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Are walk/trot classes even worth it?

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  • Scribbler
    I have to say I don't quite get the point of going out to a show before horse and rider have some competence as a team.

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  • paintedpony
    If I were you, I would first use the most important words in the industry: "What will this cost me?" and "Please breakdown the costs so I will know if this show fits my budget." I am unsure of your finances, or experience in showing, and do not want you to get a big surprise.

    Expect a coaching fee, use of horse, transportation, and perhaps a care fee (depending upon the way this barn shows, staff etc) Other fees, entry, admin, memberships, stall, medic, braiding etc. Once you have the final costs nailed down, make your decision. It can be very attractive to hear entry fees at this schooling show are only $60. So you sign up thinking it is a very cost effective venture. End of day, get handed bill for $500 or more.........and you are eating Ramen for a month.

    All classes are valuable, and I think it is a great opportunity to get back into the swing of things. Hahahaha having an eight year old beat the pants off you can actually be alot of fun if you allow yourself to embrace the experience! Enjoy the day. Attitude is everything!

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  • Impractical Horsewoman
    hillary again Trust me, I have been staying home! I never did w/t but after a few lower level division experiences, the warm-up ring and the "hurry up and wait" alone drove me to dressage shows. I enjoy spectating at h/j shows, obviously, just not competing in them myself.

    I agree that it can be difficult when a trainer's program is structured around showing, though. I understand why it's necessary for some trainers to stay afloat financially, but that's something people always have to consider when picking a barn. One of the reasons I'm at my current barn is that I don't particularly want to show, and it's nice to be in a barn culture where the social life isn't structured around showing.

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  • hillary again
    What Impractical Horsewoman said. It sounds like you have showing experience - is that right? If so, stay home. W/T is good for inexperienced riders, who need the experience of getting to the show, the ring, being aware of the rules and how the class works, ... If you have that already, stay home. It's a lot of money if you don't need this experience Maybe your trainer thinks you want to be part of the event. Hard to say what her motivation is, but if this is me, I stay home. Build your skills and then be ready to compete when it will mean something to you. If you are honest with yourself, this is different than "I should be showing at a higher level..." - it is "I am staying home to develop my skills as a rider".

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  • Impractical Horsewoman
    As someone who only began riding regularly after she'd had many, many sixteenth birthdays, I'll chime in that I've done the beginner eq division a few times as an adult, and I actually saw more old folk in it than young kids. At least in my area, the younger children start with mini-stirrup, then often move on to short stirrup.

    The beginner eq (open w/t/c and crossrails) classes tend to be very, very mixed, with kids, teens, re-riders, people on their own horses, people on schoolies. Plus horses of varying ages, levels of experience, and sanity.

    I must confess that looking back, I didn't find doing the division to be very fun and wish that I'd spent the money on clinics and more frequent lessons instead. Two flat classes and a very chaotic warm-up ring didn't make for a great day out. And in my experience, the lower level warm-up rings tend to be much, much scarier than upper division rings.

    I'd kind of side with the people suggesting you gain more experience and miles in the saddle and wait until you can show pre-children's, bearing in mind you should be confident jumping much higher than that at home before you show.

    Another option (if it's available to you) is to show at a lower level dressage show. At least then you have a fixed ride time and get feedback, regardless of how you place, so it's less of a time investment and more of a learning experience. You could also ask your trainer if you could just go and school in one of the warm-ups, not show (if that's permissible), to get used to the environment, until you were ready for a division you'd prefer.

    Showing is very expensive, so unless your parents have an unlimited budget, if you're not very enthusiastic, I wouldn't "force" myself to do it.

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  • ParadoxFarm
    Heck, I'm three times as old as you and I have done w/t classes more than once. (I've also shown 3'9" classes.) But if I'm on a new horse or I just haven't shown in a while and need a low-stress show, I'm not ashamed to do it, if it's allowed. I've often been tempted to put ribbons in my hair for fun. You can't take this stuff too seriously. Enjoy the ride.

