A Great Start to Summer

After the successful completion of my first horse show and my British Horse Society stage III exam, I can officially say that it’s summer – and with summer comes show season!

Two weekends ago, our sale horse George and I had our first horse show near Albion at the Waterloo Hunt Club.  It was our first competition together away from home so I was anxious to see how it would go. We were entered in the medium schooling jumpers (3’3”) and a 3’6” stakes class, and George (our program director) just wanted us to go double clear (clear in the first round as well as the jump-off).  Simple goal, right?  Well, on the first day, that’s just what we did.  George was perfect in both of my jumping classes and we ended up 7th and 5th out of over 20 competitors (which is not bad for not trying to be fast!)

George and I on course at the Waterloo show. Photo courtesy of Southern Sky Photography.

Unfortunately, the second day didn’t go quite as well, as we had a refusal.  But, overall, it was definitely a positive experience and a good start to our show season together.  Our next competition is at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois on June 7th-12th.  After our early success, we’ve entered a 3’9”-3’11” jumper class, and a 4’1” $7,500 jumper stakes class.  In the meantime, we’ve been working really hard so I know it will go well!

In addition to training with the Georges (horse and person), I also recently completed my stage III BHS exam, which is the highest-level certification you can get in the U.S.!  I was the only Albion student taking the stage III, but I traveled with four of my classmates down to Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania where the BHS examiners from the United Kingdom had come to test us.  The other Albion students were all taking their stage II exam and, when we arrived, it turned out that there was only one other person taking the stage III with me!

The exam went all morning and included 50 minutes of dressage work (on two different horses), 30 minutes of jumping (on a different horse), then 20 minutes of cross-country work (on yet another horse).  We then had to lunge a horse and complete both a theory and a practical section as part of the exam.  It was an exhausting day and I don’t find out if I passed for another three weeks.  But I have a good feeling because, at the end of the exam, the chief examiner pulled me aside to encourage me to come to Europe to train for my stage IV, which was definitely a positive note to end on!

Another update will be coming soon about our show at Lamplight, and the results of my BHS exam!  I hope everyone else is having a great start to their summer – I know I am!

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2 thoughts on “A Great Start to Summer

  1. Hey there, I stumbled across your blog while searching google for “BHS testing tips.” Do you have any? I am preparing on my own for just my stage 1. Anything would be appreciated, you could even email me at beachiolli@yahoo.com thanks!
    Cute blog 🙂

    • Hi Erin! Thank you for your kind words!

      The best advice we have for anyone setting out to take their BHS exams is to make sure that you’re studying and reviewing with a registered BHS instructor (if you aren’t already). For Stage 1, the instructor doesn’t even have to be at a high level; you can easily work with someone who has their AI to cover the material you’ll need to know. That person will prepare you thoroughly for every facet of the exam. Good luck!

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