Attack of the Killer Mini


We just got back from the jumper classic at the same venue we showed at last week. Since we had such a good experience there in the equitation, I figured it would  be a great place to get back into the jumpers, in the same ring, with jumps at the same height.

I was optimistic at the start of the day. The courses had some challenging turns and bending lines, but weren't crazy, I wasn't feeling nervous, and Dino had jumped around pretty darn well at home yesterday.

He warmed up pretty slow and sticky, but he usually is, and generally after a few trot fences he wakes up enough to get his engine revving.

I was trotting towards a crossrail when the Mini From Hell made its presence known.

Someone, for some reason, had brought a tiny white mini to a jumper show.

And Dino was absolutely terrified of it. He went over to meet it, and it still scared him. We went back in the ring, and he was constantly looking for it. On the way to every warm-up fence he had his head and neck cranked in the direction of the Killer Mini.

I left the warm-up ring without having done hardly any cantering or jumping due to my pony being unable to focus on anything except the Evil Mini. I figured it would be fine, and he could wake up on course. I wasn't there to win, after all, just get back in the swing of things.

But OF COURSE right before we went in for our first class, Dino spotted the Mini at the top of the hill, and did not stop staring at it for one second. We awkwardly lurched over the first couple fences from a trot/halt, but just couldn't get it together enough to complete the course because my pony was staring at that godforsaken mini the entire time.

I was a little bit peeved, to say the least.

Michael, my hero, asked the mini's owner to please remove it from sight when I went into the ring for the next class. The mini was gone, but Dino was still 100% convinced that it was going to pop out from behind a jump standard and eat him. He was so concerned about it that no matter what I did I couldn't get him to focus enough to jump the course. We were excused.

I went back into the warm-up to try and at least get him to hand gallop around, but his brain was fried at that point. Even after getting off and "lunging" him at the end of the reins to remind him what forward means, at best all I could manage was a couple laps of a short, stilted canter.

I scratched the stakes class and we went home.

Once we were back home, I lunged Dino for a little bit to make sure that nothing was bothering him, and he looked fine. I hopped back on and we headed into the ring for some schooling.

Suddenly, I had my good pony back. He marched right around, picked up a forward canter, and jumped everything in the ring just fine, even making one absolutely flawless inside turn off my right leg to the 'big' brick wall.

I have mixed feelings about our experience today. On one hand, I'm glad that our poor showing wasn't because of something I did. I feel a lot better knowing that 99% of our problems today were due to my pony's apparent paralyzing fear of minis. But on the other hand, it still sucks and it's still so frustrating to go out to a show and have it be a horrible failure. Unfortunately for my wallet, I think some of what we need is just mileage. To just go out to shows and do this until it's routine for us. I want to be consistent, and I want this to be fun. Getting there just sucks.


  1. Mileage is very important, maybe you can find some places that you can go but don't need to pay too much to just get Dino the exposure he needs.

  2. Thanks L, I was hoping you would chime in! He is such a "go with the flow" type of guy and was a show pony in his previous life before I got him, but he has not done the show thing regularly in a looong time so we might need to just develop a good show routine. We might head to another little schooling show next weekend and maybe just pay to school the course instead of competing, as long as we've got the gas money!


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