Arena Eventing – Competitors first complete a round of show jumps immediately followed by a cross country course, finishing over a joker fence set at 10cms higher than the rest of the course.
As I do eventually want to compete in eventing as soon as I saw that this event was being held at the yard I was very excited!
There was five classes from pre-intro (80cm) to Open intermediate (1.15m). I decided to enter the pre-intro, while we could of entered the pre-intro and intro (80cm & 90cm) I didn’t feel like that would be the best idea for us at the moment, as we are not fit enough. (This would later transpire to a mental block that I have but I will go into that at the end.)
The times went up late Thursday night so I started planning out the day. I was on at 10.36 and the class started at 10 so, if I had Eva ready in her stable, after walking the course before the class started I would also have time to then watch the first rider.
I was feeling a little nervous as not only was this our first ever arena event but my family were also there. While they have seen Eva many times they have not seen me jump her and this is the first time they have seen me at a competition with her.
Before the day I had to decide if I would wear my showjumping jacket or my X-country jumper from reading online it seems like a 50/50 split. I decided to go for it and just wear my xc jumper.
Of course I arrived on the day and what was everyone wearing? Their show jumping jackets. There was only one other person in the xc jumper but oh well ! I could of brought both but as I had my family staying I spent the early morning cooking up a big breakfast for everyone so the possibility of needing to bring my show jacket went out my mind.
When I got up to the yard I groomed and put Evas’ jumping boots and saddle on before going down to the arena to walk the course and watch the first rider. There was 8 jumps in the show jumping phase and 9 in the cross country phase. So considering that the average showjumping course has about 12 jumps there was a lot more to think about.
Eva was – of course – very upset that all the horses in the barn had been put out and she was kept in. But that energy was actually quite useful as we warmed up I felt like I had plenty to use and wasn’t too worried about tiring her out. I did take care not to over do it though.
Our time came and in we went. We sailed over the first 3 jumps but landed on the wrong leg after 3 so as we approached 4 we had a slight wobble but still managed to jump and clear. 5 to 8 were great all clear and all good. After 8 it was time to start the next phase so the jumps started from 1 again. Over 1 we landed on the wrong leg again and I had to fix it quickly before 2 which was an interesting looking jump with beehives as fillers, Luckily Eva isn’t phased by fillers so we popped it fine. Number 3 was a corner (Is it called that ? It was 2 parallel poles with one side touching and the other side further apart) I wanted to aim for the middle but ended up further over to the narrow side which made the striding up to 4 a bit off. We jumped and cleared 4 all good so far. It was going great while we had lost a little bit of time fixing transitions we had cleared everything and in general Evas canter felt lovely and forward.
Que massive brain fart!
I suddenly realised I had no idea what or where the next jump was.
I thought remembered and thought “next is number 6” so I jumped 5 thinking that it was 6. We had quite an awkward jump over and while it didn’t unseat me it did distract me.
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted number 7 a small roll top under a pole so we wheeled around and popped 7 and headed towards 8 with relief thinking I know where we are going next. As we jumped 8 I suddenly realised we had only one more jump to go and hadn’t jumped the skinny number 6. At that point I froze but had already pointed Eva at 9. So the poor girl tried her best to get us over it and she did but there was absolutely nothing coming from me.
Here is the video;
I smiled held my hand up in apology to the judge and understanding we were eliminated and gave Eva a big pat. As I was leaving the guy who designed the course called over laughing “You know number 6 comes after number 5” I laughed and joked “Really?”
I was so happy with how Eva was jumping that this has not put me off. Arena eventing is unusual in that you don’t jump that many jumps in a contained arena in any other discipline. While yes you will jump more on x-country it is easier to separate out in your mind as you are travelling along a route. In arena eventing you are jumping two separate courses in the one arena, therefore twisting in and out of the other jumps it is hard to separate both the courses out.
Overall while yes it is unfortunate that I mucked up I am not put off by this I know we need a lot of practice. And I think we did quite well considering that we are still quite new to this whole competing thing. Plus I am already looking forward to the next jumping thing.
I had a lesson the next night and as the jumps were still up it was a great opportunity to have a jumping lesson. The lesson went great and I felt our jumping was even better than the day before.
At the end of the lesson we were having the usual debriefing. I said that I wanted to look at starting to jump courses at 90 but we might need more work. My instructor looked at me blankly and said “Im not being funny but most of the jumps you have been jumping tonight is at least 90 and the one you jumped the best was the one thats at almost a meter…“.
I was slightly taken aback by this. During the whole lesson I thought the jumps were “big” 80s, so firm is my mental block that we are “not ready” for anything bigger that I completely convinced myself that a jump that was almost a meter was maybe going on 90 and not a meter.
Its exactly what I needed.
I also made a Vlog about our experience if you would like to hear me talk through the course.