With Ian Pycock
Me and some friends recently competed in our local annual team Christmas show jumping event at Ackworth and District Riding Club, in fancy dress of course. Our team “Up to Snow Good” all dressed as ‘Snowmen’, complete with face paint and flashing orange noses – quite the sight. We were a team of four: Sally Ramskill, Ian Pycock, Debbie Smith and Lizzie Reid, who got a late call and stepped up to the occasion on a borrowed horse! Fancy dress was optional, but as usual we decided if we didn’t perform well in the jumping then at least we’d have the best fancy dress!
How does show jumping work?
At this event the jumping format involved two rounds, with each rider first jumping 90cm – then once the other teams had jumped, each team member jumped the same course at 95cm. After the first round we were on an aggregated score of eight faults (with the leading team on four) so the title was still all to play for.
The course had two tricky jumps: one tight, skinny jump, and the last a double designed to tempt riders into cutting the corner and making it a very difficult angle – so control was really the key here.
How is show jumping scored?
In British show jumping riders are typically scored faults for knockdowns, disobedience, and going over time. The leading team were out first and finished their two rounds on 12 faults. After three of our riders had gone, we were neck and neck on 12, putting the pressure on our last rider Debbie to go clear - which she managed, to a fantastic cheer from our gang of supporters!
Tied entries in show jumping
Once all of the teams had completed their rounds, there were just two teams on 12 faults so it had to go to a single rider jump-off: these are timed and held over a shorter course. After a quick chat I was nominated with Walter, and luckily we were drawn to go second. Following on from a super-fast pony round with a critical four faults, all I had to do was keep cool and go clear… Walter had other ideas: after the first tight turn he instinctively knew we were in a jump-off and started racing! It was a real struggle but I managed to bring him back under control, taking no chances, and getting a great clear leading to a winning score!
We had a brilliant day, and definitely put a smile on everyone’s face with our outfits.
Want to know more about showjumping? Check out our guide to looking sharp in the show ring.