Help teach me Eventing 101? Or, my son wants to be an eventer, now what?
For the past five years my son has been riding and showing Hunters. He is a good, safe, rider and the plan was for him to show Short Stirrup next year. He is also going to ride on our barn's IEA team for the 2nd year. Last year he just did flat and was 1 point away from qualifying for Regionals. This year he is doing x-rails and flat. He is in 6th grade and 11 years old. He showed over 18" jumps this year and had some nice ribbons and champions/Reserves at a local and local rated show series, including a huge win in a "Class of Champions". He has been complimented by many trainers and others on what a good rider he is and how good his position looks. (note-I am not under the impression that he is the second coming of George Morris, I am just trying to give an idea of his abilities at this time).
I orginally sought out an English barn because I wanted him to develop balance and position before he tried anything at speed. I actually thought he would eventually switch to Western, possibly reining, just due to our location but he LOVES to to jump!
Anyway, he has now said that he is just really getting bored with Hunters. He likes the jumping but HATES the slow canter he is supposed to do. He also HATES the flat work. I mentioned that Dressage is flat work but he thinks it would be more interesting to practice than just trotting around in an arena. He also hates the fact that when he goes to shows he really has no idea why he wins or loses or what to do to improve. He likes the idea that with eventing, after Dressage everything is based on objective scoring. He also never cares if he gets a ribbon, he just cares if he is getting better and having a good time with his pony. I knew this day was coming, although as a Mom I have NO problem with going slow!!:D
I see him not wanting to go to the barn as much for lessons, but he loves to go out in the pasture and jump things. He has said it is a loss of interest in hunters, not a loss of interest in riding and I believe him because I get bored watching his lessons so I can't imagine how he feels.
So, I am trying to figure out what our next step should be. I just can't wrap my head around how you train for 3 different things!!
I have located 2 possible trainers and googled away to see what reviews they have and they are both positive. I am also open to suggestions. We are in Northwest GA, 30 minutes south of the TN line. I realize that we are going to have to drive probably at least 1 1/2 hours to get to anybody good.
So I guess my question is, how do get into eventing? Do you just start taking lessons with an eventing trainer? Do you have to take 3 lessons a week, one for each phase? How much should a kid at his level ride to progress? He rides a lot already, but does he need to triple that?:confused: What would you do/tell your kid the best, safest, way to start?
Also, we have a wonderful pony who has some dressage training. Her previous owner told us that she was told the pony could do eventing up to prelim. I have no idea what that means, or who told her that, or if it is true but I am under the impression that we own a pony that could at least do low levels. What I don't know is whether sending a kid who has never evented out on a pony that has never evented is a good idea. It doesn't seem like it would be, but does she need months of training or what? At this time I don't plan to move the pony or trailer in for lessons until we see where this is going. If he gets gung-ho about eventing then we will move the pony to the new barn so he can lesson on her. Until then I am hoping they will have a saintly old horse that he can lesson on.
Also, what equipment does he need? He, of course, has an approved helmet but that is all. Do I need to get him a vest? Are vests like helmets and don't need to be worn after a fall? Can I buy a used one and it be as safe as a new one? What about for the pony? We don't use any kind of boots or wraps, but does he need to get those for her? Even though he won't lesson on her at first, he will be practicing on her at home.
Can you recommend any good books or videos? We have a membership to EquestrianCoach, anything on there that would be helpful?
I know that the trainer will be able to answer all these questions, but I am just hoping to get some information and opinions from y'all as well. I figure if it all matches up then great, we are on the right path! What I don't want to do is to get him in a sitution he is not ready for and have him lose confidance or even worse, get hurt!
I really appreciate any help! He is used to being the only boy in the barn (he calls himself the King of Queens) so if you know of any boy eventers in North GA/ South TN I would love to see if he could ride with the same trainer! I keep telling him that surrounding himself with cute girls in tight pants will seem like a wonderful idea in a few years, but right now the only girl for him is his pony!:winkgrin: