Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

No points awarded here for my photography skills, but this theme touches a cord in me right now.

See, last Saturday the Mutterer very kindly brought his annoying little tagalong student, viz., myself, with him to watch the President’s Cup showjumping. I sat and stared at the amazing horses and riders all day, coming home looking like a drunk with a face sun-fried to deep crimson and eyes bloodshot from staring longingly at the giant jumps and equally giant horses that sailed effortlessly over them.

I loved the Junior President’s Cup because I would have loved, loved to be one of those teens riding so brilliantly over gigantic fences on awesome horses. The Pony Rider President’s Cup  was a strange mix of inspiring and adorable. Those little ponies are firecrackers! Only about fourteen hands high, they flung themselves over enormous jumps and were twice as fiery as some of the horses.

But my favourite class had to be the real President’s Cup, the last of five rounds. 1.40m high, the jumps looked huge, even compared to the mighty warmbloods that strutted their stuff there. I got to see some of the top South African showjumpers in action – Anne-Marie Esslinger on elegant Alessio, Lorette Knowles-Taylor on Nissan Udokes, this year’s winner Jeanme Engela on a beautiful mare called Cloof Wines Chanel, and the breathtaking white stallion Capital Don Cumarco with his rider Nicole Horwood.

And my old hero Barry Taylor on a brave grey horse called Nissan Animus. I held my breath when they cantered into the arena. I was probably eight or nine years old when I picked up a Horse Quarterly with a picture of a huge bay horse sailing over a mighty jump with his rider on the front. The rider was Barry Taylor, and that was the moment that I decided to be a showjumper.

Most small girls at some stage in their lives decide to be showjumpers but I think in my case it’s incurable. I’m addicted to that floating moment in midair, that amazing feeling when half a ton of horseflesh rises into the air as weightless as sunlight, when for just a moment you realise how wonderful it is to live in a world where a 50kg human and a 500kg horse can be one. And fly.

I spent Monday afternoon riding like an idiot and getting refusal after refusal after refusal from Arwen. Thereafter I crashed poor Magic into a jump and got refusal after refusal from him as well, and I deserved it.

But yesterday I sat on a 16.2hh stallion and we went over an 80cm jump (which looked WAY bigger from where I was sitting) and the world was perfect. And Magic and I jumped a tiny cross today and he pretended he was at the President’s Cup and jumped it accordingly and the world was perfect. Yeah, I’m gonna bite the dust pretty often and deserve it. I’m gonna have falls and refusals and rails down and run-outs and it’s gonna be a rollercoaster ride, but there’s only one direction I’m aiming in. Up.

That’s where my Lord Jesus is, after all. He’s the one Who made a world where humans can ride and horses can fly. He’s the one Who listened when I pointed that stallion at the jump and begged silently “Oh Lord, help me!” He’s the one Who boots me off the edge of the cliff so that I can learn how to fly. Because of Him, no matter what, at the end of it all, there’s only one way I’m going, too…


2013-04-21 14.44.36

Barry Taylor on Nissan Animus

OK, so I am riding like an ape in this picture, but I guess we'll get there someday...