Yesterday I bragged profusely about my great horse show. Sorry about that, but today I’ll get into the more nitty gritty detail for those of you that like those kind of posts.

As previously discussed, I decided to enter the 2’3″ and 2’6″ jumpers instead of the 2’6″ and 2’9″ heights we had been previously showing at. I stepped back because it’d been almost a year since I showed at all (April 2016), and it had been a year and a half since I’d stepped in the jumper ring (August 2015). To say I was a little rusty was an understatement.

Friday schooling went great. I tried this new thing where I listen to what my trainer says, and try my best to replicate it. Revolutionary concept. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I have absolutely 0 issues with Simon and fence height up to 3’0″ right now (not that we’ve been jumping huge). Seeing him show bigger stuff with his lessee really opened up his eyes and mine to his scope. As long as I sit up, leg on and don’t drop him at the base of the fence I have no worries jumping that horse over anything.

Saturday morning I started with a 2’3″ Power & Speed class. These are my favorite, because there’s no jump off. Actually scratch that – any course without a jump off is my favorite, because my brain is a linear thinker and memorizing two courses at once kind of blows my mind. Here’s the Power & Speed course if you’re the kind of person who loves to look at courses.

Simon started the class with a giant lurch into the canter, because he was pretty psyched about showing again in his favorite ring where I allow him to fully express himself. Our round was clear (if I’m dropping rails at 2’3″ I have bigger problems) but a little all over the place. I leaned often, didn’t get straight and had to take one giant hunter turn before the combination so I could get myself organized.

Nothing tragic happened, but I totally felt rusty and we weren’t as fast as we needed to be. We ended up 4th out of 16, pretty solidly in the middle of the pack.

Our next class was a jump off, so I sat outside the ring forever repeating numbers like rainman and pointing to jumps off in the distance. Going into this weekend, I was mostly concerned with not getting turned off my horse (happens) and not going off course (also happens). One of my favorite things to do is add a courtesy circle into the middle of my jumper course, often calling out “Help!” while I canter around.

At the beginning of the 2’3″ JO class, Simon had a lot less gas. We had a hard time motoring around, and just went really really slow. There was a super tight turn option which I was able to pull off in the jump off, but I asked him to slow down too much before the fence so it wasn’t as smooth as it should have been.

Video of the jump off is MIA, so just imagine my turn was awkward and slow. Still we made it around everything in decent time because of my turns, and managed 5th out of 17.

Next up we had 2’6″ JO, which was the same course as the previous one. This time I went in with a gusto, and was determined to step it up. I asked Simon for a lot more speed, didn’t slow to a crawl before my tight jumper turn and put my foot on the gas pedal as much as my hunter princess self can.

It worked, and we shaved several seconds off our time to finish up 2nd out of 13.

I was tickled, and that’s when the idea to try and get myself a tri-color formulated.

My last 2’6″ class of the day was another power & speed, but the course is lost somewhere. You’ll just have to watch the video or craft something in your imagination.

Even though Simon and I were exhausted by this point, he gave me another gear when I asked and I did my best to pilot him around without riding like a sack of potatoes. I kept the go button on, and my only regret for this course was that I didn’t make the super killer inside turn happen. If I did, I would have won but at that point in the day I realized I didn’t turn in the air enough to make it happen safely and I decided to just go with the smoother course.

I think Simon appreciated that decision. We were still enough for 2nd out of 14 for our second red ribbon of the day.

Sunday was a much shorter day (thank god) with only one 2’3″ and one 2’6″ class that shared the same course. AND that course was a speed one, which meant no jump offs to memorize. My tired brain was thankful.

I was disappointed to see that the speed course offered really no tight turn options, which is where we set ourselves out from the rest. Galloping around like a bat out of hell is never going to be my specialty. Granted, I still need to learn how to go faster but the course was setup to our disadvantage.

