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View Full Version : The real deal at A/AA shows?



Rosie
May. 8, 2009, 01:34 PM
Perhaps my experiences are skewed or somewhat out of the norm - but I find the vast majority of riders at the shows I attend (mixture of A/AA both locally and out of state) are decent folks on well cared for horses who really want to do well at their sport.

I'm sure the "uber-wealthy" spoiled kid/society woman who has a string of disposable imports in order to take up the slack for their lack of riding skills, exist - I'm not saying that it doesn't - but wondering what others here (who actually show at the A's) see and experience.

For instance:
I'm a (52 yr. old) AA jumper rider. Yes, I have a horse that was imported and is waaay more talented/scopey than I will ever use. No, he isn't a "packer" - and I didn't buy him as a short cut to "winning". I bought him because riding him makes me smile. I bought him because I work about 60 or 70 hours a week and am FINALLY able to afford a nice horse and A shows. I'm having to learn to ride better than I used to - and I'm having to work out at the gym 4 to 5 days a week in order to be in good enough physical shape to ride well. I'm also at the barn at least 4X's a week - sometimes it's at 9 o'clock at night - and I'm "toast" from a long day at work - but I'm there. :) I take his care and training very seriously - I educate myself about his shoes, supplements, feeding, etc. but rely on the professional advice and knowledge of my trainer, vet, farrier. Yes, I have a groom at shows. No, I can't braid. But I CAN wrap, bathe and clip.

My competitive "goals" are not "high - level" - I will never compete in a Grand Prix, or be a highly ranked national rider - but I do want to do well (decent zone ranking) and am hoping to be competent at a 3'9" to 4' level.

I'm not extremely "wealthy" - but am able to go to about 10 to 12 A shows a year - and afford a nice horse, lessons, etc. without eating Ramen noodles all the time. :)

I clap for my friends rounds - even when they kick my butt - and I have no idea if their pants or TS or not. I'm going to clap for them even if they are only doing 2'-6" ....or crossrails. They deserve it.
Sometimes I get sent back down to the hunter ring to get my act together before being back allowed in the jumpers - I need my friends to clap for me then, 'cause I'm usually needing some serious support!

Most of the people I ride with are very much the same.

What about everyone else? Feel free to commment, even if you are the uber wealthy woman who "buys" the packer/winner. :)

Hunter Mom
May. 8, 2009, 01:43 PM
I clap for my friends rounds - even when they kick my butt - and I have no idea if their pants or TS or not. I'm going to clap for them even if they are only doing 2'-6" ....or crossrails. They deserve it.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what showing SHOULD be about.

scheibyee
May. 8, 2009, 02:11 PM
This is quite an interesting topic....

For the most part of what i'm around everyone is nice to each other. Everyone claps for one another. Everyone is just as proud as the person riding when they're happy and do well. However, that being said everyone has that little tinge of jealousy inside. If the trainer spends that much more time complimenting the other rider. If someone else gets to ride/show the sale horse. No matter how nice everyone is to everyone else, THEY always want to be the best. There are people who judge riding capabilities on whether or not their breeches are Tailored Sportsmans (or similar), they're jackets are grand prix with beautiful shirts underneath, their tallboots are custom or look it etc. There are also people out there that are purely in it for fun, couldn't care less what the other riders are wearing and just want their horse and them to end the day on a good note. You usually find that with the older riders who are perfectly content not being on the next Olympic team. There are people who take everything about it far too seriously and people that don't take it seriously enough. There's such a wide range. There are plenty of spoiled daddy's little girls but there are just as many who work really hard every single day to be able to attend such shows. Some people braid, groom, etc to be able to be there, some people scoff at those people. I'm pretty much in the middle with it all. I sometimes do get caught up in the snotty scene but i'm easily brought back down to earth. I braid all of my barns horses (for free) including my own. I groom and help out whenever I can. I definitely can get caught up in jealousy but I try really hard not to let it get the best of me and just use it as motivation to work harder. I love my horses more than anything and take care of them to the best of my ability. Their needs ALWAYS come first. I would never push a horse for a ribbon. The only people I scoff at are the people who do not put the well-being of the horse first because hey... without them we wouldn't be able to have beautiful experiences, ribbons, moments, etc. They don't ask why they have to jump over 8 stupid logs in the middle of the ring when they could just as easily go around them, they just humor us and do it. So moral of the story it's easy to get caught up in the "glam" of the A circuit and all of the pettiness that it entails, but the real horseperson can be brought back to reality very quickly.

heygirlhey33
May. 8, 2009, 02:29 PM
I totally agree with the above. Thats what showing should be like. I feel the same way I feel like the majority of the people at the A shows and AA shows are hardworking individuals who appreciate their horses. I acknowledge the fact that there are the 'spoiled brats' and spoiled ammys, there at the shows but their not the majority. I have no interest in becoming a pro in my future at all. I love enjoying my horse. I ride because its the sport I love the most hands down. I do have high aspirations for my show year, but will not sacrifice my horses well being for them, or sacrafice the fun of the sport. I show around once a month durring the winter and do the AA circuit durring the summer all over the east coast. I hope to qualify for WIHS and NAL. But if i dont, its life, and Id rather let my horse be a horse and go on trail rides or hack in the polo field then be on the circuit showing every weekend (but fortunatley were still top 25 in both).

We bought my horse not because he is the garunteed winner every time out, but because of his personality and the fact that he is an absolute saint. He happens to be cute to boot and jump very well but thats all just details. Coming from a life filled with learning and social disabilities along with eating disorders, and going to one of the hardest schools in the country while keeping high honors life is tough. And the best part of riding is leaving that all behind and showing up to the barn to see my horse waiting for me with his head in the aisle with a look of love on his face. Its also nice to feel like youve owned a course and mastered a technique with your horse.

Horse shows are part of my favorite part. My old barn was all competition and no support for the few other riders. Id come out of a class in first beating the barns other riders and theyd complain about it the entire day. My new barn is all fun and support to all of the 30+ horse and rider pairs at the shows. I love coming out of the ring from the round of your life to a crowd of supporters clapping and congratulating you. Second best to that is coming out in last place and still having those supporters there laughing along with you and with the 1st grade walk trot rider telling you that your their idol even if you stunk. Another thing I love is cheering on everyone from my barn, seing the little short stirrup kids come out of the ring pleased with themselves. We have a few people that just show up for their class and offer no congratulations or praise to other riders, and blame their mistakes on their horse. But the A circuit gets a bad name from the handful of bad people, not from the horse loving individuals that makeup the majority.

Rye
May. 8, 2009, 02:36 PM
You're the kind of people I like to see at shows and show with!!

Petty bickering or griping about the ever-growing abundance of the 2'6" is just plain wrong and not what it should be about. Whining about the unfairness of the crappy rider on the uber-fancy packer is pointless. Enjoy your horse, enjoy the day and focus on yourself and striving for improvement together, the ribbons/coolers should be the added bonus, not the focus.

The show scene would be a little more enjoyable if we all realized that it's possible to a graceful, compassionate competitor and horseperson and leave all the sorority-antics back where they belong.

IsolaBella09
May. 8, 2009, 02:48 PM
Great post Rosie!

