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MaryMary 08-04-2011 06:16 PM

My first two hunter courses in a show ....
 
You just have to have a sense of humor in this business! This time last year I was not yet cantering in a show due to fear of being embarrassed with wrong lead or horse bucking because I was banging him in the mouth. This year I am showing my horse in pleasure with good ribbons, and even won third in the hunter hack on a horse I had only ridden twice, on a whim and with 2 minutes notice (my friend wasn't feeling well and didn't want to go in the hack) (that was really fun!)

So, I finally "got it" with jumping just this month. In a lesson, I can do a reputable few fences without getting left behind and even regulating strides in between fences, although I have no idea yet how to see a spot and aim for it (I just point and shoot!:lol:).

Well, my trainer thought I could do low hunters (2' fences, a course of 8). So I have tried it twice. Well, it's been interesting! Attempt 1 was last week and I rode a friend's horse who is more of a steady eddie than mine. But he does get fast on the lines toward the barn. I could handle him in the lesson. The show was, well, interesting. I was sure we were going so fast we were going to win the Kentucky Derby. I grabbed on to his mouth and forgot to let go again. I think I leaned forward the whole course ... well, I got around the course and didn't fall off! Deep breath.

My second attempt was last night. This time I was riding a 21 year old school horse, who in lessons goes about as slow as he can, and we had some really nice fences together. Last night, I felt like I was racing again! My trainer is saying let go of his mouth, leg, move forward, and I'm like ahhh, we're going so fast .... It's SO FUNNY! Well, I got around the course. Missed grabbing the mane a couple times and got left behind. Had a couple refusals and missed one fence just becuase I couldn't get it together in time to take off, so I just went around ... Feeling a little embarrassed ....

You just have to have a sense of humor in this business! And I can't believe how different it is from a lesson to a show (in the evening, under the lights). I don't FEEL scared, but I get out there and everything goes to heck!:oops:

What in the world can I do to have my show courses anything like my lesson courses? And any moral support is much appreciated!

Jumpehunter 08-04-2011 06:39 PM

ok this is going to be long!! OKay 1st- Welcome to Jumping!! Haha so true about needing a sense of humor. oh man me and my friends can go on for hours and days about all the stories we have and we usually end up choking from laughter! good times.
2nd- Don't feel bad about not getting all your fences it took me a while before i could nail down the position and actually stick with my horse.

In your lesson you had a refusal and some other problems. Before going anywhere figure out what went wrong and why.
-what happened?
-why did it happen
-How can you fix it.
lets talk runout. Did you have a good approach? Did you drop your horse in front of the fence? Did you have enough impulsion? Did you have a good rhythm and balance? were you focused and paying attention or did you point your horse at the fence and hope he some how makes it over?
Answer these questions and pay attention to the answers. If an answer is less then adequate then those are the things you need to fix.

As for showing and the height you are doing there has got to be changes. A lot of people could "jump" a 2ft fence. But you have to do it correctly. i was where you are now. pointing and shooting and letting my horse figure out the distances. but that can be dangerous. a horse isn't a car that you can just put on auto sand sit back and relax. WAKE UP you are on the back of a 1200 pound animal with a mind of its own for crying out loud!! theres a reason people jump small fences! Because 1- they don't know their striding 2- they cant hold their position 3- the higher and more advanced levels are nothing without the basics.
My suggestion save yourself from a bad fall and your horse from injury by doing the smaller levels until you have solid striding and solid position. Your instructor shouldn't even think about letting you jump 2ft without you knowing your striding and position. When i teach my beginner jumpers their 1st 3 jumping lessons thats all we work on is striding and position. when they are cantering i have them count how many strides it is from point A to point B and we do exercises over poles with them in their 2 point. THEN we move onto fences. When they move onto the head instructor for higher fences all they have to concentrate on learning is how to approach difficult fences and the more technicalities of jumping.

