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Perception question: Lowest height for a pro to compete in Jumpers?

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  • #21
    One of the unrated show circuits I have attended solves (sort of) that problem by reversing the schedule on successive days. On Saturday, jumping starts with crossrails and works up to (4'? 4'6"?). On Sunday, they start with the (4'? 4'6"?) and work their way down to crossrails.

    I'm pretty sure they do it that way to save labor, but it has the benefit of not making the same people wait around all day for their classes on both days.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson

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    • #22
      One thing that has happened over the past 40 years, is that kids are more likely to start riding only in lessons, and maybe work their way up to a half lease horse. So they don't get that much saddle time, compared to the past where it was more likely you would own your own horse and ride every day for fun. Even if that first horse wasn't very competitive, this contributed to kids getting better seats, more confidence, and more independence, and this carrying through to those who continued riding as adults.

      As riding starts to become another lesson sport where you go once a week, twice if you are "really serious" about it, and that relies on getting kids into competition as soon as possible to create "goals" (and an income stream for the trainer), then it makes sense that there will be a higher percentage of low height classes, because it is the rare lesson kid that is going to be able to competently jump high after a couple of years of weekly lessons. And then that situation contributes to even those with their own horses, staying within lower expectation parameters, unless they are fast tracked into the much more expensive "upper levels."

      I do agree that if a trainer is taking a green horse around the cross poles, it would be good form to go hors concours and not take a ribbon away from an 8 year old.

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        Interesting topic twist.

        I also come from a time when jumpers started at 3'6" (well, usually a low jumper class at 3'3"), but there were still schooling shows at lower heights.

        Anyway, I used to compete over fences, but stopped jumping all together a few years back after a head injury and health issues. Stopped jumping completely, but kept coaching. Recently started again (schooling client horses and starting a couple prospects), but I am riding random, non-purpose bred horses (aka affordable, ammy friendly, but not particularly affordable). Trying to wrap my head around starting to compete again. I get anxious thinking about it.
        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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        • #24
          I think that in theory it's fine at any height, but if you are a pro teaching lower level students and will be competing against them that could be problematic so I would probably look for shows/series your clients won't be attending. I have been a part-time pro and am currently an amateur and I've competed young/green/stupid horses at 18" when they needed mileage at a height they could step over (my personal preference is to start them in hunters or at CTs/HTs anyway, though-- I'm not crazy about a lot of the courses at our local low level jumper shows and often there is some crazy riding both in the warmup and in the ring.)

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          • #25
            Originally posted by CHT View Post
            Interesting topic twist.

            I also come from a time when jumpers started at 3'6" (well, usually a low jumper class at 3'3"), but there were still schooling shows at lower heights.

            Anyway, I used to compete over fences, but stopped jumping all together a few years back after a head injury and health issues. Stopped jumping completely, but kept coaching. Recently started again (schooling client horses and starting a couple prospects), but I am riding random, non-purpose bred horses (aka affordable, ammy friendly, but not particularly affordable). Trying to wrap my head around starting to compete again. I get anxious thinking about it.
            Hah. I completely misread your intention in this question!! I thought this was going to be one of those threads about how the meanie pros are taking all the ribbons away from deserving ammies

            But if you're actually asking if its OK for you to be showing at much lower levels than in your prime showing years, of course it is!! If the idea of competing ( as opposed to just jumping) makes you anxious then enter hors concours and be very casual about it, "just going to treat this as a schooling session and see what Doodles thinks about strange arena" etc.

            It's also good for a pro to have their own coach (nobody rides DIY at the Olympics after all) and maybe you can find a higher level coach sympathetic to your position and willing to help you rebuild.

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            • #26
              I think (2 most dangerous words in the English language!) that this is starting us down a slippery slope. If we are asking "how low is Ok for a Pro to show in" soon we might be seeing spin off threads about "how high is too high for an ammy to show in?"

              The thing that is being discussed isn't really the useful part of this thread. It's WHY we are discussing it.

              What's the down side to a pro schooling a horse that may need a 2' round? I mean are we worried about the horse? Not likely. Are we questioning competence of the pro? Unlikely. Are we uncomfortable that someone shouldn't be in our class because they'll take a ribbon away? FAR MORE LIKELY as we can see from Scribbler comment.

              If you're a rider at a show with a horse who needs to be shown and you or someone can pay for it, then do it.

              We all need to work more on staying in our lanes and not worrying about the perception of others. Why do we care what Jane and John Doe think? Ride your horses, do for them what you, as their caretaker, think they need. Let the chips fall where they may.

              And those of you who marinate regularly in the judgement pool, I would be careful of what happens if turnabout actually is fair play. You may not like what happens when throwing someone else's shoes on. Judge yourself only but be kind. We're all human and we know as riders that no one is as critical as the voices in our own heads.

              Em
              Last edited by Xctrygirl; Jul. 9, 2019, 01:40 PM. Reason: Missing a letter
              "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

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              • #27
                Also OP your history of former competition, injury/health issues, and now just coaching/ schooling/flat riding is common enough and perfectly respectable. If I'm correct, you have a good business model in running a barn specifically for adult women lower level amateurs in English disciplines in the middle of Cowboy Country (which trends very male)? Your clients will understand your personal history and it also gives you a point of empathy for them and their physical limitations which a gung-ho 22 year old coach on the rise might not have.

                Riders choose coaches hoping that those coaches can advance their riding. When there's advice to look at the coach's show record, that's just as confirmation the coach can do the thing. But lots of coaches, especially older ones, are long retired from actively competing at their former level, and indeed most coaches who take on a lower level clientele find it hard to pursue serious competition because the clientele needs hand-holding at the under 3 foots, and lessons on other weekends, and the coach can't really cut loose for 3 days to go off to the higher level shows.

                So if you are wondering about the optics of the coach just jumping round the cross poles I wouldn't worry. Your story can be that you went up to whatever height in your 20s, got injured, continued coaching, but you are taking Doodles the sales horse out for a schooling show along with your students oh, and isn't the person who buys him going to be so lucky because he is such a good boy?? Actually getting a lower level prospect out to the lower level shows is a great marketing moment, and even if you just plan to sell him to a student, it doesn't hurt if your students see other 2 foot 6 ammies praising him and expressing interest

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