Preparing for the dark side

In the spirit of checking something off my summer bucket list, I pulled the trigger on entering Moe in a hunter/jumper show next month.  It’s a two day schooling show, and we’re entered in two “schooling jumper” (.90-.95 meter) classes each day.

We have lots of experience with the show jumping phase of eventing!
We have lots of experience with the show jumping phase of eventing!

I haven’t competed in a jumper class since college, and that was at a fun show benefiting the equestrian team. I’m eager to go to this show- Moe is a good, reliable jumper, and I think we’ll have fun. It’ll certainly be a nice change of pace from dressage shows.

But I need your help, internet! I’m certain jumper shows are different from show jumping in eventing, and vastly different than from when I dabbled in them in high school. What should I expect? The classes I’ve entered are listed at the end of the class list for each day, so I assume my classes will be at the last ones held. The show starts at 7:30 AM each day, so should I expect to ride at midnight? (Just kidding- kind of.)

I'll wear my best jumping face for sure.
I’ll wear my best jumping face for sure LOLZ

What should I wear? The prize list specifically states that show coats are prohibited due to the heat, and “we would like to encourage all of our exhibitors to wear their brightest polos for some added fun.” How fun do y’all think I ought to go? Neon or navy?

Moe's got this. I think.
Moe’s got this. I think.

What should Moe wear? A color coordinated saddle pad? A white one? Should he wear open front boots or wear his cross-country set?

And what’s the deal with open schooling? It’s apparently available on Friday from noon to 3:30 PM (hello, heat stroke). What do you do at open schooling? Should I even bother?

Finally, how do I win this thing? Are jump offs involved? Who wants to come to Oklahoma and hold my hand through this thing?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

25 thoughts on “Preparing for the dark side”

  1. I always go for a white pad and a boring colored shirt, but I also grew up doing the eq with a George Morris era trainer. So there’s that. I would avoid being too matchy matchy, but a white pad and a bright polo, or a fun pad and a white shirt would probably be safe. I always use open fronts for horse shows, because most places will have flat cups that come down easily, and you want your horse to be doing their best to avoid touching anything. Each division will probably have one class that is just speed, so go fast and leave it all up, one with a jump-off, and potentially a power and speed which is usually 7-10 jumps with a generous time allowed, and if you get through that clear, you’ll continue on over another 6-10 jumps and the second half will basically be like a jump-off with no break in between. The course will probably be trickier than your average Eventing SJ track, but it still shouldn’t be anything too crazy.

    Unless you think Moe will be looky, I would skip open schooling. Maybe if you want him to at least have a peak at the arena you could hand walk or flat in there, but it’s going to be a little insane is my guess.

    1. Oh, thanks so much for the tips! I feel like I’m definitely safer doing a white pad + fun polo, because I’m too grubby for a white shirt without a coat over it, haha!

      Moe isn’t a very looky horse; I can’t imagine him stopping at anything, and he’s been to this venue for a dressage show before. Open schooling just sounds like a chaotic mess, so we’ll skip it, I think!

  2. You are going to have such a fun time! Wear what you want – I like to match my polo shirt to my pad, or go with a bright shirt and a white pad. It’s the jumpers. Ain’t no one gonna be judging you on your attire! As long as you look neat and everything fits, you do you when it comes to your outfit. I prefer open fronts for jumpers for the reason stated above – you want your horse to be careful and leave the rails up!

    Yes, your classes will go at the end of the day. I like to call in to the show office a few times during the day to see how things are running, and plan to be on site a division or two before my classes.

    As far as how you win, that depends on the Tables of your classes! What does the prize list say? We can help you decipher whether you stay in the ring for the jump-off, it’s a pure speed class, power & speed, or if you come back to jump-off later if you go clear.

    Have a blast!! Jumpers were my love before I found eventing!

    1. The prizelist doesn’t say anything about a Table. It simply reads: “Schooling Jumper: To be shown with fences at .90 to .95 meters”

      I read a bit about Tables and they sound kind of confusing! :/

  3. Wear a white saddle pad (or something conservative with trim) and open front boots. Don’t wear your eventing boots. Don’t match your saddle pad to your polo shirt unless it’s navy or black.

