I Need Your Opinions

There’s a strange lull in my area during the fall.  Sometimes there is a schooling show or two, but not much.  A few trainers are considering doing a jumper derby type of event, bringing together our eventing groups with the jumpers for a nice way to end the season.


I have been asked to help prepare a few things for said potential show–and well–I’ve never done a jumper derby.  God help us.

Erv training

Me as a jumper lol

Anyway, what I need today is opinions!  This time, it’s about vendors and prizes!  Let’s hear it:

  1. What do people like to get as prizes?  Back in the good ole days of me showing I loved getting coolers and saddle pads.  Is that still the cool thing?  Please tell me as I am no longer cool.
  2. Does anyone actually shop at these shows?  Is it worth while to grab some of our local vendors and have them set up shop?  Or should I just preserve that area for parking….

Other than that, we are just scoping out sponsors, figuring out bleachers and how to fit everything into our venue.  Anyone have any fabulous advice please feel free to share.  Obviously I am not doing this alone; we have a well oiled group who orchestrates many of the H/J shows.  It’s just a bit new for us, and the scale is a bit larger.  So trying to cover all our bases.

Image result for horse show derby fence




Showing Off: Nov. 2nd Show

Well the morning started out on a rough note.  I was carrying a hot drink while staring at the ring full of horses, and walking…and walked right into a fan.  Needless to say I jumped around a bit, and spilled some of my trainer’s drink.

Secondly, I found my horse, got on, and did a little w/t/c then we headed to a little single vertical.  O was all “it’s scary, it’s scary, it’s scary….I’m going into bunny hop launch mode.”  And then changed her mind and she spun left HARD and I did a rather awkward slow motion dismount from the saddle.  As in, literally I put my left leg over and down to the dirt, then my right leg slid out and I landed on my feet.  I tried to convince my trainer it wasn’t even a real fall, she laughed but didn’t quite sound convinced.

Either way, with the warm up ring getting more busy, the trainer suggested the working student take her over the first few to get things rolling.  I was fine with that.  I was surprised (and guiltily a little bit pleased) that O did the same move again.  So hey, at least I’m not a total flop.

Fast forward to our warm-up class where O refused 2nd and 3rd jumps on course.  It was an outside line, and one that she hadn’t see during warm-up.  She wasn’t dirty about it, just simply slowed down (while I kicked like crazy) and finally stopped about a stride out before I got her to walk up to it.  She jumped around the rest of the course great and second time around she launched over the two she originally stopped at.  As soon as I came out my trainer said it was fine, she was just having a baby moment and to just keep thinking forward.

Our first judged class went well!  We were adding strides on this one to make sure pony was paying close attention, and wasn’t going to pull any wiggly stuff.  It wasn’t a concern, she jumped around quietly, and while I was a bit defensive (aka not pretty) around a few of the spooky jumps, I feel it went okay.  We did nail  the lead change and she landed correctly on the rest.  We grabbed a fourth place in this one out of 10 or so horses.  Sorry no video action from that one.

Hello uphill pony with shoulder muscle.

Hello uphill pony with shoulder muscle.

Second judged class was the one I was hunting for all morning.  Now that we had her attention, I could soften after the jump and let her move up for the correct strides. She ate them up, and took me down the lines like it was nothing.  These jumps were actually set to 2’6” with fill (let’s face it, sometimes the height varies a bit) , and she was cantering over them like it was no big deal.

"I got this Mom"

“I got this Mom”

Better yet, she responded well to my half-halts and was really ridable around the turns.  I came out of the ring smiling like a fool and giving her plenty of pats.  Trainer and husband met me at the gate!  They were super pleased with her just like I was.  We snagged the 2nd place ribbon in this class.  Video provided by my Mom is below.

