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  1. #1
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    Default Busy teens/rules for horse shows?

    I have a gaggle of teen students, 12-16, that are all, obviously, getting to be... busy teens.

    We're rolling into show season and I've always been pretty soft on them as far as riding to prep for a show etc. In the summer they usually ride at least 3 days a week and I sit on all of their horses once a week, so at BN, I think they're fine.

    Well, this year it looks like they'll all be itching to move up to N. They're all on a myriad of mutt ponies, so N won't be like N for your average TB... they'll have to be on the ball.

    I'm starting to have a little bit of an issue with signing up for shows and then getting too busy to ride the week before etc.

    We are at a big of a disadvantage because we don't have lights/indoor so sometimes after school riding is tough with 2 working parents. None of them REALLY live close enough to carpool but some have worked it out a time a two.

    So anyway, I guess I'm just wondering what other teachers/moms with kids who ride ask that their students do to be properly prepared prior to a show.



  2. #2
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    I tell my kids and their parents, for Intro and BN, they can get away with two lessons a week, three day a week riding total. (Provided the horse is working more than that). But to go Novice, they have to be committed to riding 5 days a week. Period. Otherwise their fitness (mental and physical) is not sufficient to make it safe. Not every ride has to be a drill--I honestly think long hacks are as important as a flat or jump school--but I want their bums in the saddle five days a week.

    I'm sure I've lost a few students to this, but I'm nervous enough for "my" kids at shows. I don't need the added stress of thinking we've missed any homework.
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  3. #3
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    They want to show, they are responsible for preparation. If they enter and don't do the requisite number of preparatory rides before the show, they don't get to ride on your horses or under your supervision. Particularly if the horses are owned by you, this can be a non-negotiable. If they own the horses and don't feel like showing up for preparing in the weeks before a show, they have to take care of trailering, preparation, stabling, and competing on their own. Which is any rider's prerogative, but if they want to show WITH YOU, you are entitled to make some rules regarding preparation. Within reason, poor preparation is not going to be the end of the world, but it will probably lead to some disappointing scores.
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  4. #4
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    ETA I could never ride or compete regularly with a mandatory 5-days-a-week riding rule. Not possible.
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  5. #5
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    Jan. 6, 2011
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    I did four days a week riding in HS. I played Basketball and ran track with numerous AP classes on top of that. I ran training with my TB and had one girl at the barn hack him once or twice a week. He was a nice horse and she rode him for free. Are there any girls that can take on extra rides? That would at least keep them in shape.

    I agree with sitting them down individually with their parents to spell out what is needed for the bump up to novice. Make it clear that they need a minimum amount of days like 3 days a week or 4 depending on what works out. Make a plan that works for both the horse and the kid which is sometimes no easy task. But make it clear that if they don't do x,y, and z they cannot move up. Ensure them that this for their safety and their horses safety. It is a tough talk to have, but if they want to ride, they will bump it up (hopefully) and make it happen.

    Light is a huge issue. I use helmet lights (dollar store for $3 or LL Bean makes a really nice one for around $25) and pull my truck up to the arena and turn the headlights on. I work on two 20m circles at most, but I can at least get some riding in even when it is pitch black. They may be open to this?
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  6. #6
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    Jul. 19, 2003
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    When I had teens in my barn (actually, the rule applied to everyone, as I also had some young adults who could be lax in their riding because they often over extended themselves, if you get my drift), the rule was 4 days a week if they wanted to show novice or below. 5 days a week if the wanted to go training and didn't have their horse in a training program.

    The rule was set in stone and had some bend to it (obviously, s**t happens and sometimes people just miss days), but we needed to see them on their horses with regularity at least 4 times a week. Of course, we did have a nice indoor and there were some evenings I would lend a hand by getting a horse tacked up if one of the boys was racing in from football practice or what have you. No one ever complained and they always did their best to do what needed to be done.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    ETA I could never ride or compete regularly with a mandatory 5-days-a-week riding rule. Not possible.
    Same here. Well, I mean I maybe COULD, since I work three on/three off, 12+ hour shifts.
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  8. #8
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    Dec. 15, 2005
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    Maybe they should wait an extra month before they move up. By mid April, it will be light in the evenings and they shouldn't have such a problem getting out to ride before dark.



  9. #9
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    Dec. 10, 2011
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    Just speaking as a high schooler: I would make sure that they all definitely want to move up, and make it clear that it's okay to hang out at BN if that's what they have time for. You definitely can set rules for how often they have to ride to move up, but you might have a few that just can't make that happen.

    Maybe sit them all down as a group and lay out the guidelines, so they know what kind of commitment they're getting into, before they start thinking about it and training for the new season. That way everyone knows what to expect for the season, rather than starting and being disappointed when it doesn't work out.

    For the kids who do want to move up, maybe schedule an event during/just after Spring Break, or a few weeks into summer, so they have a little bit of spare time just before to really get everything together? They might have an idea of when the slower months are at their schools if you ask them.


