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WTPC Hunter Jumper Show


2015/10/02






Article & photos by Tommy Brannon

The annual West Tennessee Pony Club (WTPC) Hunter Jumper Show was held September 25-26, 2015 at the Germantown Charity Horse Show Arena in Germantown, TN. This is one of the most popular schooling shows in the mid south, mainly because it is so much fun.

The show began on Friday night with some unusual classes, and welcomed some riders who normally do not compete at the A-rated shows. Even the attire was different – for both horses and riders.  In the Pairs class, riders and horses wore creative costumes of a particular theme. The teams of two were judged on the flat, being asked to change gaits and directions in tandem, which required precise synchronization! Over fences, the teams rode one behind the other, switching positions halfway through the course. 

Jumper classes included the “Gamblers Choice,” fun for spectators and competitors alike. Each jump is assigned a number value depending on its degree of difficulty, and the riders choose the order in which they will take the jumps, with the stipulation that each jump could only be jumped twice. Points for the jumps ranged from 30 to 100. The final jump, called “the Joker,” can add 200 points if cleared or subtract 200 points if it falls. The rider with the highest total points accumulated in the given time is the winner.  

Another popular class is the Ride-a-Buck – a winner-takes-all competition in which riders must go through various drills riding bareback, while keeping a dollar bill tucked between their calf and the horse. One by one the riders who are not able to keep their dollar in place are eliminated, and go to stand in the center of the arena. As the class progresses, the difficulty of the required movements increases, i.e. ,sitting trot, posting trot and canter departs. The dropped dollars become a stash of cash piled in front of the eliminated riders.  The rider who is able to keep his or her dollar is the winner is awarded the cash. All of those days of training, riding without stirrups, pay off!

The popular Consignment Sale was back this year. Horse people could consign tack, boots, clothing, blankets and other items for sale, with proceeds benefitting WTPC. Buyers picked up some real bargains!  

Saturday classes gave both very young riders and green horses/ ponies plenty of opportunity for schooling and confidence building. There were also classes for the experienced to compete in, as well as move up a level. 

The course designer for both hunter and jumper classes at this year’s show was Germantown, TN trainer Bennie Cone. Bennie said that he wanted to “Push it up a little bit; to make it more like an A Show.”  Pointing to one of the hunter rings as an example he said, “We have a bending line in here. The rider has to hold the lead. It makes the rider think a little bit and makes them look better.” He added, “They (WTPC) did a great job of decorating the courses, with flowers, pumpkins, and mums.”  Asked about the jumper course, Bennie said that he designed it so that there would be lots of choices and challenges for the Gamblers Choice class, but also so that the jump crew would not have to move jumps for the other jumper classes, just change height and eliminate various jumps for any particular class. 

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