FCHJA June 2016

The FCHJA June Show was the show that wasn’t supposed to happen. When we booked our trip to Philly, I didn’t even look at my calendar (which is very unlike me). When I realized I’d miss the show, I pouted for about five minutes and then realized it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Then the points for the year got posted. And I saw that I was sitting in second for my Equitation Division (which is still mind boggling that I ever place in Equitation). My inner point-chaser and competitive nature took over. I really, really wanted to keep my standing. But at the same time, I didn’t want to pay for Petunia to go to a show that I might not even make.

When I told my barnmates about the situation, they joked that I could probably still make it to the showgrounds on time since my classes are the last of the day. One thing led to another, and next thing I knew I was making arrangements to ride one of my trainer’s horses that was already going to the show with a friend.

So that’s exactly what I did.

My plane landed at 2 PM, and we made a mad dash from the airport to Green Cove Springs (45-60 minutes depending on traffic). I changed clothes in the car while Anthony drove, and we managed to get there with time to spare.

While I was warming Splash up, I was completely blowing my lead changes. Instead of schooling them into the ground and overthinking them, we decided to just go in for our warm-up and make adjustments from there.

And of course, my warm-up was easily one of the best courses I’ve ever ridden. It was lovely. It was soft. It was flowing. Splashysaurus Rex was doing his absolute best hunter pony impression. And it wasn’t even videoed or judged. I could cry.


(Ignore my slipped back lower leg. That’s only one of the many things that makes me scratch my head at my equitation placings of late.)

The round was a great confidence boost though. We went in for our actual judged equitation round, and it wasn’t quite as perfect. I could tell he was tired, and I wasn’t giving him quite enough leg to move up for the bigger spots. We had one or two tight spots, but otherwise, the round was fine. Not my best, but certainly not my worst – especially considering I ride him maybe once a month.

Then there was the flat. Sweet baby Jesus, I could not sit his trot for my life (even though I’d practiced it when I rode him on Monday!). I bounced around like a sack of potatoes. He also magically got a spurt of energy and wanted nothing to do with the walk portion of the flat. He just wanted to GO! I ended up third, and just barely missed out on Reserve Champion. Such a bummer.


Was it worth it? Absolutely. Now I’m really looking forward to the September and November shows!

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Devon Stiles


  1. Nice work making it to the show! Sounds like a pretty decent day overall. I love the adult equitation divisions. It’s not as tough as when we were juniors, but still tons of fun. Congrats!

    • This is a Jr/Am eq division, but it’s me and another adult who are leading the pack! I love it. I’ve always enjoyed riding eq courses (might be why I’m so drawn to hunter derbies), but I was way too hard on myself about them as a junior. It’s so much more fun as an adult.

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