Early Days

Galway Downs HT Recap – Stadium

Click here for the previous recap post which covered through our dressage test.

We had several hours after dressage until our stadium jumping round – plenty of time to walk the course, grab a bite to eat, and find some ibuprofen for my pretty severe right hip/lower back pain from the dumping.

The stadium course was only 9 jumps, including a 2-stride combination. It was on grass footing (mostly dead scrubby grass) and I wasn’t very concerned, as I had specifically longed Hemie on the grass at the clinic 2 weeks ago to see if he might have any issues (he didn’t). The jumps were beautiful with large colorful standards – no flower boxes or other decorations. The course was very easy to memorize.

Hemie was quite fine with getting out of his stall for now the 3rd time that day. He was a perfect gentleman for mounting up (with mounting block). I had Rick walk nearby us on the way to the warm up arena, ready to pony us if necessary.

On the way to warm up we walked behind/near well-known west coast trainer and competitor Gina Economou, who was on a beautiful but clearly green horse. A large trailer was on the right, and a slowly creeping car came towards us on the left. Gina’s horse started feeling a little trapped and began wigging out, bouncing sideways and into us. Hemie completely kept his cool. Gina was apologizing and I just said “no worries, everything is fine.” The car figured out to stop, and Gina got her horse to move forward again. Hemie just marched on like nothing happened. I was very proud of him.

He warmed up like a champ – happy and alert but listening very well.

Then it was time for our round:

Our score: 20 jump penalties, zero time penalties. We came in just 1 second within the time.

So Hemie had some hesitation coming to our 1st jump, and then again at the 4th jump. My barn mate thinks it was the grass footing. My gut feeling was that something on the large decorated standards caught his eye. The cause isn’t really that important – horses are animals, after all. I just squeezed him forward and asked him to jump it from a walk/jog, all “no big deal, you can do this” rather than circle and re-approach which I thought might give him opportunity to wig out.

He did go ahead and jump, but knocked some rails doing so. Other than those issues I thought our round was great – nice and forward, and he was good even by the scary judge’s stand with giant loud speakers. We did have 3 strides inside the 2-stride line, but that’s okay.

As to our score, I did hear them announce the 20 penalties but I thought I must have mis-heard. Unfortunately I didn’t investigate within the 30 minute time period immediately following the division’s scores getting posted – I was just focused on getting Hemie tucked in for the night, finding some more pain pills, and quickly walking my cross-country course before it got too dark!

So here is how I think the 20 points break down:

  • 4 pts – knocking rail at obstacle #1
  • 4 pts – knocking rails at obstacle #4 (interesting note – we knocked down 2 rails at this oxer but the penalty points are per obstacle, not per rail).
  • 4 pts – first “disobedience” (presumably a “resistance” at obstacle #1)
  • 8 pts – second “disobedience” (not sure about this – possibly another “resistance” at either obstacle #1 again, or #4)

Per the rule book, “disobedience” include refusals, run-outs, circles, and resistance.


“It is a resistance when the horse refuses to go forward, makes a halt for any
reason, makes one or several more or less regular or complete half turns, rears
or steps back for whatever reason.”  
(EV150.8(a) in the rulebook, for my fellow nerdies)

I’ve watched that stadium video a few times, and I’d say we for sure have a resistance at obstacle #1. But did we have two resistances there? Because I don’t think the hesitation at obstacle #4 would qualify since we didn’t halt – we just slowed way down and danced sideways a tad.

So back to the question of whether we had 2 resistances at jump #1 after passing through the start flags (first 11 seconds of the video). Here is where we get to something interesting, and that is the procedures per EV118 Inquiries, Protests and Appeals in the rulebook (which I’ve touched on before): to protest the 8 penalty points from the 2nd disobedience/resistance, I would need to write a check for $100. And it would only be returned to me if the protest was concluded in my favor. So even though I *think* we technically only had 1 resistance, would I have been $100 confident? The answer is no.

Turns out I ended up being more than 8 points away from the person who came in just ahead of me at the final scoring, so it wouldn’t have changed my placing anyway. In hindsight, I should have gone to the organizers with an “inquiry” to see if they could tell me exactly where those 8 points came from (or rather, get their breakdown of my 20 just penalty points).

I’ll admit to being a little emotionally disappointed in our stadium round. I was hoping finish the competition on our dressage score, like our last outing. But intellectually I know that Hemie is still building his confidence at shows so hesitations are part of life. And I do think that I rode through it the best way possible.

Okay, again a super long post. Next time the fun part – XC!!

15 comments on “Galway Downs HT Recap – Stadium

  1. Hmm that's odd about the 20 penalties. Always frustrating when you're too late for something (like checking in with the judge). The round looked good though, can't wait to hear about XC!!

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  2. I like that ring, and I gotta say–I'm learning so many rules from you and Hemie's experiences. I'm not sure that's a good thing or not, but it is really interesting! ;)

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  3. I agree with Carly, I'm learning so much from you guys too about the rules (which I need to start studying for this year). I have to say I think the West Coast judges are really hard on the lower divisions. I saw plenty of shenanigans like that at shows I attended last year and they weren't penalized for disobedience. Good job with him!

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  4. That score is wrong, period. Should have been 4 for the stop at jump #1, then 4 for the rail. 4 for the second rail, and that is it. 12 faults…you got screwed. Glad it didn't effect your placing.

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  5. Sounds frustrating about the 20 points. Your round still looks good, though. Also, your spotlight on my blog is now complete(with a surprise included at the end). :)
    http://paolashorseblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/stories-from-off-track-sarah-and.html

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  6. hahaha this totally made me laugh!

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  7. Seems like overall a good outing but frustrating about the points.

    If it makes you feel any better, I always learn so much on your blog- the eventing rules baffle me!

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  8. I think in the H/J world that would have probably counted as a stop, so I'd side with the 20 faults in his case. BUT you guys had some really nice moments and don't let it get you discouraged!

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  9. Thanks! Yeah, another “learning experience” I guess, haha

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  10. Lol – its' a good thing! It means you haven't had my problems, and hopefully you wont since you can learn from my mistakes =D

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  11. My trainer and other more experienced riders have said the same thing – that for some reason the judges/organizers are not being nearly as “nice” as expected to lower level competitors. My last show was at Intro level, for goodness sake, and they had all that shenanigans about my horse being lame (just from him being green and bouncy!). Pooey!

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  12. =) Thanks. Glad someone else is seeing the 12 points too!

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  13. Thank you so much!!!

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  14. Haha thank! =)

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  15. Thank you! Overall I am very proud of Hemie and I, no matter how many penalty points we had.

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