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View Full Version : Young Event Horses and YEH Program - Are we asking too much?



Ponylady27
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:07 PM
This is kind of a spin off of the Training Issues thread and I'm sure a whole new can of worms. Several people have mentioned how young the horses are who are moving up the levels - and how the maturity of the horse may be a factor in some of the crashes.

This is important to me because I'm the owner of a young horse that I am tentatively planning to compete in the YEH tests. But I have to admit I have some concern over the heights required of the 5 year olds. My horse is 4 and was just started this year as I didn't feel he was mature enough - mentally or physically to start sooner. As much as I think he's they type of horse they're looking for in terms of talent and conformation, I'm concerned about pushing him to do a course at 3'3" his first year out. I believe he has the talent to do so, but I'm not so sure about the maturity.

This is the horse I'm hoping will be my horse of a lifetime. I bought him as a weanling partially because he jumped out of every enclosure they put him in - even at that age. Now, he's been known to jump out of a turnout with 5' high fences from a trot just to come and find me. He's not panicked, he just wants to be social. (I know this is a dangerous habit of his, and one that I don't encourage, but that's not what I want to discuss). I had originally planned to bring him out at BN/N this year - which I will still do, but I'm not sure about the YEH program yet.

I know no one is pressuring me to do the YEH program, I will make that decision on my own. What I'm most interested in is your viewpoint on how much we ask of our young horses.

So as an item of discussion, How much do you ask of your young horse? What do you all think of the levels of effort being asked by the YEH program? Are they appropriate for the age of the horses? If you've participated, what have you seen at the events - how did the horses behave? Were they overfaced? Or were the fences set up in a friendly manner encouraging the horses to try? Is this a program best attempted only by professionals or is there room for the amateur?

If you look at the classical dressage training scale, there is a clear progression from one level to the next. What is the progression for eventing - specifically for XC and SJ. How do we make sure the horse is really ready to move on?

OK, Go!

eqsiu
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:21 PM
I think the levels are asking quite a bit. I would love to do YEH, but the amount of training I would have to do now to get ready for it is much more than my horse is physically ready for. She can't canter and turn most of the time, so how can I expect her to be doing 3'-3'3" courses next summer? I was not thrilled when they started allowing 5 year olds to go prelim. Too much too soon. Yes, by the time a horse is five they are capable, but it doesn't take into account the necessary timeline needed to produce a five year old prelim horse. I would like to see 15 year old **** horses be the norm, not old. 20+ is old. And even those horses should still be sound enough to actively compete at the lower levels.

I fear our sport is headed the way of gymnastics. Remember when Shannon Miller was 20 at the Olympics? Everyone commented on how old she was. Good lord! Getting to the top fast does not guarantee a long run at the top. In fact, it seems to counterindicate it in many instances. I know that duct tape and baling twine hold the Earth together, but it shouldn't be required for our horses.

bornfreenowexpensive
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:21 PM
I did several of the YEH classes this year with two 5 year olds. I don't think they jumped higher the 3' (and often lower) in any of the classes (the finals are a different story). One horse was competing at novice and the other training level....they did not feel overfaced at all. That said, each event was some what different and I think that other venues had pretty tough courses.....but even maxed out....they are no where near the same level as a full event.

I like the programs (FEH and YEH) and hope to continue to support them....but you do have to decide if your horse is ready or not. And be ready to scratch if you walk the course and think it is too much. Not all horses will be mature enough to compete....and there will be some further along etc. But these are just a class or an option for horse owners. Just because your horse doesn't do well (or even compete) in the FEH class or YEH class doesn't mean that they will not become a top event horse.....just as doing well doesn't mean they will be a Rolex horse.

purplnurpl
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:32 PM
hey there.

good questions.
also take into consideration that the 5 YEH Championships are at 3'6''.
The classes at the beginning of the year will be easier than those towards the end.
You really need to be on a 5 year old going Training or thinking about moving up to Training by the time the championships roll around if you so choose to compete. They used the training course and a few 3'6'' SJ fences at the AEC YEHC this year.

The classes are best suited for sale horses of ULR. Darren actually made that statement himself.
Of course there is room for Amateurs in these classes. They are judging quality of horse not professional vs. ammy. True, ULR will usually have nicer horses, as they are bred out the wazoo and/or cost a million. (Windfall babies)
So make sure you go in with an open mind. I have seen from this past year that it is tougher to qualify than many expect.

I too have a 4 year old that we (owner and myself) would like to aim at the 5 YEH stuff in 2008.
He hasn't started jumping yet but I am very excited to get going. He'll start this winter.

Personally, I do not believe that horses are tested physically at 3'3''. Any horse can jump 3'. I wouldn't worry too much about your youngin over the height. If he is balanced, willing, and confident I would think he would be fine. ; ) The height certainly shouldn't hurt him.

But yes indeed there are some 4/5 year olds that are just not mature enough and as bornfree suggested, if you have qualms after seeing the course, just scratch. No biggy.

I followed my bud, Kacey's Rider, through her YEH experience this year. It was loads of fun.
Boomer was aimed at the 4 YEH in 2006 but Area V wasn't on the wagon just yet and I couldn't afford to travel out of area at that time.

good luck and keep us posted!

olympicdreams04
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:35 PM
I buy one or two OTTB's a year and have for several years now. For the past 18 months, none of the 3 OTTB's I've had have been mature enough to compete in YEH while they were eligible. I do think it's asking alot, but I have had plenty of horses in the past that were quick learners and were developed enough physically to compete.

Long Shadow Farm
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:38 PM
I loff the YEH and participated with my QH when he was a 4yo. Other than the first one we went into, I felt that they were all very inviting and a great learning experience. I think it all depends on your individual horse's maturity level and how they are coming in their training. If you feel that your horse isn't ready, than don't participate! No one is twisting anyone's arm to and I doubt your horse will be looked down upon because they didn't participate in the FEH or the YEH program. Some horses can handle Beginner Novice & Novice questions at 4yo and some cannot.

Bobbi

Ponylady27
Nov. 27, 2007, 01:52 PM
You guys are awesome (and quick!) with your responses. It's great to get that feedback.

Now what about developing the young event horse. I feel very much like eqsiu in that the horses are wearing out, for lack of a better term, too early. We've all heard of those horses still packing kids around T or P in their 20s, but those are few and far between. I hate seeing horses like that of my former trainer who are done at 9 - lame and/or burned out after having run Inter. or Adv. for a few years, probably before they were ready.

