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intro level horses vs higher level horses using intro level as a warm up

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  • intro level horses vs higher level horses using intro level as a warm up

    has anyone experienced riding in an intro level test A or B as their first test in their life or their horses life and competed against more advanced level horses who are using the intro class as their warm up and then win 1, 2 or 3 in the class for points? is this fair to the lower level rider and or horse who is a first timer competing against horses who are doing training and above? thoughts are welcome.

  • #2
    My thought is that when I enter a show, I am accepting that anyone can sign up to be in the same class as me. My instructor used to say to every complaint about the horse show, 'It's a horse show. In other words, when you sign up, you accept that the rules are what they are right at this moment. Stuff happens that's not always going to help you win. It might rain, it might be hot, you might fall off, your horse might act goofy, a flock of geese may land in your ring, George Williams might be in your class.

    Do I think it's fair? Yes, I think it's fair, and the equivalent used to happen to me all the time, and I used to relish the idea that a rider from a higher level was in my class. I'd watch like a hawk to see how they warmed up, AND how they did the test, and what differences there were. I'd use it as a model to do better on my own test. And maybe if the person isn't too busy, they'd be able to give me a few pointers.

    Futhermore, most awards people get are for SCORES, not for ribbons, and no matter who else is in your class or what ribbon you get, your score is far more important than your placing anyway. The goal of showing is (should be) to better your last score, not better your last placing.

    I think it's about attitude, too. If a person views horse shows as a great time with friends, and a time to get feedback from a judge and other riders that will help them ride better, and a time to tuck into a couple wine coolers, some ice cream and a tour of the vendors at the show, it's all good.

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    • #3
      I have seen some people show in Intro and Training on the same horse at a show. It is within the rules, However, in my opinion I think it is a little tacky, if you are able to do training level than you should do training level. However, at the end of the day, the score sheet you get back matters way more than a cheap ribbon and some points.
      Ellie and Werther Blog

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Galley View Post
        has anyone experienced riding in an intro level test A or B as their first test in their life or their horses life and competed against more advanced level horses who are using the intro class as their warm up and then win 1, 2 or 3 in the class for points? is this fair to the lower level rider and or horse who is a first timer competing against horses who are doing training and above? thoughts are welcome.
        I like to think of it that life isn't fair in general, why should a horseshow be an exception
        Just do the best you can, and don't worry about other people and their horses. You don't actually know the story-for all you know, that gorgeous horse that wins everything might have a green rider. Or might be neurotic at times. Or maybe the rider and horse worked darn hard to get where they are and just look like they could be competing at a higher level because of that hard work. Or, they could very well be using the class for a warmup or to make themselves look good. If that's the case, I'm sure its a pretty shallow victory, so don't worry about it
        In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.

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        • #5
          In most cases, I can't really imagine it helping a nervous horse, quite the contrary, it gives them way too much time to look around and get into mischief. It doesn't have enough 'stuff' in the test to relax a horse, and there's not enough work in the test to settle a horse. One would probably be better off schooling in the rings before they close, and getting one's own confidence that way.

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          • #6
            I haven't really noticed it at shows. But I do think it would be tacky. A horse who can competently show Training Level Test 2 or above (which means that they should be schooling First level and above) should not be entered in an Intro class - which is expressly designed to be a beginner rider class. It's tacky and in my opinion, unsportsmanlike. But as someone else pointed out, it is a shallow victory for more accomplished horse/rider combos and you can't account for tackiness.
            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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            • #7
              I think you could really go crazy with what is and isn't fair in terms of winning. We hear a lot about people buying "made" UL horses and riding lower levels... is that fair? How about the pro trained vs. home grown? 8 gaits vs. 5 gaits?

              And it's not all about the horses, says someone who just managed to get a horrible TL score on a horse who by all accounts should be able to do a decent 2nd level test. If the rider isn't ready to go beyond intro, he/she has every right to be there. I went to training level for personal reasons (I was there to beat fear, not the other riders), but would not have felt guilty doing intro on my horse who schools much higher at home.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                my question more about the ability and learning level of the horse. Is is right to have Intro Level Walk/Trot allowed for horses competing at Training Level and above? In Eventing one can can select Horse or Rider as a category. Would this not be a more fair way to exhibit and test horses in dressage, too? Just a thought.

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                • #9
                  A lot of riders progress this way. They meet their goals at Intro A and the next step is to go Intro B and Training 1 and so on. Once they meet whatever goals they have in Intro B, they usually move on to Training 1 and 2 and so on. I look at it like they are taking two consecutive tests on the levels and that is fine-that's how you get better, one step at a time.

                  I think it's against the rules to enter across more than one division, i.e. Intro and 1st. But Intro B and Training 1 is perfectly normal.

