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Horse that hasn't evented in 2 years... bringing back into showing

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  • Horse that hasn't evented in 2 years... bringing back into showing

    So I am going to be care leasing an 8 1/2 year old TB mare who ran BN and N when she was 6 or so, but for the past two years has only been ridden lightly (trails, flat, occasional jumping) and not on a regular schedule. I have not been up to trial her yet (hoping to do that next weekend) but from what I have heard talking to her trainer and her owner is that she is very calm, level-headed, etc and never gets "out of hand" while jumping (VERY important to me as I am somewhat new to eventing).

    So what would be a good plan to get her back into low-level eventing? I also would like to do some H/J with her, but I'd love to show BN/N. I am mostly nervous about taking her out XC for the first time in 2 years, as I have had some very scary experiences with horses getting WAY too excited in the open. Also, I'd like to find a general plan to get her back in shape and jumping around 2'9"/3'.

    Thanks for all your advice!

  • #2
    My gelding ran through Training with me when he was around 13, took 4 years off showing, started back up when he was 17. Honestly, besides going out for a CT with a school and getting back to riding daily, it was a piece of cake (started him back at N). Though his previous experience was with me, so I guess it was easier. But he kept most of his muscle and fitness, as older horses with lots of miles tend to, and mostly he was just grateful to be back.

    She is a TB, so daily riding will have her at BN fitness easily. Just, work in some gymnastics, get out hacking, it should come pretty easily. Especially if she's been sort of kept in shape with some light riding for the past couple years.

    Comment


    • #3
      Lunging is excellent for building up muscle and stamina without having to go out and do trot sets and all that jazz. Infact, no one at my barn does trot sets or gallop sets, not even when we had a couple Prelim/Intermediate horses going. For lower levels just riding her a few times a week doing lots of trot work should fit her up.

      Maybe take her XC schooling to see how she is and to get comfortable too.
      Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
      Thank you for everything boy.


      Better View.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
        Lunging is excellent for building up muscle and stamina without having to go out and do trot sets and all that jazz. Infact, no one at my barn does trot sets or gallop sets, not even when we had a couple Prelim/Intermediate horses going.
        But then youd lose so much valuable saddle time. If you dont ride gallop sets, how are you supposed to have a flawless feel for the horse out on course?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jumpthemoon16 View Post
          So what would be a good plan to get her back into low-level eventing? I also would like to do some H/J with her, but I'd love to show BN/N. I am mostly nervous about taking her out XC for the first time in 2 years, as I have had some very scary experiences with horses getting WAY too excited in the open. Also, I'd like to find a general plan to get her back in shape and jumping around 2'9"/3'.
          Well, the only way to find out how she'll be on XC is to do it! Here's the story of my summer: My current eventer had been away from the scene for around 4 years when we got back into it together, though in his day he had been going prelim. I had NO idea what to expect from him as he is a tough ride. I hadn't done any eventing in about 8 years. The way that I decided to get my feet wet was to jump right in - we have an excellent eventing clinic in our area in the spring, so I signed up.

          A few weeks before the clinic, I was horrifically nervous, had no idea how he was going to be, so a friend decided to take me out for a super casual schooling. Which was basically a glorified trail ride - we decided that if I wanted to jump, great, but if not, that's great too. It went fine of course - but it was that relaxed, no-big-deal attitude that got me through it. So then the next week we went schooling with her trainer and jumped real jumps. Also successful! I was lucky enough to ride with the same trainer at the clinic, and so the clinic was a great success. I'm not saying there weren't times when I was afraid, or that my horse was a perfect angel the whole time (he is a handful and can be a real pig), but I think that's part of the beauty of eventing - conquering your own fears. We were getting to know each other still too.

          Little by little we just kept pushing the envelope, trailering out for lessons and schooling. The clinic went well enough that I signed up for a local two-phase going BN - once again I was nervous about how he would be in a show environment and new place, so I arranged to trailer over there a week before just to hack around, so then the show was just no big deal. That one went well enough that I did another casual little two-phase. Then that went well enough that I started to feel a little confident, and signed up for a real USEA event - I would have preferred a schooling show, but this one was a convenient weekend and super close to my house, so I decided to do it anyways. Once again, a great success! Now I can officially say I am an eventer again.
          where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bobthehorse View Post
            But then youd lose so much valuable saddle time. If you dont ride gallop sets, how are you supposed to have a flawless feel for the horse out on course?
            I SO completely agree with this!!!! I am just learning the fine art of "galloping" position (we canter quickly!) and I'll tell you it's different than just regular flat work. I definitely think that you should do *some* conditioning work, even if it isn't for the conditioning of the horse.

            Personally, I would think you'd do wise to drop down a few levels and start a lower than you think. It sounds like you have a lot of baggage to deal with and starting at a lower level will take the height of the fences out of the equation. I live in Area I and there are TONS of schooling events that offer elementary and beginner novice. Elementary here is 2-2'3" and has a lot of the types of fences and length you'd see on a BN course. Plus this would be a great way to get an easy start for your new horse and give you some good confidence to build off of.

            That's what I personally would do in your shoes. Once that lower level gets boring you can move up to the next level, and then up again once it gets boring again. I think a lot of people rush moving up the levels and it just makes me want to scratch my head and ask "WHY?"......

