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  • TRAINING MOVE-UP: FHP or Poplar?

    I'm planning on moving up to Training in Jan. I'd love advice regarding which venue. I've never been to the Fla. Horse Park. I'm in Alpharetta so it is a lot more expensive gaswise. However, the Omnibus makes it sound like it might be a good move-up course & I always love going to Ocala. The Jan. Poplar listing in the Omnibus also makes it sound newbie friendly. I've shown lots of Novice there. I'm not only considering the XC course, but also the stadium. I've seen the Poplar Training stadium on the grass look more testing in the past. But sometimes it is in the ring. Thanks very much for your input.

  • #2
    I'd sure be getting my trainer to give me a lesson or two at Poplar over the Training questions...then you'll have more specfic information to help you make your decision. The Training courses at Poplar have changed a bit since I rode them, but have always been fair. I found the stadium on the grass lots of fun, Buddy never had a rail or refusal. Either way you choose, get your trainer's input. Have fun!
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


    • #3
      If you are really ready to move up either one should be fine. The weather at the FHP should be better though! Poplar has had some nasty weather the last few winter shows. I actually enjoy jumping on their grass better then in the footing which I find deep. I think they usually try to jump on grass in the winter events but sometimes the weather (think ice and snow) has forced them to move the jumping to the arenas. The FHP does not have a lot of terrain on their cross country which can be helpful for a horse who is a little low on fitness during winter.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks RunForIt. Either way, I will school Poplar first. I guess my question is more about FHP - how it compares to Poplar and is it worth the extra gas? Also, it seems when people are talking about moving up, they mainly talk about XC but I have noticed that there can be a big difference in the stadium courses among the various venues.


        • #5
          Are you a member of the AREA III Adult Rider group? If so, there are a lot of riders who go to FL to compete - they could help you. Regardless, email the Adult Rider coordinator, Robin Bass, and ask her the same questions...she's terrific! email address is on the AREA III website.
          ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by RunForIt View Post
            Are you a member of the AREA III Adult Rider group? If so, there are a lot of riders who go to FL to compete - they could help you. Regardless, email the Adult Rider coordinator, Robin Bass, and ask her the same questions...she's terrific! email address is on the AREA III website.
            Thanks again, RFI. I am a member. I'll check with Robin. The other thing I've been wondering about is what level you should be doing to move up. For example, last night I was reading the Sally O'Connor book and she said that to do Training stadium at 3'3", you should be showing in the 3'6" jumpers. Well I've done 2 Combined tests at Training but I haven't shown in the 3'6" jumpers on my pony and frankly, I probably won't ever (even though he could manage it with practice). Also, with all the Novice I've done, I've always been glad I regularly schooled a bunch of Training so I was prepared for anything Novice even when I went places I'd never been before. Should one be schooling Prelim in order to show at Training? I would like to show Training but I don't ever intend to run Prelim. Is that a hindrance? My goal is the T3D.


            • #7
              It's been a three years since I rode them both, but I thought the training at Florida was easier than the one at Poplar, plus the footing was more predictably good at Florida. Florida doesn't have terrain, Poplar does, so factor that in, but either were fair sets of questions and fun shows.

              As far as what you "should" be doing - i think it's more a matter of asking what tools are in your tool basket. I do think being able to jump around a 3'6" show jump course is helpful before you go training, as much so that you get comfortable with a little bigger course as to encourage the forward, but so much of this is really specific to the horse/rider pair. Ask yourself if you're comfortable with a jump or small fence into water, or a bank in/bank out, if you are comfortable jumping a fence on a bit of a hill, or a turning question with 4-6 strides in between, etc. Also pretty critical to be talking to your coach/trainer and see how they feel about it.

              The one thing I don't think is a good test for whether someone's ready to move up is how many events at a particular level you've done and/or how you placed. Quality, not quantity is what matters here, and in some cases folks are solid after just a few, and in others (or as one moves to the higher levels), it's the nature of the ride and not just whether the ribbons were primary colors.


