Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting back to my roots. Going hunter/jumper for the day!

Having trained and shown for nearly 10 years in the hunter/jumper world as kid I was amazed on how little I remembered about all of it.  I think I must have asked a million questions to the helpful lady running the show and Karen.  It was strange having such an extensive history in hunter/jumpers yet I felt like I was brand new at it.  The whole thing was such a big learning experience.

Saturday evening, sitting at Cracker Barrel with Karen and filling my tummy with the first meal of the day at about 8:30pm and realizing that not only are my lips chapped to the point that they feel like I have lizard lips but my face is windburnt and chapped.  The things you don't notice when you are out riding a horse and having the time of your life are simple self preservation things like eating, drinking and wearing chapstick.  We were pondering the showbill for the next day.  They have the regular show jumping and hunter classes from ground rails to 4 ft.  They also have the Seabiscuit Medal class which is specifically for new career ex-racers!  How fun!  Now I didn't know if Steady and I could remotely appear to be proper hunters, no actually I knew we couldn't be proper hunters but I was hoping maybe we could pretend for a few moments.  So I decided on the beginner 2' jumper division, the Seabuiscut Medal which is 2' hunter class and a hunter equitation on the flat.  Karen and I were both doing all of the same classes except the Seabuiscut obiviously since Hampton is not a race horse :).  So tensions were high to kick Karen's butt!!!
affixing the days winnings!

Hahaha ok we didn't really give a rats ass but it was fun to joke.  Her and Hampton were really pushing themselves to enter the 2' division since Mr. Weekapaug has not had barely any jumping experience but he is SUCH a good boy and showed it that day.  So we headed back to HHP and get tucked into bed and next thing I remember it is 7 am.  I was so exhausted I had a great nights sleep and all the annoying loud horses had gone home the after the CT so it helped that the barn was quiet.  It was time to feed and go sign up for classes.  Since hunter/jumper shows are run SO differently than events I was kinda panicked that I would not be warmed up and ready for my classes.  I tacked up and got on and went over to look at the jumper courses.  The next thing to go through my head was, WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!  The courses looked confusing and I didn't just have to learn one but 4!!  Luckily there were enough people doing the same course I got to watch people go until I felt comfortable with my first course.  We went in and Steady jumped around that course like it was nothing.  I went in WAY more confident than the day before especially since the jumps were lower.  But I didn't want to go higher since I knew he was tired and we had no reason to push ourselves.  It was all new to us.  I had no idea if I was close to the optimum time which was 68 seconds but we had a blast.  We had a great rhythm, with great turns and beautiful jumps I couldn't ask for more.  I could tell from the first jump that I was riding better than I had the day before.  It had everything to do with my confidence level.  I just went in the determined and focused and OH the difference that made in my horse.  HUGE lesson learned; Believe we are going to kill it and go in and ride it like I mean it and my horse will jump it like he means it.

Next task was to learn the next course for the division AND the jump off course because if you jump your round clean you immediately have to do the jump off round.  I felt as if my poor little brain might just explode.  I got to watch a few people go and then Karen and I just decided it was now or never so got in line to go.  Once again, 'old pro' Steady nailed it all.  So it was straight to the jump off course and I got a little braver and decided that maybe we will push our speed a little to see if we could be contenders for the class.  (Jump off winner- who gets around the course clean and fastest).  We took a faster pace but still in a rhythm, we took shorter turns and I pushed him fast past the finish line.  It felt AWESOME!!  It was so fun and at this point I am so proud of my horse there are no words. 

I then made my way over to the hunter ring to see when our Medal class was and found out there were only 3 rides in front of me so no break but enough time that Karen made it out to watch.  Hunters are looking for a completely different thing than jumpers and having just asked my horse to fly around a jumper course I figured it could possibly be a train wreck when I asked him to take a slooow steady canter pace around a hunter course.  The nice thing though is hunter courses are SO easy to remember because they make them so straight forward and simple.  Straight lines, easy turns and flowing courses, nice!  But they do also judge things that jumpers don't really care about, like how a horse carries them self, straight neck, head low, nose out, slow steady gaits, correct leads, obedience things like that.  I would say Steady really aced the course.  The only part that wasn't all that pretty is I was to bring him down to a trot between jump 2 and 3 which was only about 5 strides from each other on a turn.  He was a bit annoyed when I asked him to transition to a trot and didn't really get what I was wanting but about 2 strides away he did go down to a trot the popped over the jump and back to a canter like he was supposed to.  So he did it, it just could have been prettier.  But the rest of the course was beautifully done.  He got leads correct, strides correct and just did it like he's done it his whole life.  Once again overflowing with pride!

The last class was the equitation class.  Flat classes in an arena are NOT our thing.  I am sure if we spent any amount of time practicing for them we would do great but we don't so it is what it is.  We did fine but we are not hunters and I really don't even know what they are looking for so we did the best we could.  The only thing wrong that I could see we did was he picked up the wrong lead once to the left but we corrected it.  In that class the results are immediate and we got 3rd out of 3 hehehe.  Karen won the class though!!!!

Well the result were announced for our jumper division and Steady and I got second in the optimum time class and first in the jump off!!!  Which made us Champion of the division!!!!!!!!!!  We placed first in the Seabiscuit Medal class!!!  So we ended the day with two 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd one 4th(from the CT) and a championship!!!  And by all the exclamation marks I am sure you can see my excitement and 3 days later the excitement and pride still has not worn off.  My horse proven his heart to me this weekend and I really got to see what kind of horse I own.

I LOVE this picture! 

I just love how the sun reflecting off my horse in this picture make his ribs look as if they are sticking out.  You can ask Karen he does not look this skinny in person.
One proud Mama!!


  1. And medals?! Awesome. You go girl. ;-)

  2. Ahhh I wish we had been able to get video of you guys rocking the hell out of those jumper courses!!! Way to kick some serious ass! :) :)

  3. I can second the ribs picture - Steady looks awesome weight in person! GREAT job Amy :) So happy you all stuck around and cleaned up in Hunter/Jumper!!

  4. I wish MY ribs would stick out like that :)
    What a great head shot with RIBBBBONS- hoorah!

  5. GOOD FOR YOU! That is awesome! You and Steady look great!

  6. You two are such an amazing team. Also, anyone with a TB/harder keeper would never judge you for a little rib showing. He looks happy and blooming with health:) Congratulations!

  7. You guys did such an amazing job!! Way to go going out not knowing/remembering much about H/J and doing such a fantastic job. I love the ribbon/head shot too. He's so handsome. You have yourself an awesome horse. :D


Steady and I love your feedback, so don't be shy!