IMO, 5 is too young for a horse to go prelim. Due to the increasing technicality of the P courses, I believe that this is the first level where you can really get nailed for making mistakes - horse and rider. And most 5yo horses aren't ready for that. While like any other sports, there will be prodigies and those horses ridden by BNRs, but my question is regarding the average horse - are we pushing too hard too soon?

I know I'm stirring the pot, but I think its something to be addressed.

denny
Nov. 27, 2007, 02:16 PM
Right from the start of the program, I would have preferred 5 and 6 instead of 4 and 5.
Some are ok at those younger ages, but many aren`t.
I`ve asked about adding a 6 year old age level, but there`s been no response.

bornfreenowexpensive
Nov. 27, 2007, 02:17 PM
IMO, 5 is too young for a horse to go prelim. Due to the increasing technicality of the P courses, I believe that this is the first level where you can really get nailed for making mistakes - horse and rider. And most 5yo horses aren't ready for that. While like any other sports, there will be prodigies and those horses ridden by BNRs, but my question is regarding the average horse - are we pushing too hard too soon?

I know I'm stirring the pot, but I think its something to be addressed.


My view is you don't base everything on age (and age is just one factor)....horsemanship involves knowing how much to push...some push too much and others not enough. Knowing what to do comes from experience and treating each horse as an individual. I have a very fancy 3 year old....he was the champion for the FEH. While I would love for him to go and win the 4 year old YEH class....whether he will even compete in a single YEH class will depend on how he is maturing. If he is ready...he is ready and if not, oh well. You have to evaluate each horse each day and not base your training on trying to enter a particular class or level of event....you pick the particular class or level of event that is most appropreiate for your horse at that time and will help them develop.

I personally agree that 5 is young to be going Prelim...but I can see that there are some horses who can skip around a prelim with ease....What I hope is that at any level...no one is drilling that 5 year old day in and day out all year regardless of the level.

Lori T
Nov. 27, 2007, 02:17 PM
I have opted not to do them. I have a 4 and a half year old draftx. I am just now cantering a 2 and a half foot course with him. Because of his size (17 hands and still growing), I don't want to push him...I want him to last. I would rather move him along slowly and do the novice stuff at age 5 or 6, rather than having to compete him at that level when he is 10 because he is broken down.

RiverBendPol
Nov. 27, 2007, 02:33 PM
I had hoped to take my coming 5 year old OTTB in a YEH competition or 2 in 2008 UNTIL I read the requirements. I think way too much is being asked. I happen to think a young horse experienced enough to face Prelim questions confidently, at 5 years old, has been worked too hard and done too much.
I think a horse who spends a longer time in kindergarten will make his moves up through T, P, I and maybe A with more confidence, soundness and generally will be a happier partner in the long run.

Long Shadow Farm
Nov. 27, 2007, 02:51 PM
Here is a question..... how many people who are making the statements that they wouldn't do the YEH because of the heights in the rulebook have actually been to a YEH competition?? Have you seen (in real life) what is going on or just basing your opinion off what you read in the rulebook?

Most of the questions are not Training or Prelim questions at the YEH. Usually they will jump part of a Beginner Novice or Novice cross country course with a few Stadium jumps that might be alittle higher thrown in. I know that most of them are way below the max height requirement (especially early in the year). Now in the Championship at the end of the year, there may be a bigger fence or two (which it should be for a CHAMPIONSHIP) but I bet the vast majority are still going to be a good 3 to 6 inches smaller than the max. Just because the rules list the max, doesn't mean that everything is going to be that big. Instead of totally downing it based off what you read in the rulebook, I would advise contacting organizers to see what they plan on setting up. Most organizers that I know want the YEH to be very inviting and positive for the horse. That is what the entire program is based on. To showcase upcoming youngsters and give them a positive first experience at the horse trials.

And just because a horse might competes at Prelim at 5 doesn't mean that it will automatically be done by age 10....... I just get sooo tired of these blanket statements. I think just about all of us (other than a few who are in it for the $$ or just don't care) want our young horses to go on and have long successful careers. Should I be hung out to dry because I moved my guy up to Training in May of his 5yo year??? He was more than ready and not backed off a bit and as far as I can tell, none the worse.

Everyone should do what is good for each individual horse throughout their career. Some horses are ready at 4 to go and show, some aren't ready till they are 7 or 8, and some never ready.


Bobbi

kacey'srider
Nov. 27, 2007, 03:17 PM
Kacey and I did the YEH and managed to make in to AEC's in both YEH and novice. I had raised him from a colt and he was a yearling when we heard about the YEH program and from then on, that was my goal. Unfortunately, everything in our area fell apart for YEH when he was four. I offered to do as much work as possible to help venues run them, but it was not to be. When he turned five, we made the decision to go out of state and area to attempt to qualify.

I'll tell you this... the road to getting them ready for it is a tough one. The stadium fences are no big deal, but the number of cross country fences that they need to have been exposed to in case you get one on your course is a rather large number.

I schooled Kacey like mad to get him ready. We did almost every schooling show in our area and all of the schooling days.

I feel like the way that we prepared him was well suited for him. Schooled XC everywhere, careful not to overface him, but expose him to as much as possible. We then only introduced height for the stadium fences to make sure that he was comfortable with it, which he was.

By the time we arrived to AEC's, he had competed in 3 YEH divisions, and let me tell you, the judging and the courses ran the gontlet. We ran a course at the COHP in an event derby. The course was very well designed and fun. Most of the fences began at novice height with a few training level height stadium fences. It used banks, hills, and turns to show balance and learnablility of the horse. The course at Maui Jim was essentially a stadium course at training level height. And our course here in TX that I helped run was a true YEH course. Banks, water, coops, and maxed out stadium fences as it was less than a month to AEC's. We scored anywhere from an 80 to a 68.5. AND, to top that all off, they changed the way they were scoring things mide year. So, I did a lot of communicating with USEA on the scoring to ensure that we qualified.

The AEC course was pretty big, IMO. The stadium fences were all 3'7" and we began with a fairly large oxer. The XC fences included a log oxer, a skinny, a house a stride from the water, and then a jump out. Kacey gave me an amazing warmup, but I think we sat and waited our turn too long and he lost some of his drive. Leslie Law fell off and they looked into some footing in front of some of the fences before we continued.

After watching all of the horses go, it was easy to see that he was one of the most immature 5 year olds there. He was peaky to the fences, but jumped everything the first time except for the house into the water. Had the judges only seen our warm up, I think they would have been impressed.

And our dressage could have been better as well. He wasn't moving qute right. We came home to find that he had an abscess festering. He was not off, but not moving well.

