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Choice of Horse/Discipline

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  • Choice of Horse/Discipline

    Hello! I'm a longtime lurker, first time poster. I am not sure if this is the right place for this post, and I apologize if it isn't.

    I'm a junior rider with a good amount of years left being able to ride ponies (that'll be important). I've been thinking about which discipline I'd like to focus on and compete in, and I chose hunter originally. I'm now wondering if dressage might be a better option. Both are so beautiful to see. I do love jumping, but I'm not super confident with it, although I'd like to be. I have spoken to both my parents and my instructor, and they're on board with me getting a second horse. I currently own a 16yo Appendix gelding. He's the sweetest thing, but I've learned all he has to teach me, according to my instructor. I myself am not a confident rider and prefer a kick ride, as I sort of fall apart when it comes to a horse being very forward, although I've gotten better and am working on it.

    Assuming I choose hunter, there are three main horses I'm looking at (two horses and a pony). I'll start off with pony--he is FANCY. 14.1 3/8 hh, I believe. He has done well at Pony Finals and has a beautiful jump. He's 14. This gelding is expensive, but his price is a lot better than most hunter ponies I've seen that are not quite as successful.

    Second horse--a black Oldenburg gelding, 5 years old. 16hh. He has showed at eventing schooling shows only, although the person offering him for sale thinks he would be best as a hunter. This gelding enjoys trail, likes kids, and is forgiving, which are all things I'd be looking for.

    Third horse--a fleabitten gray gelding. I'm pretty sure he's a warmblood, but I'm not exactly sure of his breed (I'm pretty certain he's purebred for what they're asking). He is a schoolmaster, has done well in hunter and equitation, and is going for a good price (the same as the Oldenburg gelding, with more hunter experience to his name).

    There is also a fourth horse I'm kinda considering? I don't know, I'm just less sure about this one. He is 13, 16.2hh, and an Oldenburg. His ad says that he is ready to step down to the under 3ft job, but I'm not quite sure what the heights are like in the junior divisions. He does have show miles in bigger divisions, though.

    Here's the thing about the pony--my instructor doesn't want me to show in pony hunters, although it's been a bit of a dream of mine to make it to Pony Finals. The heights in those divisions are also something I'm more comfortable with. She says it's about how much money you have and who you know (NOTHING bad about her, though, she is an awesome teacher and rider). She also thinks I am too tall/would be too tall. I'm currently 5'3" or so, still growing, although I'm taller than my mother and both of my grandmothers already. I'm not convinced that I'll get much taller than this.

    About the third and fourth horses I mentioned--they are being sold at a sales event where the horses are presented one day, tried the second day, and vet checked the third day (although a second test ride and vet check by your own vet can be arranged for the day after the event). I'm not sure I'd want to make a decision that quickly, although I do worry they would be sold that weekend.

    Another thing is that it would be nice for my father to be able to ride this horse, but it's not a necessity. There are some very nice horses around me for dressage in case I do a 180, although right now I'm still leaning towards hunter.

    My question for you--is my instructor right about Pony Finals? Which horse do you think I should choose? What are your opinions on hunter over dressage, or vice versa?

    Thanks

  • #2
    It comes down to what you want. What makes your heart beat faster? What do you daydream about before you even realize you're doing it? You have your while life to ride horses, not so much going to pony finals. How much experience do you have with rated shows? Does your trainer take other kids and ponies to rated shows? Do your parents have the funds to make it to PF assuming you can qualify?

    I wouldn't get a 5 year old who hasn't actually done a hunter show. If you are at all timid or insecure, a green 5 year old is NOT the horse for you. In time perhaps, but not as things stand today.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

    http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Definitely jumping. I don't have experience with rated shows, although it's my ambition to be there in a year or two. Your point about the 5 year old makes sense, thank you!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        ^^My trainer does not take others to rated shows, but there's another girl at my barn who would like to show as well, and we're currently at the same place in riding. She is more than willing to take me once I am at that point, though. As for funds--yes, we are fortunate to be able to go to PF if I manage to qualify.

        Comment


        • #5
          In that case, you need to find a trainer within about an hour from you that specializes in kids and ponies going to rated shows. Your trainer is probably going to be in way over her head if she's never taken anyone to that level. You need experience on your side in that situation. A trainer at that level can also tell you if the pony you are considering is a suitable pony finals prospect. Good luck!
          http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

          http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I'm sorry, I should have clarified--she HAS taken kids to that level, but hasn't done so recently. Pony has done very well at PF and other shows, the problem is getting my instructor to consider that pony as a possible next horse for me. Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bar3backTorture View Post
              I'll start off with pony--he is FANCY. 14.1 3/8 hh, I believe. He has done well at Pony Finals and has a beautiful jump. He's 14. This gelding is expensive, but his price is a lot better than most hunter ponies I've seen that are not quite as successful....

