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Time to move on/up?

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  • Time to move on/up?

    Posting under an alter, obviously. This could get long...

    I currently have a schoolmaster-y type jumper. She isn't the easiest ride, but she knows her job and how to get you there. She's also quite talented. I've had her for about five months and she is the first horse I have ever competed in the jumpers on (I'm in love with jumpers now, too ). She really has been educational and I've learned a lot from her. She has a great personality and I love her to pieces. We have fun every ride.

    I do, however, feel like I'm beginning to out-ride her, so to speak. She doesn't pose many challenges for me, something I thrive on. My lease is almost up and I don't know whether or not to renew. I'm ready to start moving up the levels of jumpers and she can only take me a little further.

    I don't have very much patience for extreme greenies unless they are very well-behaved. It's a flaw, but I realize it and try to deal with extreme greenies as little as possible to save us both the trouble. I do, however, like a challenging ride.

    I want a horse that I can compete the next couple years pretty heavily before I go off to college and my showing time is much less. My goal is junior jumpers within the next year or less.

    My junior years are dwindling... What should I do?

    1. Look for a greenie to train up
    2. Keep her until the last minute possible
    3. Find a slightly more difficult ride that will pose more challenges (Junior jumper)
    4. Other??

  • #2
    It sounds like you want to go with number 3 so why not go for that.


    • #3
      I'm confused...you want a challenging ride but you don't like working with greenies. So you only like horses that misbehave if they aren't green?

      Anyway, is there anyway you could renew your lease for a shorter amount of time? That way you can max out on your jumper mare while you start looking for a new project.

      As for what that project may be, its going to completely depend on your budget. My advice would be to lease/buy the most made horse you can afford. Meaning, if you can't afford a made junior jumper find the next best thing you can afford.

      That could be a 5 year old who is jumping 4ft courses but has no show experience. Or, it could be a 5 year old who is jumping 3'6'' courses and only has half a lead change and no show experience.

      And idea of your budget as well as whether you are looking to buy or lease might help people give more specific advice.


      • Original Poster

        Ah, right, should have been more specific. My bad. To me, challenging doesn't mean misbehaving, just not push-button perfect. Maybe gets a little fussy, has a little spook/stop, up, etc.

        I guess my real question is do I get a greener, talented one to have for a long time (potentially) and probably buy, or lease a more made one that I might have to give up when I go to college?


        • #5
          Originally posted by ALTERnate24 View Post
          Ah, right, should have been more specific. My bad. To me, challenging doesn't mean misbehaving, just not push-button perfect. Maybe gets a little fussy, has a little spook/stop, up, etc.

          I guess my real question is do I get a greener, talented one to have for a long time (potentially) and probably buy, or lease a more made one that I might have to give up when I go to college?
          It depends if you would keep a horse while you're in college. If you plan on showing (even occasionally) once you age out, I would buy since then you can transition pretty seamlessly from the jrs to the a/os.

          If you know you don't plan on keeping a horse during college, I would lease a made one.

          Also, how old are you? If you're 15 you have time to work with greenie. If you're 17 you're going to be tempted to rush and push both you and your horse and that can be dangerous.


          • #6
            Well it seems to me that your focus is on "competition" only. This is very limiting for a young rider in terms of actually learning how to be a fully fledged horseman. Yes, perhaps you can find a horse to lease who will perform in the manner you wish, in competion. But unless you learn more about training horses, riding green horses, and having patience to do these things and learn the skills necessary to do these things, your future career as a rider will always be limited. Perhaps you don't mind this, but I know that at your age, I definately would have "minded" this.

            Instead of just having a horse as a vehicle to take you around the shows, a horse can be so much more. Training a horse is an exercise in forming relationships, in making bonds with horses to accomplish things together. This is a HUGE area of horsemanship that is lacking in what you seem to be wanting to do. It is a HUGE area that you could explore, and enjoy, and learn more about.

            I know that everyone is different in what they want out of having a horse, to ride, to train, to compete with, and perhaps this truly does not appeal to you. But if that is the case, you are throwing away your most impressionable years on the pursuit of competition ONLY. And yes, I love to compete too, and did as a kid too, many years ago. But competing with a horse you have created yourself as a competitive mount is a huge thrill.


