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Pointless rant about the railbirds

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  • Pointless rant about the railbirds

    Sorry about the novel but I really want to get this off my chest! I've been going to a few schooling shows this fall and winter to get myself geared up for summer and I've overheard some chatter/gotten second hand reports from friends at other barns about my riding level.

    I'm currently showing in the pre-adults (2'6") but often do some 2'3" or even 2' classes (only if there is no 2'3" as sometimes happens) to get out my heebie-jeebies. I'm fortunate enough to be half-leasing a VERY fancy old campaigner with a great jump and movement, so if I can find 8 good spots (doesn't always happen, but usually) I generally clean up. I've often heard trainers/other riders complain that I shouldn't be in those divisions (or even at the schooling shows at all) and am obviously just trying to win as many ribbons as possible.

    But here's the thing: I'm 1. pretty new to h/j - only been riding hunt seat since 2009 and just came back from a year-long break. 2. I'm already a super timid rider to start with, and recently had 4 scary falls over the course of 2 days of showing as well as a bad runaway incident this summer that ended with the horse breaking a leg. 3. The horse I'm leasing (while a total superstar) had a suspensory injury 3 years ago and is absolutely limited to the 2'6". And 4. he's actually pretty hard to ride (slow turns, BIG jump compared to what I'm used to, and built very downhill/is a generally lazy guy so if you don't hold him together well he trips big time). All that put together with show jitters absolutely kills my confidence o/f, so I'm going to every schooling show I can and entering some smaller classes to make me more comfortable with the experience. I'm very lucky to have a horse that can and does win despite my issues. We are a good match and that shows in our results. But just because I'm doing well doesn't mean I'm capable (yet) of moving up!

    Like I said, totally pointless rant (I guess I should take the talk as a compliment ) but I wish people would recognize that they don't know the whole story when a rider seems to be showing below their level.

  • #2
    A very wise friend of mine in the horse business once told me: "The time to worry is when people STOP talking about you."

    Comment


    • #3
      Ignore them, pat your nice horse, and keep not missing.
      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
        Ignore them, pat your nice horse, and keep not missing.
        This!
        Seriously though, do what's safe for you. From what you describe, it sounds like you already have plenty enough challenges to work through/overcome at the fence height you're jumping -- height isn't the whole game here and that's what the railbirds don't know/realize!

        I'd keep doing what you're doing till either your current lease becomes a smoother handle or you perhaps go on to a different horse that can do those higher courses with you safely. Getting your current lease smoother while competing will just make you a better rider all around anyway.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, my thought is that if you are going to a schooling show to get miles, and enter 2' or 2'3" AND 2'6", you should probably turn your number around for the lowest classes.
          It would be one thing to be 'riding below your level', competing for in the 2' class for a ribbon/placing, if you were not riding in the 2'6" class.

          I DO think it is appropriate for you to get out, and ride these lower courses. But if you are capable of the 2'6", and showing in the 2'6", it would be polite to bypass the ribbon for the lower classes.

          Indeed, talk to the show manager and also possibly the judge. Tell them about how you are having confidence issues, regarding the runaway and the falls, and that you are not comfortable in the 2'6" class unless you have ridden a lower height course. Ask if the judge could 'place' you by announcing your number in order, but announcing 'hors concours' instead of, say, second place.

          There is no need to explain yourself to everyone, but it would be polite to forego the ribbon in the lowest class if you are riding in a higher one.
          That way, you won't feel like there will be unhappy karma directed at you. You will pay the judge/show management for your ring time, you will know what color ribbon you earned (probably), and you will be safe and ready for your trip at 2'6".

          And for anyone who thinks you don't belong competing for a ribbon at 2'6"on such a fancy horse- that is none of their beeswax as well as not true. So you can ignore those comments!

          Comment


          • #6
            Ignore the comments and keep up the good work. I think you are doing the smart thing to go to these schooling shows and build up your confidence. Depending on what's been designed on the ribbon you can give it back later to be used for another show. Good luck and keep doing what you are doing because it will build your confidence.

