Coconino N3D – Show Jumping

Oh, show jumping. Considering I came from h/j land, you’d think I’d be better at it.

At our past few recognized events I’ve managed to royally mess up stadium somehow. Not at schooling jumper shows, those all seem to go just fine. Not at derbies, those have gone fine too. Usually not when the jumps are bigger, since I have to ride better at those. But slap a USEA label on it, put me in a ring full of Novice sized fences, and watch the little monkey dance! For real though, what is my deal?

We’d rather do this

I seem to have a problem applying a plan. I go in the ring, my mind goes blank, and I fumble around like a total moron. So at this show I was EXTRA DETERMINED to listen to the plan, learn the plan, and execute the plan!

Surely you can see where this is going.

But before we could get to all that planning, first we had to pass the final jog. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more anxious at a show before, with the vet and Ground Jury examining my horse and watching him trot. The ground was really hard at Coconino, most of the Roads and Tracks was literally on the road, and the XC course had rocky patches that were just unavoidable. Even with icing, poultice, and hoof pack, paranoid doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was definitely feeling glad that we’d done a lot of conditioning on hard ground.

Luckily they declared mine “ACCEPTED!” really quickly, so we made it past that hurdle. Accepted is my new favorite word in the entire world.


After the jog we hurried over to walk stadium, and I spent the rest of the morning going over and over the course in my head, replaying Trainer’s words. Keep the shoulder up here, a slight counterflexion here, turn exactly here, keeping coming forward here, etc etc. I had that shit down pat.

SURELY you can see where this is going.

I got on for warmup and Henry felt great. Still very forward, not at all tired from the day before, and all the distances were coming up perfectly. Everything felt great. I walked up to the arena, thought the jumps looked TEENY TINY, and started feeling really confident.



We went in, picked up a good canter, and jumped 1 and 2 just fine. I actually stuck to the plan, and it worked! Go freaking figure. Then as we were coming around to 3 I clearly heard Trainer’s words in my head “make sure you go a stride past where you think you should turn, the angle is deceiving!”. So I made very sure to wait before I turned. Except I waited 2 strides instead of 1, and when I turned I found myself lined up perfectly with the standard. Henry was super confused about where the hell I was trying to go, and I tried my best to get him back toward the middle, then basically laid on his neck (because I dunno, that always helps?) while he struggled to put in one last teeny tiny stride, which forced him to pop straight up in the air over the oxer, taking down the back rail on the way down. Bless him for even trying. Many cookies for that poor horse, he is long-suffering. Someone call PETA.


There are no words. I wish I could tell you that our 3 Day experience ended in triumph and victory and accolades, but nope.  Unfortunately those 4 faults dropped us down out of ribbons, which was really disappointing, but you just can’t get away with mistakes in a really competitive division like that. Luckily our team still won (woot, Anchor Equestrian!) plus USEA is kind enough to provide pretty cool little 3 Day completion ribbons, therefore we didn’t walk away totally empty handed.

So uh… yay for not falling off?

One more Coco post tomorrow, and then we’re officially done talking about it. I promise.

25 thoughts on “Coconino N3D – Show Jumping

  1. It’s definitely frustrating when you don’t ride your best, but that’s horse showing. Sometimes you’re on it and sometimes you’re not — the biggest thing is that you recovered and finished the course, Henny did his job and got you safely over the jump and you COMPLETED the entire long format… which not a lot of people can say!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry the stadium round didn’t go to plan. Def know that feeling … Something about stadium just leads me to make terrible decisions all the time. Seriously tho what an awesome outing – congrats for laying down a good experience. 🙂


  3. Gosh, with all your build up I was picturing total mayhem and sticks on the ground all over the place. 4 faults? ONE mistake? Girl, you did AMAZING! I know the division was competitive but you COMPLETED, you just missed a ribbon, you had one lousy rail, you got through dressage and had a blast on XC – I think you and Henny did fantastic! ☺️👍🏻

    (PS. Hope you’re going to tell us about Bobby’s results? Or maybe let him guest blog? I guess I could look them up but would rather hear it from, er, the horse’s mouth… 😉)


    1. Bobby won the first week and was 4th the second week in the Senior Training. I told him has to do the Training 3-Day next year, Halo would have a blast with it! Bobby would never get him stopped after steeplechase, but… details…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, Halo would end up galloping through Phase C and I am not sure I’d be able to actually stop him for the vet box! Mind explosion – maybe I can just do the steeplechase practice?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. hahaha henry looks so put upon in the jog. hes such a good eventer type.

    hey, we all make mistakes. easy for me to say, as I got OUTRAGEOUSLY hard on myself this past weekend for having an error on my dressage test. but we do, and whatever just move up to training novice is dumb anyway 😛


    1. Henry was not convinced that jogging was at all necessary. Glad the vet/Ground Jury got a good enough look at him both times to immediately declare him Accepted, my anxiety could not have handled the hold box.


  5. Uh well what if we don’t want to be done talking about it? Pretty mountains and trees and fun horse shows and big ribbons look way cooler than triple digits and smoke, which is all I can see from where I’m sitting.


  6. I’ve noticed event riders put a lot of thought and worry into the horse’s fitness and mental attitude coming into Day 3, but not a lot into their own. And a lot of riders, while definitely not blowing off the division, seem to get a little mentally tired and lose their edge. Maybe that was part of it for you? It was an awfully long weekend, with a lot to learn about the endurance phase. If I’d been in your shoes, I’d have probably tried to put the bridle together backwards or my spurs on inside out. Because that’s how mentally exhausted Austen rolls.

    I’m super impressed with you for the whole weekend. I’m also super impressed you remembered you needed to go past the turn for that fence. Do you write this stuff on your arm? How do you remember?! 🙂


  7. Well… at least you were thinking about the plan. It IS the thought that counts right? And really, one mistake out there isn’t so bad. My old trainer used to allow us three per horse show. So you’re still ahead of the game. Bummer it dropped you out of the official ribbons, but the consolation prizes look just as pretty!


  8. Hey, you remembered AND stuck to the plan, even if it was only for a few jumps and even if you’re execution was slightly off. As soon as I pick up my canter the plan usually blows right out of my mind, and I just focus on surviving. It’s a work in progress, and it’s hard work.
    Congrats on your completion! And good for you for sticking to the long-term plan to make this event happen for you guys. 🙂


  9. Going out and showing at a show of that calibre is huge in it’s own!! Congratulations on the mostly clear rounds and a wonderful outing that ended with a sound and healthy horse – which is what is most important!


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