Shannon Harger’s comfort zone in show jumping was either 2 feet or 2 feet, 6 inches.
It was never at 3 feet.
The 12-year-old decided to give it a try during the Moss Beach Ranch Dressage and Eventing Show.
“I was so nervous before the competition,” Harger said. “I tried to calm down.”
Whatever nerves she endured, her horse Emmy was calm.
“She seemed to have more confidence,” Harger said.
Harger took to the course and easily cleared the 10 jumps, much to the delight of everyone there to witness it.
Moments after she cleared the final jump, Harger patted Emmy as she slowed the horse down. Once Emmy stopped, Harger bent over, giving Emmy a well-deserved hug.
“Once I cleared the first jump, I knew I could do it,” Harger said.
With each jump, Harger displayed more confidence. Near the end, she went from just holding onto the reins to looking to the next barrier while in the process of clearing the current barrier.
When she wasn’t looking at the barrier, she just looked straight ahead at what was next.
“I thought my nerves would rub off on her,” Harger said. “Instead, she helped me.”
Harger never relaxed until she cleared the final jump. Earlier in the day, another jumper was looking strong until her foot came out of the stirrup at barrier No. 9. The rider lost her balance and fell off her horse, suffering a few minor bruises.
Harger cleared the ninth barrier with ease and glided over the 10th.
For a few moments, it was just Harger and Emmy. When Emmy came to a stop, Harger lavished the horse with love, while fellow riders came over to share in the happiness.
“My coaches (Renette Rambeau and Jeanette Jacobi) told me I could do it,” Harger said.