A friend of mine needed some advice, but I'm afraid that I honestly cannot decide which path she should take...
She has owned her horse for many years, and has had tons of issues with her. She was hurt for while, then was so crazy getting back into work, then hurt again, then crazy again! This year was the first year that they could actually show, and they showed first level.
Now, she is unsure of what to show this year. She is a very competitive person, and desperate wants to show FEI Jrs. I know of many juniors who show lower levels, buy a schoolmaster, and instantly shoot up to FEI. My friend's mare is definitely not a schoolmaster like this. She can do all of the lateral work, and in fact every bit of the JR tests, except for the changes. She knows them, but tries to get out of them, so bucks (HIGH) instead. They are getting better, but still not perfect.
She is wondering whether she should try for JRs this year, or wait a year and play around with 2nd and 3rd level this year. She has never shown above 1st (except 2nd in a demonstration), but can perform all JR (3rd) movements well. Plus, she only wanted to do 1st last year, as it was their first year showing together. She really, really, really wants to show JRs (and possibly go to the NAJYRC) - she will be 17 this year and has two junior years left.
So what do you guys think? A year of 2nd and 3rd, or straight into JRs?
Thank you in advance! I'll let her know what you guys think
I can only say if it were me, I would spend the time cleaning up the changes every chance I got and every ride as to make them a non plus.
Just as an example, my changes last year were "exuberant" to say the least. I wouldn't do them in warm up as to not wind him up. When it came to the class I would pray that we would hold it together once the change was finished. One of my coaches made this suggestion, I tried it and it worked. I now have terrific changes, and have even done one's on this horse. Because I didn't make an issue of it, I just did them all the time where ever.
Once I had the changes, I would do the juniors...you only have this opportunity once. I don't know where you are located but in the northeast there is still time before the USDF's come north.
I agree with the other posters. I think your friend could get a lot out of another year at 2nd/3rd and aim for the Juniors next year when success is more likely - that way it will be much more fun when it does happen for her!
Bucking changes may take about a year to confirm. A very precise body control is needed from the rider not to tense up during the buck/change and not to grab horse's face during that. Bucking changes will score 4 or lower if repeated. Plus horse can be out of control after bucking changes and rider may blow the next movement. In this case the collective marks will be negatively affected as well.
She migh not be ready for 3rd or for FEl Junior.
What are her scores at 2nd level?
FEDERATION EQUESTRIAN INTERNATIONAL(FEI) DEFINITION
FEl Junior: Anyone may compete as a Junior from the beginning of the Calendar Year in which she/he reaches 14 until the end of the Calendar Year in which she/he reaches 18
FEI Young Rider: A rider may compete as a Young Rider from the beginning of the Calendar Year in which she/he reaches 16 to the end of the Calendar Year in which she/he reaches 21
I would ride both 3rd level and Jr level tests affront of her trainer and see what flows better for her. Jr tests are quite convoluted with lots of stuff crammed in to them, but some horses do better with lots of changes of directions and exercisers.
Last edited by Dressage Art; Jan. 19, 2010 at 04:22 PM.
Is this girl working with a trainer? If so, telling a 17 year old that has never shown above First Level that she can go to NAJYRC on a horse that hasn't done anything above Second Level just shows that ANYONE can call themselves a trainer in this country!
Your poor friend seems to have been talked into something her horse (let alone she) was not ready for! My suggestion would be for your friend to get a capable trainer, that can confirm the changes in the time it would have taken to reply to this email AND answer the questions she is now forced to pass on to you - and then the COTH forum.
Like you said, your friend has two more JR years, and dont forget YR years. Actually you have a lifetime to get out there and compete and . . . HAVE FUN. I am very familiar with your friend and her mare. In my opinion, which could always be wrong, both horse and rider are not ready for that level of competition. Take this show season, have the trainer show the horse 3rd, your friend 2nd. See where it takes them. Don't rush the training process for a title that you have two more years to think about. Your friends horse is lovely and would hate to see her get bent out of shape. Same goes for your friend!! So in a nutshell, enjoy your youth and the talented horse!