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How to choose between Eventing and Hunter/Jumper?

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  • How to choose between Eventing and Hunter/Jumper?

    I might have the opportunity, in the next year, to be a working student for eventer Phyllis Dawson. I would love it, but before I get involved, I need to think about what I want to focus on in the equestrian world. Right now, I show small hunter shows, not very high heights, but I do know that I love to jump. I also love flatwork, and I have always wanted to start eventing. Before I get in touch with Phyllis, I'm asking all of you to help guide me a little. What are those 2 disciplines like, and what do they require? I can't decide what direction to take right now, and I need help. :/

  • #2
    You can do many disciplines. In fact in the old days many big name riders did cross disciplines.

    So find what you want to do most now and go do it. Nothing is keeping you from doing any more disciplines in the future.

    "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


    • #3
      As Xctrygirl said, you can participate and train in any variety of disciplines. Proper instruction and experience, regardless of whether it's hunters, jumpers, dressage, or cross country, is invaluable and will only serve to make you a better, well-rounded rider.

      I spent most of my teen years training to perfect the hunter ride, now I'm working more on the forward jumper ride. If I had the horse to, I'd go out with the local fox hunting team for the thrill and the new experience. Don't turn down a challenge or an opportunity just because it's not what you've been doing. Aim to be a confident rider and experienced horse person regardless of the discipline or whether you are schooling in an arena or out on a field.


      • #4
        Go for it. It's a great opportunity for you to learn more, regardless of the discipline.


        • #5
          Phyllis Dawson is great and would be an excellent opportunity for you.


          • Original Poster

            Ok, thanks guys! I just was thinking about that. I mean, I have never evented before in my life, but I would love too.


            • #7
              I started out at an eventing barn, switched in my early teens to hunters and did the Big Eq, then had a gig after college in a foxhunting barn. Each discipline has taught me a lot, and I wouldn't train the cross-experience for anything.
              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


              • #8
                Eventing is a blast. I grew up doing Pony Club rallies and horse trials. The only reason I'm at a H/J barn now is that this barn is accessible to where I live.

                I have found that though there are some obvious differences in the two disciplines, good riding is good riding. If you have an experienced, ethical instructor who has your interests and your horse's welfare at heart, you can only benefit, regardless of discipline.

                Ideally, both disciplines require a lot of flat work before the jumps are attempted. At our barn, we have a lot of flat lessons in which we learn to get a horse to move from behind, get him listening, and work up to basic lateral movements and counter canter, etc.--all similar to what you would learn in your dressage lessons at the eventing barn.

                When you event, you (obviously) ride out of the ring more, and over fences, boldness in both horse and rider is highly valued. When I started riding at the H/J barn, I remember having trouble adjusting to the mindset that an even pace was of paramount importance, and that my horse's "giving me a big one" over a fence was no longer considered good. However, I was able to teach my fellow H/J riders a few things, too: for example, how to slip the reins when the horse takes off at an unexpected spot (which I did automatically thanks to my years of experience riding drop fences) and how to use a pulley rein when a horse gets stung by a bee and takes off.
                I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                • #9
                  I do hunters and eventing. They are very different. I've been doing hunters for 13 years and eventing for just 2 or 3. I love the thrill of XC, but I do very much have a passion for the perfection of hunters. They are very different ball games. Coming from a hunter and jumper past, I find myself doing better in stadium than most people. Then again I was on my old h/j horse, so he and I both ate up stadium like it was a jumper round.


                  • #10
                    Phyllis has a pretty good reputation for producung working students and assistant trainers that go on to bigger things.

                    Several of her current/former empoyees/working students post here, so you might ask them.

                    I think anything you learn with Phyllis will stand you in good stead in any discipline.
                    Last edited by Janet; Feb. 3, 2013, 08:22 PM.

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                    • #11
                      Firstly, ditto Janet that Phyllis Dawson is someone well respected who will give you a good education and foundation whatever discipline you end up deciding to ride.