Kacey's sire was VERY slow to mature. The didn't even start him until he was six because of it. I think Kacey is pretty similar.

So, now, we've made the move up to training level and managed to qualify for AEC's again. But, we are slowing down a bit now to try to let his mind mature. He knows his job and is more then willing to do it, but he just needs more time to mature. It is so hard not to push, but there comes a point and time when you have to sit back and slow down and let there brains take in everything they have learned.

Point being, do what you can with your youngster. But listen to them. It is hard to go and have your baby picked to pieces by judges. You know your horse, and ultimately, you know his potential more then a judge b/c you know his maturity level. We finished 15th our of 16 at AEC's. I was bummed, but let me tell you. You WILL be seeing Kacey and I make it to advanced in the future. He just won't reach his peak until a year or two later then those other horses and well, his body and mind will have much less wear.

And, one more thing, I know I ramble. Denny said that he wanted more of a five and six year old program. I have heard there is talk of taking YEH into the 6 year old world, but that it would be very similar to intermediate. That's A LOT to ask of a six year old. IMO, they need to back up the five year old division and make it more like the four year old division we have now. Add a four year old division that is much more comparable with novice and b/n. and possibly add a 6 year old division that is training/prelim.
We wouldn't push the youngsters so fast, and b/c it would give them so much more time to mature, it would allow that many more horses and riders to participaste.

That said, good luck! I would be thrilled to help you and give you any advice that I can along your journey. It's always nice to have a third party to get a fresh, unbiased point of view!

mademoiselle
Nov. 27, 2007, 03:33 PM
I have done the YEH for the past 3 years ... With different horses.

3 years ago the classes were really easy and I agree that they got harder and harder with time.

This year, I was a riding a very, very immature, gangly, I don't know where my feet are type of guy. The thing is that he is proabably the most talented horse I have had in my hands in my entire life.

He was tied for 1st at BN after 4 weeks under saddle (with a 28 in dressage !!!). This horse is so balanced and so supple that it's a joke. He is very, very trainable and overall has the best brain ever, nothing phases him.

As far as jumping, he is a WB and is not really impressed with anything lower than 3'. So, there is no point for him to 'crowl' over 2'3 for ever.
In dressage same thing, his 20 m circles at the trot and at the canter are alsmost perfect , no need to go around for hours.

So, in his case, doing the YEH was the right choice. And it was physically easier on him than running a full HT.
I actually entered a Novice event in august and retired on the XC because it was too much. It was not the heigh as he was jumping higher in the YEH classes, but the full XC was just too much for him.

I rode him in average 3 times a week, jumped every other week and that's it.
He was in a middle of a growth spurt and had a medical issue before the Championship and didn't perform at his best there, but he still did OK and I think it was a good experience for him.

He will do the 5 YO next year and probably do Novice and maybe Training if he feels good enough.

I think that the height of the fences is not an issue for the horses. It's the drilling and repetition that put stress on them. My horse got a month off in the middle of the summer and has had less than 25 jumping school in his entire life !!!!

We had to take 48 X rays of his joints (stallion requirement) this fall and a scope and every single medical exam you can think off and everything came back as clean as it can be in a vet book. So, It seems the YEH season didn't do any damage to his immature body.

He has not been ridden since October and he will probably start back under saddle in February. For no, he is being a horse and just having fun.:yes:

GotSpots
Nov. 27, 2007, 03:45 PM
Remember, also, what the aim of the YEH classes is. It is not a program designed to be an intro to eventing, nor is it a class to "get your feet wet" in the sport, or to identify a good horse that will likely top out at Preliminary. If it were, it'd be alot harder to judge and we'd hear the same complaints that a horse ridden by a pro might "look" easier or smoother than one ridden by an ammy. But the YEH program is designed to try to identify potential world class horses at a young age and to encourage the breeding of same. Thus, the class requirements ask for enough of a test to show the horses' capabilities and quality, which means that the classes - particularly at the championships - need to ask enough of a question to allow the horses to showcase their ability, and the class rules are designed to be forgiving of green mistakes (thus you shouldn't feel like you need to have your horse exposed to all types of questions at that level). You do not need something imported for a gazillion dollars, or something ridden by a pro to be successful, but realize that the quality of the horses is getting higher every year, and most of these horses truly aren't impressed by a 3' fence.

Some horses are ready for the YEH classes at 4, some are not. Some horses are ready to jump a bigger fence at 5, some are not. And, some horses develop that ability and come into themselves during the year, thus many of the classes held earlier in the year are quite a bit smaller than the upper limits of the class specifications. The point is that everyone needs to consider their individual horse's attributes and development and be smart about where that horse is in his or her growth or experience. Sure, being able to point to competitive results in the division is a boon when you go to sell one, but I also don't think it changes the purchase price much - a nice horse is a nice horse and THAT sets the price.

I've now had youngsters in the YEH program for three years. Our warmblood cross was very mature for his age and was easily ready to canter around the little course as a four year old and was more than ready to handle the five year old questions. Our now rising six year old TB couldn't have found his front feet if he was looking at them as a four year old and so didn't do any YEH classes, but is very comfortable as a five year old as he grew into himself and was fairly successful in the classes. Neither of these horses were pounded on - they were brought along carefully and correctly, and they are both pretty exceptional animals. I hope they will both have long careers doing whatever they end up deciding they want to be.

Xctrygirl
Nov. 27, 2007, 03:59 PM
If the horse's name rhymes with "Manno" then yes.

Expecting WAY too much.

~Emily

Janet
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:01 PM
I concur with what Got Spots said.

You bring the horse along at the rate that is appropriate for THAT horse.

If it happens to coincide with thte YEH timing, great. If not, skip it.

Brain was in no way ready for YEH at 4, but was definitely ready at 5 (got 2nd).

VicarageVee
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:20 PM
At the heart of this issue is really the question: are we moving horses up too quickly? In a word, maybe. I was amazed in CoTH to see that Ringwood Magister, Tiana Coudray's adorable grey on whom she won the * at Galway is only 6! And I believe that she says in the article that she wants to run him in a ** in the summer! (Of course he's super nippy, and his young rider is very experienced, they made a good looking pair).

I think that horses can be moved up in a responsible successful way even when young, but I think that the pressure is on for a horse to prove itself in its youth, or else owners and riders want to move on to something that WILL go. I, personally, am glad that we ran my *** horse at Prelim until he was 8. He's a smarter advanced horse for it. Maybe, in the end it's a question of rider experience--if you can give a 6 year old a confident ** ride, then, well, why not give it a go?

snoopy
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:31 PM
[QUOTE=VicarageVee;2830408] I, personally, am glad that we ran my *** horse at Prelim until he was 8. He's a smarter advanced horse for it. QUOTE]


LOVE this and totally agree with it!!!

