I am blessed with a jumping machine of a horse. If I steer he won't stop at anything, if I get him in front of my leg can clear everything (that we've jumped so far!).
However.. the juicy pony is not a dressage superstar.
We have been in last place after dressage for almost all of our events. Surprisingly enough the one event we WEREN'T in last place for was our first rec. HT at Flora Lea where we were awesome (still 3rd to last, but awesome for us!)
We're schooling novice and training (he's a solid 3"3 stadium jumper and we've done complete novice x-country with training options). He loves to jump and so do I.
My question is.. would it be wrong to just move up to Novice? I feel like he's getting so bored with Beg Novice and if we're going to be in last place in Beg Novice we might as well be in last place in Novice but with funner jumps.
or... should I really buckle down, take lots of lessons and improve my dressage before I move up.
I have moved up many times on horses that were not competitive in the dressage yet who were ready in the jumping. The N dressage is virtually the same as BN, so if that makes your overall event mileage more useful and more of a learning experience I'd move up.
I could careless about my dressage score or my placing.
Keep working on dressage...but if your jumping is safe and your horse is rideable in the jumping phases....then DO NOT let your placings dictate what level you stay at....not at the lower levels. As others have said...many of us don't even start at BN. Hell...I've skipped novice on horses before too.... Now if you were talking Prelim to Intermediate...we may be having a different discussion
I move up according to my jumping...dressage will catch up. Or it may not catch up and this little jumping machine is who will give you the jumping miles so that you can be more competitive on your next horse...who may be better at dressage
I have also found that some of my horses who were not competitive at novice ARE more competitive when the dressage gets a bit tougher. My best xc horse...the one who packed me around prelim and a few intermediates...then packed his next owner around at high levels of jumpers (mini prix) never scored well in dressage. If we were under 45 it was an exceptional test. But he was still one of the easiest and best horses to jump that I've ever sat on.
Talk to your trainer and go with the level you are safe and having fun and still learning something.
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
When I started eventing, there was no such thing as Baby Novice, or Pre-Novice. The lowest level was Novice. From my understanding, years before, everyone started at Training. My guess is also that before that, it was "Prelim"
As someone in the process of moving from BN to N whose dressage is also less than stellar, based on what you have said, I would do the move up. You want to make sure that you are safe and pretty confident with the jumping, but the dressage between BN and N isn't really all that different. The test is very slightly more challenging (but not by very much, to be honest, I found it a bit more fun than the boring BN test). But all the concepts are really pretty much the same. It's not until you get to Training that you get lengthenings, etc. So, in other words, from BN to N you would not really be moving on to more advanced stuff before accomplishing & mastering certain basics, you're still going to be working on the same stuff. If the jumping is there, then go for it.
I would move up. It's not prelim, it's novice. And you will find as you move up that you will be a little more competitive. I had a horse that would run around the dressage arena with his nose in the air. I worked on it and worked on it but he never really improved. We went training level and had a BLAST. Novice dressage is no huge jump from BN anyway, you will be fine.
I would say that if your jumping is safe etc then yeh, I'd move up. My guy gets tense in the dressage ring and as a result, we almost always finish last or near last in the dressage but he is a jumping machine and very safe (so I figure the flat work is there, just not showing up in the dressage ring ;p). I found that when I moved up to Training level, I did better. I don't think there's a huge difference between BN and N either. I think if I were to wait till my dressage score was much better I'd never even make it to Novice If I can keep my dressage score close to low 40's I'm happy.
Agree with everyone else. There are things that the dressage is "supposed" to test, such as ability to collect and lengthen stride, lateral suppleness, etc., that can arguably be a prerequisite for a properly rideable horse at, say, Prelim...
but the difference in what is asked in BN vs N dressage amounts to slightly crisper transitions and steering.
Move up if the jumping phases are doable and look fun/safe for you, and have a good time!!!
Me agreeing with everyone is just redundant, but, yes, move up. There is no reason to stay endlessly at BN just because your horse is not so great in the dressage. You'll be doing the same exact things in the N tests, so what's the point of boring you and your horse to tears? I also sometimes belief that staying too long at a level that is too small for an athletic horse can make that horse overly strong and careless, so it is better to move up when everyone is confident in the jumping phases to keep the horse thinking and paying attention.
You can ALWAYS work on the dressage. AND, if you just want to go out and have fun and run and jump and don't really care if you are blowing your divisions out of the water, then don't worry about it...go have fun.