I didn't event until late in 2010, which put me already over 40. I started riding at age 11 or so. My daughter has been riding since she was 5, but not really riding well until the last 6 months or so. She is just dying for me to allow her to go BN. I have let them do a tadpole at a schooling show, which is where they will have to hang for quite a while, I anticipate.
She is 9, but only 50 pounds and so far, dressage has been her nemesis. The pony goes nicely on the bit for an adult, you ask her to go from leg into hand and no problem. Anneke's legs don't extend much past the saddle so the pony just basically ignores her leg aids in dressage (or doesn't feel them, I am not sure which!). Jumping they are doing well, although I need to work on her using a neck strap. I have added one but she refuses to use it. We will be doing some lunging over a fence with no reins but a neck strap to get Anneke used to using one.
I am hoping in a year I can let them out on a BN course, but realistically they seem a long way away from that. The pony can get them out of bad spots in xc and sj when they are 2', but the step up from tadpole to BN is pretty decent. The pony has run about 4 rec BN in the past, schooled Novice, is 15 years old and 13.3.
How old were you or your kids when you actually did a full BN? Was dressage just crap or did you wait until they could actually put in a fairly decent test?
I joined Pony Club when I was 15 years old. I did my first "Pre-Training" when I was 16. By the time that I was 17 years old, I was running Training level. This was back in 1968, so Training was much different from how it is now.
Started riding when I was 8, started eventing when I was 16, when eventing really made it to where I was. Didn't event from 18-33, then got back into it (with my first real job after graduate school) and have been eventing ever since
My daughter started eventing at ten, did unrecognized starter trials the first year and competed at the American Eventing Championships at Novice level the next. You will see your child's legs lengthen and become stronger this year. If she has a good foundation she will move up the levels faster than you as her mother would probably like. Your child is at the age where she will soar if you allow her the freedom!
I started riding when I was 10. I did my first ever event at Elementary when I was 13, then moved up to recognized Beginner Novice when I was 14. I'm now 17 and competing at Training. My trainer took a group of us (about 4 I think) to our first event and before then we had done a psuedo-xc school at her barn where she has a couple of ditches, a bank, and a couple portables incorporated into the area around the ring.
The dressage was bad. We were accurate with our transitions, knew our tests, and were pretty good with our geometry, but we really had no understanding of what having a round, through horse was. I usually scored in the low to mid 40s in dressage back then. We just went in and rode the pattern really.
We were actually pretty good jumping, however. We always jumped around double clean stadium and xc, had decent positions, didn't catch our horses in the mouth, could understand the basics of finding an okay distance, and could understand the differences between how to ride different types of fences (ditches, drops, water, etc.).
I think that if you have any doubts about letting her go BN, you should hold off. You want her to have a good, safe experience the first time at that level and if you think she needs to solidify her basics a little bit more before she's ready I would follow your gut.
I did my first BN when I was 12. I probably could have by age 10--I was doing 2'6"-2'9" hunter shows-- but I didn't discover eventing until age 12. At 11, I started leasing a wonderful QH who'd jump anything, had some eventing experience, and made it a fun transition for me from h/j stuff to cross-country. That's also when I joined pony club, and had my first-ever dressage lesson.
If your daughter is comfortable and controlled schooling BN, and showing the same height at local schooling shows, I'd let her compete when she's ready. I can say for certain that my dressage was a long time in the making-- but coming from a h/j background I had a lot of habits to unlearn. Dressage is a lot of concepts (and body strength/positioning) for a young kid to develop, and it may take some time to master. So long as she's safe and having fun, I wouldn't let the "lack of competitiveness" in dressage hold her back.
Luckily she rides with a trainer who has also told her she is not ready for BN, even though the pony has done it. I am thinking maybe in another year or so she can move up from Tadpole. Oddly, the XC seems to be where they are the best, although she can remember a sj course very well. The dressage is not so pretty. Not because the pony isn't really round as much as my daughter just gets in the arena and makes some pretty interesting circles. For lessons the trainer puts cones out, then she does well on 20 meter circles. Take that away and it is like her brain shuts off.
