Oh Alberta… can we please finally get a break from the “interesting” weather? What, this happens every year? I guess I must do a pretty good job blocking the unpleasantness from my memories! Really though, after an extremely trying winter, spring has not been all that stellar. With the first tournament of the season set to kick off at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping on May 7th, Mother Nature stepped in and made everything come to a screeching halt with quite the nasty snow storm, causing management to pull the plug on the whole thing. Therefore, going towards the Bow Valley Classic II, I think that everyone had their fingers crossed that the weather would cooperate at least a little. Well, I guess the little part has come true – Friday, for example, was a gorgeous day for horse showing. With that said though, many areas of Alberta are currently under a “Special Weather Statement” in regards to the possibility for very heavy rain over the weekend, and you guessed it, this includes poor RMSJ. For the sake of the show and everyone in the area who is extremely flood-shy and still in recovery from what occurred at this time last year, lets keep our fingers and toes crossed for the forecast to be wrong- enough is enough already!
Anyway, brushing the dust off of my camera equipment and giving the batteries a charge, I was excited to hit my first horse show of the season as well. Arriving at RMSJ, the first thing that struck me was the massive renovations and improvements that they undertook. From the simple aesthetics, to the construction of new rings, the facility continues to amaze me with their continued dedication to improving the experience for competitors and spectators alike. Having a facility like this that caters to ALL levels of competition is simply fantastic – it only does good things for our sport.
Now, I’m not going to lie because it is painfully obvious when looking at the photos, so I’ll just come out and admit that I am a little rusty… there was focusing issues and strange compositions galore, but I did manage to get a few somewhat respectable shots that I’m willing to share. Unfortunately, with a few errands to run in the city, I did not get to spend as much time at the show as I would have liked, but did catch the end of the 1.30m jumpers, and the entire 3’3/3’6 “Hunter Spectacular”. Depending on how awful the weather gets I hope to spend some more time there over the course of the weekend, so hopefully I will quickly improve.
Getting to the competition, the 1.30m jumpers saw some great rounds from some determined riders and spirited horses. With the typical immediate jump-off format, the riders who jumped the first round clear stayed in the ring and completed the jump-off right away. This simply keeps things moving along, and honestly, as a rider I really liked this format because it eliminated having to stand around and then hope that you could get your horse fired-up again for the JO. The winner of the class, Shelby Edwards, took full advantage of the continued momentum, letting her little horse eat-up the ground, springing up over the fences, all the while sticking to precisely calculated lines.
Moving over to the hunter ring, this is where I remain slightly lost. Theoretically I understand the concept, and I can pick-out the obvious stuff, but the finer details are lost on me- where exactly did the 86 come from, or rather, where did the 14 points go? It looked great to me! Regardless, I still find it enjoyable to watch as the competitors’ ability to make the course look so easy never ceases to amaze me. Furthermore, with a more flowing and inviting course, it is fairly relaxing for the spectators, with less breath holding and gasps in general. At the end of the two rounds of the “Hunter Spectacular”, Tracey Epp and Sochi would come out on top, having produced two lovely rounds that left me wanting to ditch the jumpers for beauty and style in the hunters.
With that, I will end it there for this post, but with the outdoor show season finally here, you will soon be sick of me with lots more from RMSJ and Spruce Meadows. Also, have look through the gallery below where I added some of the day’s extra photos. Aren’t those hunters gorgeous?!