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How many events a season?

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  • How many events a season?

    Looking at the upcoming event season and devilishly planning away.... There are about 10 events I "could" do between two horses. I won't actually be able to afford to do all of them, but it got me wondering...

    How many events a season do you and your horse commonly do as a combination? Do you run back to back or prefer to do one a month?

    How many events should I plan on attempting with my 4yr old? (BN only)
    Should I space them out or look at a couple events two weeks apart so she would "learn" from the first and still remember it for the second??

  • #2
    No matter what I do, I always seem to wind up doing about 5 a year. If I shoot for 8 . . . I get to 5. If I think I'll manage 2 or 3 . . . five.

    I don't like doing back to back weekends AT ALL. Takes a lot of the fun out of it, since I have to move heaven and earth in the rest of my life to get everything taken care of so I can skip town two weekends in a row, clean up all my stuff, barn sitters, etc. etc. I can't remember the last time I even attempted it. OTOH, at BN I don't think it's all that strenuous for the horse, and certainly not physically at all. Mentally, for a baby, it can go both ways--it can be a lot of growing up in a hurry for them, or it can fry them a little bit. You sort of have to judge by the individual there.

    Once a month works out best for me, and there aren't unlimited options in our area anyhow. If I have one that really needs miles, I will seek out dressage or little jumper shows for that, too. Those I can do for one day, there are a bunch of them close to home, and it's a good outing without the huge production.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      I do 10-12 most years-- from April or May to October, so works out to about 2 a month. I would prefer to do one every 3 weeks or so, but while I probably COULD, in theory, I end up doing some back to back and then having a longer gap etc. -- just because of preferred locations, work, family obligations, and that sort of thing.

      With a baby, I like to do something every couple of weeks or so, but it doesn't have to be an event, it could be an xc school, paper chase, dressage show, hunter show-- just something to get the horse out there and let it see the world.


      • #4
        It depends on the horse, but for going, older horses, I'm comfortable with 6-12 events (checkbook, soundness, and eventing gods willing), if they are going more or less from March to November (though, we typically don't run them at all in July and August). Most N/T/P horses seem to be good on about 2 a month, give or take (nothing wrong with the occasional back to back, but I don't make a habit of it). Last year, my prelim horse and I went to 10 total (one I didn't even go in the dressage ring because he was so crabby about the hard ground- was not planning on jumping him, one I withdrew after dressage because I was just too frustrated after dressage to feel like jumping him and putting unnecessary mileage on his legs, one I rode like a bozo and got us eliminated at the 5th fence, and the last, a long format three day, I fell at the 10th . He completed 6...and ran around steeplechase at a 7th). We had a training level horse who went to 7, didn't jump at the one I didn't even do dressage at.

        For a young horse, I typically run them on a pretty light schedule and only if they are giving me the signs that they are good to go. My prelim horse at 4 did a total of 4 events, 1 of which was a baby event, the other 3 were novices. He had a few other outings between CTs, jumper shows, and 2 events he just did dressage at (one he abscessed between dressage and show jumping, the other the ground was too hard to jump). Novice was a cakewalk for him at 4 (BN for him would have been pointless), he was absolutely unphased by competing, and we had to work hard at not letting him convince us he could do more...he ate it up. So, it does depend a lot on the horse, but even the really good ones who seem to really love it, I am conservative with them and take it easy at 4 and 5....though, probably not as conservative as others.


        • #5
          I will do back to back events occassionally. Especially with a younger horse (although with a 4 year old I wouldn't event much at all...my last one only did one event). Some times it really helps them to understand the game to do a back to back weekends....but it depends on the horse and depends on the event. For a back to back events...they are usually one-day events in my back yard so I'm not traveling far (less than 2 hours away and I'm not staying over night). There are some one day events where I'm home before 1pm--so you basically are just gone for the morning. One of the huge advantages to living in Area II.

          I usually do 8-12 events a year (works out to 1-2 a month with a break in summer and winter)...but I rarely travel more than 2 hours to an event or stay overnight. Some years I do fewer if the footing is bad.

          ETA: I will do a lot more 'outings' ....especially with the 4 year old or other youngster. I took mine out with hounds, out to schooling dressage shows and hunter shows...and LOTS of hacking in different places. Just didn't do many horse trails. During good weather...we usually go someplace different just about every weekend for a day trip.
          Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jan. 20, 2011, 11:31 AM.
          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


          • #6
            I think it depends a lot on what level you do. I wouldn't take an Intermediate horse to back to back events, and rarely would a Prelim horse. But I believe doing back to back events with a lower level horse would be okay because of the experience it would get out of it I think the more experience you can give a young horse the better. I might not do many back to back events with a young horse, but if there is a schooling show in between events I would definitely take the young one out for the experience.


