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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWjumper View Post
    I want to add to this thought, because it's so true.

    The absolute BEST pros I know are that way because they've never stopped learning and still take lessons from other pros. Same goes for the best amateurs. They're the best because they know who to go to for help and when to ask for help.

    In short, the best riders and trainers are that way because of that willingness and desire to learn something from everyone.

    I would say that NO ONE does it completely on their own.
    This is a great post.

    A lot of ammy riders that I've seen get to a certain level and get too big for their britches, think that they don't need anymore help, and they all eventually phase out. The pros that have lasting power, got to the levels in a time where it was much easier.

    I think that the Olympics modeled that perfectly. As our older pros are starting to take a step back, the younger pros come in to fill their shoes, but can't really keep up. I don't really know exactly why. I think that we're in need of a reform to make it more possible for eligible Ammy's to move up, but I'm not sure how we would go about it. Nobody is going to give anything away, and sometimes that is what a good ammy needs, mentoring, horses, whatever.

    I have a horse that could easily do the upper levels with a pro. Will she with me? Probably not. Why? Even if I had the time and talent, I don't have the money. If I had the money and time, it seems more doable, but who knows if I have the talent. I won't ever know really, because I don't have any way of investing in myself to find out.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
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  2. #22

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    As someone who is bringing my horse along with no training rides and very inconsistent lessons, here's what I struggle with:

    Inconsistency. If my job interferes with my schedule or my horse gets sick/injured, we both are out of work for the duration. We both lose fitness and we both have to ramp back up later.

    Experience and Knowledge. I take sporadic lessons, but when I am on my own and something comes up, I don't always know how to fix it. I can work by trial and error, but I am much more likely to make a mistake than someone with much more knowledge/experience. We've made progress, but it's very slow. Even one lesson a week noticeably improves our progress; having someone more experience on my mare's back would probably speed things up exponentially.

    Confidence issues. If I feel overfaced or uncertain, I'm more likely to back away than I am to push through it. Call me chicken, but I am much more likely to push boundaries in one of my sporadic lessons than I am on my own. That impedes progress.

    Ability. I'm an average rider. My aids can be muddy and my timing can be off. My mare would progress more quickly if someone with more ability were teaching her new stuff, and I would progress more quickly if I were riding a better trained horse.

    It all boils down to the fact that I have one ride a day (if I'm lucky) to figure stuff out, and some things I have to figure out by trial and error (mostly error). Also, not every horse has the temperament to put up with a rider trying to figure things out as they go along. I'm lucky mine does.

    Certainly, I'm learning some things I wouldn't have if I had a trainer riding her or even consistent lessons to help keep us both on track. But the people with horses in training or in consistent lessons are able to progress much faster, more accurately, and more consistently. I'm enjoying this journey, but sometimes I think I'm reinventing the wheel unnecessarily.


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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    for the sake of argument, let's say the Ammy can ride at the level, and the horse is the equivalent of Totilas.

    I mean, even an ammy can luck out and find that diamond.

    Does a horse really need to be groomed withing an inch of it's life every day?
    As to outside input, I am not suggesting there is no training advice ever, or lessons. After all, if lessons (longe lessons no less) are good for the riders at the SRS, who am I to say that mere mortals can't have any to 'go it alone'.

    Also for sake of argument, the horse is not housed at an insane distance away from the center of your life (mine was boarded a good half hour away from home, over narrow country roads, I did work 5 days a week and still managed to ride every day. I have to admit though, back then I had no other responsibilities)

    Or, and I am not saying this to be a jerk, is it important to have a horse connected with a well known name in order to score the points in subjective contests?
    NO! I believe that an ammy can do it themselves, even if they don't ride like Edward Gal.

    I have a friend who is doing just that. She bought a first level horse, has ridden under the supervision (once weekly) of a trainer, but she has done the majority of the work herself with only occasional tuneups by the trainer. Won several high point 4th regional honors this year, probably some national ones, and is working on PSG with the mare.

