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Choosing what level to ride at.. update post #28......new thoughts.

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  • Choosing what level to ride at.. update post #28......new thoughts.

    It isn't a hard decision for me, Fergie and I in our first year, absolutely, Intro (walk jog) and then Basic (Training level) our first year together, the out of shape, 2 years of, English trained Draft cross Showjumper, and the old, scared, coming back from a wreck unfit rider...Hopefully next year, depending on how the winter goes, we will be competing at Intro, and entering 1st level, as our stretch objective. Oh, we are Western Dressage, a small but growing group here.

    Now I compete for 2 things, to improve my performance, and my scores, but I still like those shiny ribbons, and the end of year awards....

    Is it wrong to sulk a little, because the basic level winners for a three show series, have been scoring the same decent marks in that level for the last three years, mid high sixties, and show no inclination to move on up? At the end of my first year on my little QH my coach said "Right, no more Intro, now you ride basic, and if you want to, one ride at First."

    Or reading today about an English rider, asking a value on her horse, she says he is schooling Second, and some Third, but she is delighted that today was his first actual show and he scored 71% in Walk Trot, and 66% in Training, with a gait mark of 8.

    Now I know everyone has to start somewhere, but what is kind of 'correct' here. I mean unless Fergie and I blow the socks of the judge in out last show of the year, I'll be stuck knocking on the 60% door again, but still I would like to move on up next year....just seems that walk trot divisions should be a new horse, new partnership, or a great class for those who can't or choose not to canter/lope.

    So a long winded way of asking how do you decide what level you compete up, and when do you decide to move up.
    Last edited by KBC; Jul. 27, 2019, 03:47 PM.
    "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

    "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

  • #2
    This will never change. Show for your own reasons because you can't do anything about these other people.

    Some people tend to move up when they feel very accomplished at a level. That doesn't do it for me. I move up when I've got the movements, but they're not perfected. I need the experience in the ring and the motivation to do better. So, I tend to be schooling the level the first half year I show it and doing pretty well the second half year. For the most part, I always go up one level one year.

    Find what works for you.

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    • #3
      Next year is a long way away. You will have a lot of progress.

      Comment


      • #4
        It's really an individual decision. In general you should be schooling a solid level above where you show, sometimes two.

        Obviously at Intro / Walk Trot it is unlikely riders are actually schooling First but as you move up the levels it's more common. Many people prefer to move up from Training as soon as they can comfortably ride the canter and control the horse, and that's fine.

        My personal guideline is that I need to (a) be consistently scoring minimum 65 and ideally higher in shows at the lower level and (b) adequately (could score 6 or up) able to perform all movements at the next level at home before moving up.

        As for others who never seem to move up and who are content winning all the classes at the same level for years, there's nothing you can do about them and they don't affect your ride. People here call them "ribbon whores" and for sure here are some who just like to win, but there are others who don't move up because they are afraid to canter. Or they have a back injury and can't sit the trot, or they just don't aspire to go any higher but enjoy getting out and showing a few times a year at that level.

        I always tell my kids that the placings don't matter because they are totally dependent on how other people ride that day, not how well or badly they ride themselves. I've been the best of the worst and come home with first place ribbons for tests I wasn't pleased with, and placed only fourth for one of my best tests ever. The fact that three other people were better than me that day didn't dampen my pride one bit.

        So, focus on your own scores and comments. Talk to your trainer about your goals, strengths and areas for improvement, and decide what level you are comfortable competing at and what benchmarks you need to achieve to feel confident about moving up.
        Last edited by BigMama1; Sep. 11, 2016, 11:15 PM.

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        • #5
          There is no correct thing here. Some people move up before they/horse are ready (or able) and do poorly. Some stay at lower levels not just as "ribbon whores" but because they don't have time/inclination or whatever to move up. I have a friend who didn't show much or train much because she was raising two kids and was time constrained. Did training/first for years. Now she has a young horse, kids are grown and she's ready to show and move along.

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          • #6
            I'm going to echo that there are loads of reasons why people show. Because of these differences, the presence of ribbon whores and perpetual Training Level riders isn't going to change.

            I show to get feedback. I want the comments and a fresh set of eyes on me and my horse. So I show at the level that I am working on. I'm never going to win that way, but that doesn't bother me. I'm also not like a lot of people when I show. I have this unusual ability to not get nervous.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post
              there are others who don't move up because they are afraid to canter. Or they have a back injury and can't sit the trot, or they just don't aspire to go any higher but enjoy getting out and showing a few times a year at that level.

              I always tell my kids that the placings don't matter because they are totally dependent on how other people ride that day, not how well or badly they ride themselves. I've been the best of the worst and come home with first place ribbons for tests I wasn't pleased with, and placed only fourth for one of my best tests ever. The fact that three other people were better than me that day didn't dampen my pride one bit.