            • #7
              The million dollar question: Are your parents willing to pay for your horse and showing when you go to college? You should talk with them before making any decisions.


              • #8
                Don't take a horse to college. You won't have the time and if you do make it out to ride enough youre missing out on alot on campus.
                Lease something nice, enjoy the success and then when you go to college join an IHSA or NCAA team and catch ride.


                • #9
                  Not sure how many years as a junior you have but do you have the check book to afford to lease a Jr jumper? You don't sound like the kid of person who has the drive/maturity to bring a green horse along. The challenge shouldn't really be the horse but rather the the course and the fences. Being successful on one slightly difficult horse doesnt mean you are a great rider and ready to move up. It sounds like moving up is the only thing that interests you so riding a new/different horse would do you some good.
                  I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you


                  • #10
                    Find a more talented lease.

                    With a green horse, you're going to have to go down levels. That's not your goal.

                    If your goal is to ride at a certain height, the best, fastest way to get there is to buy/lease a horse who already competes at that level and that you enjoy riding.

                    All the posting about having a greenie, development as a horseman, blah, blah...sure. If your goal is to train horses. If you're hoping to go pro. If your goal is to have a good time riding and competing as high as you can go, then buy/lease a horse who can take you there. Contrary to the belief of some here, you do actually still have to know how to ride and handle a horse even if you get one ready-trained. There is still schooling and training to do. There is still general horsemanship to learn. Not everyone needs to spend their free time riding every horse in the barn when what they really want is one special horse to compete on.
                    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                    • #11
                      I would stick with the horse you have. I know it is probably not what you wanted to hear - i am sure you would rather by a new horse that magically makes everything better. BUT - this horse you have now is a great opportunity to better your riding, give back to a horse that has done a lot for you, and have fun. Why not look at a video of you at a recent show - see what you are doing right- wrong, - what the horse is doing right-wrong and work on those things. It will make you a better rider, in the mean while - I would try looking for other rides - from friends at the barn - people you show with. Maybe if they see you on a constant good horse (like the one you have) more opportunities will come about. Good Luck


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ALTERnate24 View Post
                        To me, challenging doesn't mean misbehaving, just not push-button perfect. Maybe gets a little fussy, has a little spook/stop, up, etc.
                        You're ok with a horse stoping and spooking, or being fussy, but not a green one?

                        If you want to competitevly do the junior jumpers I wouldn't be looking at horses- to buy or lease- that has "a little stop" especially if you are 1)moving up and 2) as you said, running out of time.
                        Lease something made and ready to go.


                        • #13
                          I am with the camp to find something experienced to lease. With your goals, I'm not sure a greenie would get you where you want to be (because I'm assuming you're not only interested in moving up the levels, you also want to win). Plus, when moving up unless you've already been there with another horse, I'm not sure I personally would want to help a horse along. That is the point, after all, of the schoolmaster/experienced horse type ride. They get to the mileage to help you learn, which you can then use to bring along your own (if that is what you eventually want to do, not everyone has this as a goal!)


                          • #14
                            That's definately a tough choice to make, and i'm not quite sure what I would do in your situation. If you do end up buying something I just had to tell you that if you want to take a horse to college and your parents are okay with it than do it!
                            I am a junior in college now and decided that riding IHSA was not for me veryy quickly, I really enjoy having my pony here and I get to ride 5-6 days a week. I can also honestly tell you I have not missed anything on campus by having her, I just plan my classes more carefully than most people. Classes all morning than riding all afternoon.
                            Sometimes she is the only thing that keeps my sane after all my classwork!


                            • #15
                              5 months isn't very much time in the jumper ring. What level are you showing the current lease horse, and what is the highest level you can show the horse? Have you been successful?

                              Depending on the answers, I'd either renew the lease on that horse for another 6 months, or start looking for another lease to move up with.


                              • #16
                                After only riding in jumpers for 5 months, junior jumpers seems to be a lofty goal. If you are looking to move up the levels, I would try to find something reliable and safe to teach you. A "schoolmaster" at the level you are looking to compete at. Not something that stops.

