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Buying an Event Horse for Use in the Jumper Ring: Good Option or Not?

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  • Buying an Event Horse for Use in the Jumper Ring: Good Option or Not?

    My daughter is not a timid amateur rider. She can deal calmly with bucking and other resistance in situations where others would more likely dismount and hand off the reins. However, my daughter gets very nervous in the show ring, a tendency that's been exacerbated by some humiliating show experiences in her childhood/teenage years, mostly owing to poor coaching and the green or complicated horses she was trying to ride.

    Now she would like to buy a great-brained unicorn for the jumper ring. She's been exploring the possibility of buying an event horse going at what used to be called Prelim. but seems to be called something else now--CCI 1 star maybe? Anyway, these horses seem to have a lot to recommend them to a rider with my daughter's profile, mostly their boldness on a cross-country course, jumping all kinds of brushy obstacles, galloping through water, etc. And because of the dressage phase, these horses come with flat skills already installed.

    With a horse like that, seems like a rider would have lots of versatility to play with, and in the jumper ring could trust that the horse is going to do a workmanlike job over the fences.

    The one downside I can think of to this plan is that event horses take a lot of pounding, and I have some concern about soundness, present and future. (Although I've read other posters to this forum claim that jumper life is actually harder on equine bodies--don't know if that's true or not.)

    Anyway, I'm looking for opinions. Is soundness any more a pressing concern in an eventer than in a jumper? Are there other potential problems involved with a horse making the career switch from eventing to jumpers?

  • #2
    The biggest upside is usually price. Event horses tend to be cheaper than equivalent jumpers.

    I don't think soundness is necessarily a huge concern assuming you vet the horse thoroughly. Very very generally speaking, event horses compete a bit less and get turned out a bit more which is a bonus for soundness.

    Temperament varies a lot. Don't assume because it evented it will be quiet and sensible or even particularly brave and especially not the kind of brave you are looking for. See if you can meet them at a show to watch/try it. Is it currently being ridden by an amateur or junior? What's it's competition record like?

    Comment


    • #3
      Lauren Kieffer had a horse called Czechmate who is now a junior/AO jumper. Just competed at Washington I believe, so some eventers can transition well!

      Finding the right brain is going to be important. I think the jumper courses tend to be a bit trickier, whereas eventing courses are slightly more straight forward.

      Doug Payne also dabbles back and forth with show jumping and eventing, so he might be a good contact if he has any for sale.

      Comment


      • #4
        A friend who is an equine body worker told me event horses seem to have fewer body soreness issues than straight dressage, jumpers, or western discipline specific horses.
        She attributed it to cross-training. They don’t necessarily take a pounding. FWIW.

        Comment


        • #5
          Unless the horse was limited as an Eventer, why would you do this? Event horses that are good, like what they do, including XC. Why take them and keep them in the jumper ring? I would want to buy a horse that knows and is good at its job. That means a horse that is doing well in jumpers. There are some event horses that lack XC bravery that do transition well to jumpers, but they are somewhat of an unknown quantity. Give your daughter confidence by getting a horse experienced in the area in which she wants to show.

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          • #6
            Prelim is still called Prelim.

            CCI 1* USED to refer to am FEI competition roughly equivalent to Prelim (3'7" cross country. 3/9" show jumping). But now THAT is called CCI **, and CCI * refers to an FEI competition roughly equivalent to Modified (3'5" for both cross country and show jumping)
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

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            • #7
              It all depends on the horse and in part on its training. I know many who cross train/compete and are very good in the show jump arena.

              Eventers do have a reputation for being bold or at least that they will jump the jump rather than stop. Make sure you ask questions and that your daughter is ready to ride according to how each particular horse goes. Some are more "packer" mentality than others, as is the case in any discipline.
              Blugal

              You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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              • #8
                I’ve sold several event horses as show jumpers. That is really really common and has been for a long time. One of mine was an excellent event horse (went to intermediate with me before work got in my way) but he was best as a Show jumper taking his new owner from just starting in jumpers up to GP (1.5m). I knew he had that scope and that was why I redirected him to the jumpers. We also can sell them for more as show jumpers than we can as event horses although prices for event horses have improved.

                ONLY negative is teaching them about open waters (not liverpools/event horses jump those)....but Many can learn that too and those jumps are not that common.

                Event horses are NOT more pounded on than jumpers. The BNT whose student bought my event horse referred to above said he was the most correctly schooled horse he ever had come into his program. I considered that a big compliment—at the time I was riding with Jimmy Wofford on a weekly basis so the horse had been developed in a very good Eventing program. Just like the show world.....not all trainers or programs are good (or bad). Don’t evaluate a horse as an Eventer or jumper....evaluate the horse in front of you and see if is a good match. But most of us event riders ALSO compete in jumpers....after all that is one of our phases.
                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                Comment


                • #9
                  Completely agree with Bornfree. I've often suggested to people looking for horses to check out the eventer market, as some are more realistically priced, and have talent that's overlooked because they "event". And as Bornfree also posted, many event riders and their horses also compete in the jumpers to hone their skills SJ - or to keep the horses fit/schooled in between events. I've seen plenty of event riders now doing the SJ classes at some of our nearby rated A shows.