Started riding at 6, did first schooling event at 10, did first real event (Foxhall Farms HT in Ontario) at 12 in 1980. Both events were on my 12.1hh welsh pony.
In both events everything was awful- dressage had interesting figures with pony's nose in the air, we got over about 3 jumps in the whole xc course, and I think we were eliminated from show jumping. Those were the days when the smallest division was Pretraining(Novice), so quite an effort for the pony. At the rime I was also in Pony Club with a C1 rating, and stayed in it until I aged out with the B2 rating, with rallies (PC eventing) my 'specialty'.
I kept eventing on a different horse, but it was only local and regional rallies for the next 9 years until I began as a working student on another different horse, and then I truly "began eventing" seriously at Training, ironically, at that same Foxhall Farms. I was then 20.
Bad pony and I over first xc fence that horrible day at Foxhall:
Last edited by fanfayre; Jan. 16, 2013 at 01:53 PM.
Another owner of A Fine Romance baby who has grown up and joined the fun!!!
Came from the womb asking for a pony. Started riding, FINALLY , at 9. Spent my teenage years doing local hunters, some jumpers, a little dressage, and vehemently swearing that neither I nor Neigh for brave enough to jump fences that didn't fall down.
At 18, in a fit of insanity, I agreed to join some barnmates at one of the two local starter trials. And the rest is history.
I just hope you aren't holding her back because of her dressage! If she's in control and can stick well with the pony and can answer all the questions she'll face on xc or in show jumping, and can w/t/c and remember the test (bad geometry or not), I wouldn't hold her back because of dressage. She'll get bored, and the dressage will come as she gets older and comprehends the nuances a bit more.
If they aren't safe jumping around BN size courses, then, by all means, keep her back. But the dressage will come.
Hunting is excellent training for eventing! The rider learns to move at speed, go across different terrain, develops balance and riding by feel, understands how to ride a tired horse and how to save the horse for when its energy is needed. So a child hunting seems like a good idea to me. Looking at the OP photos, the child is a good rider - but not yet physically big enough to work with the pony and it looks like her balance depends on the reins. IMO riding xc takes mental preparation and demands some maturity in the rider. As a regular fence judge, it is the children on their speeding pony that really scares the bejeebers out of me!
I did my first USEA event when I was 16, but was already an active C3 Pony Clubber at the time and had been to many D/C/Combined Training rallies, so it wasn't completely new at the time. I'm really thankful for those Pony Club days, since I got a good well-rounded riding education without a ton of competitive stress.
I started riding when I was 22, did my first CT when I was 25, and my first BN HT at 26. My dressage was definitely crap due to my very tense/ADD mare. I had bought her about 6 months prior because I wanted to get into eventing. She was a great confidence booster for XC because she had competed at N and T with a previous owner. Honestly, if I had waited until we could put in a decent test we'd probably still be waiting.
Started riding at 10 and joined Pony Club at 12. I did some local schooling type stuff but didn't really start eventing until I was 14. My first recognized event was Pine Top. I was horse shopping and half leasing a horse while searching. Owner of horse had entered the event, but then hurt her shoulder and couldn't go so they asked me if I wanted to take him. So my first recognized event was at Novice. We also found my first event horse while there so we brought an extra home lol.
Ohio: Charter Member - COTH Hockey Clique & COTH Buffy Clique
Didn't have a horse growing up. rode anything I could but that was extremely limited to the occasional guided trail ride, the nasty pony that some of my parent's friends owned, my cousins' ponies who lived in another state, and one illicit moonlight ride on a horse that belonged to a friend's neighbor (jumped the fence to hop on her and everything).
Started riding with weekly lessons while in college. Bought Char in August 1993 (I was 24). Went to Rolex for the first time in 1994. Entered first event - Dan Hobyn - in July 1994. Finished the event with a 6th place ribbon, due to attrition as we picked up a stop, a rail and time in SJ, 3 total stops and a minute of time on XC and our alltime high dressage score of 80-something (old scoring system but still). Still have and use the scrubby brush thing that came with the ribbon.
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