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Is it to late to be good?

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  • Is it to late to be good?

    My question is, is it ever to late to become a very competitive rider? I have been riding for a while now, but never had a serious trainer. Ridden tons of different horses, done local shows, do alright for myself, but again feel like I've missed a lot of stuff along the way. Experienced without the proper education I guess you might say, although I feel like I know most theory well enough to apply it to someone else I just cant always execute! I feel like I have been stuck at 2'6 forever, im in my early 20's and now would like to seriously get my butt into gear. Is it too late? I know that I have more baggage (as in bad habits) then someone who is just starting, but have I totally missed the boat by not having an illustrious childhood in the SS circuit. Has anyone else started later on and and now find themselves competitive at the bigger shows? (I know it'll take, $$, work and a good trainer) just would like to hear how realistic it is!
    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

  • #2
    No, it is not too late.
    Inner Bay Equestrian


    • #3
      I've seen a couple of very good riders who started later in life - in fact I have a very good friend who did just that. She, however, had the money and time to really dedicate herself to it. She got a top trainer, a very nice horse, rides at least 4 days a week and lessons 2-3 times a week. She is a beautiful and effective rider. It can be done with the right person, right trainer, right horse and $$. Good luck!


      • #4
        It is absolutely never too late to dedicate yourself to being good and competitive at ANYTHING.

        If you want this, you will make it happen
        Horse Drawings!


        • #5
          Its never too late! but I feel your pain...I have felt stuck for years!

          It is so frustrating but how can you expect to get better if you do not have the time and money to devote to it? I am FINALLY done with school and have the time again, but I sure don't have the money, so I am back to looking at OTTBs with potential like I used to have 5+ years ago (that I had to sell after I got him started over 3 jump crossrail "courses"). OHHHH maybe I will see 3' again by the time I am 35....
          I WAS a proud member of the *I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday* clique..but now I am 30!!!!!!!!!!!
          My new blog about my Finger Lakes Finest:
          She Ain't No Small Potato!


          • #6
            I feel your pain! I am 35 & currently semi-retired raising a family. I was a pro for 15 yrs., but never had the $$ to get anywhere. I still want to ride & train. At the moment, I am 30+lbs. over weight, totally out of shape & haven't ridden in months. I got a bug up my butt that I want to work for Leslie Howard. That has been my dream for many years. It sounds crazy, but I am looking into it. I would have to move my family, ect. But it is something I really want. I may even need to wait a few years to do it. Maybe my hubby won't let me. But I won't let age stop me!

            Remember, age is just a number.

            Thirties are the new Twenties
            (]~~[) Amy (]~~[)

            * I hope I never get too old to ride, despite the injuries and pain, because I cannot imagine not doing the thing I most enjoy in my life.*


            • #7
              I know exactly how you feel... early 20's, and for the majority of college I took a break from riding (and any riding I did get to do was rarely in the form of a lesson, mostly just light hacks). I feel rushed almost, now, wanting to learn everything I missed out on once college and limited access to trainers happened.

              There is time, though. Like someone else said, if you want it bad enough and have the passion, you WILL make it happen.


              • Original Poster

                thanks, this is more encouraging, I am starting to feel like I am destined to ride 2'6 my entire life. I would love to ride/train/work for a pro, but I feel like I would need to train to train with one haha. As much as I love my own horses Im thinking its time to schedule myself some lessons on some packers. Never had a chance to ride a totally made horse, I was always on the crazies/not super talented, which def have some good lessons of their own to teach but it never really got me anywhere!
                Keep the tips/stories/encouragement coming folks!
                the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                • #9
                  Maybe it would be helpful to list where you're located (or a general area).

                  I know for me, if you happen to live in Nebraska, I'd be happy to let you ride my packer mare (she does 3'6 jumpers)...or ride something else and just mess around to get back into riding shape. Someone else MAY be willing to do the same
                  Horse Drawings!


                  • #10
                    Not hunter/jumper, but Nichole Uphoff was 40 when she started riding dressage. She made it to the top of the sport just fine.


                    • #11
                      It is not too late.

                      Firstly, there is nothing wrong with riding 2'6". I think that people who can build a 2'6" course into a horse and have done it on horse after horse are often more educated riders than people who are doing 3'6"+ on trainer-managed and trainer-developed horses.
                      If you really ride 2'6"/3' right, and you know exactly where that ride comes from through every inch of the horse and what systematic training system creates it, when the time comes you will be able to just step up a foot with no problems.

                      Paradoxically if you really want to get good I would spend at least a year with a dressage trainer. Really get some depth in your knowledge on flatwork; learn how to set up a systematic ride with exercises custom tailored to the horse you are on at the moment. If you are at a stage where you are frustrated and want to move up you will get more "bang for your buck" both money, time, and education wise with a dressage trainer at this point in your riding education, I think.

