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:
….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:
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:
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:
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!