            Comment


            • #7
              Take it for what it is, a bunch of people more or less stating that you are doing so awesome that you don't appear to need schooling shows.... yup, that's a compliment (yeah, it's couched in a complaint, but it's still a pretty good compliment about how well you appear to be riding!).

              And consider if the roles were reversed and they were facing all those challenges, where would they be?..... yep, the schooling shows to work out the heebie-jeebies. So when you hear the grumbles, smile, pat your boy, and know you're looking good!

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              • #8
                I think that what Fillabeana said is exactly right- ride in whatever classes for which you are qualified and feel safe doing, but at the 2', and maybe even 2'3", go in unjudged. It's nice to have validation, regardless, but if you are very competitive at all three levels then I think it is good sportsmanship to only be judged in the top one or two.
                You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do NOT talk to the show manager or the judge about your confidence issues or any of that - they are not there to hold your or anyone elses hands/ they are there to have /judge a show. READ the prizelist carefully to make sure you are not in any violation of some rule - often shows will have rules about horse/rider combinations cross-entering certain divisions. Meaning: Susie and Sparkles show in 2' Pre-Adult Hunter and then decide to show in 2'9" Schooling hunter - but the rules might say in the Pre-Adult might say open to horses/riders showing no higher than 2'6" So they couldn't show in teh 2'9" but could show in 2'6"..

                  As long as there are no restrictions at the same show allowing you from competiing in those classes- its not YOUR problem; if the trainer's complain, they are the ones who need to talk to show management about restricting certain classes. An example from experience - one of our local shows used to have a Horse Pleasure OF class- 2' fences - no restrictions whatsoever. So what happened. That class turned out to be basically a baby green hunter class. You had new riders or re-riders in there w/ professionals using it as a warm up for the higher hunter classes. Was it fare to the no pro riders, well not really as the class was meant for them but w/o restrictions there was nothing we could do - except make it an Adult Amateur Pleasure class and that solved that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                    Do NOT talk to the show manager or the judge about your confidence issues or any of that - they are not there to hold your or anyone elses hands/ they are there to have /judge a show. READ the prizelist carefully to make sure you are not in any violation of some rule - often shows will have rules about horse/rider combinations cross-entering certain divisions.

                    Agreed. Sounds like you should be very, very proud of yourself. As long as YOU'RE comfortable, you're in the right place, whether that's at a schooling show, a small B or C show, and/or WEF. Take things at the pace you're happy with and can handle.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by foursocks View Post
                      I think that what Fillabeana said is exactly right- ride in whatever classes for which you are qualified and feel safe doing, but at the 2', and maybe even 2'3", go in unjudged. It's nice to have validation, regardless, but if you are very competitive at all three levels then I think it is good sportsmanship to only be judged in the top one or two.
                      I've only done the 2' at one or two shows, when 2'3" wasn't offered. I just went in for one class thinking I might only show in that division, then when it went well my trainer encouraged me to scratch the rest and go in the 2'6" (pretty sure that was her plan all along - she's a sneaky one! ). But I agree, i nthe future going hc in any lower classes is probably smart.

                      Thanks for all the encouragement, guys - I know we're doing the right thing by staying at this level for now but it's nice to hear that others agree. I love this horse and I can feel my confidence growing with every trip at these smaller shows. I think our ultimate goal (a solid summer season in the 2'6") is truly becoming attainable!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Keep doing what you're doing. It sounds like it is doing exactly what it was meant to do... Boost your confidence

                        Don't sweat the idle chit-chat!
                        ALP
                        "The Prince" aka Front Row
                        Cavalier Manor