"It is better to upgrade a year late than a day early"....I use this quote from a very good trainer.

JER
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:36 PM
Everyone is talking about young horses and jumping but I'm just as concerned about young horses and dressage. I like denny's idea of 5 and 6 as YEH years but I doubt that would ever happen.

If I were shopping for a horse, I'd be more interested in a 6 year old with a couple of seasons of hunting experience (preferably with a hunt that requires a good jumper) than in a 4 or 5 year old with YEH placings.

bornfreenowexpensive
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:45 PM
Maybe, in the end it's a question of rider experience--if you can give a 6 year old a confident ** ride, then, well, why not give it a go?


While I agree with you...I guess my next thought is what is the rush. Give that 6 year old some miles at Prelim so that he becomes super confident and perhaps doesn't need a world class ride to make it around a **. Prelm is a great level to offer enough challenge that they learn things but not so hard for a top class horse that they will get into trouble. Does this all get back to the market for UL horses that people feel the need to rush them up through the levels? Are owners really driving that train or is it trainers feeling the need to show that they can do it and thereby get more owners/sponsors?

Again...I do think you have to know your own horse. I think I have a couple of pretty nice 5 year olds. They both will be ready for prelim next year....but I will not be disappointed if come spring time, they tell me they need to spend another year at training or most of the year at training....they are still young horses.

piccolittle
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:46 PM
I was always told you weren't really supposed to introduce a horse to jumping until they were 4? I don't know anything about breaking and early training, but for a horse to have enough coordination in dressage and o/f by the time they are 4... when are these horses being broken? Doesn't that take a physical toll on them? I agree that many horses are mentally ready at that time to participate in the YEH, but these world-class horses we hope to breed should have the best shot they can to grow up a little, strengthen up and build some good skeletal structure before we ask them to compete. I personally think we can afford to wait a few years. 5 and 6 sound like good ages to me. And while horses do mature (physically and mentally) at different rates, it's better to be safe than sorry.

denny
Nov. 27, 2007, 04:54 PM
There`s a saying that addresses this that goes something like this:
"The time that you lose by not starting a horse when he`s young, you way more than make up at the other end of his career."
The point being, give them time to grow and gain experience, and they will more likely last longer..

snoopy
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:18 PM
There`s a saying that addresses this that goes something like this:
"The time that you lose by not starting a horse when he`s young, you way more than make up at the other end of his career."
The point being, give them time to grow and gain experience, and they will more likely last longer..


YES YES YES. My horses have stayed sound through good management, and not asking too much of them when they are young....mentally and physically.
Unclers, fried brains and bodies are not part of my barn...nor welcomed. I remember a time when if you kept your horses at Prelim a solid year longer (and providing they were true Prelim courses...asking the right questions) you could almost skip INT and they would cope well with these questions and heights at ADV. Not any more....They are running ADV at 8...and "done" by 12. There are of course exceptions.

VicarageVee
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:27 PM
YES YES YES. My horses have stayed sound through good management, and not asking too much of them when they are young....mentally and physically.
Unclers, fried brains and bodies are not part of my barn...nor welcomed. I remember a time when if you kept your horses at Prelim a solid year longer (and providing they were true Prelim courses...asking the right questions) you could almost skip INT and they would cope well with these questions and heights at ADV. Not any more....They are running ADV at 8...and "done" by 12. There are of course exceptions.

I completely agree. But don't you think the concern is that 12 yr old + horses are no longer sellable? A 12 year old advanced horse always gets passed over for the 8 year old advanced horse....

eqsiu
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:31 PM
I completely agree. But don't you think the concern is that 12 yr old + horses are no longer sellable? A 12 year old advanced horse always gets passed over for the 8 year old advanced horse....

Because now the 12 year old advanced horses are the 8 year old advanced horses of four years ago and can barely walk without massive veterinay assistance. What would they do without Legend, Adequan, and joint injections? Who wants an unsound horse? People want a horse they can ride for a few years, and the current (and often accurate) perception is that a seasoned 12 year old won't be usable for long.

snoopy
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:35 PM
I completely agree. But don't you think the concern is that 12 yr old + horses are no longer sellable? A 12 year old advanced horse always gets passed over for the 8 year old advanced horse....


At 12 and with four years under their belts at ADV I think the feeling is "just how much tread is left on those tyres"?

But then again on the flip side, in europe, horses "longer in the tooth" regularly change hands.

snoopy
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:36 PM
Because now the 12 year old advanced horses are the 8 year old advanced horses of four years ago and can barely walk without massive veterinay assistance. What would they do without Legend, Adequan, and joint injections? Who wants an unsound horse? People want a horse they can ride for a few years, and the current (and often accurate) perception is that a seasoned 12 year old won't be usable for long.


You beat me!!! SNAP.

eqsiu
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:41 PM
You beat me!!! SNAP.

I liked your answer better! Great analogy.

VicarageVee
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:42 PM
Because now the 12 year old advanced horses are the 8 year old advanced horses of four years ago and can barely walk without massive veterinay assistance. What would they do without Legend, Adequan, and joint injections? Who wants an unsound horse? People want a horse they can ride for a few years, and the current (and often accurate) perception is that a seasoned 12 year old won't be usable for long.

This is true too, but there ARE some good older advanced horses. A close friend of my recently bought a 15 yr old (!!!!!!) advanced horse who had lived the past 4 years of his life in a pasture after having gone advanced for 2 years. This horse is SO SOUND and SO SANE (and was SO CHEAP!!!) it's amazing. He won't be winning Rolex anytime soon, but he packs my friend around Intermediate and gives her tons of confidence.

Maybe we all WANT rolex horses, even though, to most riders they are completely useless as such. We just want to know that Muffy/Flopsie/Pookie COULD do a ****. Maybe buyers need to realistically asses their goals. You don't even need an Advanced horse if you're looking for a Prelim packer.

Sorry...I know this is a bit off the thread...

flyingtails
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:47 PM
Right from the start of the program, I would have preferred 5 and 6 instead of 4 and 5.
Some are ok at those younger ages, but many aren`t.
I`ve asked about adding a 6 year old age level, but there`s been no response.

