I grew up riding jumpers then hunters as a teen and was pretty successful in the 3' Childrens division. I rode all the greenies for my trainer, got catch rides, and had a full lease on a wonderful Hanoverian mare.
It's been 8 years since I graduated high school and stopped showing and taking lessons reguarly and I have lost a lot of my mojo. Cantering up to a 3'6 fence used to be no big deal and now I get a little nervous cantering up to a 2'6 solid.
I have worked weekly lessons into the budget and am trying to decide if I should lesson on my horse or my trainer's horse. My horse is a 15.2 paint gelding that will never be more than a 2'6 hunter. A few years ago (back when I had more mojo than I do now) I was schooling him 3', but I think that's pretty much out of the picture now. Plus he does need a pretty solid ride from me or he will start rushing the fences (he doesn't do this with a solid ride, but sometimes I just fall apart).
My trainer has some great schoolies that can take much more of a joke and will be a lot like the horses I grew up learning to ride on...
Lessons are so expensive so I can't decide if I should use the money to go towards both my horse and I progressing during lessons or use the money to make myself better on her schoolies and hoping it translates to rides on my horse at home...
First and foremost learn how to ride your own horse.
If the lesson money dries up, you wan to be able to stay home and enjoy him.
I should have probably added that he's mainly my trail horse so I still get to enjoy him all the time. I also have doubts that he'll hold up for a lot of jumping because he's heavily halter bred and looks like the horse version of one of those Belgian Blue cows.
I can relate! When I was in high school and fresh out, 3'6" was nothing. I was comfortable up to 4' (although I had jumped higher). I took several years off because I did not own a horse and couldn't afford regular lessons. I have been a weekend warrior for a while and had an incident 18months ago that intimidated me again. I was back to 2'6", 2'9" again. Now I get intimidated over 2'.
I thought about lessons on old schoolies for confidence as well, but same as you, money is very tight. I am in the exact same predicament as you, however my horse is a green bean. I would say spend the money on you and your horse. That is what I decided to do. Lots and lots of flatwork, trot poles, canter poles and crossrails until I can be confident enough to keep him from rushing. Yesterday he decided trot poles were over rated and cantering up to them and making them a spread was more fun. He also decided the 18" crossrail was more fun to clear as if it were 2'9".
I have decided to put the money into my horse and I am hoping it works out. I can't wait to hear what other people have to say, as I will take it as great advice as well. Don't feel bad about losing your confidence. The hardest thing about riding is the ground!
What are your goals? Gaining confidence to ride your horse? Showing at "X" level? Depending on your goals, you may have different answers. First off, you are not alone! Trust me. Lots of us feel the same way you do. What helped me when I had confidence issues on my horses is I took lessons on other horses for a while. Then I actually bought a horse that was himself a confidence booster. Low key, and easy to ride. As I got more confidence throughout this period, I found a horse that I ride now that is awesome. I trust him 99% and we have gone from X rails to now comfortably doing 3'6" fences (at home!). But it was a roundabout way to get that confidence back (lessons, schoolies, good horses, lessons, lessons, lessons.) (Check out the re-riders thread if your'e bored (just skip to the last few pages!...We are all in that boat together).
Good luck. Enjoy the road back.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
¯ Oscar Wilde
Since you will be doing weekly lessons, can you do some lessons on the schoolies and some on your horse?
I'm sure my trainer would be fine with me splitting the time between my horse and her school horses
As far as my goals, I would love to get back into showing and do well. The thing is that I love riding my gelding. He is very cool and I know that with some lessons the jumping will come back to us and we're already on the path there... but he'll never be much of a show horse just because of his build. I have another gelding that I currently have leased out that has all the talent and ability in the world, but I didn't get along with him personality wise. Basically, I don't think my showing goals really mesh with my horses. My paint gelding is my forever horse and the fact that I don't think he'll ever be the show horse doesn't faze me a bit. He really is an awesome horse to ride and enjoy
Long, rambling story short - I do want to get back into showing, but I don't think my horse will take me to where I was, but I'm okay with that and don't mind showing someone else's horse to get where I want to go competition wise
Its always kinda nice hearing of others re-riders in similar boats. I don't have my own horse, but I had a similar predicament with a leasee i was riding. i chose to split lessons between an old schoolie, who wasn't perfect but was much calmer, and gave me the calm ride i needed to deal with the hotter leasee horse on other rides. If your trainer has good horses to gain confidence on, at least alternate lessons on them so you can have those rides that leave you feeling good while you build back tone and confidence. And it saves some wear and tear on your boy.
