My daughter Nicole is a fairly typical 13 year old. Besides earning a 3.75 in school, she rides horses. She rides English, and shows in the jumper class. Show Jumping from Wikipedia for those uninitiated with the sport.
Jumper classes are scored objectively based entirely on a numerical score determined only by whether the horse attempts the obstacle, clears it, and finishes the course in the allotted time. Jumper courses are often colorful and at times quite creatively designed. Jumper courses tend to be much more complex and technical than hunter courses, because riders and horses are not being judged on style.
For the jumper class the rider navigates a series of jumps in the arena. If you get through the round without any faults or problems the rider progresses to the speed round, and then the fun starts. In the speed round the object is to get through the course as fast as possible without any faults.
A couple of things to keep in mind about this sport – it involves horses, the horses jump fences, anything dealing with horses is expensive.
Nicole has been riding for a couple of years. During the past year she rides 4 times a week, competing in local school shows for practice every couple of months. This week Nicole is showing in the Early Summer Hunter Jumper Classic #2, in Wilsonville, OR, put on by Triple Rise Horse Shows. This is a grade C, A level show with riders from states all over the west coast competing. Some of these riders are professional, so the competition is pretty stiff. The competition is very serious, filled with nervousness, tears and throw up.
In one of her events yesterday the leader came in at 41 seconds, Nicole went through the course in 37 seconds, but acquired 4 faults, from pulling a rail, so it kicked her out of first position. My 13 yo daughter in her first event in her first A level show got 37 seconds, and took sixth place!
Nicole – who proofread this post said the following is important for you to know:
- 4 faults = 4 seconds added to the time.
- Rounds with no faults score higher than rounds with faults.
- It is not just based on speed, it is also based on how tight your turns can be
Pictures signed off by Nicole, for use in this post:
I realize two pictures look very similar, but Nicole thought it important for you to get a clear shot of her horse Samson. I like the picture of her smiling, but she is upset that her mom’s head blocks a clear view of her horse. The shots of her and Sammy were taken just after her first event for today.
Nicole has been very nervous these past couple of weeks. I have talked to her about setting goals for herself for the show that don’t deal with placing. One of her goals is to be less nervous during the show. I told her if she worked towards these goals during this event and made progress, she would be a winner. It doesn’t hurt that she got 6th place in her first event, and has multiple events left to compete in.
Nicole is enduring long days, she gets up at 5:30 to get to arena on time, and has long strenuous days. Shannon, her family and I are very proud of her, and the great job she is doing. Seeing her work so hard and be successful with her horse riding is almost a better father’s day gift than the really cool 50’s style shirt I received.