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schooling shows vs. "real" shows ... much difference??

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  • schooling shows vs. "real" shows ... much difference??

    What are the differences b/t schooling shows and USEA shows? I noticed that Poplar Place holds both recognized shows and schooling shows....experience wise, is there much of a difference? I haven't looked into schooling shows much, but expect that costs would be much less?

    Besides the obvious "recognition" factor (and of course building up a horse's resume), what are the pros/cons of schooling vs. recognized shows?

  • #2
    I have done mostly schooling shows, with a few recognized shows thrown in. The only difference I see are that at recognized shows you tend to have stiffer competition. So a score at a schooling show may get me a second place, where the same exact score at a recognized show may get me sixth place.

    At Fair Hill, they run the exact same course in their schooling show and their recognized show in May (recognized at the beginning of the month, schooling at the end of the month). The judges for dressage are comparable, etc. Basically you are looking at the same show for half the price. If you are looking for year end awards or something, then you need to go to a recognized show; but if you are looking for experience and to judge your own personal improvement, I see no reason to spend the extra money on a recognized show if you do not have to.

    Comment


    • #3
      Schooling events don't have to comply with the standards that are in place for an event to be "recognized".
      How does that effect you?
      Likely it is much less expensive.
      But a schooliing show is whatever the organizer says it is. So, there are good schooling shows (more likely to happen in locations that also do recoganized events), and there are very bad schooling shows.
      If you register for a recognized event, you can pretty much know what you are going to get.
      If you go to a schooling show, be careful.
      I recommend that if you intend on doing schoolling shows, be sure to ask around and find out what the good ones are.
      Some courses can be way to hard or easy for a level. We went to one that had you do a jump backwards. Also, the footing can often be pretty bad. Then there is the issue of judging and prizes. That can get pretty cheezy at a bad show. These are just a few of the things that can happen at an unrecognized event.
      But if your just schooling, and you have a good one in your area, you win!
      Hope that helps.
      I was hoping someone more qualified than I would chime in. What do I know, I am just a mom

      Comment


      • #4
        Schooling shows = much more casual dress - esp here in FL, where you can do a polo shirt and breeches for all 3 phases, and 1/2 chaps also. Vests and helmets still required.

        Footing and courses at places that hold recognized shows are usually the same.

        SJ and XC at schooling shows are a bit more lenient with "ride times" - as in, "Oh, you need a few more fences? I'll go!" or, showing up 5 minutes before the division begins might get you an earlier ride.

        Comment


        • #5
          Actually, FC, you can now show that way in recognized one day events, too!!! NO more stock ties for me!!!

          As others have said, it varies from venue to venue. Typically a place that runs recognized runs good unrecognized.
          We do both at my farm, and the differences are that it is a more relaxed atmosphere, there are way fewer pros on fancy horses at all levels, the courses are easier for the level, and it is less expensive.
          The big man -- my lost prince

          The little brother, now my main man

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          • #6
            Originally posted by eventmom View Post
            Schooling events don't have to comply with the standards that are in place for an event to be "recognized".
            How does that effect you?
            Likely it is much less expensive.
            But a schooliing show is whatever the organizer says it is. So, there are good schooling shows (more likely to happen in locations that also do recoganized events), and there are very bad schooling shows.
            If you register for a recognized event, you can pretty much know what you are going to get.
            If you go to a schooling show, be careful.
            I recommend that if you intend on doing schoolling shows, be sure to ask around and find out what the good ones are.
            Some courses can be way to hard or easy for a level. We went to one that had you do a jump backwards. Also, the footing can often be pretty bad. Then there is the issue of judging and prizes. That can get pretty cheezy at a bad show. These are just a few of the things that can happen at an unrecognized event.
            But if your just schooling, and you have a good one in your area, you win!
            Hope that helps.
            I was hoping someone more qualified than I would chime in. What do I know, I am just a mom

            I have to agree with EventMom here....some are great because they are on grounds that have, in the past, been looked over by a qualified TD, and are run by event people. The fences are designed by qualified course designers who understand the need to increase the difficulty at certain points of the course (I'm talking about cross country) and know what kinds of fences event horses should be shown in showjumping to benefit....while it won't hurt you to go canter around a hunter course once in a while, for instance, it does not truly prepare you for stadium at a recognized event.

