Show jumping day dawned hot and muggy. We didn’t go until midday so we got to watch some of the upper level rounds. It was a dang yard sale with fences coming down left and right. Fence 4 in particular was a deceptively tricky single off a 90-degree turn away from home. It seemed to come down if you even looked at it the wrong way or breathed too hard on the approach.
Other than that, the rails seemed to be equal opportunity. The course was twisty-turny with no long approaches and few straight lines. Even the two stride was set on a slight angle away from the rail. I like that kind of course.
I went to take Duke for a walk and a bath and found this:
Oh, Duke. I’m a sucker so I left him to snooze awhile before dragging him out for a bath.
We had a long-ish warmup. For some reason my eye was right on when approaching jumps off a left hand turn, but from a right hand turn I was really struggling to get it done.
But somehow we had enough time to finally get it right, then stand in the shade for half an hour, and then warm up again. The second warm up went a lot smoother, thankfully.
I tell you all this for a reason. It will be relevant to our story.
I was sitting in seventh, and I figured if we could go clear we’d have a decent shot of moving up. Duke has been jumping really well since getting his hocks done, so I was hopeful we’d be able to get it done.
Fences one and two were beautiful, and the line rode really nicely.
He was cross-cantering around the turn to fence 3, which was a sharper turn than it had walked. I buried him real deep to it, and he wasn’t able to balance properly so that one came down. His knees literally hit it when he picked up his legs to jump. Sorry, bud, my fault.
Fence 4 – the one that came down so easily all morning – stayed up! YAY! I celebrated a little bit on the way turn to 5. We took a longer spot to 5, and Duke gave a huge effort over it.
And then, this.
That, my friends, is what it looks like when your bit connector snaps in midair.
You can see the broken piece dangling from the bit, and the rein whipped back. Let me tell ya, that throws off your balance. I lost a stirrup but stayed on.
Here’s the video:
It’s pretty hard to complete a course with one rein. I considered it for 0.000005 seconds. My exact thought was “I have no problem jumping with one stirrup, is this different?” Yes, Lisa. It is very different.
So we retired. Five jumps from completing the Area IV Championship.
Trainer B, my teammates and all the riders waiting for their turn couldn’t see what had happened – they just thought I got jumped out of the tack. When I held up the dangling rein, this whole line of riders just groaned audibly. Because it sucks.
I wish I’d taken a picture of the bit connector. It just snapped clean through the leather. I’d cleaned and inspected it the night before and it was fine. No loose stitching, no rotted leather. It just broke.
If only it had happened during our warm up! We could’ve fixed it. If only, if only. There are a lot of those. I am grateful because neither I nor Duke was hurt. We’re fine and we’ll live to jump another day.
But it’s a pretty bitter way to end what felt like such a great show.
It’s especially bitter because that was the end of my show season.
Don’t worry, I’m not leaving you on that downer.
Because I have the best, most supportive trainer, husband, teammates, family and friends.
And after a little logistical figuring out of things, I get to add one more show to the schedule! It’s this weekend. It’s one of our barn’s favorite shows to go to, and it’s local to us which makes it easier.
Did I mention my husband and I are moving into our first house this weekend as well? But because my husband is amazing, he’s taking care of MOVING US INTO A HOUSE. And because my parents are amazing, they’re coming all the way from 6 hours away to help him. And because my team and trainer are amazing, they’re going to help me make sure Duke is cared for if I’m needed for the move after my rides.
I am the luckiest lady ever. I am so grateful to have such supportive people around me so that this can happen. You all know who you are. I love you guys!