State: New Hampshire
Breed of Horse: Standardbred
It was our first Novice level event. I didn't feel ready; my heart was
in my teeth and my palms were wet with sweat. I had taken Jeffrey, my Standardbred
gelding, to many pre-novice level events and had done quite well but as
we were cantering along this novice cross country course it felt different.
I was too nervous and Jeffrey picked up right away and quickly developed
a fear of the fence judges which made it hard to concentrate on the bigger
There was one particular jump I was most terrified of: a large, 3 foot
coop, kind of like a rectangular box 3 feet tall and two feet wide. It
was the width and the solidity more than anything that scared me. As we
cantered up to it I squeezed my heels into Jeffrey's sides and encouraged
him verbally but his eyes were on the dreadful fence judge and not on the
fence. I needed his attention but I couldn't even focus my own!
Suddenly the jump was upon us and I knew very well he was going to stop.
If only I hadn't been so nervous... If only he had been looking at the
fence a while back... He came to a complete halt obviously more surprised
that there was a jump in front of him then scared.
Disappointment filled up in me but I had to go on. I pulled my right
rein to ask him to turn around but Jeffrey had more faith in himself then
I had. He was so willing and wanted to please me so much that from a stand
still he leapt into the air and landed his front legs on top of this huge
fence, knocking it down but making it over.
I was so terrified and worried about him I was shaking but Jeffrey wasn't.
He was so proud he had done it that after the fence judge said I was clean
and could go on, he took the rest of the fences without a blink of an eye.
No other horse I have ever ridden would do the things my Standardbred
has done. I have been told that he has the biggest heart of any horse that
walks the earth and I believe it more than anyone. This jump was only one
example of the extent of his heart. He may not be worth a million dollars
but there is no other horse in the world I'd rather ride.