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View Full Version : You guys are pretty realistic. Throw me back to reality please?



Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:00 PM
This year is supposed to me my year. The year I soak up more knowledge then should be possible and they year my horse soaks up even more knowledge. I want to compete. Obviously its a goal of mine to be really good. Ya'll know I want to be a trainer, but I know that I am not ready and I am starting to think I probably wont be ready when I get done with school either. I have a ton to learn and even though I have worked with MANY horses, I know I am not ready to make a career out of it. I need lots more practice and KNOWLEDGE!
Anyway, this is where ya'll come in. I know competing is important in gaining knowledge, experience, and a name, but I know training with a knowledgable trainer is equally important. I am lucky enough to be able to have both, but in moderation. I can go to 2 recognized HT this year (which I have never been to) and maybe 2 or 3 schooling HT and lesson once a month starting in march (my horse has Feb. off). Now, I could give up showing (except one schooling show that is close to home and doesnt cost too much and I would be able to lesson more, school xc more, and just learn more. What i wont be getting is the knowledge of competing at a recognized event.
What would you do? I think it makes more sense to lesson more, but what does everyone think?

Ajierene
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:07 PM
While competing is a great way to measure how you are doing, it is not where knowledge of how to do things comes from.

You go to a competition, you dressage score is a 50, one rail in stadium and one refusal in cross country. You have learned where you stand, but through lessons, you learn to fix your mistakes.

Competition is important for career development. Getting your name out there and showing people that you really can ride. So if you need to sacrifice lessons to go to shows and will end up not doing as well, you might as well take the lessons.

Now, I don't know how old you are, so I don't know if 'school' means you are in college or high school. If you are within two years of a reasonable time you think you may start with your career of being a professional rider, come up with a business plan that includes what income you need to put food in your mouth, in your horses' mouths and compete a reasonable amount of time to show the world what you can do. Figure out how you are going to get the money, when you can break even between instructing students and paying bills and how to make a profit.

In the mean time, take as many lessons as you can.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:12 PM
School means College. I dont plan on starting my career immediately out of school. I am hoping to take a year long WS position with a well known trainer and then start. I am lucky enough to have great family support and as long as my parents are still around I will have a place to live, food on the table, and my horse taken care of if I cant provide it.

Eventingjunkie
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:12 PM
Take more lessons and go help out at the shows. Better yet, volunteer. You can learn a ton through volunteering at shows and it will help you network and meet people...a good way to get your name known.

denny
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:16 PM
Ok, I spend lots of time teaching, so this may sound like heresy, but if you have the chance, and you are young and brave, get out there and compete.
You can take lessons in the winter.

Why do I think this? Because ours is a pressure sport, and you need to learn how to take the heat, as well as to learn to ride.

Ideally do both, but if you have limited resources, get into that competitive "crucible", as my friend Woff would say.

Snapdragon
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:50 PM
I think for the reasons Denny stated and others, you should try to show as much as you can. Showing IS training. I've found that by getting out there and riding at a HT I've learned just as much, if not more, than I might learn in a lesson--and so do my horses.

By showing, you learn to think on your feet. After the day is done, go over in your mind about what went well and what didn't and make a plan for how you can improve what didn't go well. That kind of self-instruction is so important to develop. If you go with a friend, get his or her thoughts as well. I've learned so much just having a riding friend give me an assessment of the day.

Another thought is to ask your instructor to give you homework to do between your monthly lessons, if you don't already do this.

BaroquePony
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:57 PM
The more knowledgeable of a rider you are the easier it is to take the heat.

I'm in favor of at least getting more lessons and maybe somewhat less competitive experience for the moment.

It does depend on how confident you are in the skills that you already have though. If you already have a very solid background and going Training Level or Preliminary Level will be very comfortable, then yes, do the competitive route.

BaroquePony
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:03 PM
What exactly are the 'tests' for HT (Hunter Trials I am assuming)?

As in are there three phases? Or is is like CT (Combined Training)? What are the heights?

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:03 PM
The more knowledgeable of a rider you are the easier it is to take the heat.

I'm in favor of at least getting more lessons and maybe somewhat less competitive experience for the moment.

It does depend on how confident you are in the skills that you already have though. If you already have a very solid background and going Training Level or Preliminary Level will be very comfortable, then yes, do the competitive route.

I fell confident enough to get my horse safely around a Novice course. I have schooled training level XC jumps, but a whole course of them, I think I would be over faced. Not scared, just overfaced. I believe I will always have the "I will do whatever you ask of me, Coach" attitude and I could ever imagine being scared of anything. I am just a strong headed person like that, but I dont believe I have the skills to take my horse training and not scare everyone watching! My horse is a saint and would pack me around it though.
Our biggest issue I have is training her in dressage. We can do basic stuff that would get us (and has gotten us) good scored (our low is a 27.5, which I am still super proud of), but I believe that was just a fluke and without proper training, I dont think we could accomplish again.
I hope this clarifies everything for ya'll to help me more!

