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Lesson barns with 3'6" horses

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  • Lesson barns with 3'6" horses

    For those of you who run barns, do you actually have 3'6" lesson horses in your regular program?

  • #2
    From what I've read on COTH this would be very rare. You might be able to get a lease or half lease to do lessons.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Scribbler - I am the BM of a lesson/boarding/training barn and I have lessonettes with no interest in leasing or buying telling me that they have come from lesson barns with 3'6" horses. The most recent is a kid whose mom said last year the kid was winter leasing his 14 hand 3''6" CAMP pony but had a growth spurt so they are looking for a lesson barn with 3'6" horses and are not interested in leasing or buying. Maybe people don't really know what 3'6" is? I am at a loss.


      Comment


      • #4
        I bet they just don't know what 3'6" is. We've got some of the kids running around posting photos of them saying they were jumping 2'6" (way smaller than 3'6") but.... it is really a 2', maybe 2'3, definitely not 2'6". The kids get excited and jumps do seem bigger when you are on the horse. Finding a true 3'6" horse who can consistently be a part of a lesson program and stay sound is a tall order. At minimum they are usually on a half lease, but as a regularly utilized school horse no. Most of our school horses top out at 2'9 to 3' (the majority stick to 2'6") unless leased.

        Comment


        • #5
          Only a lesson taker here, but have moved from MI to PA to NC in the past 3 years. In that time I have tried god knows how many barns - easily over 25. Absolutely zero 3'6" lesson horses. Have managed to find very few 3' options, most required a committed half lease before allowing even that. Trainer back home wouldn't let 1x/weekly lessoners jump over 2'6" due to their own fitness anyway, so 3'+ was usually a moot point.

          As someone who would love to break that 3' barrier (much less 3'6") and has diligently searched, it is usually privately owned horses or bust.

          Comment


          • #6
            I do think this is very rare. We have one that does 3'3"-3'6" at my barn - he is used very sparingly and only for my trainer's most beloved (and skilled) riders :-). We also have an older horse capable of 3', and he mostly totes beginners around tiny fences.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think there are two factors here:
              1. The lesson horse--my trainer had several people who kept requesting to jump higher than she wanted her horses to jump. She finally told them that she could not risk injury, or just the wear and tear on her horses that would make them not useful to her. (She was also very concerned about the horses, of course.)
              2. The safety of the rider, many of whom had very exaggerated views of their riding abilities. One rider finally left for another barn that would allow her to jump higher, and we soon heard she was laid up with a broken leg. Maybe just an accident, of course, or maybe she was over-faced. (Please note that I am not commenting upon above posters riding skills.)

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                We have people (kids usually) who say they were jumping or jumping a certain height and we are quietly horrified during their first lesson. Inevitably, we go back to some basics, the parents get pissed that little Susie isn't jumping or jumping her previous height and they leave. Maybe other barns simply have more robot lesson horses than we do. On the flip side, we have people (adults usually) who come in saying they are jumping 2' and it quickly becomes obvious that they are capable at 3" but they are smart enough to start slowly with a new horse, new trainer, new barn and then prove themselves!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by silver_charm View Post
                  Only a lesson taker here, but have moved from MI to PA to NC in the past 3 years. In that time I have tried god knows how many barns - easily over 25. Absolutely zero 3'6" lesson horses. Have managed to find very few 3' options, most required a committed half lease before allowing even that. Trainer back home wouldn't let 1x/weekly lessoners jump over 2'6" due to their own fitness anyway, so 3'+ was usually a moot point.

                  As someone who would love to break that 3' barrier (much less 3'6") and has diligently searched, it is usually privately owned horses or bust.
                  Same here. I'm in a fairly horsey area and for H/J facilities, I haven't found many places that even have a lesson string at all (I.e. more than one or two lesson horses), much less lesson horses that jump 3'6". I landed somewhere that works for me right now as a re-rider mostly doing 2'6"-3", every once in a while 3'3", on quality former show horses. I feel extremely fortunate. If and when I want to regularly jump higher jumps, I will never expect or demand lesson horses to do it.

