The Fearless Leader was telling me there’s a “money” Classic on Saturday but it’s at night under the lights & the entry fee is ridiculous so he didn’t enter us.
But BadEventer has been feeling like BadAss ShowJumper these days so I said, “We can do it!”
Actually here’s what I said.
So I convinced him we should have a go in the big ring, at night. Heck we might even win some money.
We’d done 2 classics so far. And while we jumped clear in both of them I was 1 measly second over time in one & 2 seconds over in the other.
But we’d gotten a lot faster since then.
We’d even WON a class with a jump off.
With my confidence cup full to the brim I was ready to take on a night class with 55 entries & some legit prize money.
He was skeptical…… but I oozed confidence & convinced him it would be OK.
The night arrived & it was not only pitch black but freezing cold.
It’s about a gazillion miles from the barn to the ring & the hack over in the dark with the random golf cart jumping out at us was nerve wracking.
We made it, but there was a significant amount of snorting all the way there.
Things were not going well for everyone else in the ring & we ended up waiting a pretty long time watching.
So many horses spooked & missed at jump one.
It was a pretty unfair jump number one for a small ammie class. It was pointing straight into a wall. There was a big flaming heater right in the line of eyesight behind it in the VIP tent & there were 3 lines of shadows on the ground in front of it making it look like a ditch type of jump.
Horse after horse misread the take off. There were way more awkward jumps at the first fence than good jumps.
It was not getting people off to a good start.
There were tons of rails.
There were several falls.
No one was making time.
I was feeling even more confident.
My fabulous pony clears the standards,
is super careful,
and when I let off the parking brake she’s wicked fast.
I was starting to think silently in my head that we had a legitimate chance to win this thing.
Then some friends asked what I thought & I said true to my BadEventer mantra, “I start with low expectations. I want to stay on my horse & remember my course. If I do those 2 things, I’m golden.”
One chimed in & said, “and jump all the jumps.” I let him know that was definitely not a requirement.
“Stay on the horse.
Remember the course.
Anything else after that is just icing.”
Our warm up was spot on,
If you had told me a couple months ago that I’d be jumping airy verticals off a 10 meter turn in a warm I would have said, “What have you been smoking?!”
We were ready.
We went in the ring, I set the pace fast.
We headed to that first bogey jump & my fabulous steed did exactly what so many before had done…..
She spooked, we missed, and we smacked a plank on jump one to the ground.
Well I wasn’t going to win it, so I slowed down & decided we’d just try to get around.
Turns out, that was
I was taught many <cough> MANY years ago that when things go wrong, slow down & carefully jump the rest of the course.
Unfortunately I’ve been learning (the hard way) that’s often exactly the wrong choice. It’s what got us in the end at “the big one” (the three day) last fall. See that story here.
If I had sent her forward & attacked the rest of the course we just might have been ok.
Instead, I slowed down 3 or maybe 4mph too much & we started adding strides in all the lines.
Six strides in a five was fine.
But when we did 3 strides in the A-B two stride triple combination & we had our first show jumping stop ever, I thought, yep I would’ve stopped too.
I walked out of the triple considering my options. If we kept going I had to do the whole thing again……..
which did not excite me.
I could call it a day, which I definitely would have done (and have done) if it had been cross country.
But this isn’t cross country, the jumps fall down & I’m not that chicken.
So with some reluctance I tried again.
I got the exact same distance & once again put 3 into the 2. I was completely ready to have the same stop at the B. I definitely did not have my leg on.
But my fabulous pony said, “Got this!” and carried my sorry rear through the triple on the second attempt.
Clearing them all by a mile.
I stayed on.
I remembered my course.
It turns out BadEventer is also BadShowJumper