I would love to see that as well. I think it will happen but as a result of unfortunate "medical" facts. I would like to see it happen before that.

enjoytheride
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:53 PM
Someone said that you can't go by the rulebook because the fences aren't always set at that height. Is that fair? Is that a good way to base entering a show on?

I have spoken with organizers just a week or two before a show and they say "oh, it'll be 3 - 6 below max all easy logs, just a short loop, couple xrails in stadium, etc." When I show up it's max height and spread with a long galloping stretch, water, a ditch, and every other stadium fence is an airy oxer. Other times I've been told "it's pretty beefy for the level and end of the year" to find the course log log log log log with no water, and two small narrow oxers in stadium that is 6 inches below max.

I think if the ruleboox says a certain height you need to be %100 confident at that height and everything you'd meet at that level. If you get there and it's way below max you should be aware that other events might not be so easy (either you're saying THANK GOD or Rats).

Hilary
Nov. 27, 2007, 05:58 PM
Someone asked if we made our decisions based on the paper requirements, or having gone to a YEH class. My mare was 4 three years ago, when the program was starting out. there were none offered in my area. The requirements said 3'3"- how was I to know that they would actually ask her to jump 2'6" and canter around over a log or 3? I coudn't, because it hadn't been done, and I wasn't going to drive 8 hours to find out. I had to base my decisions on the on-paper requirements, and frankly I was annoyed when "the truth" came out that the tests were far easier than they were purported to be.

So we missed the boat on those because they were not offered in sufficient quantity nearby when she was of that age. And she was pretty immature. I have friends with 4 and 5 year olds who are doing the work she's doing at 7 - because her brain wasn't ready.

In the hands of a professional she might have been able to, but not with me.

purplnurpl
Nov. 27, 2007, 06:06 PM
Dan won his first Rolex at 9. He would still be going if it weren't for the fact that he has more than proven himself, and he has had an unfortunate injury...which could happen to any horse, at any level, of any age.

I know one of our own COTHers and my fellow Area competitor who broke her 5 year old mare just last January. In two seasons she went from Novice to Prelim easily.
I doubt there was rough and tumble work done to get this mare ready. I bet she was born ready.

There are a handful of horses ladies and gents, a handful of horses that have that something extra...that something special that makes them not above average but extra-ordianry. The freaks of the trade.
Some horses do not need to be pushed to skip around Prelim. And yes, the extra-ordinary horses do skip around Prelim.
I only wish that everyone would get the chance to sit on such a phenomenon. It is an honor to do so.

vacreekfarm
Nov. 27, 2007, 06:23 PM
I think that the classes would be better for 5 and 6 year olds at the level that is required for the 4 and 5 year olds now. Better for body and mind all the way around. The other advantage of doing this is that the OTTBs would have time to be let down and compete. Not everything needs to go into the microwave.

c_expresso
Nov. 27, 2007, 07:11 PM
YES YES YES. My horses have stayed sound through good management, and not asking too much of them when they are young....mentally and physically.
Unclers, fried brains and bodies are not part of my barn...nor welcomed. I remember a time when if you kept your horses at Prelim a solid year longer (and providing they were true Prelim courses...asking the right questions) you could almost skip INT and they would cope well with these questions and heights at ADV. Not any more....They are running ADV at 8...and "done" by 12. There are of course exceptions.

Totally agree with you... when I owned a greenie she wasn't ready for BN let alone anything more than that til she was 5 or 6.

If I had a baby now I would save them. I would rather have them eventing into their 20's than doing any YEH classes. If i had a baby now I would start it out in the jumpers and then not even event til 6 or 7 when they are totally done growing.

kacey'srider
Nov. 27, 2007, 07:49 PM
I wish some of the bigwigs organiazing these programs and the rules at USEA would LISTEN TO DENNY! He KNOWS!

I am lucky that years and years and years ago, my trainer worked with Denny quite a bit. He, my trainer, is quite frustrated with what eventing is becoming. I know that Denny is too.

So, maybe we all need to take a step back, myself included, and remember that Chia Chia himself said that this was a good way for him to promote and sell his horses.

I am SO PROUD of my horse and the fact that we did get to compete in YEH at AEC's. But the more I think about it, the more time I need to give him now to really mature and come into himself.

As I said earlier, we all need to listen to our horses.

Purplnurpl just moved her guy up to prelim with a 4th and 2nd place finish. He is an amazing animal and he is 6. And yes, he skips (and practically lopes) around a prelim course. But she took her time with him. She does give Kacey credit with teaching him to RUN though! LOL!!!

Purpl - you almost made me cry with your "It is an honor to ride one." I am so proud of you, eventing buddy!

purplnurpl
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:01 PM
I don't see how jumpers is any less taxing then eventing.
It's the jumping and turning that I would be more worried about.

The YEH, I believe, was copied from the classes in Europe, yes?
This being said, the majority of American Eventers come from the track. That is our problem. Our organization forgot to modify. ooops.

The track TBs aren't even given the eventing career title until they are 4 or 5, and sometimes 6 or 7.
The YEH classes are pointed towards breeders anyway. Therefore OTTBs are another classification all together.
The OTTB/YEH issues has been discussed before on the board.
It's all a big PITA.

But in the end, we have the choice. Just remember you have a choice.
Those that have a concerns... get together and talk to the USEA. ?

Painted Wings
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:23 PM
I showed a homebred this year in a five year old division. The jumps looked big to me but he clocked around like it wasn't a big deal. I'm an amateur rider.

For JER, this horse is on his second season of Foxhunting, started late last season, actually hunted once the season before.

I've got a filly I plan to take in Four year old next year. Only problem with her is she hasn't made the magic 15H mark yet. She's done one starter Novice and one XC clinic. I will take her next year as a four year old and see how she does. She's not foxhunting get but goes out with a mounted beagle pack I have. She's a late baby, late June so I really started her pretty late but I think she'll be ready. Don't know if I'll try to do the championships with her though. Maybe if I can get Darren to rider her.

c_expresso
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:27 PM
I don't see how jumpers is any less taxing then eventing.
It's the jumping and turning that I would be more worried about.
?
Lower level jumpers will be less taxing than eventing; basically the same as stadium without galloping and XC.

snoopy
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:29 PM
.... without galloping and XC.


