Monday, October 19, 2015

When you pretend to be a hunter jumper

This weekend I went to a show in Utah.  It was the year end show for the Utah Hunter Jumper Association.  The trainer I ride with is amazing at making things possible for me, like shows when I'm broke.  It involves work (like driving a rig down and being her right hand person at the show), but it is work I enjoy and so very worth it.
Part of our group
We drove down Friday morning and arrived about 1:30.  After the barn (10 horses) was set up we all went for rides.  Prisoner was very calm in his stall so I hopped right on, we walked to the covered warm up arena and then he promptly lost it.  I got off and led his screaming spooking self back to the stalls.  I gave him a little quietener (better living through chemistry) and rode a different horse while it took effect.
Maybe he was just in awe of the mountains?
 I wish I could have magically won the lotto to buy the horse I hacked that day, he was a sound seven year old who had successfully competed at 4' jumpers and training level eventing!  After a light school in the arena I went out with another person and we hacked around the facility.  While riding on the road we came around the corner of the indoor only to find a giant tent with zebras and giraffes.  Apologies I didn't get any pictures as I was busy preparing to not get my head bashed in if our horses decided zoo animals were not ok.  It ended up being totally uneventful, thank goodness.
I did get a picture of this sunrise
Then I retacked my boy and he was perfection.  We even popped over a couple jumps and he was completely swoon worthy.  We really are getting his terrible rushing weeded out.
I did a little vertical and then this one, didn't even feel big
Then it was more chores and watching a hunter derby with very strange judging.  There were some beautiful rides and not so beautiful rides and absolutely no consistency with the scoring.  I'm thinking maybe it was a judge in training since it wasn't a USEF show.
No clue what I'm doing, but Prisoner is cute

Love the light
The next morning we got up and did chores before riding in the show ring at 7:30, Prisoner got a little proactive quietener again since the whole idea of this show was to build his confidence.  He did really good with the crowded arena and I let him check out jumps and generally get a feel for the ring.  We didn't ride until mid day in a 3' equitation class.  The classes at this show were really limited for open riders and that was my only option.  The jumps seemed tiny (which was fine with me), I don't think they actually measured.  He warmed up great and we made it around the course.  He was rather overwhelmed and resorted to a few sideways runs, but he got braver and braver so I was happy.
He is just too cute

I guess he wanted bigger jumps

We even got a third place ribbon (don't ask out of how many) and I love it.
Ignore me, look at the satin
The end of the day saw a rather entertaining pick a partner derby.  Sadly I don't have video I can share here as it is a facebook video.   The idea was the first rider went in and rode six hunter derby jumps, then you cantered to the corner of the ring and got off and the second rider got on (no stirrup changing allowed) and cantered straight to the next jump to start a six jump handy hunter round.  Prisoner was  great, definitely not competitive (since he trotted a couple places with me), but really good for him.
Me riding, trainer waiting her turn in the corner
We went out to a great dinner Saturday night and when Sunday dawned I was ready for jumper land.  Thankfully there were more classes available to open riders and I did 2'6" and 2'9" they seemed quite small, but he just needs to get the idea of jumping what I point him at and he doesn't care how tall it is, so I might as well save his legs.
Fist jump of the day
He warmed up good again and was so much less spooky in the show ring.  We went right around the course with a few trot fences but no sideways running!  I was thrilled.

Then a quick break for him without tack and some trailer loading for me and we went back for our last class of the show.  You guys, he had finally figured it out, he didn't get any quietener and he was 100% business.  I could have cried I was so happy with him.  From almost regretting coming when I first got on him on Friday to an almost competitive jumper game face two days later.  I didn't do any crazy jumper turns in the jump off (since that is the last thing his brain needs).
attack mode

Finally we finished packing and hit the road back home.  Survived a wicked rain storm in the mountains and I was in bed by about 12:30am Monday.  BTW haven't stopped smiling.
Double thumbs up


  1. Really great!!! The progress from the 3ft eq to 2'9 class is awesome. You rode so well & he's so cute! He was all business by that last day it looks like, success!

  2. Congratulations! What a good boy.

  3. Awesome!!! Your last round was great!

  4. Woohoo so much epic awesomeness ♡♡♡♡♡

  5. Amazing improvement!!!!!! Such a talented young man, scope to burn

  6. I was stalking these videos on fb yesterday, and all I have to say is WOW! You and Prisoner are such an amazing team, you ride him so well and the level of communication you have with each other is really quite admirable. Homeboy's got scope for days, and like you said, better save his legs and teach him to go where you point him then worry about height. I LOVE watching you ride Prisoner, and I hope that Roger and I can have the kind of partnership you have with P Diddy. GREAT job!! :)

  7. Love it!! You are just the right rider for Prisoner, I love watching you mold his talent!

  8. What a smarty boy! Such transformation in those 3 videos. Looked like a pro at the end! Congrats

  9. What a smarty boy! Such transformation in those 3 videos. Looked like a pro at the end! Congrats

  10. Yay!! What an awesome experience for the green bean!

  11. Congrats on getting thorough and having fun and getting 3rd :D

  12. woo hoo congrats! he looks great! nice job piloting him around through the spookiness. also i love how nonchalant he is about trotting 3' fences haha

  13. Well done! Prisoner is so stinkin fancy and athletic and you ride so quietly and correctly, you two are a great team!!! :D

  14. I loved watching the videos and seeing him (and you) gaining confidence with every round. There was plenty to look at there and tons of atmosphere and I think you both handled it beautifully. I'm all for better living through chemistry when it means producing a positive outing for all! You are inspiring me to get Riley out to some jumper shows this winter!

  15. I love how he takes you to the fences! There's a lot to look at in that arena, and his rounds were awesome, especially for a greenie. You've done such a good job with him!

  16. LOVED seeing all this on FB!! You guys did awesome and I love how well you ride him- so many people could take a page from your book!