The barn I am at now is the most supportive, positive environment I have ever been in. Two weeks ago at our local finals, my whole barn showed earlier than I did, dropped and hosed the horses off at home, and came back to come watch me ride. My entire barn. Even when I suck, they clap and give a "woot" for my rounds. It's a completely different, but refreshing, feeling than the other barns I've been to. My trainer is always saying riding should be fun, and when it's not, why even bother going to a show? If you are out to win, sure, go buy the packer who will get you around. Of course it's nice to win, but riding is not about competing and getting lots of ribbons, in my mind. It's about learning and making the best of yourself and your horse.

There are some people who are in it to win in. There are some people who are in it for the fun. And then there are the people who make you want to get better and support everyone, be it crossrails or Grand Prix.

:D

Pirateer
May. 8, 2009, 02:49 PM
The most interesting thing I discovered at shows was that the one local "fancy schmancy" assumed-snobby everything matchy matchy expensive barn was the one with the NICEST kids who had to do EVERYTHING themselves- groom, tack, stalls.

Meanwhile, the local redneck barn kids didn't do a thing.

(Nothing against people who groom for themselves, or people who hire grooms, just a stereotype of the fancy barn that I was glad to see wasn't true)

phoenix mom
May. 8, 2009, 03:06 PM
What a refreshing thread, keep it going!

superpony123
May. 8, 2009, 03:19 PM
I lease a large pony from my barn (can't afford to buy a horse, and with me going off to college soon enough--im a jr in HS right now--it wouldnt make sense to buy a horse) and will move up to a horse (a lease, of course) this fall.

My pony used to be a great jumper pony, but i am not really a jumper person, never really kept my interest (tried it two times, never really enjoyed it) and so i made him into a hunter. it's taken years for him to be real sucessful, but now we're winning in the children's hunters. we do very well at A shows (as long as i'm riding well...he's a great pony, he can get you around a course if you know what youre doing, but he definitely won't find the distances and set himself up all on his own, you have to be there every step of the way with him to put in a nice round). he's a wonderful teacher. ive definitely learned the most, by far, on this pony. i go to A shows during the spring/summer, and unrated locals during the winter. I probably go to about 10-12 shows per year, and half of them are generally A/AA shows. I am a working student, so it definitely makes it more affordable, but in 2008 i only went to 2 shows that yr because my dad lost his job, and my parents *do* help pay the bills, because i do so well in school--so showing wasnt really much of an option last year. But this year we can afford to go back to the 10 or so shows. Am I a spoiled princess because i have a nice pony and my parents help pay the bills? No, I don't consider myself one. I do all the work, i don't hand my pony off to the groom, i do everything. i work really hard at the barn, and so i get paid well for it. i work hard in school so i get good grades and if i were to work any more than i already do (at the barn) i probably wouldnt be able to balance that and school--so thats also why parents help with $$. then again, i'm 17, so i'm still in the house--it's not like im out of college or anything. once im off to college, i'll have to pay for everything myself, which i think is fair.

Just at Garden State 2 weeks ago, on wednesday i was in a hopeful hunter class, a warm up for the weekend. I had all nice rounds, all got claps, but my last one was particularly awesome. The only thing that kept me from winning is that the horse that won is a beautiful mover, and my pony is NOT a beautiful mover, and that i got a long spot. I'm perfectly happy with the 3rd place i got in that class, but what made me happier is seeing literally everyone around the ingate and in the bleachers clapping, and when i left the ring the ring steward complimented me and another trainer who was watching said "great round, i wish my kid rode that well!" and it makes you feel so good. Then you walk around afterwards, later in the day, or the next day, and random barn mates and friends of our trainer and people say "hey i saw your last round! you did so well!" or "i heard you rode awesome today, sebastian was so proud!" and i love the feeling of having my trainer be proud of me. The ribbons are a nice touch, a good way to remember your shows and stuff, but it's how well you ride that really determines it.

Brown Horse
May. 8, 2009, 03:32 PM
I've always had such nice experiences at A shows. I won a hunter classic and the girl who came in 2nd said, "Congratulations! You did fantastic and your horse is beautiful." And this is when I was 15! I returned the compliment. From the other competitors there was no sneering, nor talking about "Oh, well...her coat and breeches are Devon-Aire." or "She only won b/c her horse is push button!" which he was not. That's why I don't understand why people are so worried about certain things...it just seemed like everyone was happy to have the opportunity to show, not for the ribbon but because it's a great experience and because it's FUN.

CFiona
May. 8, 2009, 04:52 PM
The most interesting thing I discovered at shows was that the one local "fancy schmancy" assumed-snobby everything matchy matchy expensive barn was the one with the NICEST kids who had to do EVERYTHING themselves- groom, tack, stalls.

Agreed. I've been pleasantly suprised at a number of "fancy schmancy" barns where I had pre-judged the clientele based on costs and outside appearances. Has taught me a lot. :)

Rosie
May. 8, 2009, 05:04 PM
Pirateer, those types of stereotypes are what I was referring to. Not every "fancy" horse is owned by a spoiled, rich snobby hunter princess. Some of the best I've seen were "made up" by (better-than-average) ammies.

Brown Horse, you bring up a good point. I have NEVER had a person at an A show comment about someone else's lack of "designer" labels. I don't think anyone really notices ( ok, Pirateer does! )whether breeches are TS, Ariat, or something else. As long as the person looks neat, tidy and everything fits well - I don't believe anyone judges you based on it. I know my daughter HATED TS breeches and never wore them. Same for helmets, etc.

Pirateer
May. 8, 2009, 05:11 PM
Brown Horse, you bring up a good point. I have NEVER had a person at an A show comment about someone else's lack of "designer" labels. I don't think anyone really notices whether breeches are TS, Ariat, or something else. As long as the person looks neat, tidy and everything fits well - I don't believe anyone really notices.

Ok, this I don't see.

I'm sorry, but I can tell a pair of TS/Ariats from the bargain bin kind, regardless of how well they fit. I can TELL a nice coat from the kind chock full of polyester. I can tell an IRH from a GPA, or an IRH from a CO. I can tell a big $$ saddle from cardboard.

It doesn't mean I'll judge them for it, but I DO notice.

superpony123
May. 8, 2009, 07:14 PM
Ok, this I don't see.

I'm sorry, but I can tell a pair of TS/Ariats from the bargain bin kind, regardless of how well they fit. I can TELL a nice coat from the kind chock full of polyester. I can tell an IRH from a GPA, or an IRH from a CO. I can tell a big $$ saddle from cardboard.

It doesn't mean I'll judge them for it, but I DO notice.

I admit, I do notice too :lol: But still, a good ride is a good ride and what you wear isnt being judged (as long as youre suitably dressed and its respectful and well-fitting)

chawley
May. 8, 2009, 11:32 PM
Very interesting thread. My experience having spent my entire life in this world is that a majority of the stereotypes just aren't true. Most of the people I know - everyone from ubber rich to normal people like myself - love riding, horses, showing, etc., and seem to keep it all in perspective. I have come across a few that are just full of themselves, but thankfully they are the exception. One thing I have noticed over the years is that certain barns/trainers will dictate what kind of attitude their barn displays to the outside world. I know my trainer, who has been on the circuit for years, wouldn't put up with anyone that thought too highly of themselves. Another one of many reasons I ride w/ him.

I've also found that horses are humbling. Just because you have a $200K horse doesn't mean it won't completely misbehave and make a fool of its rider. After all, the horse doesn't know how much someone paid for it. :)

I love that there are so many people on this forum that don't look down their noses at others and just truly enjoy their sport - afterall, it is really all about a horse.

chawley
May. 8, 2009, 11:35 PM
Ok, this I don't see.

