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  1. #1

    Default 3'6" = The Ultimate Goal?

    Posting this as an alter, but lately I have been wondering if I ever want to show in the A/O's, but is that the end/eventual goal for all Amateurs? I showed extensively as a junior in the pony hunters, I had a few very nice large ponies and did fairly well with them. When I aged out I bought a very nice project/prospect who I show in the 3'/AA Hunters. She is the horse I never thought I'd be able to afford as an adult and on my own: big, quiet, gorgeous movement, top jump. I really really enjoy her on the ground and in the saddle, but lately I feel like I'm "wasting" her which is silly considering I've always said horses don't know when they're being "wasted", they just want two or three squares a day, quality hay, to be treated right, etc. I guess it's the people at my barn (who I love, don't get me wrong!) that make me feel like her potential is being wasted on me.

    My trainer jumps her around 3'6" courses and she looks like a dream while doing it. Trainer makes her look so soft and easy and as good as she jumps at 3' she jumps even better at 3'6". My trainer constantly tells me how nice she would be in the A/O ring. Other amateurs I ride with tell me how much they'd love to have one like her to do 3'6" with, etc. I feel a lot of pressure to move up to the A/O ring, but the truth is I do NOT want to. I have always been a very nervous, timid rider. I brought along most of my ponies as a junior and I rode a lot of stoppers/buckers/rearers before I got nice ponies (or before the bad ponies became nice rides). Now that I'm a little older the bigger the jumps are, the worse I ride. I'm pretty anxious as a person anyway and while I love to ride, I'm not brave. I have jumped big in lessons, a few 3'6/3'9 single overs or as part of a gymnastic, but it takes a lot of mentally talking myself in to it before I can make myself do it.

    I guess my question is, do most people want to do 3'6" if they have the horse for it? Should I try and force myself in to the A/O ring? I know it would make my horse more valuable if she could jump around 3'6 with good results - although I don't plan to ever sell her, who knows what could happen down the road? Does anyone else have height anxiety over bigger fences? Honestly I'd be happy showing at 2'6" for the rest of my life



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Default

    This is supposed to be fun. Enjoy your nice horse in the 3'. Do not force yourself to do something that scares you.

    Your horse doesn't care, and could last longer at 3' anyway, less wear and tear.

    If you want to see your horse in the 3'6 but just don't want to do it yourself, you can let your trainer show her in the Performance Hunters every now and then, or first years if she still qualifies.

    But if you want to keep her for yourself -- by all means, do! At the end of the day, jumping 3'6 won't get you closer to heaven. Or if it does, it's only six inches closer.



  3. #3
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    Feb. 14, 2003
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    Default

    If you love what you are doing, your horse is happy and you clearly have no desire to show 3'6", then DON'T! Your horse doesn't care, and your trainer should respect your right to stay in the AA's. I'm probably in the minority (and not from the "good old days") but I think that 3'6" is not the ultimate goal. Having fun and enjoying yourself is!

    Some solutions to the pressure: have your trainer show her in the High Performance or Derby classes. Maybe you could do the modifieds (do they have them where you are??) at 3'3"? Medal classes? Add a challenge without moving up in height!

    I am perfectly happy jumping 2'9" and below. I'm old(er), a bit nervous following a very bad fall that left me out of the saddle for nearly a year, so I feel your reluctance.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2005
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    Default

    I agree with both of the above.

    Also wanted to add: If you're really feeling a lot of pressure from your barn mates and it makes you uncomfortable, perhaps it's worth entertaining the idea of a new barn where people respect your choices and don't judge you based on how high the jumps are.

    (Of course, if this is just a minor annoyance and doesn't bother you that much, ignore the comments and enjoy your lovely mare!)



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fordtraktor View Post
    This is supposed to be fun. Enjoy your nice horse in the 3'. Do not force yourself to do something that scares you.

    Your horse doesn't care, and could last longer at 3' anyway, less wear and tear.

    If you want to see your horse in the 3'6 but just don't want to do it yourself, you can let your trainer show her in the Performance Hunters every now and then, or first years if she still qualifies.

    But if you want to keep her for yourself -- by all means, do! At the end of the day, jumping 3'6 won't get you closer to heaven. Or if it does, it's only six inches closer.
    This is pretty much word for word what I would say.

    HOWEVER

    There is the new 3'3" ammy owner division. If you feel brave you could give that a shot. You'll have to do a handy and jog, but there's usually more $$ handed out.

