Oh, show jumping. Considering I came from h/j land, you’d think I’d be better at it.
At our past few recognized events I’ve managed to royally mess up stadium somehow. Not at schooling jumper shows, those all seem to go just fine. Not at derbies, those have gone fine too. Usually not when the jumps are bigger, since I have to ride better at those. But slap a USEA label on it, put me in a ring full of Novice sized fences, and watch the little monkey dance! For real though, what is my deal?
I seem to have a problem applying a plan. I go in the ring, my mind goes blank, and I fumble around like a total moron. So at this show I was EXTRA DETERMINED to listen to the plan, learn the plan, and execute the plan!
Surely you can see where this is going.
But before we could get to all that planning, first we had to pass the final jog. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more anxious at a show before, with the vet and Ground Jury examining my horse and watching him trot. The ground was really hard at Coconino, most of the Roads and Tracks was literally on the road, and the XC course had rocky patches that were just unavoidable. Even with icing, poultice, and hoof pack, paranoid doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was definitely feeling glad that we’d done a lot of conditioning on hard ground.
Luckily they declared mine “ACCEPTED!” really quickly, so we made it past that hurdle. Accepted is my new favorite word in the entire world.
After the jog we hurried over to walk stadium, and I spent the rest of the morning going over and over the course in my head, replaying Trainer’s words. Keep the shoulder up here, a slight counterflexion here, turn exactly here, keeping coming forward here, etc etc. I had that shit down pat.
SURELY you can see where this is going.
I got on for warmup and Henry felt great. Still very forward, not at all tired from the day before, and all the distances were coming up perfectly. Everything felt great. I walked up to the arena, thought the jumps looked TEENY TINY, and started feeling really confident.
SURELY YOU CAN SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING.
We went in, picked up a good canter, and jumped 1 and 2 just fine. I actually stuck to the plan, and it worked! Go freaking figure. Then as we were coming around to 3 I clearly heard Trainer’s words in my head “make sure you go a stride past where you think you should turn, the angle is deceiving!”. So I made very sure to wait before I turned. Except I waited 2 strides instead of 1, and when I turned I found myself lined up perfectly with the standard. Henry was super confused about where the hell I was trying to go, and I tried my best to get him back toward the middle, then basically laid on his neck (because I dunno, that always helps?) while he struggled to put in one last teeny tiny stride, which forced him to pop straight up in the air over the oxer, taking down the back rail on the way down. Bless him for even trying. Many cookies for that poor horse, he is long-suffering. Someone call PETA.
There are no words. I wish I could tell you that our 3 Day experience ended in triumph and victory and accolades, but nope. Unfortunately those 4 faults dropped us down out of ribbons, which was really disappointing, but you just can’t get away with mistakes in a really competitive division like that. Luckily our team still won (woot, Anchor Equestrian!) plus USEA is kind enough to provide pretty cool little 3 Day completion ribbons, therefore we didn’t walk away totally empty handed.
So uh… yay for not falling off?
One more Coco post tomorrow, and then we’re officially done talking about it. I promise.