              • #8
                I think thr training-prelim gap is one of those where you can be extremly competent at training and doing very well and still not be ready for prelim. Many, many people ride at training with no intention of going prelim.

                I think that if you are comfortable with training, with 3'3'' and with the fences on terrain and at training speed you should go for it. Down the line if you feel good about schooling some 3'6'' jumpers or prelim x-country questions it will only help you with your confidence and your ability to get the job done at training but it is not necessarily a requirment for every horse and rider. Some people really like to school a level above where they are for their and their horses confidence- other people never want to see that level. As long as you are comfortable and safe at the level you want to show at you should go for it..... worry about the level above when you want to worry about it!

                The training 3-day is fantastic and you do not have to be going prelim, schooling prelim, or even want to think about prelim to complete one.


                • #9
                  The SJ at the FHP is on the all weather footing so is better confidence for the majority of horses VS. jumping on grass. As far as the X/C compared to Poplar due to the terrain yes it is easier at FHP. Poplar does the dressage on the good footing and FHP is usually on grass.


                  • #10
                    Ok I did both FHP and Poplar this spring. FHP first, at novice, then moved up to training at Poplar. I found FHP to be a hard XC course, I looked at the training. They had a lot of what looked to be max fences and a scary looking trakhener (sp?)
                    On the novice course at FHP there were 2 black flag options....lol... I had never seen that before. The stadium was easy there though.
                    Poplar had good questions and combinations on their course, but it was not a max height course IMO. I found it to be extremely forward and inviting, considering it was my first training, it went awesome.
                    The stadium at Poplar was held in the area, which has that miracle footing. The stadium was set hard I thought, but it was beautiful.
                    So I think FHP has a harder XC than stadium, and Poplar has a harder stadium than XC.
                    Looks like you need to find a coin to toss...lol
                    Last edited by LovinRocky; Nov. 25, 2009, 02:53 PM. Reason: mispelling


                    • #11
                      I'd add that there's a big difference between schooling a Prelim fly fence or rails and schooling the Prelim coffin or sunken road or corners. I compete Training, and I school the occasional Prelim fence--it makes me more comfortable with jumping big fences so nothing looks BIG on course.


                      • Original Poster

                        Many thaks to everyone - you've been very helpful. I'm leaning toward FHP as my 1st choice, if I can work it out, otherwise Poplar.


                        • #13
                          I would say Poplar. I've done both at Training and I found the FHP to be a little "beefier". Some of the jumps seemed bigger and spookier compared to poplar. I got around (it was maybe my 3rd training on a green horse) but I had my doubts when I was walking it!! I have a million pictures of poplar's training course so pm me if interested...


                          • #14
                            i've moved horses up at both. i would say FHP solely because the footing is MUCH better and more forgiving. the courses are designed similarly and neither is harder in my opinion, however, the terrain at poplar makes it difficult. the xc is on clay and is very hilly. if it rains or ices, this footing is NASTY. ocala on the other hand is sandy and flat. both are fairly average for the level


                            • #15
                              I think it's always nicer to move up at facilities that you're familiar with. Given what you've said, I'd recommend Poplar simply on the grounds that you've been there before and so won't have the stress of getting the feel of a new layout of barns, courses, parking, etc on top of attempting a new level.


                              • #16
                                SS, Have you considered Rocking Horse? also in Ocala

                                At Poplar, terrain/footing/weather can be an issue.

                                FHP XC is beefy, no question.

                                Rocking Horse has great footing, terrain is a nonissue, the courses there tend to be a nice galloping rhythm and are inviting, very natural courses. Stadium is in a rubber based footing that is not too deep. If you are going to consider coming down to FL, I would consider RH as well.

                                Good luck on your moveup!
                                Last edited by flbay; Nov. 30, 2009, 02:21 PM.