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H/J rider working as an eventing WS?

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  • H/J rider working as an eventing WS?

    Hi everyone,

    I usually stay on the H/J board, but I wanted to ask your opinions on something (I already asked there, so I wanted both sides). I might, hopefully, have the opportunity to work for a well-regarded eventer trainer as a WS. I'm a H/J rider and I have never evented...I can't even say that I've ever jumped a natural obstacle (ok, this is why you guys make fun of us...I'm from a very suburban area: there's no space there for xc courses!!!). I really want to learn and I think that doing XC and dressage for a summer would be a fantastic way to strengthen my riding for when I return to mall-land and the h/j ring.

    About me:
    Junior
    H/J working student last summer
    Not at the top of the H/J show world by any means, but not incompetent either. I just haven't had the opportunity to ride very many good horses for long periods of time.
    *WILLING TO WORK VERY HARD AND EAGER TO LEARN*

    Concerns:
    I don't want to get to this job and be a total drag because I need to learn how to do basic things (put on xc gear?!) that don't transcend the h/j vs. eventing line. Obviously I am happy to learn, but I just feel like such things are expected of a WS already.
    I'm good at laughing at myself, but with dressage I feel like I will be starting from square one entirely. Would a big eventing trainer be really annoyed to have a WS whose lessons were entirely basic? I really want to learn because I know it would help me in the end, but I don't want the trainer to be frustrated that she was teaching someone from square one? (Ok, probably more like square 2 or 3 (lol) but still...)
    How entirely terrifying is XC? I'm not a timid rider, but I had fear issues when I was younger that I conquered, but I don't want to be over faced. I want to learn, but I don't want it to be a sink or swim situation right of the bat.

    I really really REALLY want to learn and I will be sure to highlight these concerns in my interview, but am I getting myself into something that I don't want to? Will I be a huge drag and frustration?

    Thanks for your input!
    Last edited by Beau Cheval; Jan. 16, 2010, 05:22 PM.
    "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane." ~Jimmy Buffet
    "Pursuing the life of my high-riding heroes I burned up my childhood days..."-Willie Nelson

  • #2
    Hmm, I would really advise some dressage lessons and at least a run or two at a XC course. I'm sure you would be really disappointed to land a job at an eventing barn and find out you hate it! (Trainer would be disappointed also.)

    Comment


    • #3
      Where is your semester abroad? Maybe you could do some eventing lessons there? Depending on the country...that would be a great opportunity!

      Comment


      • #4
        I wouldnt recommend it because the training is different for each horse. When you get back into HJ land, you may very well be riding differently and not hunter like and it will be a PITA to fix!
        *Paige*
        ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
        R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor

        Comment


        • #5
          IMO, depends on your objectives. If you want to improve your horsemanship and barn management skills, and are willing to work/learn, you'll benefit tremendously. If you expect the position to leapfrog you to the top of the H/J world, forget it.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            My objectives would be to gain experience in the barn, barn management, horse care, etc. and also get an opportunity to practice my SJ skills and expand my horizons with opportunities to learn dressage and ride xc. I'm not thinking that I will become a top level eventer in a summer and I'm not thinking that I will all of a sudden be a top rank h/j rider because I've ridden out over natural obstacles and done dressage. Wouldn't it be reasonable that my lessons focused on SJ and learning dressage and we mixed it up by doing some low level XC?
            Last edited by Beau Cheval; Jul. 12, 2010, 06:22 PM.
            "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane." ~Jimmy Buffet
            "Pursuing the life of my high-riding heroes I burned up my childhood days..."-Willie Nelson

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Beau Cheval View Post
              ....
              I'm sorry, but I get the feeling (not from this thread in particular, but from a few other things) that eventers are convinced that HJ riders are somehow less competent and weak riders. I am good at laughing at myself, but would this strongly negatively affect me if I do take this position?
              having a foot in both worlds, I can say that there are negative things that SOME eventers will always say about h/j riders and vs a versa. You just have to tune it out, to some degree. And to recognize where it comes from, like h/j riders are wimps that cant ride outside the ring. Lots dont have the opportunity or their trainers are totally focused on showing. GOOD ON YOU for wanting to be a more well rounded rider.
              Hopefully the environment at the barn you will be a WS at will be supportive, they should welcome you, since you seem very willing to learn and try to approach things from a new perspective.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it would depend on the specifics of the situation. You'd need to be super willing to learn a new way to do things, but in the end that will just make you a well rounded horse woman. Being able to be flexible and adapt to different styles of riding is a good thing.

                There are a lot of hunter riders out there who live up to the negative stereotypes and wouldn't be able to adapt. Has the trainer seen you ride? If they have, and are interested in having you on board, I'd say you're probably NOT one of those riders
                "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think some people have difficulty separating "this type of rider would be attracted to this discipline" from "this is the ONLY type of rider in this discipline". Just because a deep-pocketed passenger who is terrified to ride outside of the ring would be attracted to Hunters, doesn't mean that ALL hunters are that type of rider.... or that all eventers are yahoos just because it is a discipline that that type of person might be attracted to....

