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  1. #1

    Default How long until I can move from 3' to 3'6

    I talked to my trainer the other day and asked how long it would take for my horse to be able to move from the 3' to the 3'6. He just started doing 3' courses a few months ago. She told me he should have a solid 2 but maybe 3 or 4 years at the 3'. Is this right? I feel like that is just a long time. I can see 2 years but not 3 or 4. She takes things more slowly, so maybe that is why, but I would love to move up a little sooner than that. My horse is green, but pretty confident. (When I am confident he will jump anything, when I'm not he is slightly more hesitant.) Anyways, I just wondered about that, and wondered how long it usually takes the average person to move up. Thanks!



  2. #2
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    When I got my horse he was a green-for-his-age 6 yr old who had just done a show or 2 of 3ft. In 2 years we were competing at 4ft.
    I had competed to 3'6 before getting this horse and had schooled 4ft+ for a couple years already so I had experience at that level.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElisLove View Post
    When I got my horse he was a green-for-his-age 6 yr old who had just done a show or 2 of 3ft. In 2 years we were competing at 4ft.
    I had competed to 3'6 before getting this horse and had schooled 4ft+ for a couple years already so I had experience at that level.
    I'm with ElisLove on this one. I think that it is dependent on both the rider's ability and the horse's ability.

    How confident are you at 3'6"? Have you shown at that height before? If the rider has schooled regularly and shown at 3'6" and the horse has the scope to do that, then I would imagine that 1-2 solid show seasons at 3'0" (with schooling some 3'6" at home and maybe some limited 3'9") should put you on the right track to be showing at 3'6".

    Maybe some other more experienced COTH members can chime in here, but that would be my plan if it was my horse. With that said, 3'6" is a different ball game to me. I think it sorts the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

    I would want my horse to be solid showing at 3'0" and confidently schooling 3'6" at home before I would attempt to show at 3'6". Also, of course, I would want the full backing of my trainer with regard to mine and my horse's ability to be competitive at that height.

    Good Luck! As long as you don't overface yourself and your horse, I think that you will know when the time is right.



  4. #4
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    That sounds right to me. I got my guy as a just-turned five year old, and we spent nearly two seasons at 2'6'' to get more show miles on BOTH of us and then 2.5 seasons at the 3' before moving up to the 3'6''. The 3'6'' ring is so much different than the 3'. You need to be winning and/or placing consistently in the 3' before considering moving into the 3'6'' ring where the jumps and striding are much more demanding. Especially if you are still hesitant at times, far better to instill 100% confidence in your horse so that if you do have an OOPS moment at the larger height when you move up (and it will happen, it always does), he'll have faith in you and got honestly over it and carry on like nothing ever happened.

    ETA like others have said, it's dependent on rider ability. With the horse I'm talking about, I had never done 3'6'' before. Now that I have been there done that, although it's been well over a year since I've been mounted with a horse capable of 3'6'', it doesn't phase me. The only thing that phases me about jumping at that height and higher is my physical fitness, since if I'm on an athletic horse, there is a good chance I'll get popped out of the tack and barely make it around one course before I need a water and AC break lol.


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  5. #5
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    Its different for every horse. If you've just started jumping 3ft courses a few months ago, does that mean you haven't shown at the 3ft yet?

    Also without knowing the horse or the rider its hard to say whether your trainer is being overly cautious. Maybe there is something about how you ride the horse or you two as a pair that makes your trainer think you should take it slower. It sounds like your horse's confidence comes from you (if he hesitates when you do) so perhaps your trainer wants to make sure he's completely comfortable on his own at the 3ft first?

    What do you intend to do with the horse? Are you keeping it forever? Selling it eventually? Its one thing to push a little so you'll have a 3'6'' horse you can ride, and another to take your time with a sale horse anyone can ride.



  6. #6
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    How long should it take? Really the answer is 'it depends'.

    It depends on you as a rider, your skills, knowledge, talent, real goals, time and money.
    It depends on the horse ability, training, willingness, age and conformation.

    Some people and horses never get past 3'.
    Some people and horses skip that and the riders are in the 1m40 classes with their 7yrs old winning in no time.