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  10. #10
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    It might be that they need to wait for summer (or spring, when the days are longer) to make that move up. There's no shame in that.

    For yourself, you might consider if some kind of lights is a possibility. You don't need that much light to hack or do a minor dressage school, and the extra income you'd get from being able to teach later might make it worth the hassle.
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  11. #11
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    Nov. 7, 2006
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    I agree with waiting. Come summer, they all LOVE to ride, you can't keep them away from the barn. And they get out of school pretty much in time for ALL KHP events.

    Po is going Novice at Pine Top ... and she's established at Novice.... and I don't have to work during the day very often. It's STILL a headache trying to get her and I fit and confident and jumping enough. After April I'd go with they must ride 4, Horse is ridden 5. Except for Pumpkin. You can send Pumpkin to me.



  12. #12
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    I should have been more clear: they won't start coming to any shows until May, at the earliest, I imagine. Otherwise moms and kids have to take a full day off on Friday to get to any GA destinations. They can take a halfday and come to KHP.

    I have three events picked that would be suitable move ups, Maydaze, Spring Run unrecognized in July and Jump Start in Sept.

    The busy I was referring too doesn't limit itself to the school year! Summer brings band camp, mission trips, quick family vacations, day camp etc etc.

    Lights won't be happening at the farm, unfortunately, it's not mine and the BO is very much in the train of thought that if you're going to do it, do it right, so nothing that *I* consider appropriate will work for them.



  13. #13
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    I'm confused. Your OP said:

    I'm starting to have a little bit of an issue with signing up for shows and then getting too busy to ride the week before etc.
    Does that mean at the BN shows? If they aren't planning a move-up until July it sounds like you have plenty of time to establish some sort of training regimen for them to conform to. If they are already lackadaisical about preparing for a BN show then they likely aren't ready to even consider a move-up.

    I agree with Deltawave here. If they are committed to going Novice with or without your opinion and they are on their own horses with their own resources . . .

    But, I do think 5 days a week is really overkill for Novice. If BN is solid (not scary) then 2-3 lessons a week with 1-2 training rides ought to be fine. No reason you can't combine flat and jumping in the same lesson. A little dressage is a great warmup for jumping, and it will likely hold their interest better than 45 min of mandatory sandbox time.
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  14. #14
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    May. 23, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    ETA I could never ride or compete regularly with a mandatory 5-days-a-week riding rule. Not possible.
    Below Prelim, five days a week is a bit of overkill. I even trained and competed at Prelim years ago riding only 3 days a week AFTER getting fit for enough for a spring event. Of course the more time in the tack should net you better results, as long as the horse stays sound. But if the goal is to learn, have fun, and compete, three days week should be enough below Prelim. All depends on fitness level of horse and rider.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACMEeventing View Post
    I'm confused. Your OP said:



    Does that mean at the BN shows? If they aren't planning a move-up until July it sounds like you have plenty of time to establish some sort of training regimen for them to conform to. If they are already lackadaisical about preparing for a BN show then they likely aren't ready to even consider a move-up.

    I agree with Deltawave here. If they are committed to going Novice with or without your opinion and they are on their own horses with their own resources . . .

    But, I do think 5 days a week is really overkill for Novice. If BN is solid (not scary) then 2-3 lessons a week with 1-2 training rides ought to be fine. No reason you can't combine flat and jumping in the same lesson. A little dressage is a great warmup for jumping, and it will likely hold their interest better than 45 min of mandatory sandbox time.
    I mean any shows, yes, 2' BN, N etc. They send in their entry and then something comes up the week prior (or they forgot they had band camp or whatever) and then suddenly they haven't been in the saddle for five days and we're headed to a show.

    They own their own ponies and are welcome to do whatever they want, whenever they want, I'm not trying to force dictatorship down their throats. Sometimes I'm lucky if I ride my T horse 5 times a week.

    I'm looking for simple input on what others who have or coach teens consider to be an appropriate amount of saddle time in order to successfully and safely at N, which will likely be max scope for some of their mounts. I don't want them to be in full scale JW conditioning program. Again, I ride their horses once a week, their lessons include flat and jumping, and we have access to plenty of fields and jumps in the field to practice terrain, we haul to school xc and go to plenty of little jumper shows and local CTs. We have a pretty great program, but I still hate to haul these kids off to shows not having seen them for a week.

    This will be my first time with a gaggle ready to move up past BN and I want to be sure I'm doing right by them.



  16. #16
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    Apr. 20, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by eponacowgirl View Post
    I mean any shows, yes, 2' BN, N etc. They send in their entry and then something comes up the week prior (or they forgot they had band camp or whatever) and then suddenly they haven't been in the saddle for five days and we're headed to a show.

    They own their own ponies and are welcome to do whatever they want, whenever they want, I'm not trying to force dictatorship down their throats. Sometimes I'm lucky if I ride my T horse 5 times a week.