    Sure, she's not as slick as Gal and Totilas, but I have far more respect for someone like her than someone who went out and bought a 4th level/PSG/GP horse. Think of the learning curve she has experienced and is experiencing.



  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by NBChoice View Post
    Plus you have to realize that in order for a Saddlebred to go to the World's Champion show (just for example), they have to pretty much be the best of the best.
    ... And if they do spend a great deal on the horse, they want the horse to be cared for in every single way... not left out in the mud and maybe worked 3 days a week.
    Also a saddleseat rider

    With as many class splits as there are at the KY state fair, you don't have to be the best of the best; you have to be able to afford to show there. Anyone with enough money & cohones can put a horse in a performance class; you only have to qualify for the pleasure classes. To afford to show there, you have to work & have a pretty darn good job. Most of those jobs come with overtime, which doesn't help the ammy owner much. The uber successful AOTs that are usaually trotted out also happen to be independently weathy or trust fund types that are bothered with commutes or 40+hour work weeks.

    As others have said, it also takes help, i.e. lesson help & and farrier who can shoe something besides a QH or hunter. ASB trainers are clustered & if you're not near one of those clusters, well, you're basically SOL. Guess how I know?

    There is also a question of facilities. Having a decent place to work helps. A good 180' or 200' straight away is often to have. Most ASB barns use the aisle between the stalls. How many boarding barns will put up with that? Speaking of boarder-to-boarder relations, how many of you really want to deal with me jogging or long-lining my horse 2/3 of the time? Based on my experience & other threads on this board, not many. I won't even go into turnout, but think about this: they drug hunters down & ASBs up, so turnout is a big deal, but not in the way others are accustomed. Another battle.

    I have a pretty good background, some decent distance resources and if I really, really,really wanted to I might be able to overcome the logistical hurdles (not even addressing my limited budget). In the end, having dealt with the physical exhaustion of attempting it and the isolation of having to work around everyone else, it is much more enjoyable to help. A lot of help.

    ETA: My mom routinely showed at Devon in her younger days as an AOT (before anyone knew what an AOT was). However, that was pre-kids. Also, she had pretty good ground support, and back then there was decent regional ASB contingent. Her situation was quite different than mine has ever been.

    ETA2: My trainer made the comment last week that keeping a top open gaited horse going takes about 6 hours a day. He has BTDT. Most ammies simply don't have that much time.
    Last edited by red mares; Nov. 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM. Reason: another related thought


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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by betonbill View Post
    NO! I believe that an ammy can do it themselves, even if they don't ride like Edward Gal.

    I have a friend who is doing just that. She bought a first level horse, has ridden under the supervision (once weekly) of a trainer, but she has done the majority of the work herself with only occasional tuneups by the trainer. Won several high point 4th regional honors this year, probably some national ones, and is working on PSG with the mare.

    Sure, she's not as slick as Gal and Totilas, but I have far more respect for someone like her than someone who went out and bought a 4th level/PSG/GP horse. Think of the learning curve she has experienced and is experiencing.
    See, but that's still not doing it by herself. She's riding weekly with a trainer with occasional tune up rides. I'm not dissing her at all. It takes major commitment to get that far on any horse, let alone a green one. But, she is doing it all with the help of a good pro. Good for her! I have a lot more respect for someone who works with a pro, asks questions, and works hard to apply what they're learning than someone who thinks they can do it all themselves and messes up a horse.
    Quote Originally Posted by pinecone View Post
    I can't decide if I should saddle up the drama llama, dust off the clue bat, or get out my soapbox.


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  6. #26
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    As far as I am concerned the level of competition is just more intense nowadays.

    Using ASB as an example, yes, you have to have that horse groomed to perfection. Socks kept clean and in the moments before the class whitened with talc or other substance. Hooves uniformly blackened with another substance. Manes and tails combed out and thick and even and if they aren't, the fake tail substitutes. Set tails are a whole 'nother story in terms of work to keep up - needing to wear the tail set, keeping the horse from rubbing hair at the tail head. The top is in the set and the bottom is in a bag. Heck, go look on youtube for all the Western kids riding their horses with a semi permanent tail bag.
    Along with the athletic effort needed, it's a beauty pageant.