Do we still gallop XC these days???!!!:eek:;):D

c_expresso
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:30 PM
Do we still gallop XC these days???!!!:eek:;):D

:lol: That made me laugh :) :)

Rainier
Nov. 27, 2007, 10:40 PM
[QUOTE=

Most of the questions are not Training or Prelim questions at the YEH. Usually they will jump part of a Beginner Novice or Novice cross country course with a few Stadium jumps that might be alittle higher thrown in. I know that most of them are way below the max height requirement (especially early in the year). Now in the Championship at the end of the year, there may be a bigger fence or two (which it should be for a CHAMPIONSHIP) but I bet the vast majority are still going to be a good 3 to 6 inches smaller than the max. Just because the rules list the max, doesn't mean that everything is going to be that big. [/QUOTE]

I can just say from my experience that our fences were at max height at the COHP in the fall. They were all at close to 3' for the 4 y.o. class. We used the derby field, so it was much more of a SJ course than a combined experience. The only xc obstacles were a bank and a log (which were not much of a challenge). I had asked competition organizers about what to expect and they had said that they would be baby fences and really inviting. Even though my horse did fine (4th out of 7), there were some hard questions for him. I probably would have been happier with a more xc oriented course with the stadium fences being at more of the bn/n level. I did end up feeling like my horse was perhaps a bit over-faced, even though he had a good attitude throughout. I do know that the horse that won had been to Indio and had competed at the 3' level throughout the summer at A shows. We did very well in dressage and the confo/suitability section, but I did learn that the horse needs to be very consistent jumping with consistent form, which takes a lot of time.

The (only) five year old did the same dressage test and pretty much the same jumping test, with some jumps set a hole higher and a more difficult bank and a (probably) novice height xc obstacle. It is actually easier to imagine doing that with my horse next year than what he did this year as a 4 y.o.

Its probably important to note that I did decide to do it more as an abbreviated event experience for a young horse with some experience that I did not intend to sell or compete at an international level. I had blown out my knee, so my friend (who is a h/j trainer) rode him and the other competitors were all regional event professionals.

mademoiselle
Nov. 28, 2007, 10:05 AM
In my opinion, it's not showing or not showing at 4 YO that is going to make a difference in how long the career of your horse is. It's more on the daily management and season management. Footing and everyday training is also a big part of it.

In France, 90% of the horses that are shown at the ULs, have been shown at 4, 5 and 6 YO. Most of them are WBs and we have a lot of 16, 17 and even a 20 YO who are doing *** and Adv level.

Bute is not legal in France (at least not if you show) and injections are not as common as here either. So, if they feel a little bit sore or NQR, we have to give them some time off to recover properly. Most of the show grounds and private places have also arena with perfect (I really mean it) footing. Nobody would show in average footing (the XC are either run on sand or the organizers work on the footing).

For the 4 Yo, it's more of a very short (Half course), BN/N type of class. The dressage and the stadium are run at the same time. You do a little dressage test and after your last halt go on and start your stadium course. The fences are Novice height nothing really big. Later on, you go XC with 10 fences (little bank, water, logs and straight forward easy questions).

In France, the top 6 YO are usually doing Prelim' and * level but they have some special classes for 'slow to mature' horses were you can run a 6YO at Novice level (with 5YOs) and they also have a 'late bloomer 6YO' for the ones that need a little bit more time at training.

You have more classes opened for younf horses and it makes it easier to find one that suits your horse. The classes are really designed for young horses, all the questions are very straight forward, the courses are flowy to help the horses to keep the rythm even if the canter is not totally balanced, overall it's the best education a young event horse can receive.

purplnurpl
Nov. 28, 2007, 10:09 AM
Lower level jumpers will be less taxing than eventing; basically the same as stadium without galloping and XC.

not around here.
Our puddle jumper courses are rough. Skinnies, lverpools, tight turns, blind turns. COMBOS off of blind turns.

Texas ain't so push over as people like to claim.
: )

350mpm is just a nice light gallop/romp through the woods. Not much gallop going on just yet.
Shoot, Boomer does some trot work at 350mpm or darn close to it.

Long Shadow Farm
Nov. 28, 2007, 10:48 AM
I have to agree that here in Oklahoma the Puddle jumpers are super tough. Very tough turns and tight courses. The stadium jumping at the events are a breeze after those shows. Much more open and flowing. Now I do like doing the lower level hunters for a younger horse. Teaches them a nice sense of pace, etc. But I still hold hard on the conviction that you have to listen to the individual horses and do what they are ready to do, when they are ready.

Bobbi

VicarageVee
Nov. 28, 2007, 12:20 PM
In my opinion, it's not showing or not showing at 4 YO that is going to make a difference in how long the career of your horse is. It's more on the daily management and season management. Footing and everyday training is also a big part of it.

In France, 90% of the horses that are shown at the ULs, have been shown at 4, 5 and 6 YO. Most of them are WBs and we have a lot of 16, 17 and even a 20 YO who was doing **** this year.

Bute is not legal in France (at least not if you show) and injections are not as common as here either. So, if they feel a little bit sore or NQR, we have to give them some time off to recover properly. Most of the show grounds and private places have also arena with perfect (I really mean it) footing. Nobody would show in average footing (the XC are either run on sand or the organizers work on the footing).

For the 4 Yo, it's more of a very short (Half course), BN/N type of class. The dressage and the stadium are run at the same time. You do a little dressage test and after your last halt go on and start your stadium course. The fences are Novice height nothing really big. Later on, you go XC with 10 fences (little bank, water, logs and straight forward easy questions).

In France, the top 6 YO are usually doing Prelim' and * level but they have some special classes for 'slow to mature' horses were you can run a 6YO at Novice level (with 5YOs) and they also have a 'late bloomer 6YO' for the ones that need a little bit more time at training.

You have more classes opened for younf horses and it makes it easier to find one that suits your horse. The classes are really designed for young horses, all the questions are very straight forward, the courses are flowy to help the horses to keep the rythm even if the canter is not totally balanced, overall it's the best education a young event horse can receive.


I think this kind of strategy is common in the UK too. I know that there is little concern about getting young horses under saddle and put to work ASAP. Hunting begins at 4, and some hunting tracks are tougher than Training XC! And, young event horse classes have been around in the UK since at least the 1980s. I think it's always a question of HOW much you run a youngster, making sure you are careful not to overface them, and giving them a confident ride. I might get *tsk tsk-ed* for this, but I also think it depends on breed. Many TBs seem comfortable doing more at a younger age, whereas it takes until a WB, or WBx, is about 6 till they really figure out what's going on. My *** horse is a WBx and he REALLY didn't get it until about 6. Then, from 6 to 9 was the steepest learning curve I have ever seen. He literally went from spinning at logs to taking 3 foot down banks with total confidence. It took some time to wire his brain! Dumbblood!

pwynnnorman
Nov. 28, 2007, 12:38 PM
mademoiselle, were you referring to competitions like those that would lead up to that Le Lion d'Angers one for, I think, six-year-olds?

