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Help me get my 3 yo ISH started in eventing

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  • Help me get my 3 yo ISH started in eventing

    SO I bought an O Learys Irish Diamond mare. She is my next dressage horse, BUT is bred to jump/event. I have not jumped in years.....and she loves it. I work with a great dressage trainer, I think it would be fun to get her out. Where do I start with Eventing, I tried it when I was younger. I have no desire to go above novice (b.n. may even max me out). Any advice would be appreciated on how to get her well rounded! Do you think it will take away from future dressage hopes ( my goal is 4th level with her some day).

  • #2
    For now, hack her out and get her used to the world. Give her the winter off to grow some more and be a horse. In the spring, see where she's at and go from there.

    If she's ready to start some more focused work, find a good eventing trainer to get her started and to help you get your sea legs again (preferably on an older horse). All the basics she'll get in her dressage education will come in handy, and the variety of eventing should make her a happier more well rounded dressage competitor.

    But your first two steps are hacking her out right now (nothing too much. She's still a baby) and finding an eventing trainer. She can't even begin competing in eventing until she's 4, anyway.

    While you're waiting for her, there's lots you can read! Start at the USEA website, www.useventing.com Read the rulebook and "The Starting Box." Search on here for other good lists of things to read.


    • #3
      No eventing won't take away from future dressage hopes, except that to do one requires less time spent on the other.


      • #4
        My daughter has an IDSH who she rides primarily in dressage. He loves to take her jumping. I know he would make her event if he could. He enjoys his dressage, but jumping is a special treat that she allows if he has done some really nice dressage.

        You might start taking your mare places. If you can find some jumper shows that are focused on youngsters, you and she will have fun. When our boy was a 3 1/2 year old, he went to some jumper shows that offered 12" jumps. The goals were to get him on the trailer, have him unload quietly, have him learn to focus during a warmup that has other horses, and then to go in and out of the ring without a fuss. The first time he went, the farm owner, ring steward, and I had to drag him through the gate. He didn't understand how to go in and out. Trotting over the 12" course was no problem.

        You have a very well bred mare. OLID produced some very nice horses.


        • #5
          Congrats. My OLID mare I sold is an awesome eventer with great movement. My current mare we started with some schooling jumper shows and schooling X-country. We just did her 1st combined test. She will do her 1st event next month. If you're a dressage rider like me who is a nervous nelly on with X-country, Combined tests might be a great alternative. Still gives her some fun jumping and practice in dressage.

          Me the only down side to doing both is the dressage tests are not the same, so more memorizing which is a weakness for me.
          Epona Farm
          Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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          • #6
            Jumping is really good for developing 'thrust' and balance - even for dressage horses. But right now she probably needs more time to grow - my IDSH didn't finish growing until he was about 7 yrs old. He was backed as a late 3 yr old, but then turned out again and was not introduced to jumping until a late 4 yr old/almost 5. Their bodies (and bone) take a LONG time to develop - I wouldn't rush it. IMO, if you start jumping before a horse knows where their parts are and has basic balance, you can cause yourself future problems - and if you haven't jumped in a while, it could be double-trouble. Can you borrow an experienced horse and get yourself back into practice while your girl is growing? AKB's comment about just getting out and going places for the experience is also a good idea.


            • Original Poster

              I have been riding for 25 plus years, and just retired my warmblood gelding. My ISH has been out to some schooling shows this year so I am working on getting her off the farm. She is super easy, and I just started hacking her out.

              I will give her an easy winter, but have an indoor so will probably focus on ground work and games with her. I want her to be well rounded, as she will be my pro ride horse. I think some schooling h/j shows and maybe a combined event sounds great, I will wait til shes 4 though! I also need to try to find a great event trainer to school with. I am in southern Mi, any ideas?

              I am fortunate to work with a solid Grand Prix rider/trainer that will help us in Dressage.


              • #8
                Take her out cubbing or hilltopping if you are anywhere near a good hunt.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  Well, being that you are in the mid-west somewhat I would seriously keep your nose to the ground for a Dorothy Crowell clinic nearby. (She's based in KY I believe.) I've heard great things about her as an instructor.
                  I think if I were you, I would take great care to start her properly. I believe, having started about a hundred horses over fences, that the first 10 jumps do make a big difference in their attitude toward jumping. If you have ridden primarily dressage, it will be important to teach yourself to get off your butt, and ride with just your leg again, even a little bit. Start with holding your two point while you are ring riding, and increase the time you can stay out of the saddle yet still keep a feel of her mouth and keep your leg on to guide her. At first it may only be a side of the indoor, later perhaps once around and work up to be able to stick that two-point as long as you need to. Check your position with a friend and cell phone camera or mirror or instructor!
                  As soon as you feel confident in that two point you should trot your young mare over the poles and get comfortable with that, then canter poles. Because there's two of you that need to get into jumping, I'd take the real conservative approach. You will need to trust your upper body balance again out of the saddle and your pony will need to learn to balance and lift herself and hop things with a rider.
                  Next, I'd work her in hand a bit, or lunge, over some simple things like poles, cavaletti, etc. If you do this first, you'll have her already knowing where the legs go, and in what order ,when she jumps, and all she has to do is sort of figure out where the rider is to be when you actually ride her over fences.
                  Use "whoa" and the cluck, then when you are riding, use the same signals when applying leg, or half halt and she'll get it -- she's Irish --.
                  Key to the first few jumps is that balance of YOU so that you do not need your hands to hold on (which ends up being her mouth.) The Irish are funny about their mouths and do not like to be pulled on a great deal, in my experience, so if you can get your balance where you want it, then you can hop over all sorts of little things in the ring. Go to a clever event trainer who has started a lot of young horses for a first jump lesson. Sure, hack out and stuff, but keep her interested with poles and things in your ring rather than drilling the flat work at her young age. There's plenty of time for that later as she grows up. Best of luck and would LOFF to hear about her later! (I love Irish horses!
                  Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                  Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                  • #10
                    I lunge my 3 and 4 yr olds over odd obstacles - logs, pop up tunnels, flowers, brush boxes, barrels, fake water jumps, small gates - just to show them a variety of obstacles without worrying about a rider.

