The most interesting photographs are the mistakes. My mom made a point of buying the photographs that showed my mistakes so I would learn from them, and more important, so I would remember that I was very far from perfect.
I had three horses, so I will use three pictures.
Brevon, Buffalo International Horse Show. This is curious; I remember losing my stirrup over the top of that fence. I remember this, because it was one of my earlier big shows, and I was hyper-eager to please and also terrified that my trainer would yell at me. I had no idea that Brevon was so synched up with me that he would cast his ear back at me (in every other picture of Brevon and me jumping, Brevon is all business and his ears are forward). We are even flaring our nostrils in unison.
Summer Hill, Rochester International. Ouch. What type of jerk asks her easy-going mare to jump from way back? Well, that would be this type of jerk, and Summer jumped. I followed, but our faces are a study in, “I can’t believe you listened to me!” and “I can’t believe you asked me to do THAT!” Reproach. Mama made photocopies of this one, which would appear around the house randomly whenever she thought my head was getting too big. Thanks, Mom!
Six Pack, or “Inch”, because this gentleman stood seventeen hands, one inch. Inch was an Anglo-Trakehner, a Fourth Level dressage horse, an all-around super-smart, super-athlete.
Before the Elmira Horse Show, my trainer had been feeling restless, so he had taken his son’s Junior Jumper and Inch down a day early. He had hacked them both and had decided that Inch wasn’t getting the most out of his stride.
When I arrived the next day, he warned me, “He might ride a little differently today. I opened his stride up for you.” My trainer was about 6’ tall; I wasn’t quite 5’ tall.
At the first outdoor show of the spring season, Inch was truly eating strides, high and flying. It was great fun, but he wasn’t acting like a proper hunter and the equitation classes had a definite jumper feel to them.
According to this one picture, I had let Inch devour way too much space, and he had taken off far too close to the fence. We both knew it was a mess. Just look at our faces.