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Switching from H/J to eventing!

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  • Switching from H/J to eventing!

    Hey thur,

    I'm a long time hunter/jumper rider and I'm thinking about making the switch to eventing.

    I do not own a horse, nor do I think I will for a very long time. I have become tired of the H/J world, and I want a change. Mostly, I want experience in other types of riding.

    I would like your input on eventing, and to list the pros and cons of it.

    Also, what would be the average cost for a beginner eventer to compete in a trial? Will I need my own horse to become a successful eventer?

  • #2
    ok, I'll bite.

    Pros: makes you a well-rounded rider. You are never bored. The people are great, competitions relaxed and friendly. Cross country is addictive if you learn how to do it correctly and have a willing, safe partner.

    Cons: It is very time-consuming to be any good at all; three disciplines to practice means you never put in as much time in any one of them as you "could" -- so sometimes you feel as though you are compromising your progress in that way. Really knowledgeable instruction is an absolute must or you can seriously hurt yourself or your horse. It can be hard to find the opportunity to go cross country schooling as much as you would like, depending on where you are.

    You don't need your own horse, but you DO need to ride I would think 3-4 times a week at LEAST, on the same horse, in order to feel comfortable at all three disciplines in a competition.

    Costs of unrecognized lower level events varies but it could be 75-90 bucks, at least around here. Do not need specialized gear except for a vest, which could run 100-300$, and a medical armband, which is 10$.

    Give it a try!
    The big man -- my lost prince

    The little brother, now my main man


    • #3
      You will love it. As asterix said unrecognized are very affordable, $75.00 - $100.00. When you go to recognized it can be around $300.00 for entry and stabling in the lower levels. Some less some more. The people are great and the xc is wonderful. Be sure and go to lots of xc schoolings if they are available around your area. We have to drive 4 hours or so but the places that have rec events usually have one or two schoolings a year. I actually love a good xc schooling weekend best of all. Lots of time on the xc course, lots of friends, relaxed, its fun. As far as the horse goes. In our area there really aren't horses available for people to enter events, at least in the way I percieve the h/j may let you use school horses. However, leasing a horse would be a great option. I second the advice, shop around and choose your trainer carefully, they are important!


      • #4
        I am an ex h/j rider as well and I "switched" to eventing but I have my own horse. I could see myself going back to the jumpers some day but probably not the hunters.

        I switched initially because I was living in the midst of the upper level eventing community, had foxhunted a bit and enjoy diversifying my skills. I started by laying a dressage foundation with my mare and then going from there. Initially I wasn't even sure if I would compete but, after all the hard work and a little health peer pressure, I did some Beginner Novice horse trials (approx. 2'9"/2'11" with my mare who was a 3" hunter mostly).

        I would suggest that you start by finding a barn near you where you can take some dressage and stadium lessons. The eventing community is great and once you find a barn/group of people that you gel with they will likely be able to help you find a suitable mount, etc.

        I would caution you that eventers generally don't compete as often as h/j's do. In the hunters we showed every weekend (or week on the AA circuit) and, once the horse was show-fit, they just ticked over from one competition to the next. In eventing, the competitions themselves take more out of the horse than a regular day's ride so they usually don't go every weekend nor do they compete in multiple divisions with multiple riders at one competition (which lots of h/j lesson horses or shared lease horses do on the lower levels). There may be exceptions to this but I have not observed them personally.

        Eventing really does require a working relationship and trust/bond to be developed (as mentioned above) between the specific rider and specific horse. The advice above about riding the same horse and building a partnership before competing is very wise IMO. Especially for x-c where each elements presents questions that require horse and rider communication and flexibility. The elements are not consistent (like in the show ring) so having the ability to deal with each obstacle as you approach it is key.

        Another side note: I found it weird not to be warmed up at events by my trainer (I was so used to the last minute adjustments of the show ring) but many eventing trainers do not do this or will only do it when asked.

        Good luck. I hope that you find what you are looking for. It can be a lot of fun! I was SHOCKED by how much I enjoy dressage and x-c really is a high!
        "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


        • Original Poster

          asterix & flea - Wow I'm pleasantly surprised at those costs!

          Thankfully, I live five minutes away from Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois where they now have been hosting the American Eventing Championships and a couple other horse trials. I have watched a day or two of cross country over there and had the opportunity to go to the Rolex event a couple years ago.

