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Selecting horses for our Young Riders

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  • Selecting horses for our Young Riders

    I have been reading the other thread with great interest, but thought I would start a new thread on the topic of managing our Young Riders who are hell bent on moving up.

    We have a 16 year old YR that is pushing for
    NAJYRC. She's riding a steady, reliable 14 year old gelding that she has taken from BN to Training successfully in 3 years. They have moved up together; she had a few years of jumping experience on other horses, but trained him to jump and then started eventing on him. They don't move up a level until it becomes easy for them and they are winning regularly.

    She trains with a very good local jump trainer on the trainer's assorted advanced and young talented horses weekly, has a GP dressage trainer, and does clinics with UL event trainers whenever possible. All the UL trainers they have ridden with really like the horse and think he is probably talented enough for Prelim, but not sure if he will make time, although he is making time at training. He is a horse that has occasionally used his own judgement when unsure about his safety. For example, he refused a more intimidating than normal ditch at novice, but with further experience has moved forward to confidently do ditches. But he's definitely thinking out there on course.

    The bond and communication between our rider and horse is excellent; they are truly a team. A pretty equal team, he loves to show as much as she does, and he is all business and focused.

    We are thinking our rider will be safer moving up to prelim (when and if they are ready, per our judgement and her trainers) on this horse, rather than getting a "new to her" experienced prelim horse.

    We are struggling with this, and keep asking her if she will please switch to dressage.

    As exciting as it is to watch their amazing partnership, we of course are worried about them moving up to prelim.


    One thing I am wondering is if a pro should perhaps show him prelim at least one time before our rider does? They will probably spend some time at a pro's eventing barn next summer for some more intense training, so we will discuss this with the trainer, but any thoughts any of you have are welcome.

    Christie Wishlove, did you come across anything in your study regarding this situation?

    I am also wondering if a teenager with this level of experience could slowly start bringing along a nice young horse for the future, or if purchasing an experienced UL horse would likely still be safer. She has already taken a TB off the track and trained basic flatwork and small jumps. She rides regularly and really puts the time in, and is a pretty good dressage rider.


  • #2
    If this horse is competent, consistent, and has so far been a confidence builder, and the rider is schooling the questions at home easily, then this sounds like the perfect horse to take the rider Prelim with. One a % scale, how often are the horse and rider "stopping." You mention the one time. Was this one time a year ago, or one time last week, plus multiple times before that? You want a horse that the rider feels confident on. A horse with history at the level, that the rider is still nervous on, will be less of an aid than a safe-minded current horse. However, if the horse has a spotted record, doesn't have the confidence himself over fences at Prelim, or the rider is "unsure" of whether the horse is going to "go," or not, calls for a change in rider/and or horse long-term or temporarily.

    The worst options would be to 1. Send the pair out without having schooled enough questions at home 2. Dropping a very competent horse's confidence that very could well be a perfect match. Meaning, several of these good minded horses would very much be good move-up horses with just a few pro-rides or under the watchful eye of a trainer.

    Can the pair move up to Modified first? Can they run a Prelim CT. There are so many inbetween steps to insure the horse and rider have the best options for success. I don;t think it's an, "ok we're good at Training, now lets move-up and see how it goes."

    I'm trying to remember the qualifications isn't 18 the last year you can run the 1*? I don't believe you HAVE to run the long format before as a qualifier anymore correct? So even now, rider spends the spring schooling questions, running a modified, moves up this summer? She has all fall to get some qualifiers, maybe run a long-format 1* next October/November 2020? Then you have Spring 2021 to sharpen your skills to be competitive to go rock YRs! That actually seems like a perfect timeline for a rider that is currently successful at Training level to move-up safely. In the inbetween, there are so many exciting speed bumps to get to YRs. She still needs to run her first 1*, she can go run a long-format, etc. etc.
    Last edited by AskMyAccountant.17; Dec. 13, 2019, 12:52 PM. Reason: (Please excuse my brain, I am inferring to the new 2** level)

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    • #3
      What do trainers say about the scope of steady, reliable 14yo with respect to Prelim (or bigger) fences? Time is one thing, but scope is another. I know of a kind of similar story, the YR did end up doing NAJYRC, but it always looked to me like her horse was maxed out at the level with nothing to spare.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm with Groom&Taxi regarding scope being more important than time for horses. To qualify for 2019 jr riders had to be no more than 75 seconds exceeding optimum time XC. I watched a pair that the horse just didn't have the scope for 2* but generally made time. The horse tried their heart out but it was clear it was over faced.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you all for your thoughtful answers.