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:05 PM
What exactly are the 'tests' for HT (Hunter Trials I am assuming)?

As in are there three phases? Or is is like CT (Combined Training)? What are the heights?
Horse trials, not hunter trials.
I know BN is 2'7 and N is 2'11. I think training is 3'6. not real sure. I havent thought as far as training level yet.

millerra
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:07 PM
I recommend auditing as many clinics as you can stand - sitting through as many sessions as you can stand. When you see group after group, you can start to see how different horses and riders react to things and understand the clinician's philosophy. I sometimes get more take home lessons from watching then riding - though I think my horse gets more from the riding part :) he'd rather eat grass than pay attention...

If you can, audit dressage and jumper clinics as well as eventing...

lizajane09
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:13 PM
What exactly are the 'tests' for HT (Hunter Trials I am assuming)?

As in are there three phases? Or is is like CT (Combined Training)? What are the heights?

As Rescue said, "horse trials" not "hunter trials." Yes, there are three phases - dressage, cross-country, and stadium jumping. CT is actually "combined test" (combined training is an older name for eventing), and only includes the dressage and stadium portions. The heights are 2'7" for Beginner Novice, 2'11" for Novice, 3'3" for Training, and on up from there. There are some different parameters for heights allowed on certain elements - for example, at the Advanced level, stadium jumping is up to 4'1", the solid part of obstacles on cross-country can be up to 3'11", and brush on cross-country obstacles can be up to 4'7". The speeds required also increase as you move up through the levels, and the dressage becomes more difficult.

Rescue, to answer your original question, I think I am also in the more-lessons-than-showing camp. Sorry, Denny! ETA: I also like millerra's suggestion of auditing!

BaroquePony
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:17 PM
Posted by Rescue_Rider:

I think I would be over faced. Not scared, just overfaced. I believe I will always have the "I will do whatever you ask of me, Coach" attitude and I could ever imagine being scared of anything. I am just a strong headed person like that, but I dont believe I have the skills to take my horse training and not scare everyone watching!

WWeeelll, one of the greatest assets a good horsewoman can have is common sense and the abilty to assess yourself accurately. You seem to have that :yes:

Building up your confidence over larger fences with a jumping instructor who truly understands dressage would be my suggestion. Bigger fences and gymnastics over bigger fences can do wonders for the rest of it. Galloping - foxhunting - trail riding for hours over varied terrain also would be he;pful.

Lots of trail riding and hacking is free (except for more oats) and it can give you the experince of getting really tired in the saddle ... it will teach you to just follow your horse ... you will learn to be efficient in the saddle because you will be so danged tired you won't even think about micro-managing your horse. Great foundation for XC later on.

ETA: do you have access to a really experienced Advanced Event rider/trainer instructor, one that at least has a good reputation for communicating his/her skills well to students?

BaroquePony
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:26 PM
Horse Trials. Got it. So, are Horse Trials the new three phase short-format thing that has replaced what would have been CT and 3Day in the old days?

I thought CT was always just dressage and stadium and Three Day Event was all three phases, back when the whole thing was USCTA.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:28 PM
Horse Trials. Got it. So, are Horse Trials the new three phase short-format thing that has replaced what would have been CT and 3Day in the old days?

I thought CT was always just dressage and stadium and Three Day Event was all three phases, back when the whole thing was USCTA.

Sorry, I cant answer that. I dont remember much from longformat days, since I didnt get into eventing until longformat was about to leave!

deltawave
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:36 PM
Any options to be a working student, or indentured servant on weekends to a really good eventing trainer? Lessons are important, XC schooling is important and competition is important. I'm not really sure recognized competitions are worth the money if one is really looking for lower-level mileage, though--I'd opt for more unrecognized over only a couple of recognized if I were in your shoes. The LEAST important things to your long-term goals are ribbons and scores. You can learn ALMOST as much by volunteering and grooming at a Horse Trial, at least in terms of the ins and outs of the sport, the rules, the rhythm and flow, etc. as you can by riding. And course walks are free. :) I'd look for a trainer to attach yourself to, become indispensable to him/her, and take whatever opportunity you can to go to competitions (as a groom or volunteer), walk courses, school, and lesson. On your own you can ride, ride, ride--no stirrups, in half-seat, and maximize your time in the saddle. See if you can get a ride on a school horse who knows more than your two greenies and do a couple of XC schools that way. And skip the unrecognized HTs. Funny thing about years where everything is supposed to "happen": it often doesn't, and lo and behold, there's a year after that and a year after that and a year after that. I didn't ride in my first event until I was almost 30--the sport isn't going anywhere. :)

Cheval Gris
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:49 PM
Baroque Pony:

Several years back the USCTA changed their name to USEA. I have been eventing for about 15 years and whether it be a two day horse trial or a true long format 3 day horse trials, they have pretty much always been referred to as a horse trials, though a long format is truer to the name. CT has pretty much always been a combined test, which does not include the cross country phase.
A true three day event would include all 5 phases: dressage, roads and tracks, steeplechase, cross country and stadium.
However, two day horse trials only do dressage, xc and stadium.
I have always known them as horse trials, whether three day or two day.
Hope that clears it up for you. I am not sure why the name changed from USCTA to USEA, but it does not have anything to do with what we call a horse trial or combined test.

