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View Full Version : Tell me about your Pre-Beginner Novice events



ShayDarra
Feb. 14, 2010, 11:46 AM
I am on the board of our local eventing association and we've had some discussion recently about the significant jump in complexity from our Green as Grass Division to Beginner Novice at our schooling shows. The GAG stadium jumps are mostly cross rails with a couple of verticals - very plain, mostly around 18". Making the step up to Beginner Novice seems difficult for some. Would like to know what you all do for a class pre-BegNo.

How many stadium jumps?
Height?
Any oxers?
Does the division include xc? Or is it just CT?
What kind of xc questions do you include?

Any and all input is appreciated!

Thanks,

SD

Eventer55
Feb. 14, 2010, 12:48 PM
I can only tell you what my experience was last year. My "baby novice" was 18inch fences stadium and xc, 8 or 9 stadium and I think 12 or so xc. The xxc course was great, lots of space, no questions except a pass through water that was not good for us even though my horse had done lots of water. Most of the jumps were logs, one with a tiny house type jump and one down hill to a coop. Stadium all xrails and verticals, but at 18in I can jump them without my horse.

18in to 2ft 7in is IMHO also a big jump, 2' or 2'3" would be more resonable, but that's not going to change.

My first event had a USEA W,T,C test which I liked and the last one had a W,T test which I did not like. I think if you're jumping, your horse should be able to canter. . . just my 2cents (not worth much)

I liked the easy jumps as I had no idea what my horse would do as far as behavior and I don't need to think about tricky jumps with a green fresh horse.

juanbadcat
Feb. 14, 2010, 01:05 PM
I'm just beginning to think about going BN this year, did GAG for a few seasons, but must admit the move from jumping 18" to 2'7" is a bit much.

Why can't BN have 2'3" jumps? The GAG is too easy for us but 2'7" may be a bit heroic for my guy right now, not sure, but that leaves us in GAG for another season....U can see my dilemma. I sure wouldn't want anything tricky in BN x country. My horse is bold, goes through anything, but I don't want him to have bad experiences either.

Good post! Looking forward to reading more posts.

Highflyer
Feb. 14, 2010, 01:55 PM
A lot of the starters around us have a 2' or 2'3 division (usually called Introductory). BN A for dressage. Generally all div.s have the same stadium, minus the combinations, and lowered appropriately--stuff like rolltops/ planks may be replaced with verticals if necessary, and I don't THINK there are oxers below BN.

XC is logs, coops, feeders, etc., no ditches, very simple, inviting water (often an option), "bank" that is really just a log on slight incline, etc.

Enough to show horses a little bit of everything, without throwing it all out at once. I like to start horses at this level, personally.

enjoytheride
Feb. 14, 2010, 01:59 PM
My perference would be:

green as grass: crossrails and 18 inch high logs in a big circle in a field

starter: 2 foot high verticals and some oxers, XC 2 feet high coops and logs on a more out and back type course.

It is a huge leap otherwise so I have been looking at some schooling type facilities who have an easy BN with a max of 2' 3"

shawneeAcres
Feb. 14, 2010, 02:15 PM
WE do a "maiden" division that is basically 2' - 2'3" at our HT, it starts out REALLY easy and then gets a LITTLE more difficult., but nothing really hard, no real "questions" at this level, straightfoward jumping efforts in both CC and stadium. We do include a few small oxers.

jenm
Feb. 14, 2010, 02:32 PM
I have done two elemental HTs at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, CA. They do a great job with their pre-BN courses, the stadium portion is 6-8 x-rail jumps with simple lines and they do a cross country portion with 8-9 jumps including water which I think is perfect. Last fall they included a x-rail decorated with pumpkins that was just on the other side of the water which I thought was a great challenge for those of us just starting out.

There were no banks or ditches at that level, but I thought it was great that they did include the water and did not make it an option.

Here is an example of one of their elemental x-country jumps:

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/JumpingBig.jpg

skip916
Feb. 15, 2010, 01:10 PM
as a "career" lower level eventer ;) who until recently only rode the horses someone else wanted trained to start beg. novice this is what i most often come across and what seems to prepare us well for the transition to beg. novice/novice:

amoeba level: intro test b for dressage, stadium 9-12 fences at 18", maybe some flowers or bright colors and teeninsy oxers (standards pushed together till they touch), no opt. time. cross country consists mostly of logs, little woodpiles, trotting through flat water, tiny little banks 12" (up only) and little coops- things you might find on a trail ride or hilltopping at a hunt. no optimum time and avg. # of jumps about 10.