I'm sorry, but I can tell a pair of TS/Ariats from the bargain bin kind, regardless of how well they fit. I can TELL a nice coat from the kind chock full of polyester. I can tell an IRH from a GPA, or an IRH from a CO. I can tell a big $$ saddle from cardboard.

It doesn't mean I'll judge them for it, but I DO notice.

I may notice only because I'm admiring the outfit. I am a clothes horse though - whether it's street clothes or riding clothes - I love great clothes! haha But, trust me, I'm paying far more attention to the horse they are riding. I love watching a nice horse go around.

French Twist
May. 9, 2009, 01:32 AM
I show in the adult equitation in the New England area and have also shown at some top AA shows in the adult eq, like WEF, Lake Placid, Cap Challenge... and I have found there to be wonderful comraderie between the competitors. I've made great show friends from many different barns in New England and had pleasant experiences at out of state AA shows, too.

In Zone I, part of this, I think, is a credit to the New England Equitation Championships. It brings the whole area together and I've never seen a show which promotes better sportsmanship that it does, at all levels- in the juniors and the adult/amateurs.

The adult eq divisions are filled with people of all backgrounds, juniors fresh from the big eqs, amateurs learning to ride or reride after long absences from showing, wealthy amateurs with a string of horses for multiple divisions, ones who catch ride a different horse at every show... and on and on. It's a diverse group. Few, I'd imagine come from the highest tax bracket. Most are likely more in the middle. I've yet to meet a snob.

I've never experienced any of the horror stories that every-so-often appear on the forums here involving poor sportsmanship or snobbiness. And though adult eq isn't a high level division, I've never seen a poor rider on a packer horse win a final. I've never bought into the whole 'that rider only wins cause they're rich and ride the fanciest packer horse thing," when pondering my participation in equitation. I've won and lost on both fancy/expensive and ugly/cheap horses... all it took was good riding and 8 or so good fences (or bad riding on the flip side).

I also deal with a lot of people within the show community for my website, and I've found the vast majority to be quite pleasant to work with, whether they're listing a six-figure horse or a four-figure horse. There are some who can certainly be drama-queens, but what industry/sport/hobby/etc. doesn't have its due share of those? My only less good experiences came from a few interviews I did ages ago, when I used to write for various magazines. A couple of the "winners" I interviewed did come across as a bit snobby and really couldn't be bothered. But c'est la vie.

I think we have a great sport going, and I love how participation is exploding at all levels- local, regional and national; AA or unrated. I hope, like my experiences have been, that most will find it an inviting and competitive, but not cutthroat sport.

bascher
May. 9, 2009, 06:04 AM
I just recently showed at a large A show and with my baby, who wasn't very expensive when we bought him, I won a class and was third out of 26 in the AAs. One trainer and several other adult riders came up and congratulated me and I definitely noticed a comradery where the adults were all very happy for one another! And I know that I certainly congratulated several riders who beat my butt in the other classes. And from our barn, everyone always comes down to the ring and supports each other. We all help tack up each other's horses when the rider is getting all of their show clothes on, we groom at the gate for each other, and of course we all clap for each other. I've had very positive experiences for the most part at the big shows :)

And honestly, I don't look at other people's pants, jackets, etc and see a brand. That's the least of my worries at the big shows, I'm much more worried about making sure I ride well and my horse is ready!

mvp
May. 9, 2009, 07:55 AM
Of course there are good peeps with nice horses at the big shows! That's because graciousness, sportsmanship, concern for the horse and other people, a spectacular work ethic like the OP's-- all of these things are not perfectly correlated with wealth (or skin color, sexual preference, whatever). You can find admirable and dispicable people in every tax bracket. And the bankrolled rider still needs to ride without stirrups at home just like the one without the money.

I don't think that's the source of the problem. The problem with the showing industry, it would appear to some, is that the best of attitudes and effort are not enough without the bankroll. That means that some "have-nots" will stay, try and perhaps get bitter. It also means that many, many more will leave, perhaps explaining their departure by cries of "they're all snobs, or even cheaters!" on the way out.

Yes, yes-- Of course there will always be someone who has either an advantage or luck we might not bring on any given day. Of course "life is not fair" (though that adage is most often trotted out by those for whom life has generally been more than fair!).

The point is to make showing seem both fair and accessible enough to the people who would like to play that they come, they stay, they try, they have fun, they get what they came for in a sport-- the chance to compete against others who are evenly matched. We don't pit bantam-weight boxers against heavy-weights, but you can watch a great match between two of either kind. We'd all like the chance to overcome some odds, Rocky Balboa style. But make those too long, the cost to people, to horses or retirement funds too great, it becomes something we'd hate to see in boxing-- the little guy getting systematically beaten to a pulp in a predictable way.

So the whiners and nay-sayers ought to be a little more clear about what they'd like to see in horse showing rather than bad-mouthing the sport and the example bad apples we all can find. That having been said, everyone-- those at the top, not just those at the bottom-- ought to defend the goal of making the sport fair enough to be worthwhile and attractive.

MissIndependence
May. 9, 2009, 08:33 AM
I do the A/AA show circuit and have met dozens of really awesome people! I do the High and Low Jr/AO jumpers. I am a 45 year old "re rider" - and there are times I have felt insecure about being the "old lady" in the warm up area with all 20 year old kids - but they have been incredibly nice and kind to me. I love to watch people ride....and appreciate everyone's stories, struggles and simply love the sport and competition.

I'm like the OP - I work full time, have a family - but I ride 5-6x a week in the mornings and have several horses to keep fit and ready.

I think there are plenty of great people and things going on at big shows. In fact, I have found that many of the people others assume are "stuck up" or "snobby" are simply shy and are wonderful when you get to know them. I'm sure there are some catty people around - but I seem to be missing them most of the time!

2bayboys
May. 9, 2009, 09:22 AM
Just a comment about the clothes that people wear.......... in my experience, the ones who worry most about this are the juniors, but isn't that exactly in keeping with the typical non-riding pre-teen or teen who is VERY concerned about appearance and fitting in? Walk down the halls of any high school and you will find all the kids wearing some variation of the "in" style or label.

The most variation I see in show apparel is in the Adult ring, especially the more mature adults, who have gotten way past the concern of what others may think about their wardrobe. The color and brand of the breeches probably depends more on the fit and comfort than the price tag. And there are many many pro riders who are not fashionistas by any stretch of the imagination, but those are probably the ones that are working in the barn all day in addition to riding, and who really has time to worry about the other stuff?

mvp
May. 9, 2009, 10:50 AM
I explicitly admired the old ladies I saw at shows when I was a kid. They were elegantly dressed (Custom dress Vogels, move on from there). They rode well. They had very nice horses either because they made them or bought them. They were not at a horse show to screw around and do a bad job in the ring. The horses I rode belonged to other people-- the econo-nag, "the bad one" I was given to just get around, the string of green ones I had until they were nice and the owners wanted them back-- none of them matched the old ladies' broke, pretty horses. Not all of those made ones were packers, but these women rode well. Meanwhile, my effective but not pretty riding didn't look like what the old ladies had going on.

Now I am that old lady and it rocks. My horse (whom I made myself) and I just know how to go to a horse show with or without help. I'd like the whippersnappers to see that it can be done.

taylor93
May. 9, 2009, 10:54 AM
MVP Awesome post!!!!!!!!!!!

Equilibrium
May. 9, 2009, 12:57 PM
Perhaps my experiences are skewed or somewhat out of the norm - but I find the vast majority of riders at the shows I attend (mixture of A/AA both locally and out of state) are decent folks on well cared for horses who really want to do well at their sport.