              Here's the thing about the pony--my instructor doesn't want me to show in pony hunters, although it's been a bit of a dream of mine to make it to Pony Finals. The heights in those divisions are also something I'm more comfortable with. She says it's about how much money you have and who you know (NOTHING bad about her, though, she is an awesome teacher and rider). She also thinks I am too tall/would be too tall. I'm currently 5'3" or so, still growing, although I'm taller than my mother and both of my grandmothers already. I'm not convinced that I'll get much taller than this.
              So let's say your instructor is right. Not saying she is, just doing a "what if?" What if you buy this pony and never manage to qualify for Pony Finals, or do qualify and don't do well because you don't have money or know the right people? What if you have a growth spurt and gain 2" in height and end up looking too tall for the pony and thus don't place as well in shows?

              Do you still want the pony? If the answer is yes, then get the pony. If the answer is no, then don't.

              However, keep in mind that:

              1. Buying a horse/pony that your trainer advises against can sometimes have a negative effect on your relationship with the trainer. If you're determined to continue to work with this trainer, you're better off buying a horse she approves of.

              2. If you really want to give pony finals a shot and your current trainer can't wholeheartedly support that ambition and work with you and your pony to get you there, then you're going to need to find a new trainer.
              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
              that's even remotely true."

              Homer Simpson

              Comment


              • #8
                My observation is that if you aspire to end your junior years with some impressive accomplishments on your resume, it is relatively easier to qualify for and compete regionally and nationally in various championships and finals in dressage. There is not as much competition in terms of numbers participating, and I don't think your pockets have to be quite as deep to get to top levels - though it certainly helps. But dressage would be a pretty major shift from where you presently are.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can dressage, especially low level dressage on any horse. Take some dressage lessons on the Appendix!

                  A 5 year old warmblood is not a great choice for a nervous rider.

                  I would keep looking, none of these horses really seem to fit what you need/want.
                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ready to step down says worn out or unsound, to me.

                    I would stay away from sale events and search via networking
                    _\\]
                    -- * > hoopoe
                    Procrastinate NOW
                    Introverted Since 1957

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                      So let's say your instructor is right. Not saying she is, just doing a "what if?" What if you buy this pony and never manage to qualify for Pony Finals, or do qualify and don't do well because you don't have money or know the right people? What if you have a growth spurt and gain 2" in height and end up looking too tall for the pony and thus don't place as well in shows?

                      Do you still want the pony? If the answer is yes, then get the pony. If the answer is no, then don't.

                      However, keep in mind that:

                      1. Buying a horse/pony that your trainer advises against can sometimes have a negative effect on your relationship with the trainer. If you're determined to continue to work with this trainer, you're better off buying a horse she approves of.

                      2. If you really want to give pony finals a shot and your current trainer can't wholeheartedly support that ambition and work with you and your pony to get you there, then you're going to need to find a new trainer.
                      I do want this pony, as I have several little cousins that have expressed a desire to learn to ride. If that fell through, he would most likely be leased out. Your point about my trainer is why I'm reluctant to try him without her approval. I have a good relationship with her, and she has taught me a lot. I would very much like to take a shot at Pony Finals, but not if it's way too unrealistic. If my trainer approved, I'd most likely have tried the pony by now. Although...that fleabitten gray gelding is quite nice.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Groom&Taxi View Post
                        My observation is that if you aspire to end your junior years with some impressive accomplishments on your resume, it is relatively easier to qualify for and compete regionally and nationally in various championships and finals in dressage. There is not as much competition in terms of numbers participating, and I don't think your pockets have to be quite as deep to get to top levels - though it certainly helps. But dressage would be a pretty major shift from where you presently are.
                        I would very much like to, however at the moment I feel I'd rather make the right choice of discipline for me than end with many accomplishments. My choice between the two has been going from one to the other, but it's been sticking at hunter for a little while, if that makes sense? You're right, though, that it would be easier to qualify and compete.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                          You can dressage, especially low level dressage on any horse. Take some dressage lessons on the Appendix!

                          A 5 year old warmblood is not a great choice for a nervous rider.