Blugal
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:49 PM
I was going to say, free lessons are available to those who scribe, those who jump judge, and those who set jumps *while* auditing. That is also a good way to "make your face known" in the best possible way - people will remember that you were a willing volunteer, helpful, and not looking for a hand-out.

While I agree that there is value to competing and dealing with pressure, I think that in eventing one of the more important things is to learn how to work within a Program with a capital "P". Find someone who has a Program and who consistently brings horses and riders through the Program to compete successfully. This is especially true for your WS stint. You will come away from the year-long learning process a totally new horseperson. You will realize how much you didn't know before you learned the Program. You will be able to take that Program and work on your own and bring horses up the levels with fewer lessons (i.e. spend more of your time on making an income during the difficult start-up years).

OverandOnward
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:54 PM
I fell confident enough to get my horse safely around a Novice course. I have schooled training level XC jumps, but a whole course of them, I think I would be over faced. Not scared, just overfaced. I believe I will always have the "I will do whatever you ask of me, Coach" attitude and I could ever imagine being scared of anything. I am just a strong headed person like that, but I dont believe I have the skills to take my horse training and not scare everyone watching! My horse is a saint and would pack me around it though.
Our biggest issue I have is training her in dressage. We can do basic stuff that would get us (and has gotten us) good scored (our low is a 27.5, which I am still super proud of), but I believe that was just a fluke and without proper training, I dont think we could accomplish again.
I hope this clarifies everything for ya'll to help me more!

Wait. You are only discussing one horse - your horse. How many horses are you riding?

Training/instructing isn't about how well you ride your horse. It's about everyone else's horses. You need to ride as many horses as possible as often as possible, all kinds and temperaments, all stages of training. Are you doing this? You need coaching on what is effective on different horses. You need to be on a journey to accumulating been-there-done-that for as many different sorts of horses and situations as you possibly can.

I agree with you - if your current level is schooling training level xc on just your own horse, you have many miles to travel before hanging up a professional's shingle. Working on just your own horse is not the path to being a professional. It is still introductory to the sport.

Good luck though! I hope you find the path to where you want to be.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:57 PM
At the levels you are at....there is no real need to show at a recog. event.

They are not really much different from the GOOD unrecognized events.

Where they can be different is in the level of competition. More good riders....so there can be more to learn in the warm up ring, but you can always go to watch.

If you are short on $$$$, I agree competiting is a time you will learn a lot but at your level...you can learn a lot of that at schooling shows. Do some hunter shows, jumper shows, dressage shows...as well as events.

Get to some BIG BIG shows, camp out in the warm rings and watch. Great free lesson watching some of the big time riders in the warm up.

Scrib at some shows (you can learn a lot scribing at a dressage show!).

Audit as many clinics as you can....watch as many lessons as you can....READ everything you can (wish I had done that as a kid)...then go back and re-read them...then go and try it out. Ride...but ride with a plan to learn....that is actually hard work. Ride as many other horses as you can...watch as many good riders (and their horses) as you can...in as many different riding sports as you can.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:08 PM
Wait. You are only discussing one horse - your horse. How many horses are you riding?

Training/instructing isn't about how well you ride your horse. It's about everyone else's horses. You need to ride as many horses as possible as often as possible, all kinds and temperaments, all stages of training. Are you doing this? You need coaching on what is effective on different horses. You need to be on a journey to accumulating been-there-done-that for as many different sorts of horses and situations as you possibly can.

I agree with you - if your current level is schooling training level xc on just your own horse, you have many miles to travel before hanging up a professional's shingle. Working on just your own horse is not the path to being a professional. It is still introductory to the sport.

Good luck though! I hope you find the path to where you want to be.

During the school year, I ride many different horse in varying stages of training. Some being problem horses who like to buck their owners off, others Ex MaClay horses, and some are school ponies(I ride for IHSA so I compete different horses as well). I dont have the luxury of riding all these horses over XC, but I ride on the flat and over fences with them. I have only ridden my own horses (3) over XC schools.

OverandOnward
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:28 PM
During the school year, I ride many different horse in varying stages of training. Some being problem horses who like to buck their owners off, others Ex MaClay horses, and some are school ponies(I ride for IHSA so I compete different horses as well). I dont have the luxury of riding all these horses over XC, but I ride on the flat and over fences with them. I have only ridden my own horses (3) over XC schools.

Very good. This may be the real basis of your credibility as a professional. A lot of people needing help with a problem - theirs, the horse's, or both (usually, isn't it :) ) may care less how high the level you've competed, if you are effective at helping them.

