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Spinoff: What does it take for a RIDER to do Intermediate and up?

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  • Spinoff: What does it take for a RIDER to do Intermediate and up?

    I'm a confirmed lower-level rider-- the adrenaline rush of Novice is plenty for me. So sometimes I wonder if it is my temperament that makes me a LLR.

    On the other hand, sometimes I wonder why, after eventing for close to 20 years, I still am, well, mediocre as a rider. Why is it so hard for me to get my OTTB on my aids? Why does my leg chronically slip back? Etc., etc. So sometimes I wonder if it is my ability that makes me a LLR.

    Now, realistically I think that it is both temperament and ability that make a LLR/ULR or something in between. So what are those temperamental/ ability attributes?
    Taco Blog
    *T3DE 2010 Pact*

  • #2
    Ok first question that comes to mind,

    Have you ever had an instructor or horse that challenged you to go beyond your current knowledge. Have you owned a made horse that was there to take you up the levels?
    Did you ever do other disciplines, such as dressage or jumpers where you went up more than what we do in eventing???

    And beyond all this, do you feel comfortable on any horse to want to just pop those fences up another foot and see what happens??

    When I was a kid, every summer I would jerk the schooling fences up to the 3'9-4'6" range. And Just come down kicking. Now mind, I was in my teens. But even later when I was schooling up gryphon before our second event season started (in cali so great weather) I was popping him through grids up to 5'6". Obviously I will never see a 5' table on xc. But its nice as heck to know that it won't matter if one looks big, b/c it'll be 12" + smaller!!

    I am not a brave without caution rider. But because I keep pushing myself and my horses on my own, I know a bit more of where the outer limits of our abilities are in case we get really deep, long or whatever to a fence.

    And that helps me ride confidently.

    ((Side note, I don't push my horses to their limits often. Rarely more than twice a year. I don't want to shake their confidence or make them think I have lost it. Just want to have a little fun))

    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


    • #3
      For an adult amatuer like me? Time. Time to condition the horse sufficiently, time to take the extra lessons to get "that" good in all 3 phases. Time to go to as many prelim events as possible, and a three-day to get as much experience as I can. Time to ride other horses. Basically time to get the mileage you need to ride safely at that level.

      Money too, but even if I had lots of extra money to do the competitions and lessons, I would struggle with the time commitment.

      I've had casual conversations with my instructor about this - I've never had the opportunity to really be faced with the question, but it seems that she would want my skill level up a couple of notches everywhere, and the time it would take - hours in the saddle is how you get there - would be hard.


      • #4
        This is interesting. My sister and I grew up riding together but I think that we show the difference between ideas.

        My sister is an amazing rider. She wins the equitations classes, medals, hunters etc. on a regualr basis. She can take any horse and train them to be rideable by any other rider. However, she has absolutely NO urge to press the horses.

        Like Emily, I have always pressed my horses and myself beyond what I thought we could do. I can take any horse and push it up to and beyond what it can do. However, those horses and not very rideable by any other person.

        I think most ULRs have a bit of the "hang your ass out over the edge" attitude. That is we tend to see if we can push the envelope and pull it back and walk away. Of course we all have lawn darted, grass skipped, augered in, sucked dirt, slammed in, more than we wanted.

        I also think URLs also have the ability to, while recognizing the dangers and realities, be able to put that aside every time. In a sense, be "stupid" about what we are doing. Because if we really thought about those things we would never get on a horse.

        In my case I once said all that I ever wanted was to be solid at Prelim and to "dabble" at Intermediate. Now, all I can think about is getting more solid at Intermediate and running solid Advanced with a 3-star as the goal.

        So, maybe it is something inherent in the rider that can not be elucidated?



        • #5
          Talent, Bravery, Desire (to improve, jump higher, go up the levels, etc), being in the right place at the right time on a right horse, ability and opportunity to ride many horses several times per day most days of the week. I think having all that at the same time will allow a person to become ULR, but when one or more of those things are missing, it is very hard if not impossible to progress to Upper levels. That's why its very hard to do for majority of Ammys with full-time jobs. Of course, an abundance of one quality can make up somewhat for lack of another, i.e. talent vs. experience, but lacking in more then one area would make things really tough if not impossible.

          I personally don't have any desire to event anything above novice, because I know I don't have what it takes. I will be very content to enjoy the sport at the lower levels, there is nothing wrong with that!


