Day 3- Explain the Division You Show In & Why
|Mid South Pony Club Rally, 2000|
I wasn’t always an eventer. In fact, as a very small child, I rode western (as most very small children do). My mother rode hunters as an adult, and I imagine that’s why she signed me up for english riding lessons after we moved to Tennessee.
How my parents found out about Pony Club, I do not know. I imagine some of the people we saw at 4H and Bridle & Saddle Club shows were members; the club’s longtime DC (district commissioner, kind of like the president of the club for those not in the know) lived a few miles down the road from us.
At age 10, I was inducted to Cedar Hills Pony Club, a large club serving areas of Middle Tennessee far south of Nashville. The club’s primary equestrian discipline was eventing, and so an eventer I became.
Since my family couldn’t afford to pay for me to compete in many events, I supplemented my horses’ show routine with jumper shows, hunter classes, and dressage shows. I never placed very well, but as I got older, I didn’t care as much about placing as I did about getting mileage on myself and my mounts. Still, I always enjoying eventing more than any other sport. (I liked jumpers second-best.)
In college, I received a scholarship to ride hunt seat for the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. I was no equitation superstar, but UTM had just made the switch from IHSA to NCAA competition and needed riders who could competently pilot a questionable group of horses over fences. The team did IHSA for one year I was a member, then moved to the head-to-head format of NCAA meets. I never enjoyed hunt seat competitions.
After college, I moved to Wichita, Kansas, where I signed up for polo lessons. I loved polo. I think, perhaps, had I been better at hitting the ball, I would have taken up polo instead of returning to eventing.
Having attempted a variety of different disciplines, I think I keep coming back to eventing for a few reasons:
- It’s fun! I’m an adrenaline junkie and few things match the thrill of cross-country.
- It’s (fairly) objective. In two of three phases, you are not judged on how you look, but on how you and your horse perform. Are you fast enough? Are you jumping cleanly? Is your horse doing what he’s asked?
- You can really express yourself through attire on the cross-country course.
- The eventing community is supportive and full of nice people. (At least in my experience.)
- Any horse can be an eventer! There’s no certain look or lines that eventers require! Just find a horse that jumps safely and reliably and can also not jump out of the dressage arena.