            I remember a "schooling event" near here years ago, one of the cross country jumps was a metal cattle feed trough, placed at the bottom of a slope...another was a wooden picnic table...the kind you'd see in your yard.
            the dressage was on a hardpacked gravel parking lot....I looked it over, and did not take my horse.
            My first coach suggested I go to recognized events, or schooling events put on by people who regularly ran recognized events, to assure the quality of footing, safe fences, and constructive flow of cross country fences.
            This is NOT to sy that there are not some very good schooling shows, but it's best to take a good look at the place before you decide to enter, or ask an experienced eventer who has been ther...the person who rarely goes to, and has never placed at a recognized show,and stays to show after the more experiences riders have said "no " to the footing and the fences, and who loves the show because she won there, may not be the best person to ask...ask your instructor or coach, or other event riders "in the know' first.
            Saving money is great, but not at the risk of injuring your horse or yourself.
            What would you try if you knew you would not fail?

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm a big fan of schooling shows - although I definitely do my homework on them before attending so I "know" what I'm getting into.

              Since I can't afford to do too many recognized events a year, I use them as "warm up" to help prepare for the bigger events.

              We've been fortunate around my area to get some really good dressage judges in for the schooling shows lately. They've also given really helpfull feedback and tips on improving (more commentary basically than normal). In some cases, the judges also seem friendlier and more inclined to speak with you about your ride too (on dressage mainly). Definitely great learning experiences - and most all of mine have been really positive!

              Comment


              • #8
                I really think it depends on what you are looking for. If you are just out to have fun, especially at training and below, unrec stuff is a worthy option. But, if you are trying to move up the levels or are looking to build your or your horse's resume or, obviously, looking to get qualifying scores to go to an FEI event, you need to the rec stuff.

                When it comes to schooling vs rec, I think you can get a very comparable experience (at least via judges and courses) if you choose events that also host rec competitions. You often get a more low key, educational feel at the unrec stuff, but still get decent judging, good courses, and decent footing. It isn't necessarily true if you go to a venue that doesn't host rec stuff, so you need to pick a choose carefully. I went to a couple of unrec stuff last year, one at a venue that only hosts the schooling stuff, and then a couple at a large venue that hosts several rec events each year. The schooling type venue reeked havoc on a very bold novice horse's confidence because of trappy fences, slick footing, and gallops that were off cambered on the sides of hills. The unrec stuff at the large venue were comparable in all respects to their rec events, and the green horses/riders grew in confidence. GRANTED, the unrec is run solely by Pony Club families while the over venue has a small army of "pro" volunteers. But for me, while I love to be able to support local PCs, I'm going to choose events, whether rec or not, that are going to have the best courses, footing, and judges.
                Amanda

                Comment


                • #9
                  The biggest difference is that there is a lot more variability in the unrecognized events.

                  The recognized ones all work to the same set of rules, and the courses have been approved by a licnesed offiicial.

                  Some unrecognized events (esp ones run by the same people who run recognized events) are run to a similar snadard, though they may use unlicensed judges.

                  But some are run with no regard to the normal rules, and with some pretty wonky courses, that would never be approved by a licensed official.

                  But the good unrecognized ones are very good value for the money.
                  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).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Recognized events seem to have much more "horse friendly" fences, IMO. A LOT of the unrecognized events around here have TINY faced jumps and that's really not a great thing at the lower levels. I attended a schooling 2-phase with my really green horse - it was a derby style 2-phase with xc and sj fences mixed together. Now granted I was showing in the 12 inch division (hehehehe) but some of the fences were 6 feet wide - and my pony is at least 3 feet wide (haha!).

                    So I think you really need to do your homework to seek out good SAFE xc courses. Otherwise, go for it

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think alot of it depends on your the "area" you compete in as well. Here in AREA II we have some really great unrecog. HT (aka schooling) as well as USEA Recog. events.

                      I like to do the recognized because it makes me feel like i've "accomplished" something. But dont get me wrong my pocket book LOVES the Unrec. ones. BIG Difference between 95dollar entry fee and a 165!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We're lucky here in the Mid-West in that the majority of schooling HTs are put on by venues that also run Recognized events - or used to but had to drop out because of costs. There is, however, another category that, thankfully, we're getting in the area - the new venue that's just starting up and is running unrecognized to get experience prior to going Recognized. We have no less than three such starting up in Oklahoma - all featuring courses built with professional input. The first on the USEA Calendar will probably be Feather Valley in Norman, OK on the same grounds as the old Tipasa event but with a thoroughly modernized course.

