Yesterday we had our final evening showjumping before the championship next month. We had already qualified for our class at our last outing in June. So the pressure was off and I was just aiming to have a few more confidence building rounds. Due to the heat, we hadn’t done a huge amount jumping since our last outing. But the few times we had jumped he had gone nicely with no drama. So I was hoping for a few drama free rounds yesterday.
Keep Calm Oil
Scottie always knows when we are going out somewhere and he can start to get a little bit anxious. This can cause him to be a bit stubborn and/or dramatic about loading. So I thought this could be a good time to try our new Keep Calm essential oil we are reviewing. I attached the locket to his travel headcollar and also hung up one of the diffusers in a bag next to where he was tied up. He then had this throughout being groomed and watching me get all of our stuff ready to put on the lorry.
When it came to loading he was pretty calm about it. He still didn’t load straight away. He walked halfway in repeatedly and stood there before backing off again when I asked him to go all the way in. So after a few attempts of this, we had someone stand behind him and he then decided to walk straight on. I’m not sure how much of an affect the keep calm oil had, but it did seem to be a bit more of a relaxed way of saying no to loading!
The Warm Up
Scottie hates the indoor arena there, especially if there are no other horses in there at the time to keep him company. So he was quite tense when I first got on. After several laps in walk on both reins we had a quick trot on each rein where he started to relax a bit more. We had a canter on each rein before decided to have ago at the first of the two warm up jumps, a tiny green and white cross pole. I trotted him steadily into it and we came to a grinding halt in front of it. I walked him right up to it making sure he had a look before turning round and coming again. This time he popped over it fine!
After going over this a few more times, I made use of there being no one else in the warm up ring to jump it from the other direction. After all, we all know that the exact same jump from another direction is terrifying! Scottie thought about stopping a stride out, but a kick and slap from the whip and he popped over it without a fuss.
The other warm up jump was another cross pole, but with a 3rd pole on the ground, slightly raised at one end. The sort of jump Scottie finds bizarre and terrifying. So I once again made use of there being no one in the warm up ring to walk him up to it first so he could get a good look at it. I turned him away and gave him a nice line into it before riding really positively into it. Scottie still ground to a halt again before scrambling over it and taking it down. BUT he had jumped it so I was happy. We popped the other warm up jump again before heading out to the ring.
30cm Cross Poles
Our first class was a tidily 30cm clear round. Once again the horrible black and white skinny was there, this was the only jump he took a dislike to last time we were there. So as soon as I entered the ring I made sure to walk him up to it so that he could have a good look at it. He didn’t seem too bothered by it then at all and looked ready to step over it. So I turned him away, picked up trot and turned into the first fence. He popped 1, 2 and the double 3, 4 with no problems. Number 5 was a right pink and purple cross and I felt him falter and look slightly just before take off. But a quick kick and slap and we were over.
Number 7 was the horrible black and white skinny. I took a really wide line into it so he had plenty of time to see it and he popped over it with no drama at all! And then we were over number 8, the final jump clear! I was over the moon! While we usually get at least one clear round when we go out, we have never jumped clear in our first round of the day! So I was so pleased with him! Even Scottie was pleased with himself.
Next was are first proper class, the 40cm. This was basically the exact same course, but all the cross poles were made into straights. We had already qualified for the championships of this class, so I just wanted to give him another really good experience. When we first went in, I took him over to see the black and white skinny as it had changed and might now be scary again! I also took him to see the pink and purple as that was the only one he had looked at in the class before. But he seemed happy with them both now.
So we picked up trot and started the course. The class was timed with the fastest clear time winning. The only places to really cut corners were into the black and white skinny, and a very tight turn into the final jump. Since I wanted to give him as much time as possible to see the jump first, I ignored the clock and took the wider lines so he could see everything clearly. The first 6 jumps were very straightforward, with Scottie taking me into them by himself now. I steadied him back up again for the black and white skinny, coming back to trot and really pushing and he popped it without a problem! He jumped number 8 to finish our second clear of the day!
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
We watched the rest of the rounds in our class. There were lots of ponies cutting corners, but not too many clear rounds. I had my fingers crossed for a top 4 placing (they were only doing rosettes to 4th place.) But I am delighted to tell you that Scottie only went and won his class! It’s the first time he has ever won a showjumping class!
Because Scottie had been going so well, I thought I would see what the 55cm class looked like and if it didn’t change too much that I would enter him in that too. They debated adding a row of potties under one of the jumps, but luckily they decided against it and with most of the jumps being exactly the same, jump bigger, I decided to enter this one too. The only jump which had really changed was the black and white skinny, which I made a point of once again taking Scottie to look at. He wasn’t sure at all. I walked him right up to it as the bell rang. I gave him a quick look at the first jump, hoping it wouldn’t take him by surprise that the jumps had gotten bigger!
Scottie was quite keen now! I picked up trot and as I came round the corner into the first jump he napped into canter. I collected him back up again, but when he broke into canter a few strides out I just pushed him forwards. Once again we had no problems until we got to the skinny. I took the wide line, steadied him up and really pushed him forwards. He tried backing off and came to stop. I gave him a second to look at it before turning back for a second go. Once again he backed right off and pretty much came to a stop. But decided to scramble over it at the last second, knocking the top pole off. But he popped the final fence to finish on 8 faults.
Scottie the Showjumper
Our last class was quite competitive with several clear rounds. So I didn’t bother waiting around to the end. I was so pleased with how Scottie had gone. He was so much more confident in the ring and the 55cm class was the biggest course of jump we have done in about 2 years if not longer! I’m now really looking forward to our championships next month and I’m going to start creeping up the height at competitions! It was a fantastic day out for both of us!