I'm sure the "uber-wealthy" spoiled kid/society woman who has a string of disposable imports in order to take up the slack for their lack of riding skills, exist - I'm not saying that it doesn't - but wondering what others here (who actually show at the A's) see and experience.

For instance:
I'm a (52 yr. old) AA jumper rider. Yes, I have a horse that was imported and is waaay more talented/scopey than I will ever use. No, he isn't a "packer" - and I didn't buy him as a short cut to "winning". I bought him because riding him makes me smile. I bought him because I work about 60 or 70 hours a week and am FINALLY able to afford a nice horse and A shows. I'm having to learn to ride better than I used to - and I'm having to work out at the gym 4 to 5 days a week in order to be in good enough physical shape to ride well. I'm also at the barn at least 4X's a week - sometimes it's at 9 o'clock at night - and I'm "toast" from a long day at work - but I'm there. :) I take his care and training very seriously - I educate myself about his shoes, supplements, feeding, etc. but rely on the professional advice and knowledge of my trainer, vet, farrier. Yes, I have a groom at shows. No, I can't braid. But I CAN wrap, bathe and clip.

My competitive "goals" are not "high - level" - I will never compete in a Grand Prix, or be a highly ranked national rider - but I do want to do well (decent zone ranking) and am hoping to be competent at a 3'9" to 4' level.

I'm not extremely "wealthy" - but am able to go to about 10 to 12 A shows a year - and afford a nice horse, lessons, etc. without eating Ramen noodles all the time. :)

I clap for my friends rounds - even when they kick my butt - and I have no idea if their pants or TS or not. I'm going to clap for them even if they are only doing 2'-6" ....or crossrails. They deserve it.
Sometimes I get sent back down to the hunter ring to get my act together before being back allowed in the jumpers - I need my friends to clap for me then, 'cause I'm usually needing some serious support!

Most of the people I ride with are very much the same.

What about everyone else? Feel free to commment, even if you are the uber wealthy woman who "buys" the packer/winner. :)

I so enjoyed your post!!!!!

I'm older and getting back into showing and put way too much pressure on myself to be perfect and then don't enjoy myself too much.

So my new goals are to have fun and have a smile on my face because if I'm not smiling, it isn't fun.

By the way, we don't have A/AA shows here, just local and the circuit.

Never mind all the BNR's, you should be an inspiration for all!

Terri

CraziiPonii
May. 9, 2009, 01:17 PM
I clap for my friends rounds - even when they kick my butt - and I have no idea if their pants or TS or not. I'm going to clap for them even if they are only doing 2'-6" ....or crossrails. They deserve it.

The reason I love showing. Thank you.

Rosie
May. 9, 2009, 03:17 PM
missindependence,
I don't want to come off as a "stalker" :), but I've watched a number of your rounds at the shows - believe me, you do not look like an "old lady" !!! You are a lovely rider. One of the reasons I try and watch some of the bigger classes - I try and keep that mental picture in my head of riding quietly and smoothly to the base - rather than the gallop to a BIG gap that I happen to be extremely fond of.

mvp - you are right. Those "older ladies" in hunters can be downright tough to beat. The AA 50+ group here in Texas is full of REALLY nice horses ridden by some pretty slick women. You have to have a nearly perfect round on a pretty fancy horse in order to place well.
I shake things up a bit when I get sent down to that ring to re-inforce smooth riding. My big jumper guy doesn't quite have the hunter look/style - and trying to find 8 perfect distances is a challenge! (thus the reason for us being there) But it's fun to go play in hunter- land sometimes.

lesson junkie
May. 9, 2009, 07:40 PM
Just to prove how a stereotype can mislead-the tack store I worked for took goods to a regional dressage championship. I'd never seen really *good* dressage in the flesh. I was blown away by the camaraderie we saw all weekend. These beautiful riders on these FANCY horses (even hunter princess that I am could tell) cheered for each other like the Pony Club. It was great, and I loved the whole weekend, but it sure wasn't the snooty DQ filled event I expected. I mean, there were DQs there, but they were sooo nice!!

Silk
May. 9, 2009, 09:01 PM
I'm sure the "uber-wealthy" spoiled kid/society woman who has a string of disposable imports in order to take up the slack for their lack of riding skills, exist - I'm not saying that it doesn't - but wondering what others here (who actually show at the A's) see and experience.



And this, ladies and gents, is probably one of the biggest misconceptions around. The majority of the uber-fancy, uber-expensive (as you put it) are the hardest to ride. Of all the uber-fancy ponies I have known, only one was a true "packer". The rest, while winning against the best company (ribboning at indoors, etc) were NOT easy rides.

I HATE it when people make this generalization. I was taught this lesson early when, after being overheard by my then-trainer, saying something like "well, anyone could win with that pony", was put on said pony and guess what? Yup....not so easy after all.

magnolia73
May. 9, 2009, 09:20 PM
C'mon, the stereotypes are much more entertaining. It's not as interesting when people are pretty much nice and work hard.

That said- like in any aspect of life- we tend to hear more about the negative events and the drama llamas. They tend to overshadow the majority. Also, sometimes people who are serious and intense seem snotty and aloof- but just very focused in reality.

I have to laugh- the last big show I spectated at, I was in awe of the junior hunters. Lovely trip after lovely trip. If they messed up... you didn't see. Sitting next to me, this woman was very critical of the riders... very much mimicking the typical "rant" on this BB. Perchy... fall off... could not stay on during a trail ride. The sad truth- that woman was a novice rider, actually fell at a walk and did not jump. I think cutting those kids down made her feel better in some way.

findlymine
May. 9, 2009, 10:05 PM
The diffrence between people at "A" shows and the people at sxchooling shows is that generally the people at "A" shows are walthy and they are self assured in themselfs and they don't see the need for snarky or mean comments

myvanya
May. 10, 2009, 12:57 AM
Though in some respects I agree with the OP- it does depend.
I recently started showing again, and do not use one of the local hunter/jumper trainers. I found that many people were not particularly welcoming. That being said though, some people really were and I appreciated that. Horse shows are a lot of fun when you can cheer on the other people in your division and enjoy a good laugh with them.
I have found that the Eventers that I have seen and the Dressage people I have seen are as general rule, more supportive of each other(note I said as a general rule). That being said though, I didn't see vast numbers of spoiled brats in ts breeches, ariat coats, co helmets, and crazy expensive saddles that cared about little else at these shows- I saw a bunch of people that, though there to compete, mostly cared about riding their best on a given day. Stereotypes are notoriously incomplete and incorrect; which doesn't mean they don't occasionally contain a grain of truth for us to chew on, but they only go so far as the OP discovered.

mvp
May. 10, 2009, 06:48 AM
So the old lady I admired most as a kid was over 50. I knew her from the hunt field. In the fall, she and her very nice horse were beautifully turned out and hunted (first field) all day each Sunday. Since I was new (15 or so), she very kindly invite me to follow her, showing me how to pick the right pace, read the footing as we galloped along and generally hunt politely and safely.

I then saw her again with the same horse at Menlo-- the Devon of Northern California-- where with the same horse and a BNT at her side, she came in for a couple of days, won at the A/Os and then turned her field/show hunter back out at home. Her home, she mucked the stalls and legged up her own horses on trails.

This was how it was done.