                        Costs are a major question and I wonder if we shouldn't look at ways of safely reducing them especially for smaller Recognized events running numbers well below 100 entries (they do exist).
                        Brock
                        Brock n. (Anglo-Saxon) badger as in Brockenhurst, Brocklebank etc www.area35.us

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          NewbieEventer, not sure where you're located but since you're looking at Poplar, I guess you're in Area III with us. There are several facilities in the area that run or have run recognized HT's and run some unrecognized schooling HT's over in GA. Look into Big Bear Farm and Flat Creek as well, they both have safe facilities.
                          www.foxwoodfarms.biz
                          "There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."
                          -Member of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique!
                          http://community.webshots.com/user/wlrottge

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It def depends on the schooling show.
                            Where I live the schooling shows aren't that great, but it is a cheap way to get one more practice for the real deal. There are no xc jump judges, one dressage ring with usually just a local dressage trainer as the judge, very casual, ride times are usually changed when you arrive (which is annoying), may be canceled the night before, not quality SJ (half the time they don't really even change the jumps at all for diff levels. I usually don't bother to go to the ones around here. I pass for a jumper or dressage schooling show and xc schooling, much more bang for your buck. But it all really depends on the area, some schooling shows are awesome, just not here
                            -Hannah

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HWilliams View Post
                              It def depends on the schooling show.
                              Where I live the schooling shows aren't that great, but it is a cheap way to get one more practice for the real deal. There are no xc jump judges, one dressage ring with usually just a local dressage trainer as the judge, very casual, ride times are usually changed when you arrive (which is annoying), may be canceled the night before, not quality SJ (half the time they don't really even change the jumps at all for diff levels. I usually don't bother to go to the ones around here. I pass for a jumper or dressage schooling show and xc schooling, much more bang for your buck. But it all really depends on the area, some schooling shows are awesome, just not here
                              Hannah,
                              I don't know where in Kansas you're talking about but it certainly does not apply to any of the schooling events I know of in either Kansas or Oklahoma. Sadly the lack of individual jump judges is a factor of lack of volunteers - although I have had to threaten not holding XC at one schooling show unless some of the families helped out. The lack of volunteers also can occur at Recognized shows as well as can last minute XC cancellations due to weather - even the AECs aren't immune!

                              If you want a better idea of when & where to school PM me or just look at the calendar on my website.
                              Brock
                              Brock n. (Anglo-Saxon) badger as in Brockenhurst, Brocklebank etc www.area35.us

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks for all the suggestions I'll definately check out some schooling shows.

                                For those of you familiar with the Poplar schooling shows...how are they run? I see that there's an option to sign up for CT, which is dressage and stadium. Do they also run cx? Or is it just an optional schooling session for everyone at the same time?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Poplar schooling is just a CT but they offer a discount on schooling xc that weekend if you enter the CT.

                                  I took my mare to schooling shows where I expected her run her first recognized events so she and I were familiar with the facility and how to get there.

                                  Her first rec HT blew her mind a little during dressage and alot during stadium. There was so much going on activity wise than at a schooling show. And of course the ambulances were horse eating monsters; then there were the blue tarps over the judges on flat beds; the Boy Scouts sitting in the stadium arena. My mare is very very brave but she actually tried to leave the stadium arena before we even started. Dressage wasn't too bad but she was very tense even after warming up for 45 minutes right next to the arena we did our test in. She just knew the white tarps over the eating area way at the top of the hill were going to rush down and eat her! lol XC my mare always rocks as that is what she lives for.
                                  She's been out enough now she is fine with all the activity and tents and ambulances and huge rigs and anouncers etc.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I know the schooling shows in Kansas aren't perfect, Hannah, but they are nice and inviting for newbies and good practice/competition for the more experienced who can't afford to go to shows every weekend. I attribute the cancellations to Kansas weather! and changes in ride times for the most part is because of heat/cold. the schooling events around here are just fine and i would recommend them for someone who wants some practice or friendly competition and a good experience for their horse.
                                    Kansas girl trying her hand at Area 8

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Many schooling events, particularly if held at venues that have recognized events, are wonderful. However, if you are new to eventing, I would not go to a schooling event without a coach/friend well-versed in appropriate and safe courses. It is not worth the risk to your's or your horse's safety and confidence to compete over courses with bad footing or terrain, or fences that are flimsy, made of inappropriate material, ask inappropriate questions for the level, are flagged backwards, have too-narrow faces, lack good groundlines or are dangerously designed. I have seen all of these at schooling events.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Depending on the level - unrecognized/schooling events = no need to join USEA and possibly USEF; and less "fees" associated i.e. USEF drug fees etc.

                                        I will say the unrated events I've been to in Area II have been basically all well run and nice fun courses with the exception of a few however that offer very baby divisions - some will just have like 6 or 8 logs in a field - but for some that's all they want or need; other riders might want a little more taste of cross country. The courses seem to be geared towards building confidence (for rider and/or horse) and I will say that its been my experience w/ recognized and unrecognized that they are all pretty well run and staff/volunteers helpful and friendly.

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