          We think he has the scope for Prelim but will max out there. He's jumped a fair amount of Prelim elements in schooling already, no problem. He only ran 2 Trainings last season, so we have a whole season of Training planned for next year and maybe a move up to a Modified at the end of the season, if all goes well. Our rider will be 18 in 2021. I will have to read up on the rules. It's very confusing to me.

          They had a great Novice year in 2018, and our rider was the 2018 2nd place Junior Novice rider in her Area. Fixed the ditch problem from 2017, and went clear XC at almost all the shows.

          They did their first 2019 show of the season at Training, and had one refusal on XC at a fence, rider error. They got through the fairly easy for Training water complexes, but trotted through. He was out of commission June - Aug due to a surgery. Did a Novice in August as his comeback event and came in 1st, finishing on his dressage score. His last show of the season, moved back up to Training. One stop on XC, at a log that looked like a drop into water, but actually had a little place to land before the water. He jumped it on the 2nd attempt. Jumping into water is their issue; they both need to build their confidence, and she knows they have to conquer this at Training level, or they won't get to Prelim. He always schools water right before a show really well, but then at the last show, our rider saw that water jump on course, and started flapping her wings and probably caused the refusal! They also need a little work on banks, but everything else is solid. They will have an occasional rail in stadium, but he's easily jumping the Training jumps.

          One of her friends just built a little water complex in her pasture. I have already mentioned it to my husband a few times, but I don't think he's taking me seriously yet!

          They are a very confident pair together, and I noticed a big change in our rider in how much more aggressively she rode XC at their last event at Training. It was the ride I was waiting for; it's almost like she caught up with how forward he wanted to go, and they looked like a pair headed to upper level.

          At the end of last season we found a great local event trainer who is a stickler on technique, so we are going to spend some serious time with him in the spring and try to have a great year at Training! And maybe ask him to school the horse in the water! So far our dressage trainer has been the only trainer to ride the horse.

          Thanks again!

          Comment


          • #6
            So the pair have done 2 trainings, with 20 penalties on cross country in each? I'd work with your trainers and get them solid at training for a year before thinking of a prelim move up! The trainers who have seen the horse and rider will know far more about their combined ability than the forum.

            In regards to your initial question, if money is no obstacle, it can be a very valuable thing to learn from a horse who has upper level experience. However, it isn't necessary (in my opinion) and the rider may need to be more competent at training level before she would be ready to ride a horse with that experience. There are experienced UL horses that will pack an inexperienced rider, but they are fewer and further between and even more expensive.

            I was very lucky as a young rider and found a very quirky, tough, older horse who had many years at preliminary. We bought him for a fraction of what he was worth due to circumstance, and I was able to get mileage at preliminary on him. We did not do young riders, but having a horse who had been there and done that helped a lot when I was new to the level.

            Did I want to do young riders? Absolutely. Was it feasible? Not a chance. Did I survive? Yes. Young riders is a goal, and the world will keep turning if the pair doesn't qualify/isn't ready. It is heartbreaking to see so many kids desperately want to do young riders, and when they don't make it they are crushed. It is just a horse show, and isn't a marker of future success. She is luckier than most to be able to follow a horsey dream, regardless of whether it ends in young riders or not

            Comment


            • #7
              The other thing I will say about NAYC is that getting there and actually getting around the XC there clear are two different things. I understand why the qualification was softened to only require a CCI2*-S, however the CCI2*-L XC at Rebecca is a monster track, and it was the same at KHP in years prior.

