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DottieHQ
May. 14, 2012, 10:02 PM
I' ve been thinking recently, and I have a little problem. I really want to become more serious about dressage. I want to show more, and I want to ride with other dressage riders so I can learn from them and be in a more productive environment for my goals. The problem is, the places that I can take my horse to achieve these goals are too expensive. Even if I got my own job, I don't think I could help my parents make it work. The barn I'm at now is nice...big pastures, airy stalls, nice and sane owner. But there's pretty much no one else there. The other two boarders hardly ride, and they don't do dressage. There's always the chance that there will be more boarders, but they're likely going to be adults who just ride for pleasure (I don't mind that at all, but frankly I'd like to be in a more dressage oriented barn for the next three years before I go to college). What I thought of is leasing my horse out to someone else ( I have a person in mind already) and taking lessons and showing with another trainer. Maybe even lease a horse from them so I can show more. I know it would be easier to just take my own horse with me, but like I said the board is just too expensive and I'm hoping leasing (or even just taking two or three lessons a week + shows) would be a cheaper alternative. I adore my horse and I would love more than anything to do dressage with her, but in order to pursue dressage with her the way I want to, I think my parents would have to take some pretty desperate measures (as it is $425 board plus lessons, vet, and farrier is plenty to take care of).
What do I do? What would you do? Am I being unreasonable?
TIA

Keg-A-Bacchus
May. 14, 2012, 10:49 PM
Is there anyway you could become a working student? A lot of dedicated riders I know went that route. Perhaps you could ask!

Bluey
May. 14, 2012, 10:55 PM
That is one reason why those that really want to learn should not have one horse.
The money and energy that should be spent with riding many horses are used on that one horse ownership.

There are trade-offs in life for all, that one of them.

When there is only money for one or the other, as you seem to have, you are making a wise decision to do other with your horse and move on with your plans to ride more and advance your riding.:yes:

DottieHQ
May. 14, 2012, 10:59 PM
Is there anyway you could become a working student? A lot of dedicated riders I know went that route. Perhaps you could ask!

I've thought about that...but I may be too young, plus I can't drive myself anywhere just yet. AND my schedule for most summer mornings is already pretty full, and I figured most barns that would consider a working student would want someone who could commit to the whole day (I could definitely commit to afternoons and weekends, though).

NOMIOMI1
May. 14, 2012, 11:05 PM
I've thought about that...but I may be too young, plus I can't drive myself anywhere just yet. AND my schedule for most summer mornings is already pretty full, and I figured most barns that would consider a working student would want someone who could commit to the whole day (I could definitely commit to afternoons and weekends, though).

The right barn would LOVE your help no matter the age and time. Even if you start with just lunging or grooming it can turn into the best learning experience of your life!

meupatdoes
May. 14, 2012, 11:16 PM
First of all, you have your whole life to learn dressage. You don't need to do it now now now. You can still be learning this when you're 70.

Secondly, all you need is an arena. If your horse is currently happy at your current place, why move just to "be around" other people? Practice practice, go to lessons and clinics, and practice some more. Rather than paying for architecture and "environment," spend the extra money on lessons and getting an education.

Perhaps you can be a working student for someone over the summer.

nhwr
May. 14, 2012, 11:26 PM
There are lots of things you can do to develop your knowledge of dressage. Finding a barn where you can work in exchange for lessons is a great idea. Video those lessons as well as your rides to compare. This (http://www.amazon.com/The-Elements-Dressage-Guide-Training/dp/1585747351/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337048749&sr=1-1) is a great book about basic dressage theory. This (http://www.amazon.com/Dressage-Exercises-Horse-Rider-ebook/dp/B003WOL56Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337048411&sr=1-1) is a simple and straight forward book that can help you get started on your own.

o0hawaiigirl0o
May. 14, 2012, 11:36 PM
That is one reason why those that really want to learn should not have one horse.
The money and energy that should be spent with riding many horses are used on that one horse ownership.

There are trade-offs in life for all, that one of them.

When there is only money for one or the other, as you seem to have, you are making a wise decision to do other with your horse and move on with your plans to ride more and advance your riding.:yes:

Very well said.

