A friend talked me into doing a jumper show last weekend. I initially thought, but, I do hunters, but then I decided it didn’t really matter and I’m going to do it anyway. It’d be fun!
It was a fun experience, but I do need to make some changes to make the next one much better, starting with tucking in my shirt…maybe wearing show pants. I was the only one in blue breeches. But, I do like those blue breeches…they are comfortable… and blue.
Here’s what I really and truly did wrong:
I didn’t make enough time to warm up.
I think this was my main problem. I got there an hour before the show started, and then spend a lot of time figuring out how to do my course. That was time well spent, though, I thoroughly understood my course, and that was a strength. But I should have hustled more to get an actual 20 minute warm up in. Since I did not allow for enough time, I went from figuring out the course, to tacking up, to holding up the ingate while they waited for me to warm up. Pretty nice of them to hold it up for me… but meant I got a 5-10 minute warm up. Berry did more time than that to chill out… and this led to the next problem.
I should have cantered the entire first course.
Due to Berry’s lack of warmup, she was a bundle of energy, and nerves, and was jumping and staring at everything – the coop, the cars going by, a slight wind. I thought the best thing to do would be to just do a nice slow trot to settle her, but what I should have done was just cantered her forward, and channeled that energy. With a slow trot, she had way too much time to contemplate her existence on this planet, and how scary the jumps looked, and what the meaning of life is. She actually refused two jumps! (a bad trend this weekend…) Granted, one was from a rollback, which we have never done, and that was slightly confusing to her. I was actually ready to retire, but I got yelled at to finish the course. And if there’s one thing that motivates me, it’s people yelling at me to do things, especially when its in front of a watching audience.
There was also no question that I was incredibly slow at the trot, and the one line that I kept the canter I did a 7 stride in 9 strides, plus a long distance because she couldn’t fit in the 10th stride. Watching the video, I was shocked at the utter slowness of it all. It was like watching slugs racing.
If I had just cantered it would have used the nervous energy she had, and likely relaxed her. After we finished that course, she was super relaxed…which she always is, after burning off a little energy.
I took a random meandering tour of the arena before my course.
Apparently, 45 seconds is much shorter than I thought it was… I was lucky I wasn’t buzzed out.
I was also softening too much at the base, which is probably what caused the refusal. I spoke with my surrogate trainer about what to do for the next course, and I went in again. It was a nearly perfect round! I just went slightly over the allotted time of 80 seconds, so I did get a time fault. I cantered the whole thing, and I was still too dang slow! It also helped that it was essentially a hunter course, outside line, diagonal to outside line to diagonal, and that’s what we know. Although hilariously (to me anyway), when we started down the line where the roll back was in the first course, Berry remembered and made to turn off the line and do the rollback. She remembered! But she was also okay when she realized we were doing the line like normal hunters.
The two courses were like night and day. Hopefully, next time will both be like day, as I know exactly what needs to change. But I have figured out, I love jumpers! Other than it being fun to do something different instead of a variation of the same course every time, it was also nice that I was first in the day, did my rounds, and I was out by 10:30. I like a show that leaves the rest of the day available to do other things.
Despite being a bumbling idiot in the first course, and being massively slow in the second, I snagged a second and a third*. Hurrah! *only four people in the class, two of them children. But, it was nice to know that I was slightly acknowledged, and I had a great time. There will definitely be more jumpers in my future!