I want to jump! Two-year-old rider’s meltdown at having to do dressage first

  • It’s possibly a position many of us have felt like assuming if we’re told we have to do our dressage first, and then wait a Long Time before we can jump.

    Eventers and showjumpers will no doubt fully empathise with two-year-old pony-mad Erin Gardner, who was taking part in her first combined training competition, at Myerscough College Arena on 8 April.

    Tiny Erin, who has been riding since she could sit up, in a basket saddle, was at her “first ever big girls’ show”, her aunt Kirsty McNulty told H&H, with her trusty miniature Shetland Bobby.

    Kirsty said the challenge facing Erin and Bobby at the children’s fun show was a walk-trot dressage test and a course of cross-poles.

    “When we went in the collecting ring to have a walk round before the dressage, there were two fences left up, from what must have been a show the day before,” Kirsty said. “They were about 3’6” practice jumps and as soon as Erin rode in, she said ‘I’d like to go over that jump, then that one’. I said ‘What, those ones?’ and she said ‘Yes’! As quite a few people said, she could easily have gone under them!”

    Erin chatted to a few spectators as she went in for her dressage, and was interested when a bird flew into the arena, but it was when she was told she would have to wait an hour to jump that “the meltdown occurred”, Kirsty said.

    “She was clutching her Malteasers when we said we’d have to go and get a sandwich and wait – and she was not happy. Words to that effect!” Kirsty said. “I asked her and her sister Renee to hold hands to get a nice picture of them both but she just went rigid on the floor.”

    But of course the hour passed, and Erin got to do her jumping, albeit on Renee’s pony Melvin owing to the logistical issues of having two children, two ponies and only two adults at the same show.

    “She went round the whole course clear; it was absolutely brilliant,” Kirsty said. “She absolutely loved it, and I’m sure a lot of people would have shared her sentiment!”

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