You’re heading to the first jump on course. What could go wrong? ONLY EVERYTHING.
1. Your horse spooks
A golf-cart backfires, the speakers pop, Jumbotron blows a bulb, the mere existence of the Jumbotron. There are just so many things that could startle your horse. It’s really terrifying when you think about it.
2. You forget everything your trainer has told you. Ever.
Was turning always this difficult?
3. You don’t do anything.
There might be a distance, who knows. You’re too busy taking an apparent leisurely romp in the ring and not actually doing anything to get to the first jump
4. You do too much.
You see a long spot. You add leg. OK, too much leg. Needs more hand. Ok, maybe not so much hand next time…
5. You find a “distance.”
I mean not a good one, but it’s something right?? Except it’s a flyer into a quiet five stride…balls.
6. You forget how to count.
1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 7…double balls.
7. You don’t have enough bridle.
You’re waterskiing to the first jump. This isn’t what you practiced at home at all! You’re wishing pretty hard you had been more serious about the gym this winter.
8. Your breeches rip.
You think this is funny, but I have talked to enough riders to know that there is a distinct possibility that this will happen to you. And you will be all shades of mortified. And it will be distracting. For everyone.
9. You have the show jumping equivalent of ‘Nam flashbacks.
Remember that time you fell off and shattered your wrist? That one you repressed through years of therapy? You do now!
10. You don’t see a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.
Your worst fear has come to fruition and let’s be honest, no amount of practice is going to help you at this point. There really is only one solution.
Phew. Now that the first one is out of the way, you can start all over at fence two…
About the Author
Heather Struthers owns and operates Ottawa’s hippest tack shop, Performance Horse & Rider. She’s an expert in color coordinating with your horse, pretend boyfriends and Scott Brash.