  7. #7
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    Granted I do not know you, your horse, nor your trainer, but to me, personally, four years seems terribly excessive. Seems to me a horse would get bored doing the same thing for four long years.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde


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  8. #8
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    If your horse is hesitant at all that might be exactly why your trainer wants to take her time. I have seen more than one capable pair who had a stellar year or two in the Childrens absolutely crash and burn in the 3'6. Some to the point where they had to move back down and completely rebuild the horse and rider. I'm not trying to scare you but you should be aware that the 3'6 is a completely different ball game and it is very easy for even a confident pair in the 3ft to become nervous when they first move up.


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  9. #9
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    I think it also depends if you are talking hunter 3'6 or jumper 3'6. I think with a hunter, you need to be getting decent results in the 3' before moving to 3'6. In the jumpers, you move up when you and your horse are ready.

    You will find a lot of 5/6 year old jumpers showing 3'6, whereas most hunters show 3'6 with their amateur riders after a few seasons in the 3' ring.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMS Stables View Post
    I talked to my trainer the other day and asked how long it would take for my horse to be able to move from the 3' to the 3'6. He just started doing 3' courses a few months ago. She told me he should have a solid 2 but maybe 3 or 4 years at the 3'. Is this right? I feel like that is just a long time. I can see 2 years but not 3 or 4. She takes things more slowly, so maybe that is why, but I would love to move up a little sooner than that. My horse is green, but pretty confident. (When I am confident he will jump anything, when I'm not he is slightly more hesitant.) Anyways, I just wondered about that, and wondered how long it usually takes the average person to move up. Thanks!
    I think the time to move from 3' to 3'6 has now been shortened because of the opportunity to do 3'3 divisions (low A/Os, pre-greens, performance hunters). Before, the jump between 3' and 3'6 was huge: not just 6" but as others have mentioned, the difficulty of the course, the strides, the types of jumps. Now, the 3'3 classes have provided a stepping stone. Depending on the show, the 3'3 class may go right after 3' classes and you may have an opportunity to even ease into 3'3. Also, depending on your showing goals, assuming you do hunters, you may want to stick to 3'3 so you don't break his green.

    With that being said, assuming you start at 3', I think 2 years with a trainer should be enough to get to the 3'6 assuming you and/or your trainer can ride the horse confidently at that height.



  11. #11
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    We are currently showing in the 3' and doing very well. He went to his first A show recently and was fantastic. Never looked at a thing. He is very nice and definitely has the stride and scope for 3'6.

    As for the trainer, she is great, but just in general with everyone tends to move rather slow. My horse and I have progressed more quickly than her usual student, but I was still very bummed to hear possibly 4 years. I would much rather go slow and have a very confident horse, but at the same time, I know that my horse will get very bored doing the same thing for that long, and I know I will too.



  12. #12
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    It sounds like she is taking your experience/ ability and your horse's greeness into the equation. If your horse has just started at the 3 foot and you have no 3'6 experience, it doesn't seem unreasonable to say 2 yrs and perhaps even longer. Don't get too hung up on it, just see how this year and the next goes and if you are winning everything, rarely to never missing, the lines are easy, and you are bored then you can start thinking about moving up and debating whether your trainer is too conservative. For now just concentrate on the 3 foot and getting your horse some good experience.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMS Stables View Post
    We are currently showing in the 3' and doing very well. He went to his first A show recently and was fantastic. Never looked at a thing. He is very nice and definitely has the stride and scope for 3'6.

    As for the trainer, she is great, but just in general with everyone tends to move rather slow. My horse and I have progressed more quickly than her usual student, but I was still very bummed to hear possibly 4 years. I would much rather go slow and have a very confident horse, but at the same time, I know that my horse will get very bored doing the same thing for that long, and I know I will too.
    She said definitely 2 and maybe 3 or 4 though, right? It sounds like you are fixating on the longest time she said it could take. I wouldn't worry about it right now. If you start consistently cleaning up in the 3ft or the horse is getting bored then talk to her about it. But this doesn't seem like you need to worry about for another year or two at least.


