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Jumpers at schooling shows

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  • Jumpers at schooling shows

    I recently took my wannabe event horse to a h/j schooling show to give him some miles before his upcoming first horse trials. It was the first one I had been to in quite a while.

    The hunter classes were basically what you would expect from hunters at a small, local schooling show ... Lots of green horses and beginner riders, some pretty nice rounds, some not so nice rounds, and a lot in between.

    The jumpers, however, were another story. There were some well ridden rounds, for sure, but there were a handful who were absolutely terrifying to watch... RUNNING their horses and ponies at mach ten around the course, kicking and pulling and yelling ... I was amazed that none of them totally wiped out and went ass over tin cup.

    And the "trainers" of said riders? Standing at the rail, yelling at the kids to "go, go, go!" ... "Faster or you won't beat so-and-so!" ... and so on. Or yelling out the course to the rider one fence at a time.

    I know if I had ridden like that during my pony club days, I most likely would have been pulled off my horse and escorted from the premises, not rewarded with a blue ribbon.

    I'm not primarily a jumper rider (see above) and I really only go to these shows for schooling purposes, so I don't really have a dog in this fight ... But for the sake of the horses if nothing else, I wish they would make these low jumper divisions optimum time classes rather than speed. Or something.

    Does anyone have local shows in their area that do it that way? And does it help to encourage safer riding and better horsemanship?

  • #2
    I'm kind of in a similar situation to you--though I grew up doing local hunter stuff, I've moved on to eventing now, though I occasionally attend a local h/j show for milage. The hunter stuff has generally been a much better experience than the jumpers, because it's generally pretty decent, riding-wise. The jumpers, though...is generally scary, and not in the way the hunters might gasp at us for carrying a little more pace or missing a lead . I went to one show over the winter that actually had a timed first round, and the few rounds of that I saw were scary, run-and-gun trips, not the eq-course-with-a-bit-more-pace I was going for.

    While optimum time seems like a good idea, given that locally you've got a mix of little ponies and big horses and everything in between competing, you're still going to see some of the kids on ponies bat-out-of-hades riding to make time on their little 12hh pony, where that time on a 16.2h horse is going to be a steady forward round. But I have seen it help at derby cross type events, so it surely couldn't hurt in the jumpers. It would at least cut down on some of the riders racing around, and I'd like to see more of it.
    A Year In the Saddle

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    • #3
      I did some jumper shows with my young TB last year. My experience was much the same as yours OP.

      Many of the jumper rounds were ridden very badly. Horses run around the course like a bat out of hell. Trainers screaming "gallop!" the entire time. There were some good rounds, but most were pretty rough. It was no surprise that at least three people were taken off in an ambulance and one person had to be airlifted out via helicopter.

      I agree completely that the lower level should be optimum time. I like how the eventers do it where people are penalized for excessive speed.

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      • #4
        Sadly I think it's down to the general lowering of standards across the board, when the foundation is missing the house will fall down in a strong wind (or be driven off in an ambulance).

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        • #5
          I think at the schooling show level you often see hunters="pretty/slow" jumping and jumpers="run and jump as fast as possible", like they're running barrels. Everything is a jumpoff, minus the rideability.
          As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

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          • #6
            Around here the lower level classes are all optimum time. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

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            • #7
              I see this all the time at schooling shows. I personally think any table A/jump off/speed-oriented jumper class below .90m (actually, I'd probably prefer 1.10m but we all know that won't happen) is useless and teaches nothing but how to run like an idiot. Solving the problem of the poorly trained out of control backyardigans in the .50m jump off however seems to be about on par with solving World Peace.

              I honestly haven't seen an optimum time class in my area since my early pony days. I really wish they would utilize those types of classes more.

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              • #8
                Our local circuit does opt. time for two lowest jumper classes (2'3"-2'6", and 2'6"-2'9"), and then everything from the 3' on up is speed. I very rarely see any of the scary speed-bump jumper classes here, and for the most part the trainers locally use the opt. time to encourage a steady, slightly forward rythym and good balance. Granted I am luckily to have a fantastic local series which a lot of the "A" barn in our area (Reno, NV) frequent and that keeps the level of riding and competition much higher then most local level shows. Each hosting barn sets their opt. time a little bit differently, but for the most part the track the trainers choose is a medium track-so if there are smaller ponies they have a safe, but tighter track they can take and the bigger horses can take the wide track to help level the playing field.
                http://www.pairofacesstables.com

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                • #9
                  I attended my first schooling jumper show last month in years, and I was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of horses and skill of many of the riders. No cowgirls or scary rounds. Several AA quality jumper ponies carrying young/green riders safely around low courses, a handful of university equestrian team riders/horses, and a handful of event riders schooling for the HT being held in that facility over the following weekend. My large-strided TB jumped clear, had a lovely, quiet round, and then easily won the jump off without significantly increasing his pace. I certainly hope that such a pleasant experience isn't out of the norm, and that I can look forward to more enjoyable jumper shows like that one!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by goodlife View Post
                    Solving the problem of the poorly trained out of control backyardigans in the .50m jump off however seems to be about on par with solving World Peace.
                    This exactly. It isn't "jumper riders" who ride like out of control idiots at the lower levels, it is riders with poor training and trainers with poor skills encouraging it. I've even see a fair amount of it at the A shows in the baby jumpers (.65 meters, etc)... mostly kids/teens with awful backyard trainers who yell at the kids to "go faster, gallop, turn tighter."

                    Scary scary stuff. I admit to eye-rolling in their direction for the anxiety I get waiting for the inevitable crash/stop/fall.