            • #7
              Do you all include schooling shows in your total outings or just full HT's.. for example I may go do a CT the an HT the following weekend (at BN/N) but dont worry about that being too much.. from April to November I did 6 USEA HT's this year 2 unrec. and a hand full of schooling shows... I think it depends on the horse but I generally plan 2 outings/month, Recg. HT's if the bank account allows otherwise i will throw in a local CT or Hunter pace... On the other hand we had some greenies who desperately needed exposure so there we months they would do something every weekend..(all intro/bn stuff) be it a XC schooling, CT, Ht, or trail ride we just tried to get them off the property (they would have 1-2 days off a week still) ...they seemed fine with this, but I would never take my seasoned guy out that much..he doesn't need it and I dont have the time! so very much depends on the individual.


              • #8
                With a mature horse (N - T - P) I generally PLAN on 6 HT, 3 in the spring and 3 in the fall. Plus a ew straight dressage shows and a few jumper shows.

                With a 4 yo I would probably only do 2 HT, but lots of other things, YEH, dressage, hunter shows, jumper shows, hunter pace, parade, etc.

                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                • #9
                  Our older/going horse/rider combos don't do a whole lot of other things once the event season is in full swing. We might go to some dressage shows in the winter/early spring, the occasional winter jumper show (brrrrrr), and often will start the season off with a CT. But once we're into the season, most of the solid combos just do events...they may do a dressage or jumper show during the "off" months of summer if they need a tune up, but otherwise, that's for vacation and rest.

                  Now, our young/green horses and inexperienced riders will do a lot more unrec stuff and other outings for mileage and learning to deal with nerves without the high price of making a nerve induced mistake. But, I don't cont them in the big total.


                  • #10
                    Usually around 8-10, but there have been years when I've done 3. One year I competed at 12.

                    As an extreme example, I know someone who competed 3 weekends in a row and then had one week and competed at the AECs. It wasn't all local events either. Even at the Novice level, that is a lot of traveling, and the horse was experienced so it seemed quite extreme.
                    T3DE Pact


                    • #11
                      We have a fairly short season here (May to October) and *I* can handle about one event per month. So I usually end up doing about 5-6 events a year. Also depends on whether it's a long distance, leave Friday and get home late Sunday night, kind of event.

                      For horses, I would think that competing 2 weekends in a row would be more stressful for them (not the event necessarily, but the travel and being in a stall at the event).

                      My young horse turned 4 last June. I did a couple schooling dressage shows and a H/J show with her. We schooled x-c a couple times and since she was so confident, I decided to go ahead and do some events. She ended up doing 1 recognized event and 2 local one-day events in the fall. Since then we have mostly worked on dressage and will start back to jumping in the spring. I don't want to do too much jumping on her 4 year old legs.


                      • #12
                        1 a month is all I can emotionally handle.

                        With a green horse, I try to get out most weekends to SOMETHING because I don't have a course to school at home.

                        for instance. My new horse is just learning. He has something every weekend in Feb. (XC schooling/Schooling CT/Schooling HT).

                        4 is still pretty young but I like to get them out and school somewhere often.

                        I think 3 HT a season is reasonable though.

                        There are some people that really show the boogers out of their horses. IMO it's just too much.
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                        • #13
                          I never run back to back. Too stressful on both rider and horse IMO. I try to compete about 2x a month from May-October which averages to about 8-12 although I'll probably do 9 or 10 this season. We compete at Novice right now so it's no big deal as far as stress on him. He doesn't have too much experience so the more we can get out the better. I do plan to take a few weeks off from competing a couple times this season to kind of stop for a bit and see what we need to work on for the next few events, especially since I'm planning a Training move-up at the end of the season.

                          We also do the occasional schooling combined test, clininc, dressage show, etc. both in the spring before eventing season, and in the late fall/early winter after eventing season. But like others said, once we start eventing we don't do much else besides horse trials.


                          • #14
                            I would say a whole lot depends on where you are located. In my area....most of the events are over only one day. And sometimes from the time I do my dressage test until I'm finished with xc is Less than 2 hours! We will have a dressage test at 8:30am and be packing up the trailer after xc and heading home by 12:30pm! Most of the events are within 3 hours. I can do an entire year at Prelim (8-10 events) and NEVER have to stable. So the stress is different than if you have to travel far for each of your events.

                            That said...I personally don't like to do more than 2 events in a month. I don't like braiding that much
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                            • #15
                              With a young horse like you have, I like to mix it up between horse trials and dressage shows. If you think the horse will be competetive, it can really pay off to get them in the dressage ring as much as possible as a youngster. So many older horses loath dressage, and jump around great but will never place well due to their dressage scores. Now, if your horse is a dressage natural and has a harder time with the jumping, then I would work some baby jumper or hunter shows in there too, but more often it's the dressage that is the issue Taking them to some dressage shows is also easier on the legs, and in the middle of the summer is generally much more plesant for both horse and rider! I would plan for one horse trial every 4-6 weeks, and sprinkle some dressage shows or other schooling sessions in there. What I usually find is that I'm so excited to compete when spring hits, I do a lot in the spring and early summer and then I get burnt out by the time the fall rolls around!