We emptied almost the entire barn this time around to attend, and more than half the hack division belonged to BM. It made for a little bit of a circus in the already circus setting of pre-show warm up (Hunter shows are just the silliest things ever.), but fortunately this time around I wasn't in need of hand holding from BM, and I was able to warm myself up both on the flat and over fences.
|there were girls warming up for the 3' when i started warming up on the flat.|
just so we don't get ahead of ourselves and think i was jumping that.
Bobby was a little tight when we first started out. He'd picked up the trot the day before like he was completely crippled, but the instant I put him together and asked him to go around like a dressage horse he was all, "Oh, my body. Riiiight, it's supposed to actually do things. Got it." and then was magically not stiff in the slightest. I employed that same tactic with the same results, and we had a pretty good prance around for ten minutes.
That also gave the tiny girls riding giant horses over big jumps the time to get in and out so that the jumps were knocked back down to weenie rider height. I started off with a couple jumps over the singles with their mile long approaches.
|look at my cute pony packing me around like a happy camper|
All of our homework of hunter specific course work most definitely paid off. I didn't feel the need to pull and pick to any of the singles. I maybe didn't get crazy and add the leg I needed, but we maintained a happy lope up to everything without either one of us fucking up our slow and steady rhythm.
After a few singles to get the jumping mojo going we moved on to all the lines. We worked on lines every single day last week with mixed results. Sometimes he was really good, sometimes he biffed the distance to the second jump so bad we barely made it over. Between our lesson Wednesday and a BM boot camp ride on Thursday we were back in business, and our rides Friday and Saturday were about as good as we can get right now.
|when in doubt, just pull on your horse. d'oh! bobby don't care.|
The lines were so-so warming up. My canter feels like a nice steady pace, but looking at video we are so slowwww. I mean, I can tell we're not moving out at the pace we're supposed to be by any means, but it doesn't feel as slow as it actually is. That made the lines ride fine when we came in on the right distance and I sat right up (thanks, Wednesday lesson!) to make the add stride come up easy peasy. How a 17hh horse makes the add stride feel like an absolute breeze I don't know, but I'm okay with that right now.
|sneaking into a line after a pony meant bobby got to just canter right over some of these|
I finally felt like I'd done enough that nothing in the actual classes was going to come as a surprise to me, and that there was no reason I couldn't do the whole course at once since I'd just jumped all the elements a million times apiece. I let Bobby grab some water and a snack while I went to finish off my entry.
In the end the debate between 2'3" and 2'6" was easily decided by time. The 2'3" division was right after the hack division while the 2'6" had a whole other division between those two. For the sake of sanity for everyone in our party (Bobby, Hubby, and myself), I went with the earliest choice.
This made-up schooling show division is four flat classes with the fourth finishing up with a trot in, canter out cross rail that everyone does individually. I used it solely to get more ribbons. Is that not the whole purpose of hunter shows? Pretty sure it is.
Since most of the division came from my barn, we were up against very correct moving horses. Maybe not the fanciest, but BM drills proper dressage work into everyone. Bobby felt braced in the first two classes. I kept trying to slip my reins out a little bit as per BM's instructions every time we passed her, but it just made him splat onto his forehand. His right lead canter departs were also atrocious for the first two classes, but there were so many of us that I think we got lucky and the judge was looking elsewhere for them.
After that though, Bobby settled down this time around instead of getting more wound up. I was able to give him a longer rein and push him along. He also figured out the PA system and started listening for instructions over the loud speaker instead of jigging while he waited in anticipation for the next command to come from me.
Our fellow dopey Thoroughbred Momo, lovingly (sometimes) referred to as Dumb Dumb, pulled a clean sweep of the whole division. BM bought him a few months ago, and even though he came in skinny and under muscled you could tell right away that he was going to clean up on the flat. He was made for hunterland.
A really cute grey got second in the first three classes before his rider mistook the canter to trot call for canter to walk, and then he had his own Dumb Dumb moment over the X that knocked him out of the running. That left room for Bobby and I, who were pinned in third in the previous three classes, to sneak into second and snag the Reserve Champion behind Momo.
|bobby thinks line up is the strangest game ever.|
We wrangled everyone together for pictures before I handed my ribbons off to someone (Barn mates--the most magical creatures ever. I love them and want to take them with me to every show.), and hurried down to look at my courses again since our division was getting underway. I made sure BM knew I'd need her ringside to run the courses by her since the other riders were doing their courses back to back to back and I'd have to do the same.
Again. Hunterland. You make no sense but I really do love you for things like that.
BM grabbed our champion ribbons and we had to pose for those pictures too before I quickly shoved that ribbon over to Hubby and pushed my way to the ring when I saw one of the other trainers taking off her student's martingale as she was heading in the ring. I don't know much about this sport, but I do know that signals flat time and I hadn't done my rounds yet.
Fortunately the ring steward-type person knew I was in there too so after apologizing for being all of half a second tardy even though nobody seemed to care, into the ring we went!
Jumpy Jump Time
We only had to do seven fences for the first two classes because I was in the lowest jump division, and baby horses and/or chicken shit riders don't need to get overwhelmed. First up was the inside single with it's long approach that the last time we were here I almost pulled Bobby to a stop in front of before he hopped over because he's the best and then I had to stop because I was so scared.
|not this time, wishing well!|
I turned in knowing I was so prepared and ready for this approach. I sat chilly on my loping mule beast and we hopped over from a nice western pleasure canter while BM called out, "GALLOP, Carly!! Faster! Faster!!" When we were all done, she was like, "I didn't think you could hear me." No, BM. I could hear you just fine. I was ignoring you because the slowest canter known to man is my happy place right now.
Bobby was having a serious right lead canter aversion Sunday, and he didn't want to give me that change for anything. He didn't even want to land on that lead despite my half-assed attempts.
|ok, but if i steer you into the standard coming out of the line and lean to the right,|
you should just land on the right, bobby.
It made for not pretty turns where we either fought over the change, or I just opted not to fight and let him continue on the wrong lead--or both. Because that is a winning mentality! Really though, I was just in there to get around the jumps. I knew we weren't going to be competitive, and I didn't care in the slightest. I was competing against myself and my crazy brain.
|sorry these pictures suck. my camera is the worst.|
After our first course with no mishaps besides the lead issue, I made sure I knew my course before BM sent me off with, "Go out there and move it! Use your voice if you want him to wait. Now gallop!"
LOL, obviously that did not happen, and the only time I let him out of our barely-there canter was through the red line and he weeble-wobbled down it in confusion. Bobby and I like slow now, okay? But look at us messing up and not caring--getting over the jumps anyway and finishing laughing because who cares what it looked like, we did it!
The final course was the stake class which basically meant "Jump this 2' coop as your first fence and then do the entire course this time."
It was uneventful, but in a good way. Bobby popped out a little uh...special from the green line, but I made sure I fixed our biffed distance into the burgundy line.
I finished with big pats for the pony, and from all the way across the ring I could hear BM yell, "YOU FINISHED! THAT IS SUCH A WIN!"
We stayed in the ring for the flat, and instead of thinking we were still doing the jumping, Bobby floated around on a loose rein chill as could be and won the class against our two other competitors.
|best part of hunter shows. give me your satin, small child.|
I have some thoughts on the whole experience I'll share in another post, but fuck yeah for going out there and not letting those little jumps get the best of us this time! I can write a mile long list of things we need to work on, but right now I'm just going to celebrate that win.