Otter Creek Fall HT: Show Jumping

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:

His head was up when I arrived. I poked my head in his stall and he laid all the way down with the world’s most dramatic groan/sigh.

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.

Just a littttttle deep. You can see the top pole is already flying. / Photo credit: Xpress Foto

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.

Photo credit: Xpress Foto

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.

Photo credit: Xpress Foto

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.

Photo credit: Xpress Foto

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!

Not everyone is in this photo, but this crew is the best on the planet.

18 thoughts on “Otter Creek Fall HT: Show Jumping

  1. OH WHAT A BUMMER BUT YAY ON SHOWING AGAIN. LOL On you thinking about completing the round LOLLOL Dying laughing. Poor Duke. He was like but…but but…you do have the best crew, the best husband and best parents around. Good luck on the move (and the show) Hope you bought some more whitening shampoo 🙂 HA

    as far as I am concerned you were a winner at the champs! 🙂


  2. Yo I’m crying about how awesome your crew is. So bummed about the equipment failure, but also laughing because Frankie does the whole look at me-dramatic sigh-flop over thing at every single show. They are spirit brothers.


  3. Oh no!! That’s awesome you had the support of your team and another show to go to. Weirdly, at my last show when I untacked I noticed one of my bit connectors starting to come undone. It wasn’t broken but somehow became partially unfastened. Thankfully it held.. I’m glad you guys are ok!


  4. Noooooooooo aaahhhh man. SO bummed for you! That sucks I’m so sorry. I am glad tho that you get one more shot in a show this weekend! I’m sure you two can smash it out of the park! Also, that photo of Duke sleeping is ❤ I adore that shot hahaha! I love a horse that loves to lay down.


    1. I’m glad too! Goal for the weekend: Have fun and finish! It’s seriously amazing how supportive everyone has been to make it happen. I, too, am obsessed with the photo series I like to call “Duke Sleeping at Shows.” He loves his extra-deep bedding when we’re at shows and snuggles in. Sometimes he rearranges his shavings to make a nest. He is a character!

      Liked by 1 person

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