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Andrea Glazer

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Andrea’s Return to the Maccabiah Games: Bronze is the New Gold

Two summers ago, EN readers followed the story of Andrea Glazer, an eventer among Grand Prix show jumpers at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. She catch rode an unfamiliar horse over 1.20-meter (3’9″) and above show jumping courses to help Team USA earn the silver medal, and was selected to represent the team once again at the 2019 European Maccabiah Games in Budapest, Hungary. Today, she reports on how the Games went — spoiler alert: Andrea is a bada$$. Read more at her blog, Dre the Zookeeper

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Thank goodness for my parents, cousin, coaches, and teammates, because without them, I would not have gotten through the Nation’s Cup (rounds 1 and 2). After the completion of the first day of competition, to say I was disappointed, confused, and absolutely dreading the following day would be a polite way to put it.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

I had to go to the Maccabi hub to the see the physical therapists for my leg because it was pretty painful – you could see exactly where the rail hit my leg. Half of my leg was numb because of the swelling (despite my parents being doctors, I’m not good at explaining medical stuff), and the other half of my leg was in a considerable amount of pain. When I went to get my leg checked, I asked if I was just being a wimp or if she would have been in a lot of pain too, just to make sure I wasn’t milking it. She assured me that it looked very, very painful and I wasn’t being a baby – thank goodness. We iced my leg and then she wrapped it up with an ace bandage that made me feel very cool, I won’t lie, and off I went back to the hotel, completely exhausted emotionally and physically from the series of unfortunate events that occurred that day.

You could say I didn’t sleep much before the next day of competition – I had never felt so nervous to jump a course in my life. Not even that I was concerned about it going well, I was nervous that if I fell again, I could really injure myself since I’m already down a leg.

After achieving a whopping 4 hours of sleep, Arly and I went to the stables early to flat both horses and get them out of the stall. Arly told me to canter Nando, for at least 20 minutes because he was probably going to be wound up from yesterday, and she saw how strong he was, so any energy we could exhaust, could help me.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Limping my way to the barn, I could barely zip up my ripped boots. It was my inner calf that was the major pain point – not the best area to be hurt since that’s a vital body part you use when jumping a horse. Anyways, I tried not to think about how much pain I was in, got on Nando and off we went to the warm up ring.

The venue wasn’t buzzing since the competition wasn’t starting until the afternoon. Nando was so quiet, listening to my aids, and rideable – similar to the version of him I rode during the practice round. I knew this wouldn’t be the case later in the day, so I still had a nice 20-25 minute canter, despite my leg feeling like it could fall off at any minute, and doing everything I could to get him listening to me with the hopes that this training could carry into our ride the afternoon, despite the change in atmosphere.

After our flat ride, I went to attempt to eat some food before watching them begin to construct the course. I immediately lost my appetite after seeing them build the jumps, hiking them up to a height way past my comfort zone. I watched in horror, noticing a double (oxer one stride to a vertical), a triple combination similar to the one he stopped at yesterday, and a massive triple bar 5 strides to a liverpool. There were multiple square oxers much bigger than the day prior, and #5 was probably the biggest vertical I had ever been asked to jump in a competition. I thought I was going to puke – are they trying to kill me?

Jump #5 – pictures don’t do it justice!

I walked up to the Israeli Chef d’Equipe as she was looking at the course and said, “I’m not a quitter, I never quit, but I really want to quit right now.”

She saw everything that happened the day before and goes, “I know you can do this, but if you really aren’t comfortable jumping it, then you don’t have to.” Maybe not the pep talk I was looking for…

I thought to myself, okay, if you can get through the first 4 jumps maybe you can just do a nice victory gallop, wave to your parents, and politely leave the ring. I went up to David, Carly’s coach, and told him my fictitious plan and he looked at me like I had two heads and goes, “nope, you’re doing this. You can jump this course.”

One of the many massive oxers

Next thing I knew, I was walking the massive course and planning my ride – David told me that I had to get the proper strides in each line because the jumps were bigger and I can’t take flyers at big oxers. On any other horse, this is so obvious – why wouldn’t you get the correct striding? Duh. Except I had little to no brakes on Nando, so fitting in the correct strides seemed nearly impossible. I was most concerned about the triple bar to the liverpool – how was I expected to get him back to fit 5 strides in?

The triple bar – hoping not to miss my distance to this one!

I couldn’t look at the course any longer – I had to get on or else I truly was going to throw up. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to attempt this – I went back to the stables to get Nando and start my warm up.

A major downside to falling off in the first day of competition was that I was the first competitor in the ring.

Yup, that’s me, first in the ring..

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

This is the last thing you want because you have no idea how the course rides, if the lines ride like they walk, etc. To give you a better idea of how daunting this course looked, my mom was crying while I started my warm up – I’m not even kidding; I was absolutely terrified.

I started trotting and cantering around before heading towards the jumps. I again, checked to see what minimal brakes I was working with, doing everything in my power to get him to pay attention to me before I started jumping.

