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luckydog
Sep. 8, 2009, 08:35 AM
Is there a time in your life to stop striving to jump higher? I am 43 years old and started riding when I was 5. I rode on and off due to school and having children but have been back at it for 13 years. I compete in the 3 ft hunters but have a horse that did the junior hunters and the first years successfully. I am in my comfort zone but I feel I should keep pushing myself to jump in the next division. I was champion in a very large AA show recently. My assistant trainer said to me the other day " why does everyone want to jump higher??"

When is it time to say, This is it? Should we (even as middle adults) keep trying to jump higher? It would be neat to compete at indoors someday, but I am not sure if I am just chasing my childhood dreams or is this something all riders should aspire to??? What are your feelings or experiences, please share with me.....thanks

make x it x so
Sep. 8, 2009, 08:48 AM
Is there a time in your life to stop striving to jump higher? I am 43 years old and started riding when I was 5. I rode on and off due to school and having children but have been back at it for 13 years. I compete in the 3 ft hunters but have a horse that did the junior hunters and the first years successfully. I am in my comfort zone but I feel I should keep pushing myself to jump in the next division. I was champion in a very large AA show recently. My assistant trainer said to me the other day " why does everyone want to jump higher??"

When is it time to say, This is it? Should we (even as middle adults) keep trying to jump higher? It would be neat to compete at indoors someday, but I am not sure if I am just chasing my childhood dreams or is this something all riders should aspire to??? What are your feelings or experiences, please share with me.....thanks


I think everyone has a different answer to this question, and none of them can be applied as a blanket statement to everyone. If you WANT to pursue those higher goals, go for it, but know that it's okay to be satisfied in the 3ft hunters for the rest of your life.

I'd talk to your trainer about your goals, and get some feedback from them. Is your current horse capable of competing successfully at higher levels, or would you need to get a new one? If you are not currently riding 5-6 days a week, would that be necessary for moving up? Do you have the resources (time and money, mainly) to move up and be competitive at a higher level?

These are all questions you should be asking yourself and your trainer. And this doesn't have to be a concrete answer, either. It's okay to start trying to move up, then realize you're not comfortable with the division or that the pressure to qualify is too high, and you can adjust your goals accordingly by going back to the lower levels or showing for fun and not to qualify.

Best of luck, whatever your division is!

Jsalem
Sep. 8, 2009, 08:55 AM
Why does everyone want to jump higher?

For some, it's a personal goal. In the hunters, that 3'6" level for amateurs is the epitome. That's where the best and brightest perform.

For others, it's pressure to keep up. They feel like losers if they stay at 3'. Even if that is where they are comfortable and safe and are enjoying themselves.

OP, you're an adult with a real life. Don't forget that this is a hobby. If you enjoy yourself showing at 3', then stay there. The 3'6" level is a whole "nother" deal. I think that in order to do it right, you will need to adjust your training schedule- perhaps some pro rides, another look at your horse's fitness regime, etc. Maybe that would be fun for you, maybe not. Don't be pressured by outside forces.

Bogie
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:17 AM
I no longer strive to jump higher. A few years back I made peace with my abilities, my age, and my need to stay mostly uninjured (I have my own business). I believe this coincided with the time that I broke my left hand jumping and wasn't able to type for 6 or 7 weeks. Not helpful when you work in public relations ;).

Now, I foxhunt, which is probably not the safest equestrian sport, but I no longer jump the really big fences and I have been conservative in starting my new hunt horse.

I enjoy my riding a lot and once I came to terms with it, I no longer feel that I am in any way "missing out". I have other friends who still push themselves over higher and more technical fences. It works for them but not for me.

WorthTheWait95
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:38 AM
I'm only 21 but due to college I've had to seriously cut back my riding/showing time. I pretty much only get to show at one or two AA shows in the summer now so it's hard for me to see all the kids I grew up with and competed against for years and years moving on to the Prix's when I'm struggling to maintain my previous level.

Before college I was very competitive in the high jrs. We did a few Welcome Stakes for fun and were on the brink of moving up for real when I left for college. Now I have to be content with doing the low a/o's or even just the high schoolings depending on how we're doing. I realized this summer though that I'm just as happy when we do well in the low's as when we did well in the high's.