          • #6
            Originally posted by RAyers View Post
            Like Emily, I have always pressed my horses and myself beyond what I thought we could do. I can take any horse and push it up to and beyond what it can do. However, those horses and not very rideable by any other person.


            • #7
              For the true amateur...it takes the right horse and a good coach. You have to believe in both implicitly. You have to be willing to make sacrifices. But I did it even though I was in my very late 40's and not really very fit. I just had this horse I believed in no matter what (and he was talented, just not the type of horse a professional would ever both with) and I trusted my coach who had 'been there, done that'. Idiot that I am, if my horse hadn't developed some eyesight issues, I would probably have been aiming at Advanced. Fortunately God intervened!


              • #8
                Originally posted by snoopy View Post
                Oop, I need to proofread better. Sorry!

                My old trainer once said, "Reed, you are an amateur so you train your horses to be ridden by one person and that is you. You do not train horses to be ridden by anybody else."

                What I meant is that I can take a horse and take it to the limits of its capabilities but because I ride for myself - I'm not a professional trainer - my horses have a unique way of being ridden so that not many others can simply hop on and duplicate the ride.

                I don't know how I got the way I am. I do know that even as a kid I was always seeing if my horses could go faster and jump higher. I know it is still very much a part of my riding psyche.

                I hope that helps.



                • #9
                  Simple really.... the higher the level ridden is inversely proportional to the degree of sanity!!!

                  But seriously, it has lot to do with a riders personality. I think ULR are challenged by the known risks of the sport and by what 'scares' or challenges us individually. As you move up the levels, you develop the ability to assess the questions and risks through experience. And learning from the inevitable mistakes, not seeing them as failure...and then getting to work solving them.

                  Novice on a baby can be much scarier than I/A on veteran horse. The veteran horses tend to be like the riders, they love the challenge and are not defeated by errors..but learn from them. You know what you are sitting on by the time you get there...and they know you. The babies...well who knows what they are gonna do? So when trust or lack there of comes into play it is much scarier. Until that partnership develops...it is always a bit interesting.

                  But nothing is better than the adrenaline rush of xc...no matter what the level!!


                  • Original Poster

                    OK, so I definitely don't have that "push the envelope" attitude. That said, I did a clinic last year with my greenie where I went in having only done a two-foot, three-element gymnastic with him and wound up doing Wofford's monster bounce gymnastic with some elements over 3'. The same clinician had me doing 3'6" in a gymnastic last fall, no big deal. I really did enjoy myself.

                    I've been lucky to have had quite a few good teachers, some of whom are ULRs themselves... perhaps not so lucky with the horses, time, and money. Perhaps had I been luckier with money, I might have done YRs as a kid, when I was more brave. Then college, grad school, etc. cut into my time and here I am as an adult amateur with a full-time job and a nice but not UL potential OTTB.

                    I don't regret all this (besides wishing I had more time and money)-- I am very happy to have the T3DE as my big-time goal. But I am curious about how/why riders get on to different tracks.
                    Taco Blog
                    *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                    • Original Poster

                      hey hrg, its great to see you here and thanks for your observations... I always knew you were insane!
                      Taco Blog
                      *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                      • #12
                        I think it has to do with the ability to IMPROVE under pressure. For me, anyway, I have always noticed that fear/stress/pressure are actually focusing feelings for me. When I'm filled with a healthy trepidation, I am more focused and preform better. That goes for me at the hospital in emergancies as well as out on the intermediate xcountry course....it is the same adrenalin rush and it is addictive! Which is why I do brain surgery 70 hours a week and then take the weekend off to hurl myself over solid objects on a young thoroughbred, I guess! Nuts!

                        I think people who seek high-risk/high reward scenarios in life, in hobbies, in their careers tend to be the types who will make it to the upper levels. And if those risky situations actually elevate your natural abilities, then that's a recipe for success.


                        • #13
                          Don't forget the touch of insanity!


                          • #14
                            I forgot one other thing, these riders, no matter how much we don't want to admit it, must have EGO!

                            In a way we all have to think we are better than anyone else and that we can do it all - of course tempered with a dose of humility (hopefully).



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                              Don't forget the touch of insanity!
                              Hey, that's what I was going to say!

