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Vinnie cantering

Handy Hunter?!

Despite some tough questions this last horse show raised, I’m officially calling this last weekend a success, even though I didn’t bring home a single ribbon. That, in and of itself, is a big deal as I am currently attending meetings for Satin Lovers Anonymous and I honestly cannot tell you the last time I went home from a show without swag.

We went to a brand new venue, both for myself and Vinnie, and I was very impressed — the rings were big with excellent footing and the show was very efficiently run. Everyone was very nice and it was great to see some new faces.

Schooling on Friday sucked, as I said in my last post. But I got over it, got through it and the show went on. We changed our plan of attack a little bit on Saturday morning: I lunged (a first) and then hacked, both of which helped to have less horse (still a lot of horse, but less).

We hung out most of the morning, and right before we went to go grab lunch, my parents made a surprise appearance! Friday was my birthday, so my amazing boyfriend arranged to have them come down to watch on Saturday. He’s the best! It was awesome to see my mom and dad and of course, in true horse show mom fashion, there were birthday presents, a cake and an awesome flag day hat. My “in-laws” and Sam’s step-brother also came down and brought presents too. It was so great to have most of my family there to support me — I am truly blessed!

Anyways, back to the horse show. I did a warm-up and two hunter trips on Saturday. The warm-up was solid, the second trip not so much. I didn’t flow and my trainer said I kind of sat up there like a bump on a log (although she put it more nicely!). I regrouped for the third trip, which was much improved. We noticed that I’m focusing down too much, especially in my simple changes and I’m still struggling to flow. Whenever I don’t flow, I sit down hard and encourage my already forward pony to go even faster; talk about a vicious cycle!

Vinnie Limit Handy Hunter June 2014
Blurry, but you get the idea.

Sunday I opted to just do my two trips and the under saddle without a warm-up. As soon as I got my courses, I was in a tizzy. The second trip was a Handy Hunter round, which I’ve never done before. Here’s the course:

Notice the second jump — the yellow trot jump. Except, it really wasn’t a jump — it was hay bales with brush in front and a log on top in between two other jumps. It was the only fence we didn’t school on Friday. Insert total panic attack here. Vinnie is notorious for jumping slightly scary/new jumps like they are 3′, and I usually do not have any semblance of grace when this occurs. In fact, I’m usually just lucky to stay on. So I fretted and worried and tried not to think about that jump the whole day… an endeavor I was mostly unsuccessful at.

Once we finally were ready to show, I went in with as much confidence as I could muster. My first round was okay, with most of the same problems: not enough stretching up and not enough following over the fence. Then we did our handy hunter. And look!

We went over the trot jump PERFECTLY! And our line after that was stellar. The rest was meh, but honestly, I was so thrilled about the log jump that I didn’t even care. We did get a score, which was kind of cool, as I’ve never been in a class that announced them before. We got a 55, which I know is not very good, but considering we have simple lead changes, and I’m struggling in general right now, I was honestly happy with that!

Vinnie Limit Hunter June 2014
I know my position is nothing to brag about, but this is literally the FIRST picture I have ever posted from this angle… because the rest have been just downright terrifying.


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

10 thoughts to “Handy Hunter?!”

  1. I love Handy Hunter rounds, and its really all about attitude. I almost dread showing Ramone because I was pretty successful on Carlos. In the video you guys look great.

    1. Thanks for the compliment! And Ramone will get there — half of the handiness is the rider’s ability to guide the horse through the course!

  2. I want to do a handy round! Also going to be at Satin Lovers Anonymous with you. I will probably not get a ribbon at the show next weekend and I’m already starting to not pout about that… because I will. Anyway enough about me, that is an amazing trot jump!

  3. Looking great girl! It’s all about the ring time for you both, you will have a great system down in no time! 🙂

    I almost like the handy rounds better cause it don’t allow me much time to think between fences lol!

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