I guess my goals have changed since my main focus is school now. I'm in pursuit of my DVM so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't seem to matter as much if I ever get in the Prix ring as long as I'm having fun with my horses. I also have come to realize my own mortality and suddenly even those high a/o jumps seem awfully big. It just doesn't seem worth the risk to me or my horse anymore when showing has become a hobby and not a lifestyle.

I guess if you're happy where you are and don't feel the desire to move up then you shouldn't. Showing for the majority of us is supposed to be fun and pushing past your comfort zone is anything but. That being said your age should have nothing to do with your decision. I know lots of ammies that ride beautifully and are in the process of moving up who are much older then you.

dghunter
Sep. 8, 2009, 09:42 AM
I'm still struggling to come to terms with not being able to move up. I'm 19 (20 tomorrow!) but am starting to realize that jumping sort of scares me :lol: I show in the low adults now and feel like if I start doing really well there then I might think about moving up. I am in the process of starting to find a dressage trainer as well. I really enjoy competing and like moving through the levels but feel like perhaps I need to jump for fun and do small competitions. I think it's perfectly okay to know your limits and be safe. However, if you want to move up don't let age stop you :)

Oldenburg99
Sep. 8, 2009, 10:13 AM
I've had my wonderful horse for 4 years. I do the local 2'6" hunters and AA stuff. He's a great honest guy and I constantly get ribbed for not jumping higher. But I'm just not there yet. Sure he would be a awesome 2'9" or 3' horse but I'd rather go around safely doing the 2'6". My trainer doesn't care, he's happy with our success. And we have constant improvement. As Jim Wofford says "When we get the feeling our horse is improving, the color of the ribbon pales in significance". Mr Wofford is not my trainer but I completely agree with that saying.

I think its more quality than quantity. But that's just me. A lot of people would say my horse isn't worth a dime since he doesn't jump over 2'6" but he doesnt drop me so I think he's worth his weight in gold. :cool:

indygirl2560
Sep. 8, 2009, 11:55 AM
I'm always striving to jump higher. I want to compete at 3'6 in at least one show next year(junior jumpers) because it's my last junior year. Maybe it's because I've only ridden on and off for 4 years and I'm still young. And also because I haven't found a height level that I'm satisfied with. I don't like jumping under 2'9 and I'm still curious to see what a full 3'6 course is like, so that keeps me wanting to go higher. My friend is the complete opposite; she's almost a year younger than me, ridden since she was seven and has no drive to go higher than 2'6. I think it just depends on the person.

equest
Sep. 8, 2009, 01:36 PM
As Jim Wofford says "When we get the feeling our horse is improving, the color of the ribbon pales in significance". Mr Wofford is not my trainer but I completely agree with that saying.

I think its more quality than quantity. But that's just me. A lot of people would say my horse isn't worth a dime since he doesn't jump over 2'6" but he doesnt drop me so I think he's worth his weight in gold. :cool:

Good point! If you and your horse are comfortable, that's what matters :) There is still a lot to be accomplished by riding well in that division, I would think, given the sheer number of riders who compete at 2'6" (some on VERY expensive and nice horses).

As for me, I did not really start riding until I was 27, and I am only now solid at 2'6 and although I have jumped higher and it's a thrill, I am OK with proceeding at 2'6 until I can ride any 2'6 course smoothly with perfect eq (including rollbacks, in-outs etc.) I'm not able to show right now, so I am only driven by my desire for improvement. I think there is still plenty of challenge at the 2'6"-2'9" level especially if you're working on eq-style courses not just standard hunter courses.

mvp
Sep. 8, 2009, 02:35 PM
Great question. Riding helps you learn who you are:

I am goal oriented. If I don't have some project, trajectory or long-term thing to chase, I'm not happy.

I am a perfectionist, so if I'm going to jump (or ride at all), then I want to do that well, not have my performance held together by luck, grit and duct tape.

I am also not willing to hurt a horse to get where I want to go.

I am not all the way grown up and/or cynical yet, but I'm getting really tired of the way success at our sport is becoming so tightly correlated with the size of the rider's checking account.

