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How old were you when you started eventing?

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  • #41
    ohhh, such cute pictures!!! Makes me want to have a kid just so I can stick it on a pony... hee hee.

    I can't remember how young I was when I first started riding... My older sister gave me leadline lessons and taught me to how to post. Started real lessons at age 7 or 8.

    About a year later did a schooling horse trials at summer camp (this was an eventing barn). Jumped around a BN course because that's what was there. I remember thinking the jumps were HUGE, haha. And that was on a very naughty large pony that, during this schooling course, refused 14 times (there were no 'eliminations') and threw me off twice. (I was so short I remember having to let down the stirrup to climb back on, shorten it again, and continue). And then pony ran away with me at the finish. I distinctly remember my instructor yelling at me from across the field to "HANG ON!!!" as pony took off back towards the barn, but I remembered the one rein stop she'd wisely taught and managed to circle to a halt.

    Instructor seemed shaken but i was totally fine and happy to have finished. Got a consolation prize for 'most persistent' or something like that, haha. Gosh, I wish I was that brave today!

    Did my first real BN competition at age 14, on a foolproof packer. I was already dressage oriented then but again, was at an eventing barn... despite being into dressage, the dressage was crap, lol. So I placed low but I didn't care.

    If she wants to compete at BN because it would be more fun than tadpole, and is aware of the fact that she might place low because of dressage, I don't see why not, as long as the pony is safe. Waiting until 10 wouldn't be a bad idea either. She'll be taller. Might a smaller saddle with shorter flaps help with the 'deaf pony syndrome?'


    • Original Poster

      epona, the pics of the appy are EXACTLY what Lucy looks like in dressage with Anneke! Yet the pony is quiet for the jumping phases for my daughter. I still think she has a year at tadpole though, but those were encouraging pics!
      Beth Davidson
      Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
      visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com


      • #43
        Started at 12 WAY back when the lowest level was Training. Was already foxhunting and aiming to go to Pony Club Rally when the lowest level was for "C"'s and it was at Training level, with the B's going Preliminary and A's at Intermediate.


        • #44
          Originally posted by pcwertb View Post
          epona, the pics of the appy are EXACTLY what Lucy looks like in dressage with Anneke! Yet the pony is quiet for the jumping phases for my daughter. I still think she has a year at tadpole though, but those were encouraging pics!
          I'm thinking through my student's ages... I have a 10 year old who is definitely NOT ready to go BN, she is way too impulsive and a passenger, but brave and jumps 2'3" at home. I wouldn't trust sending her on on BN XC because she wouldn't know how to handle it if something went wrong.

          I have a just turned 11 year old who I would let do a BN CT right now (the dressage would not be so great) but don't know that she is ready for BN XC. She just started eventing with me, though, so by mid summer, she'll probably be ready.

          I have another 11 year old who is mounted on the worlds greatest, most honest pony. She's a bit of a passenger over fences but is very good about sitting back and holding her strap. She will go BN this year but it will be likely not be very competitive, but it is time for her to move up from 2'. Its one of those where people see her jump around the 2' and they kind of go "really?" She will likely do mostly local shows and maybe one HT.

          So, I guess now that I think about it, I would be afraid that 9 would not possess the problem solving skills to go out on BN, maybe a CT or a local thing where the coach can watch the whole XC and shout if needed, and certainly schooling. I think you and your coach and moving in the right direction.
          Big Idea Eventing


          • #45
            Love the stories of people who started eventing when they were older. Hoping to finally compete in Eventing this spring... at 27. Been riding since I was 10, showed locally when I was a kid, a few very local ones in college and time and finances have kept me from doing much since. You are making me feel less old!

            OP... your daughter is adorable!


            • #46
              Originally posted by pcwertb View Post
              epona, the pics of the appy are EXACTLY what Lucy looks like in dressage with Anneke! Yet the pony is quiet for the jumping phases for my daughter. I still think she has a year at tadpole though, but those were encouraging pics!
              Don't forget that you can add in some other types of outings to give her some challenges and work on the skills she'll need once she IS totally ready for BN. Take her to some local h/j shows and do the 2'6" divisions that are appropriate for them. Do a CT...maybe one at her current height and either a whole CT at BN, or just an extra BN jump round once she's jumped well around her height.

              She may like a little different challenge of a h/j/eq class and it will be a little more of a controlled, well set up environment.


