Sports Wednesday: 2018-8-15 The In-gate is Open

As the sun sets on the ides of August, I bring you one of the most annoying things that can happen at a horse show: the open in-gate.  An open in-gate is exactly what it sounds like…the entrance to the arena is empty. Everyone is waiting for the next competitor.  The judge is annoyed.  The other competitors are cooling their jets trying to quash their nerves, worried that their trainer is going to put them in out of order.  There is gossip about the inexperienced trainer who is somewhere else, holding up the show.

In the end, the trainer arrives, the competitor enters the arena–the show goes on.  Everyone is polite,  an apology is offered, a laugh is shared.

I’m holding up the show, keeping the in-gate open. When I come back, ready to actually post, I will tell you how to enjoy a hunter/jumper horse show. Now may be a good time to hit the porta-potty or get a snack.  Just remember, the horse world is very small. If you say something about this missed commitment, it will get back to me and I’ll tell everyone about how you jumped that oxer backwards in the warm-up ring.

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7 thoughts on “Sports Wednesday: 2018-8-15 The In-gate is Open”

  1. The photo is from the end of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival.   The next one runs from January 9 – March 31, 2019. Every week, from Wednesday through Sunday, is considered a new show. Some people go down for the entire 12 weeks; the amateurs who do this are the truly wealthy, the rest are professionals who compete for prize money or are selling horses.  Some people go down for a week or two.  There is a side industry of horse transporters who take horses down, usually on a truck. Some horses fly.  The horses can live right at the equestrian center or there are many private homes with stables in Wellington and Loxahatchee, some for sale and some for lease for the season.  Some stalls are available on a weekly basis.  If you can’t or don’t want to take your horse down you can also lease a horse for a day or a week.

    We went as spectators last spring. If you want to go next year you should make your reservations now.  The Palm Beach equestrian center runs horse shows throughout the year, taking off the hottest month of July.

    The in-gate at Wellington is never open.

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  2. Christopher Reeve was participating in what is called “eventing,” which is a competition that takes place over three days, testing the skill and stamina of both horse and rider.  The first day is dressage, precise moves by the horse and rider that looks a little like horse dancing. The second day is a 2 3/4 to 4 mile cross-country timed race with about 24 to 36 jumps (more like obstacles) interspersed along the way. The third day is a show jumping course like what you might see at Wellington, but with lower jumps.  Reeve fell on the cross-country race when his horse stopped before a jump, landing on his head (he was wearing a helmet) and fracturing both his c1 and c2 vertebra.

    Eventer Danny Warrington has developed a program called Landsafe Equestrian where he uses a simulator along with gymnastics exercises to teach you how to fall.  He developed the program after his first wife was killed in an eventing accident.  I participated in it this summer and recommend it highly. Ironically I went to a hunter/jumper show the next weekend where I saw a girl cling to her horse’s neck as she was falling before ending up underneath him and getting stepped on…an exact scenario we practiced at the clinic.  Riding is not for sissies.

    Here’s a photo of Danny cropped from his promotional flyer. As he explained at the clinic, it’s proof you don’t need your hands to land.

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