I think it is zero secret on this blog that I strongly dislike show jumping. In theory, it should be my strongest phase. After all, I grew up in the hunter/jumpers, and I have spent FAR MORE time in the jumper ring then I ever have on the cross country field or Dressage course. In fact, I still remember only a few years ago asking my trainer if I change my diagonal going across a diagonal in a Dressage test… and if so… where and how?
Yet somehow, I now dread show jumping. In fact, I was 100% prepared to let my dislike of show jumping ruin basically my entire show. Luckily, I have great friends. One helpfully reminded me that, if I wasn’t having fun, I could always scratch SJ, and then I still got to do the 2 phases I wanted to do. Brilliant!
Spoiler alert – I did not scratch show jumping.
Instead, I tacked up on a rainy morning and headed down… still to early… to the show jump warm up. And it started to mist/drizzle. Awesome. I swear I end up needing to ride whenever it rains in southern California. This is also an issue because I wear glasses when I ride. But whatever, the jumps were bright, I could find them haha.
Warm up was ok. Running XC before SJ meant I had a maybe tired but definitely opinionated little mare on my hands. She did not want to move off either leg… or jump in a straight line… or take my input into her balance, shape, speed, or distances. But luckily, since I didn’t let her get away with it the day before, I was able to get her mostly rideable before my round.
And the round went well!
I got to give her a good amount of prep to jump 1, so we were straight. I felt her really jump up to me, so that gave me some great confidence. But… she did take the top rail of 2 because fighting with me was worth more to her than picking up her feet. We got that argument out of the way early.
Jump 3 jumped great, but she fell through the right shoulder, losing the lead. Quick simple change, and then I had to send her forward into the 2 stride. I had watched much larger horses shove 3 strides in there all day, and I was determined not to do that. In hindsight, I think the other horses were looking at the tents set up in that corner. I don’t think May even noticed.
I really worked hard to get her back and balanced to fence 5. Historically, 5 would’ve been a jump that we crashed through thanks to its right turn away from the gait and post-2-stride status. But I rode it well, so she gave me a good jump.
Everyone was getting weird distanced in the 6 to 7 line, so I figured I would just bend it out a lot and make it work. I did… but it wasn’t ideal. Of course, by jump 7, I really couldn’t see much anymore, but May is honest and good and the jumps were nice bright colors. I had to REALLY lean away from jump 8 because she wanted to dive on her forehand, so she got a tap on the shoulder to remind her to jump up over jump 9. And we were within the time at least. I had to ride every step, but there are a few things I am proud of in this round.
- I did not gun it to ever single fence. I love going this, but I didn’t.
- I did get the 2 stride in the 2 stride (but I wish I hadn’t left my foot quite so hard on the gas).
- I took my time and rode her to make her more rideable, not just to get around.
As life turns out, a lot of people had rails. In fact, if we HAD jumped around clear, we would have won. As it was, we maintained our 4th place position.
Overall, we had a great show with 3 “good” phases. Everything was solid an competent, and while I could nitpick until the cows come home, I think we both had a fabulous time. Although, May could have tuned down the amount of fabulous she was having on XC. We’ve already schooled a bit more since this show and got a plan of attack for our next horse trial, whenever that will be!