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Advice, Anecdotes, and Words of Encouragement- Making the Move to Beginner Novice

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  • Advice, Anecdotes, and Words of Encouragement- Making the Move to Beginner Novice

    So, I am moving up to Beginner Novice this year and am kind of a wimp about Stadium (and certain things on XC like Tables). When you first made the move from Maiden to Beginner Novice, what did you wish someone told you? What surprised you? Was it really a big jump up from Maiden or was it no sweat? Did your horse even notice?

    I'd love to hear your stories about when you moved up to BN and any advice you might give to an adult riding a pony (who is super bold, luckily) going out on their first BN Horse Trial together.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    One of the biggest things I wish someone would have told me across my move-ups is to view the xc fences like the horse will. I can't tell you how many times I was walking up to a xc fence, said "Oh this doesn't look bad," and then got close up and saw the height/width and freaked a little. The way you see the fence from 10 feet out is all the horse is going to see. Once I realized that lovely piece of information the Training level fences stopped seeming so terrifying!

    If your horse is properly prepared, they will not even notice. The horse doesn't pay attention to the color of the xc flags I remember my move up from BN to Novice. Some of those fences seemed so big to me but my horse jumped around like it was no big deal.

    I can guarantee you that you will have a blast and when its all said and done you will wonder why you were ever worried in the first place! The most important thing to remember though is always: You do this for fun! Don't forget that! Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      I was an adult who rode a pony (had to retire the pony, now I'm stuck with big horses, which I'm less than pleased about.) We moved up to BN last spring. The jumps looked so darn big to me. But, I knew that my pony would jump whatever I pointed her at. I just kept my faith in her and we rocked around that course. Seriously, we almost had too fast faults. Pony loved XC.

      Our second time at BN, and our last, the first time I walked the course I was freaked. The jumps looked so big and there were flowers! Second time I walked? They didn't look nearly as big.

      So, I guess my advice is that as long as your horse is prepared the jumps only look big to you, and they aren't really as big as they look
      Pam's Pony Place

      Pam's Pony Ponderings

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks you guys! I love both of your blogs!!! Sorry to hear about your pony Desert Topaz, but she is adorable! I ride a Haflinger, he's 14 hands, but nobody told him... He thinks he's a big horse

        Comment


        • #5
          Nothing beats hunter jumper shows for stadium ring -time. Go to as many schooling shows as you can and do the 2'6, 2'9 , whatever, until you feel comfortable. Then you won't have to worry about stadium on your move up.

          If the location of your move up event allows schooling, then go as often as you need until you are comfortable. Then at least the terrain and some of the fences won't be new on move up day.

          Comment


          • #6
            I finally move up top BN last fall (officially). It took a while, because my first horse who got me to the door had to retire and my current horse came from dressage and needed to discover how good a jumper he is.

            You've already gotten good advice and I agree with regarding xc fences. At first they seem "bigger", but when you walk the course a few times they become acceptable. The same for stadium. walk the course, plan your routes and then trust your horse to do what you ask.

            Off show I would start to work on things like pacing, balance, and getting response from the leg, seat, and core. Start with canter poles, trot to jumps starting at cross rail then build them up to BN height so you start to see that even at trot you can go over a fence. At the core there are two sides to trust, you to the horse and that comes from helping him learn he can jump what you present when you do your job; pace, balance, release. The horse to you for not over facing, not holding him back by his mouth and constantly reminding him your still in charge, but he has one job to do, get you both over a jump.

            I'd take FP idea and first do this at home. My trainer has a good approach, jump more at home then you jump at a show. Before I went to BN I jumped that at the barn, but we did tadpole till we both were bored. Same now with BN. We get challenged at times with Novice heights at home and cross country schooling, but not enough to cause a push back. THus when I go to a show, the BN fences are not as daunting.

            Once you got that balance of trust, then the jumps don't look so bad. This will be my first full season going BN. I am excited and a little nervous. I'm going to let that little fear manage my approach, not control it and if we both stay healthy it should be a fun year. I wish you the best and great rides with you and your horse.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have never done Maiden, started both at BN, but I will say the best thing you can do is just be prepared. You have already identified tables and stadium as mental problems, so school the crap out of them. And then trust your horse and trust your training. It's ok to be a wuss, but be a methodical, prepared wuss. :-D
              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
              We Are Flying Solo

              Comment


              • #8
                Beginner Novice is truly not very big. I say this not to make you feel bad, but as a reminder that your average horse can step over just about any BN fence. Heck, you can probably step over most of them! That means, that while it's just as important to be prepared at whatever level, that it's really not a big deal to your horse whether the flags are Maiden/BN and even often N. In fact, I bet s/he probably won't know the difference, so long as you don't tense up in the tack. If you go out and canter around like you do at the lower level, often the "move-up" is pretty much a non-event at these levels.

                Regardless, at any of these levels, what's most important is that your safe and having fun. As someone else suggested, going to hunter/jumper schooling shows are a super way to get comfortable jumping a course at 2'9" - you have the advantage of being able to jump a bunch of rounds in one day for not too much money. Really good experience and it transfers very easily to BN eventing (where a great SJ round really looks a lot like a low-level hunter round - smooth and even and cantering nicely around).

                Have fun!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can you safely school a level up, or better yet even some very simple T fences? My trainer had us do that and the BN (Entry in our case as we're in Canada) stuff looked tiny after that.

                  Actually to be really accurate, my trainer lied to me when we were schooling. "We're schooling all the E level stuff today", "That's your first PT (Novice) level jump, you really need to school it for confidence", and "no, there's no ditch under that simple vertical, just keep your eyes up and ride the track" were my favourites. Both jumps turned up on the T level course the next time, all the stuff I thought was Entry was actually Pre-Training (Novice), and yes, there was in fact a ditch under the T-level vertical, but because I was busy riding the track I didn't figure it out until we cleared it by, well, a lot. When we went to ride around Entry, everything looked itty bitty and we motored around no problem.
                  "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you have some nerves. Don't walk your course first...walk a level or two higher...both in stadium and xc. THEN walk your course. Helps at all levels


                    I never moved up to BN (I started at a higher level) but have had (and will again) a few oh crap, what have I signed up for moments....nerves about if I was ready.

                    I had an OTTB who was VERY green....we were entered novice at his first event. I walked to the first fence and it looked MASSIVE. It was a max dog house. I've competed at a higher level...but sitting on a green horse, I wasn't sure we would get past that first fence! I sucked it up, breathed and told myself that is nothing more than an oxer and he has jumped bigger. When we headed out on course...he stepped over that fence easily and it didn't feel big at all....then I knew we were fine.


                    So my advice...school bigger at home. Then at a competition, if you feel nervous looking at a fence, imagine that fence for what it is....oxer, verticle, etc. Not solid...but really look at the dimensions. And remember you will be on a pony/horse who has schooled bigger and have his blood up for compeittion. You will be fine.
                    ** 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


                    • #11
                      Like another pposter said, it is not that big in the grand sceme of things. I have seen 13.2 ponies tackle a BN course and 17.3 drafts rockk it as well as everything in between. If you know a fence will make you nervous don't walk all the way up to it stop 15' out and go on to the next. Ride your plan. Don't freeze up and when in doubt ride a bit more agressive. BN is just the next level. If you are really ready by the 4th jump on course it should feell like it is just flowing. Just make a plan and ride it.
                      I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you have the opportunity, I suggest taking your horse to a low-key, schooling CT or HT with a friend but without competing. Groom for your friend, cheer them on, hang out with your horse and then when the show winds down, have a "dress rehearsal": practice your dressage test in the dressage ring, school stadium jumps at BN height in the warmup (or ask show management if you can use the actual stadium jumps in exchange for helping break them down afterwards). School some cross-country jumps if possible. Definitely ask show management about it and expect to pay a grounds fee, but the peace of mind afterwards may be worth it. Why do it after a show? The atmosphere will be more similar to what you'll face in competition, and you'll have spent the day watching and learning from others, so you'll be in a more positive, enthusiastic mindset.

                        If that's not feasible, try volunteering at a horse trials. Watching people go successfully at higher levels makes your own seem much more do-able.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Hey guys, thanks for all the great advice! I'm going to put it to good use. We are already schooling BN height at home, and I think we may have put a novice fence in here and there. I'm definitely going to try a Schooling Hunter show at 2'6' and 2'9" before my move up. That is an excellent idea! I will update around May and let you know how it goes

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with the advice you've gotten here. I would add that st BN you can enter the cool recognized events, which often have better courses, better footing, better judges, etc. and way better food. And shopping. Way more fun!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ok different approach here. I will mention what happened my first Intermediate. (I know... not the same... but it is)

                              I was scared out of my gourd. I had schooled tons, both horse and I are well prepared yadda yadda. As we all know when the vest, pinny and watch are on and you're in the warm up, lots of nerves can be overwhelming. I looked over in the warmup and saw Bruce D. Now I had purchased a nice horse from him, I had done clinics with him, we're event-friendly. I walked up and flat said "Bruce I am scared... this is my first Int. Please give me some good advice."

                              He nodded and did not laugh at my pithiness. He smiled and said "Ok Emily. Keep one leg on each side of the horse."

                              Really.

                              It is that simple. When you're ready at the heart of the ride all you have to do is keep one leg on each side of the horse. Sure there are 5 million things whirring in your head at any one moment, heels down, eyes up, hands low, not too fast, bend in the turns, remember not to yank his teeth and so on.

                              But I have found great success by accepting my imperfections, nerves and rider errors and sticking to don't get lost, and keep one leg on each side.

                              Bottom line, we are all nervous in some way. Be it our first event, a new level, a new horse, a new trainer watching us at a show for the first time, a course you've had bad luck at... and it goes on. Do not make yourself feel like an outsider for emotions that in fact make you a true eventer. Nerves are a vital piece of the pie and you'll know when you are ready to move up when you feel less or no nerves at the level you have been competing at.

                              I know BN isn't that big to me, but I get it is to you. ENJOY that feeling of seeing a "big" BN table. Don't negate it. Because when you soar over it, your pride in yourself will blossom. You're only a new BN rider for a bit. And then it's old hat. Enjoy this time and let yourself believe that you can do it, even if you have to rally your heart to kick for a long spot to the biggest fence on course. (Note, do not do this at INT without a very nice horse!!! :-)

                              We want a full report. We want pics and most of all we want for you to be grinning afterwards with all the new things you learned about your horse and yourself.

                              We've all been there.

                              ~Emily
                              "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have a horse that CAN be bold but isn't on a daily basis. I have sent jump poles, standards and other misc decorations flying on a number of occasions. It really helps if you have a horse that you KNOW is making it to the other side of the fence.

                                Pick a good first BN. My can-be-a-stopper horse does NOT like ditches, and I don't do many events and get nervous at events, so I pick ones to spend my money on that don't have ditches. If I did more I wouldn't care so much, but since I don't have the money to do very many I pick ones that I know are going to be fun for me. I don't think there is any shame in that.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  And remember when you do have nerves....USE them to your advantage. They are a very GOOD thing. They are what can make you sharper....just get those butterflys to fly in formation Like Bruce basically said to Emily....Keep it simple..and focus on the basics.
                                  ** 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


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                                    Ok different approach here. I will mention what happened my first Intermediate. (I know... not the same... but it is)

                                    I was scared out of my gourd. I had schooled tons, both horse and I are well prepared yadda yadda. As we all know when the vest, pinny and watch are on and you're in the warm up, lots of nerves can be overwhelming. I looked over in the warmup and saw Bruce D. Now I had purchased a nice horse from him, I had done clinics with him, we're event-friendly. I walked up and flat said "Bruce I am scared... this is my first Int. Please give me some good advice."

                                    He nodded and did not laugh at my pithiness. He smiled and said "Ok Emily. Keep one leg on each side of the horse."

                                    Really.

                                    It is that simple. When you're ready at the heart of the ride all you have to do is keep one leg on each side of the horse. Sure there are 5 million things whirring in your head at any one moment, heels down, eyes up, hands low, not too fast, bend in the turns, remember not to yank his teeth and so on.

                                    But I have found great success by accepting my imperfections, nerves and rider errors and sticking to don't get lost, and keep one leg on each side.

                                    Bottom line, we are all nervous in some way. Be it our first event, a new level, a new horse, a new trainer watching us at a show for the first time, a course you've had bad luck at... and it goes on. Do not make yourself feel like an outsider for emotions that in fact make you a true eventer. Nerves are a vital piece of the pie and you'll know when you are ready to move up when you feel less or no nerves at the level you have been competing at.

                                    I know BN isn't that big to me, but I get it is to you. ENJOY that feeling of seeing a "big" BN table. Don't negate it. Because when you soar over it, your pride in yourself will blossom. You're only a new BN rider for a bit. And then it's old hat. Enjoy this time and let yourself believe that you can do it, even if you have to rally your heart to kick for a long spot to the biggest fence on course. (Note, do not do this at INT without a very nice horse!!! :-)

                                    We want a full report. We want pics and most of all we want for you to be grinning afterwards with all the new things you learned about your horse and yourself.

                                    We've all been there.

                                    ~Emily
                                    ^^^ This is excellent advice...and very well-said!! You're going to be fine - don't let your mind talk you of that fact. Don't overthink...just ride!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Everyone has really offered such great advice and encouragement that I'm not sure what's left to say!

                                      Just remember that the fences really are small to your horse, and that the height difference from maiden to BN will not be noticeable to him nearly in the way that it will be to you! Be confident, look up, leg on! - and you'll be set.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                                        Ok different approach here. I will mention what happened my first Intermediate. (I know... not the same... but it is)

                                        I was scared out of my gourd. I had schooled tons, both horse and I are well prepared yadda yadda. As we all know when the vest, pinny and watch are on and you're in the warm up, lots of nerves can be overwhelming. I looked over in the warmup and saw Bruce D. Now I had purchased a nice horse from him, I had done clinics with him, we're event-friendly. I walked up and flat said "Bruce I am scared... this is my first Int. Please give me some good advice."

                                        He nodded and did not laugh at my pithiness. He smiled and said "Ok Emily. Keep one leg on each side of the horse."

                                        Really.

                                        It is that simple. When you're ready at the heart of the ride all you have to do is keep one leg on each side of the horse. Sure there are 5 million things whirring in your head at any one moment, heels down, eyes up, hands low, not too fast, bend in the turns, remember not to yank his teeth and so on.

                                        But I have found great success by accepting my imperfections, nerves and rider errors and sticking to don't get lost, and keep one leg on each side.

                                        Bottom line, we are all nervous in some way. Be it our first event, a new level, a new horse, a new trainer watching us at a show for the first time, a course you've had bad luck at... and it goes on. Do not make yourself feel like an outsider for emotions that in fact make you a true eventer. Nerves are a vital piece of the pie and you'll know when you are ready to move up when you feel less or no nerves at the level you have been competing at.

                                        I know BN isn't that big to me, but I get it is to you. ENJOY that feeling of seeing a "big" BN table. Don't negate it. Because when you soar over it, your pride in yourself will blossom. You're only a new BN rider for a bit. And then it's old hat. Enjoy this time and let yourself believe that you can do it, even if you have to rally your heart to kick for a long spot to the biggest fence on course. (Note, do not do this at INT without a very nice horse!!! :-)

                                        We want a full report. We want pics and most of all we want for you to be grinning afterwards with all the new things you learned about your horse and yourself.

                                        We've all been there.

                                        ~Emily
                                        Okay- This made me cry! What wonderful advice!!!! Do you mind if I use it in my blog?

                                        Comment

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