In the jumpers, the 1m class are filled with retired higher level horses and 1m packers that have BTDT millions of time and don't mind being rushed at fences like crazies.
Last summer was my debut with my mare in the jumper, we had done the modified hunter/equitation classes (0.80-0.90m) the year before with...good clear rounds but no ribbons.
We were around 40-60 in each classes. No way I could win without destroying all the good training I've put so far in her! My goal isn't to win at 1m, it is to win at 1.30m! So we took it 'slow' and managed to do clear rounds most everytime.
I ended up doing 2 courses at 1.10m by the end of the season and my placing (12/40)was better than in the 1m (25/50).
Next summer, I will do the meters again to start with but if everything goes as planned, I should be doing the 1.10m an end up in the 1.20m by the end of the season where my chances if winning are way greater than in the meter.
I'm currently schooling up to 1.20m at home.
My mare was a really unruly green 4yrs old when I started her. She is now 8 yrs old and doing pretty well! I've been riding for a long time but never really competed much, and never higher than 1.10m at shows.
So, it took us 3years of showing to get from zero to 3'6".