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LittleblackMorgan
Nov. 3, 2011, 10:09 AM
So, my teen niece has her very first show this weekend. She's very excited and pretty nervous.

She's been riding for about a year formally. Takes an average of 2 lessons a week (once with her trainer and once with me at my place). Also has her IEA lessons mixed in.

She's doing WTC. She's got great equitation and a really good rapport with the horses. But she tends to ride up everyone's butt and cuts off other horses. She doesn't do it on purpose and has been reprimanded by her instructor and me.

I told her to ride with others as if the other riders don't know what they're doing-ie, be aware of other horses, assume they all kick and look out for her own safety. I also told her she needs to keep 2 horse lengths between her horse and the one in front of her, and if she is moving quicker than another horse PLAN on circling and give herself enough room.

Any other tips I can offer her? We did not have IEA when I was young (wish we did) and I think its a great program for her to get exposure.

two sticks
Nov. 3, 2011, 01:31 PM
I rode IEA throughout high school, and after graduating helped run the IEA shows and warmup horses.

I would highly recommend riding a level below your comfort zone in the IEA, as it is always more challenging on an unfamiliar horse. As a helper, I have seen a trend in many more unprepared or overfaced riders than I saw when competing (Although this may be due to the fact that IEA is a lot bigger and more popular now than it was when I was riding... 2000-2004! yikes!).

Watch the warm ups, make notes. Even if she is doing the W/T/C, try and watch the warm ups over fences and find out which o/f horses will be also going in the w/t/c. You can learn something about your flat horse watching it go over fences. Watch the horses go and come up with a game plan for the horse she draws. My coach would ask us questions during the warm up, like how are you going to ride this horse, what does it look like the biggest challenge will be for you on this horse, what is the most important thing you think you will need to focus on with this one?

Ask the handler of the horse if they can tell you anything about the horse. As a handler, I try and offer advice if I know the horse has particular quirks.

Definitely focus on the importance of giving the other horses LOTS of room. You don't want to be on a horse you don't know close to another horse you don't know, who's rider also doesn't know that horse! Some horses at the W/T/C level are solid citizens, but not all of them are. Not only can riding up or cutting off a strange horse can be a recipe for disaster, but is also pretty rude/inconsiderate (even if not done intentionally!) because you are affecting someone else's ride as well as your own.

If at all possible in her lessons at home, see if she can switch horses or ride a variety of horses. When I rode IEA we rode different horses every day at home and switched horses multiple times during lessons. This will help her get more comfortable on a variety of horses.

I had a wonderful wonderful experience with IEA, including 3 trips to IEA Nationals and top 5 placings my senior year. I find the atmosphere, while still competitive, to be slightly more relaxed than at the IHSA level because of the younger age of participants. I would encourage your niece to go into her first show with an open mind, knowing that the first few times will be a big learning experience. I would encourage a good ride and attitude on a new horse in a new setting over a ribbon the first time out. Best of luck and hope she has a blast!

pattnic
Nov. 3, 2011, 02:35 PM
I would highly recommend riding a level below your comfort zone in the IEA, as it is always more challenging on an unfamiliar horse. As a helper, I have seen a trend in many more unprepared or overfaced riders than I saw when competing (Although this may be due to the fact that IEA is a lot bigger and more popular now than it was when I was riding... 2000-2004! yikes!).

There are guidelines in place in the rulebook stating where riders should be placed. It is up to the coaches, bearing these rules in mind, to decide at what level the riders compete. The rules are already set forth to have the riders at a lower level than their normal comfort level. There is, however, also a rule about mandatory moving up.

To the OP: Make sure your neice watches the warm up - and pays attention - watches the horse go in classes beforehand, and asks the horse handler/someone involved with the horse about the horse - and listen to what they say! My horses are used for IEA, and it irks me very much to see a rider and/or coach completely disregard what *I* have told them about *my* horse. (However, it always works out in the end, as my horses go exactly as they are ridden, and their riders therefore place exactly where they should).

She does really need to make sure she is giving everyone enough room. It's a safety issue as well as a horsemanship issue. I would assume that if she continues to make a habit of cutting others off and getting up their butts, it will show in the placings. That may help encourage her to be very aware of where she is in relation to other horses.

Of course, if her horse gets kicked, and she falls off because she was following too closely, that would also be a "teaching moment." :winkgrin: (Of course, I don't really want that to happen to her).

