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Struggle to move up

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  • Struggle to move up

    This is probably long and whiny.

    I've been struggling to move up to BN for awhile. I've been doing Starter for about 2 years. I'm always clean but slow in stadium and XC.

    I decided that this year is the year I was going to move up. I've been picking smaller BN events as a stepping stone.

    I moved up to BN in May and was very nervous stadium so it was rough but my horse was great and we jumped clean. XC I had 4 stops but I had not jumped XC since last September and we jumped 18 inches then. XC was about 2' 3" with one or two 2' 6" fences. I felt like the mistakes were rider error and it was the first real time we galloped. I was really pleased.

    I had another BN last week. The location of stadium was in a clearing in the woods, and it had rained so the grass was very long and wet. It was also pretty big. My horse went bonkers ran out twice, and I fell off. We were able to run XC over mostly 2 feet - 2 3" fences and ran double clear except I skipped a max size fence with brush that made it about 3 feet (nobody else liked it and someone who was with me suggested that my horse would clear it by 4 feet and that I might not want to do it, so I was easily persuaded).

    Jumped our first ditch and bank. My horse has never stopped at a fence, and I really think the location and footing upset her. I've been really surprised at my confidence and my horse's confidence jumping XC. I came off XC both times feeling like I could jump the moon.

    I had entered another show at BN in a few weeks. It's at a recognized facility with Max fences but for the last two years they brought in smaller fences and it was very easy. I could have jumped %75 of it with my skills last year. For the last two years there I went Starter and got a 3rd and a 4th jumping around clean in both.

    I spoke with a friend who suggested I do Starter at that show based on the possiblity of max fences and my fall last week but I wanted to do BN so we decided to go schooling and decide on that. I went schooling at the place I jumped BN at in May. I don't know what it is about schooling but I didn't feel as confident. I strung some fences together and jumped most of what I'd jumped before but I didn't jump anything bigger or get a gallop going and my horse got nervous stopping and starting, walking between fences, waiting for other people to jump, and going away from the group. I never seem to be as brave on my own as I do in a lesson.


    So the question is do I stay at BN at this next show and assume it will be small like in years past or do I bump down and do yet another Starter over probably crossrails? I don't want to get eliminated or give my horse a bad ride, but I am really frustrated with my lack of ability to move up. I'm getting differing opinions from my friends.
    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    You should always be schooling the next level above where you are competing. So unless you'd be comfortable schooling Novice at the courses you're contemplating, I wouldn't do BN.

    It sounds like you and your horse are both a bit green and/or lacking in confidence? Is there any way you could lay hands (even temporarily) on a nice, broke BN/N packer to get some mileage to help with your confidence? Maybe your trainer could arrange for you to borrow or lease or take lessons on one?

    Jennifer
    Third Charm Event Team

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I've jumped every BN fence at two seperate facilities, I can't get to the other facility to school at. It is closed. I have no desire to jump Novice LOL.

      I do take lessons on lesson horses as often as my budget allows.

      Honestly I was feeling fantastic after my first BN outing and a bit worried after my fall but fantastic after my second XC outing. It is just I didn't get what I wanted from schooling and I don't know why.
      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with training a level higher than what you are showing, it is true with dressage as well. But, I also know that we do not improve as long as we continue to stay within our comfort zone. I commend you for pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, next year you'll look back and realize how far you've come. I have a German instructor, I love her because nothing is hard enough for her, she constantly pushes past her own comfort zone, and she does that for me too. This is good. Keep it up. We all have a first. Do not melt down, just learn.
        ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
        *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
        *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
        My Facebook

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        • #5
          I believe eventers should feel very comfortable schooling a level above where they compete. We tend to have nerves come into play during competition that are not present during schooling and those nerves can make us do things (or not do things) we normally wouldn't (or would) do.

          Riding should be fun and relaxing. Competitions should be the icing on the cake. It is OK to take as long as you or your horse need to move up to BN.