tadpole level:beg. nov. A test, stadium 9-12 fences at 2feet MAYBE 2'3", def. oxers and flowers here with a more "stadium" types course- not just outside lines, something on the diagonal type course- cross country larger logs/raised logs, small banks, trot/canter through water, jumps are 2'/2'3" average but some have largish spreads, coops and fruit stands, tire jumps, half barrels, things with more light/dark contrast, into and out of woods jumps and occasionally even a tiny trekhener! sometimes opt. time (generous), sometimes not. this level def. makes the horse/rider feel prepared for the move up to beg. novice. this is where i can "feel out" whether or not a green horse is ready for the move up and brave or "looky". as someone who rides at this level a good bit- i appreciate more "scary" or technical looking jumps like you would find at nov./training without the height involved so the horse gets confident in the brain and doesnt have to worry so much about the physical aspect since pretty much ANY horse can jump 2'3" without much effort!

most shows i go to are 3 phase with a CT option.

two great tadpole courses around here are red horse stables in carrolton, ga and poplar place farm in hamilton, ga, also foxberry farms in powder springs, ga has a very "welcoming" course at this level and often combines jumps with standards and more traditional cross country jumps for that portion. oh and big bear in hamilton, ga has a great water complex for the lower levels!

hope this helps! thanks for thinking about the super low levels and providing us with places to go and fun things to try no matter where we are located! i would TOTALLY travel for fun courses but dont often find them!

scubed
Feb. 15, 2010, 02:15 PM
At the Rocking Horse schooling, they had the Entry level (one level below BN) that had maximum height of 2'3" for both xc and sj. I have never had a horse that I started below BN and have only ever done a single BN with prior horses, but current boy is a young coming 5 and can use the work over stuff he can step over, so this was great. XC course was 10 fences including a small bench, a small boathouse and small tables as well as logs (all beautiful). Stadium did include oxers, in fact first fence was a cross-rail oxer. You can see the pictures that xpress foto took of that event here: http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/ThumbPage.aspx?e=6082026&g=00FD00FX2P (at least until they remove them)

tigrrlily04
Feb. 15, 2010, 02:29 PM
I agree with all of those who said that the 18" divisions leave too much of a jump between that and 2'7" at BN. I try to look for intro events that are 2"-2'3" in stadium and 2" cross country.

I HATE having the intro dressage tests that are only walk/trot. I realize that it's meant as prep, but you should be very comfortable cantering even if you are only doing a small stadium and cross country course.

What I would like to see more of at the intro events is optional water. Water is one of the things that is most difficult to school and expose young horses to, and it is often left out completely for intro events. I think it would be very beneficial to have a simple splash through water obstacle as an optional, non-judged element of the cross country course. You could have a steward at the jump who will tell you to move on if you've tried for a certain amount of time and your horse would not go through (just to prevent getting backed up), but make it an option for the competitors to work on it to get used having it on course when they jump up to BN.

Eventer55
Feb. 15, 2010, 02:39 PM
I agree with all of those who said that the 18" divisions leave too much of a jump between that and 2'7" at BN. I try to look for intro events that are 2"-2'3" in stadium and 2" cross country.

I HATE having the intro dressage tests that are only walk/trot. I realize that it's meant as prep, but you should be very comfortable cantering even if you are only doing a small stadium and cross country course.

What I would like to see more of at the intro events is optional water. Water is one of the things that is most difficult to school and expose young horses to, and it is often left out completely for intro events. I think it would be very beneficial to have a simple splash through water obstacle as an optional, non-judged element of the cross country course. You could have a steward at the jump who will tell you to move on if you've tried for a certain amount of time and your horse would not go through (just to prevent getting backed up), but make it an option for the competitors to work on it to get used having it on course when they jump up to BN.

I agree, I also think the 2'7" is too big for BN, if you're going for points you still only have unsanctioned events at 2'3" or 2'. I would like to see sanctioned events at 2' or 2'3" I know it can never happen, but 2'7" on my gelding looked small. . . on my greenie it looks big and 18 in to 2'7" is over a foot difference. A lower BN or a higher GAG might work.

LAZ
Feb. 15, 2010, 02:56 PM
I host schooling events here and my divisions are as follows:

GAG--USDF W/T test A, 18" max for S/J, no oxers in S/J, x/c is a simple track with a variety of little fences--usually about 12, a coop, a tiny stone wall, a cross across the bank, mini lincoln logs, t-poles, tiny pheasant feeder, little palisade

Starter--BN A, 2'3" max height oxers and simple decorations in S/J, cross country is about 1500 M with all the same fences you find on my BN/Nov but smaller

BN, Nov, Training follow USEA standards, I see absolutely no benefit of having someone thinking they are doing BN and then going to a recognized event & being scared to death.

