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How did you get your eventing start?

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  • How did you get your eventing start?

    Ready...set..GO. Tell me your stories, long or short. Even former event-ers who have since switched.

    I've ridden Hunter/Jumper my entire life. Not a huge shower, but even my small dabbling has taught me quickly i am not a big fan of the circuit's general feel. I like the versatility of eventing, and have always heard amazing things about the people involved. But not the slightest clue as how to switch over. All the trainers i've ever had were h/j's, not to mention i know as much dressage as your house cat. I plan on getting myself started with dressage lessons ASAP, but apart from that i am entirely lost. Help? Advice?

    Should mention i do not own a horse either, so no need to figure out how to convert the mount. If only i had myself an old event packer, but alas that is not the case!

  • #2
    Grew up at a h/j barn but we had a huge XC course and would always gallop our jumpers/eq horses/hunters over the country side as part of our training, lessons, for the hell of it. We had a pen that was 4' on the long side (3 strides) and 3'6" on the short (2 strides), Trakheners, Aikens, Dressage Steps (5, 3' banks with a bounce or 1 stride between), etc. I didn't start "officially" eventing until 1992 when my girlfriend at the time wanted to go play at a local XC course for fun. The moment she said, "I bet you can't jump that." just got me started all over again.


    • #3
      I did the hunters as a kid with a smattering of jumpers thrown in. In college, I discovered the jumpers full time, which I did for years and years. I was getting ready to retire my then jumper so I bought a fancy Tb dressage horse as his replacement. I had previously always managed to get most horses to run around and do low level jumpers, but my new guy wanted NO part of it. He could jump alright; it was the turn fast and go quick part that escaped him.
      A friend who evented suggested that I try it out. She hooked me up with her (now my) trainer four years ago, and I discovered the world of XC. Unfortunately, my horse wanted NO part of that either. So, I sold him and bought my current eventer, who is a XC machine. Earlier this year, I bought another XC machine and I have been having a blast at Novice and a move up to Training with both of them.

      My best advice: find a good trainer who is knowledgeable about eventing because it is a whole different world.


      • #4
        Started riding in Michigan just as eventing was coming on there. My trainer got interested, so we ended up building an xc course and having events at the farm and also eventing all over Michigan
        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


        • #5
          Rode at very local hunter shows for 1/2 year then entered an event "prep" camp which consisted of a week of training on rules, xc, dressage, sjing, etc. then at the end of the week we all went to a fully sanctioned event and took a go at it. I was 12 and I rode my 4yo paint QH gelding who had been broke for under a year!! Needless to say we were 2nd last with a few drive bys on xc. Stadium and dressage was good. Oh wait I also got a TON of tp because I got lost on xc and it turns out that jump judges will not give you directions . Not much has changed with my course remembering skillz but know I just don't bother asking!

          Anyways that year I did one more event on the little guy and the next year I evented all summer working my way up to Novice then I sold him bought and bought a lovely Intermediate horse. And evented him the next year but he got into a freak accident. So then I bought a baby who I have atm and now I just bought an older ex-advanced horse and I am selling my mare that I got with the QH (they were a package deal). And so on.


          • #6
            Didn't get to ride at all until 19. Learned to trail ride then. Started taking H/J lessons in vet school and bought my first horse, showing mostly B shows. After vet school moved to a new area with no jumping barns. That same year I went and watched Rolex for the first time and I decided eventing was what I wanted to do. Took some dressage lessons about an hour away and entered a horse trial 4 hours away on my 5 year old OTTB. Crossing the finish line on that first xc was the best feeling and most fun I've ever had! I am addicted! Three years later my horse and I are competing Prelim and still love every minute!
            5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO - you're on course!


            • #7
              I had some ponies when I was 4 and 5 years old we lived out in the country, but once I started school we moved to town, and then moved a lot for my dad's job. I never lost the horse bug, and I got back into lessons in my 20's once I was out on my own.

              I ended up at a barn populated by several hunt members and the associated pony clubbers. Foxhunting and eventing is just what everyone did, so that's what lessons were geared towards. I did my first "event" over crossrails and tiny logs on a 20 year old Appaloosa I had on free lease.
              ... and Patrick


              • #8
                Pony Club, Pony Club, Pony Club!

