A full house and lots of sun at the Marlborough Jumper Derby!
Yeah! It's spring and event season is gearing up! With the first big day of the season successfully under our belts, I am reminded of three eternal truths of competing horses:
1) double your time estimate for anything that involves a horse. If it should reasonably take 2 hours to pack the trailer, clean tack, bathe the horse... it will be 4 hours. Or more.
2) There is never free time at a show. Ever. Seriously, why do I pack 2 COTHs, the USEA Magazine, and a book for every show - every time, I convince myself that this time it's going to be an easy day with lots of time to relax and get caught up on my reading. No.
3) So much for that picnic. All your packed food will always be just beyond your reach. All. Day. Long.
That being said, the first event of the season is always so much fun! Packed with old friends and new horses, and talks of goals and plans to put all that winter hard work to the test! All the wonder and promise of the coming year - packed into one fun filled day to kick it all off!
And as LUCK would have it, yesterday's first big event day for the Golightly gang also happened to fall on St. Patrick's day! And so we went jumping Irish style at the Marlborough Jumper Derby at Rosaryville Park, Upper Marlboro.
I think, at last count, I ended up coaching 7 students yesterday (although it's entirely possible I lost count!) - they kept me busy, but I was absolutely thrilled to see everyone out and about, enjoying the sun, and having very good days with their ponies!
The day started with the 12"-18" class with 3 from the Golightly gang making their Jumper Derby debuts - Sky, Jessica & Erica. Sky bravely piloted Judge (who is a TB retired police horse!) as the lead horse on course - without the benefit of seeing how things worked for others, 12 year-old Sky was the day's trailblazer and showed us all that it could be done!
And now for an update on a cunning plan... remember the "hunter rider" that I mentioned who did quite a feat of acrobatics during the Jim Wofford clinic? Well, my cunning plan to convert her to eventing may be taking hold! I convinced her to go on a little foray into cross country schooling land last weekend, and she had so much fun - I next dangled a carrot of an idea that she might want to check out the jumper derby too. So Jessica, along with her sister Erica, and their two OTTBs took the Derby by storm and brought all their St. Patty's day luck! When they called me to ask if it was okay if their horses wore their St. Patty's day hats - I said YES! This ain't no hunter show!! And, oh, check out those hats - which both horses wore around the ENTIRE jumper derby course too!!! Honestly, I really think those horses love those hats!
And that big hat really brought Percy some good luck - in his debut as an "eventer" - he won the class!!! Not only did Jessica have a big smile (after she started breathing again!) over her success in dominating hills and logs - she came home with a blue ribbon too. And what hunter rider doesn't love prizes?! Yep, that girl is coming to the dark side (she says with a glimmer in her eye!).
Debi, Jenna, and Fran also had great days - with Fran successfully subduing the monster pony and bravely jumping all those horse eating jumps; Jenna had another great day on her brand new horse; and Debi turning in a stellar performance, catching the judge's eye to earn a 2nd place ribbon in the huge class of 2'-2'3" jumpers (no joke, there must have been well over 30 entries - I know because the ring was never empty and it took over 2 hours to get through all the rides). And did I mention how my food was just out of reach all day long? All day long.
Patrick (it was HIS day!), Debi & Roxanne, me and Kerry
Kerry also made the Golightly team proud, taking home a yellow ribbon in the 3' class. But, I protested her entry and refused to coach her. I tried to tell her the jumps would be too easy and she'd wait for hours for her division to start. Yet, she had to be stubborn and entered anyhow. So, her round was my favorite of the day. I sat back, enjoyed a beer - ATE MY FOOD - and had a good laugh as she asked again and again, "how much longer until the 3' division will start?" And I couldn't have been more proud of her for jumping that round and winning that ribbon - all on her own. Cheers, Kerry!
And what St. Patrick's day post would be complete without a picture of my cat in a holiday hat?! THANK YOU SO MUCH to Erica & Monty for kindly donating Monty's little leprechaun hat to my cause. The cat loves it almost as much as I do! But not as much as Monty did!