pretty weak. But at least we managed to finish that course. I was really happy to get to complete that course, since it had some awesome turns and was very technical- it even had a quarter-line rollback to the rail (AKA the turn of doom). You can bet we rocked that turn like professionals. We even got through the 2-stride combo on our first try this time.

Our last course was the best one yet. Every jump, first try. We unfortunately didn’t make the jump-off due to a knocked rail, but I’ll take it! DragonMare took me over everything like it was old news. At this point I had been on her back for several hours in the hot sun and she had every right to complain, but her ears were pricked and she galloped around that course like she had come fresh off the trailer. Love this good-natured pony.

After this we skeedaddled back home to give the ponies a nice cool bath and some TLC. Addy managed to rip off a shoe in the trailer (how??), so she got fancy foot medicine and special turnout til the farrier can come. Once Addy and all my tack and the trailer were all taken care of, I made it home, ate some eggs, took a shower, and passed out at 6:30. What a long, hot, sweaty, dusty, crazy day.

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve taken some screenshots of the videos of our courses. They are potato quality, but oh well! The nice pics you see above are all courtesy of that same awesome junior who took pics of our lesson last week, and you should absolutely check out her Insta for awesome horse pics (@hgielloh). But anyways, back to my own potato pics:

First jump of each course, blue vertical set on a long approach diagonal
Potato-est of the potatoes, but these was the out of a pretty cool 4-stride. Oxer in, vertical out, so it was a technical ride.
Rollback over this American flag jump went smoothly every time
Continued to go smoothly, and Addy stopped thinking it was going to eat her and relaxed her knees.
Probably my favorite pic of the day. There’s definitely things I want to work on with my eq, but this just looks like such a “jumper-y” photo to me!

Here’s the video below, if you feel like watching a depressing mish-mash of refusals and run-outs. I considered not sharing it this time, but this blog isn’t just to talk about our successes. It’s to share our journey, even the sticky parts.

0:00 First 2’9″ round
1:14 Second 2’9″ round3:23 First 3′ round
5:43 Second 3′ round

Overall, I was pretty disappointed until I came out of the ring and saw my trainer grinning at me. She told me how happy she was that I managed to improve every round, fix what she told me to fix, and kept going back in. She said that she recognized a lot of my mistakes as ones that people make when they first enter the jumper ring and forget to support their horse, but that I wasn’t as much of a floppy fish as I thought. It seriously changed my perspective on the whole day to hear her say that. I’m still not thrilled about how I rode, but now at least I’m feeling encouraged and determined to use what we learned!

The short version: It was a hot, sweaty, long day and we didn’t ride how I wanted to, but Addy took amazing care of me and we learned a ton about how to work together in a new ring.

Onwards and upwards!

28 thoughts on “Chapter 4: In Which We Learn A LOT

  1. Lauren 05/18/2015 / 11:46 am

    As you may have read on my blog, my experiences with the jumper ring have been a lot of learning and a lot of being humbled! Your trainer is right – the important thing is that you got better every time!

    At my local shows, they let you school in the mornings but the jumps are set up for the hunters. I’m not actually sure what they would allow if we had a jumper only ring.


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 12:13 pm

      Definitely humbled, Addy and I both got lots of cookies to soothe our egos 😉
      I think at most of the local shows around here they allow schooling, but this particular show had a jumper-only ring and seemed to be pretty “official” about it. It was super cool though, it was like being at a bigger rated show with the price tag of a local!


      • Jenn 05/18/2015 / 1:56 pm

        In my experience, you’re not allowed to school the jumper jumps and/or in the jumper ring at all. Schooling over the fences before your class is usually a hunter-only thing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Exquisite Equine 05/18/2015 / 12:01 pm

    You can’t jump in the jumper ring? So odd lol Who knew!

    You guys both looked so great! It definitely sounds like a great learning experience and you’ll be so much better prepared for next time! Yay!!!


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 12:14 pm

      Thank you! I definitely think that we needed this under our belt to learn the ropes, so next time we can go rock it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. CallyJumps 05/18/2015 / 12:17 pm

    Jumpers are so hard! At least you knew where you were supposed to be going; I always get lost! It sounds like this was a good learning experience, and your position is lovely!


