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Anyone switch from jumping/eventing to straight Dressage?

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  • Anyone switch from jumping/eventing to straight Dressage?

    I cannot believe I am even speaking this out loud....Always have wanted to jump, LL event and foxhunt. Now, after almost a year off of jumping much due to an injury, I'm not so excited about getting back out there...I'm 60, so maybe that is part of it, but just really looking for your stories...so I can feel better...makes me a bit sad.

  • #2
    I did, and I regret it. Here on the dressage forum, people are obviously very pro dressage, so I doubt there will be anyone other than me that suggests you stick with the jumping disciplines. I did not transition to dressage because I liked it, because I don't. Mine had to do with lack of a horse that wanted to event, due to injury/death/talent, etc. Evenutally time passed and I ended up in dressage land by default. I think it depends on how much you love jumping. I did. I do. For me, there was no feeling like crossing those finish flags going clean, even if I was at the low bottom of the dressage scoring.

    I do not think that jumping has to be more dangerous than dressage. A talented big moving dressage horse can get pretty scary. However, I'm talking about Novice Level Eventing and Adult Hunters (3 foot stuff). I think when you get to doing Training Level Eventing, then your chance of an accident increases.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you ToN - do you take lessons, has that helped...I always feel a bit lost doing dressage at home, need better homework, I guess....I have great horses that are game and safe to do whatever level I want to do, which is not big. Just don't love this feeling...going xc schooling today, so hope it's fun!


      • #4
        Originally posted by galloping-gourmet View Post
        Thank you ToN - do you take lessons, has that helped...I always feel a bit lost doing dressage at home, need better homework, I guess...
        LOL, lessons? How about 40 years worth of regular ones. Actually, it was the lessons and work required to do correct dressage that is what makes it miserable (and expensive) for me. With eventing, even at Training Level, the dressage portion is so basic. No collection or difficult moves, etc. With Dressage, it required consistent good riding and training and it opens your eyes up more about just how ineffective you are. Some intellectuals love this; others don't.

        .I have great horses that are game and safe to do whatever level I want to do, which is not big. Just don't love this feeling...going xc schooling today, so hope it's fun!
        Have a ball! I got hooked on eventing from hunters. One of my younger boarding mates talked me into going on a trail ride and then to a hunter pace. From there, I went to a introductory x-country lesson sponsored by my GMO. The rest was history.
        Last edited by ToN Farm; Apr. 30, 2017, 12:21 PM.


        • Original Poster

          That's funny, I went a little dressage schooling show and did a 1st 1 (first ever) and got a decent EVENTING score.....made me realize how much more learning there is to be done.....The T3 test was much better...


          • #6
            I grew up eventing and then switched when I was about 19 because I ended up with an OTTB who was terrified to jump and really needed a correct foundation. I ended up as a working student for a fantastic trainer from Portugal and fell in love with the sport. I competed up to PSG on my last horse and love the challenge of the discipline. My goal has always been to be the best rider I can be so the fact that I am constantly pushing to improve myself and my horse is a big positive for me. I DO love cross training though. I hack out, school XC, and I have started dabbling in the hunters with my youngster.

            I gotta say, it being new to me, I'm finding that the hunter work is absolutely as detail oriented as the dressage work I do. It's different and a little less micro-managey but all the tiny details count just as much. I think if you want to do ANY discipline well it's serious work. I'd suggest taking some lessons to see if it's for you. You may love it like I did, and even if not, you might find that it helps build your confidence for the disciplines you used to love.


            • #7
              I did.

              I evented and show jumped.

              I became a Trail Ride Guide.

              One day on a lovely uphill winding sandy path where we used to gallop a ride, I let the Arab mare I was riding go. My manager yelled STOP. Something you only do in an emergency.

              It may have taken me a few metres but I did stop her. He galloped past as he wanted to be first.

              I let her go. I leaned forward and said, "Catch him girl."

              She did. She galloped her heart out for me. She caught him, overtook him and beat him to the top.... and I did not feel one bit of adrenalin. Nothing. No excitement. Nothing.

              Dressage still excites me 2 decades later.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


              • #8
                I did, after taking a year off when I first moved out to go to college. I had been with an eventing trainer for four years before that. I opted to go to straight dressage because the instructor was a person who I felt could really boost my ability to ride. I had kind of gotten stagnant with my old eventing coach. She was the right instructor for me when I started out with her, but eventually I wanted to know more about the hows and whys.


                • #9
                  I did too. When came atime in life when a suitable horse wasn't available, and a physical move meant eventing wouldbe far, far, away, to far to get regular competent instruction, i switched to dressage, cause I thought it would be easier.

                  Silly me!.. But I have found it to be fascinating and exciting. It is far from an activity for wimps, and requires a far greater insight into the mechanics of body control. And did I mention using abs? And cross training?

                  However a good instructor is really important. One who can explain what it takes to make it work,and likes doing it.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                  • #10
                    I stopped eventing because I knew I had a big mistake in me and if I got my horse hurt it would be entirely my fault. I simply could not jump a cross country fence again.
                    I loved riding straight dressage and very rarely have an urge to jump - mostly when I am driving and see a lovely stretch of field with an inviting stone wall.


                    • #11
                      I had to cut back on jumping a few years ago for health reasons. I also switched from owning/riding warmbloods, to owning/riding Arabians (easier to sit/ride). I do get frustrated. Particularly as I still teach jumping and go to the jumping shows with clients. I do, on rare occasions, get on a client's horse to help them out with a jumping issue, but I try to limit it. I had toyed with teaching my little Arabian to jump, but my body told me to stop, so I had to listen.