                  The usual routine of horses having to lesson 6 days a week to pay the bills is simply not feasible for a dedicated 3'-3'6" horse. At that height, you're into lease/own territory, working student territory, or large college program territory. Or a similar type lesson program that was so large that busier lesson horses subsidize 3'6" lesson horses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skyy View Post
                    Scribbler - I am the BM of a lesson/boarding/training barn and I have lessonettes with no interest in leasing or buying telling me that they have come from lesson barns with 3'6" horses. The most recent is a kid whose mom said last year the kid was winter leasing his 14 hand 3''6" CAMP pony but had a growth spurt so they are looking for a lesson barn with 3'6" horses and are not interested in leasing or buying. Maybe people don't really know what 3'6" is? I am at a loss.

                    Hmmm. You could ask where they ride these unicorns.

                    I think it's more likely they have confused 2 foot 6 and 3 foot 6.

                    You could put up a 3 foot 6 rail and ask them how high they think it is.

                    Put up some rails, walk around, ask which look familiar.

                    You could talk to the kid apart from the mom. Mothers lie about their kids constantly and nonhorsey moms say ridiculous things. Moms also make their kids lie.

                    Most show jumping takes place below 3 feet. Most riders never get higher than that. The possibility that advanced beginner lesson kids are jumping 3 foot 6 somewhere else is very very remote.

                    I don't know what you do with them. Some of them especially with deluded helicopter mothers might be more trouble than they are worth.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skyy View Post
                      Scribbler - I am the BM of a lesson/boarding/training barn and I have lessonettes with no interest in leasing or buying telling me that they have come from lesson barns with 3'6" horses. The most recent is a kid whose mom said last year the kid was winter leasing his 14 hand 3''6" CAMP pony but had a growth spurt so they are looking for a lesson barn with 3'6" horses and are not interested in leasing or buying. Maybe people don't really know what 3'6" is? I am at a loss.

                      I think you should feel enormously free to nod, smile, and completely disregard their comments. They are probably mistaken, or jumping heights they should not jump, or unrealistic about the industry in general - nobody "owes" anyone a 3'6" lesson horse, after all.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        (I know you wanted trainer/BM input but...) I have ridden at many, many, many barns in multiple countries (we move a lot). I rode at only one barn which had genuine 3'6 level school horses, that didn't require any sort of lease or half lease situation. Lessons were $125-150 each, so the cost was pretty comparable to leasing anyway.

                        This barn was a strong anomaly though. In general, the better programs seemed to keep their true school horses at 2'6 and under. This had the effect of both preserving the good, quiet, caretaker school horses, and also forcing parents to move into a more expensive half-lease/purchase once the child is ready. In a lot of cases, the barns which let me jump higher on their school horses (apart from the exception described above), were the less professional, cheaper, more backyard operations. And sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. But for the most part, it seemed to me that it was just hard on the horses, and the end result wasn't that pretty.

                        To me, it would just depend on how well the kid rode. If they're some sort of wunderkind with the natural talent to jump 3'6 on a lesson horse and have it go well, then that's one thing. But that's pretty rare. Otherwise, I'd just assume that either a) the kid is exaggerating substantially, or b) the previous barn didn't care to look after and preserve their school horses, which is not an example that you need to be following.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't run a lesson program, but I have a friend who is, indeed, taking lessons at 3' and even some 3'6" at a barn on a horse that is not her own. Now, the caveat: she is a previous zone champion at 3" and the horse has a stopping issue at higher heights, so she was involved to help address the horse's issue prior to a sale. But she also has show leased a lesson horse at 3'. I think the opportunities where there are some sales horses are different than at a standard lesson program. It can be beneficial to have the horse available for a show lease with a qualified rider. For riders in college who had to sell their horse, and have a nice resume, this isn't unheard of. But there are a lot of qualifications that must be met first.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            During the first meet and greet, ask the kid to tell you how high they jumped by pointing to their knees, chin, etc. Of course if the kid was never on the ground with the standards that might not work.