I agree on the splitting. That is actually what I'm doing now too. I ride my mare 1-2 times per week with at least one lesson, the rest of my time is spent on other horses.
It has helped tremendously because while my mare is awesome and I love her, she brought out some bad habits in my riding as well as making my confidence go down. This only tends to happen when I ride her consistently, as she starts to really test me and I'm not always up to the task However, with riding other horses I've learned to be more confident and assertive, and that has carried over into the rides with my horse.
I am a rider who is also getting back into horse ownership as a young adult on a tight budget. I did the circuit as a junior but after a few years with limited riding in college and a few years catch riding greenies for local trainers, I just purchased a 4 yo gelding two months ago. Just affording monthly expenses is already tight for me. It really is splitting hairs to decide what to spend the remaining money on... lesson 2x/month? Go to a local schooling show? Buy a new saddle (because of course mine doesn't fit)?
But the biggest thing I've learned over the past few months is if you aren't having fun, why are you doing it? Whether your goal is to get your confidence back on a schoolie or to get your forever horse ready to go at 2'6", the biggest thing is what would bring you the most happiness? Give a shot taking some lessons on both your trainer's horses and your horse at first and go from there. If lessoning on your trainer's horses really brings back your spark to compete and search for a horse to lease and show, awesome. If it brings back your confidence to work with your own horse, that's great too. Just don't put pressure on yourself and enjoy the process!
I, too, used to conquer the fences that today make me shiver in fear. I was jumping around 3'3-3'6 on my instructors grand prix horses when I was in high school. I also jumped her greenies and helped her get some of her younger ponies used to being ridden (yup, I was the eager guinea pig). I went to college with my horse and had an awesome barn with an outdoor jumping course and we would jump the heck out of anything we could. Sadly, I had to sell him my sophomore year. I took a year off of riding and then found a stable that I could do weekly lessons at. I worked with a lot of the greener horses that did low level jumping and also flatted a couple of the undesireables that nobody else wanted to. After I had one of the ponies rear with me I just freaked out and quit riding for another year. I'd never had a horse rear with me and that pony nearly flipped over itself. Since that time I have gotten back into riding but mainly stick to 2'6-2'9 jumps and I hate it. I wish I had that confidence from back in the day where I had a "I can do anything" attitude.
There are only a few lesson horses that my instructor has. Luckily it is the same cost to ride a school horse as to ride your own, because I don't have my own or the money to lease one. One of the horses is my super confidence builder. I can take on (almost) anything with him and he never gets phased. Then there is a privately owned horse whose owner I love, but I hate riding that horse. He stops at every fence with me and generally just scares the bejesus out of me and we always have a bad ride. I haven't ridden any of the others recently.
If your instructor has a super uber confidence builder I say why not try it out if it is cost effective for you. Your horse is still yours and you can use the skills taught to you on the lesson horse on your horse. If you feel you have something to work on then you can ask to ride your horse in a lesson and pinpoint those issues.
It is hard for me to recommend one or the other because I don't know what your goals are. To build your confidence back up? To have fun with your horse? To be successfully showing at a certain level? The answer is going to dictate how you proceed.
Don't count your gelding out as your show horse. If showing him makes you happy, and you are willing to adjust your goals, you can have a lot of fun together. There is nothing wrong with maxing out at 2'6". The whole point of this sport is to have fun. If showing your boy at 2'6" is fun, then you have succeeded.