Keeping in mind that most riders don't rise very high in the sport, less ambitious local riders who are out there mostly for fun and maybe a little satin might be happy to have your help for a few bucks. Not necessarily a living, but a start. Give a few one free ride or lesson, and if they are happy with the results, that can be the start of more work and recognition. :cool:

If you have personal goals to go to higher levels this is a start to support your efforts and work your way up. But whatever you want to do, know that plenty of trainers/instructors with local clientele at easier competitive levels don't have high level competitive records themselves. And do have many happy customers. It's just a matter of what you want to do with horses.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:49 PM
Very good. This may be the real basis of your credibility as a professional. A lot of people needing help with a problem - theirs, the horse's, or both (usually, isn't it :) ) may care less how high the level you've competed, if you are effective at helping them.

Keeping in mind that most riders don't rise very high in the sport, less ambitious local riders who are out there mostly for fun and maybe a little satin might be happy to have your help for a few bucks. Not necessarily a living, but a start. Give a few one free ride or lesson, and if they are happy with the results, that can be the start of more work and recognition. :cool:

If you have personal goals to go to higher levels this is a start to support your efforts and work your way up. But whatever you want to do, know that plenty of trainers/instructors with local clientele at easier competitive levels don't have high level competitive records themselves. And do have many happy customers. It's just a matter of what you want to do with horses.

Thank you. This was very encouraging to me.
My goal is to have students and horse to train. I dont care what level either are at I just want to have them and be competent at teaching them what they want to learn (I hope I explained that well). I dont expect to be training the next rolex winner or the next YR champ. I do however want to be a soilid competitior (eventually) at Prelim and 1* events. I do understand that it will take time and lots of it to get there. I would love to be an olympic rider, but I am at least a little realistic!;)

lstevenson
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:56 PM
You go to a competition, you dressage score is a 50, one rail in stadium and one refusal in cross country. You have learned where you stand, but through lessons, you learn to fix your mistakes.


I agree with this.

Especially since you want to be a trainer. You have to learn the right way to do things. Lessons are WAY more important at this stage in your education. There are enough people out there already who are just "winging it" without good instruction or proper basics, and that's one of the reasons our sport is getting such a bad image.

When you are out there competing w/o the correct techniques, you are only getting experience at possibly doing things wrong.

And don't forget it's much harder to correct ingrained bad habits then to learn to do things the right way to begin with.

If you want to become a trainer, there is no question, get well educated from good trainers before putting yourself out there competing. Reputation is everything in this business.

And audit every clinic you can, and ride every horse you are offered.

VicariousRider
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:20 PM
I agree that a lot can be gained by watching good trainers teach and good riders ride. Scribing and auditing may be one of the best ways to absorb information about dressage.

When watching, you may even want to take notes about exercises, etc. Also, identify the issues that you (or your horse) struggle with: is she heavy on the forehand? behind the leg? etc. and keep a specific ear out for information dealing with those issues.

I also gained a LOT by being a groom for an UL eventer. Not only can you watch them ride and teach ALL the time, but they often train with BNT's and you can watch their lessons too!

I think your plan about being a WS after graduation is VERY wise. You've got the fire and determination! Go for it!

Arcadien
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:21 PM
A little feedback for you from potential customers:

I want to train with someone (or will send a young horse to be trained with someone) who has a proven (verifiable) record of success with at least more than one horse, at least more than TWO levels above where I've had past success myself.

To me, proven record of success means being able to look up at least 3 respectable completion scores at that level.

So, for a rank beginner, having at least 3 decent completions at Novice on two separate mounts, would send the likes of me your way.

But were I a rider with past success at Novice level myself, I'd be looking for a trainer with such proven success on at least 2 different horses at the Prelim level.

Make sense?

I know it's kind of arbitrary, but hey, I'm an educated selective shopper, and on the east coast, I have multiple choices of who to train with, and who to send horses too. The few times I've strayed from those criteria, I've regretted it.

So, just look at it as honest feedback from someone who has been in the potential customers shoes.

Incidentally those criteria are particularly useful, to me anyway, for a younger trainer! I'm getting up there (cough, don't ask how high please!lol) and sometimes I find myself eyeing younger trainers skeptically. But if I'm interested, I look them up, and if I like what I see (as defined above) they may get business from me.

So to summarize, take some time to think about your prospective market in two years (assuming you have a year left in school, then that year as a working student (excellent idea, btw!)) and lay out a plan to get a record two years hence that potential future customers can verify online, whereby you respectably compete at least two horses (as a WS if you have the saleable skills, I'm sure you can get a ride on at least someone elses Novice horse at least a few times, you know!)

Lay out a 3- year plan to give yourself the best chance to make all that happen, and come up with a budget for it, and then tackle it!

Yeah money might be tight but that will only help your prospects of getting business from someone like me, as I know you'll appreciate money, and give me the best return for the $$ I spend on you!

