On Friday night when we were schooling, I trotted around the jumps in the hunter ring and told my trainer how small everything looked. They were all set to around 2′, which used to be my comfort level but now looks like speed bumps. Don’t think I’m knocking all the 2′ hunter riders aren’t there who think schooling that height at the show is scary. I’ve been there. I know your feels, but now it looks itty bitty.
After we cruised down some lines my trainer set to 2’6″ and that felt good, I perhaps had a moment of insanity when I asked her to raise a single to 2’9″ for me so I could see what it felt like.
She did. We cantered down, found a great distance and it felt so soft and pretty I said, “That felt nice!” as I cantered away.
So naturally, I decided to sign up for 2’6″ and 2’9″ divisions versus 2’3″ and 2’6″. You know, because one good jumps makes a course.
Saturday morning came, and I spent a lot of time watching the jumpers. Doing so, I realized I did not miss that ring at all. Do you know long it took me to memorize my hunter courses? 1 minute. Do you know how many hunter courses I had to memorize for Saturday? Two, and the second one was just the first reversed.
Hunterland, I love you. I love you so much.
My warm-up class was set at 2’6″, and I went in there with no concern about fence height. While I knew we were going to get over everything, I didn’t exactly put any polish into… well into anything. Simon was like, “WOW WE HORSE SHOW THIS IS GREAT I JUMP JUMPS LETS DO THAT OKAY IT’S HAPPENING BAI.”
I walked out from my warmup thinking, missed distances, adding in lines and missing changes… yup that’s about right for us.
My trainer though, seemed to have higher explanations.
“You know all that stuff we’ve been working on at home in the corners?”
“Maybe you should… you know, actually do it.”
I may be paraphrasing, but you get the jist. She had a point, I just kind of stuck on his back and pointed him at jumps without actually riding. So when I went in for my 2’6″ hunter round, I decided to try this concept of riding.
Shockingly, it was better. We got one skip change when I forced the issue (notice Simon’s pouty face in video), and the second lead change I couldn’t feel he was cross cantering until it was too late. We also didn’t add in any of our lines. The first fence was pretty deep (aka maybe I shouldn’t have tried to add at the last minute), but all in all it was pretty solid.
My next and final class of the day was the move up to the 2’9″ division. Since I am a chicken shit adult amateur rider, I did think the fences looked a tad intimidating as they put them up. However, when you have a few
glasses mini bottles of Prosecco before your class… sometimes you don’t care as much. I trotted into the ring fairly confident that I wasn’t going to die, and knew that my trainer was going to fuss at me if I didn’t make him have good corners.
Not only did we not die, but it was probably our best hunter trip ever. I came out of the ring with a huge smile on my face.
“I love hunters so much. I don’t even care if I’m bad at it!” I said as I gave the nerd horse lots of pats.
We ended up with a 4th and 5th place ribbon that day. I’m not entirely sure which was which (because Prosecco), but I think the 4th was 2’6″ and 5th was 2’9″. The other horses in my classes were quite fancy and well schooled with miles at rated hunter shows, so for me to pin middle of the pack was totally fine with me. When it comes to the hunters, I happily accept any ribbon of any color… especially when a personal best is achieved!