                  Also as Bornfree said - it's really about the horse - not necessarily the discipline. Certainly looking across disciplines opens up the door to potentially more to look at.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    At the risk of sounding ignorant (from one who has not Evented since the early 2000s) Showjumping is the 3rd phase of a 3-day, right?
                    Why would a seasoned Event horse not be suitable as a Jumper?

                    Agreeing with bornfreenowexpensive & gottagrey : It is about the individual horse.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Except at Championships and some FEI events, Show Jumping is the SECOND phase of Horse Trials.
                      Janet

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Janet View Post
                        Except at Championships and some FEI events, Show Jumping is the SECOND phase of Horse Trials.
                        Not to derail this thread, but that must vary by Area as almost all Horse Trials around here have SJ on day three.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SimpleSimon View Post

                          Not to derail this thread, but that must vary by Area as almost all Horse Trials around here have SJ on day three.
                          For 1 day horse trials (meaning division is over 1 day) SJ is usually 2nd phase, horses pretty much go straight from SJ to XC.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Preliminary is where you may see some very talented horses max out their bravery or endurance, too. It's where more technicality and accuracy is asked on cross country, and some horses will do it but not have their heart in it. They're capable of succeeding in the dressage and jumper ring, but if their heart isn't in the XC, it's not fair to keep pushing them in a direction they're not happy with.

                            Ex-eventers have succeeded in many other rings; one that really sticks in my mind was RF Amber Eyes, who finished top ten in the then-CIC** at Jersey Fresh in 2013, then turned around and was ridden to a second place finish in the Derby at Devon a month later. Definitely an outlier, but eventers can be extremely versatile in the right program.
                            Leap, and the net will appear

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                              At the risk of sounding ignorant (from one who has not Evented since the early 2000s) Showjumping is the 3rd phase of a 3-day, right?
                              Why would a seasoned Event horse not be suitable as a Jumper?

                              Agreeing with bornfreenowexpensive & gottagrey : It is about the individual horse.
                              From a jumper's perspective - two reasons: 1) water and 2) carefulness

                              Carefulness is the opposite of boldness - not saying a bold horse *can't* be careful, but a horse that's too careful doesn't typically make a great eventer. On the other hand, a horse that's too bold often doesn't make a good jumper.

                              BUT, this is often how you would talk about upper level horses, and if the OP is talking about 1.10m/1.20m jumpers it may be less of an issue. There are many bold, workmanlike horses killing it in the middle levels of jumping.

                              With that being said, doing the job of a jumper is different than a 3-day horse. Yes, show jumping is a phase of eventing, but eventers have to be bold but they don't have to be as careful, and teaching them to jump open water cleanly *can* (but isn't always, or maybe isn't even often) an issue.

                              But to the OP - What I would be looking at would be slightly different if I was evaluating an eventer to turn into a jumper, but I see no reason why it would be a "bad" idea. I would just focus on the two things - cleanliness over the height I want it to be jumping and carefulness as a whole. I don't know if you can predict how willing a horse will be to respect the tape at a water jump, but you can figure out pretty quick how "allergic to wood" one is.
                              __________________________________
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                One minor caveat is that many lower level event horses do not know their changes, which will need to be taught. I know, many do them automatically on course, but some do not (as they are unbalanced or owner just can't figure out how to ask or...). I was shopping this market earlier this year and saw so many nice horses have awful SJ rounds due to this factor. Event horses that are properly trained and well ridden during their careers make excellent hunters and jumpers for those circuits. I'd absolutely look for an eventer to use in the jumpers!
                                Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  PNWjumper thanks for the perspective.
                                  I too assumed OP was not looking for an upper level Jumper.
                                  Rather for an entry-level horse for her DD to take in the Jumper ring.

                                  Calvincrowe OP mentioned horse in question is doing Prelim.
                                  From the Dressage standpoint, at that level I'd imagine horse has decent changes.
                                  Of course, rider might need to learn how to ask.
                                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    One minor caveat is that many lower level event horses do not know their changes, which will need to be taught.
                                    There is at least one Olympic medal winning jumper who did not "know her changes"
                                    Last edited by Janet; Nov. 6, 2019, 03:35 PM.
                                    Janet

                                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                                      One minor caveat is that many lower level event horses do not know their changes, which will need to be taught. I know, many do them automatically on course, but some do not (as they are unbalanced or owner just can't figure out how to ask or...). I was shopping this market earlier this year and saw so many nice horses have awful SJ rounds due to this factor. Event horses that are properly trained and well ridden during their careers make excellent hunters and jumpers for those circuits. I'd absolutely look for an eventer to use in the jumpers!
                                      You know people always say that and I personally find that this is just not true. Most event horses in remotely decent programs will have their changes. True, it will NOT kill the competitiveness of one if it doesn’t have its changes like it will for a show hunter (and because of that they are NOT overly drilled...you you bet we work on them).....but most I know will have their changes as well and as any jumper that I know. Especially by Training level (which is about 1 meter).
                                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think looking at event horses is a awesome idea. Typically eventers are more reasonably priced and in the case of my wife (Who rode high level dressage before switching to jumpers) she preferred their way of going because of the dressage phase in eventing forced them to have better flat work instilled.

                                        Word of caution though, not all eventers are necessarily brave and have no stop. A lot of time that is exactly why they are being sold or marketed to a different discipline. They have peaked within the eventing world because they aren't able to complete the tougher questions that the upper levels require.

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