Sunday, April 9, 2017

Episode V: The Hunter Strikes Back

Yes, I have a dressage show next weekend and I'll be spending all of my copious free time this week getting ready for it.  Today I took the all important step of getting Theo out for his first conditioning ride on the trails.  Have trouble getting your horse to go forward?  Try having a random teenager hidden in the trees start yelling 'ROAR' at your horse in a deliberate attempt to spook him.  You'll have more engine than you can handle!*

But my May show is going to be my long anticipated return to the h/j ring.  I am plunging back into the world of hair nets, field boots, and zero ride times.  It will be my only overnight show of the season so technically the biggest show of the year.  Woohoo?

The show schedule just came out and I find myself flipping through the class list, wondering what to do with mi papi.  I want to do one day of equitation, one day of hunters.  This way I can see what he likes best.  I could pop into the jumper ring, but that seems silly on a horse that really thinks slower is better.

At home I pop around at 2'6".  My one actual course away from home was at 2'7".  At the show, I'll need to pick from 'not to exceed 2'3"' and 'not to exceed 2'9"' in the equitation ring.  That's actually not an easy choice as the height may be no problem, but Theo's only jumped a handful of courses away from home and has never even gone to an h/j show.  His brain may be completely short circuiting.  At the same time, I get to do warm up and a prep round.  He should be pretty comfy with the ring and the fences.

I also have to pick a hunter division.  I could do modified adult which is 2'3", special child/adult which is 2'6", or baby greens which are 2'6" and flying changes don't count.  The regular adults are 3' and out of the question for his h/j debut.  But if I do the baby greens, I can't do any equitation since the tall division makes me ineligible and the short division is running on the same day and Theo isn't doing two divisions in one day.  We could do some puddle jumpers and open eq at 2'6" on Saturday, but that's about it.


So do I just go for it, jump the full equitation height and the 2'6" child/adult hunters and YOLO, or do I back down to the modified divisions and jump around at 2'3" both days?  Or do the baby greens?  I don't have a confirmed change on him, so I'm really not sure if it's worth my effort to do the big kid eq classes just yet.  I might be better suited doing the littler divisions.  I was going to do some medal classes, maybe give myself a fall goal, but do I want to qualify for a 2'3" medal?  I'll feel ridiculous!  I did a 3' medal final once!  Sure, it was twelve years ago and I'm very qualified for the modified divisions now and my horse is a dressage specialist that is clueless in the h/j world and has no flying change, but I'd still feel weird.  But then again, shouldn't I set him up for success, not max him out at his first show out the gate?

Why is this so hard?  Dressage show is First 2, First 3, and done.  I'd forgotten how complicated this h/j stuff can be. 

Aw, hell, I need new breeches.  All my show breeches are white!

*results may vary, not responsible for any injuries, lost ponies, or trauma due to attempting the teenager roar technique


  1. lol i mean, i used to compete at 3' too and my most recent show was at 18". it is what it is haha.

    super exciting tho - i think you guys are gonna have a blast! good luck with the class selection and hair nets ;)

  2. Personally I lean toward the side of setting up for success, especially for a first outing (of sorts) I'd always rather wish I'd done more than push for too much and miss my chance to go back to smaller stuff.

  3. Go low. So many variables in addition to height. Don't worry "how it looks" that you are doing the 2'3" medal. Do what is right for the horse. I say this as someone who competed Walk-Trot at the age of 50, so I understand the feeling.