Monday, November 9, 2015

In Which I Bring Dishonor to My Barn

I am the penultimate nervous adult amateur and a whiny pissbaby.

My trainer signed me up to the year-end AHJA Hunter/Jumper show; I was either going to show possible baby horse (peace out, kid) in poles, or favorite lesson horse, Lexie, in the 0.6m jumpers.

I lessoned on Lexie Thursday at the 0.60m level, and it was wonderful! Controlled canter (this is going to be ironic later), nailed every distance, and relatively chill ride, despite horses schooling around me, and the hustle and bustle of pre-show schooling.

Friday, I hacked her around the property just to continue to let her see the hustle and bustle, and again, she was a little lazy and a total trooper, so naturally, like the bird brained, vain person I am, I texted my trainer like an asshole, and asked if I could move up a level since showing the 0.60s is embarrassing (my words), and shoot for 2'9 in the spring.

She ok'd it, and instead of bumping me up once, decided to put me in the 0.70m jumpers (2'3", okay, chill), AND SURPRISE, bump me up again 0.80m jumpers (2'7"- a little nerve-wracking, but fine, I love a challenge and used to school 3'6" on Candy). So we got to school; Lexie is lazy, and I give her a couple lousy distances, making her refuse the warmup jumps. I get a crop and spurs; I have never, up until this point, jumped her in spurs or with a crop, but that's fine, cool, no stops. Warm-up goes well after I convince her, "Yes, you will go over, because I promise I will hold you to the base, and not give you a terrible distance."

We go into the ring for 0.70s. Plan is to ride like an eq course for power, go all out for speed. After the first jump, I realize- I cannot rate her speed. At all. We have no brakes and all I can do is steer, point, and keep my leg on because Lord knows, I have zero say in distances. And as I'm doing this, hands are inching higher, her head is inching higher. I am on a semi-runaway, pissed off mare, and all I can do is hold on, steer, and pray that Lexie will continue to be a MACHINE. It was a mildly terrifying, very fun round. And we get 3rd out of 9.

Trainer tells me I "need to keep my hands below my boobs this time, but [I'm] clear to do the 0.80s." Woah- hold on what? "You said you wanted to go bigger, and you're going bigger. Also give me the crop- she doesn't need it." I meant NEXT SPRING, BUT OK.

So I am shaking in my boots, man the fuck up, and go in for our next "bat out of hell" jumper ride. I stupidly continue to think I might have some say in our speed, but keep my hands low this time. Mare is a little happier, but still bookin' it around the course. And then the incident. We came off a jump for an immediate rollback, I turned too tight, overshot the jump, and I feel one stirrup come loose, one leg start to swing over, and I say "No way, Jose.", right myself in the saddle, pull Lexie to a halt, and ask to be excused. Trainer yells at me "You do not get to be excused. Finish the course!". So I shorten my reins, pull on my big girl panties, and bang out the 2 prettiest rollbacks of my life. Obviously, we did not place.

So, not only was I a whiny pissbaby about jumping too small, I was also a whiny pissbaby about jumping too high and almost falling off because I forgot how to ride. I really need to just man up and ride. For me, riding is 75% mental; I get inside my head and freak myself out. My muscle memory and abilities are there, I just believe I'm incompetent.

So to my trainer: I am so sorry I am a pissbaby. To Lexie: I am so sorry I rode like a monkey, but I'm glad you had fun. Thanks for not dumping me. To myself: you got what you asked for, stop being ungrateful. To my readers: I'm sorry for the lack of pictures; I wish you could have seen my face and Lexie's face.

Here's to starting to shed my nervous adult amateur cocoon, and hoping I blossom this winter, into a badass adult amateur butterfly who can keep her weight in her heels and keep her hands low.

- K & C

FYI- I will be on hiatus from now until Dec. 9th-ish for Final Exam Month!


  1. i wish there were pictures too!!! it actually sounds like a pretty good time, despite no steering and sharper-than-expected roll backs (and yes i've totally almost eaten it doing the same exact thing lol!). yay for going out there and getting the bigger stuff done tho, and congrats on the 3rd :)

  2. I would love to have seen pics. It's all a process! Don't be so hard on yourself.