To date, my experiences around horses and sports has been limited to the magical mayhem of Melbourne Cup plus champers and chukkas at the polo. Oh, and I’m a pretty mean stomper of those little patches of sod back in to the playing field as well. But Showjumping? The elite elegant past time of the aristocracy (well, Princess Anne anyway!) Hmm, it never crossed my mind
You see, I was asked to the Showjumping last weekend. Actually, to be correct, the SA State Championship Showjumping. I was totally excited about going but, apart from horses jumping hurdles, I honestly didn’t know what to expect … I have to say that I had probably one of the best days I have had in a long time. I came away totally enamoured with the spectacular sport of showjumping and chomping at the bit to do it all over again! (Thanks JR for getting me hooked )
Set in the idyllic location of the Adelaide Show Grounds, surrounded by the fabulous historical stands with the sun playing on our backs as we lounged on the daybeds drinking champagne, it was a picture perfect day.
Open-sided marquees were erected along the centre of the competition ring, offering fabulous views of the trials happening around us. And we were able to linger over a long lunch at one of the many tables dedicated to VIP patrons and enjoy the seemingly endless, absolutely delicious food.
Despite wallowing in creature comforts it was the jumping that had us on the edge of our seats. The sound of thundering horses hooves as the magnificent animal cantered towards the hurdle had all eyes glued to the field, watching and waiting with bated breath as we silently willed horse and jumper to clear the jump.
With contagious excitement we were on our feet, clapping wholeheartedly (no cheering darlings; this is a polite sport ) with a clean round, finally able to take breath once more.
Unfortunately, there was also the times when a resounding clack would ring out as a pole was knocked, sometimes to the ground but most often, only to wobble in its cradle. To the horses credit, if not for the telltale noise, one would often not be aware the jump had been hit as the horse and rider were masterful in taking it in stride as they continued to the next hurdle. Soo much skill
It was absolutely amazing to witness the team of rider and horse working as one. I’m told that the rider takes responsibility for determining the strides needed between each hurdle … (Oh, and have to mention, I even walked the course, striding it out for myself to understand how it all works. LR decided I would be a fabulous jumper! Not sure quite what she meant but am taking it as a compliment ) … but when watching, totally mesmerised, one is completely unaware that responsibility belongs solely with the rider. So sure-footed is the horse that I was pretty positive that it was in on it as well!
Anyhoo, it is an enviable equestrian event that rivals many another ways to wile away a weekend and I will be back in force as soon as I can.
Till next time.
Tipsy Pipsy xo
PS. And in footnote, although this sport of grace, style and sophistication can officially be recognised as extreme, it is one in which it pays to remember that the horses who participate would not do so should they choose not to. After all, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!