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  • rockonxox
    What are you working on in your lessons? Has your trainer explained why she things w/t is the appropriate division? As someone else said... perhaps it is because there aren't any horses available to do the higher levels with you. I don't think there is anything wrong with doing w/t and they can be useful for many reasons... hell, I showed a w/t crossrail class a few years ago because the mare I was riding was a special sort and I didn't trust her over anything more than that. It was a ton of fun and we won (no ribbons super small event), but I was just happy that she had a great attitude about it and was so proud of us. If you are going to go into a w/t division with a sour grapes attitude just save your money because it will not end up being worth it. If you take it as an opportunity to see how you do and re-expose yourself to the show atmosphere then it will be worth it.

    Leave a comment:

  • Equestrian1992
    Originally posted by RAyers View Post
    Wow, that comes off as a rather entitled princess. If you were my student, I would probably set you down immediately. You should be damn happy that you are riding, period. We are lucky that we get to ride at all. The fact these animals let us ride them is a testament to their trust in us.

    I am insanely proud of my students who do walk trot and learn to function in the horse show environment. That is why I take them there before they move up.

    Hell, I used to compete FEI against some of the best in the world at the time. And I am excited to go beginner next month.

    So, suck it up and appreciate the fact you are damn lucky you get to do this at all.
    This. I was re starting as a 23 year old and rode against a 10 year old once. Who gives a shit. You should be grateful you get to rode at all and take lessons. It's extremely hard to afford for some people, aka like me, and it's insulting to hear stuff like this.

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  • mypaintwattie
    I've been riding for a long time, with breaks here and there for school, having babies, and lame horses. I've never been embarrassed stepping down and doing WT, because at the time that's what I have been capable of doing. Yes, I've been beaten by 7 year olds on fancy lesson ponies, but I show because it's fun, not for ribbons. They are just an added bonus. If that's where your trainer wants you then do it, or wait, the choice is yours.

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  • hurryupharry
    skrgirl begginer walk trot.

    Leave a comment:

  • hurryupharry

    By biweekly, I mean two lessons a week. I usually do one private on Monday, and one group on Friday. Some weeks I do 2 group lessons instead.

    And the horse I'd be riding at the show is a lesson horse.

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  • skrgirl
    Are you talking beginner walk trot division or Pleasure horse walk trot? There is a difference between the two. In my area, the Pleasure Horse division is quite competitive.

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  • Toblersmom
    Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
    Nothing wrong with waiting, nothing wrong with showing.
    This. It might be a very valuable "shakedown cruise" experience for you, assuming you can afford it (both time and money-wise). Might get a ribbon, might get nothing but a funny egg-on-your-face story, but you are going to learn some important things about how you need to manage your time and resources for a show, make a literal or mental list about things you need to do next time to have a better experience, without a lot of pressure. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with waiting until your trainer gives the go-ahead for you to show in a "real" class where the round is cantered (keeping in mind as others have said, you want to be showing *at least* one "level" below what you are schooling if you are looking to be competitive, depending on where you are that may be a while). If there are others going from your barn, you can ask if you can go along as a spectator/gofer and learn many of the same things you'd learn if you were showing.

    I'm gunning for my first show outing at the end of this month, an eventing derby thingie (dressage test, jumping round on the crosscountry course with more or less cross country elements vs. crossrails depending on level). We're doing the "Big Kid", where you can elect to walk, trot, or canter the jumps, and the dressage test is USDF Intro B. I figure if we are having a good day I might canter a bit, do an add-a-test ride of Intro C (which includes canter). If things are going to pieces we can walk over the darn things like a western trail class. My goal for this year is to be able to canter the course by the end of the 5-show series in September and take the "baby step" option for the water.

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  • findeight
    By saying biweekly lessons do you mean twice a week, 8 lessons a month or every other week? I think a little confusion there from some of the replies.

    Is this a school horse you pay by the ride for?