                              I do think it takes a special type of person. My ex climbs mountains for a living. My mom breaks racehorses and (at the age of 56) did her first Prelim event this year. They're both careful, but they also have this slightly crazy, driven streak. I don't have it. I'm happy to faff around at Novice. I'd like to do the T3day in a year or two, if my current greenie gets that far. But I actually like the bringing-on stage best. I love working with green horses. I love when they have that OMG, I get it! moment. I don't mind jumping big solid fences out hunting, and once I get going on xc, I usually enjoy it, but...


                              • #16
                                I think that what RAyers was saying about goals changing as people improve is a good point. I know I've said a few times that I want to be able to do a T3D, do Dressage through 2nd Level, vault at Copper Canter Level, and one of H/J/Eq through 3'6" competently. I just moved up to Copper Canter in October for the vaulting. It feels really good that I've made it to this point, and I'm hoping to get my medal. I don't know whether or not I'll be able to move up from here, but I'm definitely having fun.

                                For the other kinds of riding, I feel I don't have the talent to go farther, or the money to buy or train a horse to that level - and Prelim fences look pretty intimidating. I guess I feel I'd rather set goals that *feel* attainable and realistic, and if I reach them or am getting close, I can develop new goals. Right now, I'm working on the short-term position/contact/etc. goals rather than focusing on competitions. I'd like to do some if we can get the logistics to work, but I have plenty of basics to focus on.
                                Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                  I forgot one other thing, these riders, no matter how much we don't want to admit it, must have EGO!

                                  In a way we all have to think we are better than anyone else and that we can do it all - of course tempered with a dose of humility (hopefully).

                                  hahahaa... hell yes! If one doesn't have the ego it's hard to have the guts to strut your stuff out there! As for the humility, our horses tend to take care of that for us when we get too full of ourselves!!!

                                  I'm moving up to intermediate in March at Pine top (SOOO friggen pumped it's not even funny). I'm probably not the boldest person in the world, but with the right horse, it's amazing what a person can accomplish. There was a time when I though prelim was out of reach.

                                  A rider needs to be able to take a large amount of stress and pressure and be willing to commit the time and money it takes for the appropriate training. They also need to be patient and be able to say "not today" at that level. They need a brain and a certain sense of self preservation. A good mix of chicken and tiger. The chicken to respect what you are doing and prepare yourself properly and listen to your horse, and tiger to overcome the chicken and tackle everything that is put in your way.


                                  • #18
                                    Work/UL riding balance?

                                    Originally posted by blackwly View Post
                                    That goes for me at the hospital in emergancies as well as out on the intermediate xcountry course....it is the same adrenalin rush and it is addictive! Which is why I do brain surgery 70 hours a week and then take the weekend off to hurl myself over solid objects on a young thoroughbred, I guess! Nuts!
                                    To blackwly and others that work in a non-horsey job and ride at the upper levels... how do you do it??? How on earth do you manage a 50+ hour work week (or 70 as above) and still manage to train yourself and your horse to go at Prelim and higher?

                                    Wanna be one-day Prelim riders want to know!

                                    (who is a self-proclaimed chicken currently enjoying the thrills of BN but is already looking forward to our first Training, which I hope will happen in late 08 or early 09 - according to my coach it will!!!)


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                      I forgot one other thing, these riders, no matter how much we don't want to admit it, must have EGO!

                                      In a way we all have to think we are better than anyone else and that we can do it all - of course tempered with a dose of humility (hopefully).

                                      Reed - Ego and humility aside , when did you start looking at Advanced jumps and say to yourself "I can do that". I watched your round at the AECs - you were awesome and so full of confidence and passion!!! Advanced is in your cards already!

                                      I definately "hang my ass out over the edge" (for more than one reason ) and am the first to admit to being a complete cowgirl. If they added a cattle round-up and a river swim on XC, I would be over the moon.

                                      I wonder how many people reading this thread watch Rolex, Badminton, or Burghley and say to themselves "I can do that and I am going to do it in 3, 4, 5 years"?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                        I forgot one other thing, these riders, no matter how much we don't want to admit it, must have EGO!

                                        In a way we all have to think we are better than anyone else and that we can do it all - of course tempered with a dose of humility (hopefully).

                                        Funny ... this is what I look for in my event horses.

                                        OneDaySoon: I can't tell you how many times I've day dreamt about jumping around the big courses with the Harrymonster. I walked Fair Hill in October and thought it looked like fun. I guess I'm part of the crazy crowd.
                                        Take Your Equestrian Business to the Next Level: http://www.mythiclanding.com/
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