The best cross-country horses are the ones who jump into the driver’s seat when “Jesus, take the wheel” moments strike–like this one.
Reader Summer Peterson writes, “This is a photo sequence taken by pro photographer Cristy Cumberworth of me and my 8 year old grade gelding Tim. We did our first prelim in June and this is our second to last outing of the year at the Colorado Horse Park in October.
Now I have to give you a little history on this horse, he is as bold and honest of a horse as I have ever known and SMART. However, when he was 3 and I was stupid (well even more stupid than I am now) I attempted to take him swimming… twice. I won’t go into details, but lets just say both incidents were near death experiences for Tim (and me). Needless to say, he has been a bit skeptical of water since. He has gotten much better about it on course, to the point where I was getting complacent (as clearly demonstrated by my position).
Coming in to this combination he felt very forward and ready to go until the very last millisecond when I honestly think he saw the down bank INTO water (our first) and calculated that without an apparent shore, this water had the potential to be very deep. He slammed on the brakes long enough to get me seriously dislodged, but not long enough to count as a stop. I believe at that point he decided since I was going then he probably should too. I was clinging to his neck and realized I hadn’t heard the vest deploy yet so there still was a sliver of hope, but only if he didn’t lower his head. On the contrary! Tim threw his head back and literally threw me back into the saddle. I like to think this was intentional and his way of saying leave me alone lady and let me do my job!
So now I was upright and had to make a quick decision on what to do about the out, which was a water-to-water hanging log 4 strides-well 2 ½ strides now away from us. The scrappy, dumb kid overruled the rational and smarter adult at that moment when I realized the fence was labeled ‘b’ and circling would incur a jump fault. I knew Tim would go because he always does so I kicked on! (I told you I’m not much better than stupid.)
We went on to finish with no jump faults and 0.4 time and ended the event in 2nd place, but oh how different it could have been.”
Awesome save, Summer! I love how your horse never takes his eye off the ball–he looks like a blast to ride. Thanks for submitting the photos, and to photographer Cristy Cumberworth for allowing us to use her images–check out Cristy’s website here. And, of course, a shout-out to our mucking fabulous sponsor Equi-Tee Mfg™ for making this series possible!
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