                  If your goal is to improve your overall riding and horse management skills, sounds like a good idea.

                  Jennifer
                  Third Charm Event Team

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Beau Cheval View Post
                    ......
                    Concerns:
                    I don't want to get to this job and be a total drag because I need to learn how to do basic things (put on xc gear?!) that don't transcend the h/j vs. eventing line. ..
                    I'm good at laughing at myself, but with dressage I feel like I will be starting from square one entirely. Would a big eventing trainer be really annoyed to have a WS whose lessons were entirely basic? I really want to learn because I know it would help me in the end, but I don't want the trainer to be frustrated that she was teaching someone from square one? (Ok, probably more like square 2 or 3 (lol) but still...)
                    How entirely terrifying is XC? I'm not a timid rider, but I had fear issues when I was younger that I conquered, but I don't want to be over faced. I want to learn, but I don't want it to be a sink or swim situation right of the bat.
                    In the interview, you can discuss all of these concerns and also to clarify how much opportunity you will have to ride, and whether you will have the chance to school XC.

                    There is not that much "gear" for XC, relax!. What you will have to learn, if you tack up for your trainer, is which saddle/bridle for which type of training session. I cant imagine someone knowing your back-ground and then being annoyed at starting from dressage square one. You will learn alot! to prepare yourself, by all means, take some dressage lessons, and READ. I like Jane Savoie, but there are lots of books and articles, and its even helpful to download the tests from the USEA website and see what is expected for BN and N. You will see that its stuff you know how to do! like change diagonals, canter a circle, etc. At BN, its mostly learning how to package your horse up (more) and get very precise transitions and working as a team. For XC, like anything, you have to start with something reasonable for your skill level. BN courses tend to be very inviting, nothing too complex, just solid jumps and tiny drop jumps. One of the most fun things is that you may be able to help condition the horses, ie trial rides, long rides up hills, trots sets on dirt roads, that sort of thing.

                    I think you sound like you know what you are getting into and that you will have a BLAST

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've been in both worlds and I started in the hunter/jumper side. I think it would be an excellent experience for you. It certainly sounds like you have the right attitude.

                      Sure you've got a lot to learn crossing over but keep in mind it is much much much! quicker process to make an eventer out of an already competent rider than one from scratch (as I am sure your prospective employer is well aware).

                      If you've ridden grass courses you probably won't have a big problem riding in the open where the footing isn't consistent. You'll have to learn how to jump specific x-country fences and learn to ride up and down hills at speed and while jumping. But if you are used to being coached and are aware of your position this shouldn't be difficult.

                      I hate to say it but you probably have a better jumping position and better jumping knowledge than your average eventer as that is your specialty. Stadium is the bane of many eventers.

                      You will probably find the biggest challenge is to switch between riding dressage one day and jumping the next - two totally different seats.

                      You will probably have an absolute blast cross country and plan to never return to the hunter/jumper ring.

                      Events and eventers are totally different from the hunter/jumper world -they are like a breath of fresh air in comparison and something every hunter/jumper rider would benefit from experiencing.

                      Equipment and horse care wise you won't be any worse off than with any other trainer as each has his/her own way of doing things that you must learn.

                      Keep yourself fit while away from home and have fun with whatever you decide to do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Donkey View Post
                        You will probably have an absolute blast cross country and plan to never return to the hunter/jumper ring.

                        That was my first thought after reading your opening post.

                        Depending on where you spend your semester abroad, you may be able to take some dressage lessons and that would prepare you better to that WS position, but I would say, go for it!
                        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've read both threads and think it is pretty funny and a little odd that the EVENTERS are more negative than the h/j people are!

                          I gave you my basic opinions on it on the h/j thread. I REALLY think that if you are willing to learn it can be a very worthwhile experience. And in the right program, you can totally learn quite a bit over a summer (you aren't a rank beginner and you don't have to ride like Anky to survive a BN dressage test!). We have a teenager who boards and rides with us and in a year has gone from terrified to canter to competent on just about anything we stick her on (I would not hesitate to let her ride just about any of the ones she rides at BN). The majority of her REAL improvement, with finesse at least came from this summer when she was here every day and all day...and she really only got to ride 2 of the 3 summer months since she was in Europe for a month.

                          I think if you are willing to learn and try hard and pitch in and admit when you're unsure of what to do and the trainer knows what they're getting when you show up, I think it can be really fun and worthwhile.
                          Amanda

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beau Cheval View Post
                            Hi everyone,

                            I usually stay on the H/J board, but I wanted to ask your opinions on something (I already asked there, so I wanted both sides). I might, hopefully, have the opportunity to work for a well-regarded eventer trainer as a WS. I'm a H/J rider and I have never evented...I can't even say that I've ever jumped a natural obstacle (ok, this is why you guys make fun of us...I'm from LI, there's no space there for xc courses!!!). I really want to learn and I think that doing XC and dressage for a summer would be a fantastic way to strengthen my riding for when I return to mall-land and the h/j ring.