It’s funny that the hubs is excited to see her jumping a bit bigger!  He says it’s way more fun to watch that way! Ha!   I’m really excited and proud to say that after that ride my trainer is planning to move us up!   Not very far mind you, as in our local circuit there are 2’6” classes (what we did at this show) and then 2’6”-2’9” Pre-Adult Hunter Classes which just bump up the oxers and maybe a vertical or two.  It’s only a hole higher, but dang it I’m so excited!  We got off to a very rough start that morning, but we pulled it together and did pretty well against some very nice horses (prepping for Zone finals) who were there.

The hack went really well, she was a little tense/fast at the trot, but I thought our transitions were much better than last show.  We came out 3rd out of 6!

Basically guys, I really, really like my horse.




June Schooling

The June horse show plan was to debut at 2’6” and get pony around the courses.

The plan was configured 3 weeks ago…since which she as pulled two shoes, jumped 0 times, and I have been out of town roughly a week and a half.  Yeah….You may see where this is going.

I showed up to school Friday really excited, and O came out so quiet, and chill; even with the hub bub of horses arriving to school.  It was pretty warm, and she actually was a little sluggish at first.  We popped over the 2 foot stuff and she was so confident, and really took me down the lines.  Off we went to school in the 2’6” ring.

Jumps for the 2 foot and 2'3'' courses.

Jumps for the 2 foot and 2’3” courses.

What the 2'6'' stuff looked like.  Complete with puddle I almost got dumped in.

What the 2’6” stuff looked like. Complete with puddle.

We trotted a few of the less elaborate singles, and she really jumped them hard.  Then we decided to try out a line (which were more built up and decorated).  I put her in my “box’ between legs and hands, and added quite a bit of leg which was good because she peeked hard at the decorations below and landed a bit discombobulated.   Still, I managed to keep her going (even if super wiggly) down the line and she did a repeat performance of the hard peek, hard jump.  The scary white gate/stone wall combo warranted an almost stop so she could stare it down, before rocketing over it.  But after every line she got a chance to walk, get loves, and regroup.

We came down the last outside line, and the second jump was a stone wall-ish thing that you landed in a bit of a puddle.  We cantered down, I gave her FAR too much credit and softened and relaxed.  She saw that puddle about .2 seconds before leaving the ground, and opted to stay on the dry side of the jump.   I was thinking “bump her forward” to late, and went for the squeeze, and O went sideways versus over.  I thought for a second I was going to stick with her, the next second I was attempting to land on my feet.  Nope missed it by THAT MUCH…heels, then butt.  At least it was the dry side right?!  I hopped back on and came immediately back to it, grabbed mane, and squeezed hard.  She jumped it like it was 4 feet tall and contorted herself to try to avoid the puddle (in 2nd photo).  What a princess.


So after we had hopped over everything a time or two, trainer and I had a heart to heart.  O definitely surprised her, and me a bit, by being more anxious about the more ‘grown up’ jumps.  There were some really great moments, but she was a totally different horse than when we were popping her over the lower stuff.  We decided that she is coming along so nicely, and is trying so hard, that we’d rather spend more time feeding her confidence than take the risk of stressing her out with 4 courses over these new types of jumps.  The 2’3” is still more single pole types, and we thought we’d do that this show and give her a great experience.

I was so proud of her though, and she definitely showed she’s got the ability, just a matter of getting her comfortable.

Goals in Review: May and Away Show

First off, to review some goals from May!!

May Goals:
1. Get this abscess/bruise thing figured out so we can get back to work. Success!  After a little over a week off, she came out sound and happy!

Sound ponies are happy ponies.

Sound ponies are happy ponies.

2. Practice riding in both outdoor rings.  Success…we managed a few good rides outside.  Definitely need to continue this going forward.
3. Jump the scary roll tops (the ones she thinks will eat her).  Scary rolltops were temporarily stored…so this will have to wait.
4. Go for walk hacks around the property.  We went on a few random adventures, but never very far as I am a wimp and was riding alone.  Hopefully more of this soon!
5. O gets her 4 rides a week. Success!
6. Push for that correct canter, all the time.  Half-success, I am asking for it…but honestly we still argue at the canter.  
7. If we have time/are ready, go off-site for her first away show at the end of the month.  Success-and a ribbon to boot!

