I’ve been competing all season long in a small show series in our area. I started out in the cross-rails in this show, because when I first started that’s all I was ready for. After not jumping for nearly 10 years it was a good decision, and one that had me feeling successful. All season long I have been at the top of the points for this series. In horse shows, riders are rewarded a certain number of points for the different placings (ie- 7 points for first, 5 points for 2nd, etc). I have consistently been Grand Champion of my jumping division all season.
This spring and summer were rough for me as far as horseback riding went. In April, just as I was really starting to fire on all cylinders with my jumping (working over 2 feet finally!), I had a bad fall off of Austin and injured my elbow badly. It took me several weeks to recover fully. When I was better, Austin had some issues with his feet and I couldn’t ride him. So I switched to Max. We worked OK together and had some success at shows, but in May I had a very bad fall from him and cracked some ribs. It took me quite some time to heal from that injury. Then I went home for two weeks at the end of July, and upon my return had some major issues with a roommate not paying me. This made me unable to go to the barn, simply because I couldn’t afford the gas to get back and forth.
September came and I was pretty determined that my horseback riding goals needed to come back to the forefront. There were shows, clinics and many other things I wanted to participate in. As I was preparing for a show and clinic at our farm, I suffered a foot injury! I have no idea what happened or how it happened, but the doctor thought it was a stress fracture or bad sprain. I was determined that I was going to ride though.
So two weeks ago the amazing Carol Dean-Porter was at our farm. She held a clinic and also judged a small schooling show. The weather for the show turned out to be terrible, so nobody but our show team showed up. We made the best of it and had a really phenomenal day of learning with Carol. I took it easy at this show, choosing to only participate in flat classes to try to protect my foot. I really wanted to be able to work with Carol in the jumping clinic the next day. I managed to get a 2nd and a 6th, and Carol told me after that if Austin hadn’t thrown a bucking fit I would’ve had 3rd rather than 6th!
The jumping clinic was such an amazing experience. I loved riding with Carol the last time she was here. I had really hoped I would be back up to jumping at least 2 feet this time, but that wasn’t in the cards. However, Carol was super positive and built me up at every turn. I was so thankful that one of the ladies who boards her horse at the barn came to take pictures while I was riding.
When Carol first asked me to jump this, I was a bit nervous. It’s not that big, definitely not the biggest jump I’ve ever jumped in my life. However, it’s absolutely the biggest jump I’ve jumped since March. We did it well, and I’m so proud of us!
When Carol asked me to jump this line of fences, I thought she was joking at first!! She wasn’t though, so I went and did it. I love how balanced I am in this photo, and how good my release is. Austin left a little long and was stretching to get over the fence, but that was partially my fault for throwing my shoulders forward a bit early.
This is me with Carol at the end of our time. She is such a good teacher and I can’t wait to get to work with her again. I know a lot of people who would love the chance to ride with Carol. She told me to keep her posted about my upcoming show.
This weekend was the “big” show. I hoped I would be able to stay in the lead in the points for my jumping division, despite my foot injury and the fact that Austin and I were both kind of out of work for awhile. We went toward the ring for warmups in the morning and I was shocked when he absolutely freaked out because of a tablecloth blowing the breeze. He is not a spooky horse, and it kind of made me ill at ease. Then, when we finally got him in the ring, he spooked again at a jump that looked strange to him. I was feeling super nervous all morning. We had a long wait between warming up and when we actually went in to do our jumping classes, so it felt like forever before we were in the ring actually doing work. Lots of time for nerves to make me nuts.
However, when we went in to the ring to do work, he was so good. He still didn’t like the components of the jump that spooked him earlier in the day (it was sitting outside the ring), but he jumped well and paid attention to me. He was great in warmups, despite some other riders who weren’t paying attention and cut us off repeatedly. Then we did our three jumping classes. I needed to work on my pace, allowing Austin to move forward and also my release and being straight between jumps. But I was so proud when I was announced as second place in every single class!! The joke all season has been that I “beat the pants off the 11 year olds” because this division is 11 and up. And in the other shows it was me, one of my Shawnee team members who is 14, and then some other random kids, typically not classes any larger than 4. Only once before has there been another adult in the class. This weekend though? There were 7 or 8 people in each class, several other adults, and most of the participants were at least 14 or older. So I feel so positive about my second place ribbons. Those second place ribbons meant that I secured Reserve Champion for the day, which I was incredibly proud of. It also kept me in the lead for division points! My flat classes weren’t as stellar (they never are), however I did get third place in equitation and I am very proud of that.
This is me and my boy after our jumping. So happy with how he performed, and with myself for how I performed.
I have two shows in October (one jumper show and one dressage show) and a dressage clinic with the fabulous Verne Batchelder. I cannot wait for these events. I’m feeling so lucky to be able to work with Carrie, my trainer, because she believes in my ability and offers me so many opportunities to grow as a rider. So many good things are coming and I can’t wait for them.