Posted in Competition

GFPC Fun Show: Thoughts

A lot of lessons were learned at the show. I could have walked away from this experience dejected. I mean, I just got my butt handed to me by a bunch of 8 year old girls in literal pigtails on lesson ponies. My time was slow by a full minute. Gem tried to leave the arena upon entering. I had a total of 4 refusals between the two rounds. I forgot where my fence was.

But we jumped. Every single fence. No rails down. Even with a crowd of people hanging on the rail. Even with a crap ton of flower filler. Even on a height we haven’t ever even schooled. Gem said yes. The refusals were my fault. I didn’t set her up right or I stopped riding. Maybe a better/more forgiving horse would have said yes anyway but we all know by now that isn’t Gem. And yet she said yes 20 times.

That’s pretty amazing.

Beyond that though I learned some things.

First, the next time I’m signing up for every freaking class possible to stave off the bone numbing boredom that hanging out for hours on end at a h/j show by yourself creates. Hubby was off entertaining Wyatt and I just stood there. When I saw the class schedule I had no clue what half the classes were. Now I know. Sure we would never win in the hunter equitation over fences 18”, but damn that course looked easy. Outside line, diagonal, outside line. Sign me up for that next time!

Second, I ride better over bigger fences. I was more nervous going into the 2’ class having never jumped a course set to that height before and maybe that is why, but looking through the screen shots my position is way better during the 2’ round than the 18” one. I think it has more to do with the fact that Gem required a stronger ride, I was more secure having just done it before and therefore I dug in and got it done. Plus Gem had to actually jump instead of zooming over which helped me too.

I talked to Gem. A lot. Kinda loudly too to the entertainment of the judge and spectators. I talked to her the entire time. “Ok Gem we’ve got this. Jump it!” “Sorry Gem! My fault let’s try again” “We look like fools out here but come on let’s finish this thing” on and on. I even told her I was a wimp. I talked and she responded by being more present. She looked around a lot less than normal and was more focused. Point taken and thank you to blogger of 3dayadventureswithhorses for the suggestion on another one of my posts. It helped a lot!

I really believe that the cross country schools are helping our arena jumping 1,000 fold. I may never be brave enough to enter a HT with her, but the schooling will continue. It’s made her a better jumper. It’s made me braver and more bold. We were coming to the yellow fence 5 in the 2’ round and I knew she hadn’t liked it before. With one refusal already I wasn’t going to let her say no there. She twisted and turned her butt and I stayed firm in my leg pressure and didn’t give up. She jumped it.

18” verticals, even on a short or odd approach, no longer bother me at all. I made her jump them from a standstill no issues. The 2’ course began scary but by fence 3 I was down for it and by fence 7 I was laughing out loud, giggling to myself and having a blast. That’s a major change from 9 months ago when I wouldn’t even jump a 12” cross rail.

Other than the boredom factor, which could have been lessened had Wyatt’s class not been #6 and mine 16, I quite liked the jumper show. I liked that you could enter multiple classes and just keep going. I liked that it was only $10 a class. I think I’d like to keep going and building our confidence. I also think that Gem could be a really good jumper. She is fast, athletic enough to take the inside turns and this is a game she understands the point of. I’m just not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to let her do it.

All in all it was an amazing experience. It wasn’t perfect and I’m pretty sure we only beat the girl who fell off in the 18” and the girl who was rung off course in the 2’ round, but I don’t care. I throw all my ribbons away anyway (did I just hear all my readers have a collective stroke?). I left happy. Gem? Well she seemed ok with it all. I’m ready for the next one!

Posted in Competition

GFPC Fun Show: My Turn

There is media! So much media!!! While I have a ton of thoughts and feelings about how this show went I think I’ll just run it via pictures here and then blabber on in a later post.

After waiting a million years (ok, it was more like 2 1/2 hours) for class #16 to be up next, it was time to wake Gem up and head in for the 18” jumpers. We were the 5th ones in, she entered and immediately tried to spin around and leave again, and it went….ok…ish. Here is a run through:

My course. I sent a text to Trainer and she sent back “courtesy of yours truly”. I knew it too. This had her written all over it especially fence 1 which was a super tight and short turn off the rail on an angle. She has had me work on that in our lessons and I sucked at it. 

Ok Gem this is it. Let’s trot down the long side and head to fence 1 in a good rhythm.

Nah, I’d rather spook at those people in the bleachers.

Shit! Was that the bell? We aren’t anywhere near fence 1. I’m going to get eliminated. Go Gem go!

We then proceed to rush to fence 1 and while Gem went over she whacked it really hard and rattled me.

No idea why she would have whacked it. I mean, this is perfect jumping form. 

Ok. Fence 1 is over. Yay! Oh shit. I forgot to turn to fence 2. Maybe she will do it if I shove her at it and give her absolutely no room or warning.

Ha! No way am I going over that bright pink fence. Sorry lady. Try again.

This was a much needed wake up call for me to focus and ride my horse. I wasn’t angry with her here. This was 100% my fault for forgetting where to go and jamming her at it. I do love the look on her face though. 

Sorry Gemmie! My fault. Let’s try that again.

Second attempt she went over no problem. My heart was still racing and my nerves were acting up big time, but we got it done.

Ok…now remember where fence 3 is. Sit up and keep her under control.

We finally got our act together over fence 3 and I started to look for my fences and actually ride.

Huh. This isn’t going so bad. The height isn’t scary and Gem isn’t being too bad. Maybe we won’t die.

By this point, gem was beginning to understand what we were doing out there and began looking ahead for the jumps. This makes it so much easier for me to ride her.

Look at that. Another fence behind us and we are rolling along. Maybe if I take my leg off she will slow down.