Gestalt
Feb. 15, 2010, 06:51 PM
As a now older rider I do not want to try anything over 2'. All I want to do is putz around a cross country course. Not interested in winning, just having fun with my horse and fellow riders. And as much as I hate how age is affecting me physically and mentally, I do have a better bank balance. So I can afford to attend events, but I don't have the guts to even do BN anymore.

I would like to see more options for us "chicken" riders. :) (by the way, I have no problem with even a 1st level dressage test, it's the jumping that scares me))

ShayDarra
Feb. 15, 2010, 08:45 PM
This is great! Thanks to all who have responded thus far and I look forward to any future input. The "pre-BN" divisions that have been mentioned seem to be a step between our GAG and BN. This is most helpful to us in planning our future course of events. We SO want these eager beginners (both young and old) to have positive and confidence building experiences. As we all know, this can be an intimidating sport if you don't get the right start!

Thanks again to all who have shared their experiences!!

SD

quietann
Feb. 15, 2010, 10:43 PM
Around my area, the divisions typically are:

Pre-Elementary, with an Intro dressage test (usually Intro B), cross-country with mostly logs and tiny coops and minimal "terrain" (no jumps going downhill), and 18 inch max height for SJ, which will be mostly crossrails.

Elementary, with a BN dressage test, cross-country around 2'3 with more terrain, tire fences, logs, maybe a tiny ditch, optional water crossing, nothing too scary, and SJ up to 2'3", with cross-rails, small oxers, panels etc.

Some places have a "poles on the ground/6 inch crossrails" division for the really tiny kids and seriously chicken older folks :)

sch1star
Feb. 16, 2010, 12:02 PM
When I started my TB about nine years ago, I wasn't aware of any such thing as GAG - or any pre-BN-level competition. So BN is where he started. When I returned to BN with my pony, I found it much more technical in general than the BN of way-back-then. And the pony was one who could really benefit from those smaller fences and smaller questions because he needed to gain confidence.

I moved him from itty-bitty to BN in 6 months. It was very, very helpful to have the GAG divisions, even the W-T the first couple of (very electric) times out. I did struggle a little between 18" and 2'7" - wanting there to be a middle ground. I did find it, but I found it at jumper shows, derbies, etc, as well as at a few unrec HT - but I didn't find it to be too common.

I love the program LAZ outlines, especially the advancement of the decor and special xc questions. It isn't just the height, it's the water, ditches, banks, terrain, decorations that the greenies need to get used to at a level they can easily do and build confidence at. Think about it - as the USEA lvls advance, these kinds of questions are where you find many (most?) of the penalties. So going from all plain rails and logs to today's BN is a lot like going from 18" to 2'7".

I have said this before but it seems (and this is truly a guess) that for various reasons the bulk of current and potential USEA membership would support a further division of BN to include a fully-decorated, fully-xc-questioned 2'3" section.

Some people will never want to advance from it, some will find it to be the stepping stone they need, but what strikes me is that this section is comprised of a lot of people.

I have to offer a shout-out to Groton House Farm's Summer and Fall "Classics" series: the Elementary was wonderful to step up to BN from for my pony. Some of the cross country questions and fences, especially, that they built in "miniature" were fantastic.

LAZ
Feb. 16, 2010, 12:15 PM
When I started my TB about nine years ago, I wasn't aware of any such thing as GAG - or any pre-BN-level competition. So BN is where he started. When I returned to BN with my pony, I found it much more technical in general than the BN of way-back-then. And the pony was one who could really benefit from those smaller fences and smaller questions because he needed to gain confidence.

I moved him from itty-bitty to BN in 6 months. It was very, very helpful to have the GAG divisions, even the W-T the first couple of (very electric) times out. I did struggle a little between 18" and 2'7" - wanting there to be a middle ground. I did find it, but I found it at jumper shows, derbies, etc, as well as at a few unrec HT - but I didn't find it to be too common.

I love the program LAZ outlines, especially the advancement of the decor and special xc questions. It isn't just the height, it's the water, ditches, banks, terrain, decorations that the greenies need to get used to at a level they can easily do and build confidence at. Think about it - as the USEA lvls advance, these kinds of questions are where you find many (most?) of the penalties. So going from all plain rails and logs to today's BN is a lot like going from 18" to 2'7".

I have said this before but it seems (and this is truly a guess) that for various reasons the bulk of current and potential USEA membership would support a further division of BN to include a fully-decorated, fully-xc-questioned 2'3" section.

