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Are walk/trot classes even worth it?

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    Are walk/trot classes even worth it?

    I've been taking two lessons a week for a year, and was interrupted by an injury which resulted in a little over 2 months without riding. I've been riding consistently for 4 months now since my fall and have caught back up.

    BEFORE this past year of consistent lessons, I took weekly lessons for 6 years, then quit for 2 years.

    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?

    The only motivation I have to attend this show atm is the fact that my non-horsey friends will see my ribbons and think they're for something more impressive than a w/t h/j class
    Last edited by hurryupharry; Feb. 5, 2019, 11:49 AM.
    "lets name every black horse flika"

    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.


      Don't bother. Wait until you have some more experience under your belt.

      Most of the other kids in the class will be up-downers and you'll look like you're cherry picking an easy ribbon.


        You've taken breaks from riding. Trust your instructor to know your current skill level and capabilities. It is extremely common to show at an easier level than you ride at home since you need to cope with additional nerves, atmosphere, etc.

        Having ribbons to show off to your friends isn't a good reason to show. No, it is not embarrassing to show in w/t at 16. I'd much rather see a rider of any age in a class where they are comfortable than a class where they struggle and don't feel successful. While there are certainly shows where the w/t trot class will only be for young children, I'd trust your instructor with regards to whether it's ok to show in that division at your age. There are plenty of schooling shows that have w/t under 12, w/t 12-18, and w/t adult divisions. It just depends how popular that class is in your local area.

        If you talk with your trainer and she thinks this won't be a good fit, by all means stay home for now. Just don't pressure her to put you in a higher class now.

        If you are honestly interested in improving your riding, and in showing, then take this opportunity to work on your shows ring skills. If you have a good attitude and work hard in your lessons, I'm sure there will be opportunities for you to show in more advanced classes at some point in your future.


          Yeah, I'm an adult who quit riding in college and grad school when my parents quit paying for it. Picked it back up, got hurt really badly. Finally found the right trainer 4 years ago (7 years after my accident). And you know what I did my first few shows back (after probably a year of regular lessons and 4 months of leasing)? Walk/trot and poles on the ground with a saintly horse who eventually took me to doing 18" jumps 5 months after that.

          I wasn't embarrassed at all. I was nervous to show and what I was in was 100% appropriate. I have now moved on, but I do not look down on anyone for where they are in their show career. We were all there one day - who cares what your friends think.


            Your friends are non-horsey, so they don't have a clue anyway. Why not invite them to come to the show and enjoy having them with you that day? They'll be impressed to see you up on the horse in your boots and breeches and helmet -- impressed in a good way, because they're your friends and they care about you and they're getting to share something you love with you.

            If you have acquaintances who will only be impressed by the color of a ribbon, then they're not friends, so why should you care what they think? If all they care about is your ribbons, they're the losers.

            And for that matter, you might not win any ribbons at all, so your question could be moot.
            Rack on!


              Originally posted by hurryupharry View Post

              The only motivation I have to attend this show atm is the fact that my non-horsey friends will see my ribbons and think they're for something more impressive than a w/t h/j class
              Do you realize just how not-funny that statement is?
              Rack on!


                You need to rethink why you want to show.
                Ribbons are not - nor should they be - the sole reason for showing.

                I have ridden & shown Hunters, Dressage & Evented for over 30 years.
                2 years ago I showed my newest horse in two Walk/Trot Dressage tests.
                Not because I did not have the skill to canter, but because he is a very green horse, at his very first show, and off my property for the first time in 2 years.

                I did not want him over faced & I have to think your trainer is doing the same for you.

                We did win one class & placed 3rd in the other.
                I found out when I went to review my tests to see Judge's comments.
                For me, winning was nowhere near as important as having my horse able to complete both tests when his previous experience had nothing like them.
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                  Sounds like you need to have a discussion with your trainer. There are a lot of really good reasons to participate in a walk trot class, even if you think it is "beneath you". Gaining experience in the ring, learning showmanship (and it sounds like maybe some sportsmanship in your case) are both valuable experiences. You'll be much more prepared when the time comes to move up to wtc or something beyond. Who knows, those lowly walk trot kids may just beat the pants off you.


                    OP, it is very common in many disciplines for riders to show at a level below the level they are schooling. Until you are in a show environment, you don't really know with certainty how it will affect you. I know riders who say they have no show nerves, but their horses say otherwise.

                    I would not wait to show until you feel you are at a "respectable" level - as you know, things can happen that derail progress so if your trainer thinks you are ready, go ahead and start your show career. Work hard to prepare for the show then go and do your best. At the show, put your horse first, be as helpful as you can, support your barnmates, and let your sportsmanship shine. If you sweep the W/T classes, you will show your trainer you may be ready for more next time out.

                    Rackonteur, OP would not be the first person to try to impress the unknowing with an array of ribbons or a championship won in an 18" division with three entries. I've known adults who played off similar accomplishments of their offspring like Olympic medals had been won. At least OP used a laughing emoji - most of the over the top show moms are dead serious.


                      Originally posted by Bristol Bay View Post
                      Don't bother. Wait until you have some more experience under your belt.

