We took the mismatched bays out to a local hunter show, and overall, it went great! It was such a fun day, I can’t wait to do it again.
D’Arcy rode little bay Pony Man. She was initially going to take him in the green pony division, but apparently green ponies is only for children, so I feel like “Green Pony division” is very misleading. Maybe it should be “Children’s Green Pony Division”, that would make it clear who it was intended for. But luckily she called to clarify, and it was determined that “Maiden Hunter” division was more appropriate for the little guy. This meant we got to show up later in the morning, so that was a plus. No waking up at 5am to prep.
I was going to do the 2’6″ Green division. This turned into doing the 2’6″ Thoroughbred division, because of the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, which I didn’t really care about before, but now I kind of want to collect all the points. But more on that later – my division wasn’t until after 2pm, so again, nice and lazy approach to getting to the horse show.
We arrived about 11:30 and discovered that the show was actually moving along quite quickly, and it was almost time for D’Arcy to ride. This is the first time this has ever happened at a hunter show for me. There was no sitting around for hours waiting for my class! (This is probably one of those things that only happens once in a lifetime – I will never again experience the joy of a show moving along quickly.)
We actually had to hurry up to get ready (no hurry up and wait, literally just hurry). We quickly dressed, D’Arcy, usually the jumper, going for a “Jackie-O” style hunter look, with a green wool coat, and I looking more like a jumper rider with the tight tech jacket and a rhinestone helmet. It seems this particular show attracted other casually dressed riders, as later we stood by the ring and judged the several others who were wearing black breeches, navy blue jean style breeches, and sweaters. How dare you all befoul that which is the formality of hunters.
I KID, I KID
We were joined by super amazing Shelby, who is the source of all the photos with her super amazing photography skills.
We started our warm-up, which was basically as long as we wanted since D’Arcy was the next class to go, and one of two people in the class. We had a nice long warm-up in the competition ring, and were feeling pretty good. Pony had never done a course before, and after every jump, he would start breaking, thinking that was the end of the exercise. D’Arcy’s main goal was to keep him cantering.
We had joked with the show organizer that it was Pony’s first show when we signed up, and from then on, she announced it each time she announced Pony and D’Arcy.
“And now in the ring, D’Arcy, on Naponyman, who is doing his very first course!”
“Champion is Naponyman, who is debuting at his very first show!”
Moments later, it was time for me to warm up for the 2’6″ division. All the jumps were raised, and in I went. My goal was just to jump each jump one time, as I’d already jumped them all during the earlier warmup, I just wanted to make sure she realized that the jumps were higher now.
D’Arcy gave me pointers on the approach, and I was practicing the diagonal line. The line went really well, but when I landed on the second jump, Berry got very upset, and gave an actual buck. She’s never actually bucked before, and I popped up in the air. It felt very high, and upon finding empty space where my horse used to be, I realized I was coming off. I went right over her shoulder, and saw the mess of her legs, but luckily she swerved and avoided me. I landed right on the best possible spot – my fleshy behind. It’s a built-in landing pad. I was up instantly, and for a moment it seemed like no one had even noticed I had come off. But then I saw D’Arcy coming over, and people started moving to block the loose horse.
I haven’t fallen off in years, and I’ve never fallen off Berry, so that in itself was kind of a shock. I’ve had jumping fears for many years, basically up until I started doing hunters, so I was trying to reassure myself not to get worked up about this, and everything is fine. My behind also hurt a bit, but I just ignored that, and it went away as soon as I started riding again. I got back on quickly, and took a few minutes to compose myself. D’Arcy and Shelby were super supportive and really made me feel better. Thank you, Turk and Red <3. Then it was back to the line, time to get it together.
I’m not entirely sure why Berry bucked to began with, so it was a little hard to diagnose. Our little team agreed that the line itself went great, but something on the landing pissed her off. The best I had figure is that it was because she landed on the wrong lead. Berry gets really upset when she’s on the wrong lead, which definitely puts me at a disadvantage when I can’t do flying lead changes. I decided the strategy was going to be – if she lands on the wrong lead, collect, compress, and do a nice counter canter.
After doing the line a bunch of times, it was time to move out and prepare for the actual course. Because there were actually a whole bunch of people in my class, it was time for the waiting. It was actually only like 10 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. I was tempted to scratch, but I was told that was unacceptable, and I was going to do it.
Eventually it was my turn, and in I went. With the exception of no flying lead changes, both rounds went well. There were a few long spots, I held the wrong lead through the turns, and did a few simples changes at times, but overall, it was pretty good!
It supposed to be fun…and it was fun. I love jumping! No need to panic, just relax, and have a good time.
I did have boot issues again. I was nearly done with my course when my foot went numb, kind of like this. Luckily it was only one foot, and not both, but it was quite annoying. I was using borrowed boots because I didn’t want to wear the tall boots that caused my feet to go numb last time, and I don’t own black paddock boots to go with my half chaps, but apparently, I need to just pony up and get some boots that fit me.
After my rounds, we celebrated with mimosas and/or beers. I decided to just scratch my next class, but we just hung out by the ring and watched the other riders go while grazing the horses. It was very fun, and Pony entertained us by watching all the horses go by with a fasinated expression. He tried to flirt with a few of them who were particularly booty-ful.
After having 3 or 4 mimosas, they called for my flat class. We’d been standing there so long, I thought it had already gone, but in a fit of tipsy energy, I decided to mount back on and go in. It was very relaxed and easy, exactly how I felt. But Berry got one of her leads wrong, and I’m pretty sure that’s why we didn’t place higher. But I did discover something very important: have a mimosa before any class, and they will all be easy and relaxed. Clearly, that is the lesson to be learned.
They did the placings, and I got 2nd in one of the over fences class, which is definitely an all time high for any over fences class I’ve had. Hurray for success at 2’6″ before winning at 2’3″! I knew there was a good reason to move up!
Now to just get those pesky lead changes… I suppose I’ll have to buckle down and actually work on them.