On August 31st, I took Lila over to the Colorado Horse Park for a jumper show. Given that she balked at every damn fence at our first three-phase event early in the month, I wanted to give her some more experience jumping strange fences in strange places. (She’s not phased by any of the jumps at home or at Martha’s, no matter how crazy we make them.)
Happily, she took all the fences in stride, so to speak. Lila was a bit hesitant at the very first fence in my first class — in the “puddle jumper” class (jumping about 2’5″) that I used to warm up. But I was ready for her to hesitate, so I wrapped my legs around her belly to insist that she jump it. She did, without a problem. After that, she was fine, except that she really disliked one particular “sailboat” fence with wavy poles. Still, I got her over that every time. She was never comfortable with it, but she improved each time. We were clean in that class, and since it used an “optimum” time, we got second place. Yay!
After that one puddle jumper class to get her comfortable, I took her in all three “schooling jumper” classes. The images below are the courses that I was required to quickly memorize and then jump. It might sound strange, but I needed experience doing that! I learned how to easily “chunk” the course into three or four segments, then to always think ahead to my next fence. Happily, I didn’t go off-course, as many riders did.
The first class was our best. We went clean (meaning: no refusals, run-outs, or poles down) in the main course, then in the jump-off too. Alas, we didn’t win anything, because we weren’t going for time — as is required in the jump-off. Basically, we were too slow, but that’s okay. (In eventing, I never need to do a jump-off. Most of all, I need to jump clean. To avoid time faults, I just need to jump the course in the time allowed.)
In the second class, I leaned forward through the whole course. GAH! Unsurprisingly, we dropped two poles.
In the third class, I managed to sit up and ride her better. Still, my upper body position wasn’t nearly as upright as it should have been. Again, we dropped two poles, both times when I leaned forward and dropped Lila’s front end in the stride before the fence. (By this time, I was more tired than I realized, I think.)
The show was a great experience for Lila and me. We gained confidence and experience, particularly in strange surroundings with the “one-take only” pressure of competition. I plan to do another jumper show on September 14th — that’s today! — at another location. Then we’ll be good and ready for the stadium jumping portion of our next event on October 12th to 13th!
Also… big thanks to Paul for coming to the show! I appreciated having him there to help out and provide moral support — and I really appreciated being able to watch the video to see exactly what I did right or wrong afterwards. So he wins the “Awesome Husband Prize”!
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