OK, so here it finally is: my very late jumper show recap. Life has been busy and stuff. GOSH.
So, a few weeks ago, I went to my very first A-rated jumper show in Waco. As stadium is my Oh My God Very Weakest phase, I thought maybe it was a good idea. Also, Angela suggested it as part of my “earning” my way to a new horse. You know, showing I can handle my shit in public and that I don’t need a half-dead horse to keep my shiz together when I’m nervous.
It being an A-rated show, they don’t have the teeny itsy bitsy jumpers like at some schooling shows; the lowest they had was the .75m classes. SO you know, 2’5.5″. Baby BN height. I was OK with that, knowing the courses would be more technical and challenging than typical eventing courses, so I was going to be challenged enough.
THEN, the day before I was to arrive, I saw that THERE WERE NO .75M CLASSES ON THE WEEKENDS. WTF. OMG. After Friday, I would have to start at the .85m height…. 2’9.5″. This was threatening to be bigger than my balls could handle, as I’d never competed at that height before.
And then, I had a moment of zen. I thought, “Wait a damn minute….I jumped .95m at the ClarkE clinicE and a TRAINING LEVEL XC JUMP. This is within the reach of my balls. You can do this and are totally still one with The Force.”
So I bucked up and didn’t call Angela crying saying my balls were withering. I arrived on Thursday night, got to the show Friday morning and was ready to Do This. Barnmate Hannah – who used to ride Cabot – got on him briefly in warmup first to make sure he wasn’t going to have any Very Special Oh My God It’s A Giant Indoor Arena Moments, then I got on – I love that you can do that at jumper shows.
I went into the arena and was… surprisingly not nervous. Like, at all. This was a very un-Wendy time. I did a regular division class (even got to do the jump-off!) and then a blue ribbon clear round class. It was great. Just a bit of time penalties in the first class, and then I went for some bolder turns in the blue ribbon class. So I got me a second and a blue. And in my last class, I somehow lost my right stirrup in the last line, but continued on like a baller. Who needs No-Stirrup November? I got this shit down.
So I felt pretty good about that. Then I had the rest of the day to sit around and watch, as they make the weenies go at like 8:30 a.m. And I went first.
Saturday morning arrived. I prepared my balls carefully and arrived at the show at Stupid Early O’Clock. I was telling myself I could do this. I listened to my pump-up music, and played the balls song.
After walking the course, I felt…..OK. But holy Christ on a cracker, some of those oxers were….. big. Like I could perform an entire interpretive dance routine in between those poles. Still, I tried not to think about the fact that I had never competed at this height. I took a swig of my new horse show drink and bucked up. And whatever, don’t act like you’ve never had a sip of something at the crack of dawn at a show. DON’T YOU JUDGE ME. YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.
So I went into my round, but I was actually feeling more nervous I would forget my course. I totally ate the first jump, but felt like I recovered nicely. And I made the jump-off! I didn’t think I was going that fast, but I totally rocked the time. I was the fastest one in my class, and everyone – including those in the pro division – was getting time faults. I SET THE TIME FOR THE CLASS, Y’ALL. WHAT UNIVERSE IS THIS. FOR REAL.
I had an unfortunate rail in the jump-off, so I ended up with third. But in my mind, I totally won.
So on Sunday, I was feeling pretty good. Walked the course a few times and felt good to go. I was to do a regular 2b class, and then a speed round – my first time doing one. I went into my first class, the 2b round, and felt like I totally rocked it. I was in it to win, making good turns and going at a good speed.
And then came the jump-off. I vowed to make the strides, and things were going great until the last two-stride line. I went in with not QUITE enough pace…. and Cabot and I had miscommunication.
Me: We’re gonna take a bit of a flyer for two.
Cabot: Wait, I thought we were waiting for three….
Me and Cabot: OH SHIT.
We had a bit of a crash, and I fell off to the left. It wasn’t a super-hard fall, but it was hard enough. I was more mad at myself than anything, as it was totally my fault. And also mad because I was so gonna win that class. So, we dusted off, and I remounted right there outside the ring. We decided I’d continue on, and I started to go right back into the ring for my next class. And Angela had to say, NO, DUMMY, BACK TO WARMUP FOR A MINUTE. Ok, she didn’t say dummy, but you know.
We went over a few jumps, made sure I was getting the right striding, and bam, WENDY READY. I was told the warmup jump I just went over was nearly a meter. Balls were doing OK.
Back to the ring, and the rest of my division was still MIA, so in I went. I felt strangely calm about everything, considering the fact I had just fallen off and this was still the biggest height – in any discipline – I had ever competed at. And whaddaya know…. I went in and positively killed it. Like I killed it so hard that it died twice. I did super-bold turns and flew.
And it turned out that I WON THAT CLASS. OMG. WTF. WHO AM I???? I fell off and not only lived to tell about it, but immediately after went on to win a SPEED CLASS. This is an entirely new world order for me, and I can’t say I don’t like it. We ended up reserve champions for the division, and I couldn’t have been happier. (Despite falling off in the jump-off, my first round clear and time kept me in third. Yay jumper rules.)
And it also turned out – which I found out a few days later – that in my fall, I chipped the cartilage in my shoulder. So, I haven’t been able to ride since the show, and I am dying to get back on Cabot and try on my new balls again. Fingers crossed it happens soon.
But luckily, I have the memories of me being a badass to keep me going. And they’re great memories indeed.