Good luck and positive karma your way!

Regards,
Arcadien

Little Valkyrie
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:26 PM
Since you mention you are in college I assume you are under 25..... are you in pony club? I know it sounds cheesy but as an H rated pony clubber (19 years old) I know that it has given me almost all the tools I use as an instructor. The H (same as the H-A) requires a TON of knowledge and if you can tell someone that you are an H-A or A pony clubber, it commands a lot of respect in the horse world. Just my two cents :)

lstevenson
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:27 PM
I also wanted to advise to go to every event you can as a spectator, and sit and watch the warm up areas. Much can be learned by doing that, some of what to do, and some what not to do.

BaroquePony
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:34 PM
Posted by lstevenson:

...... You have to learn the right way to do things. Lessons are WAY more important at this stage in your education. There are enough people out there already who are just "winging it" without good instruction or proper basics, and that's one of the reasons our sport is getting such a bad image.

When you are out there competing w/o the correct techniques, you are only getting experience at possibly doing things wrong.

And don't forget it's much harder to correct ingrained bad habits then to learn to do things the right way to begin with.

If you want to become a trainer, there is no question, get well educated from good trainers before putting yourself out there competing. .....

Agree with this 100% :yes:

Carol Ames
Jan. 11, 2010, 09:38 PM
Find a BNTs coattails;) to ride on:lol:, probably as A working student;look into how much it will cos$t you to get the gear/ equipment you will need; also business help, and insurance, health and :yes: disability

Foxhall
Jan. 11, 2010, 10:12 PM
I would say compete as much as you can.

When I first started competing, I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't handle the pressure for even the most local low level events. I would tense up in dressage and score far worse marks than I was capable of. I was deathly afraid of getting a "20" even on my pretty brave TB so on XC I would chase him off the ground at the first distance I saw, usually a flyer. My show jumping was my biggest problem, one I still struggle with today. Luckily, I was young enough and still am that my parents support my riding. For me it was about getting out there and learning how to COMPETE. I think it took me literally about 20 training levels (and countless jumper classes later) to finally get that level figured out and start to be thinking and riding while I was on course. Those were skills that it would be very difficult to learn without the pressure that a competition setting holds.

I think that a lot of the trouble that we have been having in our sport lately is not as much because people are entering levels that they are not capable of RIDING at, but they are entering levels that they are not capable of COMPETING at. For example, someone maybe perfectly competent schooling preliminary level courses that are at full dimensions and complexity at home, but in a competition setting when the pressure is on and questions come up quickly and riders forget to think, they may not be ready. You will only learn these skills by being in a competition setting many, many times.

Just my two cents.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 10:16 PM
Thank you all for the great advice and support! I graduate college in the spring of 2012, so HOPEFULLY, I will already have a WS position lined up for that year and work until 2013. After that I either plan to open my barn to the public, or get a job as barn manager or something of the sort (I have been looking at yardandgroom.com too much!). It just depends on where I am at that time in my life.
You all have been very helpful and there are tons of clinics around me that i can audit! I am so excited about this year!!!

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 11, 2010, 10:20 PM
I would say compete as much as you can.

When I first started competing, I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't handle the pressure for even the most local low level events. I would tense up in dressage and score far worse marks than I was capable of. I was deathly afraid of getting a "20" even on my pretty brave TB so on XC I would chase him off the ground at the first distance I saw, usually a flyer. My show jumping was my biggest problem, one I still struggle with today. Luckily, I was young enough and still am that my parents support my riding. For me it was about getting out there and learning how to COMPETE. I think it took me literally about 20 training levels (and countless jumper classes later) to finally get that level figured out and start to be thinking and riding while I was on course. Those were skills that it would be very difficult to learn without the pressure that a competition setting holds.

I think that a lot of the trouble that we have been having in our sport lately is not as much because people are entering levels that they are not capable of RIDING at, but they are entering levels that they are not capable of COMPETING at. For example, someone maybe perfectly competent schooling preliminary level courses that are at full dimensions and complexity at home, but in a competition setting when the pressure is on and questions come up quickly and riders forget to think, they may not be ready. You will only learn these skills by being in a competition setting many, many times.

Just my two cents.

I have competed my entire life, Just not only eventing. I can never rememebr a time where I was tense, or nervous, or anything of the sort. I have done rodeo,HJ(local circut), and some just dressage, and now eventing, on so many different horses. I have never been the kind of person to get show nerves.. its just not a part of me and it never was when i played other sports. I focus rather well.

asterix
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:15 AM
One thing no one has mentioned is to just be flexible this year. Ideally, you'd have the time and resources to lesson consistently AND compete several times, but no one lives in an ideal world ...perhaps a reasonable plan is to pick at least ONE competition, a good unrecognized one (as others have said, a GOOD unrec is very close to rec, for much less $$), make a plan for what skills you need to really feel solid at that competition, and take lessons/design a program towards that goal.

