A jump-off is a balance of speed and carefulness. The faster you go, the more likely your horse is to knock down a pole, earning penalty points. The more careful you are, the more likely you are to finish in the pastels. This was obvious to me. I had not realized that it applied to other disciplines, for example, to a saddle seat academy class.
In my lessons, I can get the slow, collected, “tea cup” canter fairly reliably. It’s the same canter one uses to rollback for a jump. In shows, I was hesitant to press for it. One has to, in broad terms, heave the front end while motivating the hind end. As I pranced around attempting to impress the judge, I had been reluctant to sufficiently heave on the front. If I misjudged and heaved too hard, the horse might downshift into a trot.
After placing last & second-to-last on day one of Nationals, I had nothing to lose. So, Sam lost the canter. What where they going to do, give me last? I rode in the class as I did in a lesson. I worked on elevating and gathering at the trot – to the extent Sam & I are capable. I insisted on cantering slowly but powerfully. Ditto. I still placed second-to-last, but with a huge personal improvement in understanding what was needful. This helped me to big fluffies on day three. [Show Report]
You can place if you compete. You can only win if you are willing to lose.