For someone who has been riding for thirty years and competing on and off for most of those years, you might be surprised to know that I had yet to compete in the jumper ring in white breeches. Something I considered to be a badge of honour and also something I’ve really striven for. So, I preemptively purchased a pair of second-hand whites from H for the upcoming show at Thunderbird, hopeful I might get a chance to finally show in whites.
The week went well. We moved from the 0.9m’s to the 1.0m’s and I felt like both Fire and I handled that leap well, especially considering we did the Baby Greens for most of the year. I do feel a bit like in the last year I have ridden eight different horses while in the process of bringing Fire along and am currently struggling to try to figure out how to ride this cool new horse I seem to have under me. That’s the great thing about young horses – they’re never boring! Or at least mine certainly isn’t.
On the last day of the show, dressed in my new-to-me white breeches, we warmed up well and I loved the way Fire felt. I was feeling confident, even if the first two fences were oxers, (admittedly not my fave). We walked in the ring and all the sudden that horse under me was gone and instead I had one that was backed off and I had to fight just to get to the end of the ring. I found a long distance (my biggest weakness) to the first oxer. I was desperately trying to put her together around the end of the ring to the second oxer and when I put my leg on and there was no response I got desperate. Old habits die hard, and this one is dying a slow and painful death. I pushed coming out of the corner for a ridiculously long distance to a substantial oxer and while Fire tried to jump initially, we did not make it.
I hit the dirt and was up as soon as I could, worried my horse was going to go for a victory lap around the ring. The jump crew very kindly caught her as she ambled away from me and the jump, likely wondering what the heck was wrong with me and why on earth was I laying in the dirt? I determined I wasn’t hurt enough to need a medic unless they could repair my pride. Talked to my coach, got back on and jumped a couple jumps in the warm-up ring. We talked about what went wrong, how we needed to fix it and then our show was done, and it was time to rush home for the ferry.
PC Totem Photographics
It wasn’t the best way to finish a show, there may have been a few tears shed on the drive home but that might have been in part because of the exhaustion and looking at the state of my bank account after paying my entries for the week. It was and still is a good wake-up call as to what we need to work on at home. When I put my leg on to go forward the answering machine cannot be on! We have since had about a month back to work and the issues we had at the show are still here but we’re working towards fixing them. While I wish we could have finished our season on a higher note this year, I am truly looking forward to the fall and winter of boot camp to get ready for 2019 Show Season and another chance to show in white breeches again. Maybe next time I’ll make it over more than one jump 😉