    Now I don't think the appearance of the horse is as critical in something like eventing. They are going to get disgusting on the X/C course, and if you look at X/C attire for the riders it's almost like you are looking at motocross.

    In the jumping arena the score is objective. No amount of pretty is going to keep rails up.

    In the dressage court though, in addition to the movements is also a subjective component that we humans cannot avoid, finding the appearance of the horse pleasing to the eye - clean horse, clean rider, clean tack - as well as the elusive "turnout".

    I see that while I was formulating my post the thread has trended a different way and I think PNW has some valid points.

    Used to be an ammy was often well to do, not busy working to make the money and not able to ride. Used to be that the Army brought up a lot of riders. GM's teacher was Gordon Wright, who also taught for the Cavalry. I think the level of competition is just that much more involved nowadays.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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  7. #27
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    If you can ride and train as well as your trainer you may need a different trainer. I am a great care taker and good trainer but nowhere near as accomplished as my trainer.


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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by betonbill View Post
    NO! I believe that an ammy can do it themselves, even if they don't ride like Edward Gal.

    I have a friend who is doing just that. She bought a first level horse, has ridden under the supervision (once weekly) of a trainer, but she has done the majority of the work herself with only occasional tuneups by the trainer. Won several high point 4th regional honors this year, probably some national ones, and is working on PSG with the mare.

    Sure, she's not as slick as Gal and Totilas, but I have far more respect for someone like her than someone who went out and bought a 4th level/PSG/GP horse. Think of the learning curve she has experienced and is experiencing.
    I agree with the bold.

    I think, though, that having access to a horse trained all the way up the levels is helpful when you start learning how to (for example) passage. It helps 100% to feel what the movement is supposed to feel like. It's kind of like finding a light socket for the first time in the dark. You have to feel around for a while, maybe shock yourself once or twice, but when you get it... light! Riding a schoolmaster first, however, is like finding the socket with the light turned on. You put the correct bits in the correct places and boom! It works.

    It takes so much less time to get what you want, when you already know what it feels like. That to me, is worth spending the money on a school master to bring me up the levels first, before taking my chances on a less-trained horse. I don't think that it's any less rewarding.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.



  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by trubandloki View Post
    Because I am willing to admit my limitations!
    THIS.

    Ammies, by definition, are not full time horse people and often have...you know...jobs, kids, family issues etc. Things that make it impossible to devote the amount of time it takes to make up and keep a competition horse going, especially at the higher and more competitive levels where you need to be near perfect or you are wasting your money.

    We also depend on trainers to transport and care for the horse when shows are weeks or more long and hundreds if not 1,000 miles or more from our home and we cannot spend that much time on the showgrounds.

    I think most of us have at times done everything and can do most of what the trainer does. But we realize we need a coach for upper level competition just like most other sports...and it's hard to teach a horse to do anything if you are not proficient at it as a rider. Or have never done it at all.

    It's not the mark of ineptitude to use a trainer for a serious competition horse. Or for a rider to get ahold of a schoolmaster so they can learn before attempting it on a Green horse and certainly before training it themselves.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

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  10. #30
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    OK, here's my $.02 on the subject:

    Friends always ask me why I need lessons after riding for so many (40+)years.
    Because (I tell them) I have not yet learned everything.
    Even the trainers I use now take lessons and clinics.
    Knowledge is not static, neither should learning be.

    I once showed my own horse in an "acknowledged" Pro class (1st Year Green)
    Other trainers, aghasted , ran up to ask my H/J trainer why he was not riding the horse.
    "Because" he replied "It is her horse."
    We took 2nd over a class full of Pros.
    I am not saying this would have been our consistent result, but thanks to his help I was able to Make It So on this & other occasions.

