Monday, May 27, 2013

Virginia Horse Trials Part Two

Cross Country judging continued.....

I was wearing a fleece most of the day (yes, a fleece in May!), 
and I was watching horses for ten hours.
Seriously, how perfect can a Saturday be??!!

Beginning at 8AM the 300 (!!!!) horses 
began running the courses,
leaving the start box at 3 minute intervals.

The majority of the time all went well:
I simply scored a Zero penalty on the official score sheet
and radioed in that "Horse Number XX went clear at Jump XX."

It doesn't matter whether the jump is brushed or knocked (unlike in show jumping);
however, they get penalty points if they refuse 
i.e. stop, veer to the side, circle before the jump etc.
Three refusals over the entire course means disqualification, 
as does a single fall even if the rider pops right back up 
and could otherwise continue on.
Taking jumps in the wrong order is also a disqualification.  
Remember that this is timed "race"
(speed combined with lack of penalties determines the winner)
over a couple of miles 
with about 24 jumps weaving willy nilly across fields and patches of woods.... 
Every course is totally different too!

I had a difficult time finding where I was supposed to go
and I was driving around in the Xterra with a map in my hand!

But only ONE rider went off course and out of order,
and he was a dual gold Olympian in the sport!  

My first jump was this one where the horse went up the bank (A)
and then immediately over the log (B).
If the horse got up on the bank and came to a halt (penalty/refusal), 
there was no way to circle and re-approach, 
so the log that you see in the far background was Option C 
which could be jumped in order to continue the course.
I didn't dare take any action photos here 
since I needed to concentrate on what was happening...
and yes there were some refusals up on the bank!

Between horses it was quiet with swallows swooping in the tall grass
and the grass waving in the gentle breeze.
I could sometimes look over at a nearby jump to catch the action there
But then every 2-3 minutes 
there would be the thundering of hooves approaching my jump
and I'd get to see....

It was a day to remember!
It's always fun to learn something new!


  1. they're just amazing! both horse and rider!

  2. I bet it was an awesome day and event!

  3. I wouldn't like to attempt the first jump! What happens if the RIDER refuses!

    I love that at the second jump the horse CHANGED from a black to a sorrel and got a new rider! A magical day.


  4. Hey, I know how we can meet some day! We might do the Virginia Quarter Horse show at that facility next year.. if so, we'll try to meet up with you!

    I have never been a jumper, just never had the ambition or the courage, truth be told. The Eventers are particular courageous, some maybe even

    OOh, I am just amazed at the views in your neck of the woods. Beautiful. I'm thinking that's where we should retire. What would the odds be of finding a lot with the views that you have? :-)

  5. Just to have been there for the scenic view alone seems to have made this volunteer project a very worthwhile event, Grace.


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