After the event, you and your trainer can have a sense of how you are progressing, and how best to allocate your resources for the rest of the year.

eponacowgirl
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:29 AM
After the event, you and your trainer can have a sense of how you are progressing, and how best to allocate your resources for the rest of the year.

Emphasis mine.

Skip the shows. Take as MANY lessons as humanly possible.

If you take enough with ONE person and get solidly into their program with as many supervised XC schools as you can muster, perhaps you can skip your season at BN and just take your horse out at Novice.

But only if you're in a program.

Oh- and did you mention a job? I know you get to spend a lot of time riding in the summer, but maybe you can pick up a few hours one day, or evening shift somewhere, babysit, walk dogs or even clean someone's stalls a couple days a week and make some money so you CAN have lessons, or put that aside for shows.

SEPowell
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:35 AM
Something else you might consider is working with race horses for a couple of years, especially if you can get a job galloping on a farm where they train steeplechase horses. You'll have to ride 4 horses a morning and you'll learn to read different horses very quickly. You'll also have a chance to develop incredible balance if you condition them cross country.

Believe me, if anyone ever thinks their insulting you by telling you you ride like a steeplechase rider, they don't know what they're talking about. No one is better at balancing and jumping a horse at speed than a steeplechase rider. Spending a year or two galloping horses with them is a great way to develop as a rider, learn about conditioning, learn to read horses and learn to watch and care for legs. Plus you get paid.

subk
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:50 AM
Nothing will stretch your dollar and give you more bang for your buck than reading. It will give more meaning to every hour in the saddle whether you chose to spend those hours showing or lessoning!

Here's where I'd start: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/eventing/wofford_winter_reading_list_122107/

Read one of those books a month and by the end of the year you will be ten times more prepared than today.

When deciding whether to lesson or show--considering you say you haven't competed much if at all at recognized H.T.--I'd start with a basic minimum lesson plan first. Minimum being enough to be in a trainers "program" and to have someone keeping an eye on your overall safety and ability. That minimum would be at least twice a month hopefully once a week. Only then I'd add on showing. If you already had experience showing and had trained horses to be competitive you might be able to get by with less. But I think it's a safety issue to try to train without oversight when you haven't much, if any, experience with the tests you're training for.

subk
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:26 AM
Ok, I spend lots of time teaching, so this may sound like heresy, but if you have the chance, and you are young and brave, get out there and compete.
Denny this young woman said in her OP that she has never competed at a recognized event. Did you miss that or are you really suggesting she go out there for her first times ever without any guidance or any help in preparation?

Catalina
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:22 PM
Take the lessons- as many as you can. Eventing is not much fun when you are not properly prepared to compete. So, take the lessons, learn as much as possible, get a part time job and compete unrecognized when you can :).

LAZ
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:28 PM
Nothing will stretch your dollar and give you more bang for your buck than reading. It will give more meaning to every hour in the saddle whether you chose to spend those hours showing or lessoning!

Here's where I'd start: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/eventing/wofford_winter_reading_list_122107/

Read one of those books a month and by the end of the year you will be ten times more prepared than today.

When deciding whether to lesson or show--considering you say you haven't competed much if at all at recognized H.T.--I'd start with a basic minimum lesson plan first. Minimum being enough to be in a trainers "program" and to have someone keeping an eye on your overall safety and ability. That minimum would be at least twice a month hopefully once a week. Only then I'd add on showing. If you already had experience showing and had trained horses to be competitive you might be able to get by with less. But I think it's a safety issue to try to train without oversight when you haven't much, if any, experience with the tests you're training for.


As usual from Subk, this is really good advice. I've been re-reading a bunch of my books (many of them are on Jimmy's list plus a few others) this winter, and it has really refreshed my riding/teaching.

I believe that too many people want to be told what to do, rather than take the time to use the tools available to them to flesh out their education. Reading is *such* a good tool, you can go back over something you don't understand, or struggle with until it clarifies.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:32 PM
Take the lessons- as many as you can. Eventing is not much fun when you are not properly prepared to compete. So, take the lessons, learn as much as possible, get a part time job and compete unrecognized when you can :).

Jobs are not readily available where I go to school. During the summer I work for my parents and babysit, but basically the money I earn barely pays for the gas I spend going to each job. I do save what I can and always put it towards horses and whatever they need at the time.

AKB
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:50 PM
Look into your local pony club. Depending on where you are located, you may find that you can get a lot of knowledge for a little money. Clubs that are oriented to older kids often have regular lessons with big name eventers, as well as experienced pony club instructors. Some clubs provide a lot of knowledge. We had lots of science loving kids and pre-vet kids in our pony club, so we used to regularly get classes with the local vets. If you are serious about wanting to be a trainer, it is nice to be able to say that you got your pony club A. At the time we closed out our pony club, all of the members except two were in college or grad school/vet school, or finished with college and working.