              • #47
                Started riding at 6 at a dressage barn and moved to a H/J barn shortly thereafter. Was jumping and showing at 2'3" by 10, got my first pony at 11. I wanted to event when I was in high school, but didn't know where to start. Sophomore year in college (18 years old) I boarded at a dressage barn and rode on my school's IDA team. I was training my pony to jump and we were learning the dressage thing together. I finally did my first event (local) at the age of 20. We did one round at BN and then moved up to Novice. I was supposed to move up to Training level in 2011 but injury prevented that from happening, so I'm finally moved up to Training at 24 and am looking forward to our first full season at the level.

                While BN isn't anything hugely difficult, I would still feel concerned about sending a kid (or a person of any age, really) through a BN course if they're still loose in the tack. My H/J instructor growing up did not allow kids to start jumping until they could w/t/c correctly and securely without stirrups. We practiced 2-point on the flat and over poles and by the time we were allowed to jump, we had a solid and secure base. I see so many people flopping around courses today and surviving, but not much beyond that. I don't really understand the big rush to move up when you're still lacking in the fundamentals. I think you're right, OP, on keeping your daughter at Tadpole for now. Cute pair
                "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                • #48
                  I think it is much different today then when we were kids. I grew up on a sheltland pony, showing Short Stirrup at the local horse shows in the mid-70's. I was in Pony Club early on and evented all over Eastern Pennsylvania. No fear!! I know that I was eventing Training level for years before I was eligible to run Preliminary at 14. I was also a B Pony Clubber the week after I turned 14 and ran a 3-day that year. Needless to say, even though my daughter joined Pony Club at 5 and is now 9, she is not doing half the stuff I was at her age I haven't evented in years and spend my time now in the white dressage ring I just enjoy watching her learn to ride. I have not pushed her to jump (alot) yet...again, not like when I was a kid and we rode bareback without helmets...up and down the neighborhood roads!!
                  Mirror Image 2001-2007


                  • #49
                    I started riding at 3, and rode in a reining and cutting barn until I was 10, when I moved to an eventing barn (having no idea what eventing was, BTW, I wanted to "jump" and my western trainer sent me to that barn). I did my first unrecognized at 12, my first recognized (which was at Novice, the lowest level then) at 13.

                    That was-gulp-26 years ago. Good lord I'm old.
                    Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                    Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
                    Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com


                    • #50
                      My first event was last year at age 48! I am now 49 and ready for my second event! It was the first time for my girl too- age 8. She will by 9 in May (OK the TB folk will say she is already 9 but she was born in May!). If I could have controlled my horse destiny, my first event would have been as a kid.... but better late than never!!!


                      • #51
                        Good for you Muluk!
                        And for those of you who have kids who ride, I am so jealous. Mine can ride, but are not interested. The younger one dropped riding when she discovered snowboarding and surfing . *sigh*.

                        I started riding at 12 because at that time in France the Military riding school didn't accept kids younger than that. I showed mostly dressage and jumpers. The first event I did was actually a riding test to get one of those French riding degrees (now called Galop 7 ). It went very well except I kinda got lost on xc and almost ran the examiner over...it wasn't like a real event either, because I had 3 different horses for the 3 phases. It was about Prelim height.

                        Then I moved to the US and discovered lower level eventing. Did my first one (Novice) at 26, I think, with a rather green Morgan horse. I evented her, and my subsequent Ottbs, on and off (had 2 kids and that impeded things a bit) until a few years ago. Now that I'm in my late 40ies my priorities have changed, so I mostly take lessons and go to hunter paces.
                        I sill try to volunteer at local horse trials if I can, and love watching them, but I don't think I'll ever compete again - I'd much rather take clinics or lessons in all 3 disciplines.
                        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                          My first event was last year at age 48! I am now 49 and ready for my second event! It was the first time for my girl too- age 8. She will by 9 in May (OK the TB folk will say she is already 9 but she was born in May!). If I could have controlled my horse destiny, my first event would have been as a kid.... but better late than never!!!


                          • #53
                            Started riding when I was 8 (pony club) and did my first recognized BN event right before I turned 10.

                            Back then when I wasn't in lessons, I was spending all day riding and jumping anything I could find out in the hills and woods.

                            edited to add.

                            the first year our dressage SUCKED! My 15 hand horse was green, my legs were short, but we were always double clear both stadium and XC, which would bump us up in the placings.
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                            • #54
                              I was horse crazy from a ridiculously young age and finally started riding at 10. I did hunters, equitation and yeehah-ed around the countryside through my teenage years, then went on to play polo in college (national champions in nineteen eighty-five - go Big Red!) Worked polo after my day job for a few years after college, but then didn't ride at all for over fifteen years.... Finally got back into horses and last year did my first HTs (four, including Stuart!) ever at novice at... ahem cough cough... 48 and 49.

                              Regarding the dressage.... Horse feels STRONGLY that dressage is highly over-rated.... As long as you don't put him to it literally sideways, Horse will fling himself over just about anything, but HATES dressage. He could easily do training at this point, but I told trainer that we need to NOT be DFL (Dead F-in' Last) after dressage before we move up....


                              • #55
                                I can't remember not being able to ride. Actually, I can't remember not being able to canter and jump! But, the whole family rode and we had a large farm and lots of work was done on horse back. My sister and I were sent off around the farm (1000 acres) daily, on our own, to check for cast sheep (sheep stuck on their side or back because they have so much wool on) when she was 9 and I was 7. We think now it was a ploy to get us out from under our mother's feet because it surely took us hours. We caught, groomed and saddled our ponies and one of our parents checked girths were tight enough. That was a summer of a lot of learning for both of us. The route got boring, so we developed short cuts (up or down steep, not quite verticle, hills), jumped creeks and ditches, found bushes etc we could jump, learnt how to open gates without getting off our ponies, jumped gates or fences when the gates were too hard to open without getting off, fell off and climbed back on (and didn't tell our parents if we thought we had been doing something silly - no point in adding being told off for stupidity to our bruised bodies!).

                                I did my first event at the end of that summer so 7 years. It was a bit of a disaster, but I do remember completing the dressage (we could have it called), struggling around the SJ and managing to finish the XC - albeit probably having been eliminated many times over. Pony was not a school mistress!

                                Having said all of that, I have taught lots of kids to ride and started them eventing. I think 10 is probably young enough. They need to understand the concept of dressage, know how and were to ride all the movements and remember the test if it can't be called. They need to be able to walk and remember both jumping courses. They need to be able to continue to remember the XC jumps and route as they come up. A few years ago I had a group of 3 kids who learnt to ride and evented with me. Before their first season we did heaps of riding out in the open - trotting and cantering up and down hills and over uneven ground. They did a season hunting - they all sat their PC D on fully clipped, hunt fit ponies. Examiner said that was a first. They also did a lot of XC schooling, riding behind me at XC pace around a course. They all rode with neck straps and held on to that or the mane over most jumps.

                                And even with all of that it took them about 4 events before they really "got it" and rode as well as they could at home.

                                OP's daughter looks as if she is still managing balance by holding onto her pony's mouth. Unless the pony is a saint, he will start stopping, or will get insensitive and won't stop. Getting her to use the neck strap or mane is straightforward: use it or you don't jump.


                                • Original Poster

                                  The pony is a saint, but she still needs to use her neck strap! We are working on that and until she can jump small jumps no reins on a lunge, with a neck strap of course, she will hang in tadpole.....

                                  Good to have goals!
                                  Beth Davidson
                                  Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
                                  visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com


                                  • #57
                                    I think I was 5 in this photo back in the days when it was Baby Novice. I know that I'd been going HC with my dad running around the course(s) in front of us for at least a year so I didn't get lost! (such an awesome Dad!!!)

                                    Click image for larger version

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                                    The show jumping photo is my sister at about the same age on the same pony, so 3-4 years prior. Click image for larger version

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                                    • #58
                                      Can I suggest that you get her in Pony club for several very good reasons. Their assessment (ratings) will give you an objective and fairly accurate reading of her level and readiness. It WILL NOT be her mom telling her what to do. The pony club rallies really are a more controlled way to teach her about events and allow her to do the level for which she is capable. It will teach her more about horsemanship than any other horse group currently out there without allowing "holes" in her education. (my kids do all the horse groups)
                                      From the pictures, definitely the neck strap but you do have a future rider.


                                      • #59
                                        I didn't do my first HT until I was 20!


                                        • Original Poster

                                          She is working with a rider who has gone 2*, not just me . Our local pony club is not so great, but her trainer is a pony club veteran. If the local pony club didn't get the leaders soused at every hunt we might consider it.
                                          Beth Davidson
                                          Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
                                          visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com