Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What I think of you

I think everyone's first foray into a new discipline eventually comes with one of these posts--the "What the hell just happened to me?"/"Did I really survive that?" type post. Since Robert is off doing pony things by himself for several more days, you get mine right off the bat.

Fuck yeah, son.

Hunter Hair

I think hunter hair on hunter riders is lovely. I think that when you put all of your hair up under your helmet, you should certainly do it the correct hunter-y way or you end up looking like a man. I ended up looking like a man. I watched about ten different tutorials the day before my show. I practiced over and over at home, and then got to the show and tried to replicate it three different times.

My hair is long and thick without having the ability to actually hold itself in place. I'd pull it over my ears and it'd just be like, "I'm faaaalllinnnggggg....." and would consequently annoy the shit out of me so much that I'd yank it out and try it again. I probably need to invest in a new hair net to help matters.

Or just invest in new hair.

Speaking of looking like a man...

My coat is not the most flattering thing in the world. Sunday was the first time I wore it, and while there's no hiding that I have the shoulder span of a fucking Olympic swimmer--a male one at that--I didn't really enjoy the fact that the possibility of that looking sexy (if I was a man) just turned weird when the coat turned me into a fully padded linebacker.

One more outfit thing

Because fashion is what hunters are all about, right? It is if you read the COTH forum. My new helmet was "Meh", but I wasn't going to shell out the money for another CO. I learned Sunday that tan breeches do not become me. There's a reason you see me only in black pants. Although I think even my white full seats give me less of an "Are you hiding something down there?" look.

Coaching ringside

When Hubby and I first walked up to watch some of the first divisions, we heard a coach calling out instructions as the rider went around and instantly looked at each other with matching startled expressions. Hubby whispered, "Don't you get eliminated for that?!" But I was all, "Hubby. This is hunterland. That's allowed!"

Every time I heard it though, it made me get a little hairy eyed. However, I ended up taking advantage of it by asking one of the coaches to call out the handy course if it looked like I was starting to wander in the wrong direction.

You people are so nice

On the heels of that, almost everyone there was super friendly. No one seemed to mind when I asked stupid questions, and one of the coaches made sure to check in with me before every one of my classes to make sure I was on track.

That One Person

But it wouldn't be a hunter show (or really any show) without That One Person, would it? God, this girl was such a bitch. She'd loudly pull someone aside to talk about some incident while proclaiming that "This is just the surface of it. I don't want to get too heavily into details and gossip." Bitch, please. That's exactly what you're doing. I could tell you her story since I heard it at least four times, but let's just say that is unsurprisingly ended every time with, "But I beat her on the flat."

Look. Out.

Hello, where are you going?

This same girl was the one that seemed the most entitled to canter and jump around the warm up without ever calling out her line or where the fuck she was going. It was a bit of an epidemic. Next time I'm printing out my warm up ring etiquette and hanging it at the secretary's stand.

Coaching for forward

Maybe it's just me, but I came in with the preconceived notion that hunter riders and hunter horses live to go slow. It's probably just that their rounds are so smooth and polished you don't realize they're actually cruising right along. Of all the different coaching I heard throughout the day, "Go forward!" was the most consistent thing getting called out.

How do my stirrups always change length?

What is this fucking witchcraft?? My stirrups were easily at least one hole too long for jumping, but I didn't change them out of stubbornness because I hadn't adjusted them from the last time I jumped. I swear they change themselves. I fucking swear.


  1. COTH will lead you to believe that the only helmets allowed in the ring are Samshields, Charles Owen and GPAs... but you'll find a ton of options including the one you got at a lot of levels of showing.

    Next time I fly to NY in my imaginary private jet, I'll do hunter hair for you.

    1. Then just pop on by Cali for some hunter hair for me too please! :D

  2. I think that you have to have a the hunter-hair gene or you are totally screwed. Also, I can totally relate to the male swimmer shoulders. I have an especially small head for my size, so it stands out even more. It sounds like you had a pretty good experience overall!

  3. Oy, the schooling ring is what my nightmares are made of. Someone ran right into me and my horse in the schooling ring at an indoor show once. My horse was spooking at the bleachers so I let him stand ring side (out of everyone's way) to look and a PROFESSIONAL runs smack into my horse and continues to the fence.

  4. I'm glad you didn't hate hunter land! Try using the RWR hairnets for hunter hair... I find they stay in place better and then you can mush your hair around however you want. Ringside coaching can be one of the best and/or worst things about hunters! My favorite is when I'm about to jump the wrong fence and some kind person yells at me. <3 Great job though, super proud of you and Bobby for your performance!!