Make sure you major in college allows you to be employable after graduation. You may find that it makes sense to not rush things. If you work for a few years at a good job, you will be able to afford lots of lessons and competitions. Then you can decide if you want to be a trainer or just want to work, have fun and event nice horses on weekends.

Janet
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:04 PM
Horse trials, not hunter trials.
I know BN is 2'7 and N is 2'11. I think training is 3'6. not real sure. I havent thought as far as training level yet.

Training is 3'3".

If you are serious about eventing, I would suggest.

1- Get out to a bunch of events (without your horse), and get involved.
- volunteer as a jump judge, and observe what each rider is doing right or wrong
- volunteer as a warm up steward and listen as the competent trainers instruct their students.
- volunteer as a scribe for either dressage or show jumping, and observe what each rider is doing right or wrong
- ask if you can accompany a competent trainer on his course walk with his students

2- read some good books (e.g. Jimmy's), and watch/analyze videos, both upper level and lower level.

3 - Read and re-read the rule book, especially the appendixes that discuss the objectives and specifications

4-Ride as many DIFFERENT horses as possible

5-Take as many lessons as possible- and WATCH as many lessons as possible.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:07 PM
Ill be 20 in may, so yes, I could be in pony club, but really, would it be worth it? I am close to a really good pony club, so I am sure I would learn a ton, but would it be smart? I dont know if I could ever get my A rating. Dont you have to have a skilled horse who can jump a certian height to move up.. What if it turns out, my horse wasnt capable and wouldnt it just take money away from my lesson fund?

Little Valkyrie
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:24 PM
I find it to be plenty worth it. For the per year fee I get tons of free riding lessons as well as free unmounted lessons, free rallies (which are close enough to recognized HT's that they could offer you good experience), free clinics, etc. You do have to have access to a horse that is able to do the ratings, however I think that just about any horse can go up to a C-3 and then from there you can pass the H-A and become an H without ever testing for your B or A ratings. B is equal to Prelim and A is equal to Intermediate, so yes A horses are hard to come by, but lots of horses that are not super fancy have done very well at B ratings. Not to be harsh, but if you are seriously considering a career as a professional, you should at least be capable of getting your H-A. It's a very competitive field and something has to set you apart from everyone else.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:34 PM
So to get the H-A, you dont have to ride at that level? Im a little confused. I dont know much about pony club.

FuzzyTB
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:34 PM
Pony club is awesome and if you have a good one near you, you should absolutely join. Almost all lessons are offered at a discounted rate (really discounted!) and the level of knowledge you will gain will be immense. Yes, your test horse must be able to perform to the level you are attemting to pass but if you don't have a horse that's suitable, other club members will often let you borrow one. I joined pony club when I was 12 and had my B by the time I was 15. You have more than enough time to reach the higher levels if you are willing to put the time in. One of my friends in the club never had her own horse and managed to attain her HA on borrowed horses.

Another reason to join is networking - several upper level riders are huge supporters of pony club (I'm pretty Gina Miles is a National Examiner) and many are graduates. You could find a working student/asst trainer job this way. It will also give another bullet in your resume and help build a client base. Senior members are expected to teach the junoir members and when you're ready to branch out on your own, you'll already have potential clients.

Good luck!

Janet
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:36 PM
If you are thinking about becoming a professional instructor, you should also look at the ICP materials.

HER
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:39 PM
I have to agree with Denny on this one- not that anyone has made any bad suggestions! I started at a H/J barn that had a large focus on showing and I have carried that into eventing. I know that I always learn a ton at a weekend show, easily as much as a couple of lessons. I lesson about once a month, mostly dressage, and show recognized about once a month. By showing I've also met a ton of people (I'm pretty extroverted). I have met organizers, trainers, and fellow amateurs. Now I can often grab someone for a little help at horse trials if I feel I need it, even though I've never had a trainer of my own. (I do pay them if they are trainers :)
I went to my first recognized event with little to no eventing experience and I had a blast. I was addicted and it's gone from there. I try to get to a few jumping clinics each year. I do also get on any horse at any time that someone gives me the opportunity. Even if it's not an eventer. And I'm just an amateur trying to ride better. I have also gotten my friends into eventing and I help them out at shows and at home for free. This has helped me learn how to teach some and how to recognize problems from the ground instead of the saddle.
If you have a chance be a demo rider for ICP clinics or testing. I learned alot at those and met a whole bunch of new people.
Helen

Little Valkyrie
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:47 PM
So to get the H-A, you dont have to ride at that level? Im a little confused. I dont know much about pony club.