    My dressage trainer/friend of many years may have ridden my horse a handful of times. Mostly to show me - on the ground - what he wanted.
    I am a visual learner and sometimes this helped make the breakthrough for me.

    He was also an accomplished Eventer but never once got on to help me figure out how to navigate the ditch that was my bugbear.
    But we ended up jumping ditches w/o a problem.

    I guess my point is a trainer can A)help w/o riding, B)help w/o riding Every.Single.Ride and C)help however best suits the student.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009


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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    Reading through that other thread I was struck at how many people concede to the presumed fact that an amateur cannot take a horse to a high level competition stage with success without having a professional do the majority of the work.
    If I am reading the first post correctly, it refers to the pro doing the majority of the work, not implicating that the ammy is never receiving any help. Regular lessons and brief moments of help during rough spots are things that I would consider necessities, but certainly would not be construed as the trainer doing the majority of the training.



  12. #32
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    You have to find the RIGHT trainer though. How many threads do we see started with "Changing trainers" or "My trainer did x, y, z!"

    Just finding the right trainer to help you up those levels can take years!
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.


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  13. #33
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    Put it this way: ***I*** was not the one who permanently effed my horse up.
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    If by 'luck out' you mean buy a young horse worth more than most houses, then yes, you can 'luck out' and get an international horse.
    You say the rider can 'go world'. Again, how did the ammy get this good? With a pro's help. Rider aren't born with the ability to 'go world'. They have some combination of work ethic, luck, the right trainer, money, the right horse, experience, etc. Now that the ammy has the $$$$ to buy an international quality horse, and has spent years in extensive training to get that good, no they don't need their hand held.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arelle View Post
    No. You don't "luck out" getting a horse like that.

    You either -- have put the time and background into learning what to look for, by being taught by a pro, OR

    You like that one because of it's color/personality/etc and then don't have the knowledge of whats underneath you and take it some of the way, but not all of the way.
    I am sure, the breeder will attest to the luck he had to produce this horse, repeating the pairing a million times over he might never come up with something this great.

    However, the point I was trying to make:
    The horse has the ability to go the Grand Tour, be it Power Prancing or whatever it is SS people show their horses in.

    I see where people do not have time to ride every day. True.
    Doing things at high level is more time consuming than piddling around.

    This is by no means a knock at people who are satisfied to hop on their horse once or twice a week and otherwise remain hands off. many people who can afford the horse have a hard time to afford the time, considering distances and time commitments.

    However, I am more interested in exploring the mindset of having to relinquish control of your animal to a pro in order to achieve.

    Do you still have to be able to really ride when the trainer puts all the bells and whistles on the horse?

    This is also not meant to know people who buy made horses.
    After all, not everybody is a trainer, and where would the the prospects go, if not to these people? (I am sure the kid who rides Totilas now has paid his dues, having heard his stepmom in interviews on how her riding was formed. certainly no free rides on the farm!) it's not better one way or the other.

    I am of the 'can do' mind set. (sounds weird when I consider that I lack ambition...)
    I don't think I would handle it well when a trainer told me I could not ride my horse....
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post

    Do you still have to be able to really ride when the trainer puts all the bells and whistles on the horse?
    I think that, you have to have a certain degree of skill to know how to push the buttons, or at least hang on for the ride.

    I was luckily enough to have a few lessons on my BO's FEI horse. She was by no means an easy ride, but it was because I was learning the skill set and she did exactly what I asked for. I can't imagine being able to sit on, Valegro (for instance) and spit out a Grand Prix test. I'd probably fall off.
    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    I prefer them outside playing as opposed to standing in the barn aisle playing "I can crap more than you"
    New Year, New Blog... follow Willow and I here.


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  16. #36
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    In the arab world the trainers keep the ammies that way by teaching them just enough to get the horse around the arena. Notning more. The horses are usually hotter because they are in a training barn environment - sometimes no turnout and the ammie gets to ride a couple times a month as per their training contract.