Simon was tired coming into our first class. As we cantered to the first oxer, I felt him try to back off and do the add. I had to give him a good squeezy boost to say, “No please do not set your feet down again,” and he took off where I wanted him to. It was a good choice, because I told him that we needed to ride aggressively versus passively that day. We shaved some time off with my left rollback to the skinny, but otherwise was too slow everywhere.

We were in the money at 5th out of 17, but I needed to step it up if I wanted my 2’6″ tri-color.

Since my lovely nerd horse is a Thoroughbred, he typically gets more ramped up the longer he works. Although he was still tired, we had momentum going into the 2’6″ class.

I asked for as much go as I safely could (read – brisk canter), and we REALLY dug in and turned around the rollback. As I jumped out the last combination, I felt extremely proud of my horse and our performance.

The clock agreed. We shaved 2 seconds off our time, and were good enough for 3rd out of 17.

Which was good enough for my beloved reserve champion ribbon. I am not too old to lust after ribbons, and I am not too old to smash the dreams of galloping pony puddle jumpers everywhere.

With life right now, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to show again. Hopefully soon, but even if it’s another year until I get back in the jumper ring – I couldn’t ask for a better horse to do it with.

26 COMMENTS

  1. This is awesome. I’m really stoked for you guys!

    Also, I want to note that in my mind, 4th out of 16 is nowhere near the middle of the pack- it’s at the top girl!

    • Hmm, yes mathematically that’s totally true. Honestly because I’m a snot, I’m trying to get ribbons in the top 3 placings because my “4th – 8th” ribbon jar at home is OVERFLOWING compared to my “1st – 3rd” ribbon jar that has some room. 😉 Issues, I has them.

  2. That such a big horse can turn so tightly, so balanced and that you ride all of that action like it’s the most sedate little maneuver is so badass. Y’all look amazing. Total pros!

  3. every single picture, every single word, and every single video of this post makes me happy for you!

    yassssss girl get that tri-color!!! this honestly sounds like the BEST kind of horse show, and the stuff awesome memories are made of!!!!

  4. Way to go! Thanks so much for the videos, especially. Since I can’t ride anymore due to neurological problems, I was delighted to be able to ‘ride along with you’, and although I was a bit teary during the first video, I totally enjoyed them.

    I’m so glad it went well for you! <3

  5. Oh man, I just… kinda have tears in my eyes right now. Your transformation is nothing short of absolutely amazing. Who would have thought that you’d be saying “our tight turns are what sets us apart” a year ago, when you were getting turned off?! Gosh Lauren, I am SO SO SO incredibly proud of you for digging deep and riding your ass off, and so happy that your hard work is paying off <3 Congratulations girl!!!

  6. I absolutely adore reading your blog and I love that you’re so positive and transparent about what you’re thinking. And the humor helps. 🙂 As an aspiring hunter/jumper, I find myself living vicariously through you (is that weird?) and I look forward to all your posts. I think you do amazing and I look forward to your next adventures.

  7. Good job, girl! You and Simon looked like pros out there, I hope you can see how awesome you both looked! I’m so happy that you had a positive experience, you deserve it!

  8. You are such an inspiration Lauren. Congratulations, those ribbons were well deserved! I love your blog, and just wanted to say thank you, you have truly inspired me! Keep up the incredible work!!!!

  9. It’s 10 times easier to tear ourselves down than it is to pat ourselves on the back once for being proud of the fruits of our labors. You have every right to be proud of your riding and your horse. You guys kicked ass!

  10. This is terrific – so happy for you and your HANDSOME, not nerd, pony! 🙂 You guys rocked. Really makes me want to try jumpers because I get way too stressed over hunters. Getting over the fence, I can do that. Looking good, not so much! (Although you did both, regardless of what you might think) Plus, I bet at least 50% of your success here was mental… all this work on yourself has paid off in spades. Way to go!

  11. Love the videos and write up! It makes my heart smile to see you and Simon rocking around and I especially love watching a horse and rider combination that are clearly enjoying the jumpers as much as I do!

    Congrats!

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