                            I wonder if it somehow got out into your local zeitgeist that 3 foot 6 was "real" jumping, either from a recent Maclay or a recent broadcast of Heartland. So in order to communicate that you know how to ride you say you jump 3 foot 6 because otherwise you will be put back on beginner ponies and not respected. Or something.

                            Either that or they are all coming from a barn where the coach is a cheerful liar to students.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              To clarify, we have lesson horses who can jump the height but they need a very specific ride at that height. You can't lean, you can't pull and you can't miss. And we have other nice lesson horses - one of our lessonettes who was half leasing a nice Hanoverian mare in our lesson program was champion of the Pre Ch Eq her week at HITS Saugerties. However, this was 2'6" - not 3' and not 3'6". I don't understand how you can possibly get good enough to ride well at 3' let alone 3'6" just by lessoning once a week.

                              And I have to admit that I am very protective of our lesson horses. Most of them are getting older now, are still going strong and I want to keep it that way!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Small funny story that proves the point - one of our students moved away and while she was here the mom never watched her lessons - just sat in the car. Mom emailed me about the height the kid was jumping so that she could tell the new trainer. The kid had told her mom that she was jumping 3' while she was lucky if she did x rails here! That child, however, was known to have a problem with the truth in general no matter what it had to do with.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  There are certainly barns around here where a very talented rider might have the opportunity to ride (and lesson) on 3'6 sale horses, but I can't think of any barns that truly truly have 3'6 LESSON HORSES. And we're not talking about your average once a week lesson student either. We're talking about former big eq kids home from college and similar.

                                  There is a program here that has a bunch of lesson horses that were 3'6 horses IN THEIR DAY but no one, no one in that program is jumping over 3'0 on lesson horses and all those horses have stepped down from 3'6. And if you want to show, you still need to lease/half lease one of them.

                                  I'm sure there are lesson horses that jump 3'6 ON OCCASION (really good rider in a lesson and at the end the trainer bumps up the last jump of the grid so the rider can say she did it) but not as a regular matter. Once I had a lesson on a horse that I usually rode 2'6-2'9ish and the trainer did a little "puissance" at the end and just kept putting the jump up one hole again and again until it was 3'6 just to get me over the idea that it was impossible. But that wasn't a course and it wasn't every week and I would not call that horse a 3'6 lesson horse.
                                  Last edited by vxf111; Jan. 4, 2019, 02:04 PM.
                                  ~Veronica
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                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                                    There are certainly barns around here where a very talented rider might have the opportunity to ride (and lesson) on 3'6 sale horses, but I can't think of any barns that truly truly have 3'6 LESSON HORSES.
                                    Agreed. I had the privilege of taking some lessons on my trainer's 3'6" horse as a teen, and riding two sale horses at different points over that height. None were regular parts of the lesson program available to all.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by skyy View Post
                                      And I have to admit that I am very protective of our lesson horses. Most of them are getting older now, are still going strong and I want to keep it that way!
                                      As you should be! Lesson horses are a special breed, regardless of what height they jump, for putting up with so many different riders.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        no.

                                        If it can consistently jump 3'6 and has the temperament of a lesson horse, it is way more valuable leased out or sold to a kid or adult ammy. As a junior I did take lessons periodically with a trainer who would have me jump upwards of 4', but they had me on their sale horses, not their lesson horses, and I had my own horse and regular trainer at home. It benefited them in that they got to see how their sale horses would go for a decent-riding kid.

                                        I don't know any programs that routinely jump their lesson horses higher than 3', and I think for most programs anything over 2'6 / 2'9" is usually a "special" situation if the person isn't leasing, even if the horse is capable of more. It's just not worth the wear and tear on the schoolies.

                                        Adults lie and kids are mistaken. On the miniscule chance that this is true, the kid may have jumped the pony up once when the trainer was trying to get them to buy. Or the kid irresponsibly jumped it around by himself on his winter lease. Take a gander on instagram, if you want to see kids jumping their lame ponies way too high over cobbled-together jumps with false groundlines. It's truly horrifying.

                                        They sound like they'll be great "fun" for somebody else's business.

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