Jeff and I were just discussing setting up some more jumps and thinking about different objects we could use as obstacles – barrels standing side by side, upside down oval stock tanks, etc. In recent years past, I was of the mindset that jumps needed to be standards & rails… sturdy enough to discourage knockdowns, yet still easily portable & not so sturdy that they can’t be knocked down. And then the ground for landing and takeoff had to just right. There were so many considerations to be made that I spent more time trying to get everything “just right” than I did getting out there and enjoying my horse. …I had come a long way from the wild-child mentality of my youth when I’d point my horse at any obstacle in our path and “kick on”! I guess you could say I’d soaked up a “show-ring” mentality, despite, oddly enough, the fact that I have competed in very few “shows”. Barrel races and other speed events always appealed to me due to their lack of subjectivity and I had difficulty finding the fun in subjecting myself to the flawed judgement of a complete stranger (even if the judge is respectable & honorable, judgement is limited by what the judge sees of each horse, which can be very little in large classes). The best horse does not always win, rather it is the best showman that gets the ribbons. I can work with that, though. THAT is not what gets my goat. What DOES irritate me is the politics of it all. It’s not who you know, but who knows you, and if the judge knows you, your horse or your trainer, then that judge will be naturally biased one way or the other. It’s human nature.
This is argued over all day long on discussion boards across the net, and whether you agree or not really doesn’t amount to a pile of horse poop to me. The fact of the matter is that I’ve always loved the simplicity of timed events…fastest time with fewest faults wins. That’s that and there’s no room for argument over who won and who lost. Hmmmmm… makes me wonder why I never considered show jumping. Maybe because the focus at the barns nearest me are either hunters or eventing. In any case, I did think I could enjoy eventing since only one-third of it is subjected to a judge’s opinion. Like most people attracted to eventing, though, it’s the cross country that really calls to me. So, it’s no surprise that I would enjoy fox hunting so much. Fox hunting is all the fun and none of the stress I’ve come to associate with showing. And the mental shift towards obstacles and training is soooo refreshing…it’s like I’m a kid again! A little older, a lot smarter, and much wiser…but once again galloping madly about, joyously sloshing through the mud, tackling solid obstacles in tricky footing!
Haha, not really! Rather than giggle and laugh when my hot pony runs off with me, I now circle my Shagadellic Beast when he tries to take off. And though I am joyously sloshing though the mud and jumping solid obstacles, I have yet to combine the two. BUT I am getting there….I’m so close to being the brave kid I once was. I’m a woman on the verge! 😉