                      Then when you can really put a flat ride on a horse and you know where stuff comes from in a ride all the way back to Intro level, or when you know where you are going six months down the line and why are you doing this exercise now, you will not recognize yourself how you ride.

                      Also, learn how barns are run from morning feed to night check. Get a depth to your knowledge here as if one day there might be an apocalypse and you might walk in the barn down the road with nothing but the feed chart and the names on the stall doors to help you. Could you step up and run the place? Can you handle stallions? Broodmares? Can you do turnouts and blankets even on difficult horses that are young or have behavior issues? It is one thing to lead old Dobbin down the lane, another when it is a 3yo stallion. Do you know how to load a problem loader matter of factly and efficiently without resorting to violence? Can you install brakes at the mounting block on one that likes to take off? Can you teach manners in the grooming stall? Can you look at feet and know in how many weeks the farrier should show up? Can you give shots? IV? IM? Basic medical attention if someone gets scratches on a back leg or a cut near his eye- and even on a horse that might not stand so nice and well-behaved for you?
                      Can you manage the barn help, remember when to get feed, and keep track of the worming cycle? Drive a trailer? Pack a trailer for a show and set up when you get there?

                      If you keep scouting always for a trainer who will put you on stuff, and then you show up with some "depth" to your basics, you will be surprised how willing they are to put you on some stuff.

                      Don't do this scouting over the phone, show up in person ready to demonstrate your mettle in a lesson, not just declare it.

                      Right now I am riding with someone where the first phone conversation was very standard, you know, "Board is $x per horse, etc etc," Well, I showed up and he liked how I rode and how I was around the horses and within two days I could ride literally anything in the barn I wanted. He asked me, "So do you like to ride the big jumps?" I said, "I wouldn't know I have never really had the opportunity." He said, "That surprises me from the way you flat," (see? I wasn't kidding about how much a dressage background can be the ticket) and that afternoon the rails went near the top of the standards.
                      Two weeks after I showed up he had to go to Europe and he turned the barn over to me in his absence (there's were the horse management part comes in). I was responsible for 20 horses; when the barn help had off I did the mucking, made the call on blankets, did all of the turnouts, and rode. It was me at the farm and no one else. When the barn help was there I had help with the stalls but still needed to manage.
                      The ability to step in and do that at a barn I was just getting to know really helped out in the "getting-thrown-some-rides" department.

                      I turn 30 in two weeks and finally I am at a place where I can jump the big jumps and ride the upper level dressage horses.

                      It is not too late.

                      Do everything in your power to have a lot of "depth" to your riding and horse management. Volunteer at rescues to help retrain those guys. Take a million dressage lessons. See if you can learn something about long lining. Maybe skulk around the event world a little too. Volunteer to ride the greenest horse in the barn in a lesson below your level but at the horse's level, so that you can gain experience installing a ride. Strive to know always where everything comes from in the ride you are putting on a horse, and what the next step will be and the one after that.
                      Learn how to manage a barn from sunup to sundown. Follow a vet around for a month if you can. Ask the farrier to teach you how to pull a shoe next time he's around. Maybe follow him around for a month if he'll let you. Follow a saddle fitter around to some barn calls; go in the shop and learn how a saddle is made from the ground up and learn how they are repaired. Audit some natural horsemanship clinics so if something won't get on a truck, you have some tools in your back pocket. If there is a natural horsemanship guy in your area, knock on his door and ask if you can take some lessons from him. Etc, etc, etc.

                      You will ride better and manage horses better than a lot of the bigger-jumping, trainer-coddled riders if you do this.

                      Then when opportunity knocks, you can just open the door and walk on through.
                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks kellidahorsegirl, I wish MA was close to Nebraska haha I would be over to your place in a heartbeat!

                        Thanks so much meupatdoes See on the ground I am the most confident horseperson you could find. I've been manager at two different facilities, I have foaled out a handful of precious little ones, I have been responsible for breeding, both handling the stallions and the mares, I have backed a baby for the first time, worked with an off the track race horse, I teach beginner lessons, I also have worked with yearlings on up, both on the ground and on their backs, I’ve worked with numerous different breeds of horses. I was also an equine vet tech for a couple years. You could face me with anything on the ground! But I just feel like I have only kind of skimmed the surface with my riding, I have skipped a lot of steps along the way and moved up when I don’t think I really should have because I definitely missed some things. I could definitely benefit from some more dressage (jumping is just flatwork with obstacles as they say!)
                        There are definitely holes in my training that I absolutely need to go back and fill in before I could even consider moving up, going backwards at this point just worries me because I feel like at this rate with how much I have done in the horse world I should be a fantastic rider! I could jump around a course and somehow get my striding but where I grew up riding I was never shown how to bend at the hip… or count my strides, or how to execute a flying lead change (not that we had any horses that could do that either! Haha) so sure I can bop around a course and do alright for myself but its certainly not as accurate as it should be, and when I get into a tight spot I get all fumbled and left behind or jump ahead.
                        It definitely helps to hear all these tips! And others who feel the same way, or of people who have beem successful later on!
                        the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                        • #13
                          Metopdoes, WELL SAID


