Ok so I'm an eventer crossing over to the h/j land to get some jump classes in between events. At our last event I was so proud of my med. pony for making all the horse strides. So we have a show next weekend at Woodside and I entered a few open jumper classes to prep him for our *hopeful* move up to novice this fall. Anyways, during my last lesson we had a line set up on a horse stride and Mr. Pony was feeling quite lazy and we couldn't quite make the distance, but I'm trying not to be too worried about the show because he has proved multiple times now that no matter how poorly he schools the week before a show, he gets to that show and he is going to put in his best round(assuming, of course, that I remember to breathe and stay quiet and not interfere with him, and most importantly, never ever EVER let him think its fun to stop and hang out with the other horses at the gate and then not leave their side)
So my trainer mentioned that to ease some of my fears(we'll be jumping .90m in the show, which I've never competed at before so I'm a touch more nervous than before) we should try to enter some pony jumpers, which are set on a pony stride so no worries about making the distance. Ok that would be a nice change to compete against ponies instead of 17h warmbloods. Well, there's none at the Woodside shows as far as I can tell so I'll just have to go for it in this show, but I'd love to do some pony jumpers at other shows. Unfortunately, they don't appear to be a popular class because I'm having trouble finding them at shows on the USEF site, or the ones that I can find are really far away. I'm in the SF bay area and would prefer to travel about 4hrs max(preferably *much* shorter since I get car sick lol, but it doesn't look like that will be possible unless Woodside starts holding pony jumpers)
Also, is there an age limit for pony jumpers? I turned 16 this summer, and I think I read somewhere that you have to be 16 or under to compete in pony classes, but I don't remember for sure, or if it only applied to hunters. If that's the case will my only chance to compete in pony classes be this fall?
And, if anyone knows of any great venues within about 4 hours of the SF bay area, please share, even if they don't offer pony jumpers. I haven't got a lot of show experience outside of eventing(and even that's quite limited) so I'd love to hear what places offer great h/j shows.
Well I do the Sacramento Area shows and there are always pony jumpers at those, but they are really low(2'3) and not very competitive. I have noticed some .75m pony jumpers at one of the A shows, but that's the highest I've noticed. Personally, I'd use the pony's as a warmup and do the rest of the classes at the horse level. I showed my friend's large pony in all the horse jumper classes and often beat the horses, (under 3ft though)! At the lower heights, I think it's easier for the ponies to make the strides. Another friend used to show her small in the really low open jumpers, (2'6), and still managed to do well.
As far as good venues go, Murieta Equestrian, (in Rancho Murieta) just did a ton of "remodeling" and it looks awesome! Leone Equestrian, (in Sacramento) is pretty good too, but not as many shows have been held there this year compared to last year and it's a lot smaller. I did a show earlier this summer at Brookside Equestrian, (near Galt), and it was nice, but I still much prefer Leone and Murieta. Starr Vaughn Equestrian, (in Elk Grove), always has a bunch of one and two day schooling shows. They have occasional B shows too, but it's a nice place just to go school as well. Those are the main places I frequent....my barn usually goes to Pebble but it was moved this year because of a golf tournament. And if you want to go to a really nice, (but really competitive and expensive), show then go to the Menlo Charity. My old barn went every year and it always looked like a lot of fun! Good luck!
ETA: I did the pony jumpers last year and my show age was 16, and I'm still eligible this year too so you should be fine! And I don't think jumpers have an age limit anyways.
Edit: Rule for Pony Jumper rider age (so you are good for another two seasons as you are will be 16 on December 1st of this year and then 17 next year - you can show your pony through the 2012 season ):
Pony Jumper: A pony, 14.2 hands and under in height, that is ridden by an individual who has not reached his/her 18th birthday.
Starr Vaughn has a schooling show coming up on the 11th. They are offering a Pony Jumper class running at 2'3". They will probably not be adjusting distances, but it's a good warm-up and fun to go around with other ponies. The jumper ring goes all the way up to 3'9", so plenty of stuff to do all day
norcalhunterjumper.com has a calendar that may be a good 'quick-look' for you if you want to get some show-sites and dates for rated shows.
Also at the risk of a spin-off, anybody have any ideas on a really outstanding NorCal catch-rider for the pony jumper division?
Thanks all-I had heard good things about Murietta Equestrian so its good to hear it elsewhere too. I also was surprised to see how close the Sonoma Horse Park is so that would be a good one to try if there's any shows left this year. I just wish the Strides and Tides was in a month and not two weeks or I could probably make that one. Then again it's just as well b/c I don't think we're quite ready to break 3' just yet in a rated show