La Porte Property goes Show Jumping

Written by Tamzin Renfew

Shows aren't held as often in France as in the UK, so when you hear of one you have to go for it. Don't miss the chance – the effort is always worth it.

It’s an FFE run show at Sarlat, so both you and your horse need to be "official". Sunny was up to date - or so I thought - just me to get registered with the FFE then.  The closing date was Monday midnight and it was only 2pm Monday so loads of time ...... 2 hours later trying to work out the FFE website I "emailed a friend" for help – luckily she was at hand and I got a reply straight away with clear instructions how to find the right page.

OK, now I couldn't find where to enter the class, so this time I used a "phone a friend" and I learnt that club competitions need to be entered via a club ... right ... it’s now 5pm. Still loads of time, quick dash to the riding club at Belves and the helpful owners get my membership done to the FFE, the entry to the class and just a quick check to make sure Sunny's paperwork is up to date and ... no. Not possible ..... I spent ages 2 years ago getting his identity card officially stamped and registered with the French Haras. And now find out I am missing the final "clic" on the computer to make him a registered club competition horse.  So it is decided I will go Hors Concours as there are too many official bits missing. Fine with me - I assume if I was going to be picked for the 2012 Olympics all my paperwork would be done for then !

Finally, the day arrives. We turn up at the show and park next to another trailer with horses who don't look like they have spent months getting fit - great  - Sunny won't feel out of place!
I meet up with my trainer, David, as it is a club competition your club trainer can meet you there. They do your entries, walk the course and takes charge in the collecting ring (I realised later what a bonus this is). David's other pupil and I walk the course, along with gangs of mainly young teens and children, all grouped round their trainers while they explain the lines to take. This is all very strange; I have always been the one explaining to my pupils when we were in the UK, but hey, go with the flow. If he wasn't here I would be completely confused and probably end up entering the Puissance by mistake !

Next it’s time to warm up our horses - or in the case of the other member of my riding club, pony - as the rider is about 6 years old and her pony can fit underneath Sunny !
This is Sunny's first jumping competition and when he is not sure of something he goes into slow and thoughtful mode. So, round we come to the practice cross pole and slowly Sunny and I come to a stop in front of it. At this David shouts an angry and authoritative "NON". Now, I’m not scared of him - well perhaps a bit - but am anxious to please, so off I go for another try. And whoops, it happens again – this time with a slightly louder "NON".  Right - time for action Sunny, forget trying to be elegant – let’s get over the jump. "Oui", we make it over the jump and rapidly jump the other 2 practice fences.  Then David is telling me I am first to go - where has my brain gone? - I can't seem to remember the course and enter the ring madly looking round for clues, 1, 2, 3 .....

I have to admit at this stage that the jumps are really no higher than his fetlocks, so all I am looking for is a clear round without any "NON's" and to have some fun.  David, on the other hand wants me to take this seriously. I try to remember all the things I must or mustn't do, while he shouts instructions from the ring side - mainly "Avance, AVAnce, AVANce, AVANCE !!!"

We managed to get round clear and I felt like a child doing my first competition. It was great and I loved it; David gave me a summary after and finished off with "pas mal pour le premier fois" - not bad for the first time ! 

La Porte Property is going to a Natural Horsemanship Clinic next ..........

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56 bis Rue St Jacques
24540 MONPAZIER France

+33 (0) 553 61 80 33

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