          VicariousRider - That's perfectly fine about not showing much. I live with just me and my mom and with one income it's extremely hard to show at all, especially in the H/J circuit.

          I'll definitely give eventing a try!


          • #6
            If you're near Lamplight, you're both in Area IV and very close to several other Forum members like Flutie & BBowen - they can give you a lot more local advice than I can - but you should also check out the Area IV website www.usea4.org
            Welcome to Area IV!
            Brock n. (Anglo-Saxon) badger as in Brockenhurst, Brocklebank etc www.area35.us


            • #7
              I started as a HJ, then after college ended up toodling around in eventing. Ummm... I never actualy evented above maiden level (competition wise), but got to ride with some fantastic people. I rode for a while with a couple of local trainers, one of whom had really great lesson horses. The thing that makes eventing very different from HJ is the accessibility of really top trainers and the encouragement to ride with them at whatever level. You don't need to compete or own a horse to really learn some new skills.

              I am now back into HJ- I never got comfortable XC, but am now a much better rider on the flat. There are some eventers who really have a grasp of flat work and I constantly incorporate their teaching into my riding. IMO, years of HJ made me able to ride pretty well, good position etc., but riding with eventers made me a more independent and thinking rider, particularly on the flat. I guess it made me more apt to try and solve a problem vs going to a trainer to solve it or not asking for "more".

              Whats interesting is that my horse is the classic hunter ride- sit softly float the rein- but she is that way in part because of all the flat work I have taught her using what I learned from eventing.

              So go, do it, try it, learn something new. If it doesn't work out and you don't like it, chances are you will learn some new skills that you can take anywhere.

              I think their really are no "cons"... provided you have a good trainer. It really is no more acceptable to ride like a bat out of hell chipping, ripping your horse in the mouth, getting left and generally looking like crap at an event than it is in the hunters. I think some people perceive it is OK, but the trainer coaching "that person" is the equivalent of the hunter trainer with a syringe, longe line and a bunch of perchers. The con is that if you head out unprepared, you can get really hurt- but a good trainer will insure you are not over faced.

              Oh, plus there are more rules to keep track of than you can shake a stick at- and you get assigned times. Go volunteer before competing to learn how the day flows- and how important timeliness is to running the event.


              • #8
                I have done Hunter/Jumper (more Hunter than Jumper) for 25 years and have never had my own horse - always catchrode or leased. I had a couple friends who found this Eventing boarding stable where they took their horses, and through them I got to know the owner/trainer of this stable. She had 3 horses of her own, and not enough time to ride them all, and asked me if I wanted to help her ride hers. Hence the eventing seed was planted and has been growing larger ever since. I took some lessons from her and went to some clinics and schoolings on one of her horses and got the experience from the Eventing perspective (I had hunted quite a bit too so had half a clue regarding xc jumping). Then I went with her to groom for her at a couple events to learn the ropes, and then rode one of her horses in my first event this summer at BN, which all went so well that we even moved up to N at the next event. I love it!!!

                There are as many things that are different as are the same in Eventing vs. H/J, so I would suggest you try to get to know someone, trainer or otherwise that can help you learn the ropes. My grooming at an event was invaluable prior to my actually riding at my first event, I would highly suggest you try to do that if you can.

                The Dressage is so darn technical and precise in my view that I find it really challenging and surprisingly addictive, and of course the cross country is just awesome! Nothing more fun on a horse in my opinion than galloping around a cross country course. At least with the stadium us H/J people have been there/done that, so we KNOW that one. It was kindof funny when I saw everyone at the event walking the stadium course several times, where I would barely look at the course sheet and walk it once. But then there was plenty of laughing to be had at me as I "walked" my dressage test on foot about 20 times.

                Know the rules and be respectful of different ways of doing things (there are always at least 10 right ways to do anything in the horse world), and make sure safety is a priority (most of those xc jumps don't fall down if you hit them, and you don't want to scare you or your horse). I do find the eventing world to be much more open and encouraging of everyone, including newbees.

                I for one am hoping to continue on with my hunter/jumper ways as well as dabbling more into eventing, just since there are not very many events around where I live in MN, I woudn't get too many shows in if I just did Eventing. I have yet to come up with the exact plan of where all that time and money will come from, but I'll certainly give it a shot!