                This was back in the Dark Ages in Southwest Virginia. Rallys and ratings were both run like horse trials, with the added component of stable management. Belonged to 4-H too. But Pony Club members were invited to ride with the Rockbridge Hunt. Now that taught you to ride cross country!
                Early to ride!


                • #9

                  When i was about 13 my cowboy uncle gave me a 3 yo arabian that had been under saddle for 2 weeks. he knew i wanted to get into rodeo, so he figured if i could ride that horse i'd be just about ready to give rodeo a real crack. i quickly learned that riding a barely broken, spooky arabian was not as easy as he made it look, so i enlisted the help of the only trainer we had close by. she happened to be an eventer, and after she dragged me along to the Southern Pine Horse Trials (back at the Moss Foundation) and i watched Denny and Mike Plumb galloping around over those big fences, i was hooked.

                  it still took me a while to give up the cowboy boots though....


                  • #10
                    My current trainer moved to my barn and was jumping her horse during one of my lessons one day. At the time, it looked like the jump was ginormous, when in reality, it was probably only 3'3" or so. Either way, I loved the idea of jumping, and I followed her and some of her students who were my age to a few events and was hooked! I switched to her as my trainer and got my own horse 6 months later, a 13 yo paint/cowpony, and went to my first BN event a year or so after that. Thank God she moved to my barn; she probably saved me from becoming a western pleasure person! (Not that there's anything wrong with WP...)
                    Blue-eyed Eventers


                    • #11
                      I always did the jumpers, then as an adult, the hunters and equitation (guess I did it backwards!). My oldest daughter joined pony club in 2000. She did some eventing with her arab pony and I really liked everything about eventing..the sport, the people, the atmosphere, the horsemanship. In 2003 she was given a former advanced eventer amd we really through ourselves into eventing. That year I retired my hunter and adopted Tucker, my then 6 month old PMU foal, and from the get go, eventing was our goal. Until this year, I was the eventing show mom, finally Tucker and I made our eventing debut this spring! We both love it!
                      Lori T
                      www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


                      • #12

                        I didn't start riding (lessons) till I was 45...grew up in "the big city" in a non-horsey family. I was in a riding club that was looking to raise extra funds, and one way was for members to volunteer at a eventing competition nearby and the organizers would donate XX dollars per person per day as a thank-you.

                        I did two days of volunteering that first time...got hooked on the idea of eventing. I have been involved as a volunteer now for a number of years, and as a competitor occasionally. I have continued with the lessons and eventually got a horse, so both of us do the lower level eventing for fun.

                        Rick in VA


                        • #13
                          Pony Club! Switched from Hunters, which was more expensive to participate in at the time. Loved XC, so here I am 31 years later!


                          • #14
                            My family traveled overseas every summer when I was a kid and part of it included a multi week stop in the UK. After the first year of trying to entertain a horse crazed 9 year old, my parents sent me to a junior riding holiday for two weeks. The riding was the three phases with a mini trial at the end. Loved it! Been addicted to XC ever since.


                            • #15
                              Grew up on a farm in OH, riding bareback in the fields on a cutting horse. Read everything I could get my hands on--including a book about Bruce Davidson. Looking at the pictures, I thought: I want to do THAT!

                              Fast forward: two marriages, two kids, three degrees. Second job at a university (moving from lovely Ann Arbor, MI). I end up in West TX, so as a consolation prize, I got H/J lessons at a local stable. That led to me buying a OTTB, doing four years of H/J and a smattering of dressage, and then BITING THE BULLET and driving the six hours necessary to school at the nearest XC course.

                              I was hooked. A year at messing around at schoolings and fun shows, then three years at BN on as many horses (often only two events a year)...and then, post tenure, I decided I could spend more time on my "equine therapy". I'm doing about six events a year now, plus multiple clinics. Going to one this weekend that's a 10 hour drive. Life is good. LOVE this sport.

                              --Becky in TX
                              Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                              She who throws dirt is losing ground.