Starting over the warm-up jumps, I made sure to sit so tall to every jump, like there was a string connecting my pony tail to his tail, with my legs wrapped around him as much as I could bear (so painful with my bummed leg) – if he tried anything, I was hanging on with every fiber of my being. I jumped a few verticals and even some oxers (thank goodness) and it was like yesterday didn’t even happen. We found our groove again which was the only comforting thing I kept reminding myself before prancing into the ring (remember, he is ring sour #blessed).

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

I did 3 canter-halts before starting my course; one of them being next to the huge triple bar, getting his nose as close to that enormous jump with the hopes that familiarizing him to the monstrosity would better my chances of making it to the other side. The bell rang and I could feel the nerves from the spectators, but the 45 second countdown started, so I took a deep breath and headed towards the first jump.

Over the oxer we went and then he jolted in the turn to #2, the same thing he did yesterday when I was heading for the triple combination. I made sure to get him back as best I could to set him up to the next fence that was off a turn, which we jumped beautifully! Then we jumped our first related distance line – a big vertical, 6 strides to a massive oxer. I got him back in the line – it was perfect!

The vertical into the line to the 6 stride line.


The vertical into the line to the 6 stride line.

Just to prove how determined/terrified I was, please enjoy the following close-up of the previous photo:

Landing after the oxer at #4 was the first time I remembered to breathe before a rollback turn to the 5th jump, that I previously had no intentions of jumping. I got him there perfectly, and with a half of a second of feeling relieved, off we went to the first combination. I had to ride very aggressively (for obvious reasons) to the big oxer, so he hit it behind, but we made it through the combination!

Next was the triple bar line – he got very strong after the combination and I was yelling woah, along with some tugs on the reins to try and get him to listen; I wouldn’t say he totally came back to me, but I saw my distance to the triple bar in the turn, and we got there great. Despite using everything I had in me to try and get him to slow down in the line, he ate up the line and we got very deep to the liverpool, but I stayed so far back, preparing for the worst, and kicked him off the ground – he jumped it! Hitting it upfront because of the distance – I didn’t even care – I made it through the line!

Then we had the triple combination – we jumped it so well that even the crowd cheered! I’m still not sure if they cheered because we jumped it so well or cheered because they were in disbelief that I actually made it through on the first attempt, but nonetheless we cleared it with ease.

I turned to the last 3 jumps that included a square oxer, a vertical and then a bending line to an oxer to finish. I was absolutely determined to get this horse through those finish flags, and we managed to get all of our distances and fly though the finish flags!

Everyone cheered and I still got to do that ‘victory gallop’ around the ring! The truth is with that – I was so exhausted from holding him through the whole course, I couldn’t stop him so I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Once I could finally catch my breath and slow him down, all I could hear was my mom screaming, “I’M SO PROUD OF YOU! I’M SO PROUD!!!”

That was when it really sunk in – this was that once in a lifetime feeling – I was so overjoyed, relieved, and just absolutely ecstatic – I DID IT!

I come out of the ring patting and hugging Nando, giving Arly a high five, to then jump off Nando (on my right leg because my left leg felt like it might fall off) to be greeted with the biggest hug from my mom, still screaming about how proud she is of me.

I watched the rest of the riders go and realized how difficult the course was. Rails were flying, people weren’t getting around – I’m telling you that triple bar was huge! Arly and Carly were the last in the ring because they had jumped clean up until this point. I was able to cheer them on, with the other families and Carly had the quickest jump off to take home the gold, with Arly taking home the silver – GO USA!!!

Cheering for Carly after she won the individual gold medal!

After the completion of the event, my mom, cousin, and I ran out into the ring and took pictures next to all of the jumps. Yes, I looked like a complete idiot being the only one doing this, but I mean, you have to do it for the blog!

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

That night we headed to the Maccabi hub for the medal ceremony. I got to limp my way onto stage for that team bronze medal. The blood, copious amount of sweat, and lots of happy and sad tears that got me this bronze medal is actually impressive. I mean, bronze looks better with my skin tone anyways!

Thank you to everyone for reading my blogs and going along this wild journey with me. Representing 3-Day Eventing, the Jewish Community, Louisville, and the United States is an unbelievable opportunity that I am so lucky to have experienced. It may not have gone as planned, but I am still very thankful to have ridden for the USA, and I mean, if you’re going to fall off, you might as well do it in your pinque coat in Budapest, right?

Andrea’s Return to the Maccabiah Games: Rallying for Team Rounds 1 & 2

Two summers ago, EN readers followed the story of Andrea Glazer, an eventer among Grand Prix show jumpers at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. She catch rode an unfamiliar horse over 1.20-meter (3’9″) and above show jumping courses to help Team USA earn the silver medal, and was selected to represent the team once again at the 2019 European Maccabiah Games in Budapest, Hungary. Today, she reports on how the Games went — spoiler alert: Andrea is a bada$$. Read more at her blog, Dre the Zookeeper

The morning of the competition, both Arly and I headed to the barn at 7:30 a.m. for a quick flat ride before gearing up to compete. I was excited for any opportunity to ride Nando – his changes are automatic, his lateral work is effortless, and to top it off, he’s so pretty that people can’t help but stare at him! Also, any opportunity I had to get to know the horse better, I took full advantage of. With the grounds still being quiet as most riders hadn’t arrived yet, Nando was quiet and relaxed during our flat ride. We rode around for 30 minutes or so, and took them back to the stables where Victoria took them from us to give them a quick bath and finish up their braids (best braids ever, might I add).