When I was 19, I left my horse at home (leased her to two lovely ladies at the barn) to pursue a intern/working student position at a dressage barn. It has made me progress as a rider/trainer/instructor in leaps and bounds. It is the combination of being taught by horsepeople with years and years of experience and the variety of horses I am able to work with.

It was a sacrifice to leave my horse. We were just starting to school 2nd Level. But I was having trouble finding other horses to ride and none were as schooled as she was. I was learning and trying to teach her at the same time. I took the leap and have no regrets.

I will say one thing about looking into an internship. Do your research! Visit the barn/farm for a few days and contact the previous interns.

meupatdoes
May. 14, 2012, 11:40 PM
First of all, you have your whole life to learn dressage. You don't need to do it now now now. You can still be learning this when you're 70.

Secondly, all you need is an arena. If your horse is currently happy at your current place, why move just to "be around" other people? Practice practice, go to lessons and clinics, and practice some more. Rather than paying for architecture and "environment," spend the extra money on lessons and getting an education.

Perhaps you can be a working student for someone over the summer.

2tempe
May. 14, 2012, 11:48 PM
OP - yes, you have your whole life to learn dressage, but as someone who was, um roughly at the 1/2 century mark, I sure wish I had started years ago. IF this is what you want to do, and you can find a strong local trainer w/ available horses, I'd lease or possibly consider selling current horse, and taking the opportunity to ride and learn as much as you can now. Believe me when I say that other things will get in the way over your life, so a strong set of basics will carry you a long time. See if you can exchange some hours of work on the weekend for a lesson or whatever. Ride whatever you can.

I'm - well - mature, and at a barn w/ mostly adult pleasure riders for 6 months a year. my trainer is here full time for winter. I can tell you that no matter HOW MUCH you want to get better, its hard to do alone, with no one else in the same spot.

west5
May. 15, 2012, 08:58 AM
I think until you are old enough to drive and get yourself physically to the barn it is possibly a moot issue. (This is particularly true if your schedule is already really busy)

However, what you can do is research the really good dressage barns in your area, and swing by one day and ask if they would have a problem with you auditing lessons or training sessions. If possible go to more than one barn so that you can see and hear different trainers at work.

You can offer to "work" but explain the limitations you have in terms of time available and lack of self transportation at this moment. Stress that it will change!

I promise you that, with dressage especially, you can learn so much by watching others rather than doing. You can even write down exercises you like and try them at home on your own horse.

If you still love the atmosphere, and want to in the next year or two execute your plan, (lease your horse, etc) then you will be doing it from a much more educated stance.

CFFarm
May. 15, 2012, 09:26 AM
A lot of trainers will go to your barn and give you lessons. And you could occasionly pay to ride a schoolmaster somewhere. Why can't you do that? At this stage in your life, school should be priority one.

Janet
May. 15, 2012, 10:35 AM
A lot of trainers will go to your barn and give you lessons.

That is what I was thinking too.

And watching as many lessons and clinics and tapes as you can.

It is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that a full lease would be less than boarding your own horse.

butlerfamilyzoo
May. 15, 2012, 10:53 AM
Most barns will allow their younger working students to just work one or two days... Or even just evenings. They are usually willing to work with the working student as essentially, you are free help, and free help is always welcome!

I've been a working student in my younger years in many facilities across the US, i do agree, the younger you can get started, the better. Once you hit an age and have a husband or kids, it all kind of goes out the window unless you have enough money and babysitters to keep yourself going. However, if you really want to progress, i agree with others, it's getting on multiple horses!

I dont like the lease idea, it can help, but it's not going to give you 100% what you want right now. It's just a huge expense with not a lot of pay off.

DottieHQ
May. 15, 2012, 11:27 AM
A lot of trainers will go to your barn and give you lessons. And you could occasionly pay to ride a schoolmaster somewhere. Why can't you do that? At this stage in your life, school should be priority one.