                          I would keep looking, none of these horses really seem to fit what you need/want.
                          I'm trying to find out a little more about the fleabitten gray and keeping my fingers crossed he doesn't sell at the event. I am still combing through some things on dreamhorse.com! We have been doing a combo between dressage and hunter (kind of basics in both). My horse is, to be honest, not the greatest at dressage (although I do plan to do intro tests on him next year either way). He was used for reining as a young horse and then switched to trail, so it's understandable haha

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
                            Ready to step down says worn out or unsound, to me.

                            I would stay away from sale events and search via networking
                            I agree. That's what I was worried about with him--possible injury swam into my mind right there.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bar3backTorture View Post
                              Hello! I'm a longtime lurker, first time poster. I am not sure if this is the right place for this post, and I apologize if it isn't.

                              I'm a junior rider with a good amount of years left being able to ride ponies (that'll be important). I've been thinking about which discipline I'd like to focus on and compete in, and I chose hunter originally. I'm now wondering if dressage might be a better option. Both are so beautiful to see. I do love jumping, but I'm not super confident with it, although I'd like to be. I have spoken to both my parents and my instructor, and they're on board with me getting a second horse. I currently own a 16yo Appendix gelding. He's the sweetest thing, but I've learned all he has to teach me, according to my instructor. I myself am not a confident rider and prefer a kick ride, as I sort of fall apart when it comes to a horse being very forward, although I've gotten better and am working on it.

                              Assuming I choose hunter, there are three main horses I'm looking at (two horses and a pony). I'll start off with pony--he is FANCY. 14.1 3/8 hh, I believe. He has done well at Pony Finals and has a beautiful jump. He's 14. This gelding is expensive, but his price is a lot better than most hunter ponies I've seen that are not quite as successful.

                              Second horse--a black Oldenburg gelding, 5 years old. 16hh. He has showed at eventing schooling shows only, although the person offering him for sale thinks he would be best as a hunter. This gelding enjoys trail, likes kids, and is forgiving, which are all things I'd be looking for.

                              Third horse--a fleabitten gray gelding. I'm pretty sure he's a warmblood, but I'm not exactly sure of his breed (I'm pretty certain he's purebred for what they're asking). He is a schoolmaster, has done well in hunter and equitation, and is going for a good price (the same as the Oldenburg gelding, with more hunter experience to his name).

                              There is also a fourth horse I'm kinda considering? I don't know, I'm just less sure about this one. He is 13, 16.2hh, and an Oldenburg. His ad says that he is ready to step down to the under 3ft job, but I'm not quite sure what the heights are like in the junior divisions. He does have show miles in bigger divisions, though.

                              Here's the thing about the pony--my instructor doesn't want me to show in pony hunters, although it's been a bit of a dream of mine to make it to Pony Finals. The heights in those divisions are also something I'm more comfortable with. She says it's about how much money you have and who you know (NOTHING bad about her, though, she is an awesome teacher and rider). She also thinks I am too tall/would be too tall. I'm currently 5'3" or so, still growing, although I'm taller than my mother and both of my grandmothers already. I'm not convinced that I'll get much taller than this.

                              About the third and fourth horses I mentioned--they are being sold at a sales event where the horses are presented one day, tried the second day, and vet checked the third day (although a second test ride and vet check by your own vet can be arranged for the day after the event). I'm not sure I'd want to make a decision that quickly, although I do worry they would be sold that weekend.

                              Another thing is that it would be nice for my father to be able to ride this horse, but it's not a necessity. There are some very nice horses around me for dressage in case I do a 180, although right now I'm still leaning towards hunter.

                              My question for you--is my instructor right about Pony Finals? Which horse do you think I should choose? What are your opinions on hunter over dressage, or vice versa?

                              Thanks
                              Have you take dressage lessons? If so what level have you ridden at? Have you done a dressage test competition?

                              If you just want to switch to dressage because you are a nervous rider, you need to try it out first before you buy a horse and commit to it. Dressage still requires a big moving horse that is in front of your leg, and this can make lots of ammies and juniors nervous. It also requires a different seat.

                              if you are wanting to switch disciplines you should take some lessons and perhaps get a half lease on a dressage horse for 6 months to see if you like the sport. it is very detail minded and technical, some people love it and some people find it too fussy and controlling.

                              And you want to buy a horse with some dressage training already..

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If I were in this scenario, I’d probably consider leasing the pony for a year to try and make it to pony finals - THEN move up to a horse. In my experience, a large pony doing 3’ hunters is MUCH more friendly than a big horse doing the same height. Ponies are a great way to step up and learn if you are anxious or nervous about horses getting fast or feeling strong. Their small size lends well to that - makes us feel more in control

                                It sounds like you need to have a serious goal setting discussion with your trainer. Discuss what your likes and dislikes are about the hunters, and confirm it is the right path FOR YOU. do you enjoy jumping and the skills required for a nice hunter round? If not, perhaps the hunter route isn’t for you. If so, have a serious talk about what your last years as a junior look like to you. Pony Finals for a 16 or 17 year old is totally feasible on a large pony, and if that’s your dream - go for it. I have had many friends of mine who did the ponies until they aged out and had a blast! After all, that is what it’s all about.