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 12:23 pm

      Thank you so much! I was just glad to finally get to use my course-memorizing skills, next time I hope to do one better and make some more subtle changes as we go through 🙂


  4. Jenn 05/18/2015 / 1:58 pm

    First, you and Addy will never have to worry about not being fast enough haha. You guys would rock the power & speed classes! I’ll also echo what your trainer said: you definitely improved every round and learned a little something with each course. You and Addy looked great though, even though you didn’t score any satin, now you have your first jumper show under you belts and can apply what you’ve learned next time…..which I’m sure there WILL be a next time! Congrats on a great show, and welcome to Jumper Land!!


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 2:02 pm

      Eeeek thank you so much!!!! Haha even if we make wider turns, she has the step to more than make up for it, I love it.
      I’m already pushing for another jumper show in June, I’ve caught the bug!!


  5. Karen M 05/18/2015 / 2:20 pm

    Yay for jumpers! Yeah, there is definitely no schooling in the jumper ring. But at least you get to walk the course!


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 2:30 pm

      That was definitely helpful to actually get in the dirt and see my turns. So much new stuff to get used to!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Britt 05/18/2015 / 2:28 pm

    I am so envious of your pace in these videos.. all I keep thinking is Damn, if only Foster would book it like that.

    All in all, kudos to you to improving each round, and Gettin’ It DONE SON in that last round! 😀


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 2:31 pm

      Thank you!!! Honestly I never have to push Addy up, we have the opposite problem of trying to package in time to make it over the jumps! You can see why low and slow in the hunters wasn’t really working for us haha


  7. Tracy 05/18/2015 / 2:43 pm

    Switching rings is really a huge challenge! You tackled it with grace and sportsmanship and your trainer is right — you improved every round which is a huge WIN!


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 2:49 pm

      Thank you so much, you just brought such a smile to my face 🙂 Excited to keep improving!


  8. heartofhope10 05/18/2015 / 2:49 pm

    Whoo wee!! There may have been some minor things, but you two look like you are figuring things out and are having a great time!! Improvement and confidence is way better than ribbons anyway 🙂


    • hellomylivia 05/18/2015 / 2:54 pm

      We definitely had a fun time! And it felt like a real partnership when we finally made it over the whole course. I absolutely love feeling that connection with the DragonMare!


  9. emma 05/18/2015 / 9:00 pm

    congrats on a successful first foray into the jumper ring – and glad you’re feeling better about it now than you did initially. plus those hot sweltering days make everything a little tougher (as my mare was very sure to tell me this weekend too haha).


    • hellomylivia 05/19/2015 / 7:06 am

      Thank you! And sweltering is totally right, woof. Isabel strikes me as the type to communicate clearly 😉


  10. Susan Friedland-Smith 05/19/2015 / 1:05 pm

    LEG!!! Is that what she growled at you? Hey, I was on Twitter. Did you submit your pic to Judge My Ride? I think I saw you. Or some other gray horse with a rider of your build. I supposed there are a lot of them out there.

    One other thing. I had a similar experience at a horse show (not warming up in the jumper ring). I hate it when there are unwritten RULES and the powers in charge are condescending like, “You should have known better.” Where is the tact and diplomacy in equestrianism? Note to show organizers, barn managers, etc. If you treat people like they’re misfits because an unwritten rule is broken, you will not draw scores of new fans, riders, show-ers to your grounds, events, etc. There. I feel better now. Thank you.


    • hellomylivia 05/19/2015 / 1:18 pm

      Haha “LEG” sounds very likely. Trainer is a big fan of growling to get both my and Addy’s attention. I did submit my pic! Looks like they did tweet it, you’re lookin’ at us!
      I agree wholeheartedly with your rant. Luckily there wasn’t too much snottiness going around when I goofed, but I’ve definitely seen so much of that. My vote is we all uncork a bottle of wine and chat about horses together. Everyone would have more fun that way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susan Friedland-Smith 05/19/2015 / 1:27 pm

        Oh my gosh! How am I going to find you again on Twitter? I didn’t read the comments, but I thought, “Hmmm. . . .Looks like Hellomylivia and her mare.” What day was that? Just yesterday?


      • hellomylivia 05/19/2015 / 1:28 pm

        I’m not too far down on their page, it was just 14 hours ago! I just retweeted it too 🙂


  11. Elinor 05/19/2015 / 9:24 pm

    Looks absolutely put together! !! 🙂

    – Patented trainers pose, hahaha!


    • hellomylivia 05/20/2015 / 7:05 am

      They always seem to be in that wide-stance-hands-on-hips pose at shows! Very authoritative 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elinor 05/20/2015 / 5:52 pm

        I’m going to practice that. And some yelling 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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