She was kind and interested in anyone who wanted to learn to ride well, because she was a good horsewoman. She (like the other purist old-ladies I groomed for) rode into the hunter ring like they owned it. They sat on their horses as though they could tactfully put them anywhere they wanted. It wasn't so much that they demonstrated the horse's packing ability, so much as his beauty and tractability.

I don't know if this confidence came from their being wealthy, older, raised in a generation that respected poise and elegance in women, or just good horsewoman who had earned their own self-respect. But they were generally very nice to be around and to groom for. They also had a lot to teach a young sprout like me.

je.suis
May. 10, 2009, 07:48 AM
What a refreshing thread ! We should all confer at a central location, hold a horse show and prove there are truly riders who love the sport and foster no jealousy. I always have a great time mainly because I'm concentrating on how my horse is going and my riding when in the ring. Friends are cheered and supported and competitors are congratulated when the beat me. It's only a game, afterall, not an earth shattering event. I love all these positive posts! There are unhappy people everywhere in every walk of life. Negativity will destroy you and once you begin bad mouthing someone, it seems to spiral downward quickly. I admit, I have been guilty at times. I realized what it did to me, my thought process and my intent to move forward. To read so many posts from riders who just want to ride and have fun makes me want to see that energy in everyone I meet in the schooling area today. Thanks !

je.suis
May. 10, 2009, 07:54 AM
Oh, and MVP, you're a real treat !I love reading your posts. You are an example to young riders who might read this. I almost, for a moment, thought you were referring to Dianna Firestone in your post above until you mentioned Northern Cali ( one of my favorite places on earth !!) and the part about mucking, etc. Although she would do all of that, she didn't have to but she led by example.

mvp
May. 10, 2009, 08:13 AM
Not Diana Firestone. This ammy was just a local and a member of the Los Altos Hounds.

But the Firestones (whom I don't know) seem to be a good example. I remember a COTH about Allison Firestone who said that she didn't go for broke in some jump off because it was "a family rule" that you didn't do that to your horses.

So those peeps are Firestone as in Firestone tires. Allison went to Princeton, as in Firestone Library there. Long-term, plenty-o-wealth, good ethics, hard work and good horsemanship can all come in one very nice package.

And just to be sure, this was all written by a native Californian redneck. I'll never have the dough to do what these people do. It doesn't mean I can't appreciate what they do well. My comparative poverty also doesn't mean I shouldn't or can't try to match parts of it.

"Take what you like and leave the rest" right?

Silk
May. 10, 2009, 09:25 AM
So those peeps are Firestone as in Firestone tires. Allison went to Princeton, as in Firestone Library there. Long-term, plenty-o-wealth, good ethics, hard work and good horsemanship can all come in one very nice package.



Not Firestone tires. Not related to Firestone tires. Not their original last name.

mvp
May. 10, 2009, 09:31 AM
See? What would a redneck from Cali know.... except not to fry her horse just to win a jump off in a dinky show.

Thanks for the correction. Someone at Princeton pointed out the "Firestone is to Firestone" as "Allison is to Library" thing. Wasn't my idea or etymology.

Pirateer
May. 10, 2009, 08:04 PM
See? What would a redneck from Cali know.... except not to fry her horse just to win a jump off in a dinky show.

Thanks for the correction. Someone at Princeton pointed out the "Firestone is to Firestone" as "Allison is to Library" thing. Wasn't my idea or etymology.


I think the Firestones are money from Johnson/Johnson (Proctor/Gambell? Whoever?)

Hunter Mom
May. 10, 2009, 09:25 PM
I enjoy the comradare from other adults at shows - especially the ohters who show at the same, lower (2'6") level I do. At a show last fall, I crashed on Saturday afternoon. One of the other adults came up to me on Sunday to make sure I was ok and ask if I was showing that day. It meant a lot to me that she inquired.

Summit Springs Farm
May. 11, 2009, 08:52 AM
Betty Oare need I say more!!

Of course I'm afraid few of us can ride like she does, but she is an inspiration to me and many!! And a fine person as well!

EllenAspen
May. 11, 2009, 12:06 PM
Rosie:

mvp - you are right. Those "older ladies" in hunters can be downright tough to beat. The AA 50+ group here in Texas is full of REALLY nice horses ridden by some pretty slick women. You have to have a nearly perfect round on a pretty fancy horse in order to place well.

The AA50+ group is my division on one horse...I ride the other in A/O 36+...they are very tough amateur divisions. I guess the more mature group has more money and time to devote. I know I took a 33 year break from riding because I couldn't afford it and didn't have the time.

But, I have met some lovely people that I consider to be friends...people that I compete against. And everyone of us that goes out there wants the blue ribbon. But, I think it is a friendly competition.

mvp
May. 11, 2009, 12:38 PM
You know what? I'll be happy to receive a sound a$$-whoppin' from an old lady on a nice horse, so long as we eat BBQ afterward. Maybe I should come down to Texas.

I groomed some of these horses for the well-dressed, staying clean ladies and not all of those buggars were easy to ride or work around. One woman in my barn had the standard-issue huge bay warmblood gelding who would stop (that's right, F-ing stop!) if she weren't dead accurate. She had a nice PCHA (NorCal) trunk that she won for being a consistent equitation queen. Our trainer said "That horse is the biggest POS to have ever been called an eq horse." The woman worked 60 hours a week, kept his sorry-a$$ at home, and didn't dump this ungrateful gelding for a horse that matched her ambition and work ethic as many encouraged her to do.

Maybe these people with double incomes, good careers and stock portfolios do partially buy their way in to the winner's circle. But most of the die-hard old ladies I knew rode what they had and honestly didn't expect to have to do otherwise. They graciously assumed that riding well was part of the game.

I never quite got up a barn that did Horse of the Year Type stuff, so the attitude might be really different at those stratospheric heights. But these women did not trade up horses like cars all the time.

Who ever thought that a woman with a farmer tan and plenty of sun damage would be anyone's hero?

DuffyAgain
May. 11, 2009, 12:41 PM
mvp - have to say that I've been enjoying your posts here and elsewhere! :)

EllenAspen
May. 11, 2009, 12:50 PM
Maybe I should come down to Texas.


Come on down!!! We have a great time!!:winkgrin:

EqTrainer
May. 11, 2009, 12:52 PM
Betty Oare need I say more!!

Of course I'm afraid few of us can ride like she does, but she is an inspiration to me and many!! And a fine person as well!

Indeed :yes: and for those who don't know, Betty and her Dad used to remake OTTB's into hunters.

Mtn trails
May. 11, 2009, 03:06 PM
I agree, showing should be about fun and supporting each other. When I got back into showing after being away from it for so long and having a greenie to boot, I started at the bottom doing cross-rails. Most of the other competitors were little kids and I'd cheer for them if/when they beat me. They were so cute I didn't care if I won or not, I was just there to put mileage on me and my horse. Of course, a ribbon never hurt that was just icing. I had no problem competing against people 1/4 my age. It was all fun.

Vixenish
May. 11, 2009, 06:05 PM
Thank you for posting this!

My barn is full of adult ammy riders/re-riders, most not even showing at 2'6" yet, and most on young (read: affordable but promising) horses. We do at least one week at a big "A" show every summer because we work hard all year at home -- yes, even at 2'6" and below -- and it's a treat for us to go to a well-run show at a lovely facility and turn ourselves and our horses out to the nines.

We take it seriously and work hard, but also have great fun, and you can bet that we're all at the ring watching our teammates and cheering loudly!

