Monday, 20 April 2015

Surviving First Horse Show of 2015

This was one of my most anticipated/nerve racking/unprepared shows of perhaps my entire riding career.

I knew I HAD to be in it as here I am, trying to make the transition from all round small town fair rider to actual hunter/jumper competitor. To do that, I needed to actually maybe go to a hunter/jumper type show...

Isn't it gorgeous!

This would be a perfect introduction for me - It was a schooling show with affordable cost to attend yet a huge venue at one of the biggest arenas in our province with fancy jumps and some very fancy horses!
I was strongly ignoring the fact that I had only been riding Miss Tea again for a few weeks after her huge winter break, I had only cantered again for the first time a week(!) before the show, and I had a knee injury that was not improving.

On Friday I trailered Miss Tea over and prepared for my assigned warmup. I had never been through this type of process before. The arena was full of all those fancy jumps with fill and flowers. Horses were lined up waiting for their turn as only 6 riders were allowed at a time. By the time it was my turn, my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it.

Miss Tea was equally terrified, especially of the other horses. My coach was ready and waiting for me in the arena and it seemed the plan everyone had was just to get to it and jump the jumps.

So much colours - um, can I go home please and change my underwear?
WAIT. WOA. STOP. Jump already? Can't I just walk/trot a bit and see if my horse isn't going to kill me first?!!??!

It went horribly. I could not jump. Coach dismantled one of the jumps to ground poles, but since there were these fake shrub fillers still there, Miss Tea and I both couldn't get our brains in our heads. I could feel her body so coiled, all I could see in my head was her launching like a deer and me flying through the air. After words of frustration on both sides, I got off and led Miss Tea over the ground poles and coach left me to figure myself out.

I just about quit. I think I might have said I might as well go home. Instead I puttered about, trying to walk around out of everyone's way and get her used to the other horses. Then I trotted. Then I said "F@)#& it, Nantucket" and told the coach I was ready to try and jump and off we went! I survived and we jumped two jumps in a bent line, back and forth. There may have been hot mess flailing from both me and Miss Tea, but each time we got a bit better.

So I went home, drank wine and cried. What had I gotten myself into? Saturday was suddenly looking a lot less like a great idea, but I went to bed determined to just get through it and try hard to just not embarrass myself.


  1. Way to hang in there!! Those first shows are the hardest. :-)

  2. oh man - that definitely sounds like a stressful schooling environment! nice job sticking to it tho and getting a few progressively-better jumps. hope saturday went well!

  3. Warmups are SO intimidating! I've been to quite a few hunter/jumper shows and they STILL make me super nervous and I still sometimes cry. - hugs -