    To ride without a trainer - yes you can do it. Lots and lots of time in the saddle. I don't ride with a training barn. I work full time and I have many regional championship titles and a National Top Ten with my boy. I ride every night - I have 3 horses to keep up with - only one I show. He gets one night off a week otherwise we are working on things together. I miss a lot of family gatherings but my kids are all grown up so I put all my time, energy and $$ into working and showing my boy. Some nights I don't get home until 10. The weather is getting colder so you need to keep yourself motivated to get out there and work - its the only way you are going to improve yourself.

    My daughter showed all the way to Youth Nationals with her horse, with me as her "helper" I am not a trainer. She did great as did her horse. There is no way I would put my horse with a trainer most of them I know of don't work the horses consistantly, no turnout and you can't trust them. I would never only see my horse once a week or twice a month.

    You can do it without a trainer. And you can win.



  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReSomething View Post
    As far as I am concerned the level of competition is just more intense nowadays.
    Yes! It is one thing to compete locally as an AA, on a horse you do all the work on. But once you start competing regionally, it becomes much harder to hide the holes in your work.
    Sheilah



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    I am sure, the breeder will attest to the luck he had to produce this horse, repeating the pairing a million times over he might never come up with something this great.
    Totilas would not be the horse he is today without the training. This is where an experienced trainer picked, say, ten youngsters to be started as sport horses. One made it to be Totilas. All probably had talent... One ended up being trained by Gal, which made him into the SuperHorse he is.
    But it's a bit of a chicken and the egg, or nature v nurture argument. Would he be that great of a horse if an ammy had seen him as a weanling and bought him because she liked his socks?

    However, the point I was trying to make:
    The horse has the ability to go the Grand Tour, be it Power Prancing or whatever it is SS people show their horses in.
    The natural ability isn't hard to find (though the exceptional horses are unique). I think that there are lots of horses who could be competing higher and more successfully than they are with their owners. It's the owners/riders that make the horses what they are.


    However, I am more interested in exploring the mindset of having to relinquish control of your animal to a pro in order to achieve.

    Do you still have to be able to really ride when the trainer puts all the bells and whistles on the horse?

    This is also not meant to know people who buy made horses.
    After all, not everybody is a trainer, and where would the the prospects go, if not to these people? (I am sure the kid who rides Totilas now has paid his dues, having heard his stepmom in interviews on how her riding was formed. certainly no free rides on the farm!) it's not better one way or the other.

    I am of the 'can do' mind set. (sounds weird when I consider that I lack ambition...)
    I don't think I would handle it well when a trainer told me I could not ride my horse....
    I've never had a trainer tell me that I can't ride my horse, though I would never claim that I've gone at it alone. I have had countless hours of lessons, the patience of nice schoolmasters, coaches at shows helping me enter the right classes and navigate the warm ups when I was just starting out.

    Anyone who says that they are a self made rider is lying. There are hundreds of hours that others have invested in your journey, be it by cleaning stalls, coaching at a show, giving your horse a 'training ride or two', clinics, lessons, etc.

    Let's give credit where credit is due. Though some people choose more support than others, none of us have done this alone.


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  19. #39
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    You have to ride to a minimum level of competency to stay on in H/J or eventing, even though some eventers scare the heck out of the spectators, they are that out of control.
    In saddleseat I have seen the most beautiful equitation riders, truly a joy to watch, and then some of the AO riders are evidently not persons that ever tried that branch of the discipline. Crowded classes are very interesting to watch.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


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  20. #40
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    what so bad about having help? its a sport, and you need a coach. I support anything that makes it easier for the horse to do his/her job well!
    I wouldn't try to be a serious golfer (weather wanting to do my personal best or actively enter competitions) with out help, now would I?
    Dressage is IMPOSSIBLE with out help of some kind unless you are the gifted 0.1% with natural seat.... Even then its a lot of applied theory and knowing the steps and feel.


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