              I think it's wonderful for YR's to have the goal of going, but they should err on the side of being over prepared rather than just meeting the minimum qualifications. Having knowledgeable area coaches is definitely helpful to ensure that the correct pairs are going.
              No Trouble
              2/2/05 - 7/29/13
              Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

              Comment


              • #8
                If the rider and horse have only completed 2 events at Training and had XC jump penalties on both, they are not ready to move up. End of story.

                I personally don't believe that a rider needs to be on a proven, experienced 4* horse in order to move up the levels as safely as possible and try to qualify for Young Riders. IMO the partnership between horse and rider is important, and I'd put my money on a rider on a horse she's been competing on for years and had a full, successful season with at Training as being more likely to safely get around her first Prelim, than the kid riding the horse that a pro took around Fair Hill but she's only done a couple events with, provided neither horse is at the limit of his scope.

                Either way, both horse AND rider need to be rock solid at Training to move up. Buying an experienced horse doesn't negate the need for the rider to be very solid at Training with that particular horse.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for more great advice everyone!!

                  I agree that they need a very solid full season at training before we would let them even try a modified. And we will also not let her move up until her trainers agree. (I need Training to be easy for them; like they've outgrown it and it isn't fair to the other riders that they are still doing Training, before I will feel ready for them to move up!)

                  We just heard that the AEC's are staying in Kentucky for 2021, so that should take most of the stress off of her trying to make NAYC. She'll be happy enough if she makes it to AEC's at Training, especially if she can qualify for next August, which is going to be a challenge.

                  Potato, if the situation comes up we would definitely grab an older prelim horse like you found. I think that is really the perfect scenario. She actually rides one now who was a prelim champ in Canada in his much younger days. He's in his 20s now and stiff, but she pops him over some little jumps once in a while and he still loves it. She rides him because he bolts periodically and scares his older adult rider, but he behaves if she rides him for her a few times a week. She gallops him outside and do all the other things the older lady is afraid to do with him. He's a crabby old guy, but is still really feisty and hasn't lost that competitive look in his eye, which is so cute.

                  Thanks again everyone.

                  I'll update this post if (she would say "when") they make it to AEC's!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In general I think it’s better if the kid can get some experience riding a horse that has done some prelim first. There’s a big difference between training and prelim, it’s always been the biggest jump between the levels. As far as qualifying for Young riders it’s definitely harder than the regular prelim courses, and you see a big difference between the regions as far as what is needed to make the team. It’s also a major time commitment, and many of the kids who do it either homeschool or do some form of charter school. My daughter moved up to prelim successfully earlier in the year but ultimately decided not to try to try to qualify for NAYRC next year because she’s at a fairly demanding high school and didn’t think she could do it all. She did have fun doing the National training 3 day YR team competition at Rebecca last summer and her team even won the championships. She then did a modified before moving up to prelim in the fall. She did training for four years before moving up to prelim, but we all wanted to make sure she was really ready. Originally the plan was for her to go prelim on my experienced prelim mare before doing it on her horse, but soundness issues threw a wrench in that plan and slowed things down.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks vali. A few of the local kids have homeschooled so they could go to Florida for the winters. And of course, they are the kids who have done really well. Since we are in the Midwest, we only compete for 6 months of the year, and only get to go to 6 events at most and the seasons are just flying by, Then keeping the horses healthy is another challenge! I think the kids are better off doing as your daughter did and having the high school experience and having some non horsey friends. If they really want to keep riding there is plenty of time to be successful after high school and college.

                      We'll have to see how it goes this year at Training. I think the goals of AEC's and maybe the Hagyard Team event are good for 2020!

                      Good luck to your daughter!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by iris2006 View Post
                        Thanks vali. A few of the local kids have homeschooled so they could go to Florida for the winters. And of course, they are the kids who have done really well. Since we are in the Midwest, we only compete for 6 months of the year, and only get to go to 6 events at most and the seasons are just flying by, Then keeping the horses healthy is another challenge! I think the kids are better off doing as your daughter did and having the high school experience and having some non horsey friends. If they really want to keep riding there is plenty of time to be successful after high school and college.

                        We'll have to see how it goes this year at Training. I think the goals of AEC's and maybe the Hagyard Team event are good for 2020!

