Piedmont Jumper Classic – Day 3
I checked the schedule and entries were even lighter than Friday, so I headed over at 9:20 a.m. They were still in the Low Adults, but the Take 2 TBs were the same course, but at a meter, so I could walk that one. I texted Katie, and we met to do the course walk.
The lines today weren’t walking quite as exactly as yesterday. I was walking two of the bending lines with bend and getting half strides, every time. 8 1/2 or 9? 6 1/2 or 7? So, Katie helped me, we walked a slightly different path and straightened the 6 1/2 to be 6 and the other was a 9. The last line was a vertical/oxer to a 4, a little short.
I watched a couple of rounds, then went to get Neuf ready. I felt good, we had time to walk around, he felt relaxed, and then we went into the warm up. He used to be super reactive in the warm up, oncoming horses would send him into a buck/spin/bolt, well, that was back. Usually it is grays, but today, there were a couple of horses that were up and a bit unpredictable and he did NOT want to pass those, and especially not thread the needle. And there was a super, cute pony in there with us. With a cute child on top. That was pretty scary as well.
I was doing pretty good getting forward, then someone would pass us, or cross our path, and there would be an attempt to spin. At one point, I was off center, lost my damned stirrup again, but did regain the heavier, metal one faster, and he was jumping well.
I went in and had a decent pace, and he stopped at the first oxer. I corrected him, and went forward enough to get that line in 8, not 9. The round was pretty good, until the last line, he stopped at the last fence. I think I might have held a tiny bit too much at the end, but I was surprised at the stop. I said “What?!!” And that was the last fence and our second stop, so we were eliminated.
Katie asked what happened at fence 1, and I said I felt him suck back 2 strides out, but he ignored my leg to go more forward. Then, the last fence, not sure, must have held a tiny bit too much, but she thought he was surprised at it.
I also realized that this was the first time Neuf has shown 3 days in a row. Usually he would only do two days. Either Wed/Thur or Thur/Fri. There might be a bit of fatigue starting to impact his performance. He is 7, but we don’t do the big shows all that often. I think the Loudoun Benefit in June was his last big show. He’s been to 3 schooling shows and some lessons, but that is not the same as a multi-day, multi-ring show with tents, spectators, etc.
Again, I had moments of self doubt, should I do another round? The first one wasn’t good, the fences would be higher…but Katie reassured me that the height was NOT the issue, and I know that he is usually better the second time. So, I mentioned that he was being very reactive in the warm up, so her plan was to go do a couple more fences while they were resetting the course for the .90 meter and just go to the gate when the ring was empty. That worked well, since there is often a gap in the order people sign up to ride. I had a mostly empty warmup, warned Katie that if we did too many jumps I’d have no horse left, and so we kept it short, and went in after a beautiful oxer.
She told me to go show Neuf that last fence when we first went in, and he was looking at it, so that was a good plan. I had one rail when I moved up a bit too much between 5 a/b and 6, so no blue ribbon, but it was smooth, we were well within time allowed, and so it was a good end to a multi-day show.
While the third day was not the day I expected, it was really good to go back again and find out how things are different.
I was surprised at the reactivity to the other horses in warm up, that appears to be an evasion. I’ll keep this in mind and if we’re at a 4 day show, maybe he gets one day off of showing in there, show 2, off 1, show 1…or something like that. It will take a while to figure out, these shows are expensive, so we only do a handful a year.
The knee rolls may have helped, I didn’t notice them, but I shouldn’t. The heavier stirrups definitely helped, and at some point I do want to try a few different jumping saddles, but since those are very expensive, I need to save up for that. The current Albion fits him well, it fits me, I want to see if I’d feel more secure in a different one.
I’d hoped to get to 1.0 meter by the end of the year, and I might, but I need to find a reasonably close show, if not, there is next year and meanwhile, I’ll keep working on the things that make the fence size irrelevant, but when I’m comfortable at a meter there are a lot more showing options available, and definitely more weekend options available.