If you like cliff notes, here’s the high level overview: I had so much fun this weekend. Simon was an absolute rock star. Seriously y’all, he was just so good. I could brag about him for days… and I guess I will be since I’m breaking up the show write up into several posts. There’s just a lot that happened and a ton of photos so I wanted to write everything as detailed as possible without making the show post into a novella.
Friday I took a half day and met Simon and all the horses at the show mid afternoon. I choose not to lunge since they were supposed to close the rings fairly early that night, and when I rode Simon into the jumper ring he was terrified. This was an all indoor arena, but unlike the indoor venues he’s been at previously there is a lot of mix of artificial and natural light. The result was the arena gradually changed colors, and that mixed with the jumper standards had him pretty scared. We took our time walking around, and he settled down really well.
He gave some of the jumps a really hard look, and I had a few scary jumps because I leaned forward instead of sitting up. That set the idea in my head for the weekend that leaning forward equals death… so I was determined to sit up and live. 🙂
Saturday morning I arrived to the show at a leisurely 9:15am, and took my time getting ready because they took forever to get the jumpers going. Since Simon had been a little terrified the night before, I opted to lunge. Glad I did because mister “I never play on the lunge line” was wild. He “bucked” (not entirely sure Simon knows how to buck), striked out and generally acted all kinds of silly.
Then we waited, watched some jumpers, and waited some more. I guess the good thing about waiting was having plenty of time to learn my first jumper courses. Since I had four classes on Saturday in two different heights, I needed to learn 3 different courses all with jump offs.
I felt pretty good about the first course, and had it and the jump off memorized. Going into the ring, I decided I was going to walk Simon past the “scary” dolphin jump that had a lot of horses stopping/spooking. Then I would cut across the ring to pick up my left lead canter and come back to our first fence. Sounds good right?
It was a good plan, but I went about it oh so slowly. Like I was trail riding as opposed to jumping. See for those of you who don’t know (like me apparently), once they buzz you to start you have 45 seconds to cross the timer to your first jump. My first time in the ring I had no idea how long 45 seconds actually felt and I wasted about 3-4 seconds on time penalties before I crossed the timers.
Hunter princess right here folks.
Then in our actual course, we loped around… and I do mean loped. Adds everywhere! He did give the dolphin jump a really hard look but I legged him and he hopped over it no problem. All the other jumps were no big deal as far as Simon was concerned, and jumping sun oxer was my absolute favorite. I was smiling and happy and when I finished my last jump with no rails I patiently waited for them to buzz me for the jump off… but the buzz never came! After a few awkward seconds of me being like “Durr?” they announced that I had 7 time penalties. Whoops.
Simon didn’t realize we had time penalties and pranced out of the ring like he had just won a Grand Prix. Self esteem… my horse has it.
Even with the 7 time penalties, we managed to snag 5th out of 9 in our first 2’3″ jumper (the 2’0″ and 2’3″ divisions were a bit tragic… but that’s another story). Yay! I wanted a picture because I have been yearning over ribbons like a ribbon starved 12 year old girl and pretty much happily clung to any piece of satin I won this weekend.
Before I describe our second 2’3″ jumper on Saturday, let me back up and tell you about the bit change. Schooling Friday night Simon was leaning on me sooooo bad so my trainer suggested switching to a bit that he wouldn’t want to hang onto. We usually ride in a Myler comfort D, and we switched to a D ring corkscrew that was a single joint. Simon went fine in the bit in the first class, but in the second class I basically rode like an idiot. First, here’s the course:
Now remember when I had “sit up or die” in my head to stop me from leaning? Well, in my second jumper class I was so determined not to lean that I ended sitting up way too quickly after every fence. The result? I caught Simon in the mouth at the end of my release. Not to toot my own horn, but I hardly ever catch my horse in the mouth. It’s like my number one rule of jumping. This sitting up too quickly combined with the new bit ended up with Simon tossing his head a lot during the class.
Halfway through my trainer told me to release more as I cantered by, and so then I just went crazy with the releasing.
It’s not like every jump was bad, but he certainly wasn’t happy. We had more pace, but still added in the one stride and the two stride… so more slow hunter than jumper pace for sure. Still we managed to make it through without any time faults and made it to the jump off.
In the jump off we went around cleanly but were still hunter loping… so not a fast jump off. Our efforts were still enough to get 3rd out of 6, but even though the ribbon was higher it didn’t feel like as much of a win because of the releasing issues. After that class I pulled his tack for a bit of a break before the 2’6″ jumper. I also wanted to change my bit back, because I didn’t feel like he was laying on me Saturday and I wanted to make sure I didn’t piss off my poor pony any more!
That was long winded, so we’ll go over the 2’6″ Saturday jumper classes tomorrow 🙂