By Carolyn Bahr
There comes a time in every working adult amateur’s life when a choice arises, especially when they own a green baby off-the-track thoroughbred. Do they give their baby his/hers first show experience or do they let their trainer/coach do it?
I live in two worlds: my professional busy post-production television career, and my fun, extracurricular, equestrian pursuits. With my first OTTB mare, I chose having my trainers lead the way, and not hopping into the irons until my horse had her show experience laid down.
But this time, I picked a different path. I’m not the same rider I was almost a decade ago, and Junior, certainly isn’t the hot mare I use to own. He’s a solid guy, talented, somewhat easy going, gelding -- the perfect partner in which to step up and challenge my skills.
|Junior Studying Sarah's Words To Live By: Be Bold, Ride Tough|
May 1st, The Meadows of Moorpark derby day arrived. The first challenge was met with success, loading into the trailer, and we were on our way traveling with fellow Eventer, Sarah Wood and her horse Tiberius. As our coach, Susan Friend LeTourneur of Goldspirit Farm and eTwister, Marla White, went to get our numbers, we were off to lunge.
Both boys were superstars and very quiet. Things were looking up for my show nerves. We left them happily tied to the trailer as we went to walk our derby jump course. Mine was a combo platter: Easy Beginner Novice was a combination of Beginner Novice fences mixed in with the Intro BN. Nothing struck me as scary or undoable, though I was bit squeamish about the solid log jump back into the arena. Course memorized, it was off to get ready for dressage.
|Trek Back To Trailer|
|Over Fence #1|
|Into The Arena|
Next up, his favorite phase, jumping. It use to be mine, but after several mishaps with my previous horse, I‘ve learned I don’t bounce as well as I use too… I was determined to put my luggage aside and give my boy the ride and confidence/support that he deserved.
Our time had arrived. We galloped into the field, halted and saluted our judge. She rang the bell and we were off. A derby consists of both stadium and solid field jumps, and with a deep breath, we kicked on to the first of the colored poles. I tried to clear my mind of past rides from other shows and concentrated on the here and now. Five strides, four strides, three strides, I waited to see what Junior would do about his first competition fence. I kept my leg, I sat up straight, and lo and behold, he cantered right up and jumped it. Never once taking a “green” look or backing off. Good boy! I just had my first smile of many. Ten jumps total, and he never looked at a thing, just happily cantering and jumping and asking mom, “what’s next?” Even my scary solid fence, he never thought twice about. After clearing our last fence, I was grinning ear-to-ear, so proud of my boy and myself. Jumping was fun again! And boy was it great to hear: “Double clear for Playing Hooky and Carolyn Bahr.”