                            About me:
                            Junior
                            H/J working student last summer
                            Not at the top of the H/J show world by any means, but not incompetent either. I just haven't had the opportunity to ride very many good horses for long periods of time.
                            *WILLING TO WORK VERY HARD AND EAGER TO LEARN*

                            Concerns:
                            I don't want to get to this job and be a total drag because I need to learn how to do basic things (put on xc gear?!) that don't transcend the h/j vs. eventing line. Obviously I am happy to learn, but I just feel like such things are expected of a WS already.
                            I'm good at laughing at myself, but with dressage I feel like I will be starting from square one entirely. Would a big eventing trainer be really annoyed to have a WS whose lessons were entirely basic? I really want to learn because I know it would help me in the end, but I don't want the trainer to be frustrated that she was teaching someone from square one? (Ok, probably more like square 2 or 3 (lol) but still...)
                            How entirely terrifying is XC? I'm not a timid rider, but I had fear issues when I was younger that I conquered, but I don't want to be over faced. I want to learn, but I don't want it to be a sink or swim situation right of the bat.

                            I really really REALLY want to learn and I will be sure to highlight these concerns in my interview, but am I getting myself into something that I don't want to? Will I be a huge drag and frustration?

                            Between now and when I go for this job I will not have any time to take xc lessons (dressage might be a possibility) because I am going on a semester abroad this semester.


                            I'm really sorry, I feel like I sound like a huge moron..

                            Thanks for your input!

                            Haven't read all the other responses. You sound like an awesome kid. You WANT to learn. You REALIZE you don't know everything. You think you could have FUN!

                            As long as you spell it all out, I think any BNT would be pleased to have you.

                            ETA: I have now read the other posts. I have one foot in each world. (Actually, I must have three feet, as one is also in dressage land.) You will be fine. I had a horse in the First Year Ring at Devon this year and I have ridden a CCI** long format. If you are open to learning both you and your employer will have a wonderful experience. You have a lot to offer and so do we. If you take a job with someone who has upper level horses you will learn a lot about conditioning, which is something that is seriously lacking in h/j land. Not that they want their horses fit, they don't. But cardio work and weight lifting/power work are important concepts that can help them keep their horses sound. YOu can learn that from a good event rider.

                            Best of luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If your goal is to be a better horseman...this sounds like a great idea.

                              Everything is going to depend on where you work. Honestly, a good horseman isn't a H/J rider or Eventer or Dressage rider...they can do it all...and learn from it all.

                              Good riding is learning it all not just your "area" of focus...learning what it takes to be stronger at dressage or xc will only help you ride a nice hunter round or smoother jumper jump off.

                              Most good event riders know this as MOST of us have done and will do other things besides just eventing....actually most good riders and trainers know this...as they know that to be too specialized all the time limits growth and knowledge.

                              I think it sounds like a great idea...and even if you don't sit on a horse...you can still learn a lot just watching, listening and asking questions.

                              But like all things....it will matter most WHO you go to work for. There are eventers I would run run run away from...same with some show trainers and dressage trainers. If you work for the right person...you will learn a lot and be a better horseperson from it.
                              ** 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


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Gry2Yng View Post
                                Haven't read all the other responses. You sound like an awesome kid. You WANT to learn. You REALIZE you don't know everything. You think you could have FUN!

                                As long as you spell it all out, I think any BNT would be pleased to have you.
                                I agree. And, if the BNT is a good teacher and appreciates your willingness to learn, s/he will not mind helping you with the eventing-specific skills. As for eventing gear at the lower levels, there is not too much that is different-- your xc vest, maybe. Have a good conversation with the trainer and then have fun!
                                SportHorseRiders.com
                                Taco Blog
                                *T3DE 2010 Pact*

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Where will you be spending next semester?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The facility I work for would take you anytime. You have an AWESOME attitude and want to learn. What more can someone ask for. If the trainer is truly wanting to teach the art of eventing, he/she will appreciate having a WS that has initiative, a desire to learn and a great attitude.

                                    Good luck! Let us know what you decide and how it goes!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think you will have a great experience. Especially as you are already comfortable out of the ring, I do not think you will get overfaced or scared by BN or below XC (and yes, there is a below at unrecognized shows -- my first event was "there's a log in the path!" x12). At that level the jumps are usually intentionally inviting coops, logs and brush, water is a simple pass through and the time allowed is generous allowing some trotting fences if you need that for confidence

                                      I think the biggest difference you'll adjust to is how the flow of work at a show goes. If your XC start time is 1:14, you best be in the start box with your game face on at 1:14! It can be *very challenging* assisting a pro who has multiple horses, in multiple divisions, all of whom must have their right tack at the right time! Somehow the times always work out in the worst possible way.
                                      Proud Member: Bull-snap Haters Clique, Michigan Clique, and Appaloosa Clique!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think that it would be great to learn some other skills that you wouldn't necessarily in a h/j barn. Not better or worse, just different. I think you should be very upfront with the trainer about what you know and what you don't. They'll let you know if you fit what they're looking for. You may find that you love eventing! Even if you don't, riding xc and dressage will strengthen your seat. Your h/j skills will be so important, especially for stadium. I think everyone should cross train instead of being snarky about other disciplines. It sounds like it could be a great experience and that you could have a blast!

                                        Comment

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