                      Right now I am not doing much showing at all: I find it exhausting, but I do like the training and working up the levels aspect of dressage. it took a while to get to know the new group of people, but doing some horse show volunteering helped with that. I like the social aspect of shows.

                      I do not see why you have to stop forever. You may find you do want to jump again, and your skills will still be there. or you may not. Don't rush to sell your jumping saddle!
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        You can incorporate trot poles and caveletties into Dressage Training. Jumps as well. A dressage horse can do anything.
                        It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


                        • Original Poster

                          So I went XC schooling yesterday and it was fun....I would rather be 'outside' any day...However, still felt a bit backed off...so I think I'm going to incorporate both types of lessons for a while and see where it takes us...Thank you all


                          • #14
                            I grew up doing h/j, then dressage, then eventing, then dressage, and now I'm doing both dressage and taking jumping lessons with my pony.

                            I like to do so much different stuff with my horses, that I can't say that I'll only do one thing or the other for the rest of my life. Putting in a good jumping round is as difficult as riding a nice dressage test. Both require lessons and practice to become competent, and more lessons and more practice to become good and more lessons and more practice to become better.

                            It is all fun. Depending on the horse you have, some things are funner than other things. But it is all about learning and bringing out the best in your horse and letting them have fun doing the things they like to do. So whatever that is for you, go for it!
                            "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                            • #15
                              I stopped jumping at the request of my family and have become totally obsessed with dressage and biomechanics. Still do some trails, of course, but let jumping go


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
                                With Dressage, it required consistent good riding and training and it opens your eyes up more about just how ineffective you are. Some intellectuals love this; others don't.
                                I think this is a very fair and accurate statement.

                                Everyone should have dressage basics in whatever work they do, but what ToN refers to, that mental focus needed to develop up the levels (whether competing or not) tends to scare many away. I believe more than any other reason it is what keeps many adult amateurs (and lower level trainers) from progressing up the levels. There are physical challenges, sure, just like any other horse sport. But that focus either drives you away or pulls you in tighter when you get to that point. Personally, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to have that focus - and plenty of fun to be had outside the dressage ring even when you do have that kind of focus! But this assessment captures the essence of what, to me, either makes one love of hate dressage.
                                If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                                • #17
                                  I used to do Novice eventing/3' HJ and switched to straight dressage about 2 years ago and I LOVE it. I am actively working towards the upper levels - hope to show 3rd this year. Dressage when I was doing eventing wasn't nearly as fun as it is now - I think because it is so much more challenging and I have learned SO much.

                                  I got a pretty significant concussion from falling while jumping and I didn't want to jump for a while after that - now I just would rather spend my money doing dressage shows and lessons rather than jumping since dressage is where my goals are right now. I still jump periodically but nothing hard since I haven't had a jump lesson in a while. I do miss XC and keep meaning to get back out there just to school, but I am very happy with my switch.

                                  MTA: I do train over caveletti about 1x weekly and do trot sets so it's not like I am totally stuck in the ring


                                  • #18
                                    I switched because the horse I bought for resale but ended up really liking has the talent to go GP. We are just starting 2nd. He is very good at dressage which makes it fun. I realized I have a terrible position after switching over, so it has been fun to work to correct it. Working on being really relaxed and having the horse completely relying on you is the part I dislike. It is also needed in eventing dressage, but event horses still need their own free will. I realized how much my horse doesn't listen to me when switching over. He is quite hot and alert/tense naturally. We still go trail riding, jump every other week, and do consistent pole work. I still love eventing, watch all the big shows, and freelance groom for FEI level eventing. I may do an event at BN this year just for fun. My horse is quite bold so doesn't need a ton of XC schooling. I also still do some trot sets to keep him fit.

                                    Don't feel like you need to be one or the other. It is also critical to keep your horse fresh in dressage so no need to pound it out in the ring every day. I school in the grass field quite often.

                                    For fun, here is my guy on novice XC and also doing a first level test last year.


                                    • #19
                                      I switched from eventing to dressage four years ago. However, I always knew I would when I hit 40 and having watched some friends literally die and a horse break a leg on course I also always knew prelim was my max. I evented professionally for a little over 10 years but only thru prelim.

                                      4 years ago made the switch; sold all my event horses and bought myself a fancy yearling and a green 3rd level gelding. The 3rd level gelding let me go out and compete immediately (I always trained my event horses to school to 3rd) and in two years had my bronze and silver medal. I now have two client horses (one retired event draft horse, one purpose bred) schooling all the Grand Prix and showing the PSG and I1.

                                      I feel so satisfied by the switch and don't miss the jumping at all. I still cross train all the horses out on hills and enjoy that aspect. But I really enjoy the time to really do it right; there was just not enough days in the week to get it all done (flat, fitness, jump, etc) before so I always felt one side was slipping in eventing. Winning at prelim always felt a bit a crap shot.

                                      There is no adrenaline rush but I find the learning to be stimulating and although there are no really real highs I also don't suffer the huge depression from the lows (of which there are many in eventing)

                                      So I would say to try it and see. I just went hunter pacing yesterday and passed log after fabulous log and had absolutely no pull to jump a one.

                                      Best of luck and remember you you can always change your mind if something isn't what you thought or want anymore.


                                      • #20
                                        I did because it was right at the time. I switched back for a new horse that was supposed to be a dressage prospect and adores jumping.

                                        There's nothing wrong with stepping back from jumping to focus on dressage, and nothing wrong with stepping back into jumping
                                        The stories of the T-Rex Eventer

                                        Big Head, Little Arms, Still Not Thinking It Through