Thursday, July 7, 2022

Jumpers @ Plantation Field

Idk if this is happening anywhere else, but there seems to be a new trend in our area of like... weekday jumper shows. I think it started with Loch Moy's Twilight eventing series and just sorta took off from there. 

view from on top of the world!!! only mildly overwhelming!
Which is kinda cool but also kinda a drag bc... Damn, guys, don't any of y'all have jobs too tho?!? Most of these events are designed to be super inviting and low key too, which as you all know is my favorite flavor of horse show. 

omg they let us park up on top of the hill next to the rings instead of allll the wayyyy down belowww. pretty sure this made a huge difference on everyone's experience (for the better!)
The summer series at Plantation Field International (host of numerous yearly recognized and unrecognized events, and notably their Best Show On Earth, the Fall 4*) has for some reason always been super enticing to me too. 

let's introduce the team ---- here's Katie (of hunter pace fame here and here and here) with friend's in-need-of-mileage (but extremely talented) ottb Avi!
Mayyybe bc Charlie and I flamed out at this exact venue so very spectacularly back in 2018 lol, wherein Charlie had his first ever real stop on xc.... immediately followed by, ahem, his next few

and y'all should already know Loki by now --- but if not, here's a link to his last feature when his YR accompanied us on a fun little xc school at home
A lot went wrong that day, tho I always suspected this venue's unique facilities and topography contributed to our poor performance. Namely, the arenas are right smack on top of the world and 2018 Charlie absolutely shrank in the face of confronting all that.... vastness. Or something, I dunno. Maybe we just kinda moved up quickly by relying on the horse's good nature and athleticism rather than proper confirmed training LOL. Actually.... Yea, it was probably that. 

charlie did walkies around the warm up perimeter while spying on both Avi and Loki, visible above
ANYWAY tho. I really do love this venue but have always been nervous to bring Charlie back lest history repeat itself. So this little jumper series seemed like a perfect way to test those waters! 

they finished their classes a solid 3hrs before ours, so there was much hanging around at the trailers under the canopy!
It's mostly just local professionals bringing out their younger or green horses for more mileage --- just straight show jump rounds, no clocks no scores no ribbons, nada. But a course designed by a legit local CD, Jeff Kibbie, set to full complete height + width, natch.

bleh, including when a downpour rolled in about 10min before i was about to get on.... sorry charlie!! (and plz somebody remind me to condition that poor saddle later....). you can see Avi was very concerned for his poor wet sad friend
Having never been to one before, we seriously underestimated attendance too. Like... We planned to enter just a day or two in advance, but were then shocked when spots filled up completely and we just barely managed to snag the last available times in all our respective divisions. Which naturally meant that my friends in the BN division rode a solid 3 hours before me, whoops. 

the skies cleared, tho, and off we were to reach for redemption with this view that might be hyper-reminiscent to any of you who remember charlie's LAST time at plantation (and yes i purposefully tried to recreate this same shot)
It worked out, tho, bc it gave me a chance to hand walk Charlie around the warm up a little during their rounds, as a way to help familiarize. Not sure how much of a difference it made, honestly, since he was too busy trying to graze while hand walking -- but then did in fact take a long (LONG) hard look off into the distance once I was actually on him.

cruisin to jump 1, meanin business
He warmed up well, tho. It wasn't my ideal competition warm up -- but actually I ended up feeling really happy with how it went. I got on about 30min in advance and walked like a solid 10 around the warm up. Then checked in with the steward who said they were running behind. 

So I kept sorta switching between standing in complete relaxation for long minutes on end with our friends in the shade, then walking and trotting some laps for 5ish min intervals. Then checking in with the steward, rinse repeat. 

easy over 2!
Each time we returned back for more laps, Charlie was kinda begrudging but simultaneously quicker to click into gear. By the time we actually started cantering and jumping, I'd been on for like 30min and he was READY. Our warm up fences weren't perfect, but he was good and forward and bold, and I held mane to cover for my own nerves and mistakes. Perfect! Oooooh and I only almost ran into Boyd once lol....

had a major rider error at #3 (you'll have to watch the video for that, i promise it's legit front and center directly in front of the camera) --- but wanted to include this poorly framed shot over #4 to prove what a fucking saint this horse is.... rider fucks up at 3? horse tries even harder at 4... ugh i love him <3
We waited patiently at the gate for our turn, then took a meandering route to jump one --- passing first by the British phone booth standards at the in-and-out, then cutting diagonally across the ring toward the judge's gazebo and past a corner oxer that ALWAYS rides hella spooky bc the announcer's tower is right smack behind it. 
Charlie did in fact feel a little peeky making his way around the corner, but it was all good bc we had plenty of time to still establish our canter for jump 1. Which.... Was of course a giant oxer. Idk what it was about these jumps... Maybe I've gotten too used to 2'9 Novice vs 2'11 Novice LOL but they all looked just a tad impressive to me lol. But Charlie jumped that first fence basically perfectly, good boy. 