                  Personally, I think if you're looking at ribbons and placings in dressage, you're kind of missing the point. I ride against the test and the goals I've set for myself and then use the results to get better. Riding dressage for ribbons to me is riding toward an end, not toward improvement. I just had my worst test score ever today. But I was proud of my horse because he was scared to death of EVERYTHING-the indoor, the dressage arena, the flowers, the judges' stand-and he did the entire test anyway because he trusted me. It doesn't matter who beat me or what level they were riding. They were all riding more experienced horses, but in the end I'm the one who rode MY horse and got the score I got. I enjoy watching the more experienced riders/horses-it shows me what the test should look like.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Galley View Post
                    my question more about the ability and learning level of the horse. Is is right to have Intro Level Walk/Trot allowed for horses competing at Training Level and above? In Eventing one can can select Horse or Rider as a category. Would this not be a more fair way to exhibit and test horses in dressage, too? Just a thought.
                    That's why dressage has amateur and professional classes. Generally, Rider classes in eventing are comprise of amateur riders, and Horse classes professionals. Theoretically, a beginner rider on a schoolmaster horse could ride Intro level because it is about the rider's ability to actually ride the horse during the test. Few horses are going to go around on the bit and with an engaged hind end unless the rider is asking them to.

                    Intro classes are generally relegated to beginner riders and I don't know any professionals or advanced amateurs who ride in them, personally. They usually start showing when the horse can competently canter for a training level test. However, it is not uncommon for riders to ride in successive levels. For example, year end awards allow riders to ride in training and first, or first and second, or second and third, etc. So riders can ride in two successive levels at any show and some do. In championship shows, a horse is not allowed to go at an upper level and a lower level and can only be ridden by one rider. But at regular shows I think multiple riders and levels are allowed.
                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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                    • #11
                      Well, to offer another point of view, I showed intro on my 3 yo at her first show, then at the next show did 1 intro test and 1 TL test. It had nothing to do with her nerves, but mine. It helped me tremendously to get in front of the judge at something I knew we were very comfortable and capable of and took away alot of the jitters for the next test. It is an important step in our training (for me). I still show 1 test I'm really comfortable with the first day of a show, last year I started with T2 and than did whichever 1st level test I was trying. This year I start with 1/1 or 1/2 and then do my 2nd level test. It's not to screw up other people, but to ease my nerves.
                      Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

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                      • #12
                        I don't think it's "tacky" at all. If doing a lower level test helps prepare the horse for one higher at the same show, so be it. Some horses and riders "warm up" better in a competitive venue (albeit a lower level class) and that's okay in my book.

                        If the rules allow it, then it's a case of "rider beware".... If your horse is defeated, it's not because there should be some sort of entitlement to keep better riders/horses out because it seems "unfair".

                        Yikes..I can't believe I posted that. Flame suit on!
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                        • #13
                          "That's why dressage has amateur and professional classes."

                          Ah, if only that evened things up. I teach basic horsemanship to troubled city kids- safety, how to halter, lead, groom, and basic riding skills with western tack. I am considered a professional since I get paid for this, which means I have to compete against professional dressage trainers in shows.

                          I'm not complaining, I love my job. Just pointing out that the amateur/professional status doesn't necessarily even things out for all of us.
                          http://albigears.blogspot.com/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Galley View Post
                            has anyone experienced riding in an intro level test A or B as their first test in their life or their horses life and competed against more advanced level horses who are using the intro class as their warm up and then win 1, 2 or 3 in the class for points? is this fair to the lower level rider and or horse who is a first timer competing against horses who are doing training and above? thoughts are welcome.
                            Everybody who qualifies is free to enter any class.Suck it up and get over your good self. It doesn't matter who else is in the class you happen to be showing. You are all competing against the same standard. If you get it wrong it won't help to take all the other entries out of the class - you would still have got it wrong. The only difference would be that you scored 45% and got a 50 cent ribbon
                            ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                            • #15
                              ...Well said.
                              www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                              "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                              Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                OK, sid and Equibrit,

                                Seriously? Intro? Walk-trot classes as a warm up? Have either of you ever entered these classes as a warm up with an upper level horse? I'm curious to know who on this thread has entered a class *several levels* lower than what you are showing as a *warmup*. To me, the sportsmanlike thing would be to enter the class HC - you know - because the ribbon shouldn't matter to a upper level competitor like it does to the truly lower level competitor... it's the score that counts, right?
                                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I always understood Intro to be exactly that an Introduction to Dressage, not a warm up for those competing at higher levels. I must say though that I have an acquaintance that is currently competing this season at Intro and I know she is quite capable of competing at at least Training Level on the horse she is riding....Im really unsure as to what her purpose is other than mileage.

                                  Im not sure Intro qualifies towards year end awards?
                                  Redbud Ranch
                                  Check us out on FB

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                                  • #18
                                    At any recognized show, it isn't possible to show multiple levels lower as a warm-up. A horse can only show in two consecutive levels at any given show. Therefore, if the horse is in intro A or B, the highest it can show at that show is training 4.

                                    On a separate note, lots of upper level horses step down as they get older to teach new riders. I think thats great, and would never want to discourage that.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Everybody who qualifies is free to enter any class.Suck it up and get over your good self. It doesn't matter who else is in the class you happen to be showing. You are all competing against the same standard. If you get it wrong it won't help to take all the other entries out of the class - you would still have got it wrong. The only difference would be that you scored 45% and got a 50 cent ribbon


                                      we don't have Intro. tests at the recognized shows in this area...maybe you should go that route and level the playing field
                                      Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

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                                      • #20
                                        I always understood Intro to be exactly that an Introduction to Dressage, not a warm up for those competing at higher levels. I must say though that I have an acquaintance that is currently competing this season at Intro and I know she is quite capable of competing at at least Training Level on the horse she is riding....Im really unsure as to what her purpose is other than mileage.
                                        Redbud Ranch
                                        Check us out on FB

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