CTHJA Year End – Saturday

CTHJA Year End – Saturday

Horse show hangover is happening for real. I’m both super elated about how this weekend went and completely over it all and ready to decorate my house for Christmas and do non-horsey things for a little bit. Good news is that Simon has definitely earned a few days off and the weather is too yucky to ride anyway. By the middle of the week I’ll be re-charged and ready to go tackle the mess of dirty tack and wraps that I threw into my trunk at the end of the weekend 🙂 Now, on to day one!

The CTHJA Year End show was really well attended this year with some top barns that might not go to some of our usual horse shows. The show is held at the Waco show grounds which is typically a “A” only facility, so a lot of people use this show as a warm-up for the holiday horse show series that starts soon. Knowing that there were some really seasoned horses there, my goals for the weekend were to ride competently, try to move up to the 2’6″, and snag a ribbon if I was lucky.

Since I’m kind of obsessed with grooming and turnout, I braided for this show. My logic? a) braids are pretty, b) my horse is pretty in braids, c) it’s a year end show. Just like last year, I was the ONLY horse braided there. I just braided for Saturday (always lose motivation by Sunday), but it surprises/disappoints me that no one braids for this (or any) CTHJA show. Braiding doesn’t have to be expensive – you can learn to do it yourself. I think it’s a nice “extra” that tells your judge and your show organizer that you’re happy to be there… but I’ll get off my soap box. Several little girls came up to me on Saturday and told me that my horse was pretty, which made it worth it 🙂


Saturday we entered the Open 2’3″ Schooling division, a Modified (2’6″) Equitation Under Saddle class, and our usual 2’0″ Beginners classes. The schooling was first, and I headed to the ring feeling confident. The jumps didn’t look big at all (big win for me!) and I wasn’t petrified of total suckage. There were 29 horses in the schooling division, so really the best I could hope for was to give my green horse a good ride.


Our warm-up round was slow and careful… but maybe a little too slow. Nothing bad happened, but we got in a pattern of adding a tiny little stride right before the jump and repeated that a few times. I also chipped in a double add in the warm-up (oops) so I knew I needed to get going.

The two hunter courses were much better though. We opened up our pace a bit and had a nice clip going on. The goal next year is to start trying to do the actual strides instead of the adds, because I know he can do it… especially as I relax more with showing. Right now though, I’m pleased that we aren’t crawling and horribly chipping everywhere like we were last year. Improvement!


Another good thing about our schooling hunter trips was that he was really good with his changes. We got one that was pretty close to being clean and a few quick skip changes. For the stage our lead changes are right now, that’s about the best I can hope for!

After the schooling trips there was quite a long break before the modified eq us. While waiting, one of my barn mates came up and told me that we got a 5th in one of our schooling hunter rounds! I was shocked, but they ended up double pinning the class which helped our chances. Still, 29 is a lot of horses so I basically felt super special and checked off my “bring a ribbon home” goal for the weekend. Yay!



I’d like to tell you that the eq under saddle went really well, but it didn’t. It was so bad I deleted all the photos. I would like to pretend it didn’t happen. Let’s just say that flat classes are SO NOT our forte and it’s going to take a lot of work and perhaps years of maturity (on both our parts) to make that happen. Oh well, he’s so great in many ways I guess it will just take time!


Post flat class disaster we had another long break before our 2’0″ Beginners Hunter I trip. At this point I was so ready to be done for the day, and went in without trying as hard as I should have. We had a mediocre course. Spots were okay, but changes were completely non-existent. I had to break down to the trot and do simples, and didn’t even get a simple change at one point. My trainer told me it’s because I wasn’t being patient enough and actually breaking down all the way to the trot…which makes sense. We could have done better if I rode better, but I didn’t. Simon did his job and I scratched both flat classes from the Beginner division and put him away happy with our day one experience!


The only thing that really disappointed me with how I rode Saturday is some funky equitation I had going on. Lately I’ve been experimenting with an auto-release, which is a great tool but I haven’t perfected it yet. I also have gotten into the habit of not breaking at my hip enough over the jump. Add that to my chicken wing arm habit and having to ride with an open right rein to help Simon’s left drift… and I had some funky eq. Nothing horrid and nothing unfixable, just not my favorite to see in the reality of pictures!

Sunday was slightly more exciting, but you’ll have to hear about that another day!

23 thoughts on “CTHJA Year End – Saturday

  1. Simon’s braids look wonderful. I must confess that I never braid if I don’t have to. Since I grew up with Arabs and being able to do the french braid which is 1,000 times easier I just haven’t put the effort into getting good at hunter or dressage style braids.

    Overall sounds very positive! Can’t wait to hear the rest.

  2. The braids are beautiful!!!!!

    And I agree about the reality of seeing form in photos later. But hey, your lower leg is SOLID in EVERY photo. You go girl.

  3. I am SO with you on the braiding front! Even though I just french braid now (for obvious reasons!) when I was showing my TB I braided no matter what. I am always so disappointed when no on else braids. I, like you, see it as being respectful to the judge and the people that put it on. Bonus is that you look fancier and get adorable pictures 🙂

  4. Congrats on the pretty ribbon! 🙂 I think braids always look really nice and professional….however, I am super lazy about them!! Great pictures!

  5. Simon is GORGEOUS in braids. And you guys are improving SO MUCH — he looks fabulous and going around 2’3″ is so amazing. I know you wish the flat had gone better, but take pride in how far you have come over fences!!

  6. I always braid…always! Unless I show jumper which is rare…love the braids. Congrats on your ribbon, you two look lovely. The course is adorable.

    Automatic release: this is something that comes more naturally at the right time. You need to be extremely secure in your lower leg and position on order to execute this correctly (i.e 15 years of practice). Jumping lines without reins helps to develop this, might be a fun exercise for you to try!

  7. D’awww, I love the braids! Simon looks so professional and polished…I’m a sucker for turnout. Congrats on a great show, and 5th out of 29 is nothing to be humble about 😉 Looks like you had some good trips and learned a lot, plus got lots of photos, which I consider one of the criteria for a successful horse show, ha!

    Plus I’m really glad that you aren’t an overachiever who does their show laundry the day after. Phew!

  8. I thought braiding was required for hunter shows, and it always confused me when I saw unbraided horses. Isn’t that supposed to be part of the pretty princess hunter package?! Simon definitely rocks it! Maybe I’m just one of those weirdos that really likes braiding. Of course, throwing in ten button braids for a dressage test is way easier than thirty hunter braids. 😉

  9. I wish I could learn how to braid! I have tried for years without any success to teach myself how to braid, so I usually just hog the horse’s mane instead!

  10. Congratulations! I’m with you on braiding – I always do, even for small schooling shows. I’m always glad I made the effort when I do. And it helps when a horse looks as terrific as Simon does in them!

  11. Haha that’s funny because the whole article, looking at the pictures, I was thinking: “thank goodness she’s trying to experiment and learn the auto release instead of that crazy thing the hunters do these days where they throw their horses up their necks!” And then I read your last paragraph… ha! While you haven’t quite “perfected it” I suppose, I think you look great, and you can really see him using your ‘auto release’ to stretch down and over the jump. And as for breaking at the hip, I wouldn’t worry about that- you’re jumping 2′, you shouldn’t be breaking much. George Morris harps on that all of the time. But I think you two look LOVELY and his braids are so, so pretty!!!

  12. Simon is gorgeous!!!! You guys look really good together 🙂
    And good on you for braiding. It definitely shows the judge that you care about your appreance and thats always a good thing 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.