    1. a second on the RWR hairnet. I'm hairnet deficient and using them feels like the rudimentary equivalent of using those chopsticks that are tied together at the top... I haphazardly pull it on like a 90's exercise band then rearrange my hunter hair through it. Works like a gem.

      Also. hysterical. In theory ringside coaching is not allowed, but you'll see it at all levels until you get to some of the really big classes where it's silent enough to hear a pin drop. Then the coaching gets... slightly more subtle. I've found most HP to be really welcoming and nice too. Even when I'm not dressed to their version of the nines.
      Finally -because i'm incapable of writing concise and clever comments, OMG HUNTERS GO FAST. I mean, not jump off fast, but if you're doing it right it's a good forward canter. And I like seeing judges reward a lovely, powerful canter that *looks* soft and slow while still actually having some oomph. YAY YOU

    2. Oh, and warm up rings.. one of my biggest horrors in crossing to Hunterland was the fact that NO ONE CALLS JUMPS IN THE WARM UP. I was the only idiot in there going "HEADS UP OXER" then I quickly realized it's because most people warm up with a coach who "claims" a jump for their use, and most people won't jump a fence with another trainer standing at it. Mind blown.

    3. What Gingham said. There's actually a fairly brilliant internal logic going on and IMO it's hella easier than dressage warmups.

      Look for the friendliest trainer warming someone up and ask if you can pop over their jump a couple times. ;-) I'd be shocked if they said no.

  5. Haha Love it! My coach definitely says stuff on the side of the ring but its UNDER her breath, I only ever hear anything when I watch a video, otherwise i"m like no man's land out there lol

  6. Oh hunterland. The only way I can get my hair to look nice is if I straighten it. Otherwise, look out! And I will totally admit that the only thing my trainer ever says to me while I'm in the ring is some version of "GO FORWARD". That is my new life mantra.

  7. Ok I was worried you were going to have much worse things to say about hunterland, which I fondly and shamelessly look back upon with rose colored glasses. I'm glad mostly everyone was nice to you and of course it wouldn't be a hunter show without a hunter princess so I'm glad she was there too, just to give you the full experience. As always, I laughed through this whole post, so thanks for that.

  8. Hunterland was ok back in the day. I have no desire to go back. Not on my current horse anyone. he'd just get me DQed. Glad you didn't hate it thought! good to have lots of experiences and be able to say "why yes, robert literally does it all!"

  9. Hunter hair... totally with you there. Plus I never have anything over my ears, so feeling my hair there just drives me batty.

    Glad you enjoyed your first foray into hunterland, though!

  10. I give up on hair. I can brush it, and that is about it. It likes gravity and it is going to stay that way, even if I smoosh my helmet on it. I give you major high fives for making it through hunterland so successfully, because I am sure I would have failed.

  11. Yupp... that is my hair. I end up placing a hair net over it, tieing into a pony and flipping it under my helmet, then attempting to tug some hair down and out. lol.
    It is the thought that counts.... right...?

  12. My stirrups are magical too - always 1 or 2 holes too long at a show. But that happens every show. My trainers says our legs shrink when we get nervous...

  13. awesome that everyone was so friendly (except for that ONE GIRL, who must go to every show ever bc i always see her too lol). i kinda love the ringside coaching too. it's been years since i rode regularly with my last hunter trainer (from back in rochester) but i could STILL pick her voice out from the sidelines any day :)

  14. Hunter hair? Wait...that's a thing? Oh god I've done it all wrong... Maybe I would have placed in my eq class if I had known how to do hunter hair...

  15. Sounds like you've entered the Hunter World pretty unscathed! It's good to find a good group (minus that one girl). I've witnessed the ring side coaching which I can kind of appreciate because I think, "Wait... Am I doing that too?" My ride by my friends and usually get, "BREATHE!" But only in a whisper. Lookin' good!

  16. Coaching ringside? What the hell? Hunterland must be its own planet.

  17. Thank the good lord in heaven above for ringside coaching. Even if it's just for my trainer to call out "Breathe!" Glad you had a good crew there! I find that especially in the ammy divisions it tends to be a cool group of people that are there because they actually enjoy showing their horses (weird, right?). Come on down to VA and I'll show you how to do Hunter Hair ;)

  18. I thought you actually looked really nice in your coat and tan pants. I didn't see the linebacker at all.


If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.