As I said in my previous post, I was unnecessarily freaking out about stadium because the jumps were going to be so high. I'm not sure what happened to the rider who used to do the 4 foot jumpers, but I'm not that person anymore. I think maybe breaking most of the bones in my back might have something to do with it.
Anyway, part of my freaking out about the height is that Nilla is convinced she needs to over jump everything because she hates touching poles. I know, I know, everyone wants that in a jumper. But she's not just clearing the jumps, she's massively over jumping them:
She's like 6+ inches above the top rail. This was cute when the jumps were 18" and under, but it's now rather unseating me. Especially since Nilla can only reliably trot jumps. If she canters, she refuses to let me rate her approaching the jump and then either takes the long spot or a half step. So we can only trot these jumps and trot jumps are never smooth like canter jumps.
I know that the vast majority of it is my problem. I need to be a better rider with a stronger leg and more independent seat. But Nilla's hocks are in terrible shape so I rarely jump her to preserve them. Neither of us is going to improve much at this rate. I am going to try to sign up for a jumping or xc clinic coming up. I might also look into doing some jumping lessons on school horses. Long story/tangent, sorry, but that's why I was pretty nervous going into stadium jumping on Sunday.
And warm up didn't really settle my nerves when Nilla took the first little cross rail like this:
My husband was like, you should try the vertical and I was like, nope, I'm good. Which is clearly not an appropriate response so I went and did both of the verticals a few times.
I told my husband he needs to get a better camera or figure out how to focus better. I wish these shots weren't so blurry. Anyway, we stopped with that as Nilla was still pretty slow. She was over jumping, but not really picking up her knees. I knew she was tired and didn't wear her down.
I forgot to get a picture, but there was a little girl doing the Intro division on an adorable fluffy white pony. The pony was so cute, it was basically a real-life Thelwell pony. She did the dressage and then for jumping, they lowered all of the jumps to pole piles and she just trotted over them. It was really cute. I missed getting a picture of the little girl, but here's the pony being warmed up by an older girl before jumping:
All of this took forever, so we had a lot of down-time. It was cute to watch though. The trainer that brought the fluffy pony also brought a really nice little Welsh cross that was doing Intro with one kid and Novice with another. A pony that can pack around a walk-trotter and then do Novice is worth it's weight in gold. That barn really lucked out in the pony department.
The course was super easy. They ended up setting the jumps pretty low. I think everything was 2'3" and not 2'6". It was also basically a hunter course with outside lines and easy turns:
We finally got to go and we muddled our way through it. I feel like my position was terrible and I felt like I was really letting Nilla down. But she was a good little mule. I even let her canter the two lines and she did a great job.
Nilla tends to flick her ears back as we go over the jumps, but I promise she loves jumping. Here she is landing from 7, heading to 8:
Here's some happy ears:
This show gives the option to do the course twice and takes your better round. We didn't touch a pole so I stopped after the one. I could have done the second round for practice, but I wanted to save her energy for XC schooling. I tied her up with her hay to wait out the last few rounds and then we collected our blue ribbon. The jumping judge was kind enough to comment that at least we had gotten a great score in dressage so it wasn't a total gimme ribbon. It was, but whatever. It was a very good first experience at BN level. We cantered for the first time at a show and we jumped bigger jumps than Nilla's ever done before and we didn't die or embarrass ourselves. I'll take it!
Stay tuned for Nilla's favorite part - schooling XC - tomorrow:
Labels: Horse Show, Mule Riding, Nilla