Apparently I can only go to a jumper show when the temperatures are less than ideal and it’s raining bucket loads! Yesterday I had a similar experience to my first outing of the year. The weather was disgusting, so I willed myself to make the journey over to GMHA for a casual jumper show. Of course I was punctual as usual, with plenty of time to get situated and learn my course. Apparently I gave myself too much time. I drove into GMHA feeling and looking perplexed, as the parking lot was completely vacant. I thought to myself, stupid me, I probably got the date wrong…IDIOT. I walked into the office and the ladies looked back at me like I had 3 eyeballs. The Ladies: What are YOU doing here? I responded, Um….isn’t there a jumper show this afternoon? The ladies chuckled, we didn’t think anyone would ACTUALLY show up!
As I started gearing up, unloading Valonia, and getting myself situated, I could hear Denny Emerson’s voice in the back of my head saying, people NEED to go to more jumper shows…they need to get in the ring, go jump a round, sit around and wait, then go in and jump another round, and so on and so forth. So despite the pathetic turnout, and despite the low key atmosphere, I was thrilled to jump “away from home.” Here are THREE reasons why $40 bought me more than I bargained for!
1) Pressure. Okay, maybe you cannot compare the pressure and anxiety I was feeling to the pressure that Lauren Kieffer, or William Fox Pitt were recently under when they went into show jumping at Rolex, but nevertheless, I was not riding at home, therefore there was a degree of stress. If I can put myself under pressure more often, I will become a better rider and competitor. Not to mention, these shows are perfect for event horses because you can enter as many classes as you desire. At an event, you are given ONE chance in show jumping and that’s it. We need to learn how to ride well and not crumble under pressure. What better way to accomplish this than a local jumper show?
2) Inexpensive. I understand that not every event rider has access to a trailer, or a nearby show, but for those of you who do have access to such availabilities, then the answer is simple. I drove about TWO hours total and spent FORTY DOLLARS and jumped THREE courses, which was equivalent to about thirty plus jumping efforts. Translation: I was given about thirty plus chances to get the canter I wanted and find my distance to any given jump. If that’s not a great deal, I don’t know what is.
3) Determination. GMHA has no clue that they gave me so much more than I paid for, but they did. Here’s why. I have been struggling with locating my inner demon, or my aggressive/pro-active self. This alter ego is the perfect match for my powerful and opinionated mare. She responds extremely well to decisive riding and abhors wishy washy riding. I have been stewing over how to perfect my ride on her all winter and this outing gave me the opportunity to ride like I meant it.
I used to be confused why Denny was so adamant about jumper shows, and now I understand better than ever. Especially schooling jumper shows. Obviously the big fancy recognized hunter/jumper shows and real jumper shows can get pricy. But these small schooling shows are awesome for countless reasons. You get the chance to practice in front of people without having it really count towards anything. You get to ride under a degree of pressure. You can go in the ring as many times as you want. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot…AND IT’S FUN! For all you Area 1ers, check out what other great shows and events GMHA has to offer!