I made this photo super large so y’all could get a good laugh out of my facial expression. Jumper classes are SERIOUS BUSINESS, okay?
This was taken in 2007 at a low-key fun show put together as a fundraiser for the UTM equestrian team. I am on Moe.
Moe and I competed in many jumper rounds over the years. I’ve always thought they were a good way for green horses to get exposure; ten years ago, I could show Moe in 2 or 3 classes for under $50, which I thought was a pretty good deal. Plus, jumper classes are fun!
Moe was never a terrifically successful jumper. He was quick, agile, and handy, but we regularly dropped rails. I’m sure this had nothing to do with my complete inability to see a distance or my penchant for clutching Moe’s mane and hoping for the best when we took off fifteen feet from the base of the fence.
This was the first time my coach and many of my teammates had seen me ride my own horse; my coach told me we were terrifying. Our very fast, possibly frightening riding did merit us first place in the class, though.
Midsouth Regional Pony Club Rally, 2002, Kentucky Horse Park. I think this was my very first recognized competition at Novice level. Excuse the quality; it’s a video still.
This is Silk Pajamas, a Thoroughbred mare who belonged to my high school English teacher. At this point in my riding career, I was between horses.
My English teacher was a pleasant woman who knew I rode, because I went to a K-12 school with approximately 70 people in my graduating class. Everyone knew I rode. I don’t recall how I ended up being offered the ride on her horses, but I remember the horses themselves: Andy, a elderly, heavy-boned Thoroughbred gelding who seemed like he would have made an excellent field hunter had he not been in his early 20s; Shalimar, a devilish 20-something chesnut pony who was convinced he was half his age and not broke; and PJ, a chestnut Thoroughbred mare who’d done everything from dressage to polo while my English teacher’s son had ridden her.
PJ was a sweet and willing mare who certainly knew more about eventing than I did. Despite being 24 years old, PJ was nimble and spry, scoring good marks in dressage and clearing every jump handily. I did my first Novice event on her after years of being stuck at Beginner Novice. I even managed an individual ribbon on her- that brown 8th place ribbon hangs in my living room to this day.
PJ was a special mare who taught me many things: dressage isn’t about going slow, 3′ jumps aren’t that high, and most importantly, horses over the age of 15 (over the age of 20, even!) can still compete successfully! (In my youthful ignorance, I assumed anything over age 15 had three hooves in the grave. Joke’s on me, I guess.)
Silk Pajamas died about a year after this photograph was taken. She was 25. I was very sad, but part of me hopes that for the last year of her life, PJ enjoyed having a job. I know I enjoyed her company.
|Me, my trainer Miss Julie, and her pony Ginger.|