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                    • #11
                      I am an eventer also and have had the same experience at my local circuit. Honestly, as long as the warm-up conditions are sane, I don't worry about others and just use it to give my horse experience.

                      Your goal is to train your horse, most jumpers share that goal, but in the local circuits there are a number of barns devoted to winning points/year end awards in the <3', rather than moving kids/horses up (the kids go to other barns to move up). I guess there is a fair amount of business involved (the shows, trainers, horses) so I doubt this niche will go away.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've seen a lot of this at my local Jumper shows. But luckily at the lower levels, 3' and below only. They also have two classes a division and one being a Table V Section 1 Optimum Time class. So that really backs people off from the mach 5 speed. But the Table IIb its game on for many people. I find it frustrating as I could easily do that with my horse, but it would teach him nothing and be dangerous on top of it. ill put in a solid round and get second place because I didn't just run at the fences and hope for the best.
                        Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                        Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                        Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                        Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

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                        • #13
                          It's VERY scary.

                          I'm somewhat 'over' the money/time/politics that is the A/AA circuit, and now I show my older jumper at schooling shows that my barn hosts.

                          I'm a competitive person, but I've had to accept that I CAN'T win at these shows, because I am not willing to RUN at jumps and make others gasp. Don' get me wrong I have a VERY speedy/handy horse, we've won speed classes up and down the east coast, but I won't risk boh of our lives for a measly ribbon. And once in a while we will win a class here because others have had rails/refusals due to scary riding.

                          Thankfully, I know in my head that I did 'win' most of those classes because I RODE well, did quick/tight turns and was SAFE- and most importantly, my horse will be sound in the morning

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh, and I've heard this gem more than once, from more than one "trainer"-

                            " She can't find a distance to save her life, so I just let her do jumpers, because it doesn't matter if it's scary as long as the horse picks up its legs. I just yell at them to run so they can win"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A farm here runs 2 schooling-type shows, one in the summer and one in the fall. There are hunters, eq, jumpers, and some "suitability for jumper" classes at the lower heights (jumpers I think is 3' or 2'9" and up). They are timed, but the time is only used for the judge to double-check for kind of a "forward" ride, it is faults and then a score from the judge. It is a bit odd, but it seems to work and cuts down on those scary low jumper rounds.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                A local schooling show does faults converted scoring, so it actually ENCOURAGES super-fast and out-of-control rides from the 2' to the 3' classes where it tops out. So you can have a non-clear, out of control ride with rails down in the jumpoff, that actually BEATS a clear, controlled but forward ride. it's ridiculous and I hate that method of scoring, especially for a schooling show.
                                Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post
                                  I recently took my wannabe event horse to a h/j schooling show to give him some miles before his upcoming first horse trials. It was the first one I had been to in quite a while.

                                  The hunter classes were basically what you would expect from hunters at a small, local schooling show ... Lots of green horses and beginner riders, some pretty nice rounds, some not so nice rounds, and a lot in between.

                                  The jumpers, however, were another story. There were some well ridden rounds, for sure, but there were a handful who were absolutely terrifying to watch... RUNNING their horses and ponies at mach ten around the course, kicking and pulling and yelling ... I was amazed that none of them totally wiped out and went ass over tin cup.

                                  And the "trainers" of said riders? Standing at the rail, yelling at the kids to "go, go, go!" ... "Faster or you won't beat so-and-so!" ... and so on. Or yelling out the course to the rider one fence at a time.

                                  I know if I had ridden like that during my pony club days, I most likely would have been pulled off my horse and escorted from the premises, not rewarded with a blue ribbon.

                                  I'm not primarily a jumper rider (see above) and I really only go to these shows for schooling purposes, so I don't really have a dog in this fight ... But for the sake of the horses if nothing else, I wish they would make these low jumper divisions optimum time classes rather than speed. Or something.

                                  Does anyone have local shows in their area that do it that way? And does it help to encourage safer riding and better horsemanship?
                                  LOL...were you by any chance in Mass? yes...its what we see at a local 4H series around here Not so pretty, and a little scary.
                                  Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by MillysGirl View Post
                                    A farm here runs 2 schooling-type shows, one in the summer and one in the fall. There are hunters, eq, jumpers, and some "suitability for jumper" classes at the lower heights (jumpers I think is 3' or 2'9" and up). They are timed, but the time is only used for the judge to double-check for kind of a "forward" ride, it is faults and then a score from the judge. It is a bit odd, but it seems to work and cuts down on those scary low jumper rounds.
                                    I kind of like this idea ... To me, the purpose of the <3ft jumper classes is to get horses and/or riders ready for the "real thing" rather than seeing who can make their horse run the fastest and jump the flattest ... so the idea of a judged "jumper suitability" class makes perfect sense. It would not only encourage safer riding, but reward riders for the type of round that they need in order to stay clear once the fences get higher.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Silk View Post
                                      LOL...were you by any chance in Mass? yes...its what we see at a local 4H series around here Not so pretty, and a little scary.
                                      Lol nope ... But it sounds like this kind of riding at schooling shows is unfortunately pretty universal.

                                      Edited to add: Not everyone at this show rode that way. There were also some nice, smooth, safe looking rounds on happy-looking horses ... but those riders went home empty handed in favor of the scary, dangerous ones who inevitably had faster times.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have done a lot of jumper schooling shows in the last year with my two greenies and yes: there is some scary-ass riding at these things! But like Beam Me Up said- go for the experience for you and your horse and don't get upset when a kid on some wild-eyed hony in lime green polo wraps beats you. It's just part of it, unfortunately. Anyway, as long as they stay out of my way in the schooling ring they can do whatever they want!
                                        You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

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