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thank you so much for all your advice! Keep it coming!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Personally, I would think you'd do wise to drop down a few levels and start a lower than you think. It sounds like you have a lot of baggage to deal with and starting at a lower level will take the height of the fences out of the equation.
                Yeah, you are right about me carrying some baggage, however, it has just been the past 2-3 months or so, I was stuck on a horse I didn't know at all for XC and it wasn't fun to say the least. I'm not even going to talk about the neurotic, spontaneous bucker someone thought would be "perfect" for me. For me, its about the perfect match, and I know if I find my match, my confidence WILL be back 100% for XC. It's mostly mental with me right now... I'm normally extremely daring lol!

                Thanks again!

                Comment


                • #9
                  take time! start slow!

                  Get a trainer to evaluate you both and set up a conditioning program for you both;; just "legging up" for at least 6 weeks; Long hacks . walking up and down hills, through water over ditches; after 6 weeks you should be ready to start some basic dressage30-45 minutes/ day followed by 45 minutes hacking , walk, trot on trail. NO galloping Wait till you can do a XC lesson or clinic where. you can get some tips on XC riding, and conditioning; keep an eye on any changes in the horse; it will help to keep a notebook , noting what work you did, weather conditions, temp. and humidity; any changes in body, legs, behavior, Get in the habit of taking temp every day as well
                  breeder of Mercury!

                  remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jumpthemoon16 View Post
                    Yeah, you are right about me carrying some baggage, however, it has just been the past 2-3 months or so, I was stuck on a horse I didn't know at all for XC and it wasn't fun to say the least. I'm not even going to talk about the neurotic, spontaneous bucker someone thought would be "perfect" for me. For me, its about the perfect match, and I know if I find my match, my confidence WILL be back 100% for XC. It's mostly mental with me right now... I'm normally extremely daring lol!

                    Thanks again!

                    Ack...doesn't sound fun. Honestly....just go slowly. Start out just hacking her out at the walk. Then go out for a some longer hacks with some trotting. Find out what she is in company first by going out with a friend on a quiet horse...start out walking and if all goes well...do some trotting. TAKE YOUR TIME...get to know her. Don't just throw her and yourself into a crazy situation like xc schooling right away. Hack out in small groups and alone...find out what she is in like in controlled situations. Then take her for some canters out in a field....then in company. For your first xc school....go with the plan that you are just going to walk around...if all goes well, you will jump a few things.

                    As you get to know her...you will be more confident in her and she with you. It doesn't need to take forever...and you can do a few steps in each ride. But approach things in steps and don't take the next step until you are comfortable with the last.

                    As far as fitness. If she has been turned out and in off and on light work...it shouldn't take too long (6-7 weeks) to leg her up for BN/N. But go by how she feels..and lots of slow work in the begining.
                    ** 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
                      You can also have someone else, either a confident friend or a trainer, take her schooling first so you can see and they can evaluate her for you, and/or have some one start her out, and when you feel like what you see is good, you can get on and school her a little. Don't take her to a crazy schooling day if you can help it. Go to a quiet schooling venue with just one or two other horses so you can take your time and focus on you and her.

                      And, like others have said, just generally riding her and getting to know her will get her fitness us and allow you two to build a relationship. Don't forget to spend time on the ground with her, grooming, etc.

                      And, again its already been said, but when you get to the point that you feel ready to take her to an event, don't feel shy about taking her out at elementary or whatever for the first time to get the hang of her in a less stressful setting. But, then again, don't feel like you MUST do that. You might get a couple of months down the road and feel like you can conquer the world from the back of her and be fine going right out at BN the first time. Just take your time and get to know her. That will be the best thing for her fitness and your confidence.
                      Amanda

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OP since you are going to do a trial of this horse can you jump some XC and/or gallop a little in an open area when you try her? If you aren't comfortable yet doing it can you at least find someone to watch while they do it?

                        As far as fitness, just the work you would do in preparing to compete--riding 5-6 days a week--should be plenty to run the lowest levels. Just make sure you get some really good schools in to make sure the horse remembers the program.

                        Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
                        Lunging is excellent for building up muscle and stamina without having to go out and do trot sets and all that jazz. Infact, no one at my barn does trot sets or gallop sets, not even when we had a couple Prelim/Intermediate horses going.
                        Lunging is also an excellent way to tear down joints and promote unsoundness! I would never, never substitute lunging for trot sets and gallop work as a primary means of getting an event horse fit. It provides neither the advantages of working over varied terrain or in varied open environments, does nothing for the rider and is incredibily boring for the horse. Without even the most basic terrain or even carrying a rider the horse misses much of the core stregthening we want a XC horse to have. Lunging gets a horse fit to lunge, not to run XC.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What subk said.

                          Conditioning is also the best way to get comfortable with your horse, and on your horse. I can't tell you all the things I've learned (good, bad, and unexpected) just from time spent doing conditioning (and by this I mean everything from long walk hacks to timed trots to interval canter/gallops) with my horses.
                          The big man -- my lost prince

                          The little brother, now my main man

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            NO Longeing

                            I agree with NO longeing!
                            breeder of Mercury!

                            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              shorten your stirrups!

                              atOnce you are ready to start trotting on trails; shorten your stirrups at least 2 holes; if you do his every day, you legs and body will accustom over time
                              breeder of Mercury!

                              remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                              Comment

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