          Having said that, do you have regular instruction? Good instruction should help a lot with your issues and confidence. It will give you the skills you need to safely and confidently ride a BN course. Also keep in mind that if you are clear but "slow" on the starter courses, you probably should stay there until you are safely not going so "slow". A slow speed (absent any outside reasons to go slow) usually means you don't feel confident enough to "let go" and proper impulsion is needed to jump, especially as you move up the levels. During lessions, ask your instructor to set goals for riding skills that are measurable and obtainable and that will translate into more confident and safe riding in competition. Measure your sucess by obtaining those goals and the competitions will improve because of it.

          Kudos to you for verbalizing your concerns and as your signature says....Enjoy The Ride!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I made time the last two events at BN. Galloping was fun and easy.

            How am I supposed to get comfortable jumping bigger at shows if I continue to school at home over bigger heights but I show over crossrails?

            I'm tired of being stuck at a level for years where my horse trips over an XC fence because its so small.

            How do I gain experience jumping XC when schooling is so different then galloping around?
            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't know what the right answer is, but you may want to try a clinic or set of lessons with a fresh eye -- an importantnpart of xc is going forward to your fences at an appropriate speed, which then makes the actual fences much easier. If you are still slow at Starter after 2 years this is a skill that you need to develop.

              Don't read too much into the gap between your experience schooling vs showing. Lots of folks have the same issues!

              And I for one think the old canard of "be comfortable schooling one level up before you compete" is bunk. This isn't dressage. Taking a novice rider ready to move up to Training and insist she school Prelminary first will intimidate her, not improve her.

              I rode safely and competitively at Training for quite a while before I was ready to really tackle Prelim questions in any meaningful way.

              That being said, however, you do need to be comfortable at the level you intend to compete at.

              It sounds like your last outing was really confidence building.

              Go Bn. If you walk the course and find something you really hate, have a plan to pull up if things haven't flowed well by then.
              The big man -- my lost prince

              The little brother, now my main man

              Comment


              • #8
                I would also go BN. I remember the first time I went BN. I had been doing about 2'3" and below for a couple of months and had a new horse. My trainer (who is extremely conservative about moving people up) suggested that I enter a HT at BN. I remember walking both SJ & XC and more or less freaking out. 2nd time walking XC and things started to look a little more reasonable. I remember having terrible warm-ups, but once on course, just shrugging everything off and flowing forward and having both a wonderful SJ and a REALLY wonderful XC course. I pretty much got over my fears instantly and it worked out really well. I think if I hadn't been pushed to try, I probably would have dithered around at elementary/starter stuff all season and not really improved much. I just needed that little push and then everything was fine. And really, we're talking about BN here, not taking a chance on Prelim when unsure. BN was designed to be super entry level. You've done plenty of BN schooling, you've done some shows already at BN. A fall is troublesome, however, falls happen and if you can look back with perspective and know what went wrong, then I would say it's not a show-stopper. I would say to go ahead. How else are you going improve unless push yourself a little bit?
                -Debbie / NH

                My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Honestly, it sounds like 90% of your problem is nerves. I think if I were you, I would try to go to some hunter or jumper shows and do lots of 2'6 classes. It sounds like the height is intimidating you, and it really shouldn't. Almost any horse can jump 2'6 comfortably, and not even notice the difference between that and 2'.

                  Schooling xc is nervewracking for exactly that reason-- because it is hard to get a rhythm going. Are you working with a regular instructor? Do they have any input? Is it possible to get a "private" xc lesson with them? I know around here there are a number of unrecognized courses open by appointment. It might be worth the $ to get to go out and really gallop around a course.

                  One other thing to try--think about what exactly you are worried by. For me, the big fear is that my horse will stop and I'll fall off. So I ride down to a fence already thinking about how he's going to stop and I take my leg off (who wants to fall off from a gallop? Better a wimpy canter, right?) and my horse is no doubt thinking that clearly I don't really want to jump the fence, and maybe there is something wrong with it, so brakes on. It's a vicious cycle, really.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What does your coach say? When I hear stories like yours, the first thing I think is where-is-this-person's-regular-coach/trainer-and-why-aren't-they-doing-their-job?