Some people will never want to advance from it, some will find it to be the stepping stone they need, but what strikes me is that this section is comprised of a lot of people.

I have to offer a shout-out to Groton House Farm's Summer and Fall "Classics" series: the Elementary was wonderful to step up to BN from for my pony. Some of the cross country questions and fences, especially, that they built in "miniature" were fantastic.

Thanks--my favorite fences that I've built are the GAG/Starter Pheasant feeder and a little Starter Log Cabin. They're just so darn cute! If you're on facebook you can become a fan of the farm (Come Again Farm) and see some of the jumps.

Fancy That
Feb. 16, 2010, 05:17 PM
I agree with what alot of others have said. Around here, there is an Elementary level that is about 2 - 2'3" which is a great pre-BN level. It's not as tiny as the Tadpole (18", x-rails, etc) but a nice "Intro to Eventing" level.

I have mixed feelings about the Intro Dressage tests (walk/trot). Yes - a horse should be cantering ...even green beans...but the pressure of a Walk/Trot test versus w-t-c is alot less for those that may have a hyper/fizzy really really young/green type.

I dunno - I like the regular BN dressage tests and think any horse undersaddle can do them (now doing them WELL is another story :)

Here's a couple pics of one of our local places that does Hunter Paces and Hunter Derby's:

SJ:
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/elaineshickman/Fancy%20Family/F_sj_HD07.jpg

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/elaineshickman/Fancy%20Family/HunterDerbyjump.jpg

XC:
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/elaineshickman/Fancy%20Family/F_xclog_HD07.jpg

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk150/elaineshickman/Fancy%20Family/HP07.jpg

ShayDarra
Feb. 22, 2010, 12:35 PM
All your responses are appreciated! We had a Board meeting yesterday and decided to introduce a new division - between GAG and Beginner Novice, probably call it Starter - at our summer schooling show. We will do it on a trial basis to get reaction and then decide if we want to add it permanently next year. Initially, there seems to be a great deal of interest in providing that smaller step up from GAG.

Thanks so much to all who responded!!

SD

mybelle
Feb. 22, 2010, 04:26 PM
I know the OP said she has made her decision, but I wanted to add my 2 cents as a career super lower level eventer.

More 2'3" divisions would be so much appreciated! It definitely feels like a big difference for me. There's is often a huge disparity from the 2 foot divisions to the 2'7" Beginner Novice divisions, in many ways - complexity of xc and stadium courses, ect.

I also agree about doing the Beginner Novice tests instead of the intro tests. I know it may be different for those on green horses, but what about green riders? I'm putting so much money, time and effort into getting there and I don't even get to canter in my dressage test? I would personally love the feedback on my canter!

cranky
Feb. 22, 2010, 05:30 PM
I have to offer a shout-out to Groton House Farm's Summer and Fall "Classics" series: the Elementary was wonderful to step up to BN from for my pony. Some of the cross country questions and fences, especially, that they built in "miniature" were fantastic.

I agree. I feel that having done Elementary at their Summer event, I was so much better prepared for BN my next time out. My horse was (is) young and green, I was back to riding after over a 20-year break. Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt that it was a wonderful interim step for me. My horse had done a couple of BNs at that stage (w/ trainers), so she was better prepared than I was, but I definitely felt that it helped me. Of course, my horse was a total freakazoid that day, but that's a whole 'nother post.

KBG Eventer
Feb. 22, 2010, 05:38 PM
When I was little did schooling shows with this sequence:

Amoeba: 18" and WT dressage test

10ish stadium fences (crossrails, verticals, once in awhile a teeny oxer)

12ish cross country fences consisting of logs, maybe some tiny ramps or houses, no water, flagged "bank" (little branch on top of natural slope)

and

Tadpole: 2'3 and WTC dressage test

10-12ish stadium fences

12-14ish cross country fences, water optional, bank up, small natural "ditch"

It worked very well I think! :)

ncsuequine
Feb. 23, 2010, 10:37 PM
We go to quite a few schooling shows every year and I LOVE it when the shows have levels lower than BN that lead up to BN.

Here's what we usually come across

We have Just Begun (Green as Grass, Tadpole, etc..)
Dressage Intro A
Stadium 18"-2' (usually 9-10 efforts, mostly Xbars, a few vertical , no oxers)
XC 18"

Moving Up
Dressage BN A
Stadium 2'3"-2'7"
XC 18"-2'

Beginner NOvice, NOvice, Training, etc....

Sometimes there is a maiden division between WHJB and Moving Up, but I think most of the competitions have gotten away frm that due to entries being down the last couple of years.