                      Secondly, I don't think you have to choose between Eventing and H/J. Especially between Eventing and Jumpers, where I know plenty of people who take even upper level horses to jumper shows for milage. Last year, I did a mix of Hunter shows, Jumper Shows, Events, and even Dressage shows! A good foundation will serve you well, whatever you ultimately decide to do--but you can't know whether you want do do something if you don't ever try it!
                      A Year In the Saddle


                      • #12
                        An opportunity with a trainer who does right by his/her working students is golden!
                        What you can learn, in terms of barn management, horsemanship, and the running of a successful business, is huge.
                        That you will be specifically working towards events, rather than hunter/jumper shows, is not too important unless you specifically were trying to 'do the Big Eq' before you aged out.


                        • #13
                          Who says you have to choose? My jumper does eventing as well, and my hunter is going to start this spring. I feel like it is also mentally refreshing for both horses. Good riding is good riding regardless of what discipline you say you belong to.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MoonLadyIsis View Post
                            Who says you have to choose? My jumper does eventing as well, and my hunter is going to start this spring. I feel like it is also mentally refreshing for both horses. Good riding is good riding regardless of what discipline you say you belong to.
                            Exactly. A good horseman will take a little of everything they've learned and tailor a program that works for them. Hell, I'm riding green stock horses now and I'm finding things to work on with my hunter back at home. Said hunter has shown jumpers successfully, schooled cross country up to prelim, even done a western playday! I think a rider with good basics can be successful in any discipline (have you seen the video of the reiner and dressage rider switching horses?) and there's so much you'll miss out on if you limit yourself to one aspect of the horse world.


                            • #15
                              If you do have the opportunity to be a WS with somebody of Ms Dawsons reputation?

                              Consider the door opened and, please, go thru it. Those positions are difficult to get and 90% of anything you learn will be applicable to the upper levels of any discipline. Plus you would get exposure to the Dressage, the CC as well as Show Jumping. And make valuable contacts that can help you later you otherwise would never meet.

                              These successful trainers well know what the other disciplines need in a prospect and frequently talented horses that don't want to get their feet wet go from Eventing to SJ. And equally good horses wash out of SJ because they lack the scope for the big sticks in a show ring but have plenty out of a good gallop to clear a CC obstacle-and they don't mind jumping into water. Riders go both ways as well, sometimes because that's the way the horse they have wants to go.

                              If you get offered this? I can't see a single negative. It's a terrific opportunity.

                              Oh, what would be required of you? The same as in any other top level barn, alot of work managing upper level horses and a good attitude...I don't think she has any minimum requirements as far as jump heights go if you are otherwise experienced and have the drive. If she does, they will be stated outright, not a secret. I wouldnt let that stop you from going after it.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                              • Original Poster

                                Ok, thanks to all of you. I understand now that a good rider will be good in any discipline. I'm not in with Pyhllis yet, but I have the chance to be. I'm just trying to get my parents on board....not too easy. I live a few states away from her farm in Virginia, and I would like to go for 6 months to a year before college...does this sound like a good plan? Or do you all suggest something different?


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Horserider15 View Post
                                  Ok, thanks to all of you. I understand now that a good rider will be good in any discipline. I'm not in with Pyhllis yet, but I have the chance to be. I'm just trying to get my parents on board....not too easy. I live a few states away from her farm in Virginia, and I would like to go for 6 months to a year before college...does this sound like a good plan? Or do you all suggest something different?
                                  If you have the chance to work for Phyllis, do whatever it takes to get yourself there. That is a world class opportunity.

                                  I imagine it will require a year-long commitment, which makes sense as you have to accept that it will take you a while to climb that learning curve to the point where you are truly "useful" in a program like that.

                                  My suggestion with respect to your parents is that you agree to apply to college at HS graduation and elect to defer admission for a year, rather than waiting for the following year to apply. That will help them see that you are committed to going to college at the end of the gap year and might help make them more comfortable approving your plan.
                                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Horserider15 View Post
                                    I might have the opportunity, in the next year, to be a working student for eventer Phyllis Dawson.
                                    This means that you have seen an advertisement that P.D. takes on working students , doesn't it?


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                      This means that you have seen an advertisement that P.D. takes on working students , doesn't it?
                                      Yeah, and I went to her website and found it very appealing.


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=Horserider15;6817312]Yeah, and I went to her website and found it very appealing.[/]

                                        Do you own a decent horse that is sound enough to be ridden 5 days a week in a program? I have known working students for Phyllis and the program is designed around having a competent horse to bring along.
                                        Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                                        you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.