They Just change the ratings around so they are a little bit confusing. Here are a few different pathways you can take through the ratings system:

D1-D2-D3-C1-C2-HB-C3-B-HA-A

D1-D2-D3-C1-C2-HB-C3-H(= to the HA, only you take it as a C3, not a B)-B-(Once you pass the B you become an HA)-A

D1-D2-D3-C1-C2-C+(passing the C3 without doing your HB before hand)- HB (now you are a C3)-B-HA-A


There, I think that's as clear as mud :)

subk
Jan. 12, 2010, 04:26 PM
If you are thinking about becoming a professional instructor, you should also look at the ICP materials.
Anybody know where there is a list of the ICP required reading books? I looked the other day on the USEA site without any luck.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 12, 2010, 04:38 PM
I think you can only get the list in the the book: "Both the Standards Booklet and the Workbook include the ICP required and recommended reading list."

Here is the book. I am thinking of ordering it soon. http://stores.homestead.com/UnitedStatesEventingA/-strse-517/ICP-Standards-Booklet/Detail.bok

redlight
Jan. 12, 2010, 04:44 PM
I think you've gotten some great as well as positive suggestions. If you have a trainer in your area that you admire I would try to either get a job working for them or helping out, whatever they will let you do to get you into their barn and program. I don't know where you keep your horse but even it lives with you, you can still go to another farm to learn how an experienced person rides, teaches and cares for the horses. You need to be a sponge. You can learn so much from sitting at the schooling ring watching how the pros do it. Volunteering is great as they are always in short supply. I loved the suggestion of galloping race horses as you could do this in the morning and do another job in the afternoon. Pony Club is great and I would definitely look into the ICP when you are ready to become a trainer.

As for competing, I would hone your skills at home until you feel really confident about competing especially if you only can only get to a couple of events. I loved competing but I didn't go out unless I felt really well prepared.

Take your time and don't pressure yourself into making this year "the year". Life has a way of interrupting our plans sometimes. Expect to build upon your knowledge every year. Good luck on your journey!

ohhthatgirl
Jan. 12, 2010, 06:49 PM
Pony club really is an awesome resource, and I think it'd be a great supplement to your education as a trainer. I joined pony club late (when I was 14), about the same time I started eventing. Before then, I was just a horse crazy kid who liked to ride and compete on the local H/J circuit some. But, pony club turned me into a horseman. I owe the majority, if not all, of my horsemanship to that organization as well as a good chunk of my riding.

And -- bonus points -- because it is pony club, you get great lessons with good trainers on the cheap. And when you're not riding, you get to watch everyone else -- including those D1s & D2s so you can see how that instructor is handling their problems, too. Eventing rallies are also cheaper and they're very comparable to a recognized event.

Also, having said that you achieved a certain rating allows your potential clients to rate with your success. Having your B/H-A/A would be solid accreditation to you as a trainer. Even though I only made it to my C2 before college (Silly pony decided to abcess the week before my C3!), I can still say that "I'm a C2" and people will lend me horses to exercise because they know I'm competent. (Helpful now that I'm horseless in college!) Now my ultimate goal is to achieve my H/H-HM because I think the knowledge speaks volumes for a person as a horseman.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 12, 2010, 06:55 PM
I was talking with a friend of mine and she said it would be better for me to just lesson. She did pony club and she said she learned a lot, but since i am not going to be able to put everything into because I do have school and she said I could make the same connections by volunteering, which i want to do anyway.
So, I dont think i am going to do the pony club route, but thank you for all the helpfull advice!

lstevenson
Jan. 12, 2010, 08:24 PM
It saddens me to say this, as I used to be such a big supporter of Pony Club. But the quality of the Pony Club "experience" seems to vary widely around the country. Some areas take it very seriously and get good quality instruction. And some absolutely do not. I would look into the kind of riders that are in your local pony clubs before deciding on whether that is worth your time.

LAZ
Jan. 12, 2010, 08:30 PM
Anybody know where there is a list of the ICP required reading books? I looked the other day on the USEA site without any luck.
I can send this to you.

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 12, 2010, 08:38 PM
I can send this to you.

May i have it as well :)

LAZ
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:02 PM
May i have it as well :)

Sure, send me your email.

flabbergasted
Jan. 13, 2010, 11:23 AM
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to earn an MBA. Eventing professionals are, first and foremost, business people, and the success or failure of these professionals depends on whether or not they are able to manage sales, marketing, real estate, etc. The degree will also provide you with a great fall back if eventing doesn't work out.

Sorry - I know you specifically asked about lessons and competition, but you said you wanted a reality check, and this is it!

Rescue_Rider9
Jan. 13, 2010, 11:35 AM
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to earn an MBA. Eventing professionals are, first and foremost, business people, and the success or failure of these professionals depends on whether or not they are able to manage sales, marketing, real estate, etc. The degree will also provide you with a great fall back if eventing doesn't work out.

Sorry - I know you specifically asked about lessons and competition, but you said you wanted a reality check, and this is it!


I am in school for Agribusiness management. This way, I will learn the business side of everything (although I have learned a lot from my parents as they own their own business) and have a back up plan. I went the Ag. route because of where i am located and it interests me more then just plan business. If i am going to be stuck with an office job, I at least want to be interested in it and I am interested in all aspects of farming.