My mare, Sugar, is a master of the Rider Over-Ride. Typically happens when we are approaching an oxer that she finds particularly impressive. Or maybe it’s an oxer that I find particularly impressive. Will have to give that some thought. In any case, what typically happens is we’ll be cantering down to the fence, and I’ll have some idea of where I think we’re going to leave the ground. When we get closer to the fence Sug will make an Executive Decision that, no, she doesn’t like my input, and she’s taking over the decision making process.
We then have what I like to call one of our “Holy Crap!” moments, with her taking an ENORMOUS leap and me hanging on for dear life somewhere in the back seat, with my heels up by her ears and my mouth wide open. I’d like to say my mouth is open in prayerful supplication to my Higher Power, but I’m not going to try and BS you. You know I’m saying something that my mother would have washed my mouth out with soap for.
There is considerable photographic evidence of these moments, which I will now share with you. Hope you get a giggle or two, and I’d love to hear which one you like the best.
This first picture cracks me up, not only because Sug’s giving the oxer way more respect than it deserves (she’d gotten a tap from the crop in the schooling ring to encourage her to go over an oxer she was being lazy with) and because my face is hysterical, but because of what you can’t see. As I was trotting out of the ring the photographer came over to tell me he’d gotten this shot, and to say, “Oh, by the way, I thought you’d like to know your fly’s been down the whole round.” Priceless!
I thought you might appreciate the full sequence in the following shots. The back story is this was our first away show ever, week 4 at HITS Saugerties. My trainer decided that for our first class we’d just warm up with something smaller than we normally do. The round was going well, until we rounded the corner to the oxer and final combination. Miss “I Really Think I Should Be A Grand Prix Show Jumper” saw that oxer and LAUNCHED herself skyward, with no warning to her unsuspecting rider (yours truly). She landed on the back rail, splintered it, and then took off as if her hair was on fire towards the combination with me hanging on like a burr, gripping the reins by the buckle. Miraculously we got through the combo okay, and she passaged her proud self out of the ring as if she’d not just raised her Mother’s blood pressure 40 points.
Air Mare Launches Herself. This isn't gonna be good
You know you’re lucky when you have someone recording your less than stellar moments! Where are they when the good stuff happens, is what I wanna know? Anyway, as you can see, Sug was fairly impressed by this triple, and gave a huge leap into the first element. She then decided that the best way to handle the situation she found herself in (remember, she wasn’t taking rider input at this point) was to take ANOTHER huge leap over the second element!
At some point she caught her hind toe on her front shoe, and as we were rocketing skyward I heard a high pitched whizzing noise. I caught movement out of the corner of my eye (you know how potentially catastrophic moments always seem to happen in slow motion??) and it was her shoe flying by our faces! As you can see, I had a great view of that shoe as it flew through the air, smacked into the third element of the triple, and then hit the dirt. Thankfully Madame Mare allowed me to pull her up at that point, although she wanted to give fence #3 a try and argued with me some about it.
We excused ourselves, and together with our trainer (who had the shoe) left the ring and found a farrier, with Sug shaking her head and looking around as if to say, “Hey, didja see that? I jumped so hard I jumped right outta my Jimmy Choos! Pretty impressive, huh?”
Bless her heart. You gotta give her credit– she does love her job!
Holy Shoe! (Look by her nose!)
Holy Shoe 2! (Look left of my head.)
Hope you enjoyed my bloopers!