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lower level competition.

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  • lower level competition.

    I really enjoy reading all the articles and posts on this forum.. I'm just wondering though it seems as though there aren't many lowel level riders posting here. I just started showing a bit last year and have now been riding for three years. I'm not that talented but I love it with my whole heart and I adore my horses. My horses are all on the green side but I enjoy the learning process immensely. I don't know if we'll ever have the time or $$ or talent to even get to novice much less training level. If I do get to training level I would be so thrilled. Where I live is inundated with hunter jumper riders and shows. Any horse trials are around 1-2 hours traveling time and are of the unrecognized variety and finding good dressage instruction close by is tough. Sometimes I wonder why the hell I even bother but than I remeber my spooky kinda green TB breaking the 40 mark in his beg.novice dressage test and maybe doing a clean stadium round and I feel good. I feel like I'll be at this level forever though . Am I being impatient or does it just take a while with green, not made horses and a "only been riding 3 years' rider. I mean at this point I'd just like to do well at the BN level but it seems pretty competitve at the lower levels so it must only get tougher in the upper levels. Last year was rough for competing one of my guys because he was pretty nervous at shows and I over faced him a couple of times and thinking back on it I should probably feel embarrassed that we didn't do better but than if I would've stayed home I wouldn't have learned some of the important lessons I've learned so far. I do really work hard at getting me and my horse better but I feel like it's an uphill battle and I'm trying to make chicken salad out of chicken s$$t. It sure seems easy for some poeple and I get a little envious to watch some of them moving up so much quicker than I am.. yes, I know I sound petty but I'm just venting here., geez I know I sound whiny but I could use a bit of support..

  • #2
    Hang in there! I'm a greener rider (not quite 2 years) competing at a lower level (elementary, thank you very much). And would be thrilled to even go Beginner Novice. Mainly I lurk and listen on this forum because I have a lot to learn. It must be tough not to have a supportive barn gang to learn from / work with. That's what keeps me working and not stressed about where I'm at. Every day in the saddle is a good day, and a gift. And eventing is the equestrian sport that asks us to be humble and versatile and not just obsessively focused on one aspect of horsemanship. It's supposed to be hard, but so far it's always been fun for me, except when I'm hitting the ground.

    Where in VA are you? Maybe other board folks can recommend some nearby eventer colleagues to you.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


    • #3
      Hi there

      I'm never going to be anything but a low level rider!! If it's over 3foot7 I'll find a way around it. I'm currently showing 2ft9 and schooling 3ft(... I think i'd attempt 3ft6 on the right horse on the right day.)

      But i must say, i do love the training, the learning, the lessons/clinics, the shows..... and especially my horse.

      I actually think we're lucky riding at lower levels... where it's still fun for us and not as competitive as it would be if we were doing this for a living.

      I too take a bit longer to move-up the levels. (I spent 6 seasons at 2ft3 and 2ft6) BUT, I know that having spent all that time at the same level, i can understand the mechanics of moving up a level and am completely ready body and soul for the 'next 3 inches' lol

      As long as you love what you're doing, and you're learning something along the way.... "It's a good thing"
      Carol and Princess Dewi



      • #4
        I know exactly what you mean. Bailey and I spent 2 years just getting TO baby novice and another three years at BN. Then he had to retire because of navicular issues. In five years, we broke 40 exactly twice. When we started we were a trainwreck. Then we got better. Then we got pretty good at the jumping and almost respectable at the dressage.

        I didn't have the money to buy another horse, nor did I want to. I love my horse and I had to find a way to make it work. Topping out at BN was OK with me. We had a great time together and enjoyed showing. We schooled bigger fences (think smallish novice) but that was enough.

        If you're having fun and your horse is learning, that's enough. Remember, it's supposed to be FUN! Go have fun and don't worry about the other crap. Your horse doesn't care as long as there's treats afterward.
        Third Chair in the Viola Clique
        Founder of the Packrats Anonymous Clique
        Proud Member of the Dirty Grey Horse Clique


        • #5
          No worries, and welcome to the fun sport! Different people take different amounts of time to progress, same with horses, and having to pair the two together adds various dimensions to successes. Yes, it is harder for a green horse and a green rider to progress through the levels, but it can be done.

          I started riding 17 years ago and showed H/J, I started eventing on a 4 year old green arab 8 years ago. He hated show jumping, we got eliminated every go out and ended up staying at entry level (Beginner novice equivalent up here) for a solid 4 years. I then got a nice mare, solid at Novice, ready to move up, prelim potential that I upgraded to training on in my 5th year competing and she broke her elbow the following winter. I went back down to entry level and pre-training (Novice) for the year to show a green pony for someone else since I had no ride. Last winter I went down to florida with my mare to see if she would go training again or not, she didn't. We showed Novice at Rocking horse a few times before she was donated to Centinary College and I got my new boy who I started competing at Training last summer and upgraded to Prelim at the end of last summer.

