There is too much to tell about my fun day at the LOPE Benefit show! Instead of writing a novel, I’ll break it up into chunks. For those of you who like the cliff notes, here they are:
- I was ridiculously over dressed and wore a shadbelly
- Had some of my personal best riding over fences (in my opinion)
- NECK RIBBONS
- I fell off!
Now, the nitty gritty details!
7:45am was the first posted ride time for our hunter/jumper gals dabbling in the eventing derby. So the day started bright and early as the horses pulled in at 6:30am in the pitch black. Sidenote – my trainer meets us at the show with the horses which easily gives me an extra or two of sleep… and she takes them home! This is (one of the reasons) why she is the best trainer. End side note.
Anyway, I realized it had been since May that Simon had been off the property so I wasn’t sure what to expect. He basically stepped off the trailer in the pitch black and said, “Oh. A horse show.” and started eating grass. We lunged. We schooled. It was pretty non-eventful.
I was proud of staying super relaxed during our brief morning schooling. Since this was a “come all and do all the classes” kind of show, my trainer was literally speed walking from the dressage ring, to the event derby, to the hunter ring back and forth all morning. She said to hop over some jumps if I had the opportunity, so we jumped everything in the jumper ring except for a wall I deemed big and scary (which later was not big and scary at all).
Insert a few hour break where my horse stayed tied at the trailer like a good boy (minus one broken lead rope… but hey no broken fingers for me today!) and it was time for the hunter derby.
Fun fact, I had heard rumors of a “Best Turnout” award. A perfect derby round with flying changes? That’s iffy for us. Good turnout? I can do that!
So I went a little overboard and wore my shadbelly… and braided my horse… and put ‘OTTB’ sparkles in his mane. Though I never heard of any best turnout award announced, I got lots of comments on his little OTTB braid charms. Plus, I don’t get to wear my shadbelly often. Let’s be honest, it’s super fun to canter around with tails flying after you… even if it is for a little show.
As the derby goes, it didn’t run like a traditional derby and wasn’t judged by the show’s hunter judge. My goal was to get good distances to all my jumps and carry some pace. We botched the first fence because I picked up the wrong lead and didn’t set him up correctly, but other than that I was really happy.
He was maybe a little expressive in parts, but Simon will never be a dead head hunter. It’s bothering me less and less. There’s certainly some counter-cantering since there were a lot of left turns (he likes to land right) but honestly this is about as good as we can do right now. I feel like I rode well, and was really happy with how it all went down. We also did all the high options, but then again they were only 2’6″ 😉
We ended up 3rd. The hunter superstar from my barn won, and I didn’t watch the other riders. This was one of those rides though that I felt really good about, so the ribbon is just a nice bonus!