18 - 19 September Dam 'n Dyke Horse Show
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   30th Sep 2010   •   6,865 views   •   8 comments
Finding myself sick once again, it was with a distinct lack of energy and enthusiasm that I awoke (or should I say – I grudgingly woke up after much encouragement.) at 05:30 AM on Saturday 18 September 2010. In between coughs and sneezes, I managed to get ready for the show. It took a while, but I finally managed to drag myself to the car so that we could drive to the horses. I was able to catch and load them without a fuss, and so Moony and Badger found themselves in the horsebox and ready to head off to the show!

When we arrived, there was a minor panic attack on my part when I realized that my spurs weren’t there. Considering I only began using them quite recently, it is amazing how much I have come to rely on them – though in my defense, I was supposed to be riding Badger, and riding Badger without spurs is rather like driving a car with the handbrake on – possible, but highly ineffective and rather illogical. Thankfully, I found a pair of old spare spurs hidden deep under the layers of mess in the car. I have no idea where they originally came from, but they were there and they were spurs – so I shoved them on and rushed off to walk the course. Badger was a substitute for Choc, since Choc turned up lame once again.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t jumped Badger much the previous week, since I was expecting Choc to be going to the show. As such, I was feeling distinctly unprepared when I got on to Badger in the warm up ring. At first I felt rather as though I was attempting to jump a slug, but after a nice loose gallop around the arena Badger began to wake up.

Late as I was, I gave Badger the quickest warm-up I could – getting him loose, flexing and warm. However, by the time I was ready to jump him, I was already supposed to be on standby. I only had time to pop Badger over one cross and one upright before cantering into the arena just in time for my bell. Thus, we started the course in quite a panic. Despite this, the round was not bad. The majority of our jumps were smooth and powerful, and we managed to keep a good canter between them. Our only problem was when we took a long stride into the combination, but didn’t quite make it there. As such, Badger launched a horribly awkward jump over the first element – tripping over it completely. However, we managed to recover quickly and jump clear over the second element.

Our next class, we were better prepared. We went in feeling confident and prepared, and we came out with a stunning clear round! Then came the prospect of the jump off, and jumping Badger 1,10m, which I was not entirely sure we were prepared for. Still, thankfully the horse was going well, so I decided that, since we were in the jump off anyway, we might as well make the most of it. I unlocked a new gear in my Badger horse, and set him loose like a hurricane over the course. He whizzed around, took the best corners I’ve ever done on him, and jumped like a star! The end result was a clear round in a cracking time, which I believe was the fastest of the day for that course. As such, Badger and I came out with a first place in that class, and I cannot deny that I was most pleased with my darling horse, since despite our many places together, we have seldom actually won a jumping class.

Dam and Dyke Show
Badger in the jump off

Next came Moony’s 80cm jumping. He warmed up very well – staying perfectly calm despite the fact that it was his first graded show, and his first time at the venue. He didn’t spook at anything. He didn’t pull, he didn’t panic, and when another horse plunged past him in a bolting fit of bucks, he simply stared at it as though it had grown another head, then ignored it completely and turned his attention back to business. He was so well behaved and very keen to work – a complete pleasure to have at the show! I gave him a nice warm up – loosening him up properly, then getting him working into a frame and listening to me properly. I practiced placing him in the warm up – teaching him to jump from a slightly close and a slightly far off position. It turns out that Moony is rather naturally skilled at this, and hardly seemed to put in any more effort than jumping from a perfect spot. Once Moony was warmed up and ready to go, I took him into the ring. He jumped a superb round! He had never seen any of the jumps before, yet he didn’t spook at anything! He kept a wonderful rhythm, stayed calm and obedient, and gave me a wonderful smooth round. He clipped down one pole with his back legs, but I was still completely ecstatic about the way he had performed in his first graded show!
Moony’s next round went much the same – a beautiful course, with just one pole down, yet his jumps seemed to be getting more and more powerful the more courses he did.

Dam and Dyke Show
Moony in his first 80cm class

After that was the 1,20m class. I located my Finola horse, then got on her and attempted to warm her up. As usual, Finola had no intention of being ‘cool, calm and collected’. She had no intention of working in a frame, either. The way Finola saw it, she was at that show to do one thing: Jump. And jump she did, rather spectacularly, I might add! She leaped, and she soared, and she didn’t touch a single pole! She was a little crazy, especially in the warm-up, with am exuberant buck and a flay-leap thrown in here and there. So was a little bit sideways as well, but as usual, her silly little psycho habits didn’t stop her, and Finola sprung her way into the jump off!

