On July 9, as the last lessons of the day ended and the simmering summer sun dipped behind the clouds a crowd of riders and spectators gathered around the big ring. Volunteers had worked hard to transform the lesson space into a neat course of multicolored poles and standards for the first installment of Woodland’s annual Just Jump It series.
Just Jump It consists of three shows on July 9, July 30, and August 20. Each show hosts divisions that range from ground poles to three feet so there are classes for everyone. The sign up binder is in the office with information on specific classes and fees.
The first show was an overwhelming success. Instructors Ashley Christian, Lauren Hipps, and Sheena Patel set up and ran the event with help from student volunteers (thanks, jump crew!) The afternoon began with the ground pole division. This class is a great way for students who have never shown before to experience the rush of performing in front of an audience without worrying about obstacle height.
Next came the 18’’ division, which is perfect for green riders and horses looking for something more challenging than poles. Tess E. piloted new addition Tank through his first course expertly. This good natured guy only came to Woodland a week ago but his looks and his sweet disposition are making him a fast favorite. He and Tess won the blue for their round, with Kathryn L. and Johnny coming in second.
As the classes progressed the jumps got higher and the courses got trickier. Show Jumping is a discipline that focuses on horses and riders being able to clear a course as quickly as possible. Time faults are given for knocking down jumps, going over the time allowed for the course, and refusing. If a rider goes off course (jumps out of order), has three refusals, or falls off they are disqualified.
It can be intimidating to memorize a whole course and ride it in front of a crowd of people, even if they’re people you know. The best part about showing at Woodland is that everyone roots for each other. Every round is followed by a wave of applause and cheers, no matter how small the jumps or how faulty the ride. The crowd at the fence will faithfully call courses to riders who happen to forget what jump comes next (this happens to the best of us) and the instructors are always close by, willing to offer coaching before, during, or after your ride.
The earlier classes featured a wealth of triumphs: Lowell executed several close saves when Puzzle’s long stride and exuberant jumping style almost unseated him, Sigrid and Hal surprised everyone by galloping down a line and keeping both jumps up, and Julie and Vegas rode beautiful courses despite a considerable amount of pre-show nerves.
The last class of the day was Power and Speed, where riders must clear a full course in order to qualify for the jump off. Whoever has the fastest combined course and jump off time wins, but a faster pace increases the risk of knocking down jumps, so horses and riders really have to work together. It was an exciting class featuring great trips from all the teams.
By 8:30 the final riders were collecting their ribbons, horses were cooling out and grazing in the mild temperatures, and bats were ducking through the air, snacking on the bugs that come out during twilight. Competitors lingered to compare rounds, parents snapped photos of their proud riders, and the stable yard descended into a warm, quiet peace that comes after a full day of riding.
Don’t forget to sign up for the next two Just Jump It shows. Talk to your instructors to know what classes you should sign up for and think about what horse you’d like to ride. The next show is July 20, we hope we’ll see you there!