    I'm looking for simple input on what others who have or coach teens consider to be an appropriate amount of saddle time in order to successfully and safely at N, which will likely be max scope for some of their mounts. I don't want them to be in full scale JW conditioning program. Again, I ride their horses once a week, their lessons include flat and jumping, and we have access to plenty of fields and jumps in the field to practice terrain, we haul to school xc and go to plenty of little jumper shows and local CTs. We have a pretty great program, but I still hate to haul these kids off to shows not having seen them for a week.

    This will be my first time with a gaggle ready to move up past BN and I want to be sure I'm doing right by them.
    Got it.

    Sounds like you run an organized and safe program. Teens are getting busier and busier (ask me how I know, I've got 3). We want them to be really well rounded and encourage participation in music, sports, academic clubs, etc. Unfortunately it means there has to be some give and take amongst the activities.

    You know these kids well, you're probably a good judge of their "safety rating", and you know the ponies. I understand not wanting to show after not seeing them for a week, but if once in a while that's how it works out, probably be just fine.

    Refreshing to see how much care and thought you put into the program, btw
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by runnyjump View Post
    Below Prelim, five days a week is a bit of overkill. I even trained and competed at Prelim years ago riding only 3 days a week AFTER getting fit for enough for a spring event. Of course the more time in the tack should net you better results, as long as the horse stays sound. But if the goal is to learn, have fun, and compete, three days week should be enough below Prelim. All depends on fitness level of horse and rider.
    Even when I was going Prelim I had a very difficult time riding more than 4 days a week. I begged people to hack and do trot sets on my horse (who, BTW, was a total Prelim packer or it would NEVER have happened) and had to make EVERY ride count. It worked out fine for that horse because she was aged and days off were good for her. My current one, although qualified for Prelim, is a year or more away on MY timeline simply because of the chronic, semi-permanent time issue.

    My trainer has a "ride 4 times a week or you're not showing" rule but I am sort of exempt, because I have my horse in partial training and, well, I just can't do that and I would go to the shows on my own if I were given the boot from the official barn show list. But if I had a teenager I would absolutely want them to have the sort of structure eponacowgirl is trying to make happen. At my crusty old age and with probably 100+ HTs under my belt, I figure I've earned a few perks.
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  18. #18
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    dw- you would be exempt from my list, too, because A) you KNOW what works for you B) you make up for YOUR schedule shortcomings by getting your horse some rides with your trainer and C) you are a PLANNER who can look beyond the end of your nose and realize what you need to do to get to the next shows or the three day you want to do or whatever. Frankly, I'd kill for a customer like you! Both in my old life and my new one.

    OP, I would have a group jam session with riders and parents soon. Sit down with them all with ALL the outings you would like to have on the group's schedule (including CTs, jumper shows, clinics, etc). Have a list AND a calendar for each rider/parent set. Set some guidelines (such as: if you want to do do X event, I need to see you on your horse X number of times for X amount of days/weeks prior to the event). Discuss the calendar and the guidelines with everyone. Ask them to please go home and sit down with their school/vacation/camp/sport calendars and the riding calendar and decide what they CAN do following your guidelines. Ask them to set up an individual meeting with you (probably want to set a deadline for to get those talks done) so you can coordinate schedules and help develop a game plan for the rider and horse.

    This is way more work than I've ever had to do, but I've also never had a barn full of kids. A couple of teens, but mostly adults. Generally, we just set a schedule and everyone picks what they want to do, then does it. BUT, with the busier kids, we have had to discuss riding and competing around school, family, and other sports and activities. My one busy teen boy played football. In the fall, he picked one or two events he REALLY wanted to do, and would scale back a good amount on some of his riding (his horse got got some schooling rides and was hacked or used in the occasional lessons during those leaner weeks), but would knuckle down the couple of weeks leading up to his events. He cooked himself doing it (he had an intense academic load, too), but he made the effort and understood that if he didn't ride, it didn't go well at the shows.



  19. #19
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    Email just came from our barn with a tentative show schedule for the year, with everyone instructed to put down "yes, no or maybe" for each show so that planning can take place. There is also a pre-show-season barn meeting this Friday. That I of course will miss.

    So YB's idea is already being used by all the cool trainers.
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  20. #20
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    Am leery of hard and fast, you must ride X days per week rules. I had the same schedule as DW - leading up to my first one star (long format), I was doing my best to ride 3 days a week, though I'd ride 2-3 horses on weekends whenever possible. Is it ideal? Nope. Doable on a safe horse in a good program? Absolutely. Even now, a 4x/week is a great week, and its unusual if i get two lessons in there.

    But I'm also an adult, with a lot of years experience and a safe sane very experienced horse (and a youngster in a solid training program). For teenagers, I think there is something inherently valuable in the discipline of what one has to do to be a good horseman, and to properly prepare and so I do see some merit to increased expectations. Just try to be thoughtful about kids who don't have cars, can't ride at night and who are dependent on others to hit a narrow window of daylight. Imposing that kind of commitment on them means you have to have buy in from parents, and so I'd sit down with the whole group to have a here's what we are planning for show season this year, lets come up with a goal or plan that is workable and will make it the most fun for all.



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