          With some people it takes a long time, whether it's how they develop, how the horse develops, or if there are outside circumstances that prevent progression. I know a girl who started off at entry level, a year later she had a made horse and was going prelim.

          But good luck! It's hard to find good coaching in some areas, and I know what it's like to have the green eyed bug hit you, but that's true of every aspect of life, not just eventing.

          GOOD LUCK!!! Just take your time and go with what's comfortable for yourself and your horse and you'll do great! The small successes in this sport are what keeps people going! You should read the thread "how long do you stay at a level" or something around those lines. It will give you an idea at how quickly/slowly people progress and different reasons why they do so


          • #6
            Although in my younger days I went Prelim, I doubt I'd ever do even training anymore! I am now 48 years old and don't bounce quite as well! Now we do hope my stallion can go WAY up the ladder, but not with me on him! He has a trainer who rides and competes him and thats fine with me, she's MUCH MUCH younger. I still event my gelding, jsut got back to eventing last years after a few years off as I had nothing to event. He will do BN this year after a few "intro" events, and we'll be QUIET happy at that level! He could definitely do much more but I'm in it to just have fun these days!


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for all the support, I really appreciate it. I've been hosting my own "pity-party" and this thread is helping me get out of the dumps. I'm about 45 minutes w. of Richmond. I use to board at a couple of h/j barns before I bought my own farm. There are NO eventing type barns in this area. There are good and bad aspects to boarding . Like you said no support from fellow boarders but than again no personalities to deal with either I have awesome horsey neighbors with their own places and horses but again none of them are into any sort of eventing at all. I'm taking one of my horses back into the intro level because he just gets too overfaced and exciteable at the bn jumps at this point. Slow but steady progress and yes I do still have fun with it however I did originally think it would be easier than it's turned out to be.


              • #8
                I'm trying to make chicken salad out of chicken s$$t.
                Welcome to the club. As the Proud Owner of The $700 Pony and someone who raises chickens, the above analogy is quite apt.

                I am hoping to go BN with the Pony for the first time this summer. I will have had her for a YEAR and a HALF at that point. In my case, life just gets in the way of taking suffcient lessons and schoolings to get her out sooner. She has a relatively fragile mind and I was out of riding for 3 years when I got her, too, so there were some 'extenuating' circumstances that have lead to our rather slow progression.

                So. Lots of us here. Vent away.
                Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


                • #9
                  RR, the trouble is, none of us is as funny as you are while we're doing it.

                  As for me, I'm really hoping not to be the biggest chicken$hit at the Phyllis Dawson clinic next weekend. Speaking of chickens...
                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                  • #10
                    RR, the trouble is, none of us is as funny as you are while we're doing it.
                    Girlfriend, I would trade "funny" for some microscopic modicum of riding talent any day of the week!
                    Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                    The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                    www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


                    • #11
                      Lori, Phyllis was out here in December and I took her clinic. I thought is was really good, so I hope you have fun with her! She's pretty nice too.
                      WestWind Farms
                      Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.
                      - George H. Morris


                      • #12
                        Thanks Ishi! I met her last weekend at the WEF schooling jumper show, she was quite nice, and very funny -- she was teasing her working student about her taped-together half chaps, in a friendly way. She brought a few greenies to the show for miles. Some very cute horses, and remarkably laid back calm guys for their ages.

                        I'm really looking forward to the clinic.
                        I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                        I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Reynard Ridge:
                          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I'm trying to make chicken salad out of chicken s$$t.
                          Welcome to the club. As the Proud Owner of The $700 Pony and someone who raises chickens, the above analogy is quite apt.

                          I am hoping to go BN with the Pony for the first time this summer. I will have had her for a YEAR and a HALF at that point. In my case, life just gets in the way of taking suffcient lessons and schoolings to get her out sooner. She has a relatively fragile mind and I was out of riding for 3 years when I got her, too, so there were some 'extenuating' circumstances that have lead to our rather slow progression.

                          So. Lots of us here. Vent away. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                          Hey I am in the same boat. Except I left riding for more than 10 years! It's been 2.5 years since I started "re-riding". My first horse was a disaster temperment wise, we fit together like oil and water. Second one was lovely with a chip in his knee and was retired. I'm on horse #3 in less than three years and we are a good few months from out first event if we are lucky!

                          At least this one MIGHT have a chance at a start. I told myself if we aren't going BN by the EOY 2006 I'm going out and buying myself a 16+ year old packer!!!
                          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                          • #14
                            I forget who told me this, but I often remember it: if you're challenged, whether at (Beginner)Novice or Advanced, the adrenaline rush is the same!! My competing has been erratic, on quite a few different horses, and has had to fit between college, grad school, and now a new job, so I have only done Novice (and had a blast at it). When I got an 8th place ribbon at Groton House 1 last spring, I felt like I had won Rolex! Now I'm back to square one with my OTTB greenie, but looking forward to the road ahead.

