Monday, March 22, 2010

Changing things up...

Prophet annoying Chrissy's boyfriend

Coolest dog to have as a neighbor -- Annibell

When I was growing up, there was this great little area show circuit called Heart of America Horse Show Assocation (HAHSA). About twice or three times a month, there would be a show within an hours drive where you could go run classes all day long that were something like $8. There were eventers, Hunter/Jumpers, backyard pets and everything in between. The venues all had their own twist (outdoor/indoor/field/etc...) but the classlist stayed virtually the same (minus some 'special' classes at some of the shows), and it was awesome. Horses hung out all day and were just immersed in the process. If you had a problem, you entered the next class and fixed it. If you had a great ride, you entered the next class and hoped you'd hold it all together again. The competition was good, the classes were large and the experience gained was priceless.

Now that I'm an "East Coast Eventer", I feel like I've lost that "just go hang out all day and jump and jump and jump" quality in my horses. With our disastrous Show Jump round at Preliminary in the Fall, I was super stoked to head to the beautiful Virginia Horse Center last weekend for the Thoroughbred Celebration hunter/jumper show. Plan was to play it by ear, but to get at least a couple 3'7" jumper classes in over the 2 days. P started off a star in the hunters, placing in a very competitive class (he's versatile!). We then got to sit, and sit, and sit, and sit and wait for the jumper classes. We did the two 3'1" jumpers, and placed reasonably well (scored a qualifying placing for the Stakes class), and I definitely didn't push him for any 'speed'. The jumps weren't backing him off at all, and he was LOVING this new rollback and jump thing. It was great for him!

We then started warming up over some rather large looking single hanging rails, prepping for the 3'7" classes (which looked huge from outside the ring). Not gonna lie -- I had more then one thought about just calling it a day... but once I got in the ring and was cantering around, I realized they did not look bad at all, and we were OFF! He flew around the course, making it all feel quite easy, but once again, he was just a bit strong -- very rideable though! He took the blue in the second class -- the only clean round in the jump-off! I was quite proud of him.

Day two brought one more round in the 3'1" and 3'7" before the $1000 stakes class. Prophet felt just a bit tired from the night before, and he and I put in quite a lack-luster round for the first go, pulling two rails, and just not being impressive in general. He rocked the higher class, waking up a bit, and putting in a stellar round -- coming in 2nd to a VERY nice horse... and completing the division as Reserve Champ!!! What a star.

Since he had qualified for the Stakes class at both levels, I opted for the lower fences so I could go faster. He put in a lovely double clear on his first go -- even with my biff of the last fence where he proceeded to turn himself inside out in order to keep the rails up. He was fantastic for the jump-off, although I was having to keep his interest as the lower fences were definitely not holding him. We took a dramatic inside turn, and coming to the same last fence as the long course, I knew 4 strides out we were right where we needed to be... and what does he do? He figured with a couple hundred dollars on the line, that now was the time to drop a two and pay me back for the biffed spot during the previous round. UGH! But I love him anyway, and he's just a bit vengeful, just like me, so I can't blame him.

All in all, he was a super star, and I feel like his show jumping will definitely benefit from the weekend. Plus, the lady from Riders Up! Outfitters said she loved my horse, and that it looked like we were both having so much fun... I think that's better then any ribbon! :)

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