A couple other things: it's still a *horse* show, even though only the rider is being judged. She needs to always remember good horsemanship. In addition, good sportsmanship is paramount. No badmouthing other teams' horses. They don't always have a choice about what horses they can bring. Be thankful that someone has made their horses available in order for these riders to have this opportunity.

ChagrinSaddlery
Nov. 3, 2011, 04:01 PM
My daughter is on an IEA team (Little Glen Stables Interscholastic Team.) While she does show outside of IEA, I have to say I have been very very impressed with everything IEA offers. What a great experience for your niece.

All of the above advice is excellent. The only thing I would add is that it is very easy to upset the other teams by not applying good ring etiquette. Riding up on someone, etc, is a good way to not make friends and not place. While I am sure she does not do it on purpose, you do not want her to acquire a reputation for it.

I would suggest working on it and perhaps just competing over fences until the problem is resolved. This may be the best motivator for her.

Very best of luck to her and you. :-)

bits619
Nov. 3, 2011, 04:58 PM
In your lessons, incorporate lots of turns throughout the ring. Ride for a while on the quarter line. It'll help her with straightness, but also thinking outside the box that is riding only along the rail. So lots of circles, turns through the middle, across the diagonal, etc. Tell her why you're emphasizing so many turns and maneuvers around the arena, too :-)

relocatedTXjumpr
Nov. 4, 2011, 11:22 AM
I'll echo Pattnics info on the horse situation...our horses were used for the same team (mine is currently on maternity leave with ME, lol)...but we always run into the same issue...people either just dont ASK anything about the horses, dont watch them go, etc and then ride them backwards...OR they ask and then dont take the advice you give them.

Mornings of IEA shows can be very hectic and crazy...trying to get in schooling, meetings, course walks, etc and then you throw in the fact that the kids are the ones that are supposed to be taking care and holding horses...A LOT of them just dont want the warm ups, they dont watch the horses go in classes before theirs and they have no idea how the horse goes or if the horse is having a bad day.

Even if she draws a bad horse, make sure she keeps that info to herself...these horses are DONATED for their time and it DOES take a special horse to be able to handle the crazieness that is IEA. Trainers and riders are quick to start making judgements about a horses abilties and quality out loud...and for those of us owners who ARE at the shows, we do HEAR it...

Tell her to ride what she is given, give him/her a pat after she dismounts and say "Thank you" before she walks away....even if she has a bad ride.

xxreddxheaddxx
Nov. 4, 2011, 12:43 PM
I don't mean this to be rude, but I can never figure out why people will intentionally ride up on other's butts or get too close, like are you asking to die?!!!!!!

CertaintySales
Nov. 4, 2011, 01:48 PM
I'll echo Pattnics info on the horse situation...our horses were used for the same team (mine is currently on maternity leave with ME, lol)...but we always run into the same issue...people either just dont ASK anything about the horses, dont watch them go, etc and then ride them backwards...OR they ask and then dont take the advice you give them.

Mornings of IEA shows can be very hectic and crazy...trying to get in schooling, meetings, course walks, etc and then you throw in the fact that the kids are the ones that are supposed to be taking care and holding horses...A LOT of them just dont want the warm ups, they dont watch the horses go in classes before theirs and they have no idea how the horse goes or if the horse is having a bad day.

Even if she draws a bad horse, make sure she keeps that info to herself...these horses are DONATED for their time and it DOES take a special horse to be able to handle the crazieness that is IEA. Trainers and riders are quick to start making judgements about a horses abilties and quality out loud...and for those of us owners who ARE at the shows, we do HEAR it...

Tell her to ride what she is given, give him/her a pat after she dismounts and say "Thank you" before she walks away....even if she has a bad ride.

Agree!!!

We push to our kids that we never want to hear the words "bad draw" come out of their mouths and that blaming the horse, even if it is totally not "their kind of ride," for a bad ribbon is really unclassy.

The IEA shows are largely made up of donated horses and donated time and appreciative kids go a long way in keeping facilities and owners willing to lend a hand.

I would also echo making sure your niece pays attention during the schooling and watches the horse she draws in its earlier classes. It's possible someone on her team may draw the same horse earlier in the day, so she can take a minute to chat with the teammate on how it rode. Since her classes go at the end of the day, she'll have lots of time to watch, observe and learn.

Make sure she knows how to ride her quarter lines, in case of traffic jams. We don't encourage circling to our kids, instead teaching them to use their corners, ride a quarterline, pass safely or cut across the ring to an empty spot to stay out of traffic. In the beginner classes, if the class is decent sized, they will often times split for the canter, which may help the traffic concerns.