    If you don't like it, though, and don't want to try the 3'3", there is no reason you can't show at 3' for the rest of eternity. I promise you that your horse doesn't care!!

    ETA: As far as me personally, I have no desire to ride 3'6" right now. However, I might in the future. I'm bringing along a young horse who I hope will be able to do the 3'6", but my plan as of now if to continue in the 2'6" adults while my trainer does her in the baby greens. Sometime after she's been doing the pre greens for a while I'll move up to the 3'. I'm hoping that she'll be a first year horse and then do the performance hunters so that she stays tuned to the 3'6" and then maybe in a few years -- like 3 or 4 or 5 -- I'll be an a place in my life where I can ride enough that I'll feel strong and tight enough to give the 3'3" or 3'6" ammys a chance. So that's me personally



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 7, 2010
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    495

    Default

    At the end of the day, you should do what you want to do with the horse, not what everyone else wants you to do with the horse. If you are comfortable at 3' and feel that it would be too stressful for you to mentally move up, then don't. I have found that riders who are mentally not ready to make the move end up hurting their confidence (and their horse's, too). It may be ok at first, but I think it ends up getting to them and instead of improving with time, it gets worse.

    I think I am like you. I could jump 2'6-2'9" in my sleep. If I am out of practice, 3' can give me a few butterflies until I become accustomed to it. I have not shown above 3'. 3'3" gives me a few more butterflies and I just don't have enough experience at this point to feel fully confident or consistent at that height. 3'6" -- only at the end of a gymnastic or on total packers and even then . I think it would take a very special horse for me to feel comfortable showing at that level.

    To answer your question: would I want to do 3'6" if I had the horse for it? I think I would be game to try it *if* I had that special horse that would put up with me learning at that level and I had the utmost confidence in that horse. If the horse is greener, a little more technical, or less forgiving, probably not.

    As others have mentioned, if you start feeling braver than 3', but don't want to do 3'6", the 3'3" is a great division. If this division did not exist, I don't think I would ever even consider showing above 3'. Now its a maybe ...



  7. #7
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    Feb. 19, 2009
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    Default

    Don't worry about it, honestly. Like you said, your horse doesn't care, and you have fun at 2'6". Its too much money and time invested to do what other people want-you have to do what makes you happy.

    And if you're that concerned (in the event you do ever have to sell) just have your trainer ride her in the higher classes at shows.

    I have a horse that could easily do the 3'6" (she was doing the high A/O's with her old owner), however I'm not at a point in my riding where it would be safe or sane to consider doing that height, lol. But I think my situation is different-my horse already showed her potential, so I don't have any pressure to reach a certain height. However, I do sometimes think if a more capable rider was on her, just imagine what they could do! But then I remember, my horse doesn't give a s**t. She's fed and very well taken care of, and only has to go over little tiny speed bumps up to 3'. I think she has a pretty good life!



  8. #8
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    Sep. 19, 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fordtraktor View Post
    At the end of the day, jumping 3'6 won't get you closer to heaven. Or if it does, it's only six inches closer.
    I've always been a John Deere girl myself, but I think this is my new sig line. Love it



  9. #9
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    Oct. 11, 2006
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    Default

    hey i am happy if my green horse jumps crossrails. Our goal..2'6 maybe? I'd love to show him in the 3' or 3'6, but by the time i get around to it, i'll probably be too scared to show 3'6.

    Show at the level that you like. Who cares what everyone else says. I am thrilled when i get a good canter circle. Does that make me less of a rider? No. I've been there/done that. Did the big eq finals, jr hunters, etc. showed some greenies and some jumpers. Now, just happy to have a horse.



  10. #10
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    May. 6, 2006
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    rapidan,virginia
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    Default

    We adults put so much pressure on ourselves and we allow others to dump the pressure on us too.

    Enjoy your horse. Do the best you can at whatever level you choose.
    "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
    Rainy
    Stash



  11. #11
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    Apr. 27, 2003
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    Virginia
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    Default

    I agree with all those said above. I was in your situation a couple years ago. My horse at the time loved to jump big, but I was so nervous at 3'. I did some singles much higher up to 4' but I just couldn’t do it mentally. Typically I had success if I was in one of those I don’t care mood, they don’t happen often! I was perfectly happy at 2'6 and that’s all I did. He was retired a couple years ago and my current one is the same way. MUCH happier over the bigger fences and has the potential to go so high. Luckily with my horse now ironically enough I want to go to that height. Not sure why all of a sudden I’m willing to go high, but I probably wouldn’t go past 4'. That’s for the trainer to play with and show if she wants.