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                          if the trainers complain, they are the ones who need to talk to show management about restricting certain classes.
                          I disagree. If the trainers complain, they should 1.) quit complaining, 2.) teach their riders to ride better, 2.) train the horses better, and 3.) appreciate that they have some good competition.
                          Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Eh. They'll find out why you do what you do eventually. Until then, ignore them. Example: my mare is an inexperienced jumper and is fabulous in the warmup, to the point where I know it looks a little ridiculous to have her going in the lowest divisions (we are doing shoulder in past up-downers in the short- and long-stirrup warm-up). I know the little kids' parents are looking at me sideways. AAaaaandd then the Mare Dearest goes in the ring and has her "moments" (stopping, bucking, spooking, etc.) and I obviously use the class as a schooling opportunity (purple jumps will not eat you, Mare) and they chuckle to themselves and realize that they had us all wrong. My biggest goal is staying in the saddle, not stealing ribbons out of the hands of babes. Not saying that's what you do, but a little bit of a parallel situation just to show that things work out.

                            Sounds like you and your guy are having a great time and you are learning a lot and he gets to go and have the amusement of taking trips around the ring. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what matters. What people on the circuit think of you, or being able to smile at the end of the day and laugh between classes. If this is supposed to be fun but isn't, I'd reevaluate how you think about showing. If you are a point chaser (nothing wrong with that) work on staying in your zone and focusing, because listening to all that chatter isn't helping your game.

                            Best of luck, go get 'em!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Show because YOU want to and in the classes YOU choose to (obviously as long as you meet the requirements/restrictions). Screw what anyone else thinks. There is no reason you should go HC as long as you are within the parameters of the rules of that class. The other trainers need to grow up and realize that these are schooling shows, not the Washington International. Schooling shows are about having a good experience. If you need to do the 2'-2'3 classes to have a good experience then go for it.

                              I hate when people are such busy bodies about something that is none of their business.
                              "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                              "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                People always talk and whine at horse shows. Go ahead and show in whatever classes you are eligible for. I was a board member for a local hunter jumper association. We were always thrilled when really good riders and horses came to our events. However, there were always those who complained that their students were being deprived of ribbons. We told them we wanted our shows to be thought of as legitimate schooling shows and encouraged all riders to attend. The trainers would always threatened to boycott our shows, but they never did as there were so few option open to them and we gave out great year end prizes.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This is BS. Ignore what other people are saying, and as long as you aren't violating any rules, feel free to ride in any division that you and your trainer feel is appropriate.

                                  When I show in the modified adult division many of the other riders from my barn are far more experienced than I am. Their horses are showing and winning in the Pre-Green division or higher. I'm not about to go complain to my trainer or anyone else for that matter that they shouldn't be competing in such a low division.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If you aren't violating any rules there isn't a real reason not to continue doing as you are, but I do find it very strange that there aren't limits between 2' and 2'6. Most local circuits here limit you to 3" difference at the lower heights because its a learning track and they want people to compete at their level.

                                    Do they not have open warm up over fences? It seems from your description that this is exactly how the class was used? This is a cheaper option as well.

                                    My personal decision would also depend on who your competitors are. I was once riding one of the barn's greener mounts in a small show at 2'3. We showed up with the intention to compete, but found out there wasn't anyone in the class over about 12 (I was 18). I doubt any of our rounds were worthy of a 1st place red ribbon, but we flipped our number anyway.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If it's bothering other people and you're not at all concerned about the ribbons, isn't there a way to go in un-judged? That way people have no reason to complain and can't say that you're.. "collecting ribbons".
                                      Save The Date 08-15-2011

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by savethedate View Post
                                        If it's bothering other people and you're not at all concerned about the ribbons, isn't there a way to go in un-judged? That way people have no reason to complain and can't say that you're.. "collecting ribbons".
                                        ^^ This
                                        If you truly are riding for the reasons you stated, then riding hors de concours would be appropriate. If you are competitive at 2'6" then winning at 2' or 2'3" should not be your goal. Having a good round and building your confidence should be enough.

                                        Yes, you might be eligibe for those lower divisions, but think how you would feel if a rider on a AA horse showed up at these schooling shows riding in the 2'6" and winning everything. Wouldn't your nose be a little out of joint?

                                        Just ride hors de concours and therre will be no hard feelings.
                                        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                        Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

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