It probably seems silly to some that our barn goes to the trouble of shipping 2 hours to these shows and doing the "A Show Barn" set-up when really we're just a bunch of long-stirrup'ers, but we have a supportive team of talented young trainers trying to build their new business and a barn full of enthusiastic riders who are all having a blast.

We all work hard at our 9 to 5 jobs to support our hobby, so a week at an "A" show is a terrific opportunity to get out of the office and spend some quality time with our equine and human friends. Heck, we have just as much fun trail riding around on our off days at the show as we do on the days we show!

CFiona
May. 11, 2009, 06:12 PM
Thank you for posting this!

My barn is full of adult ammy riders/re-riders, most not even showing at 2'6" yet, and most on young (read: affordable but promising) horses. We do at least one week at a big "A" show every summer because we work hard all year at home -- yes, even at 2'6" and below -- and it's a treat for us to go to a well-run show at a lovely facility and turn ourselves and our horses out to the nines.

We take it seriously and work hard, but also have great fun, and you can bet that we're all at the ring watching our teammates and cheering loudly!

It probably seems silly to some that our barn goes to the trouble of shipping 2 hours to these shows and doing the "A Show Barn" set-up when really we're just a bunch of long-stirrup'ers, but we have a supportive team of talented young trainers trying to build their new business and a barn full of enthusiastic riders who are all having a blast.

We all work hard at our 9 to 5 jobs to support our hobby, so a week at an "A" show is a terrific opportunity to get out of the office and spend some quality time with our equine and human friends. Heck, we have just as much fun trail riding around on our off days at the show as we do on the days we show!

Where are you and can I come over and play???? :D:D:D

Vixenish
May. 11, 2009, 06:25 PM
If you're at Pebble Beach this summer, stop by! We'll be the ones with the bloody Marys :D

Silk
May. 11, 2009, 07:55 PM
Betty is a tough competitor and although a legal ammy, was a pro for many years. She can ride the pants off almost anyone. She has some very, very nice horses....very expensive. But, that being said, she comes from horse people and is indeed a real horse person. Another example of how the uber fancy horse is not an easy ride. yes, Betty has money to buy nice horses but also has the talent to ride them. There are very few who ride the big divisions (A/O or even AA) at the A's and AA'S who use money to cover a "lack of talent" as was intimated earlier. Those who truly lack talent can buy a horse to cover that fact. I guess I am still taking offense at that intimation :)

mvp
May. 11, 2009, 08:08 PM
I think the "horse hides lack of rider talent" might come from priced out peeps (or their spent out parents) watching the Big Eq scene with their little noses pressed to the glass.

Let's be clear: The kids riding the house-priced horse still work hard and must ride well. But the emphasis there is on the horse-as-vehicle. All things being equal, if you can buy or lease the more broke one, you do. Or so it would seem from the outside.

I don't know if In Reality, the kids are taught to put the incredible dressage base on their eq mounts.

Are we confusing stereotypes and disciplines really badly, turning the whole H/J scene into grey mud?

Rosie
May. 13, 2009, 04:55 PM
silk,
not sure if you are referring to my original post re: "wealthy women with strings of $$$$ horses"...?
If so, I think you missed my intent - to start a thread that people would post THEIR experiences at A/AA shows - which IME, has been very different than the STEREOTYPES that are generally mentioned around on this BB. One of the stereotypes that comes up time and time again is that there are bunches of uber wealthy women/kids who can't ride well, mounted on the equine equivalent of seeing eye dogs, who play to win .....and when they don't they trade in their horse for a more expensive one.
That is not true (IME) of the vast majority of the riders that I come into contact with. I DO believe that it does happen sometimes. But more often it is PERCEPTION not reality.

texaseventer
May. 13, 2009, 05:21 PM
You ladies are making me want to start a new discipline! I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this thread. I'd love to show with you people!!! (Esp the ones who love Bloody Marys, I'm so THERE)!

I am glad to hear that there are many others out there who enjoy showing their horse just because it's something they LOVE, who appreciate good competition and are happy to just be part of the experience!

I am in North Texas too and one of my other Eventer friends (who I'm sure will jump in on this post shortly) is getting me all psyched up to cross over to the dark side and start doing some h/j with our wonderful QH's!

Any place you would recommend to start? I've done one jumper show at Stony Glen, but I haven't been daring enough to go back to the hunter ring just yet. :) We did the 2'9 and the 3'0 jumpers and had a TON of fun... met some lovely people too.

I did hunters many many many years ago in Canada but I feel like it's a different language to me now. I'm 36 and I'm curious what options there are for a gal my age - I'm really confused by A/O and all the division names, what quailfies as green, limit, etc... any help or advice would be MUCH appreciated if you have a moment to share some of your experience! And in return I will happily bring the wine, beer or vodka!!! :)

Many thanks (and again, most enjoyable posts here...!!)
Mandy

EllenAspen
May. 13, 2009, 07:28 PM
Any place you would recommend to start?

Mandy:

I keep my horses on my own place but my trainers' barn is close to Aubrey...The Paddocks. I would highly recommend if you want to cross over to hunters. We have all levels of riders. Our trainers are very good and patient with newbies to this discipline. And...at the end of every day at the shows...the cocktails come out.:cool:

Let me know if you need anything else...we'd love to have you...

mvp
May. 13, 2009, 08:28 PM
By the way, you picked the right year to come back or jump in. No one has dough. Peeps are staying home. Best of all, you have just aged out of the cut-throat 18-35!

Welcome! You bring your super broke QH and have a great time.

chawley
May. 13, 2009, 08:50 PM
We have three adult riders at our barn over 40 that never rode before. Two of them are still doing cross rails, and the other is moving up to 2'6" this year. I have soooo much respect for these people. I've been riding/showing for my entire life, and I can't imagine how challenging it's been for them. I love to help them and cheer them on. The best part has been when they could start going to the bigger shows - their excitement is contagious.

whatnow
May. 13, 2009, 09:16 PM
Most of the attitude starts with the trainer. If she rewards good hard work then that is what the barn will show, if she encourages people to keep buying horses because they can't ride the ones they have and lets them get caught up in points to the detriment of the horse then she gets ugly clients. You sow what you reap.

quiet5
May. 13, 2009, 10:52 PM
most of those in the AA & A shows here in Northern California have been fabulous. it is a VERY competitive -- in the purest sense of the term -- division.
I'm not quite there yet, age-wise, but I am thoroughly inspired each time I spend time at the rail watching these rounds.

I really haven't seen any "bad" behavior worth noting from any division competitor. there is the occasional meltdown but nothing so completely out of line to make one gasp in horror. most people are truly supportive. the barn where I ride and show is fiercely supportive: we all go to each other's rounds--whether it's pony-land or the mini-prix unless we are in the ring at the same moment.

great topic. thank you!

je.suis
May. 13, 2009, 10:55 PM
So true, Whatnow! Trainers who sit in tack rooms bashing other trainers and worse yet, their own boarders, go nowhere and usually end up empty with the exception of the clients who gossip with them. I know. I've experienced that nonsense in the past. Those who are working and riding show it. Those who endlessly, relentlessly and erroneously gossip can't pick up the correct lead.

kimball1
May. 13, 2009, 11:09 PM
Thanks for the OP! Love this thread. Reminds me that showing is actually huge amounts of fun outside the ring. I'm feeling like we need to have a "COTH we love and appreciate our horses, our trainers, and the opportunity to do this" cocktail party for the over 30 crowd at every horse show.:cool:

je.suis
May. 14, 2009, 07:16 AM
What shall I bring? Sounds like fun. All smiles. Count me in!

tidy rabbit
May. 14, 2009, 09:01 AM
If so, I think you missed my intent - to start a thread that people would post THEIR experiences at A/AA shows - which IME, has been very different than the STEREOTYPES that are generally mentioned around on this BB.