Gem hated this fence. Maybe she hates the color yellow?

Oooookay….we nearly had a second refusal at fence 5. Never, ever take my leg off. Fence 6 should be easy but then it’s a tight bend left to 7. Will we make it?

Fence 6 wasn’t really an issue, but the turn to 7 was short and required a lot of accuracy.

You’ll see how ugly fence 7 was in the video because I never got her lined up right, but over it she went and then straight to 8. I don’t have shots of those.

Fence 9 is the most decorated. Two left. We can’t screw this up now. Jump Gem, jump!

I was elated to be at fence 9 and rode aggressively. It never occurs to me that Gem requires that much aggression to jump until I am nearly done with my course. Some day I’ll learn. 

Yes! One left!!! Oh wait. I still have to ride. Turn! Turn!

I very nearly forgot to turn to this one too. Stupid brain.

Gem got a million pats, an emotional hug and some time to nap before the 2’ jumpers four classes later.

Here is the video so you can witness us in all our squirrelly glory. We finished I believe 1 full minute slower than anyone else. Oops.

I nearly bailed on the 2’ class. Once they reset the fences and added filler to nearly every single one, it looked daunting. Then I remembered that the standards start at 1’9” and that meant the prior class wasn’t really 18” and this would only be 3” higher. No big deal, right?

When I entered the arena, I cut through the center more to avoid my panic at making it to fence 1 in 45 seconds. Gem was much more settled this time around and I silently hoped she’d realize the height had gone up.

Ok. Let’s get this done. Line her up. Oh shit! That looks high and there is a bunch of fill. Quit looking at the jump. Quit it. Well crap she ran out.

It’s ok Gemmie. My fault. Let’s get this done. It’s only 2’. Leg on. Look up. Go!

Again, the run out was all my fault. I backed off and got scared which left Gem high and dry. The second time though I put my big girl panties on. 

Do not forget to turn for fence 2. There it is. Leg on. There is no filler. She can do this.

The jumps were raised and I rode much more aggressively this round which made for a prettier picture overall. 

Wow. 2’ isn’t so bad. We can do this. I honestly believe we can do this.

No issues here
Or here!

Ok. Remember fence 5 was sticky last time. Keep that leg on. Wait. Where is she going? Why is her butt to my left. Move it Gem. I mean it. Get your flying bay hurt over this jump!

Fence 5 was an issue. You’ll see in the video how she tries to contort her way out of it. Thankfully, Trainer had prepared me for this and I was committed to making this round work

Was that a refusal technically? Is that our second? Oh shit again. There’s fence 6 and I’m not paying attention. Focus, Sara. They added a plank. Why am I staring at it? Quit staring.

Ugh. Another refusal. My fault again. Is that number 3? Am I eliminated? I didn’t hear a bell. I’ll just keep on until they tell me to stop.

Gem did go over it the second time since I stopped staring at the plank and asked her to jump it. I don’t have good screen shots of 7, but it jumped just as bad as the last time. I got jumped nearly out of the tack but I was actually having fun by this point and didn’t care.

Ha! I’m having fun. FUN! That’s new. Fence 8 is easy. Come on Gem! Let’s finish strong.

There is that beautiful jumping form again. her knees are cute though. Just don’t look at her head. 

Wahoo!! Fence 9 has very bright flowers and we have 3 refusals already. No room for error. Go Gem. Jump the jump. Let’s enjoy the end! Grab mane and go!

I was so worried she would back off this jump. I kicked her good and grabbed mane. 

 

One last plain fence and we are done. Wait…am I smiling? While jumping? On Gem? Weeeeeee…….

This is my new all time favorite picture. Ever. I’m smiling. On Gem. Over a fence. 

There are so many thoughts to share, but for now here is the video of the 2’ round (a lesson on how to make 10 fences take over 2 minutes to jump) and I’ll sort the rest out later.

Posted in Competition

GFPC Fun Show: Wyatt

This was a very last second idea. I wasn’t even sure if I needed to braid, but it was at my home barn and they held a lead line class for Wyatt too so it seemed like a good idea.

Wyatt woke up bright and early, threw some flip flops on and marched out of the house saying “We need to go load up!” Never mind he wasn’t wearing any pants. And it was 630 am with a 9 am start a half an hour away.

We got him settled down a little while I got myself around and went to get Gem to officially load up. Then we hit the road!

Having never been to a h/j show before, I had no clue what to expect. We got there ridiculously early, registered and then hung out for about an hour before I tacked Gem up. I wanted to have Wyatt experience a warm up and his class was #6 on the list.

By the time we made it to warm up, he was nearly jumping out of his skin with excitement. It took a bit to adjust my stirrups to his size (mental note, but kids stirrups) and then he clambered on and we went for a walk around the warm up. Thankfully it wasn’t busy or hectic and we had a nicely relaxed walk.

Wyatt kept asking to trot because all the big kids were trotting. I was tempted, but my main goal for him was to have fun and falling off in warm up would not have achieved that.

When his class was called he lit up. I led Gemmie in and we began our walk around the arena. I made a point to walk her past any jumps that looked particularly scary so she could see them before our classes. Not cheating. Being smart!

The judge had us walk one direction, change, walk the other. As we went past the jumps Wyatt kept asking when we would jump them. Ah kiddo, already braver than me!

The judge was really awesome, not that Wyatt registered any of it. They announced that it was too close to call and for us to take another lap around. After that we lined up and the judge came out to say hello to each rider and hand them a blue ribbon. Wyatt was oblivious to the fact that everyone got blue and threw his hand up yelling “I am the winner!”

He then attached the ribbon to his shirt and refused to take it off again. His smile was the biggest reward I’ll ever get and it made the whole day worthwhile.