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How do you know when it's time for YOU to move down?

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  • How do you know when it's time for YOU to move down?

    I think we know when our horses are telling us that it's time to drop down a level, but I'd like to hear from people who somehow realized that it was time for them to do the same.

    I have a 4-year-old homebred that has just started over fences and I was wondering recently if he will make up into a 3'6" horse (I have some doubts), then it occurred to me that it didn't really matter to me because I would be just fine staying in the adults and never doing the A/O's again. That thought was a shock to me, since the whole purpose of breeding him was to make myself another amateur horse. Am I telling myself that it's time?

    Share your thoughts please.
    "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War

  • #2
    I'm 23 and have been showing since 3 or 4 (leadline). I show clients' horses in everything from baby greens to Level 7 jumpers. I know that if I wanted to buy my own horse and just show for myself instead of for clients, I would want a fun 3'6" jumper - uncomplicated and a pleasure to be around. When I was a junior it was much more important to me to keep moving up, now it just doesn't matter anymore.

    As long as you can keep it interesting and sometimes challenging, why worry about going bigger?


    • #3
      Agreed-as long as you're having fun, don't worry about going bigger. The most important thing is to enjoy yourself After all why do something that makes you miserable unless you have to?
      No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
      For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
      www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


      • #4
        I'm sure the OP isn't miserable in the AO's...sounds like the height/greater competition/more prestige involved with AO's over AA's just isn't important anymore.


        • #5
          I do c/ts now but I've decided this year not to move up. We do little 2'3 right now and I can move up, have shown in much higher and jumped much higher but this horse is just not the horse to go up much more on. And as I thought about it, it kindof hit me that I really don't want to. I'm going to jump for fun next year and focus on dressage. I think getting older and having a child did a lot to make me start to doubt going much over 3' anymore.
          Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


          • #6
            I think when the fright factor outweighs the fun factor, it's time to move down until it's fun again.

            For example: I have a friend who is riding a great, although aged horse. She was doing the 2'3" in 2007. We needed her to fill a class in the 2'6" and knew the horse could do it no problem. She filled and then remained showing at 2'6" the rest of the year. She began doing more in lessons up to 2'9" but she was always pretty petrified and got around only because she knew the horse could do it without her.

            This year she's not so sure about the horse. She decided that it makes her too nervous to make the distances at 2'6". In fact, she's taken a huge step back...down to 2' and adding...but is doing so because she's been frightened the whole time. That's no way to go around the ring. She should be enjoying herself.

            For me, I am petrified of not being able to move up. I'm doing 2'9" and bought a new horse for the next step...only problem is...he and I are having some difficulties: I was excited to actually trot him over a 6" crossrail the other day . It was the first time I "jumped" him since I bought him. I'm worried that I'm going to have to step back so far and for so long that 2'9" will look big again. That is the LAST thing I want.
            Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
            Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


            • Original Poster

              It's not fear that's tugging at me, it's the amount of time, energy, money, more time that is required to get me back to that level.........and I'm just not willing to do it, whereas a few years ago that was ALL I wanted to do. My level of commitment, my heart, is simply not into it the way it needs to be in order to excel at that level. And that's OK with me.

              And I'm really enjoying teaching the baby to do his lead changes and find his way around a little course. But on the other hand, I kind of miss that drive and passion, which is what it takes to keep me competing at the upper level since I am a full-time employed mom of two teenagers in addition to being a part-time rider.
              "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War


              • #8
                why make any decisions now? just enjoy the young one and see where life takes you! you may be happy playing around in the lower divisions with no pressure. and you may at some point find out your baby horse is really nice and want to get right back into the high pressure world of qualifying!


                • #9
                  I agree with TSWJB!

                  Do whatever you're enjoying at any given moment and try not to dwell on anything else.

                  It could be that your horse TELLS YOU that it's time to move up to the 3'6" in a couple of years because the 3' is so stinking easy for him and he doesn't require the prep that some horses require.

                  I've spent the last few years making my AO Jumper mare do the AO Jumpers despite the fact that it's at the very limit of her scope. I wasn't sure I had it in me to do that with another, but I just moved my [still green] TB boy up to the Low AO/Jr 4'3" jumpers and came home from the last 2 shows with 5 new coolers. It's so easy for him that I'm realizing that I don't need to "have anything special" to get him up there. He'll do it himself. It's reminded me that each horse is an individual and it's a process for some while not so much for others. No point in stressing about it or worrying about it when you're early in the process.

                  But I do hear what you're saying about the motivation. I've got 2 small children at home and a full time job. I would have a very difficult time staying motivated enough to ride 3-4 a day if it weren't for the goals I have. But my TB has proven to me that I don't have to stay as "focused" on moving up with him as I did with my mare. And maybe you could focus on a different goal that doesn't involve bigger jumps (such as a win or a championship or even just a beautiful round) in the lower classes.

                  I think personal goals are so strongly tied to the horse that you're riding at any given moment that you shouldn't assume that a lack of drive is related to anything other than that particular animal. And it could be that you recognize he's not a 3'6" horse and therefore are enjoying what you're doing rather than trying to make him something he's not. Doesn't mean you won't want to move up on another.
                  Flying F Sport Horses
                  Horses in the NW


                  • #10

                    Boy, for what it's worth, YOU are at the same place I am. And I think you said it all. I have been facing the same dilemma. I have my green horse going well enough to take with me to Fla. to do the 3'3" A/O.....and when they initiated that division, that was my goal. But after my last A show I had an epiphany!!!! IT IS TOO HARD!!!! to do it all, and work hard (and it gets harder every year) to look the part, get up so early to do so, and do it again the next day. It was NEVER too hard before. So I am where you are and I have accepted that A/AA competition is just too hard for me any more. I will continue to enjoy my three year old, hacking to the showgrounds, getting his changes, having some schools with pro friends., doing some ONE DAY local shows. But I may just lease my now made up green horse to someone who has the energy, youth, money and enthusiasm that I now lack. I hope you don't feel bummed about it. I don't. It's just time.

                    AND the best part IS....no one wants to DO what we are enjoying doing....everyone wants them made up and ready to go. So , for me anyway, it is a win win situation.....I still enjoy the process and will leave the guts and glory to the more driven.
                    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2bayboys View Post
                      It's not fear that's tugging at me, it's the amount of time, energy, money, more time that is required to get me back to that level.........and I'm just not willing to do it, whereas a few years ago that was ALL I wanted to do. My level of commitment, my heart, is simply not into it the way it needs to be in order to excel at that level. And that's OK with me.
                      Well, I think you said it right there. You don't want to put in the effort and that is perfectly acceptable. Again we do this for enjoyment. If you aren't enjoying the time, energy, etc (can't say any of us enjoy spending the money, no matter the level ) required to do the A/Os then you should drop back until you are enjoying it all. It's all about the fun factor.

                      I've recently become a little burned out after a year of intense horse re-hab that happened to occur during a very busy time in my working life (I was doing the job of 4 people). While I believe in taking excellent care of my horses, I've decided that I'm just not having fun going to the barn EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. and so, I stopped. I'm going 4-5 times a weeks and am enjoying myself more when I'm there. (While this has nothing to do with a level of showing, it is relevant to the time committment involved with taking care of horses and deciding that enjoying myself is more important. )
                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"