Lately I've been making eyes at eventing ... it just looks like so much dang fun! I went out last week to spectate and take photos of a couple friends as they schooled XC, and I think that was the last straw. I want to try it!
But here's the catch -- I've been a dressage rider all my life. I can probably count the number of times I've jumped using both hands, maybe even just one. I get nervous riding out in the open. Galloping? Fuggedaboudit. I don't know a vertical from an oxer (okay, that one's not true) or the first thing about distances or finding my way around a course, in the ring or out. Right now, I can probably stay in two-point for 6 strides before I wobble, if that! And a lot of the "intro to eventing" type articles I've seen assume that people are coming from an H/J background, which I decidedly am not. (I just always thought jumping was kind of boring, as a kid. I know, I know! Weird.)
Obviously, steps 1. and 2. are to start taking jump lessons and start hacking out more often (which will be good for the mare I've been riding anyway, since she's 12 and has only been in solid work since I started riding her in December), but I imagine there are a lot of other things that aren't even occurring to me as things to think about if I want to do this, coming from the safety of the sandbox.
Goal-wise, I really just want to have fun and acquire a set of skills that are pretty different from what I currently have, so it's not like I'm shooting for Rolex, here. But what should I know, starting out?
find a good trainer in your area that is good with adult riders and that you get along with. it really is quite fun and you will be super hooked once you start eventing. take it slow, no need to hurry things along. do it right and there is nothing like it. good luck and welcome to the dark side
what maxx said. And...hacking out more and starting to jump (with a trainer)...that's a good start!
Eventually when your two point is really solid in the ring you can start hacking out at the trot and canter and keeping the two point on terrain....
Also, it is a good idea to find some local eventers (maybe through your event trainer, once you have one) and go groom for them at competitions -- gives you a great sense of what to expect...and volunteer!
Were you at Silo Farm with John Staples? If so, one of your best sources of information was there as one of the riders. He posts on this board as RAyers so you can send him a PM. Failing that check out the Boulder Valley Eventing Association's website: http://www.bvea.org/BVEA/BVEA_HOME.html
Brock n. (Anglo-Saxon) badger as in Brockenhurst, Brocklebank etc www.area35.us
Borrow a jumping saddle!! Do NOT try to do your 6 strides of 2-point in a dressage saddle! You'll surely be able to do 12 strides if you get a saddle built for the job. ;-)
Also, welcome to the dark side...you'll never go back. ;-)
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
There is an old Thoroughbred training track (grass, I guess about a half-mile) about 100 yards down the road. So I take her over there and "gallop" around it. I trot once around, then gallop once, then trot again and gallop again.
We have a lane around the field that I can trot and canter around, too. And it has three log jumps. We've jumped them all. And we have a couple of jumps in the ring.
I love this and so does my horse. Of course I'll never do anything big (may never have to do more than a walk-trot dressage test), but DAY-UM!!! Is this FUN!!!!!
She's fat from the winter and now the spring grass so running around every day is probably a good idea.
PS David has a jumping saddle he's letting me use. So I am no longer jumping in my dressage saddle...
Just go for it. Find a good trainer to work with on your jumping and just have fun with it. There are no rules that say you have to compete or you have to have perfect dressage or whatever. At least keep most of the rails up eventually and stay right side up and you're golden. ;-P There are schooling horse trials available with literally poles or branches on the ground as "jumps," so places for nervous people to start exist!