Showing the tiny red flowers she's bigger than them.

Showing the tiny red flowers she’s bigger than them.

7.a. Be able to jump around without hysterics at said show.  Success-she was chill as a cucumber!
8. Still try to get more photos/videos. Didn’t do great at this minus the show.  

Secondly, we have the goals I threw out there for our first off-site/away show the last weekend in May.

1. Maintain MY choice of pace.  Loved it…she did the ads when I asked, and the stride when I asked.  

2. Not scream our heads of at new horses.  I counted around 3 screams total, and none were when we were down by the show rings…I’ll take it!
3. Load and unload nicely.  Assuming this went well, my trainer actually took care of this for me!
4. Get over and around all our courses.  She was a rockstar.
5. No attacking cute ponies.  She didn’t bite/kick/spook at the ponies, she did find them to be fascinating and they had to be watched consistently.  
6. End the day leave feeling better about being away from home and riding.  Current joke: horse is better at showing away from her home barn.  I was so proud of her!

Posing post-show!

Posing post-show!

Longview Show-Day Two

Sunday was muggy, warm, and rain-free! O was bright eyed and content in her stall watching the world go by. Saturday I rode around 1pm, and waited until after 5 for my flat to start. However, Sunday I arrived at 10 to realize that if I hustled I could go in a few trips. We threw O together and I tossed on my jacket! A few sprays of fly spray and off we went!

The area was still muddy, but significantly more dried up. I headed straight into the warm up ring, walked, trotted, cantered, jumped a vertical twice and walked into the ring for my classes! It was 10:15. Bam.


Borrowed bridle is TOO big here. Opps.

O seemed to appreciate the lack of time in warm-up to get anxious, and came out soft, and I was able to keep her nicely in front of my leg. I wanted to hug my horse; seriously, each trip she got more confident, and relaxed. We looked at no jumps. We got our changes 50% or more of the time, and the strides were easy.


Doing the stride and baby jump thing!

Doing the stride and baby jump thing!

One itty bitty issue kept rearing its head both days though. We were thrilled she was quiet and relaxed…we were not so thrilled she was simply cantering over the jumps, and not really worrying about her back feet. Each class she took down a single pole. Usually when I was over-riding, but still odd.

Going over is better than through....I promise O.

Going over is better than through….I promise O.

My trainer and husband thought it was pretty funny.

Apparently O pony has decided she’s done with the 2 foot stuff, and is not putting forward very much effort.

Nonchalant pony is nonchalant.

Nonchalant pony is nonchalant.

Loping along to the diagonal.

Loping along to the diagonal.

That said, O better get ready for more effort. Our trainer was so happy with her, and thinks that she’s definitely ready to move up to the 2’6″ classes!  We’ve been jumping around at that height in lessons, but will make our debut in the 2’6″ show ring in mid-June at our next show! Very excited!

I think she's adorable.

I think she’s adorable.

No Show for Us

And the good luck keeps going. O was feeling a little ouchie today after getting her shoe tacked back on later last night. No show for us today! I think we would’ve done a nice job today, but I guess it could’ve been a lot worse. I was disappointed but spent all morning cheering on my fellow riders. One of my closest friends (matron of honor at my wedding) took her mare and kicked butt. There’s another similar show in another month, so we are going to single that one.

Shenanigans with shoes

Well wouldn’t yah know it. I grab O today and pull her out to get ready for our pre-show schooling session…and of course she is minus a front shoe/pad. Ripped clean off. Dang it.

Lucky for me the farrier was making a pit stop by the stable, and is planning on tacking her shoe back on for me tonight. Still that means no schooling for me, just a quick round tomorrow morning before classes begin. Hopefully O is feeling very brave because there are several new jumps in the ring! Fingers crossed!!