I kept a bit quiet about it beforehand, but Simon and I went adventuring to a small hunter/jumper schooling show with Jen and Paddington Bear this past Saturday. I’ll be 100% honest and partially wanted to go because I figured it would be a small show and we could win pretty ribbons. Yup, I’m vain and shallow at times… sue me! 🙂 Because I had this thought there ended up being tons of kiddos in our division, go figure! Of course, I also knew that one day shows are not our forte and this would be a great way to try and conquer that demon while doing it with a fun friend. So, off we went!
The show was very low key. No fill jumps, friendly staff, and nice courses. My only issue was that there wasn’t a good place to lunge or warm up. They had some open fields for parking/riding, but there were a lot of rocks. So we skipped our usual 20 minute pre-show lunge, and my horse was a bit of a freshy fresh man during warm-up.
My favorite moment of the day is warming up when I came within an inch of my life from falling off. Unfortunately there is no photographic proof, but basically Simon spooked at a pee spot while cantering. I had my left leg all the way out of the saddle and on his back… I don’t know how I didn’t fall off. Probably because once he felt me going he stood still and just stared at the evil pee instead of continuing to throw a fit. I laughed at the silliness with an eventing trainer who oh-so-nicely covered the spot with dirt for me, and we went about our warm-up.
After the warm-up we had a bit of a wait, and then back up to the ring for the 2’3″ hunters. Since there wasn’t a great area to warm-up, all I did was trot two laps and jump two cross rails before going into the ring. Not the ideal set-up for us, but you do what you do.
First two courses (Warm-up and Hunter I) he was quite fresh. I also wasn’t riding awesome, which was part of the problem. We alternated between doing the strides and doing really ugly ads. Lead changes were non-existence (although he did one for me that morning warming up, so that was good) so I did simples.
It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. By the third course, I decided that I really needed him to listen to me. Add and add nicely when I asked. We had a dramatic improvement in my opinion, until I had my first “whoops” amateur moment of the day. The line right by the judge he took a long spot that I wasn’t prepared for and I got really left behind. Then after that line he played in the corner a bit and it took me two times to get the simple change. So that course we did the add in one line, the stride in one, and then the add in other… not ideal.
Our final course (no video) was equitation, and I was ready for it! The course was fun with lots of rollbacks, and I went into the ring feeling confident. I asked for our leads over the jump and he landed on every one correctly. My eye was better and we got good spots, and he was really listening. I was feeling like a badass towards the “last” jump of my round when I noticed the rollback approach was a little awkward… oh well we still got a good spot to it even if the turn was more of a triangle. Leaving the ring I felt like a rock star… until someone told me that I missed the 2nd to last jump. Whoops! I guess that’s why the rollback was awkward.
In the flats (you know how we love flats), Simon had some of his best flat class behavior ever. The ring was stupid crowded (12 in our division) and even though he broke to the canter at the trot and had an incorrect lead starting out right, I was really happy. He listened to me more than before in flat classes, and I stayed out of his face more than I have in the past. There was a moment of weirdness that happened (which I will blog about tomorrow), so I decided to excuse myself from the 2nd under saddle and call it a day on a good note.
We ended up with a 6th in our Hunter II round (where I got left behind), and I was pretty pleased with that in a division of 12. Most of the horses I competed against were kids riding at the farm where it was held on their school horses, and we would have pinned in the eq if I didn’t go off course. Can’t blame my horse when I have a silly amateur mom moment!
I was pleased that my horse went from really anxious to listening to me. I was pleased that our flat class behavior improved. I was pleased to spend a day with my friend and her adorable haflinger… and I was pleased to take home a Valentine’s day ribbon! Fun outing for sure 🙂