The Dark Side

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As a child I remember the adults at the barn talking about why eventing doesn’t have prize money.

And why it never should have prize money.

I was a young child, and just took what they had to say as fact.

In hind sight, the comments made on this topic were…….

possibly misguided, if not down right offensive.

I’m not going to repeat the comments here.

But the message was people that participate in horse sports where you can win money are………… less than bright & shiny.

Basically, sports like show jumping were definitely

Off Limits.

I was a little kid. And even then it didn’t make much sense to me.

What’s really wrong with winning some money?

In more recent years after reading about some of eventing’s absolute greatest riders who also compete in pure show jumping it sounded like something I wanted to try. But my crazy busy schedule and a series of injuries had just gotten in the way.

After ending the 2019 show season

by making an unplanned dismount

at “the Big One”

I had to really think about what’s next…….

I’m going to be honest.

The COTH “discussion” about my fall just felt like being kicked when you’re down.

To my pleasant surprise the cyberworld, for the most part, came to my defense and called the bullies out for what they were.

Or sent me a kind note.

And that did help.

So if you’re one of those kind souls

Thank you.

Really, thank you.

But having had the wind taken right out of my sails, I sat down for some serious contemplation.

I spoke to my finance person & whined a bit about how much money I had spent “following my dream.”

I really didn’t think it was worth it.

He’s pretty frugal.

So his reply was fairly remarkable.

He said, “You’re only saying that because it didn’t go well.

If it had gone well you would think it was a great investment.”

Fair enough.

So after some time out of the saddle

while all the ponies were on their after-season vacation, I decided it was time to try something else.

Today the BadEventer went to her first actual jumper show.

Since show jumping is one of the phases in eventing……….

you wouldn’t think it would be all that different……….

I’m going to say that couldn’t be more wrong.

The first thing that happened is a standing martingale magically appeared on my pony.

Next, I noticed that nearly every single dog in attendance was more obese than my most overweight patients at work. (And I thought eventers had fat dogs!)

Forgive my momentary soap box.

Dogs get diabetes too

& arthritis

& heart problems.

And you know what? They don’t feed themselves.

Soap box rant over.

Back to my first jumper show……

The trainers yelling from the rail during rounds made my brain scream,

“Unauthorized assistance!!”

In eventer-land show jumping has an optimum time.

In straight show jumping they go a lot faster. Faster than I ever imagined was possible.

When it came down to it, I decided to go the total

BadEventer-is-a-chicken-sh*t route & entered the 90cm class.

I know.

I’ve stormed around a few 3*s…..

but I’m not gonna lie. I was worried.

I hate feeling like I don’t know what’s going on. And jumping “big jumps” while swimming through all the unfamiliar rules & weirdness just seemed like too much to handle.

So we jumped the 90cm class.


And while I was reveling in surviving my first actual jumper class I hear these words.


Do you want to do the 1 meter class?”



I said, “OK” before I could talk myself out of it.

It went well.

BadEventer has survived her first TWO “real” jumper rounds.

Photo by EyeWasHere

I didn’t win any money.

But it’s official, I’ve been to the dark side.

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