29 May 2010 Showjumping Competition
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   1st Jun 2010   •   4,942 views   •   7 comments
On 29 May 2010, I attended a competition that was a major milestone in my showjumping career.

On the morning 29 May 2010 at around 9AM, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred mare was to be seen leaping boldly around a course of 1,20m fences. This mare, of course, was Finola. For you to understand the full magnitude of that moment, I feel I must take you back to the start.

Showjumping Competition

You see, about halfway through 2008, Finola first began jumping 1,20m. She was incredible! She was careful, she was fast and, above all, she was fearless! Again and again she jumped her way to victory, proving that an underdog can indeed prevail over those with flawless techniques and perfect breeding. Though worth a tenth of the price of even her cheaper competitors, Finola would frequently leave even the most expensive of them eating her dust. She was a true champion and, in my opinion, a horse with a spirit worthy of legend. Unfortunately, it was not to last, for Finola was injured toward the end of 2008.

Since then, we have given her every remedy under the sun to try to cure the billions of different ailments that cropped up, but the effects would never last. Though we tried a few times to bring her back into competition, our results were always unsuccessful. Just when we were about to give up hope, Finola came right.

Now, after nearly 2 years, we found ourselves back where we’ve always belonged: Out on a course of big jumps against horses and riders with double as much experience as ourselves.

Showjumping Competition

Finola was scheduled to compete in 1,10m in the first class, and 1,20m in the second class. Unfortunately, due to an unfortunate puncture, we missed the 1,10m class. That left us with only one choice… So we quickly threw the tack onto the horse, and set off for the warm-up arena stressed out of our minds, and wondering if the world had gone insane. I had not walked the course, and all I had time to do with Finola was loosen her up, get her muscles warm, and hop over 2 jumps before we had to get into the arena. She was not bending, her head was in the air, I had not yet got my eye in, but nothing could be done. They rang our bell, and I circled her, going up into a light seat and trying to get her cantering properly, before heading at the first jump. As I aimed her at it and rode through the start, I realized that the arena party had made a mistake when putting the jump up after the previous horse had crashed it. The ground pole was lying in the middle of the big parallel, between both sets of uprights, instead of in front of the jump where it should have been! Of course, by that stage it was too late to do anything about it, so I had to grit my teeth and ride at the jump. Finola was amazing. She sailed over it, then continued to jump brilliantly through the course. We had been thrown in the deep end, all right, but instead of giving up hope and sinking, we decided to learn to swim. Until the 7th jump, it was like riding in a dream, though it was to be expected that everything could not fall back into place perfectly before we had been given a chance to dislodge the rust from between our gears. From 6 to 7 was a related distance, and as I landed I realized that, having not walked the course, I did not know the stride. I hesitated, wondering what I should do, and Finola responded by simply being Finola. The head turned sideways and the horse began to plan her own course, paying no attention whatsoever to the undecided rider on her back. 3 or 4 strides out, I found a stride and asked Finola to go for it, and was obviously dismayed when there was no response, as Finola was not even looking at the jump. By the time I had got her to face it, it was too late, and we had to pull out. From there, we turned around and did it again, before continuing along our course. We were clear and our round was smooth. I could not be prouder of her… After all that time off, she jumped like a star, even when we were unprepared for such a big course.

The second class raised my hopes even further. It was a speed class, and as speed had always been our strong point, we were as ready as we would ever be! Finola raced around the course, performing brilliantly. We moved quickly, took the trickiest shortcuts possible and finished with the fastest time, with just 1 unlucky pole falling. Overall, I could not have asked for a better show with my Finola. I was so incredibly proud of her.

For the full story for Finola, view this article:

Next it was Choc’s turn. On the night of Wednesday the 26th of May 2010, Choc had been down with colic yet again. Thankfully, it was only a mild case, yet we took her through to the hospital for observation all the same. On Friday, we went to fetch her, and, with the vet’s permission, took her to the livery place Finola is at to pop her over a course of jumps and assess her soundness for the show. Being Choc, she had bounced back brilliantly and was more than ready for the show.

Showjumping Competition

Her first class she jumped 90cm and finished 2nd out of 30 or more entries. I was really pleased with her performance, as many of her competitors had been jumping for longer than Choc has been alive! Her second class, she attempted 1m for the first time. Yet again, I was reminded just how much potential this little horse has, and just how lucky I am to have her. She was amazing! At only age 5, and after recently having taken so much time off for injuries and illness, she jumped around a course at a challenging height in good style and only dropped one pole. She was obedient, smooth, responsive, and she jumped like a cricket! I cannot wait to see what the future holds for little Choc. She truly is one of the most willing, keen and honest horses I have ever worked with, especially considering she is a young thoroughbred mare.

Showjumping Competition

So, after all of our ‘ups and downs’, we have finally taken a step in the right direction. Once again, we are ready to show the rich showjumping world that you don’t have to have good value, good bloodlines, good tack or good looks to be on par with the champions. All it takes is a little bit of faith, a lot of hard work, and a bond between horse and rider that no amount of money can rival.
Horse News More In This Category:  Shows and Events      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
Wow what a great story Polo! I loved it!!!
  Jun 1, 2010  •  3,664 views
I so look forward to all your articles, m'dear. Simply amazing, the way you put all those prancing hotshots to shame xD You go, Polokinz!
  Jun 1, 2010  •  3,682 views
Great article. I love the pictures! Also I love all your showing horse articles!
  Jun 1, 2010  •  3,667 views
Another Polo article! :D Good job showing them professionals yet again.
  Jun 2, 2010  •  3,644 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Aaaaw, thanks guys! ^_^ I'm so proud of my fuzzies, they totally saved me out there. :P Haha! Such wonderful, tolerant little creatures... :)
  Jun 2, 2010  •  3,648 views
all your articles are amazing
  Jun 2, 2010  •  3,677 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Aaaaw, thanks so much. :)
  Jun 2, 2010  •  3,648 views
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