                    we have a small cross course and most of the jumps can be lunged over - great experience for them.


                    • Original Poster

                      thanks for all of the great advice. I guess I am blesssed with still being able to sit well in a jumping saddle. I do ride very frequently as I have a few training horses that I ride, and I am taking my sweet time on letting this mare grow up.

                      I think I found a great event rider to work with in 2011, and she is great at buliding confidence. So far I am on the right track with my Mare and will def. be giving her the winter off! thanks for the advice

                      I would post a pict if anyone can help me. I have a nice one of her on my facebook account.


                      • #12
                        Love those OLIDs! What mare is she out of?
                        Ainninn House Stud
                        Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                        Co. Westmeath, Ireland


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by prodomus View Post
                          I lunge my 3 and 4 yr olds over odd obstacles - logs, pop up tunnels, flowers, brush boxes, barrels, fake water jumps, small gates - just to show them a variety of obstacles without worrying about a rider.

                          we have a small cross course and most of the jumps can be lunged over - great experience for them.
                          This is how I started my now 6 year old mare WB. I started though with lunging over oddly placed or random ground poles and just made going over a non-issue. Since she was 2, I always took her along when i went to a clinic or lesson away from the barn with my other horse. I would just work her in hand and most clinicians would let me lunge or lead her around the stadium during breaks. I would take her to with me to watch the xc course

                          At 3, I did exactly what prodomus said. It was a great game and my mare loved it. I also did this at clinics (away from the lessons so not to be disruptive) and she just loved it!

                          i also occassionally hill-topped/ chased her at the hunt as a 4 year old and, but she still was growing and I went to the fixtures that I knew it would be easy. but I never jumped with me on her back until she was 5. and started to do low jumps. I did a few summer rides (with the hunt), where , by mistake, I didn't know a fixture had bumped up the jumps and we ended up doing 3 ft jumps...which she didn't even bat an eye at. That season, She ended up 1st flight and used as a field master's horse a couple times! she started eventing this summer and just eats up the course at BN, She'll def move up to N quickly and clinicians feel that she'll go far.

                          I have a horse that is very confident on xc and loves her job. she is still green and needs to see more stadium ( ocassionally stops to look at something new, but in general is very bold) and she is very bold on xc.

                          so take it easy, you'll know when your horse is ready. make it fun and your horse will jump anything in the future.
                          I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Waterwitch View Post
                            Love those OLIDs! What mare is she out of?
                            Me too, I'm jealous
                            I wasn't always a Smurf
                            Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                            • Original Poster

                              My mare is out of a connemara/tb mare that was an import from Canada to the US. She is only 15 hands at 3......but I LOVE the connemaras and at 5'6" feel great on her. She may not get much more height, but she has lovely conformation and a big body with good bone and feet. Oh, and my dressage trainer LOVES her canter.

                              I bought her for her MIND, and she is straightforward and honest at everything we do. I guess I am hooked on Irish, because I am buying a 3/4 connemara 1/4 tb 2 yo. Every Irish pony / horse I have trained has been wonderful and fun!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RTF View Post
                                My mare is out of a connemara/tb mare that was an import from Canada to the US. She is only 15 hands at 3......but I LOVE the connemaras and at 5'6" feel great on her. She may not get much more height, but she has lovely conformation and a big body with good bone and feet. Oh, and my dressage trainer LOVES her canter.

                                I bought her for her MIND, and she is straightforward and honest at everything we do. I guess I am hooked on Irish, because I am buying a 3/4 connemara 1/4 tb 2 yo. Every Irish pony / horse I have trained has been wonderful and fun!
                                Ok...you can't post those kind of details without a photo. Love Connemara crosses too...I have been fantasizing about breeding my OLID mare to ArdCeltic Art (need to get another purebred filly out of her first!). When you get a chance would love to see a piccie of your new girl!
                                Ainninn House Stud
                                Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                                Co. Westmeath, Ireland


                                • #17
                                  HA! my mare has 1/4 connemara..and my ottb is 1/2 irish tb. both are a joy to work with and ride! they both are very sweet horses and have excellent minds!
                                  I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!