Monday, May 4, 2015

Region 11 Off-Site Hunter/Jumper Championships - Sport Horse Extravaganza - 2015 Day 3 - Sunday

Hunter Hack ATR
I was still “in denial” that I was competing at a regional championship.  I rode into my class as if I owned it, and actually had a nice and uneventful flat ride.
We all lined up to take out jump line, and I ended up last.  I usually prefer to be closer to first…  I studied each ride.  I had understood the pattern to be: jump the line on the right lead, ride around the short end of the arena, and halt in front of the judge’s booth.
I started panicking when I watched rider after rider back several steps after the halt.  I confirmed with my neighbor that there was, in fact, no back after the halt.  OK. Mental melt-down averted.  Regardless, every horse backed up after the halt!  I was still a little confused, but I intended to own my halt.

One of these days, I will start to equitate...
Despite my best efforts, we landed out of our line on the left (WRONG) lead, and I tried to quietly convey to the Fancy Pony that I required a lead change.  Getting her down and back up was going to take a major discussion based on her responses to my subtle aids.  By this time, we were halfway around the short end, so I decided to save my amazing halt by not picking the fight over the wrong lead.  I know many would disagree with this choice, and I’m fine with that.  I knew which points I wanted to show off.  I didn’t want to lose my awesome halt because of a “discussion” after we had already blown the canter lead.  So, I finished my line (on the wrong lead) and halted within 2 steps from transitioning down from the canter.  Our halt was RIGHT in front of the judges booth. Moreover, we had ZERO back steps!

I took my place back in line and we all waited for the top 5 announcements… Much to my surprise and delight, we were called into the middle of the pack of Top 5 horses!!!
Alas, we did not earn Champion or Reserve.  However, I would have been disappointed if we had with that blown lead.  I was elated with our result, and we wandered back to the stalls to give the Fancy Pony a well-deserved rest break before our next Championship class…..

Regional Top 5 - Hunter Hack ATR

Working Hunter 14.2 and Under
I knew we had moved the competition to the next level when I looked at the hunter course.  We had a new question.  Instead of the traditional semi-figure-8 course, we had a tight turn off od the long side to a bending line in both courses…
Our first course required us to make the turn and ride it as our second line!!
The Fancy Pony was so caught off guard, she rubbed the fence.  In fact, we discussed the turn as we made it:
Yo, Pony, we need to keep this dialed in tight so you have a straight approach to the next fence.
This is obviously a hunter course, and tight turns don’t exist. This is where we make a swooping turn to the diagonal line.
Seriously.  We’re supposed to go over this vertical here.
What are you talking about?  Whatever.  I don’t know why you think this tight turn can get me to the next fence.
Thank you for working with me.  There’s our next fence!  Stay awake, because we have to bend to that other one on the far side.
Holy cow! What the heck is this fence doing here???**BOING**

We finished out course A, then later went in for course B.  She was willing to work with me this time!
We landed all of our leads, and the jumps felt beautiful! I was in control of all of our distances!

After everyone had completed both courses, we untacked and jogged for the judge.  Then we hastily tacked up again for the flat portion of the class!  I don’t recall anything particularly exciting about the flatting.  They called us into the top 5, then announced the Reserve Champion.  I was so busy congratulating her, I almost didn’t hear them announce the Champion.  That’s my number!!  That’s the horse I’m riding!!  OMG!!  We just won a Regional Championship!!!!
I cried.  Right there in the ring.  I stayed for the photo shoot, and I jumped the fence with my ribbons!  Who knows if I’ll ever get this opportunity again?
I’m still over the moon!
Covered in satin...

Green Working Hunter
This class doesn’t require qualifications, even at the National level.  This year, we declared ourselves “working hunter” by entering this class (which can be set 2’6”-2’9”).  Fancy Pony was getting rather lackadaisical in her approach to the fences and not bothering to pick her legs up any higher than necessary.  To remedy this, I moved one of the warm-up fences up to 2’9”.  No filler.  I asked for our tight turn from the other fence and landing on the lead I determined.  I made sure we could do this both directions before heading into the ring for real.
I only had one competitor in this class.  She was tough.  They were solid.  Top notch.
We were both set to go, so our rounds went quickly.  The Fancy Pony was solid in both rounds.  I felt like they were our best rounds, yet!  We missed one of our leads.
Based on the jog, I bested our competition on course A, but she bested me on course B.
We headed back to the ring for our flat class, and I pushed the Pony for the best she had to offer!
Again, we were all (2) called back for Top 5, and they announced the Champion first.  I assure you, they earned it!  We still walked away with a Reserve Championship, and I feel like we earned that, as well!  We went in and put down our best performances!
The experience I gained at this show will help us grow.  We can only get better from here.
Stall Bragging
The obligatory 'truck dash' photo...



  1. Aww congrats!!! So happy for you :) I hope you buy the jumping with your ribbons picture!

    1. I'm planning on it! It's my first regional championship EVER!!


    1. Thank you! I still can't believe it!!

  3. Wow, congrats! Sounds like a killer day

    1. It truly was a KILLER day!! I am so proud of this pony!!

  4. woo hooo - congrats on all the awesome satin! Fancy Pony looks soooo fancy haha

    1. Thank you so much! She is so game! I love how she is so willing to try whatever I'm in the mood for!!

  5. Oh. My. Goodness! A HUGE congratulations to you and Fancy Pony!! I'm so so so incredibly happy for you and proud that all of your hard work is paying off!!!!!! Ahh, I'm so over the moon for ya'll :D :D :D

    1. Thank you!!!
      I look at the garlands hanging in the kitchen every morning and know that it really is possible with hard work and determination! :D

  6. I am so so excited for you two!! You deserve every inch of that satin!



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