But see number 1: If I can't find a way to compete or otherwise measure my progress, I don't want to keep spending money in this industry. It seems sort of futile and foolish.

All this means that:

All things being equal, I'd like to jump bigger. I'd like to buy an OTTB and slowly make him or her into my own regular working hunter. I'd do the jumpers and jump bigger than 4', I suppose, so long as I wasn't getting around with a "guts only" ride. I also wouldn't want to sign up for a division that had me jumping a horse so big that I knew I was using him up prematurely.

I'd do the A/O hunters if I could get a horse that would be competitive there. But I'm not willing to "buy my way in." I'd happily compete in an old lady 3'6" eq division if that existed. This way, I think I could get the plainer, cheaper horse, get it very broke and then.

For now, I'm satisfied with taking my homemade 3' horse in the old lady eq divisions around me. I think that rewards what I made, doesn't cost a ton, and doesn't invite me to use up my horse like a car or a paper towel.

In the future, however, I might "jump ship" and buy a dressage horse or even foxhunt if I can't find a way to make horse showing line up with my values.

ExJumper
Sep. 8, 2009, 04:27 PM
I want to compete at 3'6 in at least one show next year(junior jumpers) because it's my last junior year.

Do you mean the Children's jumpers? Those are 3'6", but the Adults are the same height, so no worries if you don't make it there in a year :) The Junior jumpers are quite significantly higher :eek::eek:

I wonder myself if I'll ever move up again. I've spent the last 6 years between the 2'6" and 3' rings depending on the green-ness of my mount. In my youth I jumped very big fences (4'6" +), but I know I don't have the testicular fortitude required to do that again... But the 3'6" again? I'm not sure...

For me it's not a matter of having the horse, it's the time commitment required to move up. I can be busy at work and not ride for a while and still drag my butt out to the 3' ring and if my horse has been kept worked, still expect to do pretty well. At 3'6", no matter HOW prepped your horse is, you still need to ride well to get around safely. The margin for error is SO much smaller than it is at 3'...

So I'm planning on hanging out down in the 3' rings for the foreseeable future. It's fun and not too stressful. I think maybe someday I'll get a safe Ch/AA jumper and run around the jumper ring a bit, but do the 3'6" hunters? I may never do them again...

indygirl2560
Sep. 8, 2009, 05:26 PM
Do you mean the Children's jumpers? Those are 3'6", but the Adults are the same height, so no worries if you don't make it there in a year :) The Junior jumpers are quite significantly higher :eek::eek:

I wonder myself if I'll ever move up again. I've spent the last 6 years between the 2'6" and 3' rings depending on the green-ness of my mount. In my youth I jumped very big fences (4'6" +), but I know I don't have the testicular fortitude required to do that again... But the 3'6" again? I'm not sure...

For me it's not a matter of having the horse, it's the time commitment required to move up. I can be busy at work and not ride for a while and still drag my butt out to the 3' ring and if my horse has been kept worked, still expect to do pretty well. At 3'6", no matter HOW prepped your horse is, you still need to ride well to get around safely. The margin for error is SO much smaller than it is at 3'...

So I'm planning on hanging out down in the 3' rings for the foreseeable future. It's fun and not too stressful. I think maybe someday I'll get a safe Ch/AA jumper and run around the jumper ring a bit, but do the 3'6" hunters? I may never do them again...
Whoops! Yeah I meant Children's jumpers! :yes:

Janet
Sep. 8, 2009, 05:31 PM
My assistant trainer said to me the other day " why does everyone want to jump higher??"

When is it time to say, This is it? Should we (even as middle adults) keep trying to jump higher? It would be neat to compete at indoors someday, but I am not sure if I am just chasing my childhood dreams or is this something all riders should aspire to??? What are your feelings or experiences, please share with me.....thanks

It certainly isn't somethiing that "all riders should aspire to". But there is no reason not to try if you DO aspire to jump higher.

My sister moved up to Advanced level eventing in her mid 40s.

I moved up to 3'6" jumpers in my 40s, and hope to get to 3'9" in my 50s.