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  14. #14
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    How long? That's a bit of a trick question.

    To show 3'6'', it will take as long as it takes for the two of you to comfortably and confidently school 3'9''.



  15. #15
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    You need to be consistently winning at 3' and be consistently schooling at 3'6'' before you try to move up. I did 3' for 3 years before I moved up...I even aged out in the process :/



  16. #16
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    In addition to the rider's prior experience over 3'6" and bigger, I think that the horse's true scope can affect the time it takes to go from 3' to 3'6" too. If the horse is likely to max out at 3'6" or 4,' it will probably take longer to get to 3'6" than a horse with 1.50 scope. For the less capable horse, they will need to have really figured out the mechanics of jumping, and will need to be very rideable before jumping at the limit of their scope. With horses for whom 3'6" is like a cavaletti, as long as they are fairly brave you can move them to that height faster, especially if 3'6" is also small for the rider.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by reay6790 View Post
    You need to be consistently winning at 3' and be consistently schooling at 3'6'' before you try to move up. I did 3' for 3 years before I moved up...I even aged out in the process :/
    I am also gaining a lot from this thread, so thank you to all the posters from me too!

    I am hoping to make a 3'6" by the time I age out of the Jr's and I will be showing the 3' this summer on a very experienced Big Eq horse, hopefully I will able to show in a single Maclay class before I age!



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by maigenesis View Post
    I am also gaining a lot from this thread, so thank you to all the posters from me too!

    I am hoping to make a 3'6" by the time I age out of the Jr's and I will be showing the 3' this summer on a very experienced Big Eq horse, hopefully I will able to show in a single Maclay class before I age!
    I got a green horse with only 2 seasons before I aged out. I could have pushed him, but I'm glad I didn't. He would jump anything from anywhere by the time I got done with him. He was brave and confident jumping. He's a sensitive TB, and his little brain just fries sometimes

    You can do it! The A/Os are so much more laid back than the juniors. I do slightly regret not doing them at all, but it definitely wasn't the end of the world.



  19. #19
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    It's tough to say anything without knowing more, but I think 4 years is a ridiculously long time and I would question the trainer's ability to help a student progress if they even throw a number like that out there for a worst case scenario.

    But if you like your trainer and feel like she does a good job and has done right by you, then my advice is to see how it goes and think about alternatives if you really feel like you're stuck in a year or two. If you get to the point where you're doing 3' and really wanting to move up and she won't let you....then it's time to have a serious sit-down discussion. And if you're not satisfied with the answers I would be prepared to move to someone who's more proficient with moving students along the ranks. My only caveat here is that I would make sure I was being really, brutally honest with myself before committing to this path.

    In the meantime, maybe you could do some clinics with different trainers. That might give you a different perspective that might help support your trainer's plan or not.

    But regarding your situation, I've seen many trainers through the years who are good with lower level students and then hold them back to their own comfort level when they start moving up. I've also seen the case where 3'6" is "BIG" in the trainer's mind and they project that onto their kids (and adults).

    3'6" is not some holy grail. It is truly not *that* much more difficult than 3'. I think there's a much bigger mental fixation on the height than actual physical issues.
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  20. #20
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    I agree with PNW Jumper that there are some trainers that are essentially afraid of the 3'6" themselves and therefore hold their students back and/or scare the students into avoiding the 3'6". There are also a few trainers that have complexes that make them want to belittle and hold their students back to prove that they ride better than their students. I rode with a trainer for a while who did the GPs, yet was strangely competitive with her adult amateur students. Strange, but true. I've been in both situations. Neither one is healthy.

    ETA: Of the two situations, I think the trainer that is trying to belittle the student is worse. With the trainer that was somewhat afraid of the 3'6" herself, I did end up showing in the juniors with a scoped out horse...it went about as well as it could go with a horse that had no margin for error. With the trainer who was constantly belittling students...that really did my confidence in. She had me convinced I was not competent to canter over a pole on the ground on my green horse. A few months later with a different trainer, I was jumping the same green horse around 2'6" to 2'9" courses.
    Last edited by FineAlready; Jan. 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM.


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