    As for open schooling, I love schooling! I always take advantage of it.

    Expect combinations and perhaps skinnies, but definitely combinations.

    As for jump offs, see if there is a “Table” listed on the prizelist. Different tables mean different things (although I don’t have them memorized). Some are jump offs, some are optimum time, etc.

    1. I’ll have to locate a pair of open fronts- I think a Professional’s Choice rep left a pair at the store for me to try. Time to dig them out!

  4. I’d definitely skip the open schooling. I don’t think you need it, and Mo definitely doesn’t. Eventers go in the sj arena “cold” all the time, and at the A shows the jumpers get to school in their ring, but not over their jumps/courses. If it was a green horse I’d feel differently, but I think all you’d end up doing is frustrating yourself with the chaos and making your horse tired. For sure skip.

    Open fronts, yes.

    Wear whatever makes you happy.

    Definitely learn your jumper tables and take a look at the prize list to figure out exactly what you should expect, class-wise.

    Everything will take approximately twice as long as you think it should to run. Such is the way of h/j land.

    1. I will plan on skipping the schooling- I feel fine about jumps, Moe feels fine about jumps, and I do not feel fine about heat exhaustion.

      I will also plan on showing at midnight.

  5. Totally skip the schooling. You don’t need it. I would totally do the color thing. Get a matching polo and saddle pad. They’re actively encouraging fun outfits and jumpers is generally pretty open to colors anyway. Why not live it up and have some fun. And damn, if you had planned this in advance, I would have made you a completely outrageous ear bonnet to match. You could still make one yourself.

      1. You vastly overestimate my craftiness LOL!!! I KNOW I can’t manage an ear bonnet, but I could MAYBE manage the ribbon browband. It looks very doable.

  6. We do a white pad, a colored polo and…no boots, but only because I have yet to find a pair of open fronts I’m happy with on the pony. Our jumping shows often have people with bright saddle pads coordinated to boots and polos and bonnets, but I’m conservative I guess. I don’t think there’s really a wrong answer attire wise, just be neat and tidy 🙂
    I’d skip the open schooling, especially if it’s hot, the few times I’ve done it thinking the my girl is green and might need to look I’ve regretted it because it just makes her bored and uninterested the following day.
    Most important tip: Have fun!

  7. You’ve got lots of fabulous advice from above, so I’ll just throw these out there:

    1. You will def ride at midnight or so, get in tight with the person working the ring so maybe you can go earlier in the class itself
    2. If you decide to go more neutral with your polo/saddle pad, you could always go for a fun colored belt!
    3. Make sure you see/hear a few classes in front of you, I’ve watched a few power & speed classes that it’s more difficult to hear the bell for!
    You two will do great!!

  8. Fun! You guys will be great!!! I wish I had some advice but, that all sounds foreign to me!! And scary!
    Where is it???

  9. Yayayayayay!!!! Welcome to my world!
    From what you say, it sounds like this is meant to be a fun show, so really you needn’t worry too much about what you guys wear. I always show with a white pad and with a jacket because I don’t win a lot anymore, but I like to get a nice photo 😉 But since coats are prohibited, wear a polo shirt (you need a shirt with a collar to be legal). It sounds like they want to encourage fun, so why not a bright polo?! I use open front boots, but truthfully, no one cares what you use. Whichever boots provide he protection Moe needs, those are the ones to use.
    As for schooling, I don’t think you guys need to do that. You don’t school for eventing, so Moe is used to going in there and doing his job. They’ll probably write the table for the class (what type it is, jump-off, speed, power and speed, etc) on the course maps. Normally they’re listed in the prize list, but not always. Don’t be afraid to ask the gate person if it’s not on there.
    To figure out around when you’ll ride, find out how many trips go before your class. Generally each trip is about two minutes. Speed classes are faster. Jump-off classes can be longer, but not everyone will make the jump off. It will likely be late though. Horse shows take forever. So odd they have schooling classes at the end of the day though. Usually those go first!

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