              So, focus on your own scores and comments. Talk to your trainer about your goals, strengths and areas for improvement, and decide what level you are comfortable competing at and what benchmarks you need to achieve to feel confident about moving up.
              I get that people choose to stay at a level for all sorts of reasons, and if it is the fact that they are at the limit of their physical, or "mental' ability, then that is great. It's good that there are levels for everyone.

              I do know that placings shouldn't count, and yes the most important thing is our own personal journey.. I will be pushing and aiming to ride at First next year, hopefully from the start, but certainly will be looking to move up during the season if nothing else.

              Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
              There is no correct thing here. Some people move up before they/horse are ready (or able) and do poorly. Some stay at lower levels not just as "ribbon whores" but because they don't have time/inclination or whatever to move up. I have a friend who didn't show much or train much because she was raising two kids and was time constrained. Did training/first for years. Now she has a young horse, kids are grown and she's ready to show and move along.
              There is a lady like that on our circuit, she has been at the same level for 7 years, but she is lucky to get time to ride her horses, having had a couple of kids and supporting her husband with his business. She just comes out and has a total blast riding, it is her only "off time" and I think she enjoys her shows the most of anyone.

              Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
              I show to get feedback. I want the comments and a fresh set of eyes on me and my horse. So I show at the level that I am working on. I'm never going to win that way, but that doesn't bother me. I'm also not like a lot of people when I show. I have this unusual ability to not get nervous.
              You don't get nervous that's gift I could do with for sure.
              "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

              "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

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              • #8
                There's a member of my gmo that has over 100 scores at the same level...gets a new horse and shows the same level. Why ? I have no idea but we can each do as we please.

                I tend to aim at showing up a level each year. At least that's my intention but it doesn't always work out.

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                • #9
                  I used to show just so that I would be motivated to train properly at home. Also really appreciated the feedback from the judges. I was always showing one level lower than I was training at home.

                  I must admit though that I did enjoy getting ribbons especially when I beat fancier horses than mine.

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                  • #10
                    I don't show any more. Is there a stigma attached to those who have a 'give it a go' attitude and chose to ride higher rather than lower. If a score is in the 60's that is not too shabby to give it a go...it's not like its a train wreck, and the feedback is valuable.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                    • #11
                      I don't necessarily think that at mid 60's the other people are pool sharking the level. Maybe at mid 70's three yeard in a row, but mid 60's is a good, but not a pool sharking score.

                      Secondly, no one who is getting mid 60's at Training level is actually schooling Third with that horse. Maybe they'd like to think so, but their scores at Training reveal otherwise.
                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                      Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
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                      • #12
                        I am still very surprised that there are people who feel unable to canter but are actually "showing" a horse. Before they can canter.

                        I may be misunderstanding.

                        Are people riding the walk trot because they are showing a young horse or because they as a rider are unable to canter the horse?

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                        • #13
                          Pool sharking????
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by skydy View Post
                            Are people riding the walk trot because they are showing a young horse or because they as a rider are unable to canter the horse?
                            Could be a green horse. Could be a green rider. Could be a green rider on a green horse. Could be a competent horse or rider that turns into an anxious mess at shows. Any of the above might be showing walk/trot to have the easiest, most stress-free show environment possible.

                            Could be a perfectly capable horse & rider, with the rider thinking you must have a 99.9% score at a level before you move up. Or one who believes you absolutely must school two levels above what you show.

                            Or maybe they just get their kicks out of being Walk/Trot Champion of the World for the tenth year in a row.

                            As long as they are having fun showing and aren't actually unsafe, it's not like it affects anyone else.
                            She Gets Lost

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by skydy View Post
                              I am still very surprised that there are people who feel unable to canter but are actually "showing" a horse. Before they can canter.

                              I may be misunderstanding.

                              Are people riding the walk trot because they are showing a young horse or because they as a rider are unable to canter the horse?
                              Maybe they are like me a couple of years back, coming back from a major fall, a mess of nerves, fine to walk and trot, but not yet ready to canter.

                              There are lots of good genuine reasons why people stay at the lower levels, I'm glad that I was able to move on, and I really hope to step up again next year
                              "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                              "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

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                              • #16
                                Personally, I wouldn't allow a student to show if s/he was unable to canter, at least a few circles, at home and have some sort of control.
                                Same thing applies for horses, as I wouldn't show a horse who wasn't trained to canter, at least a little under saddle.

                                How dangerous it would be if the horse suddenly decided to canter?

                                My friend's half boarder only does walk/trot but it was mandatory in the half boarding contract that she demonstrates she knew how to canter. My friend made her canter around the ring both sides once. She wanted to make sure the half boarder could remain calm and would keep the control if the horse decided to canter.

                                I have NO problems with riders who don't want to canter at shows (or in general) and stay at Intro for the rest of their lives. But they must know how to canter at home and not be too panicky about it, if they want to show.

                                IMO, people can and should ride at the level they want and feel comfortable riding at. Who cares if they stay at Intro? Who cares if they want to ride above their level and get crappy scores? Not my problem, they must have reasons and I'm way too busy riding my horses!!!
                                ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                Originally posted by LauraKY
                                I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                                HORSING mobile training app

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KBC View Post
                                  Maybe they are like me a couple of years back, coming back from a major fall, a mess of nerves, fine to walk and trot, but not yet ready to canter.

