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Moving up advice; BN to N

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  • Moving up advice; BN to N

    I am a long time rider, grew up on family breeding farm, (hunter in a previous life) BUT have taken a conservative route toward starting eventing (started 5 years ago). I have been competing at rated events for several years in BN, and think I am ready to move up to Novice. My trainer is definitely pushing, but I am a conservative person by nature -- and my horse had a few health issues to work through.

    I take lessons monthly with a great event coach and biweekly dressage. Horse is very fit, conditioning weekly on some great trails with galloping fields. I am looking for a smart and safe gameplan to facilitate the move up. I am thinking I will do some CTs and schooling Horse Trials to assist in the transition (and the pocket book), before moving to a rated event. I am looking for advice on good move up courses in Area III (southern Area II works too) as well as any other thoughts on how to smooth the move up. Maybe I am being overly conservative, but appreciate any advice and thoughts.

  • #2
    What concerns you about moving up? Size? Speed? Related distances? Water?
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    • Original Poster

      #3
      I would guess size and speed. Dressage, well, dressage is not our strong suit, but we have a game plan, and are working with a good trainer. I see some big variations in Novice courses -- where some are really maxed out at every jump and question, and others seem not very much different from BN. I have spent this year walking Novice and BN at shows to get a feel for the level. I guess I am trying to find a few courses in the later category (move up) to build confidence for myself, the horse is generally game. I also get frustrated as some courses seem 'fine' one year and the next year are intimidating. I have been schooling at Novice and some Training both stadium and X-country for 2 years. He is not a huge water fan but will do banks, etc well. I personally hate down hill jumps but I think that if from many years of hunters in a flat ring. Speed wise, my guy is a little short strided and not big (15.3) -- but if we don't make time the first few times, I don't really care.

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      • #4
        I think starting off with schooling HT's first is a great idea. That's a nice way to get introduced to the level without breaking the bank. I don't know what's offered in your area, but in mine one venue offered a pick your own day where you can just just X-C and SJ, or two two dressage tests, etc. You can even mix up the levels, say if you wanted to do Xc at one level and SJ at another.

        Different venues also have different reputations. Some are noted for being a good introduction to that level, some are challenging for the level, etc. Perhaps look at the calendar in your area, pick some rated ones that are coming up later in the year and then post the names of those events here. I'm sure plenty of people would be happy to offer their comments on how they ride relative to others.

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        • #5
          Personally, I would start by doing some (probably unrecognized) jumper shows. That way you can do multiple rounds at the same height (or throw in one at a lower or higher level).

          Don't go for speed, just go for smooth and clear.

          I'd school cross country as much as possible, and chose an event at a facility where you have schooled, if possible. Not just single fences, but sequences of 5 or more fences, at competition speed. Even if they add portables, you and your hrse will be familiar with the terrain and permanent fences.

          Unrecognized events at facilities that also host recognized events are usually well run,and comply with the rules. Unrecognized events at other facilities range from awful to fantastic.

          If there is a GOOD unrecognized event, I would start there. But I would choose a recognized event over a flaky unrecognized event, regardless of the cost difference.

          You also might want to consider who the course designer is.
          Janet

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

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          • #6
            Along with all the good advice above, what I've done before (and plan to do again this summer) is go to a venue that has back to back events. I did BN the 1st weekend, moved up to N the next weekend, and had the opportunity to school the week in between.
            "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

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            • #7
              Also it can really help to look for events that allow schooling after the show is over--you can compete at BN and then do the Novice course on Sunday afternoon, when the horse is generally acclimated to the location and has already seen and been around most of the course anyway.
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              • #8
                I'd agree with what Janet said in general-- and add that I think that the gap between BN and N is mostly a matter of confidence. I think pretty much any well designed Novice course is going to be an okay moveup. Just ditch the watch the first few times out and remember to breathe.

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                • #9
                  The dressage is basically the same, just some different orders of movements, so I saw pretty much no difference there, aside from competing against people who scored 18's because their horse had done the test 400 times, haha! But that's ok, I don't go for scores anyway, other than self-improvement.

                  There will be a two-stride combination on your SJ course and the addition of possible trakheners and somewhat bigger ditches on XC. Otherwise, I found very little difference aside from the bigger "feel" of the XC jumps, especially some of the larger tables and benches. I like a little more jump though, I get a little nervous at BN, particularly with my OTTB who is an excellent jumper -- the jumps weren't big enough to even be speedbumps and some of the ditches were so small he did not even see them as he galloped over! 0.0

                  I think highflyer said it well regarding confidence. Unless your horse is very very green, I find Novice to be mostly rider questions of focus, confidence, and aids, with the horse questions being very easy and straightforward for your mount.
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                    There will be a two-stride combination on your SJ course ...
                    Except for height, the show jumping specs are the SAME for BN and N.

                    BOTH say
                    The jumping course should be inviting and straightforward, preferably with lines of six strides or more and shall include a double of two strides, which may include only one oxer.
                    <Edited to say "shall" for Novice, "may" for BN.>

                    Every BN Show Jumping course _I_ have seen has a 2-stride combination.
                    <edited to say this includes unrecognized events- may be regional. I have been at (in various capacities) 2 recognized and 2 unrecognized HT this spring, and they all- including 2 in March - had 2-strides for BN.>
                    Last edited by Janet; May. 7, 2013, 05:53 PM.
                    Janet

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

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                    • #11
                      I frequent schooling shows and there is often not a 2 stride in BN, waiting until Novice. This seems to vary by facility and sometimes a facility that attracts more people with less experience might chose to leave out the 2 stride in BN. If there is a 2 stride it's usually later in the year.
                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                        I frequent schooling shows and there is often not a 2 stride in BN, waiting until Novice. This seems to vary by facility and sometimes a facility that attracts more people with less experience might chose to leave out the 2 stride in BN. If there is a 2 stride it's usually later in the year.
                        All of the recognized shows we have done this year have had a 2 stride. I may be worrying more than necessary about the move up. Thank you so much so far on the advice!!

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                        • #13
                          Very good advice above and we have found that many horses jump the novice height better. If you are worried about the speed, then ride at the pace you are comfortable with! Just because a speed is posted at say 350 mpm doesn't mean you must ride at 350 mpm.

                          The Carolina Horse Park (southern Area II) is kicking off a great series this weekend. Schooling on Saturday (all three phases) following by a starter trial on Sunday. You can choose either an HT, a CT or just dressage for the Sunday competition. Added benefit of getting to school just about everything the day before. This is a new series, and the competitions are under new management.
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