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

I headed towards the ring as the course was open to be walked. The jumps used in the course were similar to the ones we were able to school in the practice round, but they were a bit higher. The course consisted of multiple related distances, big square oxers, a triple combination, and a liverpool – nothing too daunting on the horses I normally compete, but on a horse I had only spent one day getting to know, it wasn’t going to be an easy task to say the least.

Another tricky part of this competition was that we didn’t have our own team coach. Luckily, Carly brought her coach, David Blake, and Arly is a trainer herself so after I walked the course, I would consult them both to make sure all of my plans aligned with theirs, and listen to any input Arly had on how she felt Nando would handle the course.

After reviewing the course and walking it enough times that it was engrained in my brain, I went back to the barn to get on Nando. I put on my GPA helmet (trying to fit in don’t forget), my black gloves (show jumpers never wear white gloves), and my pinque coat (the highlight of my life is wearing this coat), and I was headed towards the ring to warm-up.

Andrea’s Return to the Maccabiah Games: The Horse Swap

Two summers ago, EN readers followed the story of Andrea Glazer, an eventer among Grand Prix show jumpers at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. She catch rode an unfamiliar horse over 1.20-meter (3’9″) and above show jumping courses to help Team USA earn the silver medal, and is now preparing to represent the team once again at the 2019 European Maccabiah Games later this summer in Budapest, Hungary. Once again, Andrea has agreed take us along for the ride. In the first installation of her blog series, she catches us up on what she’s been up to these past couple years. Read more at her blog, Dre the Zookeeper

Nando and Andrea. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

I’m currently writing this blog in the viewing area in the National Riding Hall of Budapest. What. Is. My. Life.

Let me backtrack a second before I get ahead of myself. I competed Sunday, July 28th on Spicy in the Classic (remember, this is one of the few times you get to wear white pants) to then run home, finish packing, be dropped off at the train station, to start my long journey to JFK.

I wouldn’t consider myself a light or even moderate packer, especially when I’m bringing my riding gear along with it. I had to pack Arly (my teammate) and my USA gear, my boots, helmet, gloves, spurs, etc. as well as all my normal people clothes and made sure nothing was left behind.

I had to lug my very overweight suitcase, a carry-on roller bag and my purse on 3 trains just to get to JFK. Don’t worry, my bags caused such bad traffic jams it would have shown up as a red line on Google maps, and of course, the escalators at one of the stations were broken, so I had to gather a team of people to help get me up the stairs.

I finally arrived at JFK and was able to meet Carly Dvorkin, one of my teammates, and we hit it off immediately. She’s only 18, but she is very outgoing, fun and a really good rider so I knew we would have fun. We were on a flight with the USA soccer and field hockey teams who we became friends with – it’s so fun to meet all of these other Jewish athletes and listening to their stories of how they trained/where they played to get to the European Maccabi Games. We boarded the flight where I of course had a middle seat next to a screaming baby, and despite the circumstances, I fell straight asleep and woke up after the plane landed; that’s one perk of being a working student – I sleep great whenever and wherever I can.

Carly and Andrea with the mandatory accreditation. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Carly and I headed to our hotel where we would stay with all of the other equestrian teams, as well as the chess and basketball teams. While walking into the hotel, we ran into our 3rd teammate, Arly Golombek (bear with me because having teammates with such similar names can get kind of confusing).

Maccabi USA Show Jumping Team. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Let me give a brief overview of my teammates so you can get an idea of the level of competition I am a part of:

Carly lives outside of Boca and competes her two horses at the 1.40+ level. She has been show jumping for 10 years and flew both her coach and horse to Budapest for the Games. She explained to me in the airport that she and the mare she brought over know each other so well, everything just clicks.

Arly lives half of the year in Wellington and the other 6 months in France. She competes tons of horses at the 1.40+ level and luckily for me, she is currently living in France, so she offered to bring her own horse, as well as a horse for me, to compete at the Games.

Let me repeat it for the people in the back – my teammate is bringing me a horse to compete from France – WHAT IS MY LIFE.

Okay, back to the blog:

As soon as we settled into our hotel room (for approximately 30 seconds because we are on very tight schedules), Arly and I headed to the National Riding Hall, which is only a 10 minute walk from our hotel, where the competition is held so that I could meet her two horses. The National Riding Hall is easily the coolest place I have ever competed. It’s smack dab in the city and as soon as you are able to get through the very strict security, metal detectors, and a ton of other hoops to prove you’re a Maccabi athlete, you can explore the many indoor and outdoor rings the venue has to offer. There are flags waving for each country competing, the jumbotron has the order-of-go projected, and there is always music blaring just to enhance the atmosphere – it is too cool.