I believe these sentiments come from people who don't show at this level.



One of the stereotypes that comes up time and time again is that there are bunches of uber wealthy women/kids who can't ride well, mounted on the equine equivalent of seeing eye dogs, who play to win .....and when they don't they trade in their horse for a more expensive one.

I know people like this, but mostly in CA. I haven't encountered this mentality as much on the eastern side of the country. I know one particular A/O rider out west who routinely trades out horses and always lets it be known how much bank was dropped on said horse. And funnily enough no matter how much is paid, its never quite the right horse.



That is not true (IME) of the vast majority of the riders that I come into contact with. I DO believe that it does happen sometimes. But more often it is PERCEPTION not reality.

I know of more than one National level GP rider who have private farms on both coasts and full training staff prepping future GP horses. They don't do any of the training. By the time the horse reaches them its solid in its job and the jockey gets on and goes. The jockey never has to train up these horses but has the talent to ride the really nice ones around some of the best courses in the country and win. I would do the same thing if I had the resources... or maybe I wouldn't, I don't know. It sure would be nice to have the option though, wouldn't it?

But, I also know far more people who really love their horse (or horses) and work very very hard to get out and do well at the 5 to 10 AA rated shows they go to each year.

mvp
May. 14, 2009, 09:24 AM
Oh come on. This orgy of agreement, sweetness, light and display of good sportsmanship is getting boring. But I'll be nice (and hope you don't recognize me from this BB) when I come by to drink your bloody marys at your barn's front.

And with respect to the hicks on the west coast versus the proper and true east coast. You must remember that we on the west coast were only imitating the best. It's tough to be "good" but still not good enough because you live on the wrong side of the tracks. For the record, there are "bought winners" everywhere. Read the Big Eq ads, for example. If you have enough coin and you are in the ethical heartland, Iowa, say, you too can have the house-priced-horse as the car that will take you to the finals.

So the serious question here is whether or not there is more or less of "paying to win" in different branches of the H/J world.

tidy rabbit
May. 14, 2009, 09:44 AM
...And with respect to the hicks on the west coast versus the proper and true east coast. You must remember that we on the west coast were only imitating the best. It's tough to be "good" but still not good enough because you live on the wrong side of the tracks. ...



Hahahahahaaa stir it up baby!



So the serious question here is whether or not there is more or less of "paying to win" in different branches of the H/J world.

Of course there is, but I think it's more the exception than the rule. One of my favorite real life scenarios was a pre-celebration by a rider for winning a big class. Broke open the bottle and all. "I won. Me. I won! My million dollar pony rocked it. I'm the winner. Me! Me! Me!" This before the competition was not even 1/2 way complete. Turned out he didn't win the special class. Not even close. It was like that every time. So dillusional.

ProzacPuppy
May. 14, 2009, 09:50 AM
My experience at the A/AA shows is also that almost everyone is nice, friendly, competitive but also complementary of a good ride by just about anyone.

I do know some very wealthy people who have strings of VERY nice horses. Usually these are older juniors or younger adults with very high aspirations (some even looking at World Cup level competition in their future) and parents with pockets deep enough to assist with this goal. Most are excellent riders who know and love all their horses as individuals with their own personalities and quirks. Yes, they don't have time to ride and groom all horses by themselves and yes alot of them have lives away from the barn (or at least partial lives since high aspirations also come with high time and effort commitment).

And yes, we mere mortals do love to beat them now and again but we also applaud their achievements and can't wait to see them achieve their dreams. Then we can say "I knew her when..."

LH
May. 14, 2009, 09:58 AM
Sure, there are a few juniors, older adults or A/Os who sit in the golf cart until their horse is brought to the ring by a groom, but for every one of those there are a dozen owner/riders who are just as "well-heeled" who are hand grazing their horse and cheering on their friends at the ring, and another dozen of us who do our own hauling, bathing, grooming, etc.

I've shown in the middle or older adults and A/Os for quite some time, and have found new friends at the ring who are just the nicest people! Even people I've never met before, if I'm rotating my trips in the ring with them, they will have something nice to say about me or my horse, and it's nice to say to someone else, "nice trip!" It costs nothing to smile at a competitor and say something supportive.

There is always a more talented or more expensive horse in my class than mine, I'm sure, but everyone still has to find 8 jumps and a few lead changes around the ring. There are more than a few "seeing eye dogs" in my division, but so what? Good for them - they have a horse that suits their needs.

texaseventer
May. 14, 2009, 10:09 AM
Can you help me understand a bit better what the fundamental differences between A and AA shows are?

I'm assuming its a bit like hockey or baseball where AA is tougher than A... but that's just a guess on my part!!

While I'm asking questions - why are standing martingales ok for hunters but running ones are not? Enquiring minds want to know :)

Thanks for your help :)

Mandy

mvp
May. 14, 2009, 10:46 AM
Mandy-- having field hunted, I can tell you that a standing martingale is quite dangerous there. If your horse ever needs to use his neck in a big to bail you both out, you screwed him and yourself by limiting that. I did hunt in one with one horse just to keep my nose whole. But I knew I might get in trouble.

I think the standing martingale is allowed in the ring for some bad reasons. Tradition. It makes a neck look longer. No real danger or athleticism in the ring anyway. Riders might not be able to put their horse in a nice frame. The horse might not actually be a broke horse you'd want to use for 3 hours outside on a Sunday.

Running martingales also take more skill to use. They present an ugly picture when the horse actually uses them for a resisting moment.

And about the two (or three?) ammy brackets. The "I have enough desire, talent and money to go to Las Vegas or Aachen, why not?" people are the reason to hang on and hide between 18 and 35. By 36, the Big Dogs are riding bigger and with pros. Those who backed off are busy doing enough else with their adult life that they are ammies-- good ones-- again.

Those who live on the circuit forever but don't want to join the pros in their divisions are just an legal anomaly. I don't see how to get around them except not to light your short stack of twenty dollar bills on fire trying to keep up and show elsewhere.

texaseventer
May. 14, 2009, 11:10 AM
MVP - got it... thanks! That makes much more sense on the age and A/AA thing. I was at Aachen last year, that was AMAZING to watch!!!

So if my guy currently goes in a running martingale for jumping... am I better off to try him w/out anything for Hunter o/f?? He tends - on jumper courses - to get a bit excited and has flipped his head in the vicinity of my nose ... <sigh> A very helpful clinician put us in a running and it has made a huge difference - and now I feel like I don't "need" it but keep it there just in case, does that make sense??? (To me the whole purpose of the martingale is to do nothing unless absolutely necessary... if that makes sense).

Just curious, this is a new world to me ;)

Mandy

Rosie
May. 14, 2009, 02:25 PM
mvp -
I have to admit, after starting this thread, I was afraid I'd come off as "Polyanna" - which believe me, is NOT my normal, everyday persona. :) But the truth is that A/AA shows are no different than the rest of life - there's good folks, bad folks and a bunch in between.
Of course there are those that have an advantage - thru $$$$ they can spend, thru time they can spend riding and not working on a career/family, talent, training, etc. Dang, I guess showing - just like life - is just not always FAIR!