                              • #16
                                I started as a hunter/jumper at the age of 6...rode just at the local level...I really was starting to get tired of the ring, so one of my friends that evented pursuaded me to enter baby novice at her little playday event. It was ok, a bit of an adventure because my horse was a hunter thru and thru didn't like being outside of an arena. The next year I tried it again on another horse, who thought it was so much fun, so we were hooked. When I was fifteen I was given an old advanced horse that was a been there done that, I was able to do a year and a half of prelim with him and he taught me so much, my mom took over the ride the next summer..I ended up with her half crazed gimmie horse...We had an agreement that I wouldn't tell him what to do, and he would go around(half way sane)..well the first year was a bit of a disaster, but we figured it out, and he was my upper level horse...I rode him for 4 years before the screw fell completly out of his head I've been eventing off and on thru the last 8 years, actually doing h/j's for four of those years...my fancy upper level horse prospect that I bought decided that he really didn't like to event, so h/j it was....I am borrowing my mom's horse and am having lots of fun...looking forward to next spring..(im in school again, so thats getting in the way of fun, but hey, education is always a good thing)


                                • #17
                                  Really stupidly.

                                  I'd done foxhunting as a kid and some H/J stuff, finally bought a nice horse when I was in my late 20's and we did some H/J stuff at a nice, posh H/J barn. I wasn't really very happy there (horses never got turned out, etc.) and so I moved to a more low-key barn, where one day somebody came up with the brilliant idea to go to the Queeny Park HT. I'd always, ALWAYS wanted to try eventing, so I entered--what the heck? Chose the lowest level, I had NO idea what to expect.

                                  (whenever I think of this it just makes me go at how dumb I was)

                                  My poor tolerant TB mare, Kelly (who is Delta Wave) had never, EVER seen a XC jump before. I had never, EVER ridden in a dressage saddle or done a dressage test before. But out we went! I figured "ahh, I've hunted, how hard can it be?" (where is the "cringe" smiley?)

                                  It actually wasn't the disaster you might be imagining. We had a decent dressage, and XC was fun--good girl that she was, Kelly bugged her eyes and jumped over everything. We had a couple of stops simply because she'd just never seen anything natural before, and since I didn't know the rules I thought we were eliminated after 3 stops (this is the old days) so we just left the course after the 3rd, 1 or 2 fences from home.

                                  Next day they said I could go ahead and do stadium, or school XC, my choice. I chose to school XC and we did the whole course again, start to finish, and Kelly was a pro.

                                  Poor mare never did wind up being terribly brave XC, because of the idiot way I introduced her to the sport. However, the hook was set for me and I've done exactly ONE H/J show since then.

                                  Bottom line: DON'T do it the way I did it.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    I used to do one event a year with the Pony Club. I always looked forward to it and asked my mom why there weren't more events. She told me there were and asked if I would rather do them instead of the h/j shows....of course!

                                    I did my first non Pony Club event and the rest is history!
                                    Boss Mare Eventing Blog


                                    • #19
                                      Didn't know what eventing was until I saw it in 94. Had just purchased Char the previous summer and was doing local H/J stuff with her. I was hooked the moment we saw the first horse go XC. Bought a Tipperary vest there (before they were mandatory!). Entered our first horse trial in Indiana that July. Had a score in the 180s overall but finished and still have the rubber scrubby mit that I got for 6th place.
                                      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                                      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


                                      • #20
                                        Rode hunter ponies, then junior hunters, then am and jumpers...at college there was not much for horses except a really marvelous Pony Club evangelist who started a low level event at Deary, Idaho, for the pony club kids, at George Hatley's ranch (founder of the Appaloosa breed association.) As there was no such a thing as a schooling show within several hundred miles, those of us with horses that jumped all did the event! No cross country schooling, no practice jumping in the open, we usually rode in an indoor with a couple of poles and standards!, just WENT. Won my first, and that was it. I was hooked. From there I actually did a Kevin Freeman clinic, and then a Jack Le Goff clinic, (can you believe it - my first THREE experiences in eventing, USET Hall of Fame Olympic team member and USET Eventing COACH! true story) before moving to California a bit later, and eventing down there with Brian Sabo and his group at Woodland Hills Pony Club.
                                        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)