Arly had sent me videos of both horses prior to the Games, and I was immediately drawn to Vanilla who was a small, spicy mare that was a great jumper. Nando, the second horse Arly brought is a big, beautiful dark bay gelding that she said wasn’t as straight forward of a ride. Knowing this, we walked into the barn to meet Arly’s groom, Victoria, and both horses who were already tacked up and ready to be ridden. I walked right up to the adorable bay mare with the best mane of all time and hopped on for our first ride. Arly lead the way on Nando, and we walked into the practice ring to ride alongside our competitors.

Vanilla posing in her stall before our first ride. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Training with all of the other competitors with their matching gear that proudly displayed their native country was surreal. There aren’t as many competitors here as there were in Israel – only about 15 total. There were only 3 teams this time around – Hungary, Switzerland, USA and a handful of individual riders. I looked around at every rider and their horse noticing how synced each pair was. I was very impressed with the field we were up against – they seemed like they had been riding their horses for ages, as I was just having my first ride on Vanilla.

Turns out, the reason everyone seemed so in tune with their horses is because I am the only competitor that isn’t on my own horse. THE ONLY ONE THAT HAD ONE DAY TO GET TO KNOW MY HORSE. This is a huge disadvantage in this sport, but there’s no turning back now.

I flatted Vanilla around, showing her off a bit because she is so trained on the flat. I was testing out all of her buttons – she’s so fun to flat, and it turns out she is a bit more of a kick ride than I expected, but always did what I asked. I looked over at Arly cantering around Nando thinking to myself, “Wow, he is so fancy he could win the dressage too!” The beautiful dark bay gelding just floats across the ring.

After a bit more flatwork, Arly and I headed over to the jump ring so I could really learn how what Vanilla was like. I know Neal and Licha will be mad, but I was a little nervous just because Arly owns, trains, and rides these horses so I really didn’t want to screw up. Vanilla is a bit different to all of the horses I am used to riding – she was honestly just so simple. This nice and simple of a horse is not my normal ride, which became apparent and even though we didn’t touch a rail; I just didn’t feel like we were off to a great start. It took a while for us to get in the groove, and Arly helped me sort it out, but even by the end, I wasn’t feeling the most confident with how I was riding her. At Hay Fever Farm, we always say, “less is more” and those are words to live by on that little mare, but it’s the hardest thing to do I swear.

Definitely not the ride I wanted to have, but we called it a day and headed back to the hotel for a much needed sleep and would regroup in the morning. I was so tired after the longest 24 hours that included a competition, 3 trains, 2 flights and attempting to get to know the horse I was going to compete, that I don’t even remember falling asleep that night.

Arly helping me with Nando in the practice ring. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

The next day we headed back to the barn and Arly had me start out on Nando this time. Nando is quite the opposite of Vanilla – he is big, flashy, and very, very strong. I got on him and flatted around and he is definitely one of the nicest horses I have ever flatted! We went ahead and jumped a vertical and oxer a handful of times before the FEI judges came and told me I had to wait until the official practice during the afternoon.

Even after just jumping 5 simple jumps, I definitely felt like I got along with this horse more – you definitely can’t just sit there on him, and that is more of the ride I am used to. He is not an easy horse to ride – he can get very strong, sometimes he is uneasy in the bridle, and is just a bit complicated, but I could really ride confidently to the fences and it was easy for me to get him to the perfect distance. After the jump school, we untacked before getting back on for the afternoon practice where each team was allowed 365 seconds in the actual jump arena we would be competing in.

We were able to warm up and Nando and I jumped some big verticals and a square oxer before heading into the ring for our team practice. I had both Arly and Carly’s coach, David Blake, helping me warm-up. We didn’t have our own coach for the show jumping team, which was a little concerning, but thankfully, both David and Arly stepped in to help me. The jumps were set at a decent (they looked like they were 1.40m, but supposedly they weren’t) 1.15m – 1.20m height and I was excited just to be riding this beautiful horse in Budapest in the first place. Carly went first around the course, then Arly zipped through on Vanilla, and I started 3rd on Nando through the course. It was honestly like I had been riding the horse for months! We cantered through the course and truly it went really well! We jumped around clean and I was able to get a good feeling around the course.

We got rung out of the arena because we ran out of time, so I wasn’t able to finish the course, but I was still happy with how it went. He definitely eats up the lines – his stride is huge so keeping that in mind since he is very, very strong, that might get us into trouble. It’s always hard during the practice round to really gage what the horse is like in the show ring because there aren’t many spectators there during the practice, so you don’t really get the feel of how the horse reacts to the tense atmosphere, but with only one day to get to know Nando, I didn’t really have a choice!

Terrible quality, but Nando and I in the ring during our team practice. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

After the practice round, Arly and I made the decision to switch horses – her to ride Vanilla and for me to ride Nando. I was feeling a bit better about things because Nando and I seemed to click, but I knew I still had my work cut out for me. We went to the show office and officially changed which horses we were going to ride – basically signing out fate away when the secretary reassured us that after we write these horses next to our names, we weren’t allowed to make any more changes.

So it was set in stone – I was going to ride Nando the following morning and I was only able to spend 1 day, 2 rides and maybe 20 jumps getting to know him.

Andrea’s Return to the Maccabiah Games: Show Jumping for Dummies

Two summers ago, EN readers followed the story of Andrea Glazer, an eventer among Grand Prix show jumpers at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. She catch rode an unfamiliar horse over 1.20-meter (3’9″) and above show jumping courses to help Team USA earn the silver medal, and is now preparing to represent the team once again at the 2019 European Maccabiah Games next week in Budapest, Hungary. Once again, Andrea has agreed take us along for the ride. In the second installation of her EN series, she shares a few cultural differences between the two sports. Read more at her blog, Dre the Zookeeper

Photo by Hoof Print Images.

I have spent a total of nine weeks working for Neal and Licha Shapiro at Hay Fever Farm, and wow, let me tell you these show jumpers are relentless.

The training that I have undergone has nearly broken me, but I truly don’t know what I would have done had I not come and learned (still a work in progress) how to properly show jump over the past two months. Coming from a purely eventing background, I have a completely new understanding of what really goes on behind the scenes in the show jumping world.

Before I leave for Budapest to jump a strange horse over 1.20m+ courses in the hopes of winning a medal, I would like to enlighten you on how show jumpers prepare for the crucial 90 seconds in the show ring, and the primary differences between eventing and show jumping. If you’re looking to maybe dabble in the jumper world, you should definitely take notes, because I will save you from a ton of embarrassment that I was lucky enough to experience myself.

So welcome to a quick synopsis of Transitioning to Show Jumping for Dummies.

1. Dress regulations

If you’re trying to become a show jumper, you probably want to try and look the part. Don’t just waltz into the jumper ring thinking you won’t stick out in your eventing gear; trust me, you will stick out like a gaited horse in dressage warm-up.

Here’s what not to wear in the ring (this includes lessons and showing):

My work uniform that follows the show jumping dress regulations. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Full seat jodhpurs – it’ll be OK, I promise.

Sorry Karen, you’re going to have to hang up your FITS; they are completely foreign to anyone in the jumper world. It may sound crazy, but it turns out, you actually will be able to stay on the horse without the grip of full seats. Also, an important difference to note, is that jumpers do not compete in white jods, unless they’re competing in a classic. Basically, if you’re doing a few jumper classes at HITS, don’t wear white jods. They are only worn on special occasions. Yes, I did wear white jods at HITS and someone did come up to my coach and asked if I was eventer.

Goodbye stock tie.

One of the biggest blessings of the jumper world – you don’t have to wear a stock tie! You heard it here first; no running around the stabling trying to find the one person in the aisle that is able to properly tie a stock tie because you still couldn’t figure out how to tie one on yourself.

Everyone here wears their white shirt that they button all the way up under their jacket. *VERY IMPORTANT: as soon as you jump the last jump, always unbutton your shirt and leave a popped collar. This is very, very important if you want to fit in. God forbid you walk around with your shirt buttoned all the way up after you’ve already competed – you’ll definitely look like a newbie.

 

The proper ‘show jumping attire’ featuring my favorite horse, Spicy. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

The beloved monoflap saddle.

Yes, it’s one I will never understand or agree with, but I have yet to see one other rider in a monoflap saddle, except Boyd Martin who does compete at the jumper shows I’m at (ya know, just Boyd and me representing the eventing world over here). Everyone and their mothers ride in regular jumping saddles, but I still stay true to my eventing community (and can’t afford a new one) so I’m riding in a monoflap and even if people stare, at least I can laugh back at them because it’s less tack to clean, right?

Don’t even think about wearing a skullcap.

Walking into the jumper ring with a Charles Owen skullcap is like walking into the ring with EVENTER tattooed on your forehead. I am allowing you the chance to not be shunned by your coaches – you are welcome.

Here’s a fun story of my first time in the jumper ring – still bitter that no one warned me – @my jumper friends thanks for nothing!!!!

At my first show with Hay Fever Farm, about three days after I arrived, I was lucky enough to ride the most handsome, Mexicano, to the ring and warm him up for his rider before his class started. Known around the barn as Mexi, the handsome 16.3 chestnut gelding, former 1.40m and equitation godsend, is probably the nicest horse I have ever sat on. I felt like $1,000,000 walking past my “fellow” show jumpers, strutting my stuff as if I were Beezie Madden walking into the Grand Prix ring.

Feeling confident as ever, I began trotting around the ring, showing off the fancy horse until I hear someone yell, “YOU LOOK LIKE A DOOFUS,” I turned to see who these words were directed at before my Beezie Madden aura diminished as I realized Licha was staring straight at me.