also true story: 6 of our 11 jumping efforts were maxed oxers. i admit to being *a little* impressed 
From there we more or less just.... made our way around. I tried to remember to keep a hold of mane or neck strap (with varying degrees of success), and just aimed to keep my leg on. I didn't walk the course in advance, so found myself a bit surprised on the way to Jump 3 when we were omg HELLA CROOKED and it was too late to do anything about it...

but oh my goodness this horse guys, what's not to love?
Plus naturally I doubled down on that sin by leaning at the fence when we got there long... Ugh. I *never* lean at fences, but suddenly it's happened twice in recent memory. Eh, maybe that's a natural consequence of trying harder to keep my hands more forward, my body wants to follow? Anyway, we'll work on it. Charlie was a saint tho and made his way over/through that fence without dropping me, and then jumped straight out of his skin at fence 4 -- an effort I in no way deserved but am immensely grateful all the same <3

pretty pleased with the new tack sitch too --- hackamore + no spurs (even tho our disaster here 4 years ago is what prompted always competing with spurs in the first place)
Again, I'd love to get through rounds without any big mistakes or whatever, but this is life as an amateur. So we deal with it and move on. And move on we did --- the rest of our round was honestly quite steady. 

Some of our turns were not super sharp --- but that's probably more to do with not walking the course vs the hackamore. The two related distances rode great, Charlie moved forward off my leg, and also picked up and rebalanced in all the corners when I remembered to ask. What more could a girl want?

Fair warning --- there may be more to come from this show later bc word on the street is that there'll be pro pics (omg! I hope!), plus eventually my helmet cam footage (4K, natch) will finish processing LOL. 

In the meantime, tho, I'm just happy it was a good day. A long day (very long day). A slightly wet day (humidity... rain...). And.... on paper? Well. Ya know, like most of what I do with horses --- it's kinda meaningless in the grand scheme of things. 

Except.... Ahhh this is the stuff for me <3 And even with our mistakes and imperfections, I'm really really happy with my horse, and becoming happier with my riding too. It's the little things, right? Ooh, and putting that nasty Plantation 2018 memory to bed finally ain't bad either!!


  1. That was lovely. I really like how you had an error and then both just regrouped and carried on. Well done!

    1. thanks yea i was really pleased about that too --- like, after my mistake at 3 charlie could have very rightfully held it against me at the next fence.... but he's such a good boy, he just kept trying (and i kinda got my shit together lol)

  2. I am fascinated by the weekday shows. But apparently no one but us needs to work. One of the local hunter barns whose name is completely evading me used to do them, too.

    1. after having seen who all was at this thing, i better understand why it's scheduled like this. it was literally all the local pros (boyd and diego and courney and felicia and erin and jules and jennie and and and the list goes on and on), some of whom were literally bussing back and forth from their barns with various groups of young horses and working students.... so i guess for them, it WAS basically just another day at the office LOL

  3. Look at those rolling hills and that venue - JEALOUS. Good on y'all for doing the thing. I have no idea who can do a weekday even though!

    1. this property is SO stunning! i love going to their big international FEI events too -- with the cross country running all in and around the old ruins on the hillside.... and they have so many low key / low cost starters and schooling opportunities too, i'm so relieved after charlie proved that.... yea... our bad day there in 2018 was just a fluke lol

  4. I work a lot of weekends so definitely love the weekday shows. You and Charlie look great!!!

    1. thanks! i feel really grateful for my employer to be super flexible about *when* i do my work as long as it gets *done*.... so while it's not exactly ideal to take an entire day off for one 2min jumper round lol, we can make it work every now and again!

  5. I love the idea of weekday jumper shows, but in reality every time I've had the opportunity to get over to a local one I can't seem to get organized to make it happen. This has inspired me to try to make it happen next week though!!

    Also, your analysis and video of your rides is helping me dissect done of my own stadium issues!

    (Also I'm having major deja vu reading this - did you maybe publish an unfinished draft a few weeks ago?)

    1. lol well the show was yesterday so i don't think a draft leaked early.... tho, let's be real, a lot of my shows kinda go the same way these days so it's not exactly like i'm breaking new ground in any of these posts LOL!

      and yea the midweek stuff is really tough to coordinate. we were lucky that everything sorta went our way on this particular day (except the rain and the 3hr wait between my friends' rides and mine, oooh and loki getting fed up with charlie's 'close talking' on the long trailer ride home haha - i thought that pony was gonna tear my trailer apart!) but who knows if the stars will ever align so easily again....

    2. I guess we have to fall back on the only other possible explanation then: I'm a precog

    3. well that explains everything!! lol

  6. You guys look great! Very flowily forward!

    1. Thanks I was so happy with him, esp compared to his last time in this ring when he was hella backed off and behind the leg!

  7. You guys look great! We all would love to go out and lay down mistake free rounds, but let's be real. Very few people can actually do that. I love that you guys didn't get rattled by what happened at 3. You just kept on kicking and Charlie was like okay cool, let's keep going!
    I'm sure it feels great to get some redemption at that venue!

    1. ha for sure we can all dream of perfect rounds.... but realistically i'm just happy to be able to move on from a mistake and get better!

  8. Sounds like a great outing!!

  9. Thought you may be interested in a showjumping exercise or two... These are some of mine, they come with a video and detailed setup instructions...


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