    But I was perfectly happy doing what I was comfortable with and my horse was showing until he was 23 years old and seemed very happy!

    Do what you want and enjoy it
    Forrest Gump, 15, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 27, TB

    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook



  12. #12
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    Jul. 3, 2011
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    Default

    If you are happy doing what you are doing now, then stay at it. I am a timid rider like you, and I know how hard it is to build up your confidence again when you are pressured to do something you don't want to do. Your horse doesn't mind not being used "to her potential" so you don't have to worry about that. This sport is to expensive to not be fun, so only do what is fun to you. If you want to, maybe do as others have suggested and have your trainer ride her in some high performance hunter classes. Not everyone has the desire to ride at the 3'6"+ levels, including me...
    Last edited by Libby416; Feb. 7, 2012 at 01:31 PM. Reason: rewording



  13. #13
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    Feb. 21, 2011
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    Default

    No... not everyone has a desire to do 3'6! Especially as an adult who isn't getting any younger, safer and smaller starts looking better and better!! I know quite a few people who did show in the 3'6 and now backed down to the adults or even the low adult hunters because they're older and perfectly happy to go around the "small" jumps for the rest of their riding careers!

    Do what makes YOU happy and comfortable. If you want, try schooling bigger jumps. If you like it, consider trying showing in the 3'3 or 3'6 A/Os. If not, stay where you are!

    Sounds like you have an awesome mare, enjoy her!!



  14. #14
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    Feb. 7, 2012
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    Default

    Thanks for the opinions everybody, I kind of knew I was being silly when I posted the OP, but it does feel good to know that not everyone aims to do 3'6" (and it's okay not to want to)! I think I'll talk to trainer about wanting to do some adult eq/medals for a little more of a challenge without going higher. I really don't even like the thought of doing 3'3", even 3' scares me to some degree. It's a huge mental block I have, but I usually end up standing by the in gate for awhile, watching other people go and having to mentally talk myself in to going in for my round. Once I'm doing it, it's fine and my saint of a mare has never once questioned me or picked up on my reluctance. When I was a junior my trainer used to tell me to stay up all night before a show - I always ride better when I'm too tired to over think things!

    I love my barn and my trainer and I don't think anyone is being snide about pressuring me, they probably don't even realize they are. It's just little comments, like trainer telling me how much better she jumps over 3'6" or the woman who tells me how much she wished I'd move up a division so she wouldn't have to show against us. Although I guess that's a backhanded compliment.

    So for those of you who are content at a lower height, do you jump bigger in lessons? This morning in my lesson trainer jacked up the end of a gymnastic and I really really didn't want to jump it, even though I knew my mare would. Eventually we went through it twice and she really was quite good, but I don't think I took a breath the entire time. I guess my biggest problem is telling my trainer "no" during lessons and drawing the line of where it is okay to tell her no. I know she wants to help me, but I start having mini panic attacks when I see the fences go up As a junior I used to cry at least once a week in a lesson (I cry at everything though, horse and non-horse related it's my first reaction) and I've been with this trainer for a couple of years now, I'm really trying not to let her see that side of me !



  15. #15
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    Aug. 7, 2010
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    Default Timid Riders Unite!

    As others have said, do what makes YOU happy. If you don't want to ride at 3'6, don't. You like the 3' and that's fine- own it. I'm a timid rider myself (at least o/f- I'll ride anything on flat), and most days I'm happy cantering over crossrails. Does my horse have the potential to be doing more? Yes, but he doesn't know it and he certainly doesn't mind it. Go have fun with your mare! I bet she's a real doll!



  16. #16
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    Default Kudos to the OP!

    Glad to see someone honest about this and not caring about the AO's. Funny, where are all the "you stupid 3 footers are dumbing down our sport posters"?