I've read sooooo many threads about people "afraid" to take their horse to an A show - because they are not sure they will "fit in" or think they will be made fun of - because they have the "wrong" saddle, breed of horse, helmet, breeches.....whatever. That is not good for our sport! And, I think not really true. Ok, maybe if they show up in rust breeches. And a show bow. And riding a plow horse. (Unless it moves well and jumps cute.)

Does that merit any additional "stirring"? :)

Rosie
May. 14, 2009, 02:39 PM
texaseventer -
you are basically correct on the standing martingale issue. It's there to do "nothing" unless it's needed. Some hunters don't "need" it and wear one only because some like the way it "dresses" up a neck/shoulder. Some know when they have one on and won't ever "hit" it, but would flip their head without it. Some use it to lightly balance themselves - probably not really evident to anyone but the rider.
In truth, a show hunter that NEEDS one to keep from hitting the rider in the nose is probably not going to pin in good company - but most DO wear them.

Jumpers (usually) use running martingales and in fact standing martingales are illegal in many jumper classes....restricted by fence height I believe.

Not sure by your post.....you are thinking of showing in the hunters?

texaseventer
May. 14, 2009, 02:59 PM
Hi Rosie

Thanks! My gelding is sweet but sometimes gets a little bit of an attiude and will toss his head - he is getting MUCH better but esp at shows, the martingale helped my confidence originally - like it gave us both a boundary to work inside. (Also the same reason he goes better for me in a full cheek snaffle than an eggbutt or loose ring... the boundary seems to give him confidence).

So, since you asked... yes, I am considering crossing over to the (gasp!) dark side. ;) I LOVE eventing... but I like doing different things and really, honestly, just want to see how my horse will do with something different! I showed hunters many years ago (too many to talk about now) when I lived in Canada. I have not done anything but eventing, (and some lower jumpers and dressage shows) with this horse and I am really looking for mileage and experience in a variety of situations, for both of us!

This started out with AQHA showing only (which I hope to do early next month)... but so few QH shows actually have o/f classes, that I started looking at the local h/j shows... which I go to do Jumpers anyway... so I am thinking of trying out a really low hunter class at my next local schooling show! Just for fun!

Sorry for the novel here, I reallize I must sound like a little girl who doesn't know what she wants (which comes from the fact that I didn't start competing until in my 20's) ;) But really I'm just a grown up who loves her pony and wants to try a whole myriad of experiences with him!

Thanks for your help :)
Mandy

Trixie
May. 14, 2009, 04:30 PM
Does that merit any additional "stirring"? :)

Yes. But only because you said RUST BREECHES.

I wore mine at Upperville.

http://pic18.picturetrail.com/VOL936/3762429/10699451/154189625.jpg

No one said anything judgy about my pants :)

Rosie
May. 14, 2009, 10:17 PM
Trixie - personally, I like rust breeches. I was just doin' some "stirring" of my own. :) I draw the line at show bows though!

texaseventer - on the contrary! You sound like a rider that likes a variety of experiences and are lucky enough to have the right "model" of horse to be able to do a bunch of things!
I have a "soft spot" for QH's. I grew up riding them...cutting, reining, etc. and my daughter had a really nice children's hunter that was a QH. She started him out on the local circuit as a greenie, and then eventually started doing A's with him. Her very first A show she managed to be champion of children's AND won the children's classic. :)

Anyway - glad to hear that you are going to give hunters a try. I find that riding a beautiful hunter round is really, really tough....but does wonders for my "jumper" riding. :) Reinforces the fact that "smooth and even" is the best tactic - no matter which ring you are in.

Hope to see you at some shows!
I have a secret desire to do some eventing.....but not the courage. Sure looks fun though!

mvp
May. 14, 2009, 10:40 PM
Smooth first.

The QH mind is typically quite smooth and willing, making this horse the mental ideal for the hunter world. Bring the QH and show the hothead TBs and "dumbbloods" (which they are not) how a horse ought to do a job.

Texaseventer-- you absolutely should try a standing martingale, but at home first. A few "upside down" and unbroke horses just pull on them. Some horses hit the nose band once or twice when amped up the first time and learn something. Young horses who can't quite balance often get a tiny bit of help balancing after a fence. This is the best-- really the only-- use of a standing martingale, according to me.

Stirred. Actually Rosie, your thread was refreshing. It did let me know I could get my a$$ kicked in the Hunter ring in Texas. That experience isn't limited to the East Coast.

Shaken. The more serious threads and ranting posters (like me) should intelligently shake things up in the horse show world where tradition and a tight concentration of power tend to keep things as they are... for better, for worse, or just 4 people in the Regular Working Hunters.

EllenAspen
May. 14, 2009, 11:47 PM
MVP

Stirred. Actually Rosie, your thread was refreshing. It did let me know I could get my a$$ kicked in the Hunter ring in Texas. That experience isn't limited to the East Coast.

Come on down...give it a go!!! We have a good time...and at the end of the day...the cocktails come out :winkgrin:

texaseventer
May. 15, 2009, 04:36 PM
Thanks for the advice on the standing - I am clinicing with Will Coleman this weekend and I'll have video, so I can post some when we get back and you'll see a little more about what I mean. I plan to ride him this weekend in his running, so we'll see how it goes.

I think some of the martingale need for me - now that I think about it - opinions are wonderful here btw... is that in jumpers and in XC I'm often being told to shorten my rein. He doesn't like it. He'd be much happier to go a little lower on a longer rein. I am having a bit of trouble findingi the balance here. I have worked very hard (and continue to work) on my balance and making sure I have quiet hands that don't interfere with his natural movement, while still giving him the confidence that I'm "there", if that makes sense? Again, I'll post some video after this weekend and you can tell me what you think.


MVP - I agree about the QH mind. Joy is appendix... he has the QH mind for the most part, but tends to get a teeeeeny bit TB-ish and excited when he is somewhere new (which is why I want to get lots of mileage and new things in his world)! But this horse has the most willing and workmanlike mind, I am amazed by him every day. When I got him I almost had to learn to ride all over again - I had a few years off myself, and he hadn't been in consistent work as his then mama had to go away to college... but this horse just kept trying, and trying... and once he gets it - BOOM! It's incredible. It's like I can hear the gears shift in his head. He's just wonderful and I am madly in love with him!!

Rosie - COME ON OVER :) I am a big big chicken - usually as I'm walking to the start box I complain that I'm going to throw up, I'm scared etc... and I manage to get around on a Novice (3ft) cross country course with ditches, drops, water, you name it... and usually come across the finish hooting and hollering because I've had so much fun! It's a great rush especially when you are riding a careful but brave pony who is also up for a little adventure!

Thank you for your support... y'all seem like such a humorous and throughouly insane bunch ;) I am considering trying a pregreen Hunter class at an upcoming schooling show at the end of this month. I may well be losing my mind, but what doesn't kill us...



Mandy

Rosie
May. 15, 2009, 04:42 PM
so....where would be a good place to go watch an eventing competition? Anything local coming up?
Ha! 3' SOLID obstacles with drops, etc sounds pretty scary - but I would totally love the galloping "out" part of it.

texaseventer
May. 15, 2009, 04:49 PM
Rosie I'll send you a PM with some suggestions... more than happy to go with you!

And we don't do 3ft DROPS at this level... but I have schooled them! They are fun! :) Just fyi our barn in Argyle has a full XC course... come school sometime. My coach is incredibly encouraging!

Sending you some ideas... happy to bring you over to this dark side!