Caradino: All-Around Hunter/Jumper/Gaming Champion Of The World

So, this happened yesterday: 

The face of a pony who just robbed children on lesson horses of all the blue ribbons. 
 And this also happened:

It's a rare occasion that Sully's Mom and I arrive at a show and discover that we have the fanciest, best-trained horses in attendance, but that was the case when we decided to head out to the tiniest, most redneck horse show ever and do some $5 jumper rounds to get our horses in the ring and our heads in the game before eventing season began in earnest.

We had SO. MUCH. FUN.

If this show had any rules, which it didn't, one of them would have been "no show clothes allowed, grooming optional." We competed against kids on scruffy ponies with feet still muddy from the pasture, decked out in t-shirts and brightly colored riding tights. The prize list included classes such as Adult Lead Line, Western/English Pleasure, 2'6 Jumpers, and Pole Bending. It was the most fantastic, laid-back, fun horse show ever, and my heart just could have burst watching all the kids with their lesson horses. Seeing those kids brought me back to a time where my humble lesson mounts were the most beautiful horses in the world, and I didn't even know that there was a big equestrian world outside of my weekly lesson. It was so precious I almost cried.

But that didn't stop me from totally crushing the hopes and dreams of said adorable children.

Originally, I had planned to do a the 2' jumper classes, maybe the 2'6 if I had my balls of steel installed, and I threw my western tack in the trailer just for kicks in case we decided we wanted to run barrels or something equally ridiculous.

I ended up going in the 2' hunters as a warm-up because there wasn't a designated schooling area and the schooling breaks were approximately 3 minutes long, and a pairs jumping class, and ALL THE GYMKHANA in addition to the jumpers. I have no regrets.

He's so freakin' cute. Even when blurry.
The hunter division consisted of a walk/trot class, a walk/trot/canter class, and one over fences class, the course for which was literally riding twice around the ring over 2 outside lines of verticals. I don't think the jumps or the distances were actually measured. Our competition consisted of the aforementioned small children on scraggly lesson horses, and Sully.


We won the w/t, came in second to Sully in the w/t/c, and won the jumping, clinching my very first ever champion ribbon. Lovers of satin are going to freak out at the pile of loot we took home!

But seriously, Dino was pretty perfect if not going as well as he's capable of due to the lack of a proper warm-up. He clocked around and jumped everything without question. I felt absolutely zero anxiety the entire time, and honestly just had FUN riding my pony over tiny jumps. Win-win-win!

We had a bit of a wait before the jumpers started, and Sully's Mom and I chatted with some of the other competitors (who were all SO nice) and congratulated ourselves on the brilliant idea of coming to this little backyard show. We were both really enjoying the day and getting a great confidence boost!

Dino was, again, perfect for the jumpers. We rocked the 2' division and one 2'6 (jumps were, definitely, NOT 2'6") class, winning or coming in second in every one. I probably could have stood to take things a LITTLE more seriously since I got lost when the course changed to include a rollback, and also didn't make Dino canter the first fence of the last 2' course when he got a little cranky. But hey. We still won Champion, and it was a good exercise for me to go do the thing and not be nervous in the least!


My last round accidentally got recorded in time-lapse mode, so please enjoy THE WORLD'S FASTEST JUMPER ROUND!

Then we decided to enter the Pairs class, in which we had to jump the course one horse right behind the other, and then jump the last fence in tandem. Sully and Dino jump like that all the time on the trail and in the hunt field, so this was pretty much a no-brainer. There were no other entries, so we "won" that one too. But mostly it was just fun!

After Pairs, we did a quick wardrobe change into our western outfit for games. I walked up to the show organizer/head trainer and told her, "I straight up have no idea what I'm doing. How does this work?" She kindly coached me from the rail, yelling out which way to turn around the barrels and that I had to weave through the poles twice, and other helpful things.

Dino was a total superstar and put up with all of my shenanigans, and I giggled my way through the slowest gymkhana runs in the history of time. We fumbled our way through barrels, poles, and did the 50 yard dash twice. I had an absolute BLAST, and the children finally got to collect blue ribbons since Dino and I totally suck at this gaming thing. But oh my goodness was it fun!

Can't stop won't stop equitating
This pony. I freakin' love him. 

We came home with a massive pile of ribbons and a much-needed confidence boost. Both Sully's Mom and I were tickled pink that we jumped in a whole bunch of classes with zero anxiety, and didn't feel challenged by the task in the least. We may have totally robbed everyone else in attendance, but I think it was just the laid-back, fun start to the season that we needed. We are DEFINITELY going to be back there at some point, though I don't think I'll do any jumping classes and let the youngin's have a chance at some satin. Instead, we'll focus on the western divisions and see if we can improve our gymkhana skillz and round out Dino's resume to include Champion Gaming Pony. Sully is already way ahead of us in that department, as he and his mom won Reserve Champion in the games! Maybe I can convince my husband to ride in a couple classes, too... 

So. Much. Satin.
My little champ. <3 nbsp="" td="">



  1. eeeeeeeeeeee i <3 this!!!!! way to absolutely kill it in everything!! haha omg tho that poles video is hilarious too (tho even the thought of trying to thread charlie through that needle gives me anxiety lol). what a great day and i'm so happy for you! that show sounds a LOT like the fun schooling shows they run at isabel's barn. super casual, super relaxed, and a great opportunity for getting mileage. congrats!!

  2. LOVE shows like that! They are necessary to put into the mix of the serious and competitive. Glad y'all had fun and HOLY SATIN BATMAN!

  3. So many ribbons!!! I miss shows like this so much, though our barn "shows" sound very similar...light and the rules and heavy on the fun!

    1. I was thinking of you and Bobby all day! You guys always dominate these kinds of shows! I also agreed to do an all-western/gaming show in June with a western riding friend. SHOULD BE FUN! :D

  4. I love it!! What a great confidence boost for jumping -- you both look GREAT! Takes me back to my 4-H days when I did gaming for funsies!!

  5. Sometimes shows like this are what is warranted!! Woohoo to you and Dino for crushing it!!

  6. I love this so much and it made me think of the schooling shows growing up that I loved! Where we "ran" 2 minute barrel patterns on western pleasure horses and rode in toilet paper pairs classes - so much fun! Fancy horses are great and wonderful, but there's something to be said for being able to go try anything! (I think y'all need to give cows a try next!)

  7. oooh i want to go to that!!! especially the games part.

    way to beat all the little kids :P

  8. WIN ALL THE RIBBONS!!!! Excellent work, best western pony ever!

  9. That is so cool!! LOVING all the satin omg.

  10. Oh my goodness, I want to go to a show like this! Congrats on the satin!!

  11. I started giggling uncontrollably at "But that didn't stop me from totally crushing the hopes and dreams of said adorable children." and then just couldn't stop grinning through the rest of the post. Whoo hoo!!!!

  12. I love this SO much. There used to be a lot of shows like that around here when I was growing up and now they've kind of died. I have no shame stealing placings from children either and wish I could give it a go, hahaha. What an absolutely amazing sounding outing.

  13. You go girl and congratulations! :D Look at your satin haul!

  14. I love this! Looks like so much! I think Dino had as much as as you did! Nice job giving those kids something to work toward ;)

  15. This is awesome! And now I'm off to search for a show like that. Love the poles video!!


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