Here, BTW, is a link describing the UK series:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/best/396/64332.html

Of note from that article is this:


It has recognised the star quality in a number of horses that have gone on to represent Britain including Primmore's Pride and Shear H20, while 12 former young event horse finalists took part in last year's Burghley Horse Trials.


To which one can add (here I go again--can't stop talking about him!) Miner's Frolic, who had an awesome year this year at the ** and *** level and is considered to have potential for next year's team.

mademoiselle
Nov. 28, 2007, 01:17 PM
Well, there are 2 different circuits in France.

There is a national one, where you have classes for 4 YO, 5YO, 6YO horses and then classes where it's divided in '1st year of showing' and 'second year of showing', these last 2 classes are opened to horses that are between 4 and 6 YO.

Then you have 'Le Lion d'Angers' which is supposed to be the World Championship for the 6 and 7 YO horses (at least 50% of the horses at the Olympics have run that event either at 6 or 7 and sometimes both !!!
The 6 YO are excpeted to run a * and the 7 YO are expected to run a **.

Le Lion d'Angers is not an easy event but it's built for young horses. There is no tricky/trappy questions. It's a little bit more fair than other * and **.

In France, England, Germany, Italy, we have had classes for youngsters for decades and I haven't seen more crippled or ruined horses overthere.

yellowbritches
Nov. 28, 2007, 01:45 PM
In my opinion, it's not showing or not showing at 4 YO that is going to make a difference in how long the career of your horse is. It's more on the daily management and season management. Footing and everyday training is also a big part of it.
YES, mm! This is what keeps horses sound. NOT waiting until they are older to do things with them, but to manage them properly from day one. Perhaps this is the bigger reason we aren't seeing as many older advanced horses nowadays (though I think there are more out there than is being generalized here)(I also seem to recall LOTS of stories of great horses starting their advanced careers at young ages, and going strong forever, but they were well managed!). Not because they started competing at 4 or 5, but because they are run ALL the time, especially as they get older and move up the levels. We can conceivably compete from January until the end of November now and rarely have a break. Doesn't mean we should do it. I am still baffled by the amount of UL horses I saw competing ALL summer on the concrete we called footing this year on the East Coast. I was NOT surprised when horses started to spit the bit and quit early this fall. Making decisions like building a wise schedule (including breaks and vacations) that should get a horse to a goal (be it BN at the AECs or Rolex), and sucking it up and scratching when the footing is obviously poor should be something every rider practices...It seems to be a rare thing to see, though.

I see very little harm with taking youngsters out and competing them some. I think every horse is different, and as their riders and care givers we MUST listen to them, but if a young one is ready, willing, and able and can be given good, confidence building rides, and aren't ran into the ground, why shouldn't they go and do?

So, as to the original topic of this thread, if a baby is capable and ready and can be given a good ride, there is no harm in taking them to some YEH classes. If a baby isn't ready, don't go. Simple.

snickerdoodle
Nov. 28, 2007, 03:23 PM
i think this is an interesting link that someone posted in one of the other forums

http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/ranger.html

Janet
Nov. 28, 2007, 03:45 PM
i think this is an interesting link that someone posted in one of the other forums

http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/ranger.html

But not "generally accepted" by the veterinary community.

Janet
Nov. 28, 2007, 03:46 PM
So, as to the original topic of this thread, if a baby is capable and ready and can be given a good ride, there is no harm in taking them to some YEH classes. If a baby isn't ready, don't go. Simple.
+1

ThreeDays
Dec. 18, 2007, 02:21 PM
I'm admittedly late on joining in on this topic that died off more than a few days ago.

But just my 2 cents . . .

As a relatively new breeder who is dedicated to producing tomorrows top 3 day horses both the FEH and YEH series are of genuine interest.

With that said - we are breeding Holsteiners. They are not known to mature early. I think regardless of breed - most of us don't even consider breaking our horses until their 3yr old year - which usually means breaking in the late spring around May or so.

The YEH series is something I'd like to consider for many of our young prospects. But truthfully I would have rather seen the ages be set at 5 and 6. A 6yr old is still 'young'.

Gearing up for the 4yr old competitions might be a bit much depending on your location and ability to train in winter/ early spring conditions. Which can greatly effect the confidence factor.

Of course most of know that long ago in England (and in other parts of Europe - Racing was a totally different sport. The distances were longer and for timber or steeple chasing the jumps were pretty substantial. Hence the horses racing were older, bigger and sounder. It wasn't until the realization occurred that stallion owners and breeders weren't able to establish who the 'great' horses were until they retired from racing (usually in their teens) and were sent to stud. By the time their offspring began their racing career at 5yr+ the stallion was no longer available. So the industry responded by offering a 'glimpse' into the future by showing young offspring of the stallions over short turf courses. They of course could only be asked to do shorter distances, carry less weight and only run on flat tracks due to their age and immaturity. The young horse races were well received and spectators loved to watch. Sprint racing was born and the thoroughbred breed forever changed.

As a breeder - I would hate to see my program or the program's of other's overly influenced to produce young stock which only do well at the YEH series. There are many stallions and influential breeding farms which only focus on producing 'pretty' foals who grab the attention of the conformation / in hand judges and go on to do absolutely nothing significant in sport.
I absolutely support and hope to see our young stock compete in the YEH series - unfortunately it will not be in the best interest of all of our horses.

I would love to see this program (as well as the FEH) flourish. And we hope to be there to represent our program. I just don't know if the age selection will be in the best interest of horses we hope to send to the top of the sport for the long haul.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 18, 2007, 02:46 PM
I think that part of the issue is the some people think that they need to prep too much. I have a 3 turning 4 year old. I broke him during the summer of his 3 year old year....rode him mostly only on weekends. It took 3-4 rides before his first canter and once I mostly had breaks, we went out hacking (mostly walks). Toward the end of the fall, we started to ask a little more on the flat....but rides were never more then 15-20 minutes. He is still very much a green bean whose turning and breaks don't always work.

He has popped over a few logs out hacking and learned about crossing water and going in and out of a water jump. We free schoolled him over jumps a whooping 3 times.