    You need to consider if the goal of jumping in a show is realistic at this particular point in time or not. Part of deciding what lesson rider shows what school horse is very dependent on the availability of school horses for a particular show. Each schoolie can only cart so many riders around in 2 or 3 classes per rider so there a limit on how many riders can use them. It's possible there's no horse available for you in anything but WT,

    Personally,, Id go show WT if that's what's offered to you. Enjoy it for what it is. You can establish your reputation with your trainer, show your dedication and willingness. That will move you up on her list. Just don't take it personally and remember most lesson barns don't even have school horses that jump in shows unless they are leased. So you need to prove yourself in both ability and attitude to earn the opportunity in the future.

    No real friend would care here either.

    One other thing here, don't assume you are "too good" to go in. Horses have a nasty way of humbling us all. Know a young Pro, rather full of herself ( 3'6' and Big Eq,background) who felt embarrassed about her advanced experience level when taking Green 4 year old colt in its very first show jumping experience in an Open WT cross rails class largely filled with older, lower level Pros and nonPro riders on young horses. Colt was doing very well at home, had done a few flat classes at shows, was ready, Rider blew off any concerns, felt much above the rest.

    Horse in an adjacent schooling ring knocked a fence over, lost the rider and whoopied around the ring. Colt looked up as it trotted over x rail, stepping on top of it, got scared, tangled it's feet with the pole and managed to flip over forward in the worlds lowest and slowest rotational fall ending on top of the rider getting her a ride out of the ring on a gurney and off the grounds in an ambulance. Rider had much time to reflect on attitude until the cast came off.

    Be careful about attitude.
    Last edited by findeight; Feb. 5, 2019, 11:23 AM.

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  • Pennywell Bay
    Nothing wrong with waiting, nothing wrong with showing.

    It would be nice if your instructor had talked to you or your parents about WHY this was the class choice. It is hard for it to be on the shoulders of a kid- but take it as a good lesson- ask.

    "Hi Instructor: I look forward to getting to show. I was hoping to do a more advanced class. Anything I should be working on to be able to do more than ground poles/crossrails/wt [insert whatever here]. I was thinking of waiting until I can do something a little more advanced." along those lines.

    Now- here is my dirty secret: after falling off 2ce in the last 4 months on a new-to-me mare- "I" (47 year old life time rider and show person) am going to schooling show (a tiny one). I am doing the ground poles and praying I don't get spun off (real possibility apparently). We are doing it for the experience of getting the mare off the property with ammy me (she's used to going with a pro but MAN SHE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE).

    If I manage to stay/cling on- I fully expect to get the breeches beaten off of me by kids. (oh- and my 11 year old is doing the 2'6- so yeah- she's outriding her mother ).

    Last year I wouldn't have dreamed I'd be doing ground poles- I had done the 2'9 in KY. My other mare has an injury and is on rest and my new mare is not as easy as we thought with me over fences. So ground poles it is. (I am also going trainerless so... I can handle ground poles- right????). Now I am kind of embracing the wimp factor. Everyone who will be at the show knows that I have struggled the last 4 months adjusting to a different ride. (my 2 falls have been kind of spectacular- one into a giant puddle after a jump and one she spun away and I fell- slow motion with an "AHHHHHH" as I fell. Good times)

    Life changes.

    Talk to your trainer, or minimal ask your parents if they were given any insight. I'd guess that the trainer would at least speak to your parents about you showing?

    Leave a comment:

  • 2DogsFarm
    Originally posted by hurryupharry View Post
    I was just expecting to be in higher level classes, and it was a bit disappointing to learn that my instructor is recommending beginner classes (which I honestly shouldn't be surprised by, based on the fact that I haven't shown in 2 years and have been back on for only 4 months). There are always other shows, though
    BOLD is mine

    Now there's the right attitude!
    Glad to see you have given it some thought & come to a conclusion as to why trainer suggested the Novice level classes,
    I bet if you had asked why, you would have gotten the answer & not needed to post here.
    OTOH, by posting you got the benefit of the hive knowledge of a lot of BTDT riders.