Theres a lot more i cold tell you but you know what would be really helpful would if you could upload pictures or videos of you riding and jumping! I love teaching and if you wan anymore advise i would love to help. Just slow it down a little jumping isn't all height ! good luck

MaryMary 08-04-2011 07:40 PM

Well, I am totally over going in any more shows until I know I can ride a course IN a show. The problem is the difference between the two. The things I mentioned (refusal, going around) were in the show, not the lesson. I did have 1 refusal in the lesson, but that was Mr. School Horse saying, you are crooked and your reins are uneven, so I'm not going to jump. He's a good school master that way.

Anyway, I'm REALLY glad no video exists of my show course becuase honestly, it was a total disaster as far as I'm concerned. I don't think of 2' as a high fence, but I just didn't have a BRAIN at the show.

I've imagined myself in the show a million times, you know, look up, turn here, sit up, wait for the fence, half halt here, count strides, check your lead ... I know how to do all that (except know my spot and be confident about getting right there). It just went out the window when it counted.

So yeah, I won't be going in a show again until I've ridden that course spot on on about 3 different horses 3 different times.

My trainer thought I could do it, and I believed her. She does have a habit of thinking people can do a little more than they think they can do. It's hard to say if she has TOO much of that, or just enough to push us along. But, I think if she'd known I'd completely lose my brain, she wouldn't have entered me.

I really do want video of me jumping in a lesson, so I'll try to do that next time ...

Sorry this is so long. The other thing that mystifies me is the impulsion. I really thought I had way too much horse and I had circled to slow him down and get a nice balanced canter, and she thought I didn't have enough impulsion. So, I'm ON the horse, and I felt he was too fast and not listening, and she's the TRAINER with years of experience, and she thinks he's going too slow .... frustrating!!!!

Jumpehunter 08-05-2011 11:13 PM

Oh man impulsion that was a hard thing o get. When i first felt it i was like "Oh my Gosh!! that is WIERD!" ha ha

So you know your stuff and I think its a good idea to wait until you feel more prepared. Maybe to accustom your self to showing in jumping why not just try the grass hopper courses the ones where you can trot and canter? I did those until i was more confident in the show ring (the fact that i show courses on the flat too really helped) My 1st couple courses I was on auto i was steering and stuff but I was riding in a fog. And then after that moment of shocks was over I'm completely cool with shows now. I mean besides the usually nerves and such.

I know what you mean about ambitious instructors. Mine has so many goals and plans she forgets that we can't just go out and jump a 4 ft course when I am jumping 3 ft. haha its fun to plan and dream with her though.

MaryMary 08-06-2011 11:21 AM

Well, sadly there is no option in a show at my own farm for a simpler start. It is either low hunters with 8 fences at 2 feet, or nothing. Last year they had student equitation over 4 fences, but they chnaged it to the low hunters.

I first told the trainer I only wanted to do 4 fences, but she said no you aren't, you're doing 8. So unless I put my foot down (I don't know about your trainer, but this is seldom a good idea with mine), I'll be doing the 8 fences ...

I'm gonna post under jumping to see what I can do to learn my strides better without jumping ...

But, I think part of my problem was as I got rattled, I was afraid to put leg on as I thought horse was way fast. So suppose I do this again, do I just keep leg way on no matter what, even if I'm afraid of the speed? If I remember to sit up and half halt appropriately, I guess the horse isn't going to suddenly start galloping, right?

VelvetsAB 08-08-2011 12:34 AM

Mary,

I was where you are, last year. At home, everything was peachy keen, but as soon as it was a show OMG BATMAN! Even the schooling shows that were held at the farm, it was a whole new ball game. I would blank out and forget what I was doing. I did 5 schooling shows and a fall fair last year.

Two weeks ago, I did a schooling show. Messed up the first half of my first course, then pulled myself together, and nailed the second half.

Long story short...it just takes time to get past show nerves and get to the point where you remember to think.


If you aren't ready to be doing all 8 fences though, do not feel pressure to do shows. Practise courses at home, and circle if you need to.

MaryMary 08-08-2011 05:14 PM

Thanks, Velvet. It sure makes me feel better to know others go through the same process. I sometimes still think about it and think "man, that judge must have been laughing about that incompetent rider ..." hopefully she wasn't, though ...


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