He's off until January/Feb. I fully expect him to be able to compete and be competitive in the 4 YEH classes without having to school or pound the crap out of him. He will likely be ready for those classes before a full event. They do not need to be broke to death confirmed novice or training level horses. Most are not. I suspect he will be ready for a few novice events this summer/fall but only time will tell. I think some people are thinking that they need to be solid novice/training horses before thier first class. The classes are not judged like an event.....they are meant to see the potential...not the horse furthest along in their training. And the questions asked are fairly simple for horses with scope. The YEH championships are supposed to be max....but that is not until September...and even then, that class is still less then a full event.

NMK
Dec. 18, 2007, 03:41 PM
There is an event in Area VIII that has expanded on the YEH series to include an OTTB first and second year in USEA horse trials section. I like the idea for many reasons, but for discussion on this topic, could the series be first and second year of recognized USEA trials instead of age?

eqsiu
Dec. 18, 2007, 04:22 PM
I think that part of the issue is the some people think that they need to prep too much.

I think most people aren't skilled enough to get a horse competitive at YEH without pounding the shit out of them, either too young or just too much. I know I'm not. I would love to do YEH with my soon to be 4 year old, but I will never get her ready in time if I work her an appropriate amount.

GotSpots
Dec. 18, 2007, 05:09 PM
I think we're missing the point on what it takes to be competitive: the YEH program is designed to evaluate potential, not how trained a horse is, and judging is designed to be quite forgiving of green mistakes or not quite ready ness. For example, horses may have a hard look at a jump or spook off the ground or even a stop, or not quite know its leads, and they can still get a good score. As Darren said (I thought very well) at the Convention, if at some point during their trot work they show an 8 trot, they should get an 8 on their trot. It's NOT judged like a classic dressage test - but on the potential the horse shows. Thus, I really don't think lots and lots of drilling is necessary on the youngsters. Obviously, every horse and rider are different and may need differenty types of preparation, but alot of these horses are very green and the judging standards acknowledge that.

USEA, with the very generous sponsorship of Spalding Labs, and lots of hard work by some incredibly talented volunteers, is putting together a DVD early next year that will demonstrate alot of the judging requirements and the kinds of things the judges should be looking for. I think it's going to be a super resource and really help encourage people to bring out their youngsters.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 18, 2007, 05:26 PM
GotSpots understood what I was getting at. They don't need to be broke to death to be competitive.....they just need to be the right type of horse...one that shows the potential to succeed at the higher levels.

You don't need to be a pro to do well either....not all pros ride young horses well....and there are a whole lot of ammies that have a lot of experience bringing along young horses. I know that is one thing I love to do and have done more riding of young green horses because they fit in my work schedule better. You DON'T have to ride them daily and school the crap out of them. Give them a week off cause work got nuts....and they generally pick right back up where you left off. Going for a 15 minute walk outside can be just as educational for them as doing circles in a ring. But you do have to have a certain skills to bring along a young horse well...and also certain skills to show them and give them positive experiences. One of those skills is NOT stressing if they don't have their lead perfect or don't always stay on the bit...and occassionally forget where their feet are....and most important, YOU can't have show nerves.;) I know quite a few 4 year olds that were barely cantering fences yet when they went to their first YEH class....one that won their class trotted into each of the lines and cantered out (they did canter the x-c fences).

ThreeDays
Dec. 18, 2007, 06:34 PM
I've heard mention of the DVD before. When can we anticipate that it might be ready for viewing?

AlexMakowski
Dec. 18, 2007, 07:06 PM
I have not evented a ton, but in the past year I have trained close to a dozen horses, most with little or no foundation work. We did a large amount of cross country work. I can honestly say I did not come across a 5 year old that I believed could make the cut to jump that height. Plus it a jumping course and an cross country course. I think 4 and 5 is just too early. Plus I believe the goal of any discipline should be to encourage young riders, and I dont think many young riders should be riding horses this young at such a level. 5 and 6 would be just right though.

Thats just my thought. I have a coming 6 year old. She matured physically well, but mentally I wouldnt have wanted to put the strain required of the YEH on her last year.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!

Robby Johnson
Dec. 19, 2007, 08:45 AM
I've heard mention of the DVD before. When can we anticipate that it might be ready for viewing?

Please don't take this the wrong way.

Have you ever produced a DVD? Worked on a volunteer committee? If so, you know how tough it can be, because ultimately you're being judged and held accountable for so much and your incentive and/or reward is purely at the personal level.

Instead of asking when a DVD might be ready for you to view, why don't you find out who the committee/organizing project owner is, then call and ask them what you can do to assist in their efforts to complete the project?

Many committed people work VERY hard at the US Eventing level - all too often with no recognition - and I know, having served and led committees, that a little support from the membership can do much to put wind in your sails!

mademoiselle
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:00 AM
I have not evented a ton, but in the past year I have trained close to a dozen horses, most with little or no foundation work. We did a large amount of cross country work. I can honestly say I did not come across a 5 year old that I believed could make the cut to jump that height. Plus it a jumping course and an cross country course. I think 4 and 5 is just too early. Plus I believe the goal of any discipline should be to encourage young riders, and I dont think many young riders should be riding horses this young at such a level. 5 and 6 would be just right though.

Thats just my thought. I have a coming 6 year old. She matured physically well, but mentally I wouldnt have wanted to put the strain required of the YEH on her last year.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas!

But you're mising the all 'goal' of these classes ...

The YEH classes are not a place for kids to go and have fun with their green beans. It's a series that is supposed to help breeders to promote the best horses of the country and to also find which horses are going to make it as *** and **** level in 4 or 5 years from now.
Young riders, amateurs riders that don't want any pressure and most people can perfectly start their horses at BN and Novice and be fine to bring them along.

Nobody says anywhere that every 4 YO or a YO is capable/ready or even should enter the YEH classes.

And as somebody else mentionned, they are not expeceting the horses the be perfect or trained. In the rules they even specify that a horse shouldn't be penalized for making mistakes.
So, there is not need to drill anything. It's should be about natural talent and ability.

Now, if you want to do well at the Finals it's a different story. The quality of the horses was very impressive this year and every little mistake counts. But by then, I guess they are expected to be more mature and more ready.

GotSpots
Dec. 19, 2007, 10:08 AM
Thanks Robby - volunteers are ALWAYS welcome! :)

The DVD is being filmed in Ocala at the end of January. It's going to be a super session, with a number of top riders providing their time to demonstrate and a range of young horses to be critiqued and assessed. The sessions will be open for auditing, and, along with the ICP sessions, might make a very interesting and educational few days if you're in the area. There is time built into the schedule for editing and pulling together the raw footage thereafter. The plan is to have it out for distribution by early spring, before most of the YEH classes kick off, but of course, there are always some wrinkles in the process to be expected.