So the rules for show jumping were a bit outside the regular rules for a horse trial. Typically, if you are clear and within the time, you are golden. Since everyone is riding in different arenas that might not have the same length, the scoring had to change, so the below was the criteria:
*SJ round will be judged on clear round AND style points 1-10 of overall impression of horse and rider during the course
Alright. No big deal. Its subjective, but that was fine. We would put in a solid SJ round and that would be that. My goals were good lines, clear rhythm, forward motion, and, obviously, a clear round. The jumps were set to standard stride, so I figured it would be important to get the right striding.
Of course, if you read my blog post previously, you will know that May and I struggled HARD after recording those Dressage tests to get in any kind of rhythm for jumping. I ended up tabling the idea of jumping the course on Tuesday, and I decided to try again on Thursday.
On Thursday, I rode with a crop (for the first time in a while). Once or twice, I had to tap her on the shoulder super lightly to remind her that, hey that leg means something. After a good warmup, she was EATING up the distances, and I started needing to steady coming down the lines. Great!
I did, however, miss in the comments on the facebook group that the round was being judged to a hunter standard… Oops. Things to know about my horse, she is not a hunter. That whole “Effortless cover the ground” thing? Yeah, it is not our thing.
So I submitted what I thought was a solid round (video below).
Jump 1 was maybe a touch underpowered, so we got a long, weak distance. If I had jumped up her neck, it would’ve been a bad chip, guaranteed. Jumps 2 and 3 were good. We were having trouble getting down this line for some reason, so I was happy that we got in there ok. I had to counterbend around the corner to make sure we were SUPER straight coming to the panel jump.
We made the distance to the pink and our forward but straight ride meant May got the lead change. I could’ve been straighter coming AWAY from that jump, but we got nice and deep into the corner before the turn to the oxer.
Again, did a good job of bringing around her outside shoulder to get a nice distance to the purple and black. Then did a good job leaning away and pushing her off my right leg to get the lead change over the panel. Yay!
I took a breath here, because the next line was riding EASIER than the other one for everyone (for literally no reason). Again, we got SUPER straight to the blue and purple. But my half half was a bit much, so we jumped a touch long to the oxer. That long distance landed us on a wrong lead and too much on the forehand for a clean change. Simple change it was!
We got back into our rhythm quickly and jumped the oxer well. I held the counter canter with a good left bend to stay on the lead in the right turn back to the purple and blue vertical. As such, we held the left lead to land on it, correctly.
Overall, I felt good about it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was forward and the rhythm was good. I could’ve tapped the brakes maybe a BIT more, but given how hard I had fought to get the step, I was happy to have her coming out straight and forward.
Again though, I missed the memo on these jump rounds, and they weren’t really scored how I expected. We ended up last in our division and with the 2nd to worst score in the entire show… Woof.
When I got the score sheet (SUPER HELPFUL), it was clear that I had missed a memo somewhere. Each jump was scored from 0 – 5. (0 – refusal, 1 – very bad, 2 – bad, 3 – satisfactory, 4 – good, 5 – excellent). Then you had over all scores from 1 – 10, which had a .5 coefficient (1 – very bad, 2 – bad, 3 – fairly bad, 4 – insufficient, 5 – marginal, 6 – satisfactory, 7 – fairly good, 8 – good, 9 – very good, 10 – excellent.) Total possible score? 65
My score? 38. Below is the breakdown of the points:
(Jumps do not get individual comments)
(27 out of 45 possible).
(Confidence, response to the aids, attitude and ability).
5.5 Great Attitude and forwardness. Work on responsiveness to half half.
(Maintaining rhythm, appropriate pace, desire to go forward, ability to adjust balance before fences, jumping out of stride)
5.5 Good desire to go forward. Work on balance and bend through turns.
Rider Correct Use of Aids:
(Clarity, subtlety, independence, accuracy of test)
5.5 Smooth Aids
5.5 Cute Pair
(11 out of 20 possible)
I’m not really sure how to do better at this, and I am not sure I should try. I could smooth out our turns and bend more and provide a clearer response to the half halt. But all of that would mean that we don’t get the strides and are unlikely to jump out of stride. (Because adding a fifth stride in a 4 stride line does not lend itself well to great, forward flow). I could provide more bend in turn, but I can pretty much guarantee you that I will lose the shoulder.
I, like the true stalker I am, did go ahead and look up some of the other rides. (Joy of online horse show is you can find someone else’s rides.) So I do think I have a better idea of what would help us place better, but I am not sure I have a solution. (Other than giving up and doing the adds…)
My two best scoring jumps (1 and 7) were my least favorite fences (both long, weakish distances). So I am just going to take this feedback file it under, “I get it. You’re right. Smoothing it out is part of the final goal.” But, I will continue to work on smoothing it out from the context of maintaining the forward rhythm that we NEED to get the distances.
What are your thoughts? Are subjective rounds like this helpful in your continued education as a rider?