                        Good luck to your daughter!
                        I just had this conversation with a young rider....I said don’t stress moving up. Enjoy your horse. I didn’t event AT ALL until my 20s and moved up quickly after I started and am still going strong 25+ years later. Because I was an experienced rider in other disciplines and in general. People over focus on competing and over focus on levels. IMO....take more time and make sure she has OTHER experiences. If you had asked me in HS...I just wanted to ride. But we couldn’t afford it. So I rode when (and what) I could—typically 1-3 times a week and very very little competing—-but instead played 2 varsity sports. Looking back....that not only has made me a better rider and horse person but also a much better and more well rounded person. And it really did NOT hold me back from any riding goals.
                        ** 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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post
                          If the rider and horse have only completed 2 events at Training and had XC jump penalties on both, they are not ready to move up. End of story.

                          I personally don't believe that a rider needs to be on a proven, experienced 4* horse in order to move up the levels as safely as possible and try to qualify for Young Riders. IMO the partnership between horse and rider is important, and I'd put my money on a rider on a horse she's been competing on for years and had a full, successful season with at Training as being more likely to safely get around her first Prelim, than the kid riding the horse that a pro took around Fair Hill but she's only done a couple events with, provided neither horse is at the limit of his scope.

                          Either way, both horse AND rider need to be rock solid at Training to move up. Buying an experienced horse doesn't negate the need for the rider to be very solid at Training with that particular horse.
                          My comment regarding the bolded which I agree with but -- unfortunately this is the current model for US YRs. Buy experienced 4* horse and/or packer, and use that horse's experience to help them navigate Prelim*+.

                          It's not correct, and it's not safe, but it's what's being done. I've seen many YRs with more money at their disposal than the average rider, who have gotten their qualifications while not having the experience desirable to safely navigate a course of that level. My own two cents on the issue, I really think YRs just don't have the same depth of experience to make them handle (dangerous) questions as well as an adult counterpart: unfortunately, most of them are "racing against the clock" to meet their qualifications before they become ineligible, so they buy the horse they need for the level, and sometimes get by on hairy situations because the horse underneath them is incredibly athletic and well-trained and bails them out of bad spots.

                          There's a lot of pressure on YRs, and on the trainers/coaches/parents of YRs. I've seen it compromise the judgment of many (good) trainers and people.

                          Regarding the OP's question, others have touched on it better than me.. but the comment about her only competing 2 events at Training with XC penalties at both events.. how is Prelim even a consideration at this point?? No coach in their right mind, IMHO, should be focusing the YR on Prelim when they can't get around a Training course clean.

                          The jump between Training and Prelim in terms of questions asked is huge - and the room for error drastically reduced. There's a reason many solid Training level riders never break Prelim. There's a reason many solid Training packers don't ever make a start at Prelim. To an outside observer it may seem it's just a few inches - but the technicalities on course make it a completely different track.
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                          • #14
                            Why isn't it correct or safe to purchase an experienced horse? Why have a young rider move her own inexperienced, and possibly maxed out horse up?

                            This is a brand new idea that I think is a reflex to today's anti pressure, anti accident mentality.

                            I see no issues with finding an appropriately matched experienced horse for a rider who wants to move up and shows the work ethic and desire to do so.

                            I'm sure there are plenty of upper level horses who would not provide a safe experience with a YR, but a good trainer will find the ones who will.
                            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                              Why isn't it correct or safe to purchase an experienced horse? Why have a young rider move her own inexperienced, and possibly maxed out horse up?

                              This is a brand new idea that I think is a reflex to today's anti pressure, anti accident mentality.

                              I see no issues with finding an appropriately matched experienced horse for a rider who wants to move up and shows the work ethic and desire to do so.

                              I'm sure there are plenty of upper level horses who would not provide a safe experience with a YR, but a good trainer will find the ones who will.
                              For clarity: my point was it's not correct/safe when a YR is riding way above their skill level, using the horse's skill to bail them out of bad spots and situations. I

                              It's perfectly fine/correct/safe when their riding skill is on par with the level and they're an appropriate match. .

                              Sorry if that was not clear, I was piggybacking/responding to a few comments made up thread.
                              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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