                                  There are lots of good genuine reasons why people stay at the lower levels, I'm glad that I was able to move on, and I really hope to step up again next year
                                  I see. I have no opinion about people staying at whatever level they prefer. I am guessing though that if your horse unexpectedly cantered at a show you would deal with it rather than go to pieces. You have cantered in the past so you could canter now if you HAD to, yes? You know how to do it and that is an important difference.

                                  I am just (obviously) not up on today's show scene. I am older and out of the loop. I hope someone can understand why I can't help but be surprised by the difference in today's "show" world. Before "showing" a horse, the basics (WTC were considered VERY basic as far as rider ability) used to be covered at home during lessons.

                                  "Showing" a horse required not only the ability to WTC on the part of the rider but some proficiency in those efforts as well, unless you were a young child on a dead broke horse in a walk trot class. In that case you were given some slack but the most proficient would still be the judges choice.

                                  Does anyone really think it's a good idea for green horses to be ridden, let alone shown at a public venue by a rider so green (or convalescent) that they can't ride the canter? I'd be concerned about the safety of the horse the rider and everyone around them. I agree with Alibi, someone in the pair has to know how to canter before showing themselves in public and it had better be the rider.

                                  I am also puzzled by the fear of cantering or inability to canter since it is usually so much easier for most people to sit and balance at the canter than at the trot.
                                  Last edited by skydy; Sep. 16, 2016, 02:45 AM. Reason: Hideous punctuation.

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                                  • #18
                                    You can't make people have ethics or morals.

                                    However, that said - I've been on the other side of the coin in hunterland, so I'm going to play devil's advocate, here.

                                    2013 I had brain surgery (Chiari Malformation, laminectomy/duraplasty/craniotomy) AND a lumbar fusion (L5-S1). I bred my mare because I knew I'd be out of the saddle for the year. She foaled April 2014.

                                    I put her back into work March 2015, and showed Modified Adult Equitation for the season, which is a W/T, W/T/C and 2' jumping round. Toward the end of the year, she felt NQR, and I ended up borrowing a horse for the last month. Turns out she had Lyme. 1 month on Minocycline, put her back into work Spring 2016, horse still NQR. Went for a bone scan, needed some injections, likely due to the Lyme. No jumping for a bit, so I tried to show in Pleasure (NOT a pleasure horse!), so I moved back to the Eq. I have a girl (adult, mind you) freaking out and calling me a ribbon whore.

                                    But my horse had medical reasons for doing the same division again - and that's actually how I got into dressage, as the "physical therapy" for my mare.

                                    At the end of the day, show for YOU and know you can't control everyone. And do keep an open mind as to the behind the scenes reasons someone may be showing what appears to be a level beneath them.

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                                    • #19
                                      It is your score and the judge's comments that count...the chips will land where they fall.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        [QUOTE=skydy;8846882]I see. I have no opinion about people staying at whatever level they prefer. I am guessing though that if your horse unexpectedly cantered at a show you would deal with it rather than go to pieces. You have cantered in the past so you could canter now if you HAD to, yes? You know how to do it and that is an important difference.[/quote}

                                        Oh yes when I was at that stage, I could of cantered, I was probably doing at home in the indoor arena in a safe controlled environment, but only when pushed!



                                        Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                        Does anyone really think it's a good idea for green horses to be ridden, let alone shown at a public venue by a rider so green (or convalescent) that they can't ride the canter? I'd be concerned about the safety of the horse the rider and everyone around them. I agree with Alibi, someone in the pair has to know how to canter before showing themselves in public and it had better be the rider.
                                        I don't like the thought of green on green anywhere, but a good old campaigner schooling the nervous, novice or rehabbing rider, no not so worried.

                                        Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                        I am also puzzled by the fear of cantering or inability to canter since it is usually so much easier for most people to sit and balance at the canter than at the trot.
                                        The you haven't been there, and it is like trying to explain color to a blind person, if you are puzzled by fear, you haven't experienced it. Let me run through the emotions and feeling I have gone through in the last three years, and over three horses.

                                        Started with the fear of going any faster than a trot, which was actually a big step up from standing still and crying because I was to scared to walk.

                                        Then there is the issue that horse #1 was very lazy, and you had to be committed to the canter, because I was struggling to took advantage and would go into that jack hammer fast trot before the canter.

                                        Then there was the move to the big guy, now he was just big, but very honest and generous, so things improved a lot with him.

                                        Now my current mare, because she is more sensitive than I have ridden for a while, we got into the issue of me asking her to stop and go at the same time, and her reaction to that was throw head up and run sideways, thing is that kicked the fear back in, so I got worse and she got worse. We were dead solid at walk and trot, just blocked on the canter.

                                        It is a process, fear is a weird thing, not always logical at all.
                                        "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                                        "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

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