Before I recap this past weekend’s horse show, I have to wish Sabra a happy 8th birthday! Though Thoroughbreds all turn a year older on January 1 for racing purposes, today’s her actual birthday. 🙂
Anyway, the weather was perfect for horse showing, and we’ve been making good progress in our lessons lately, so it was shaping up to be a great weekend.
GHHJA | 2’6″ Itty Bitty Jumpers | GSWEC
Goals: Make the tight turns. Don’t drift left — jump the middle of everything.
Friday, Sabra schooled perfectly, the best we’ve ever schooled. We had the gallop, and spun around every tight turn. We were ready!
Saturday morning, we also schooled well, and went into the ring well-prepared. Flatting, Sabra was again soft and relaxed, and I always work on transitions to make sure she’s listening. Then jumping, we work on adjustability and half-halts so she continues to listen.
Saturday TFJO: https://youtu.be/k6mKmbzh4cY
Saturday TFR: https://youtu.be/O5PSuQWJihg
Saturday P&S: https://youtu.be/DKYgW09YN5Y
We misread the Timed First Jump-Off course, and weren’t supposed to jump the two-stride at the end. Whoops! So we obviously didn’t place in that round. Otherwise, it was looking good, boo. Sabra was bold to each fence. She’s very point-and-shoot, and even then, sometimes I barely have to point, haha.
We won the Timed First Round, though, out of seven, yay! We shaved parts of the arena where we could, and had a good gallop to each fence. Some of my turns could have been tighter; we ran a little wide in places where we were much tighter schooling on Friday, so we’ll have to work on our turns.
For the Power & Speed, we placed second out of seven. Again, I needed to tighten up my turns. It’s tricky because sometimes just looking at the next fence is enough to make Sabra spin around and using too much hand actually makes her drift wider. Sometimes, she needs direction and more leg and outside rein, though, so it’s about finding that balance. I need to work on getting her back to me before the previous fence, so she’ll be slow and balanced enough to spin around for the next one. Sometimes we come in with too much pace, and we’re going too fast to make the quick turn.
Also, I have no idea what happened over and after the last fence, haha, but Sabra saved my butt, so she definitely earned extra cookies.
Despite not placing in the first class, we ended up with reserve champion, which was super exciting!
I always stick around to watch everyone else show and support the barn. After, my trainer asked me to hop on a horse another trainer was selling that she was interested in for another client. She knows I find it entertaining, and I keep my mouth shut, have a decent poker face and a good enough feel so I can hop on a good number of horses and jump them around to get a feel for them. I’m by no means anywhere near perfect, but when you’re shopping for horses that you want to take kids from the beginner ring on up, you need to see if the horse can take a joke anyway. The mare was okay, but not my type of ride and wasn’t anything to write home about. What was interesting was all the talk and drama surrounding the ride. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I basically needed to ride the horse the exact opposite way they were yelling at me to, haha. Anyway, that’s all I’ll say about that. 😉
On Sunday, Sabra and I again warmed up well. There were nine in our class, so it was going to be a bit tougher competition. Plus, people saw Sabra and I booking it the day before, so it looked like people were carrying more pace today.
Sunday TFR: https://youtu.be/R6WN270F-Iw
Sunday P&S: https://youtu.be/Wc20t_edb6c
Ugh, I was pissed at myself about the Timed First Jump-Off. We had a great round, and the jump-off was going SO well (note the much tighter turns in comparison to Saturday), and then we had a miscommunication about which direction to turn after the second to last fence. For some reason, Sabra thought we needed to go right, and I was looking left. I tried really hard to stay on, but not hard enough, and all I kept thinking was, I just need to hang on for one more jump! Super frustrating. If I had stepped into my heels and closed my leg, I could’ve stuck, but ARGH. Somehow, I still placed fourth, but it wasn’t the start we were hoping for.
After the mishap, we went back to the schooling ring and worked transitions — walk to canter to halt to trot to halt to canter to trot to walk and so forth. We then jumped three or four schooling fences just to make sure we were okay. It went okay, but every time we landed, Sabra seemed confused about which direction we were turning next and got a little zig-zaggy underneath me. I felt like I could keep it together, though, so back to the ring we went.
For the Timed First Round, I placed fourth. I rode a little conservative, which was okay to get our confidence back, but not really good enough to be competitive. I took wide turns from fences three to four and four to five, just because I felt her get squirrel-y going to fence two and had to add leg and cluck. Normally, she takes me to the fences, but she felt like she was tiring and didn’t have the same sharpness as the day before.
In the Power & Speed, we were much better, but then had the rail over the oxer, so we placed sixth. At least we were straight through the combination for the first time all weekend, so that’s a plus. Overall, though, not the results we were hoping for after such a good Saturday. Oh well, onto the next one!
Homework coming out of the show: Continue working on tight turns, and be clearer about which direction we’re going when we land off a jump — as in, make sure I turn my head, look and support with leg and both reins every time. Also make sure I keep my heels down and legs tight in case she gets wiggly underneath me.
Sabra’s a very high energy horse, and she’s a real trier, so it’s hard to tell when she’s tiring until she’s not as tight with her knees and starts rubbing the fences a bit. When she’s getting tired, she still has the gallop and wants to race around, but then we get in front of the fence and she doesn’t really take me to them like she normally does. She’s not hesitating, she’s just not hunting them either. I’ll need to remember to conserve her more/better when we’re schooling and warming up as much as possible.