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How far can I go in showjumping?

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  • #41
    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

    The OP has only been riding 3 years. It is possible he is one of the fit athletic men with a talent for speed and risk, and will fast track in the jumpers with the right coaching. But fast track as a *rider.*

    None of these athletic attributes necessarily mean he will fast track as a trainer or as an all around horseman.

    Thats why I'm saying that if he wants to really focus on the jumping he needs to do so as a rider, picking up of course the training skills and horsemanship as he progresses.

    Do I think some young men could make it to the big jumps much faster than seems fair to the rest of us? Yes.

    Do I think that same young man could also do a great job of starting a green OTTB over fences after 3 years of lessons? No, I do not.

    .
    I agree with all except the last paragraph. Granted, I think my husband won the lottery with his OTTB, and he has had the benefit of someone working with him along the way, but most of the actual rides over fences has been put on his horse by him. He has been really riding for less then 2 years, and only riding more then once or twice a week for the past 6 mths.

    Definitely the benefit of being an athletic and brave man. I will say that he tries really hard to be the best horseman he can, and devotes quite a bit of time to auditing, learning, reading, watching videos and listening to podcasts, to 'catch up' with those who have been doing it longer.

    If you have the desire and ambition, its possible.

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by findeight View Post
      Far as OPs question about how to move from Amateur to Pro? It doesn’t work that way, there are no divisions specifically restricted to Pros only or height ranges that make a rider a Pro. If you get paid to ride or teach, you are a Pro, up downers over poles to GP. You see mainly Pros once you get up around the 4’9” on up Jumping classes simply because it takes a full time rider to reach that level of accomplishment and skill. Most full time riders support themselves with Pro activities.
      My ex husband always went on and on about how dangerous riding was; opinion based solely on the adventures of one of his friends 25 years ago. This woman had crash after crash. I finally pointed out that the frequency of accidents probably had everything to do with this woman being a weekend only rider attempting to go Prelim.

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by AMWookey View Post

        I agree with all except the last paragraph. Granted, I think my husband won the lottery with his OTTB, and he has had the benefit of someone working with him along the way, but most of the actual rides over fences has been put on his horse by him. He has been really riding for less then 2 years, and only riding more then once or twice a week for the past 6 mths.

        Definitely the benefit of being an athletic and brave man. I will say that he tries really hard to be the best horseman he can, and devotes quite a bit of time to auditing, learning, reading, watching videos and listening to podcasts, to 'catch up' with those who have been doing it longer.

        If you have the desire and ambition, its possible.
        Thats really impressive!

        Comment


        • #44
          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

          So if OP wants to go big, he needs to ride made horses for the first ten years. He needs to learn everything he can at his entry level barn. Then he needs to figure out the coaches in his area that go higher. And he will need his own horse or lease because there are no 3 foot 6 lesson horses.

          At least around here, the Grand Prix trainers and riders are invisible until they come out of hiding for TBird or Spruce Meadows. The big rated shows tend to top out at 3 feet, and the barns taking loads of kids to these shows don't go much above 2 foot 9. Two different worlds.
          I wonder if this isn't regional, though? It's not uncommon in my area (Zone 1) to find 1.30 meter classes and many schooling shows have a respectable turnout in the 3'+ classes. Then again, when I go to the grocery store arpund 5pm on a weekday, I always see a couple people in riding clothes who I can't place but look awfully familiar ;0

          Comment


          • #45
            Originally posted by Wanderosa View Post

            I wonder if this isn't regional, though? It's not uncommon in my area (Zone 1) to find 1.30 meter classes and many schooling shows have a respectable turnout in the 3'+ classes. Then again, when I go to the grocery store arpund 5pm on a weekday, I always see a couple people in riding clothes who I can't place but look awfully familiar ;0
            Yeah, its definitely regional, and yes, if OP is in an area where average folks are jumping higher that will make it easier to progress. But I would think he'd still need to move trainers as he goes up the ranks.

            Comment


            • #46
              I think really pinning down WHY you want this particular goal is important. It may make you realise that you want to modify or completely change your goal. Or that this goal is very important to you and you want to give it your all.

              I have a few friends who compete at +1.40m and having watched them develop, they have a few things in common (other than time, money & luck (and everyone needs luck for anything horse related!))

              Very strong work ethic/grit/drive
              They push themselves every ride – even if they’ve had a long & stressful day at work. Even if they are “just hacking” they are aware of their horse and making sure the maximum benefit is being achieved. They push themselves off the horse too – fitness/at work etc.
              They are constantly learning – not just riding but horsemanship. I think this is really key if you don’t have gobs of money – the better you keep your horses & the quicker you pick up minor problems before they become major, the more likely you are to have healthy, happy, high performing horses.
              While some of them do have a lot more resources than I’ll ever have they still have to work very hard to jump those bigger tracks. One runs her own business & still trailers her horse 2hrs to lesson with her preferred trainer.

              Ability to put setbacks behind them
              They make mistakes, they have falls but get back on and keep going. If you are pushing yourself you won’t be perfect, you will get it wrong. Being able to learn & move past that is crucial.

              A certain ruthlessness about achieving their goals
              Have a perfectly nice horse that’s topping out at 1.15m? Sell it. Have a decent horse that can’t quite stay sound even with good vet help? Get it off the payroll – retire/give away etc. Love working with a particular trainer who is also a family friend but the progress is plateauing? Find the next trainer. Choice between a non-horse holiday and a clinic? Probably the clinic

              The right support network
              Being surrounded by positive, successful people. Being surrounded by truly knowledgeable people to learn from. Having the right vet, physio, farrier etc to keep your horse/s at their best.

              I try to take these lessons and apply them to myself. I don’t have the talent or the drive to compete at the high levels, but I want to push myself. I started in an environment where 3’ was seen as quite a big fence and successful people were constantly run down (“well she’s only jumping in the big classes because she’s got a rich husband” etc). I wish I’d left that behind a lot earlier than I did! My friends who jump the bigger fences are really good role models for what it takes to succeed and they don’t look down on my smaller ambitions. My friends who jump more my height are the same.

              Good luck whatever you decide to do!

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by Feliz View Post
                I think really pinning down WHY you want this particular goal is important. It may make you realise that you want to modify or completely change your goal. Or that this goal is very important to you and you want to give it your all.

                ....

                The right support network
                Being surrounded by positive, successful people. Being surrounded by truly knowledgeable people to learn from. Having the right vet, physio, farrier etc to keep your horse/s at their best.

                I try to take these lessons and apply them to myself. I don’t have the talent or the drive to compete at the high levels, but I want to push myself. I started in an environment where 3’ was seen as quite a big fence and successful people were constantly run down (“well she’s only jumping in the big classes because she’s got a rich husband” etc). I wish I’d left that behind a lot earlier than I did! My friends who jump the bigger fences are really good role models for what it takes to succeed and they don’t look down on my smaller ambitions. My friends who jump more my height are the same.

                Good luck whatever you decide to do!
                This is such good advice and rings so true for me. My desire for my riding to improve increased tenfold when I surrounded myself with some amazing AA who didn't care if the success you were celebrating was finally getting your horse in the scary end of the ring or making it around a 1.1m class. They understood the dedication and believed in you. My riding actually did improve when I found coaches who believed in me more then I believed in myself.

                I know for a fact that i may never make it over 1.0m. Or event higher then training. For me, that is ok, I have goals but I have them with my mare. When she has reached her happy and successful level, we will stay there, and I will bring along other young horses, or I won't. I could never be the person who sold a horse on in pursuit of goals, not with my current mare. So we will just keep improving, training and developing until we max out.

                Comment


                • #48
                  And as always whatever the discipline. You are only as good as your horse!
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by MustangTwist View Post

                    "Hey guys the exercise was a little easy so I decided to level up"
                    No, the exercise was a little hard, so he decided not to do it.
                    *****
                    You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by Midge View Post

                      No, the exercise was a little hard, so he decided not to do it.
                      He did do it 5 other times. Only once did he not do the exercise as intended.

                      Em
                      "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

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Well if I could come into oodles of cash, I would just want to improve my skills to the highest level possible. I have been told I have good balance but I never really learned all the stuff that one learns as a junior with a well respected coach. My highest goal would probably be to show at Thermal and have respectable rounds. I would be very happy with that. Good luck OP may you reach your goals (or at least have a lot of fun trying)!

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post

                          He did do it 5 other times. Only once did he not do the exercise as intended.

                          Em
                          He was just channelling his inner otter and experimenting. Maybe you kept putting him through it because there was another way he was supposed to figure out. Who knows why humans do what they do.
                          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

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by poltroon View Post

                            He was just channelling his inner otter and experimenting. Maybe you kept putting him through it because there was another way he was supposed to figure out. Who knows why humans do what they do.
                            That's what I was thinking, too! It seems unfair to suggest he made some willful decision to do it wrong. With my border collie, if you keep giving her the same cue over and over (or an unclear cue), she will start offering new behaviors to see what will satisfy you. I don't see why a horse might not follow the same reasoning.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post

                              He did do it 5 other times. Only once did he not do the exercise as intended.

                              Em
                              Oh, I'm sorry. I wasn't saying he couldn't, since he obviously could. But the exercise is harder than the oxer. I had one do this too, although only the trot rail and the first element. It's harder to wait to the base and jump off his hocks and stay shortened to make the steps fit. It's easier just to get it all done in one fell swoop!
                              *****
                              You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post

                                He did do it 5 other times. Only once did he not do the exercise as intended.

                                Em
                                And got you an amazing picture and video of an International level rider showing us how to ride a leave out and correct the problem on the remainder of the exercise with no drama. Remarkable.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #56
                                  I’m back after thoroughly reading through this thread a few times!

                                  First off, I want to thank you all for the amazing answers each of you provided. Seriously, you gave me some great insight and advice and got me thinking about equestrianism in a new light. I will also touch base with the few individuals some of you have told me about that are part of this forum.

                                  Now I’ll do my best to answer as many of your questions to give you a better perspective as to where I am in life and how it relates to what I want to accomplish with horseback riding.

                                  In terms of finances, while I’m not exactly rolling in money right now, I’m in the process of taking over my dad’s businesses which bring in a few million a year whilst running my own small real estate business on the side. The more time goes by, the less money will be an issue. I’m just focusing a lot of it right now on investments and building up my own real estate business.

                                  I know I have what it takes physically/athletically. I’ve been in sports since I was a child, I’ve played tennis, football, soccer, MMA, snowboarding, rock climbing, I rode motorcycles for a long time. I’m weightlifting four days a week, I do about 10-20 miles of cardio a week, I ride twice a week (not enough, I know).

                                  Ambition, motivation, disciple, drive are things I probably have too much of. There’s A LOT I want to do in life, most things as far as I can take them.

                                  As I said in my original post, I've been riding for three years, mostly in dressage and I've done a number of shows. I split my lessons between dressage and jumping but ideally I'd like to just jump. I've rode a few dozen different horses and I'm around horses several hours a week.

                                  I’m currently single with no plans on getting married/having kids, although that might change in the future, who knows. I’ve spent the entirety of my 20’s focused on my career (medicine for several years and then switching to business/finance). I just want to spend the next several years focused on my hobbies/passions as they bring me tremendous joy.

                                  Riding is one of them and it’s something I want to take as far as I can go. I absolutely need to spend more time around horses in general as many of you have alluded to. Horse behavior, quirks, forming relationships with horses are all things I need to have more experience with. And I need to get thrown off more my as my instructor always tells me (or ride crazier horses).

                                  My current instructor and her horses can take me to at least 4’ jumps, possibly farther. I do know Will Simpson who won a gold medal in showjumping in the Olympics so I can connect with him in the future.

                                  With regards to why I want to do this…that’s hard to answer. There are just certain things in my life I want to become masterful at and compete at a high level. Riding is incredible and horses have changed by life but the idea of becoming world class in showjumping is what drives me to keep going. Why showjumping? It’s incredibly fun and cerebral, the adrenaline rush is amazing, I love the beauty of it all (the arenas, the clothing, etc.) and of course the horses are stunning and majestic.

                                  Perhaps all this will change down the line, who knows. As I said above, I have many goals I want to achieve and am working on and I’m not taking into consideration that thing called LIFE where you get thrown a curve ball and have to suddenly adjust everything. All I know is that my goals (many of which are linked to my hobbies/passions) give tremendous meaning and purpose to my life and the pursuit of excellence at the highest level is what I’m after in many of them. To just take part in them halfheartedly isn’t enough for me.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    You've gotten a lot of great advice.

                                    You need to ride WAY more than twice a week to even get in the 3'6 ring, much less touch your goals. This is not a sport you can do successfully at that level while enjoying other hobbies and pastimes. This is one that takes your full focus. You need to be on at least once horse a day 5-6 days a week, preferably more horses. You need to spend some time learning horsemanship and horses. Even if you have full training and grooms, there's still basic equine knowledge you need to be a successful upper level rider.