  17. #17
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    Feb. 1, 2001
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 3' princess View Post
    Thanks for the opinions everybody, I kind of knew I was being silly when I posted the OP, but it does feel good to know that not everyone aims to do 3'6" (and it's okay not to want to)! I think I'll talk to trainer about wanting to do some adult eq/medals for a little more of a challenge without going higher. I really don't even like the thought of doing 3'3", even 3' scares me to some degree. It's a huge mental block I have, but I usually end up standing by the in gate for awhile, watching other people go and having to mentally talk myself in to going in for my round. Once I'm doing it, it's fine and my saint of a mare has never once questioned me or picked up on my reluctance. When I was a junior my trainer used to tell me to stay up all night before a show - I always ride better when I'm too tired to over think things!

    I love my barn and my trainer and I don't think anyone is being snide about pressuring me, they probably don't even realize they are. It's just little comments, like trainer telling me how much better she jumps over 3'6" or the woman who tells me how much she wished I'd move up a division so she wouldn't have to show against us. Although I guess that's a backhanded compliment.

    So for those of you who are content at a lower height, do you jump bigger in lessons? This morning in my lesson trainer jacked up the end of a gymnastic and I really really didn't want to jump it, even though I knew my mare would. Eventually we went through it twice and she really was quite good, but I don't think I took a breath the entire time. I guess my biggest problem is telling my trainer "no" during lessons and drawing the line of where it is okay to tell her no. I know she wants to help me, but I start having mini panic attacks when I see the fences go up As a junior I used to cry at least once a week in a lesson (I cry at everything though, horse and non-horse related it's my first reaction) and I've been with this trainer for a couple of years now, I'm really trying not to let her see that side of me !
    Frankly I think you are wise not to push yourself any further out of your comfort zone. If, eventually, the 3' divisions start to feel small and boring to you... you can always move up later if you choose. I personally shifted into the adult eq divisions because I have a demanding job and other responsibilities that keep me from riding enough to be comfortable jumping the 3'6" anymore - 3' was plenty high enough for me, thanks very much, even though my horse has no problem going a foot higher or more. I've jumped him higher occasionally in lessons and I had fun watching him fill a few high performance hunter classes with an assistant trainer I worked with for awhile; the rest of the time, we've just puttered around at the lower heights and frankly, I think it's been the right choice for both of us.

    I bought this horse to enjoy on my own terms, and I like the fact that the 3' division is so physically easy on him. I don't apologize for that choice to anyone, and I don't think you should, either!
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  18. #18
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    Default

    "Glad to see someone honest about this and not caring about the AO's. Funny, where are all the "you stupid 3 footers are dumbing down our sport posters"?"

    I think there are two different issues. THIS issue is whether you should be bullied or embarrassed into riding 3'6".

    And I'm glad the young lady OP is getting solid, supporting comments. A move up from ponies to "big, gorgeous [big?] movement, top [big??] jump"? A lot to get used to. Go at your own pace; work on things that keep the challenge - LOVE your idea to start doing eq. Who knows? One day you might be riding with some others doing 3'3" or 3'6" and say, "Can I try that?"

    I know a woman (NOT fresh out of juniors) who swore all she wanted out of life was to get better than last in a 2'6" class. 18 months later, she was showing 3'6" - on her same 15.1 QH former western pleasure horse. Jumpers and hunters!

    Best of luck to you - and keep on having FUN. That's what it's all about!

    Carol
    www.ayliprod.com
    Equine Photography in the Northeast



  19. #19
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    Feb. 14, 2003
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    Default

    Oh, yeah, OP--that "no! don't touch that jump cup! don't move that pole!" I have that conversation in my head each lesson. I'm an adult. I tell me trainer when it gets overwhelming to me-"hey, I'm not comfortable" or "I'm done at this height tonight". Sure, I'll have brave days, and jump up, and gymnastics can be fun, but at the end of the day, I'm in charge and make decisions that help me have fun.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  20. #20
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    Jul. 30, 2008
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    Texas
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    Default

    It's definitely a good idea not to push yourself beyond what is comfortable for you. Just because your horse can do it, doesn't mean she has to be pushed either. Like other people said, she could care less if she's jumping 3' or 3'6'', and if you're going to be too nervous to ride well at the 3'6'' it's not going to benefit you or your horse. I'm a naturally timid rider, too, and I've had barn mates make me feel like I was wasting my horse. They definitely didn't mean to make me feel like that, but people that don't have any reservations about jumping bigger just don't understand. Also, I don't know if it's the same at your barn, but I know a few people at my barn that are jealous of other peoples' horses, and feel like they could ride the horse "better", so they think the horse is being wasted. Enjoy your horse and don't listen to anybody else!



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