101in1001#7 ride in a 3-Day event: accomplished!

June 11, 2010

I didn’t technically completed item 101in1001#7 ride in a 3-Day event because the Ram Tap Team Allison Horse Trials May 1-2, 2010 was a two-day horse trial, but it is in essence what I was hoping for, so: goal accomplished!

Eventing is a three-event competition comprising of:

  • Dressage on the first day, to prove that your horse is well trained
  • Cross Country Jumping on the second day, the most physically demanding part of the competition
  • Show Jumping on the third day, to show that the horse can still be sound and accurate after a day of cross country.

Eventing is the most complete combined competition discipline recognized by the FEI where men and women compete as equals in both individual and team events. It demands of the competitor considerable experience in all branches of equitation and a precise knowledge of the horse’s ability and of the horse a degree of competence resulting from intelligent and rational training. It covers every aspect of horsemanship: the harmony between horse and rider that characterize Dressage; the contact with nature, stamina and extensive experience essential for the Cross Country; the precision, agility and technique involved in Jumping. Eventing is one of the three disciplines in competition at the Olympic Games, the other two being Jumping and Dressage. – United States Equestrian Foundation

The traditional format is three days (thus the phrasing “three-day event”), but currently they offer the two-day format, where the dressage and jumping are on the first day, and the cross country is on the second day. The two-day format is easier on the show organizers, and makes a lot of sense for smaller shows where the Dressage phase might be over with before noon.

The lowest recognized division of eventing is Beginner Novice. At this show we competed in the unrecognized Introductory-Beginner Novice division, sometimes called “Green as Grass.” You do the Beginner Novice Dressage test, but the jumps are shorter for the jumping phases. This makes for a nice, easy introduction to the sport of eventing. It’s really, really fun!

On Saturday, I for some reason I totally underestimated how long it would take me to get ready for the dressage. Each of your three rides is at a scheduled time. My dressage test was at 12:12 PM, and my show jumping round was at sometime around 2:00 PM, I think. As I got on Whisper, two of the buttons on my new jacket popped off, but I trotted up to the ring anyway. My trainer was a little miffed about my lateness, but that was because she thought I was going to chicken out. Nope, I was just clueless. Rob arrived as I was trotting up to the ring steward to have my tack checked. We didn’t warm up, I had just enough time to verbally review my test one more time, and we were sent out. You can walk around the outside of the court until they ring a bell, and then you have to enter the ring and do your test. I had firmly decided that I was just going to focus on getting the pattern and transitions correct, and nothing else, when they rang the bell and I forgot how to get into the ring. The judge kindly reminded me that you have 45 seconds to get your behind into the ring after they ring the bell. Through all of this, Whisper is plodding along like a farm horse, and I decide that I’m not going to even try to collect him. I don’t want Whisper to think this is a big deal. We didn’t get an impressive score on our test, but I agree with and understand every comment the judge made, and I believe we can easily improve next time.

If you watch the video, you can see at the end (3:20), Whisper perks up and remembers that he really wants to be in the barn with his buddies. Also: my jacket is missing two buttons, that’s why it looks so sloppy. *sigh*

After the dressage is scored, you do your jumping course. Usually they schedule that from the lowest standing to the highest. Whisper nearly had a melt down before we went into the ring. I seriously thought his brain was going to come oozing out of his nose or something, he was so spazzed out. He needs to go out on more trail rides away from home. The jumps were super-fun. It doesn’t look very fast in the video, but I thought we were going pretty darn fast, and I was surprised that we were one second over the time allowed. It’s because we trotted into our first fence. You can see Whisper arguing with me (0:55 in the video) about the speed we’re going. He’d like to gallop through the little jumps, and I’m trying to make him pay attention and go over the jumps.

Sunday morning I walked the cross country course. I’ve actually jumped at Ram Tap before, with Sheri at a hunter pace. These jumps were a bit smaller; I could actually hop over most of them! You get to walk over the course before you ride it so you know where you’re going and where you might have problems. I was pretty confident that the only problem I’d have would be remembering to breathe. Below is my commentary on some of the highlights of the video:

Aren’t those little fences super-cute! The looked a lot bigger from Whisper’s back! We were three seconds over “ludicrous time” or the fastest time they allow. I think we were the fastest time by three seconds.

0:00 We start the course, and Whisper thinks everything is fine and dandy
1:19 Whee! We’re running! I decide to let Whisper open up and run through here, mostly so he stops thinking running will be a great idea.
1:37 I don’t wanna slow down!
1:40 Holy sh*t! what is THAT? Oh, a jump.
2:01 Passing the ambulence, I lose a stirrup.
2:08 Finally get my stirrup back on, now my arm band has slipped.
2:20 I don’t know why the video gets all funky here, possibly because I haven’t actually breathed at all and I’m gett.ing a little dizzy?
3:04 Zooming in on the last jump
3:07 Oh, we’re on the baby course!

We wound up placing 6th in our division. I’m pretty happy with how we did overall, and I can’t wait to go do it again!

By levanah