                                Maybe it's just me, but I like any horse I ride to be reliable. I get my "challenge" out of the questions the course poses, not out of my horse being unpredictable by spooking/stopping, etc., especially at bigger jumps where things can go wrong if horse and rider aren't in the same place.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by LeandraB View Post
                                  Don't take a horse to college. You won't have the time and if you do make it out to ride enough youre missing out on alot on campus.
                                  Lease something nice, enjoy the success and then when you go to college join an IHSA or NCAA team and catch ride.
                                  Please don't be discouraged by postings such as this one. I took one horse to college with me the first two years, and actually had two with me the last three years (double major). I not only had plenty of time to ride them, but I also continued to show AND keep up with my schoolwork AND have a very active social life. They lived at a small boarding barn that was open only to horses owned by students from my school - everyone did their own stalls and grooming and all that. We had an organized schedule on who did turn out (Student A turned out Monday AM and Thursday PM, Student B turned out Monday PM and Wednesday AM etc) and the guy who owned the barn fed, kept the two rings dragged and did all the ordering of hay and bedding.

                                  Anyway - my point is if you can be in the position to take a horse to school with you, don't think it's impossible or will suck away your social life. It won't.

                                  As for your original question, I think it depends on what level you're at and aiming for and if you'll be able to support/if your parents will support a purchased horse once you graduate from HS.


                                  • #18
                                    You're looking for challenge in the wrong place. If, after five months in the jumper ring (at what level?), you aren't feeling challenged, it may be time to move up to the next division. Or, it's possible that you don't know what you don't know, and the lack of challenge you're feeling is coming from ignorance of the next step of improvement. If your current horse is capable of moving up, even just one more level, stick with it until you are winning at the highest level of which it is capable. Getting a new horse, regardless of its level of training or level of "difficulty", will require at least a temporary step down. Get the most miles you can on a horse that you're familiar with.


                                    • #19
                                      I was in the same situation not that long ago. Being on a bit of a budget, I decided on a talented young OTTB with a good work ethic that will hopefully (barring injury) be doing the big sticks eventually. It seemed like a bad decision, as my junior years are running out, but it's honestly one of the best horse decisions my parents and I have ever made. We'll be doing the eq next year, for his miles, and some jumpers as well.

                                      The other thing for me about buying a greenie was that I freaking LOVE greenies and projects. I'm a bit like you; I don't like an easy, push-button ride. I like something I really need to ride. I like greenies/projects because the things you have to ride through go away eventually for the most part, but you get to know the horse so well that the fun and challenge never goes away, the challenges are just different than when you started.

                                      On the flip side, if you don't want to put the work into something young and deal with stepping down the levels for a while, I'd either move up on the horse you've got and see if that makes it more challenging, or find a different, experienced but quirky jr. jumper to lease. You sound ambitious, like you're interested in moving up and winning more than dealing with greenies, and that's ok. It takes all kinds.

                                      The pros and cons, to me, are:

                                      -normally cheaper (if you know where to look)
                                      -develop training skills AND riding skills
                                      -form a bond with the horse and know you'll have it for a while
                                      -go back and fix any holes in YOUR training. Going back down a few levels for a greenie can be a great chance to work on yourself too!
                                      -humility. Seriously, ain't nothin' gonna teach you humility like a green bean. Ask me how I know THAT.

                                      -greenie antics
                                      -confidence. Not everyone is confident enough to deal with greenie antics.
                                      -patience. If you want to move up NOW and that's all you want, then it probably isn't for you.
                                      -bad habits. It can be easy to let bad eq, etc creep into your riding when working with a youngin'.

                                      Not sure where this fit, but...
                                      -DISCIPLINE. You have to be disciplined not only in every aspect of the horse's life and training so they don't get bad habits, but you have to keep the discipline in your riding as well so you don't get any bad habits.

                                      Experienced horse:

                                      -lots of miles for you.
                                      -move up now.
                                      -develop your riding skills without worrying as much about the horse.
                                      -at the end of your lease, you can be rid of the horse. You're not stuck with ownership at the end of the day (unless of course you buy...)

                                      -pricetag. Leases on a good Jr jumper are not cheap.
                                      -less training experience. It depends what your goals are but riding experienced horses most of your junior career is, to me, not a path conducive to becoming a pro because you'll lack that training experience.
                                      Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                                      • #20
                                        Can you have more than one at a time? If so I would renew your lease on the experienced one to keep showing him and then look for a new one that even if you aren't quite ready to show him you can lesson and your trainer can show him for you until you are ready.