    Leave a comment:

  • technicolorpoetry
    There's nothing inherently wrong with showing W/T if that's what your trainer recommends, but you're the only one who can ultimately decide if it's "worth it" for you to do it. If your friends are anything like the teenagers I know, they're not likely to be impressed by a few scraps of colored ribbon unless they really understand horses/riding/showing. If you just want to jump back in and get your feet wet showing, then go for it. It could be really illustrative to show W/T now and see how far you get in a year's time, or even by the end of the 2019 show season. There's always another show and your skills will improve so long as you keep at it consistently. I just wouldn't expect to gain any sort of clout with non-horsey friends by flashing horse show ribbons, whether they be won in the W/T or Pre-Children's.

    Leave a comment:

  • bornfreenowexpensive
    Totally up to you. But I would recommend to save your money and set a goal to get better and show when you are ready for a higher class. As you know....your friends will not care about any ribbons you earn regardless of the level anyway!!

    Leave a comment:

  • atl_hunter
    Originally posted by hurryupharry View Post

    I have the opportunity to participate in a local schooling show in April, but from the way my instructor is talking, I'll probably be in walk/trot h/j classes. That would mean lower level classes than I was in at ages 6-13.
    Is being a 16 year old in begginer w/t classes even worth the bother? Or should I just wait until I can enter classes I can be proud to be in (like cantering fences at the LEAST, I mean cmon )? Have any of you ever been embarrassed to enter certain classes?
    I know a lot of people have chastised you over this post, but honestly, when I saw it I found it refreshing to see someone who didn't want to sandbag or take a step backward. The world needs more people who want to excel and move forward, so pat yourself on the back for being determined to success.

    There is nothing wrong with telling your trainer that you would prefer to make your show debut in a w/t/c class and have a conversation about why she doesn't think you are ready for it now. It would help both of you get aligned as it will help your trainer better understand your goals and will also help keep you both focused on achieving those goals.

    There is nothing wrong with w/t classes and they benefit a lot of horses and riders as well stated in the posts above. However, I don't think the "flip the number" situations are comparable to yours, where you are truly looking to advance and get the feedback as to how you placed. But showing isn't cheap and if I was doing a cost/benefit analysis based on what you wrote, I would suggest taking the money you would have spent on the show and put it into more lessons back at the farm so you are prepared for the class you want to show in the next show down the road. Shows aren't cheap so it's important that you are happy with the plan.

    I totally get what you mean about being embarrassed. I once told a trainer that I wasn't going to pay $1800 to go show short/long stirrup at an AA show and beat a bunch of little kids and that I would just stay home. I just didn't think that was right or fair. Immediately after this conversation we started schooling 2'6" and just one week later I ended up third out of 19 my first time out. My trainer just needed a little pressure. Eventually, I realized my trainer didn't believe in me or my horse, so we moved barns and under the new trainer we tri-colored almost every weekend that we showed thereafter. Not that it is all about the ribbons, but it is about having successful trips and advancing in the sport. If you don't feel like you are advancing, that is a whole different discussion...

    Good luck with whatever your decide to do, and keep your chin up!

    Leave a comment:

  • oppsfelldown
    OK seriously here - I would ride my green horse in the w/t and the small xrails and flip my number. We (the old ladies in the xrail and 2' classes) used to joke that we would count the # of kids with bows in their hair and we would place after that.

    w/t and trot-a-pole classes are there for a reason, to get horses ready for courses and real jumps and to get riders ready for courses and real jumps (and to keep riders that have nerves from horking on their trainers).

    Go to the show, ride the w/t classes and have fun. If you perform like a seasoned rider then your trainer will move you up. If you truly do not want to show until you are jumping consistently at a higher high like jr/am or mods then volunteer to act as show groom/slave and help your trainer with all the other beginner riders.

    Dont forget that the first show of the season sets the pace for the remainder of the year.

    Leave a comment: