My first show of the season has officially come and gone, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it went. Two Thursdays ago I came home from school and went straight to the barn to squeeze in one last ride before the first New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association show of the year, the spring show. The next day, after spending all night unpacking from college and repacking for the weekend, my mom and I packed up Ax and were off to the show.
Friday was pretty calm once we arrived. After unloading the trailer and camper, and setting up Ax’s stall in the barn, I took him into the ring that we would be showing in for a short ride. Through all of that, I met some amazing new people who were stabling with the same barn I was. Because I was stabling with a different barn than normal, I was a little apprehensive as to how I would be welcomed into the group for the weekend. Horse people are infamous for being judgmental and witchy, but this group of girls and parents were super nice and made me feel welcome instantly.
Saturday morning began bright and early for a 6-7 AM warm up in the outdoor sand ring followed by hours upon hours of waiting for my three classes that day, two hunter over fences classes and the accompanying hunter under saddle class. Ax made use of the time by napping and eating his heart out while I watched the other girls’ classes. A few hours and another quick warm up later (that included some of the best fences Ax and I have jumped together!), we were ready to go. The course was relatively basic; a single diagonal, five stride outside line, six stride diagonal line, single oxer, and a five stride diagonal line. Aside from being a little too speedy, the course went well and I was proud of Ax, as well as myself. Unfortunately, our second hunter round did not go as well. Again, it began with a single diagonal, then to the single oxer, the five stride diagonal line, the five stride outside line, and ending on the six stride diagonal line. First, we chipped the single oxer, then we had a few funky steps before the outside line which caused Ax to break and trot the first fence. It wasn’t horrendous, but it was rougher than the first course. We ended up placing third in the first round and fourth in the second. Next came the flat class. Ax was perfect, though he doesn’t stretch out as much a classic hunter, so we ended up placing second. I was extremely proud of both of us and went to bed excited for the next days classes.
Sunday was similar to the day before with an early warm up at 6:45 AM and lots of waiting for my classes to come around. A few of the other girls didn’t have classes until that afternoon, so we took the time to graze the horses (and have a mini photoshoot). Finally, my two classes of the day started getting close. Unlike Saturday, my equitation on the flat class was scheduled to run before the over fences portion. Ax was his usual lazy self, but he was also a saint, and we placed first. The equitation over fences course was set up much like the courses from the day before, a single diagonal, a diagonal line, a single oxer, another diagonal line, and an outside line. Other than the single oxer that I missed the distance on a chipped, our trip went well and we placed third.
Overall, I was proud of myself for facing my nerves and of Ax for putting up with me. We may not have gone in and won all of our classes, but we improved from the year before and it showed. I had an amazing time and there is a countless number of people to thank for that. I couldn’t have wished for a better group of people to begin the season with.
Happy show season everyone!