CHJA Finals in Fairfield has come and gone this year. While it was the first time for many of the students at GMC Farm this year, it was a learning experience for all. Getting to compete at such a large scale, you absolutely must bring your A-game if you want to standout to the judges.
For those of you who don’t know, CHJA stands for the Connecticut Hunter Jumper Association. Once a year, students from all over get to compete on the grand stage for Finals. Strutting their stuff during the medals to prove that they have earned their spot as one of the top competitors for their division.
While this year, I was unable to compete (still on the mend from the car accident at the beginning of this year with no medical clear to ride any time soon), I was able to go and support others from our farm. These shows are not taken lightly. The students stay up late holding their horses for the braider into the wee hours and must return shortly thereafter to feed their horses and load the trailers. This year’s schedule went a little like this:
load the trailers (equipment, hay bags, extra grain & water, etc)
bathe the horses and do all prep cleaning
braider arrives at 12AM to begin prepping the horses for their “show do” (this ends around 2:30AM)
Friday – Show Day
return to the farm at 4:15AM to feed all the ponies & load up the trailer
depart for Fairfield at 5:15AM
arrive at Fairfield at 6:45AM
unload the trailer and hand walk the horses all around the show grounds to get acquainted
begin prepping for morning warm-ups
complete your course walk
it’s show time! anxiously wait your turn to go and see if you make call backs
It is a hurry-up and wait day for everyone and if you are not used to horse competitions it may be a bit boring for the observer, but when you realize the dedication and effort the competitors make to get here it is completely worth it. Besides, who doesn’t like to look at pretty ponies all day long?