                    I don't mean that to be harsh. But consistently going slow at Starter or having your horse "go bonkers run out twice" at a BN stadium means that there are likely some pretty basic holes in you/your horse's education. A BN stadium should ride like a baby hunter course: it should flow, be smooth, be fun, feel easy. A starter or even a BN XC should be pretty similar. When it's a "struggle to move up to BN", I worry that the OP isn't getting the kind of regular, confidence building, skill improving coaching that can really help. In your shoes, I'd start by looking at who I'm working with: is there a good coach who is helping you regularly? Someone who knows his/her stuff? Even if it's not an eventer, working with a good HJ coach can really really help the basic jumping, which will translate brilliantly into a safe BN round. Trust me, the differences aren't so important, particularly at the lower levels, and the skill and confidence building a good coach can instill is fantastic. If you were my student (and I wasn't an amateur), I'd suggest that you be working toward going to some schooling HJ shows so that a 2'6" stadium round stops feeling like a big deal. Then, if you're going to school XC, do it in a setting when you can string a bunch of jumps together - not just a jump here and a jump there.

                    I'd also look at whether you can get some experience on a horse with a bit more mileage. Horses at BN should not be "going bonkers", particulalry not with riders who want to be a bit nervous, and you might find that you get more confidence by riding ones who can take a joke.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Am I reading right that you had 2 years of clean but slow starter events, then 2 BNs this year, both of which you were E at (one for xc stops, 1 for an sj fall)?

                      Agree that if you are bored at starter and feel ready to tackle more, that you should, but is there a way for you to do more schooling (xc schooling, schooling jumper shows) so that you don't feel so much "at your max" when you get to the shows?

                      FWIW I feel much less confident x-c schooling without a trainer too. I will do it with babies, trot little stuff, etc., but when jumping things at the top of *my* confidence range I feel much better with a trainer.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        XC I had 4 stops
                        My horse has never stopped at a fence
                        Which is it?

                        I'm not sure you should expect success if you aren't overprepared, when nerves are a big issue.

                        Being overprepared does not HAVE to mean "schoolong a level above". It can mean lots of really good and consistent mileage at your current level. It can mean some very successful clinics or lessons. It can mean being really comfortable cantering and galloping along out in the open without schooling a single jump. It can mean doing schooling jumper shows so the SJ rounds are a no-brainer.
                        Click here before you buy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
                          What does your coach say? When I hear stories like yours, the first thing I think is where-is-this-person's-regular-coach/trainer-and-why-aren't-they-doing-their-job?

                          I don't mean that to be harsh. But consistently going slow at Starter or having your horse "go bonkers run out twice" at a BN stadium means that there are likely some pretty basic holes in you/your horse's education. A BN stadium should ride like a baby hunter course: it should flow, be smooth, be fun, feel easy. A starter or even a BN XC should be pretty similar. When it's a "struggle to move up to BN", I worry that the OP isn't getting the kind of regular, confidence building, skill improving coaching that can really help. In your shoes, I'd start by looking at who I'm working with: is there a good coach who is helping you regularly? Someone who knows his/her stuff? Even if it's not an eventer, working with a good HJ coach can really really help the basic jumping, which will translate brilliantly into a safe BN round. Trust me, the differences aren't so important, particularly at the lower levels, and the skill and confidence building a good coach can instill is fantastic. If you were my student (and I wasn't an amateur), I'd suggest that you be working toward going to some schooling HJ shows so that a 2'6" stadium round stops feeling like a big deal. Then, if you're going to school XC, do it in a setting when you can string a bunch of jumps together - not just a jump here and a jump there.

                          I'd also look at whether you can get some experience on a horse with a bit more mileage. Horses at BN should not be "going bonkers", particulalry not with riders who want to be a bit nervous, and you might find that you get more confidence by riding ones who can take a joke.
                          This.

                          I have had many students at your level, when working with them, I have prioritized giving them (and their horses) the appropriate tools to have safe, enjoyable, confidence-building experiences at competitions. If there are "holes", they need to be addressed in schooling, during lessons, and at low-key competitions (which are *used* as schooling!) It shouldn't take forever, IF you have good, regular, thorough, competent instruction with a thoughtful trainer who prepares you and the horse appropriately; but it will "take as long as it takes" to do this! You will always get there more quickly if you take your time, as they say (If you were my student, we would have discussed all of this in detail, dissected the issues, talked about the role your nerves have played and how to work on that, evaluated the horse's individual quirks and what she needs to feel more confident, what *you* need to do make her more comfortable and able to do her job, etc., and would have come up with a game plan to fix these things, going forward. Proper preparation is KEY!) Good luck with this, I know it's frustrating.
                          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Deltawave, she has never stopped in stadium or when I have shown her hunters. She can get a bit quick stadium and does tend to overjump if she is unsure of something. My biggest issue stadium is that I ride quietly so she doesn't think I'm gunning it and overjumps, then when she has a question she will slow down and pop over and up. She really knows her job jumping stadium and we've done a lot more of that then XC.