I trotted straight to her absolutely terrified as she walked up to me, grabbed the brim on my Charles Owen skullcap, and tried everything she could to make the upward-facing brim to point downwards. The brim fought a good fight, reverting straight back to its normal habitat facing up, but Licha doesn’t give up easily, if ever. The fight continued until the brim finally surrendered.

I looked around and realized that I was definitely the only one in a skullcap, and to this day, I still have not seen one jumper rider wear one, so I guess they’re not the current trend in today’s jumper world.

Lesson learned: brims aren’t adjustable and save the skullcaps for cross-country.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

2. You get a groom, she gets a groom, and yes, even the child that can’t even walk gets a groom!!!

Everyone thinks that a lot of the hunter/jumpers just walk up to the ring in their riding attire with their horse groomed immaculately, with their tack on, ready for them to mount. I can confirm that this myth is a proven fact for the majority of riders, including myself. It is the craziest thing to wrap your head around – this creates a completely different culture in this discipline. I even show up to the barn to ride with the horses tacked up ready for me – what is my life?? The grooms are at the barn from sunrise to sundown, ensuring the horses are taken care of to the highest level. You really realize how different it is when you go to a show and see all of the other stables operating in the same fashion.

Let me give you an example of a normal day at a competition:

Night before the competition: the grooms and myself pack the tack that is cleaned so well, it could pass any formal Pony Club exam, fill hay nets and ensure the trailer is prepared so that not one shaving is out of place, and ready to go for an early departure the next day.

5:15 a.m.: The grooms and myself arrive at the barn to feed and groom the horses

6 a.m.:  The groomed horses are loaded onto the trailer. Neal drives the truck with the grooms, horses and myself to the show.

6:15 a.m.: Vital pitstop to Dunkin’ Donuts

7 a.m.: Arrive to the show, get all the horses tacked up and ready whenever we are told to, walk the horses to the ring for their riders, wait for them to compete, take the horses from the riders, untack and bathe the horses, load them back onto the trailer and get the next horse ready.

2 – 7 p.m.: Leave the show grounds whenever we are finished and go back to the barn where we ice, wrap, bathe again, and take care of the horses, and I go ahead and ride whatever horses didn’t compete that day.

It’s a very different show experience when someone takes care of your horses for you. I definitely love the atmosphere at the three-day events where we have tack cleaning parties and all help each other tack up and braid, but you do feel like a celebrity when you come out of your course-walk and your horse is there waiting for you.

Another difference is that show jumpers compete way more frequently than eventers. Since each horse is only doing one or maybe two rounds per day, they can compete more. For instance, we have three weeks straight of showing from Wednesday until Sunday. Yes, we are in the second week right now, and yes, I have reached a new level of sleep deprivation.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

3. Hurry up and wait.

Yes, one of the things I miss most about eventing is that we knew exactly what time we did each phase (sometimes stadium was a toss-up, but still). At these shows, you can get on at the start of your division, and the stewards wait until everyone has gotten their turn until they close the division. This can take hours because of all the trainer/rider conflicts. Let me tell you, it is not fun.

4. Flatwork, and more flatwork.

If you think show jumpers don’t do dressage, think again. Most of my rides at Hay Fever Farm consist of leg yields, shoulder in, haunches in, counter-canter and lots of transitions. The foundation of dressage and the flatwork done in the jumper world are very similar, and both disciplines have the same goal. As Neal always says, you want the horse to be straight, forward and supple – I swear as soon as Neal looks at a horse, they automatically know they better maintain those three things.

I do feel the slightest boost of confidence when one of the jumper riders has a harder time with some of the technical movements we have in our dressage test. I’m able to get on most horses and do a nice 20-meter counter canter circle, leg yields and shoulder-ins for days, and throw in a half pass every now and again for fun. I still may be working on my McLain Ward turns, but at least I can do a nice counter canter serpentine in case I was ever tested on that.

Riding out to the field to do some flatwork. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

5. Unauthorized assistance is encouraged

Sometimes when we are in any of the three phases, it could have been really helpful if our coaches were allowed to yell at us for pulling, tell us where the next jump was, or give us an extra cluck off the ground. In show jumping, anyone on the sidelines can communicate with you, it’s wild.

Licha and Neal have this down to a science. If we are going too slow, they whistle and we know to go more forward. After almost every jump, Licha yells turn, because we probably aren’t turning tight enough even if we think we are barrel racing – turns are hard OK? I was just getting used to the 10-meter circles in the dressage ring, and now you want me to jump a 1.10 square oxer and turn in the air to cut inside a jump to cut a few seconds going into a double? Yeah, that’s still a work in progress as well. I am very thankful for the sideline coaching and if you see someone whistling or yelling “TURN” at the next three-day event, it wasn’t me.

The first time I jumped one of Hay Fever Farm’s awesome school horses. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Another wild thing that’s allowed during competitions in the jumper world is that you can school in the show ring before you compete. You can literally take your horse up to every single jump and let them look at all the spooky stuff, on some of the days, you’re even allowed to jump the jumps.