The jump off felt fantastic, since there’s nothing Finola and I like better than roaring around a course of big jumps, testing our speed and taking tricky corners. In the end, Finola placed 2nd in that class, and I must say that I was overjoyed to have my lovely little horse jumping like she should again! In fact, she went so well that I decided to enter her 1,25m in the next class. We did this, and once again Finola bounced and jigged her way into the jump off. Now, of course, we were faced with a rather alarming prospect: Our first 1,25m jump off. Finola and I were both hugely excited about this, and though I highly doubted we’d make it round clear, I was keen to try the bigger height. When we went in, the fences were looking high, but inviting. At first I planned on just doing my best to get a steady clear, but I’ve learned from experience that Finola and ‘steady clear’ in jump offs do NOT go well together. Finola has learned how this game works, and she hates to lose. If I wasn’t going to take the short-cuts, then she sure was, and she made sure I knew it, too! Thus, I moved her forward into a powerful canter and readied her for the first jump. I saw a long stride and rode forward for it, and Finola met the jump brilliantly and sprang into the air like a gazelle. We hit the ground running, and from that moment on the thought of ‘slow and steady’ never crossed my mind. The jumps were big, but we had established a fast rhythm and it was brining the desired results. Then I figured that, since we had a fast rhythm, we might as well go for the turns as well. And so Finola and I forgot about the height and went for the speed. When we soared over the final jump, and no clattering of poles followed us, I could not have been more pleased with my little champion! Her first jump off at that height: Clear, and fast. We ended up placing 2nd – losing by a single second to my instructor and his 1,20m horse. Of course, I made sure to point out this height difference to him – and I vowed that next time our places would be reversed! It was great fun, and I was simply overjoyed with the results, as well as our actual performances. Look out, world! Finola has returned!

Dam and Dyke Show
Finola in the 1,25m jump off

Finally, there was Sunday 19 September – the Dam ‘n Dyke class. This consisted of 15 difficult, spooky showjumping jumps with many technical difficulties – such as jumping uphill, or jumping wavy panels etc. It also included a few cross country jumps, including a water jump that the horses had to jump in to on one end and out on the other, and a raised drop into the arena. Moony did this course at 80cm, and though it was extremely challenging, the little angel reached the end! He was a little uncertain at entering the water, so we had a stop there. I let him have a look, then turned him around and rode him at it again. This time he jumped it quite happily, then hopped out the other end without a fuss. The jump I was most worried about, the raised drop, Moony took in his stride! He went brilliantly from there, and our next mistake came after the next drop. It was a very tricky line that gave lots of horses and riders trouble over the period of the show, so I feel that it is perfectly excusable that Moony refused this one. He took a big leap down the drop, and I am somewhat ashamed to say that I wasn’t much help, since I didn’t gather him up quickly enough. As such, our ride was not as good as it could have been, and the jump was not only spooky but also rather large-looking and quite imposing. I rebalanced Moony, turned him back to face it again, and this time rode him at it properly and got a lovely jump over. The rest of his course was amazing, though he got a little excited at the end and was late in responding to my checking coming into the last jump, a little wall, so we clipped a brick off that. They announced at the end that we had 16 penalties, so perhaps Moony knocked another pole somewhere along the course, though I personally don’t remember anything of the sort happening. Still, it was a very difficult course, and I was very proud of Moony for how he performed! I think that this was a great experience for him, and I feel that he learned a lot from it. He also seemed to really enjoy it, which of course pleased me greatly!

Dam and Dyke Show
Moony jumping out of the water in the Dam ‘n Dyke class [The yellow jump you can see in the background is the horrible one that caught us out.]

Then came Badger. I gave him a long warm up and got him going exactly how I wanted him to go. I was thoroughly enjoying riding him when we went into the ring, and the course started out great. Badger was jumping incredibly, but unfortunately, when we got to the 5th jump my dear llama-horse decided to get cold feet at the mere sight of the water. No amount of shouting or coaxing could get him over that jump into the water, but I was not too upset. I gave Badger a pat, and too him back into the warm up arena to jump a few more jumps before calling it a day. Dam ‘n Dykes are not really Badger’s sort of thing anyway, since he is a more careful jumper, but he was replacing my beloved Choc-horse, who will jump just about everything, though she does tend to get a bit casual at times. Still, Badger went very well, and I think I can forgive him for having water issues since he jumped so nicely for the rest of the show!

Overall, I was extremely proud of all my horses, and I can safely say that this was my best show in a very long time!

Photos courtesy of Horses Are Art
Horse News More In This Category:  Shows and Events      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
wow!!! I've always dreamed of having a horse of my own and doing showjumping, it's my absolute favourite horse sport, although my mum doesn't want me to do it because "it's far too dangerous" =/
  Sep 30, 2010  •  5,935 views
Nice Job Polo!! I am glad to here your horses did so well!!
  Sep 30, 2010  •  5,914 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Loved hearing about your show. Glad you and your horses did so well. =)
  Sep 30, 2010  •  5,918 views
Run Free  
well done glad u did well i love showjumping too
  Oct 1, 2010  •  5,923 views
Horse Crazy  
Congrats nad good job! nice equataton for jumpers compared to me, i do way better in eq and actualy place in it.... lol haha
  Oct 1, 2010  •  6,027 views
Softball Girl  
The horses are so pretty and great jumpers!!! :)
  Oct 1, 2010  •  5,945 views
L u n a r  
Bager is adoreable! I like that horse :) and Fiola looks like an amazing ride :)
  Oct 3, 2010  •  5,930 views
You did Grandly! I am proud of you, Moony and Badger. Continue like this and you will continue doing well more and more. I love hearing about your shows!
  Oct 4, 2010  •  6,339 views
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