                            I know it sounds silly, but the Starter fences are small and narrow and I don't want to uhhh miss them so I'll come back to a trot so she actually sees them. I felt more comfortable galloping the BN fences because she locked on early and took me to more of them.

                            In my division at the last show 3 people fell off and everyone had stops or rails, I think the location and the weather played a huge part in it. I've never seen her behave that way.

                            I do take regular lessons and I feel confident in my lessons and have asked my coach to start pushing me. I don't do so well pushing myself but if someone is yanking up fences and pushing me I'll spazz, realize it isn't a big deal, then be fine. On my own I'll just say "today I'll skip that one because I jumped it last week."

                            The biggest thing for me at shows is organization between fences and dealing with the more forward pace a new location and open arena bring me. I'm trying to get out more but I have to borrow a ride when I do so.
                            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                              How do I gain experience jumping XC when schooling is so different then galloping around?
                              Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
                              But consistently going slow at Starter or having your horse "go bonkers run out twice" at a BN stadium means that there are likely some pretty basic holes in you/your horse's education.
                              I haven't evented in a long time, but I have made up a lot of show horses and field hunters.

                              Like all others, I think these problems can be addressed in your schools. It does sound like your mare gets insecure in a new place and that you contribute some nerves. But that means she needs to be really broke and rideable. If you have that, your whole Stadium round will go better. The XC problem? Why not gallop on a bit in your schools?

                              As a high school kid, i was sent out alone with instructions to condition eventers and field hunters. (That's what child labor is for-- doing the time-consuming stuff an adult doesn't want to do. Adult supervision would have defeated the purpose as far as my bosses were concerned!)

                              It worked out well. it was just me and the horse and we did do some long canters over uneven terrain. I had "more horse" at events, but at least I had the experience and fitness needed to find a rhythm, fix it as necessary and keep going. Is this unusual in EventingWorld as it is run now?
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If she overjumps, she overjumps. Carry on, go forward, tackle the next one and let the horse jump.

                                But if overjumping a 2 foot jump unseats you, I'd argue that eventing and possibly even jumping courses are not in your repertoire just yet.

                                Can you get some lessons on a patient, tolerant school horse?
                                Click here before you buy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                  As a high school kid, i was sent out alone with instructions to condition eventers and field hunters. (That's what child labor is for-- doing the time-consuming stuff an adult doesn't want to do. Adult supervision would have defeated the purpose as far as my bosses were concerned!)

                                  It worked out well. it was just me and the horse and we did do some long canters over uneven terrain. I had "more horse" at events, but at least I had the experience and fitness needed to find a rhythm, fix it as necessary and keep going. Is this unusual in EventingWorld as it is run now?
                                  It seems that now a days, kids aren't as fearless/invincible as they once were. With all the laibility, suehappy parents, etc., kids just don't get to yahoo as much. I boarded (briefly) at a hunter barn and was considered a yahoo because I galloped my horse around the perimeter. The dairy I worked for rented the fields and I was allowed to ride in them. Of course, I was only allowed to if the horses were in, and I had to stop if a horse in the ring got upset at seeing me out there. None of the kids would join me when I invited them on a hack because "my pony will buck me".

                                  I encourage you to ride out as much as possible. Tag along on fitness hacks with someone else to get comfortable rolling along at whatever pace they set. Try a couple hunter paces or paper chases. It sounds like you just need confidence, and your horse needs you to feel confident. Nothing wrong with a forward pace to a fence. Far better than poking around, getting sticky spots and popping up over. I can understand how having a round like that can erode your confidence. Push your horse forward, keep it infront of your leg, and you should get rid of those pop up fences. A couple good, forward rounds should really boost your confidence,

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    There should not be ANY struggle to move up to BN.

