To quickly recap Saturday, I had one amazing round with a great ribbon and two rounds where I made pretty major mistakes. This is how Simon feels about his mom throwing away ribbons:
For Sunday, I had two goals. A) Go straight (Saturday I let him drift left a lot which caused issues) and B) Don’t go slow! As soon as we walked into the ring for our first 2’3″ Power & Speed class, Simon wanted to trot whether I was ready or not!
I pulled him back to start the course with both of us ready, and then once we picked up the canter I gave him some leg and said something out loud like, “Let’s go do this buddy!”
Of course, he was happy to go forward. Simon is a pretty big fan of this jumper stuff, and he likes that his Mom is no longer trying to micro manage distances and ask him to go slower. Also, it turns out that if I ride forward (and sit up) that my horse naturally finds distances a lot of the time.
Shocked. I know everyone is shocked at this.
Anyway, the 2’3″ course went really well. We were clean for the power phase so were allowed to move onto speed. In the speed phase, there was the potential for a tight turn directly after the one stride combination. Of course I pushed forward to make the one stride, but then felt like I couldn’t make the turn. Instead of going super wide, I went in-between two standards. I almost took my left knee off (do you get faults for knocking down a random jump?), but we made the not ideal turn.
The rest of the round went fine, and I was really proud of myself when I pointed him at the final oxer going home and asked for more speed. No scared ammy here! We weren’t galloping by any means, but he came to the oxer quick and bright. It felt fantastic.
We ended up 3rd out of 17, which was awesome but gave me this nagging feeling that I would have won the class if we managed the inside turn.
Since my 2’6″ jumper class was the same course, I went in super determined to rectify my mistake.
Again, we were clean in the power phase. I was determined to get the one stride cleanly (the previous time I went through he hesitated and tried to put a foot down, so it wasn’t beautiful) and we did. However, since we were booking it to get the one stride I let him get a bit flat going to the vertical after it. We had that rail down, which was the first jump of the speed phase.
In speed classes, a rail just adds seconds to your time instead of giving you faults. So once I had the rail, I knew we had to “run like the wind” aka not slow down and do good turns. We headed to the rest of the course at a good clip, and made some really tight (in my opinion) turns.
When we got to the inside turn that I missed before, I made the decision to be a bit slower in the one stride (we added) in order to make the inside turn. Though adding isn’t ideal, I was able to turn really tightly after. We kept the rest of the jumps up, and actually ended up 2nd out of 20 even beating some people that went clear. That felt good, but once again showed me more little things to work on for next time. The blue ribbon eluded us this show, but with more learning and training it shouldn’t be too long!
We ended at the 2’6″, because Simon couldn’t have been better. I didn’t let myself get slow like I did on Saturday, and I stayed on course. There was no reason to add a 2’9″ class, because we accomplished exactly what we set out for. I felt like a rock star and was overcome (still am really) with waves of gratitude for my horse.
The satin story doesn’t end quite there though. I guess I wasn’t the only person who was inconsistent in the 2’3″ jumpers, because four of us ended up with a tie for champion. The show office decided to just award everyone ribbons, so I have a champion ribbon on the way! We posed with a friend’s ribbon for some photos 🙂
So that’s our 2015 jumper debut! It feels like it can’t get better than that, but I know there’s still lots to improve on. My trainer wants me to get back to the 2’6″ – 2’9″ height as soon as I feel comfortable, which I don’t think will be long. That’s honestly a more appropriate division for us and with this huge confidence booster under my belt, it seems very attainable.