Grand Prix, week one

Let me tell you, after sitting at a show where business is sometimes agonizingly slow, closing up shop a little early on Saturday to catch the $25,000 GO Show Grand Prix was not a hard decision to make.

At the in-gate.
At the in-gate.

The jumper ring at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City is nice- it’s air conditioned, so it’s a relief from the heat of the barns. There isn’t a bad seat in the place, and you can sit close enough to reach down and touch a horse. Some of the jumps are set right against the wall; it’s very cool to see a horse jumping a big line about three feet in front of your face.

Super close to the action!
Super close to the action!

There were 13 rides in last Saturday’s event, and there seemed to be a pretty obvious divide between the experienced and competent riders and those less so.

The top four riders made the tight, twisty course look easy. They were quiet with their hands and bodies, and had good position over the fences. One rider (who I think ended up second) was riding in a pelham with double reins; her curb rein was loose for both her first round and the jump off round. I was impressed.

This pair made it look so easy!
This pair made it look so easy!

Some riders were less graceful. I saw a lot of savage half-halts a stride or two before the fence, which seemed to do more harm than good. One rider pulled an average of 5 rails on all three of her horses.

The horses, on the whole, all looked sort of crazy; like event horses, I think jumper horses have to be a little bit hot and crazy. How they were ridden made all the difference.

Even Grand Prix horses and riders deep leap sometimes!
Even Grand Prix horses and riders deep leap sometimes!

As a non-jumper (well, other than what I do for eventing, which isn’t the same thing as a Grand Prix at all), it was fascinating to me: seeing where riders would try to shave time, checking out equipment and apparel, watching riders make adjustments. It also reaffirmed my belief that good riding is good riding, regardless of discipline!

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

12 thoughts on “Grand Prix, week one”

  1. The local show here that has Grand Prix jumping was cancelled this year. First time in four years I haven’t gotten to go watch. 🙁 I know what you mean about them jumping literally right in front of you though!

  2. Sounds like a good time at a cool ring! I love watching the bug jumpers. Getting to see the WEG in Lexington a few years ago was one of the coolest experiences ever for me!

  3. I have to say that when I went to a grand prix last year I was shocked to see people close-to running their horses at fences and pulling them up at the last minute to “show them” the fences. It wasn’t a true GP — it was a hybrid GP and Range Rover driving challenge so possibly it had different rules? — but it was SO strange. So strange.

    1. I didn’t see any of that, but it seemed like a lot of people would canter the horse around the arena, stop it, and back it up 15-20 steps before they started their round. I didn’t know what was going on.

  4. I hate watching bad riding. Especially at the GP level. Bad trips happen but if it’s consistently bad maybe take a step back. I feel like some riders try to advance way to fast.

  5. love the pictures!! and assessment. yes good riding is good riding, period. i’m not sure the high level jumpers will ever be for me… but it’s super cool to watch all the same!

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