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hampton Bay View Post
                            Not hunter/jumper, but Nichole Uphoff was 40 when she started riding dressage. She made it to the top of the sport just fine.
                            She was way younger when she started.
                            "Common sense is so rare nowadays, it should be classified as a super power."-Craig Bear Laubscher


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JumpinBean17 View Post
                              My question is, is it ever to late to become a very competitive rider? I have been riding for a while now, but never had a serious trainer. Ridden tons of different horses, done local shows, do alright for myself, but again feel like I've missed a lot of stuff along the way. Experienced without the proper education I guess you might say, although I feel like I know most theory well enough to apply it to someone else I just cant always execute! I feel like I have been stuck at 2'6 forever, im in my early 20's and now would like to seriously get my butt into gear. Is it too late? I know that I have more baggage (as in bad habits) then someone who is just starting, but have I totally missed the boat by not having an illustrious childhood in the SS circuit. Has anyone else started later on and and now find themselves competitive at the bigger shows? (I know it'll take, $$, work and a good trainer) just would like to hear how realistic it is!
                              are you my twin?!

                              i feel like i'm going to be at 2'6" for the rest of my life, also in my early 20's, ridden since i was 10, and just never had the money, opportunity, or horses nice enough to go farther. my senior year at college was the high point in my riding, was showing 1st level dressage, playing with 2nd, and schooling 3' on a semi-regular basis. then i graduated, had to go work, and now all i can afford time/money wise is a 1x week group lesson, which i am grateful for, but i admit i often get jealous of friends who get to ride more often and nicer horses. hopefully next year i will move UP (haha, up..) to the level 0 jumpers, but who knows. when i can finally buy something it will probably be an OTTB, because that's where my budget is right now, so i'll have to spend more years working that horse up past the 2'6" mark. sigh. i feel your pain! my ultimate goal in life is now to show.. SOMEDAY.. in the 3' hunters. and not embarass myself.
                              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



                              • #16
                                JumpinBean...totally feel your pain, I am practically at the same stage as you, and feel so stuck...hoping to really start working towards my riding goals come spring. I'm in my early 20s, fresh out of college, starting a new career, was out of horses for 3 1/2 years of college, and am now just getting my older (16) TB back into working form after a sesamoid fracture and ulcers. He's basically going to have the winter off and then we'll start fresh with lots of flatting in the spring...or so that's my plan.

                                I, too, would love to take some jumping lessons on a packer as I want to do jumpers and my horse needs lots more flatwork before we get there...even then he'll be limited to 3' due to age and the old leg injury, so I'll be looking at leasing/buying something new if/when I'm ready to show again.

                                It's comforting to hear other people in the same dilemma riding wise....hope to hear you're back on track in a few months!


                                • #17
                                  It's not too late But you need to have family support, be willing to work hard and a little $$$ with a touch of luck never hurts

                                  I am you.....but a tad older I just turned 40 I started working in the horse business when I was 17 to earn my rides. I have ridden on the track, started babies on the farm, foal watched, assisted with breeding (not my fav), run a lesson program, ridden a ton of retreads and started lots horses over fences. I have had tons of experience but very little formal education and I have not had much opportunity to show. I decided in my late 20s to try to pursue my dreams as an ammy and have been stuck in the same place due to lack of $$$ and lack of family support. And I still don't think it's too late for me You need one or the other....both are nice

                                  You CAN do it though. Get to clinics as often as possible. Find a great trainer that is comfortable working with more advanced riders. Spend a little taking some lessons and if they have something for you to ride....jump on it Good luck!!!
                                  Last edited by imapepper; Dec. 29, 2009, 04:48 PM. Reason: grammer/spelling


                                  • #18
                                    I've known several very good, competitive riders and even a couple of pros who did not start riding at all until their 20s, so you're ahead of the game there.

                                    No really, everyone else has given very good advice so I just thought I'd chime in and say don't give up, it's definitely not too late.
                                    exploring the relationship between horse and human


                                    • #19
                                      It's never too late! I often see an older woman at locals shows winning divisions on her OTTB! She is at least 55-65, and a very good rider. I look up to her a great bit.


                                      • #20
                                        I had started back riding after a 20 year break and was jumping about 2'3". I went to Ireland and rode in several lessons a day for 10 days straight on good horses and was jumping 3'6" the last few days. If you have the proper base training, then it is easy to move up with the right training and the right horses. Of course, it made a big difference that one of the horses I rode was a competition horse that was a seasoned pro at 3'6", rather than a typical lesson horse that jumps 2' - 2'6".

                                        The proper fundamentals are very important to be able to move up.