This would be a good idea...the only thing is, I'd probably have to go to a different trainer because my trainer is primarily an eventing trainer and I'm not sure if she has a schoolmaster I could take a lesson on. She already comes to my barn for lessons though. Actually, I may end up switching trainers because I don't think my parents could pay for two different trainers if I end up doing the occasional lesson on a schoolmaster thing...we've already been thinking about switching trainers anyway...

dwblover
May. 15, 2012, 11:44 AM
My advice is stay where you are! Your horse is happy. And believe me, some dressage barns are filled with people who will make you think you were crazy for ever wanting to be around people!:lol: Dressage is a lifelong pursuit. Your enthusiasm is wonderful, but I would advise you to slow down just a bit. Get some good books and DVDs. I would highly recommend Kyra Kyrklunds DVD set. You can always go to lessons and clinics to ride with other people, etc.

meupatdoes
May. 15, 2012, 12:03 PM
This would be a good idea...the only thing is, I'd probably have to go to a different trainer because my trainer is primarily an eventing trainer and I'm not sure if she has a schoolmaster I could take a lesson on. She already comes to my barn for lessons though. Actually, I may end up switching trainers because I don't think my parents could pay for two different trainers if I end up doing the occasional lesson on a schoolmaster thing...we've already been thinking about switching trainers anyway...

Why not just take the lessons on the horse you already have?

Get some help transforming what you have into something better. Maybe you won't get year end awards at FEI on it but you can certainly install a servicable Third Level (or more). There are a lot of people riding "housewife" GP who couldn't install Third Level from the ground up. Why move on to a new horse before you have maxed out the one you already have?

I always had in my head that I would do dressage "when I could afford a real dressage horse." There was a day when I suddenly realized, wait, I have three dressage horses. At the time they were an ottb 3' hunter, a just-broke 3.5yo oldenburg, and a 14.3h 9yo WP bred QH that was a sale horse who had just arrived out of someone's back yard.

Four years later the QH has found a new home as he was purchased to do, but not before I learned how to install a servicable first level and play with more, the ottb that everyone on COTH would have mocked endlessly as a dressage prospect had they seen his 3yo picture doodles around doing his canter pirouettes, and the oldenburg is starting the tempis (but showing in the hunters when finances allow for his "real" job).

They are boarded at boarding barns separate from a trainer and we trailer out to lessons and clinics, or ride with the visiting trainer who comes in.

Why start completely over with a new horse, new place, new everything and more expensive to boot when you already have a foot in the door with what you've got?

eta, and for some reason unknown to me my earlier post went up twice, and it is not letting me delete the duplicate. Sorry everyone.

Superminion
May. 15, 2012, 12:21 PM
IMO I'm with everybody who says that it doesn't make sense to lease when you already have something.

I would switch trainers to somebody who does Dressage, and maybe has a schoolmaster or two that you can sit on when you need to feel what's right. You'll learn a lot more by bringing your horse up the levels yourself. That's what I'm doing. I work in exchange for lessons, and I audit as many clinics as I can afford to.

If you can't afford to audit... offer to volunteer. Even if it's just opening and closing gates, or running around scooping poop, you'll have the best seat in the house, and they usually feed you too. I've spent hours upon hours tacking up horses for people, in exchange for being able to watch their clinics with the pros, and I've learned so much! It's also encouraging to see the upper level riders work through their challanges.

It sounds like your parents are supportive, and willing to drive you places (within reason).

You can also volunteer to scribe at dressage shows, and learn a bunch that way as well. It helps to network, and you might get lucky and find a trainer who is willing to take you under his/her wing.

DottieHQ
May. 15, 2012, 01:59 PM
You can also volunteer to scribe at dressage shows, and learn a bunch that way as well. It helps to network, and you might get lucky and find a trainer who is willing to take you under his/her wing.

Would they let a 15 yr. old scribe? 'Cause if they do, I would love to! :yes:

equine08
May. 15, 2012, 02:36 PM
If you are familiar with the tests, scoring and act professionally and courteously, I would think there wouldn't be any problem doing so at local dressage shows. They are also always in need of runners which gives you time in between to watch some of the rides.

Another idea if a part time working student job is unavailable is to ask the trainer/barn manager about posting your availability (for their non full service clients) to assist at local shows and clinics. Many have friends/family helping, but at times it is really nice to have someone help care for their horse while they watch the show or clinic. You are usually not busy the entire day so you have the chance to watch rides as well as creating additional income for lessons and clinics. Many take place on weekends or F-S-S so this should work pretty well for your parents driving you.

I agree with those posting against a lease right now. The #1 thing you need to develop your dressage skills is a horse, any horse, to practice on.

Mr.GMan
May. 15, 2012, 02:54 PM
This would be a good idea...the only thing is, I'd probably have to go to a different trainer because my trainer is primarily an eventing trainer and I'm not sure if she has a schoolmaster I could take a lesson on. She already comes to my barn for lessons though. Actually, I may end up switching trainers because I don't think my parents could pay for two different trainers if I end up doing the occasional lesson on a schoolmaster thing...we've already been thinking about switching trainers anyway...

Two words: Dawn Weniger.
I don't think you are too far out for her to travel. The $$ is well worth the lesson. She also has schoolmasters you could ride at her place. They teach me a lot. I really adore her mares :-) I really encourage you to talk with her. Tell her what you goals are, the things you stated here would be a good start.

I wish you had a gelding, I would ask you to move here in a heartbeat! If I had a sound horse, I would invite you to ride him in a lesson or two. He isn't a schoolmaster, but he does know a thing or two.

Give me a call if you want, I can talk with you more. I think I did pm my number.

coloredhorse
May. 15, 2012, 03:15 PM
What do I do? What would you do? Am I being unreasonable?
TIA

You do what you CAN do, which is what I and the vast majority of average dressage riders do. :yes: Being at a "dressage barn" won't improve your riding ... working on your riding WILL. (I was at my winningest in the showring while renting space at an out-of-the-way barn with no arena, just rolling pasture hills to work on.) Your situation may well put you in a position where you really learn the nuts-and-bolts of what is important!

You board where you can afford. You learn to become SELF-motivated about your schooling. I keep my horses at home. There are some other horseowners around, but they are all casual/trail riders. I set personal goals for myself while riding, and I lash a video camera to a fence post periodically ... the vid helps keep me honest and shows clearly what needs work! Take advantage of your quiet barn: You can work in peace, not battling multiple lessons/other boarders for arena space, and not facing sniping and snarking about how good/bad you, your horse, your tack, your whatever might be.

Education IS critically important. Take lessons with the best instructor you can find. Even if the price/distance/whatever means that you cannot work with this individual often. A once-a-month lesson with someone great, who will zero in on your strengths and weaknesses and give you "homework" to maximize the former while improving the latter, is worth more than anything.

Auditing clinics is usually very affordable. Take these opportunities when they arise anywhere within driving distance. Go early, stay all day, take notes, talk to the clinician during breaks (in particular, make note of horses/riders that mirror you and your horse and ask specific questions about those rides to glean advice that will help you).

And those "dressage barns?" Sure, that can be a great place to observe more advanced riders and soak up knowledge. So approach the owners and trainers ... ask if you can watch a day of lessons sometimes. Offer work in exchange if you want.

Take advantage of technology. How many dressage videos are there on youtube? A LOT! Watch them. Read the comments. Don't join in, just watch, draw your own conclusions, read what others say, particularly their reasons.

And read. There are reams and reams of paper out there about dressage/classical riding. Read them even if you don't viscerally understand what's said. Eventually, something will happen and a little lightbulb will appear over your head as a concept suddenly makes perfect sense!

Finally, don't engage in negative mental chatter about yourself and your situation. So what if you are in a "pleasure" barn and not a "dressage" barn? That doesn't make your dedication or the quality of your work any less! Apply yourself diligently, focus on what you CAN do to further your education and HAVE FUN. Really. Dressage is serious business, but there is a lot of fun to be had, as well.

meupatdoes
May. 15, 2012, 03:19 PM
^ *applause*

Long Spot
May. 15, 2012, 03:34 PM
Coloredhorse, your post is fabulous.