My First Rated H/J Experience

Now for a break from the incessant saddle spam.  Part of getting my saddle was driving 5 hours to Wisconsin to hang out with Mary while she worked the CWD booth at an 'A' rated indoor hunter/jumper show.  AKA, I visited the land of Many Tiny Braids for the first time in my life.  It was an awesome experience.


This guy.  I want him.

Many Tiny Braids.

I thought I knew something about Hunter/Jumper shows, having been to big jumper shows and been friends with a lot of hunters.  But I still found myself asking lots of questions.

Q: "Why are they staying in the ring after a clear round?  I thought jump offs were always at the end."
A: "It depends on what "table" the show is following, and the rulebook."

Q: "Is that horse wearing two nosebands?"
A: "Yes"
Q: "Why?"
A: "...to keep its mouth shut."

Q: "Ringside coaching is allowed?"
A: "Yep!"
If you know Mary, you know this is totally her.  And it's working for her - she's one of their top sellers right now!

Something that was very cool was seeing my mom's old barn there.  She never showed rated, but she took lessons here with her best friend all through high school:


One of the things that caught my eye and fascinated me when I first got there and the hunter rounds were still going was the weak loin muscling and visible SI joint on most of the horses, at least in the classes I saw.  I live a pretty isolated equine life: I see one type of horse, that does one (well, three) thing(s), so the difference in musculature really interested me.

I asked Mary about it, and she said it was due to their jumping style, and that I wouldn't see that on the jumpers.  True enough, the jumpers had a lot more loin muscling.  It's not good or bad, just the way they are conditioned for what they do, and what they need to do their jobs well.  And these horses were good.

I like strong butts and I cannot lie.

This show had fake palm trees:


Tons of tiny dogs in sweaters:



And a giant Connor clone.  This guy walked into the ring and gave the Suspicious Spooky Ear to some fill plus a sideways step and I told Mary, "This guy's gonna go like Connor."  Not only did he act like him, he also jumped like him - except Connor's quicker and tidier with his front end these days.  Really nice horse:


There were also meeeeeellions of tiny girls in jods and unbuttoned show shirts giggling about being "puddle jumpers" and setting up jumper courses of brooms and chairs in storage areas to canter over horseless.  Very cute.

Overall it was a very cool experience and a lot of fun.   I could see myself enjoying the jumpers, but not the schedule - this 1 ring indoor show started at 8am and was still going at midnight when we left!  We eventers are in bed after a few margaritas by that time every night!

Other random photos:
Jump off

A Bannockburn Farm horse

Neat looking liver chestnut with a male rider

Grey from the first photo warming up.

Nice horse.

Warmup ring insanity!

22 comments:

  1. I thought jumping warm up at events was anxiety inducing--that looks a million times worse!

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    1. My thoughts exactly. I didn't even get a picture of the worst of it - there were so many horses in that tiny half ring, everyone just went the same direction at the same gait on the rail - like 30 horses!

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  2. I love being to explore other horse world's! Please don't stop with the saddle spam, it is so beautiful!

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    1. Getting to explore, autocorrect hates me

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    2. Me too! Don't worry, more saddle spam is definitely coming, I'm sure!

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  3. Replies
    1. My comment self published lol

      I was saying it's like Toronto. Nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there lol (hj land)

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    2. Haha. I think I could live there, I could definitely do the jumpers and I should probably do the hunters. Extremely nice turnout, great eq, and calm, quiet O/F rounds are two things I am not good at and could learn a lot from.

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  4. I love having ride times and totally agree that the hunter/jumper lack of schedule would drive me crazy!

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    1. No kidding! My husband would never see me ride if I didn't have ride times. I also think warming up would be challenging if you didn't know exactly when you were going to ride. You can really develop a minute-by-minute routine if you know.

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  5. Once you understand the parameters, HJ warmup at rated shows is easier to manage than events imho. There is a method to their madness. Glad you had fun at the show.

    Now I demand more saddle spam.

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    1. It did seem like everyone was very comfortable with it. I struggle in even the lightest of traffic situations, so it looked horrifying to me.

      More saddle spam is coming. :)

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  6. The hurry up and wait is extreme at hunter/jumper shows!

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    1. Oh man you are not kidding! I am such a schedule micromanager that I'm not sure I could handle that. I type up a minute-by-minute sheet of when I need to be on/in the warm up ring/walking into the ring before each show as it is.

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  7. Ah, I just love hj land :) Glad you had some appreciation for it even if it isn't your thing!

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    1. Absolutely! I kept thinking of you while I was there. It was really interesting to see it.

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  8. great pics - and sounds like a lot of fun! it's definitely a very different world than eventing, which is still pretty alien to me haha

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    1. It was a lot of fun! I recommend seeing one if you have the chance.

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  9. Interesting I never noticed the weak Loin but now I'm gonna have to peak around.

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    1. Yeah, if it had just been 1 or 2 I wouldn't have noticed, but it was a really big percentage of the hunters. I was curious. It seemed like the ones that crossed over into jumpers at all were exempt from that.

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  10. Late to the party but I'm SOOO HAPPY for you on the saddle!!

    Also, yeah--coming from h/j land to other disciplines, it was an "aha" moment with all the ringside coaching. I grew up with a trainer who literally told me how to ride every stride. Once I left that barn, I had no idea how to think for myself on course. I like how dressage teaches you to understand the "why" and "how" of supporting your horse, while jumping XC teaches them to think for themselves. A perfect combo in my mind!

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