                                I would also be wary of this sales situation. The focus you have on size and horse breed should be less of a concern than - is this horse safe, honesty, reliable, sound, and a good match for me and my goals? That can come in many different packages, so be thoughtful about making the right choice about your next horse.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  here's my $.02. Your trainer sounds wonderful, but it might be worth finding one that is doing the types of shows you want to now. You don't want to be the only client going to a show as it gets expensive bc you end up shouldering more trainer cost splits. If you can afford to and have the desire to go to PF, you need a trainer who can get you there and has the contacts to be able to give you your best shot.

                                  If PF is your dream get a large pony who knows his/her job.

                                  If PF seems fun but isn't the be all end all, get yourself a horse that will give you confidence--not a 5 year old. I cannot emphasize this enough. I am not a super confident rider either, and if I had not been able to keep my old school master when I got my young horse, I would have almost given up from feeling incompetent. Young horses can be very rewarding, but progress can be slow with lots of ups and downs, and I think you will go further building confidence.

                                  I also don't think I'd buy a horse at an auction. I'd find a solid citizen with a good reputation. A lease might be a great option for you too. You can find a lot of nice horses who need to step down bc of age and can give you the confidence you need without the commitment to owning.

                                  You are lucky to have such great choices!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If I were you I would stay away from sales and auctions. This is a big investment (and the purchase price is the smallest investment!). I would slow down and take my time looking and trying out horses (after you figure out what your goals are/what you want to do). When it has been me, when I meet a horse that makes my heart go pitter patter AND makes me so excited to think of going to the barn and working with it, that's the one (providing they pass PPE, get trainer's approval, etc). There is no rush. I would definitely throw out the 5 year old. Even the quietest 5 year old can have moments, they just haven't the amount of world experience an older horse will have. And you don't want to ruin your confidence. Good luck OP!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Do not buy a green 5 year old. As for the schoolmaster, he is probably sound for the level advertised. But if that’s below 3’, you will outgrow that horse too. The benefit is you will learn on something safe. But you can jump 3’ on a large pony, so possibly the pony could teach you more.

                                      As for the others in the sale, given your lack of experience and need for parental and trainer support, I would not look for horses in those quick sale type situations.

                                      I hear you on the pony thing. I loved riding ponies and also wanted to have a shot at PF and some more pony medals but I didn’t have one with the rated step and then quickly got too tall. I tried one final year to find a large we could afford that could do it, and that pony didn’t come along. But even if it had, I didn’t have much time left in terms of my height.

                                      That said, I wouldn’t necessarily rush into this pony. It does sound like a better option than the horses on your list for the reasons I mentioned, but there are more horses out there. You should have a long term plan for the pony with your parents’ support and a trainer that can help you with those goals. With a horse, you can probably stay with your current trainer a bit longer until you are ready for rated junior heights. Your parents probably have a say in what trainer they want to use also from a money and time (driving you places) standpoint. It is worth talking to them more about this and having them participate in a talk with your current trainer if they are leaning towards supporting you with this pony.

                                      Of course just trying the pony might be educational for you.

                                      As for dressage, kick rides are not favored (ask me how I know...lol). You will not have to worry about jumping, but you will need to learn a different seat and be comfortable going forward. Preferably having the horse carry you forward. Doesn’t mean hot but also shouldn’t be a lot of push if you want to do well and learn to move up the levels.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                                        As for dressage, kick rides are not favored (ask me how I know...lol). You will not have to worry about jumping, but you will need to learn a different seat and be comfortable going forward. Preferably having the horse carry you forward. Doesn’t mean hot but also shouldn’t be a lot of push if you want to do well and learn to move up the levels.
                                        This. I'm still working on relaxing enough to let my horse move out properly, and with me not want to get in a more jumper-style seat where I feel more comfortable. When they are really moving forward in front of your leg correctly, it's like a controlled-out-of-control feeling when you aren't used to it. And to really get the horse in front of your leg, they have to get more sensitive to your leg.

                                        It's great fun, but it is VERY different and if you did decide to switch with the intent of being competitive, it may or may not take you a lot of time to figure it out. Though you can always do it for fun along with hunters since its good training regardless. You would need to find a good dressage instructor though.

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