                      Most of the other kids in the class will be up-downers and you'll look like you're cherry picking an easy ribbon.

                      I do think this is a valid concern. If it's just a schooling show perhaps there will be a W/T class seperate from the usual children's class. Sometimes there is an open or adult walk/trot class. Or you can do whatever W/T class is available and flip your number so you don't get scored.


                        Original Poster

                        After rereading my post, I do realize that I could have worded it a LOT better. It does make it sound as if I am a snob and only considering the show for attention/praise.
                        & I didn't mean to downplay w/t classes at all, and am sorry if it came across that way!

                        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 suprised 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

                        It it very encouraging to hear other people saying that they don't mind entering begginer classes & look forward to them!

                        Thank yall for your replies!
                        (and I will DEFINITELY reread any future posts before posting them)
                        "lets name every black horse flika"


                          There are valid reasons to show walk trot, for a rider to get used to showing or an experienced rider to introduce a green horse to the show ring.

                          There are valid reasons for the coach to maximize the number of students going to a given show (day fees, horse rental).

                          There are valid reasons to postpone showing until you are quite advanced.

                          Whatever you do in horses you need to suck up your ego and face your actual abilities. Honestly weekly lessons for six years is not much time in the saddle. At maximum 50 hours a year or 300 hours total. What's that ballpark number to master a skill, 10,000 hours? Yeah, you are still a beginner for sure.

                          My personal preference is to put the money that showing would cost into more saddle time. I've been back in the saddle ten years and only this past winter have I felt I have the competency and access to the right horse to even consider competing.

                          On the other hand, in my teens I took my little all around horse to every local playday schooling show all summer and entered just about every class without great hopes. It was a social thing and I still have a drawer of 3rd and 4th ribbons to show we did better than I remember

                          So it depends on how you feel.


                            Not sure what your status is with your instructor Are they the one you rode with when you were younger or are they new?

                            If they are new to you they may need to"feel you out" in a stress situation like a schooling (?) show.

                            The person you need to be asking is your trainer / instructor. The WT may be the requirement for all their students first shows. It gives them a chance to make sure your ringsmanship is to their expectations.

                            If anything perhaps you can approach them in a mature fashion and find out their thinking. Perhaps a compromise? the WT division and one flat WTC class to prove your ability

                            I know when I was a kid riding 1x week I was not all that. As stated above that is not enough saddle time to instill reflexive riding let alone showmanship and ring savvy.

                            I would nod my head sweetly and look at this opportunity as a chance to learn something and perhaps prove a stepping stone to a perceived better thing.

                            Is the horse you are riding yours or a schoolie? remember too, the trainer may need to balance that work load and perhaps , at this point, the WT is best suited for the situation.

                            You have been given an opportunity, grab it and learn from it. If you prove yourself, you should find yourself brought forward.

                            -- * > hoopoe
                            Procrastinate NOW
                            Introverted Since 1957


                              Just remember you may not even ribbon! Just because you jumped in the past, doesn't mean you'll go into this walk/trot class and have better eq than the other riders!!!
                              Breast cancer survivor!


                                You're coming back from what sounds like a bad fall. You're taking a lesson every other week on what I assume is a new horse? Slow your roll and enter the Walk/Trot. Your trainer wants you to go, come home in one piece with a ribbon, and have a good experience in the process. There's plenty of show season left to ramp up if the Walk/Trot goes well. Judges (and everyone else, really) are going to be much less forgiving of your riding now than they were when you did w/t/c and hunter o/f as a 6-13 year old. And the canter is usually when bad stuff happens. I watched a pony bolt and then flip over the arena fence during the group canter in the Hack at a show this past summer. Blind panic, mind lost, unresponsive to aids, full out run type of bolt that very few people could successfully ride through. They had the rest of the competitors pull up hoping to avoid a crash and/or the runaway panicking the other horses and making them run. No matter how confident and secure you feel in the canter at home, the show is a very different environment. You might be in a class with 15 others. You'll feel nervous. Your horse will feel excited or nervous. It's impossible to predict the behavior of the horses around you. Do you feel confident that you can steer and stop your own horse in a large group canter if another horse and rider have an emergency? If you and your horse have an emergency?


                                  If you've shown at a higher level in the past you may not even be eligible for WT. Something to consider.


                                    I think you should go if you think it will be fun.
                                    I think you should not go if you don't think it will be fun.

                                    W/T classes are good for gaining experience, for horse or for rider, in a very safe way. If you're someone who might get nervous at the show, or if you have a horse that might get tense cantering with other strange horses, W/T can be a good way to have a comfortable, happy, safe experience. You also get to practice (potentially) some aspect of the grooming, the hauling, the clothes, etc. Your age is irrelevant. People of all ages start out in W/T and people of all ages start out at higher levels. No one will remember but you.

                                    If it's going to be a stretch financially then maybe not. If your barn friends will be there and you will all be cheering for each other then maybe so. If you have to buy clothes then that's another thing to consider.

                                    Enjoy the day, whether you spend it riding, spectating, or cozy at home.
                                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                                      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.


                                        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!