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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2004

    Default Ride Times for Young Horses

    I know that the sequence for the test levels has always been low to higher and that it is effective for using a lower level test to ride as a warm-up but I really do feel that it is so counterproductive for starting young horses. Especially early spring shows (right now) and the weather extremes are still in play.

    I would love to see a class for young horses slipped in later in the showday so that a young horse can settle in for the day first. Or at least the choice of choosing this option.

    Having to ride Intro W/Ts at 8 a.m. with the weather turned back cold and windy and the horse is overnite fresh, trying to lunge at 7a.m. and ride (sometimes in the dark yet) isn't the safest way for anyone.

    We just did a dressage show like this yesterday, then a CT today w/ dressage tests scheduled their way from high to lower. That turned out to be a far superior experience for my young horse.

    I have seen dressage shows run a suitability class at the end of the day so why can't the USDF recognize an Intro test (maybe horse age qualified) that can be run in a more appropriate time spot? Especially at schooling shows!

    I anticipate the reaction to be that the trainer/riders can't organize 'their' day that way. I prefer to think more about the young horse's positive experience.

    Any thoughts?
    Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 17, 2001


    It is a matter of arena size and set up according to show management. Intro classes are generally held in a small arena(20 X 40) rather than a standard arena (20 X 60). Start with one or the other and lengthen or shorten once during the show.

    Personally, I won't ever spend my money on Intro classes. If I can't canter or halt a horse in public, then I have no business being at a show regardless of recognized or schooling. Yes, I do realize the Intro tests have halts in them courtesy of Anky.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2000


    None of the shows I go to have any kind of recognizable order to the classes.

    Around here, you can never plan on having your lower test before your higher test. The classes are scheduled to fit whichever way they work out time-wise, depending mostly on those riding more than one horse and allowing for the required 50 minutes between horses.

    And at our shows, everyone arrives the day before, so horses can get settled in then.

    It's just different methods in different areas!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2008
    Spanaway, WA


    I agree 100%. I just started showing and have only done 1 schooling show. But because it was a schooling show, the show manager allowed me to have my trainer ride a higher level test first, before I rode my intro and training level classes. That way my horse was not fresh, he was listening, and had the edge off by the time I got to my classes. I'm a timid rider anyway, and the combination of timid rider at my first show and fresh horse at his first show (with me anyway, he's 13 and has shown before) would have been too much.

    Next month I'm going to my first recognized show. So I will have to do my training level test before my trainer rides my horse in first level. It will be nerve racking but having that schooling show success (1st place in Intro, 2nd in Training Level and 1st place for my trainer's class) will really, really help my confidence.

    As far as Intro classes being a waste, I'm really glad they're offered at schooling shows. For those of us who are just beginning or a little timid, they provide a great way to 'ease into' the atmosphere. Its not that we can't canter and halt, its just that maybe we'd like to have a little look around the arena first! And we'll canter in the next class, thank you very much!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Chapel Hill, NC


    Scheduling a show with multiple rings, people riding multiple horses, horses being ridden by multiple people, etc. often precludes scheduling classes for when they are "convenient". You can always ask--request your class be later in the day, for example, and management will usually try. However, getting the rest of the schedule to jive takes precedence.
    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2007


    In the heat of the summer, we sometimes have our FEI rides first thing so that they don't have to ride in the full glare of the sun.

    But having a young horse, I agree, riding later is better on cold/windy days. It's just that most TL/Intro classes are little kids and beginners. The show wants to get them out of the way. Maybe so that the trainers who are riding upper classes can have time to school. Maybe because they are more boring classes to watch, so have them earlier before an audience. Maybe it's just b/c they are going in order up the levels.

    On the plus side, there are less people schooling early in the morning so there is less excitement for the young horses to react to.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    SE Ky


    Most of the shows around here start with Intro and go up the levels throughout the day. I would also prefer that reversed (like you do) - but for different reasons.

    When I ride a thrid level test my mare is working harder than those horses at Training level - so I'd rather not ride in the hottest part of the day - which is what happens now.

    We did have one show which took this into account - and it truely was a blessing (for me).

    The biggest problem there is the higher levels are more interesting for the audience to watch - and they're more likely to be there in the afternoon versus 8 am. And since shows are about making money (amoung other things) we're stuck for the most part riding in the hottest part of the day (cause even if the arena is covered the warmup area usually is NOT covered).
    Now in Kentucky

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2009
    Sunny CA


    In our multi ring shows, the order is mixed up quite a bit. Training Level may be the end of the day, or the middle of the day. Just attended a show last weekend where the Training Level classes followed the Intermediare classes, then there was 1st and 2nd level, then more FEI stuff, then Intro - we can't ever count on a certain order. Some show managers DO try to put the FEI earlier in the day so they can ride when it is cooler.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2009


    I don't think Intro is a waste of time either, but I don't think it's a huge deal that it's at the start of the day. When I first started showing my mare I thought it was a great warm-up, that let her have a look around the arena and get settled before our Training level classes. Doing Intro doesn't mean you can't canter of halt your horses for Pete's sake, and if my daughter ever decides to show, I'd be plenty happy to pay for Intro classes for her, too!

    I do see your point though. I'll bet that at a schooling show you could talk to management about doing something for your horse. I've found that management at schooling shows are often really great about working with people's needs.

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