HOW WILD IS THAT?

Imagine taking your horse out on cross country to school the ditch and wall just to make sure you don’t have any problems on course … so different. So crazy to me.

Accurate depiction of my face when I was told you could school the jumps before you compete. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

I could go on for hours and hours about the other little differences I’ve encountered between eventing and show jumping, but I had a show the past two days where I had to be at the barn at 5:15 a.m., and am competing everyday until I leave for Budapest – oh, don’t worry, I’m also competing the Sunday I actually leave for the Games! I’ll sleep well on the flight at least.

So there you have it. The show jumpers do some very foreign things – whether it’s the fact that they rarely use studs (because the rings are normally in sand, obviously), to every horse wearing a martingale, to not cutting their tails (my pet-peeve, but I’m learning to cope with it); I don’t think I’ll ever learn all of the different antics in this discipline. I may never completely fit that typical ‘show jumper look,’ but it’s honestly been very entertaining to try!

I am living proof that once you’re an eventer, you’re always an eventer.

Andrea’s Return to the Maccabiah Games: Attempting to be a Show Jumper 2.0

Two summers ago, EN readers followed the story of Andrea Glazer, an eventer among Grand Prix show jumpers at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. She catch rode an unfamiliar horse over 1.20-meter (3’9″) and above show jumping courses to help Team USA earn the silver medal, and is now preparing to represent the team once again at the 2019 European Maccabiah Games later this summer in Budapest, Hungary. Once again, Andrea has agreed take us along for the ride. In the first installation of her blog series, she catches us up on what she’s been up to these past couple years. Read more at her blog, Dre the Zookeeper

Andrea with her team at the 2017 Maccabiah Games. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Andrea (Dre) is back, and instead of continuously changing my URL to align with the new adventure I’m embarking on, I have decided to keep my “Dre the Zookeeper” name as I feel that no matter what life hits me with, if I survived the crocodile park, I can do anything.

So, my next adventure strays away from the Australian wildlife to a more familiar realm as I prepare for the European Maccabi Games that will be held in Budapest, Hungary in less than two months! The preparation started back in May, and now we are just a couple of weeks out from the competition – time really flies when you’re a slave in New Jersey (to be explained below).

(If you’re just now tuning in without understanding the zookeeper part of it, I lived in Australia for 2 years and in order to extend my visa, I had to be a zookeeper at a crocodile park and it was the most absurd/terrifying/wild/amazing experience of my life. Go check out my blogs if you want a good laugh.)

Most people are curious as to how I actually made the team while I was living abroad. It worked out that when I went back to Kentucky for Thanksgiving this past year, I rode my friend Jessena’s horse in my video submissions, not expecting much to come of it. To my surprise, I made the team! I had to change my plans, meaning that I was to cut my time in Oz short so that I could come home to properly train.

This is me holding a bat named Blackie. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

And yes, there is a princess parrot on my head. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

Quick anecdote (read if you’re not in a hurry):

Over the past two years while living in Australia, I did whatever I could do to ride. While zookeeping, I would wake up before my shifts and go ride horses at the rodeo grounds. I did dressage in western saddles and jumped in stock saddles -– it was a little different from the Devoucoux I was used to riding in! I usually rode from 5:30 a.m. until 8 a.m. when it would get so hot I couldn’t stand it anymore.

While in Melbourne, I sometimes would wake up at 4:30am and drive an hour away to ride horses before working from 9-5; I taught the Werribee Pony Club (Go Warriors!) on some of the weekends and was adopted into the amazing Radburn family who let me come stay with them one night a week so I could ride after work, sleepover, and ride early in the morning before heading back to work in the city.

Before I left Australia, the Radburn family invited me to ride their horses at an Australian Show Jumping competition on Chanel Radburn’s horses, Harry and Chili. I slept behind the driver and passenger seat of their float, and we had the best time. Chili and I won the show jumping competition on the last day!

I also competed Chili in the Sporting Horse Australia competition which is similar to mounted games. I went into the first heat of the pole bending where, being the only American to ever compete in this show, had a cheering squad yelling, “KENTUCKY! KENTUCKY!”, and I knew I had to make my hometown proud. Chili was rearing to go (literally) and we flew through the poles and won the heat! I was so excited that I won, all my “fans” cheered, and I yelled and fist-bumped before Chili went from a flat gallop to a sudden halt and bucked me so far, I swear I thought I landed back in Kentucky. I jumped back up, pretending to have stuck the landing and everyone cheered. I don’t know how these crazy situations always tend to happen to me when I have the largest audience, but at least I won the heat!!

So anyways, back to the point of this blog, but I just wanted to give some background to the riding I had been doing since the Maccabi Games in Israel to then walk into Hay Fever Farm as their working student.

I’m currently writing this post on my one day off per week after riding 42 times over the last six days under the coaching of two Olympic Show Jumpers, Neal and = Licha Shapiro. I am so sore I can’t walk properly, but I’m still in high spirits because I’ve learned more in the last week than I could have ever imagined.

The foundation of my beautiful farmer’s tan that I earned after walking 23,166 steps in the hot sun in one day at the horse show. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

During my first week of slavery being a working student at Hay Fever Farm, I tried so hard to follow their instruction and ride like they wanted me to, that I literally rubbed the skin off my leg until it bled through my brand new “show jumper” jods. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.

If you know me, you know I am a very social, extroverted person who loves making plans and doing things after work. This version of Dre is something I don’t believe anyone has seen before. After working 10-12 hour days, I come home to help Neal and Licha with dinner, I look forward to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune every night (who am I?) and then I fall asleep before 9 p.m., every night. Yes, you read that correctly – even Friday and Saturday nights, I am in bed. Granted, Robbinsville, New Jersey isn’t the most “hip” town in the world, but this whole working student life is absolutely exhausting.

This may all sound a bit grim, but honestly I spend my days riding anywhere from five to nine (amazing) horses, all under the tutelage of two of the best show jumpers of all time. Oh, and don’t forget, I’ve been an eventer since the age of 6 (I’m now old and 24), and I’m at a purely show jumping barn – as soon as I saw Licha’s face as I walked in holding my Charles Owen skullcap, I knew I was in for a wild ride.

Photo by Alex Banks photography.

A Grand Finale for Andrea Glazer at the Maccabiah Games

We’ve been following the story of Andrea Glazer, an eventer among showjumpers at the Maccabiah Games. After helping Team USA find Team silver (see Part II, “Team Silver Is the New Gold“), she had one round left to go to determine individual placings. In her first rounds Andrea was catch riding an unfamiliar horse named Chin Chinello over 1.20-meter, or 3’9″, show jumping courses — an impressive feat! For the final round, the fences were even bigger. Thanks for sharing your story, Andrea! 

Andrea with her parents at the Games. Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

My grooms, best friends, biggest cheerleaders, and parents, all in one — I could not have done any of this without them. Last night was the last round in the Maccabiah Games, the last time I would wear my pinque coat, ride Chin Chinello, and represent the United States in Teddy Stadium.

I was so excited to go back in the ring one last time … until I saw how big the jumps were. I thought they would be 1.25, which is still gigantic, but they were 1.30, which is bigger than the highest level in eventing! Neither Chin Chinello, nor I, had ever shown that high, so I guess you could say I was nervous.

I don’t think I said a word during the course walk. As we passed jump 6, Kate looked at me and goes, “After this jump, you can pull out, you don’t have to do this.” Kate has only known me for a week so I don’t think she realized how hard I’ve worked and that I definitely am not going to quit the competition early when I have made it this far.

The course was technical and huge. We had a triple bar into a triple combination. I’ve never seen or jumped a line like that. To further explain, it was a very wide jump, three rails in width instead of the normal one or two, then two strides to a tall vertical, to two more strides to another vertical. After the rider, hopefully, jumps through that line, you have to sit up, reorganize, and kick on to get the forward seven strides to a huge oxer. Chin Chinello, being the huge horse that he is, was going to have trouble with this line if I didn’t jump in perfectly. The jumps were two big to screw up — Kate and I both knew that. I have never been so nervous in my entire life.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

I got into warm-up and immediately felt better. He’s so big, so the jumps looked a little smaller from my “bird’s eye view.” I warmed up, jumped huge jumps (a vertical that was 1.35!!), and went into the stadium that was filled with the biggest crowd yet. I took one huge breath, gave Chin Chinello a pat to calm both of our nerves, and started my course.

The first jump was great, I turned to the second and the cheers from the crowd after I jumped it clean made Chin Chinello buck. I lost my rhythm and knocked #2, kicked him on to leave a stride out to clean the huge oxer with water under it. I jumped 4, 5, and 6 well, barely hitting another one down because he was tired, and then I turned to the huge triple bar combination.

I JUMPED IT PERFECTLY!

I jumped in, sat all the way back to fit in the two strides between both verticals, then kicked on to the huge oxer — it was amazing! I jumped the last five jumps, finished the course, and galloped around the ring patting him and hugging him because I DID IT!

As I galloped out of the ring, I see my mom running from her hiding spot (she’s so weird), tears in her eyes, kissing Chin Chinello, hugging me, until I cried. It was the highlight of my trip.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

My teammates all put in great rounds. Syd rode her horse, Cheese, perfectly and finished 22nd. Cloe and Haley cleaned up and both were in the top five! I am so sad that the competition is over. It was the best week of my life.

I stay in Israel until the 18th when I leave for Australia. I had to say bye to my amazing parents yesterday, which was really hard since I won’t see them until November. I am counting down the days until they visit!

Photo courtesy of Andrea Glazer.

For now, I am just hanging out in Israel and going to watch the other sports who still have games left. Thank you to everyone who cheered me on throughout my preparation and competition. I can’t wait for my next adventure, and will keep blogging until you guys get sick of me!

You can read more on Andrea’s blog here