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Crossover from H/J World...What Do I Need?

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  • Crossover from H/J World...What Do I Need?


    For the last 3 years, I have been riding at an eventing barn while down at college, and I have finally decided I want to try eventing. I have a 6 year old mare that has done the hunters, but is beyond bored in the hunter ring, is a beautiful mover, and loves schooling cross-country. I have a strong dressage background along with showing h/j'ers my whole life.

    That said, what do I need to get going in eventing? I have a safety vest, boots, and all the generic stuff.

    I know I need a medical armband, right? Are there any other tips, suggestions, for anything I should know or need?

    Also, how do you all make sure your horses stay in shape during the winter months? I only jump once or twice a week and the rest I focus on my dressage work, but what about trying to keep in shape to be able to go cross-country? I'm limited, unfortunately, to an indoor arena, so any suggestions would be great!

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Sounds like you've got the basics - the vest and armband are really the only required items that you wouldn't already have.

    For the lower levels, you don't really need to worry too much about conditioning - as long as you're riding regularly over the winter, you should both be in adequate shape for BN/N. At those levels, XC is a nice forward canter or easy hand gallop, depending on the horse, course, and optimum time.

    If you haven't been to an event as a spectator, I'd recommend you go to at MINIMUM one event, get thee a schedule of ride times, and hang out near each ring and the start box for XC for an hour or two. You'll see how other riders prepare, how the schedule runs, and get a feel for events in general. You might also look in to volunteering once you've been as a spectator.

    I'd also look around for unrecognized events, combined trainings, and hunter paces - a good way to get your feet wet without go straight to the 'big time' events. Kind of like saying you want to try H/J and going to a big 'A' show as your first attempt - you'll be better off starting at the local/unrated level, and you'll save money, too.

    Read your rulebook. Thoroughly. Especially the parts about legal equipment/substances, refusals/runouts, rider falls, who may handle/lunge/ride the horse, and going off course. You and you alone are responsible for knowing the rules and following them at an event.

    Oh, and of course - it helps to have a knowledeable trainer that has eventing experience to take you out XC and teach you how to ride each type of fence and what the correct paces are. I could go on forever, but that is the basic info - the rulebook will be a great source of information as will spectating and volunteering. If you can go spectate with someone who is already knowledgeable, even better.

    Good luck, and have fun!


    • #3
      Sounds like you have most of it under control!
      I came from H/J land too. My first event was a recognized BN. I read the rule book, checked out the USEA website and showed up. Everyone at events is so helpful- just ask if you have any questions. IMO everything was much more straightforward than at any hunter show. You are assigned ride times for each phase so just make sure you leave enough warm up time and arrive at the rings and start box on time.
      If you can get there the day before to check out the lay of the land and walk xc an extra time that helps too for the first few events.
      Don't forget to leave time for braiding
      Good luck and have fun! After your first xc round you will never go back!
      5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO - you're on course!


      • #4
        Most of your questions have been answered. As far as fitness goes MOST horses are just fine at BN and N if they are ridden consistently 4-5 days a week. You shouldn't have to do anything to special unless your mare is a heavy draft cross or big, old style WB. Add in some raised trot poles once or twice a week in your flat work and there's a good substitute for hills. Whenever you can get out to hack, do it. But really, if she's getting ridden regularly, she should be plenty fit for BN in the spring. I HAVE done canter sets around and around and around an indoor, but that has always been for heavier types going training early in the spring season or for early spring prelims...boring as hell and no way to do any real speed work. You can always add in a longer, more open canter in your regular work for a little added wind work.


        • #5
          a good pair of rubber boots to walk the XC course in the morning. without them... you'll have wet sneakers all day!

          I found that I bought things that I saw other people using and said "wow, that would make life easier".

          you may also want to invest in some grass and road studs. I find that works for most shows.


          • #6
            Ask your barnmates if anyone's looking for help/a groom for an event, so you can tag along and get a feel. Pending equine soundess, I'm hoping to do my first event this year and went to several events with barnmates this fall just to get a feel, cheer them on, and take some pictures Very educational, and eventers really are a great group of people
            A Year In the Saddle


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone for your information! My mare is small and Thoroughbred-y so it doesn't seem like she'll need much to be able to start out at BN/N. I've gone to a couple of combined events with an old horse I had and had good experiences. I also was a Pony Clubber when I was younger and did a rally so I think I'll be ok.

              One thing I did forget to ask more specifically about were studs. I'm not really sure how this works and if they are really necessary. My mare wears aluminum front shoes, but do you think I need them? I'm not sure how much people use them or if I need them starting out at the lower levels.


              • #8
                As far as studs go, it really depends on your event locations. I'd ask someone who events locally.
                For example, here in Area II, we do a LOT of dressage and SJ on grass, not always level grass (including dressage warmup in places!). So I do always drill and tap behind for studs -- I find that I often need them even at BN for dressage and SJ (I did probably half of my BN and N events with my baby horse in conditions that VERY MUCH required studs just for dressage!!).

                I have run through prelim with just hind studs, however. If your horse is sure footed you may not need fronts.

                But conditions really vary -- I know there parts of the country where you would never do dressage on that sort of footing, or where the soil is such that studs are not as necessary anyway.

                So check with your local peeps!
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man


                • #9
                  Here's a thread from a while ago that could be useful.
                  Taco Blog
                  *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                  • #10
                    All you need is attitude and the willingness to be a part of a great sport. The big difference is that you'll be competing against the courses and the tests, not your fellow riders. Do your best, always bring back a better horse than you started with, and enjoy the camaraderie. I've never attended an event without meeting a new friend!!


                    • #11
                      re: studs. A very personal preference. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on them. I am a firm believer that they are unnecessary until training (and then it depends on the horse and the course and the rider) and that the horse (or rider) has to "earn" them. Our giant footed draft cross stays upright at novice just fine without them, I have yet to ride a horse around at BN or N and thought "God, I really needed studs out there" (especially true on xc at those levels, but I've never really noticed it in the other phases. Occasionally I've thought they might have been useful but not totally necessary in dressage). The only time I've watched a novice horse really slip and struggle was one of our own novice horses this fall at Waredaca, when he was trying to do a dressage test in ankle deep mud...studs wouldn't have even helped in that situation.

                      If you do decide to use studs, remember less is more. I think a little something on the hinds is pretty adequate around here for the lower level stuff. Smaller studs are almost always better than bigger ones (too big of studs on inappropriate footing can cause very bad bruising and can cause soft tissue injuries).


                      • #12
                        Btw, at BN, and even Novice, you don't really need to braid. I'm a lousy braider, and my boy has enough mane for Cousin It (and he hates pulling), so I use my Solocomb, get it as short and presentable as I can, and worry about braiding if and when I make a championship or Training level - whichever comes first.

                        People haven't mentioned boots, but if you're from the H/J world, you may not have galloping boots for xc. The open fronts that you most likely DO have will work fine for stadium, but I'd invest in a set of good quality boots for all around - ESPECIALLY if you drill and tap for studs behind. No sense in taking that kind of chance!
                        "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                        So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                        • #13
                          oh good point, eventer-mi; IF you use studs, DO get a set of good boots for your pony!
                          The big man -- my lost prince

                          The little brother, now my main man


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by asterix View Post
                            oh good point, eventer-mi; IF you use studs, DO get a set of good boots for your pony!
                            Ditto the boots, especially if you run in studs. They aren't a must have (like a vest and an armband and a helmet), but they are a "nice to have," especially where studs are involved.