A few times a year my trainer’s barn hosts little jumper shows/open schooling days, where you can do jumper classes for $5 a round and/or XC school for $25. I try to always come to these and do a couple jumper rounds, because at $5 a pop, they’re super cheap miles. They start with poles on the ground and go up to Prelim, so the shows are great for green horses or green riders or just riders who can’t get their shit together in stadium and need all the practice they can get (ahem). Plus it’s really really laid back, so if you have a problem or want to jump something again, or even want to make up your own course – go for it. Clear rounds get a blue ribbon. You really can’t beat that. Two rounds plus the grounds fee bring my total up to a whopping $20. You REALLY can’t beat that.
I also talked Hillary into coming along with me. She hasn’t been to a show since way pre-baby, when she lived in Tennessee, and this was a perfect little outing to knock some rust off plus introduce her to all of my peeps. Hillary might dabble in the h/j on the side, but it’s clear that she’s an eventer at heart, and I feel that it’s my duty to reconnect her with Her People now that she’s moved to Texas. And she fit right in, as I knew she would.
I’m barnsitting at the moment, so I had to get up before 5 to get the horses fed and stalls cleaned, then I made the drive up to Henry’s barn to get him ready. Hillary picked us up just after sunrise and we made the 2 hour trip out to Sleuth Wood with Henry trying to figure out if her mare, Annie, was friend or foe. He settled for making some nasty mare faces at the solid divider between them, while Annie was blissfully unaware of her overly emotional co-passenger. It never fails that Henry is the most marish horse in any group, even when in the company of actual mares.
We got there with plenty of time for Hillary to get in a couple of Beginner Novice rounds and then a Novice round, while I took up my position as videographer and jump crew. Annie seemed thrilled to finally be back in the ring, and Annie and Hillary both gained some admirers among the crowd. Nice horse plus good rider? Yeah, she can sit with us.
After that I got on Henry, did a quick canter around part of the XC field, jumped a little 2′ vertical out in the pasture, and then went in the ring for a Training round as our warmup. Of course no one videoed this, because it was probably one of the best rounds we’ve done in a really long time. He was perfect, I was adequate… we looked competent. A nice, clear, smooth, steady, solid round that I have no actual proof of whatsoever.
After one more rider and a jump change (in which I swear I saw Trainer raise one of the oxers like THREE HOLES, what the hell are you playing at, woman???) we did a Prelim round. Henry was still actually really good for this one too, he just ticked the first jump not really realizing the height had gone up (we’d been sitting for a while between rounds), and I got quick with my shoulders coming out of the inside line, bringing down the front rail at the square oxer. Oopsy for both of us.
Either way, at Prelim height my goals are still just to go in and not make any huge mistakes, and not feel like the jumps look ginormous. The size didn’t worry me, so that’s good… my eyeballs are getting more and more accustomed to the height. And I didn’t do anything spectacularly stupid (except get lost on the way to 4 before I remembered which one it was and weaved my way back to it). Henry felt good. I’m totally okay with that.
It was a warm and humid day, and I needed to get back to the barn, so I quit with that. We came, we put in two decent trips, and we got to jump some height. Mission accomplished, I think. We’ll be back for the next jumper round day to do it all again!