                                    If you are struggling...like others have said, you really need to examine some things.

                                    For example, if she is green...and a little looky...Trot. You just said at the starter you would trot...well, you can do that just fine at BN. I trot training level sometimes....and have trotted things at Prelim. Trotting gives the horse more time to think about the question...and you do NOT need speed to get over fences of this height.

                                    There is no galloping at BN. You are at most doing a working canter. There is no reason at all why you can't trot some questions and STILL make time....and regardless...time isn't important.


                                    Sounds to me like you need to change your mind set and your preparation. Don't move up or go to a competition when you haven't schoolled (somewhere) xc in many months. You are both too green to do it cold like that. Make sure you are comfortable trotting the height you will be competing and jumping the height you are competing. Jump more challenging things at home so the competition will actually seem easy. The jumps--even maxed out--should not look big at this level....especially in stadium.

                                    Then to help with your competition nerves...change the way you think of the competition. It isn't about doing well...it is about riding well. So don't think you have to canter...don't think you have to make time...don't think about the score...and just ride and do what you need to do to give your horse a good ride (including trotting).

                                    Practice competition issues at home. Set a course (and dress it--you can get cheap flowers at Walmart), warm up over different jumps and then go do a full course like you would in a competition. Put competition pressure on yourself....and practice how you deal with it. Evaluate what you did when you got nervous...did you compromise your positition (I curl into a fetal position)...did you stop thinking....did you drive your horse too fast. These will show you where the holes are in your riding and what to practice more.


                                    Bottom line...it sounds like you need a better program to prepare you for a competition. Once you get that...it shouldn't be a struggle...but fun instead!


                                    ETA: I also wouldn't be out there competiting at BN unless you can at home comfortably jump a 2'9" course. That is not novice level...I don't take a horse out novice until they are easily jump 3'-3'3 courses at home.
                                    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jun. 18, 2011, 05:11 PM.
                                    ** 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

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Unfortunatly it worked out that I couldn't school at all before the first two competitions because the ground was so wet and we had so much rain. As it was the first couple shows had the date changed and their courses altered to make them safe and dry.

                                      I went to the first event after talking to the organizer, letting them know I had not been out to school and I was in it for schooling and not ribbons. Same with the second event, it was only yesterday that I was actually allowed to get out and school anywhere.

                                      I've been told that I can't trot jumps this size, I have to canter them because I'm not going to have the impulsion to clear them. Even in this thread, I'm told if I am not making the time then I shouldn't be competing.

                                      I don't get how to get forward without getting a scoot. I can put my leg on and go forward but then I feel like I'm hurtling at the fence and I'm lacking any control or balance.

                                      I do take lessons on school horses, and it's really nice to not have to worry about setting my pace and driving the horse forward so we make a one stride smoothly. They also jump flatter and are softer off the ground. But then I get on my own horse who needs more balance and support and can jump really hard off the ground with a pop up and I struggle with that.
                                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Since we are in cyber space...I don't know what people are seeing to tell you have to canter. There must be something going on.


                                        But honestly....I would not want to ride a horse over solid fences of any height that couldn't trot a 3' fence.

                                        I've seen full draft horses trot 3'.....if your horse lacks the scope for that, they perhaps shouldn't be an event horse (hopefully this isn't the case).

                                        But impulsion is NOT speed. Having a horse move off your leg and engage their hind end does not come from going faster. Look at a horse in GP dressage doing a piaffe or passage...lots of impulsion and power with NO speed.

                                        I said trot because it is often easier to keep a horse with impulsion and balance while trotting. With the canter...people tend to think speed...and lose the balance...which makes for ugly jumps. But to trot....you still need the horse to have impulsion and push from behind. If you have trouble getting this at the trot...you may have even more trouble with the canter.


                                        My point was even if you trot a fence...you can still make time at BN xc or stadium. I think the point people were making on time was if you are not making the time at the level below...perhaps you are not ready to move up. Personally...I wouldn't be focused on time at all. BN, Novice...these are the learning levels. Get smooth rounds....even if you trot in places or certain fences. Then once that is mastered...you try and reduce the amount of times you trot.
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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