Fall as in the season… not fall as in from atop the horse. Hopefully.
I’ve been dickering over the fall horse show schedule for a while. It briefly seemed like the VS outbreak might derail everyone’s plans, but knock on wood, it seems to have slowed down a lot in the last month. So, with three main criteria in mind – cost, fun, confidence – I finally made a plan. It’s a sorta weird and diverse plan, but I think it’ll work for us.
Sept 13 Jumper show. This show is held at my barn so it’s a given for me. Unfortunately our local show circuit doesn’t have a lot to choose from as far as jumper divisions go… there’s a 2’6″-2’9″ division and a 3′-3’3″ division. We’re schooling 3’3″ in lessons but I don’t think we’re ready to show that height yet, so 2’6″-2’9″ it is. A little on the smaller side of what I’d prefer, but on the other hand Henry IS still a pretty green horse, so the miles are helpful no matter how we get them. And knowing me I’ll probably do something really stupid anyway so the smaller height will be appreciated.
Sept 20 benefit show. I’m going to be out of town for the Mon-Thurs leading up to this so maybe not an ideal prep, but I can’t pass up a show that benefits an OTTB rescue. Henry really should be good to go if I can find someone to hack him a time or two while I’m gone… he doesn’t really get wild or bad with time off. This show is offering a little bit of everything but nothing over 2’6″, so I think I’m going to enter the hunter derby and the 2’6″ jumpers. Again on the small side, BUT I think I’m going to use this show as the first time Henry doesn’t get to school in the ring and see the jumps before he has to go in for the class. All spring we went to multi-day shows where we were able to get in the ring and school the day before. Might as well test him “cold” at a show where the classes are cheap and it’s all for fun anyway, that way if it’s a disaster I’m not that upset.
Here’s where things get a little less set in stone, but this is what I’m hoping to have happen:
Oct 18 Eventing Derby. I really want the late fall and winter to be fun and low-pressure for both of us, so I’m choosing to stray off my normal path and mix it up a bit. I’ve heard good things about this venue as far as it being pretty “first timer/greenie” friendly, therefore this seems like a good intro to eventing for Henry. Plus I really want to take advantage of having a cool eventing trainer and eventing peeps at my barn, so after I’m done with my two jumper shows I’ll start wandering into some of their lessons too. I’ve evented (ok, a decade ago) but I’ve never done an eventing derby, so this will be new to me too. Aside from that pesky dressage part (kill me now) it looks pretty fun. We’ll probably just keep it easy and enter BN since the whole thing is new to him and it’s been such a long time for me.
Dec 7 Event. Yup, the full shebang. I really don’t care if we’re competitive at all, I just want to finish. But I’m hoping that this will help make him more confident, more bold, and prevent him from getting bored with the sometimes monotonous day-in-day-out jumper lifestyle, plus help my riding. We’ll most likely stick to BN again because a) a confident horse is the main goal b) solid things start to freak me out over a certain height, and that height is roughly Novice. I evented through Training before but that was back when I was young enough to not care so much about the fences not falling down when I messed up. Self-preservation, I has it.
In case you’re keeping track: yes that’s hunters, jumpers and eventing all in one season. Because why the heck not? Hope you’re happy, eventers… dark side, here I come (to dip my toe very delicately into your business, then go running back to jumperland in the spring where dressage tests are not required).
Of course now that I’ve put it in writing I’ve probably cursed myself for sure.