                                    Falling off a lot isn't indicative of ability or experience, and I'd be a bit doubtful of any instructor who says that. Falls happen, but a properly mounted rider at the proper level should not come off frequently. Riding crazier horses helps no one. If you're wanting to learn the sport at this point in your life, you should be sitting on well-schooled horses. There's time for riding green or problem horses later when you're far more experienced.

                                    This sport, particularly in America, is unique in the pro/am distinction. The pro/am distinction is not based on skill or money won as it is in other sports and countries. It's based on whether you earn your living riding and teaching. Thus, a college-kid teaching walk-trot lessons is a professional while a rider who has a string of 6 horses in the 1.50+ jumpers competing in WC qualifiers can be an amateur as long as their income isn't from specifically riding or teaching (you can even be an amateur and earn your living buying and selling horses as long as they are your own).

                                    I must also mention that the level of competition doesn't indicate how much heart you have in the sport. There are plenty of riders who have the talent and passion and commitment that leads them to approach this sport incredibly seriously and yet they don't have the budget for the horseflesh, coaching, and competitions required for the top level of competition.

                                    The major conversation for many of us in the sport right now is how the ability to compete at the highest levels in this country is directly tied to one's budget. One can wholeheartedly pursue this sport in satisfying ways and not step foot in the Longines arena. Not that there's anything wrong with doing that, but that goal is one that will need to be pursued with laser focus, commitment, and a very sizable budget. The horseflesh alone is going to be upper six to low seven figures. Most of us have to come to terms with the limitations of our level of participation in the sport being not being an indicator of our skill, commitment or passion. If you are lucky enough to have the skill, commitment, passion AND finances to go for it, then by all means do, but you're not necessarily halfhearted if you never make it to the Longines.
                                    Jennifer Baas
                                    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by Mac123 View Post
                                      The horseflesh alone is going to be upper six to low seven figures.
                                      Agree w/ everything you said Mac.

                                      It seems like OP will be in a comfortable financial position, but I will also add for clarity's sake that while the horse may be the biggest upfront cost, OP will also need to pay a significant amount for for the horse every month. This includes boarding, training, maintenance, feed/supplements, vet costs, insurance, shoes, etc. This stuff adds up fast, and there are almost always unexpected expenses. Then there is the cost of tack, attire, horse shows (transportation, stabling, coaching, class fees, hotels, etc.), and so on. There are lots of "hidden" expenses many people aren't aware of when transitioning from lesson horses to horse ownership.

                                      OP, it may be useful to draw out a rough budget of what you can afford to spend each month (with a buffer for emergencies) based on local costs in your area. If you're not "rolling in money" yet, perhaps you can start off with a half lease of a horse that is competitive at the 3'6 level and work your way up from there.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #59
                                        Thank you Mac & Mustang!

                                        I didn't mean to infer that not being pro means you lack heart/passion for the sport. Just for me personally, there's certain things that if I don't engage in them on a high level, I feel like I'm not committed to them wholeheartedly and that I'm capable of more, so why not go as far as I can. Anything less feels like settling.

                                        I definitely need to ride more and just be around horses more, I'm working on that. I can currently lease a great horse for jumping, the only issue is that my career is occupying a tremendous amount of my time and until certain things fall into place, that is my priority as that is what will fund my riding and the rest of my life for that matter.

                                        With respect to falling off, what my instructor is referring to is that I've only fallen off maybe a few times sine I started riding and haven't had much experience with a bucking horse.

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          OP, have you had a sit down with your trainer to make a plan? If not, I would definitely recommend that, they can help you map out your goals and timetables, look for extra riding opportunities, keep an eye out for appropriate horses for the next stages, etc . . . . And be sure you set interim goals, don't just focus on the end of the road and getting to the top levels. If you have a plan to get to the child/adult ring, the low jr/am, the high jr/am, etc . . . it will give you a better roadmap, and will help you and your trainer assess what's a realistic end goal. And, honestly, if you are only riding 2 times a week, progress is going to be slow and you won't make it as far as you want to go. Your first step on the road up the levels needs to be significantly increase that saddle time, and if you can find extra horses to ride, that helps too. Good luck! It will definitely help you that you are trying to think through all of this on the front end and understand what it takes.

                                          Edited to add - Realistically, careers often get in the way of going as far as you can. At some point you have to decide that is or isn't ok, or accept it if that's the only means of funding it. It is really hard to have it all, unfortunately, you just have to decide what compromises are the acceptable ones.

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