                            Hopefully some VA folks will check in and let you know where they are. Having some buddies (even to just meet up with at schooling events) would help boost your morale, I think.
                            Taco Blog
                            *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                            • #15
                              I just switched from hunters to eventing so similar boat. My horse has talent and drive but some issues so he can only jump up to 2 fott at this time. I've gotten disheartened by hunters and found a great event trainer, so my poor lazy QH is now learning how to go on the bit!! Depending on his hoof issues we hope to do the itty bitty 18 inch type classes this spring and I'm excited!! Course not many shows offer it, so I'm riding some other horses that I may be able to do a little more on.


                              • #16
                                its ok! I am doing BN and ive been riding for 3 years...i am a green bean. You can check out some pics at the bottom of the page.


                                • #17
                                  OMG! You're totally not alone. I think sometimes the lower level riders or some-what intimidated to post about specific things on the board (i know i am!) Almost like someone will question how much you know b/c you've only ridden at ____ level, so thats why it doesn't seem like there are many.

                                  I have a OTTB that I showed Elem most of last year (his first few months off the track) and I felt nooo shame in it. It was good for him to get out there, and good for me to know if we got into a sticky situation...we could walk over the jumps!

                                  Even though i've only showed Unrec. novice (and didn't place!) I still feel like I know a lot about horses and eventing in general. I worked for FHI as a college internship so i learned a lot of the rules and procedures, etc. Obviously people don't pay to take lessons from me or ask me to host clinics...but who knows, maybe someday they will!

                                  Elem. Level and PROUD of it!
                                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                  • #18
                                    Another low level eventer here! I just discovered this site a couple of weeks ago and am already a junkie. Like LoriB, I've been "lurking and listening" and decided to join in. I've picked up lots of great advice reading the various threads so far. I've been eventing at 2' for 2 years. Working full time sure cuts into my riding, but at least it fund it. I've just begun schooling BN this winter. The horse I'm leasing is a wonderful fellow who is a great confidence builder for me. I never knew riding could be this much FUN! I may never want to jump anything very high or very fast, but if I feel that I'm riding confidently and competently while my horse is enjoying himself, I'm a really happy camper. My goals are modest, and enjoying my time with my horse is at the top of the list. I am doing my first schooling HT at BN next Saturday, and I can hardly wait!


                                    • #19
                                      I know the feeling. In my quest to get to prelim I evented at least 11 horses.

                                      1997 - I had an interest but didn't pursue the eventing horses at my barn as I was 11 and the love for the pony I rode prevailed.

                                      1998 - I leased a great, school master experienced eventer and started out going pretraining (novice) and did very well, gained lots of confidence, and an inaccurate depiction of how "easy" it was to be successful and get up to training.

                                      1999 - The mare went back to the owner and I worked hard all year on a greenie who ended up dying in a fluke accident leaving me with nothign to ride - I took a school horse to one event, it's partboarder freaked out and that was the end of my season.

                                      2000 - Tried to part lease an eventer to go training, but the shared lease was a new idea by my coach, didn't work well at all and I took a working student position and ended up riding 3 different horses at novice while trying to get to training, and getting some confidence issues from a stopper.

                                      2001 - Bought the old mare from the working student position and tried to get to training. She was so inconsistent I realized it wouldn't happen. Got a baby who was to be my YR horse, and was amazingly talented, then this whole fiasco happened involving fake xrays, a broken knee, and the owner who we got him from not being the owner.

                                      2002 & 2003 - I finally got a green tb who at first I hated and no one thought would do anything, and she came through and I finally went training.

                                      2004 - I leased an intermediate eventer to go prelim and had issues only to upgrade MY horse and realize that had been the easier route for me anyways. 2005 I finally achieved my goals, only to have to retire from eventing forever.

                                      It can take a long time for some, and look incredibley easy for others. Don't be impatient, enjoy the journey not just the desination. It will all come together!


                                      • #20

                                        First I will wink and tell you we all do lower levels ;-) and some "also" do some bigger stuff as well.

                                        Many of my clients will blush or act like it is not a big deal to do BN or N and I will tell you the same thing I tell them.

                                        First it is just as dangerous jumping a BN or N log as it can be jumping prelim or up (seen bad accidents at every level) and it takes guts to leave that box no matter what size fence waits for your arrival in the field. The high is the same, the satisfaction just as sweet for many riders so to me it is what floats your boat and puts the thrill in your life!

                                        In many ways the competition at BN and N can be quite fierce and little or no room for mistakes. when I was in college at the lower levels (then N and T) awards were very rarely decided on opt time on XC!!! Now you have kids and adults having to come in on the dot of XC with the top 4 placing all having the same dressage score or near to it!

                                        Perfect your craft to your standard and love what you do! Good luck
                                        You can tell a horse owner by the interior of their car. Boots, mud, pony nuts, straw, items of tack and a screwed-up waxed jacket of incredible antiquity. There is normally a top layer of children and dogs.
                                        ~Helen Thompson