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Triangle NC-Where are the Pony Kids?!

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  • Triangle NC-Where are the Pony Kids?!

    Is it just me or are less kids riding in this area? There have been a couple of A shows in the last year with no Short Stirrup kids! I always thought that was a fairly healthy division.

    Last year, someone asked me who were the area pony trainers and I could only think of one person in this area with several pony kids!

    Curious if it's the economy putting the pinch on riding lessons and subsequently buying ponies?

    Or perhaps kids are so busy these days with piano lessons, soccer, dance, etc. that few commit to riding more than once a week?

    Thoughts??

  • #2
    I have two kids riding ponies, one is starting into her second year of SS and her sister is doing walk/trot now and will progress to YE. However, we only do the "C" shows. The "A"s are just WAY too cost prohibitive I think right now for the average pony rider in the TRiangle area. I think it's cost of shows more than lessons, buying ponies etc. My kids that show are VERY active, but we pick and choose shows that they will do well at and most of them like the goal of some sort of "series" year end awards. No way they could afford to do enough "A"s to get a year end award! We MAY venture to a SMALL "A" show later this year with the SS kid, thought about the holiday classic, but frankly noone is riding right now with all the rain and bad weather since we don't have an indoor!
    www.shawneeacres.net

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Shawnee, that makes sense about the cost of A's being prohibitive. My oldest did Short Stirrup at the C's earlier last year and the division had a decent amount of entries-certainly more than State Fair or Holiday Classic. I guess by the time the kids get to the Children's Hunters, the parents are ready to spend $$ as that division is usually very healthy at the A's!

      I guess I'm comparing things to when I was a kid. My trainer had about ten pony kids. Part of me wishes I could find that situation for my girls.

      I do often wonder, though, if the mentality today with many parents wanting their kids to do so much (soccer, piano, tennis etc. ) makes riding less appealing because it is so tiime consuming.

      Thoughts?

      Comment


      • #4
        Well most all of my students participate in other activities, but the parents (and students) making showing a fairly big priority. Having said that we don't get to ALL of the shows. PArtially because I have students that show on a variety of circuits. Several of my students show "C" hunter shows, AQHA shows, 4-H, a couple of local competitive "circuits" and dressage and combined training! We jsut returned home from an awards banquet for a local circuit where four of my students won some EXCELLENT prizes, and I was commenting to my husband how thin I was going to be stretched this year! I have several more students showing this year than last, many of my adults are wanting to do dressage and C, which I have a heavy background as well in. SO I need to clone myself! But all in all, with all the showing, the parents decide to primarily go with the most cost effective shows that offer the most in return. TOnight, the champions at this circuit not only were winning embroided sheets, "sleazys", emdroidered chairs, pullover sweatshirts, plaques etc BUT they gave $150 to several categories of champions., And this is for a local show series that charges $5 per class! Pretty good bang for their bucks! My clients really cannot afford the "A" show horses, although both ponies one of my kids shows have competed sucessfully in the "A"s earlier in life. It HAS to remain fun AND affordable for the majority of familys. I doubt I will ever become a "fixture" at the A's! I am a SNT and enjoy my "niche" is suppose. yes, I'd like to someday have a student that excells thru the higher competitve levels, and have had some achieve some pretty good success. But overall, I "cater" to the more modest rider/budget. Its a tough job but SOMEBODY has to do it! LOL
        www.shawneeacres.net

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Trainers like you are definitely needed Shawnee!!

          What circuit gave such great prizes and charge $5 a class? That is very impressive!!

          Comment


          • #6
            It is a little circuit called CMHA. Mostly a "open show" circuit with a hunter division and a western division. Most of the hunter classes are flat classes. But we go there when we haven't got any other shows we are doing because it is close, cheap, fun and friendly! And at all of the shows they give "hi point" awards which are usually nice stuff! I like it cause it is a GREAT place to take beginning riders and young horses. One family that rides with me took home three coolers, three "directors" chairs, several sweatshirts and a couple of sleazys tonight PLUS some cash! It was fun, we all went and had BBQ in Goldsboro. They had a FUN "treasure" hunt and everyone jsut enjoyed themselves. Kept the "fun" and "affordable" part. In two weeks we go to a bigger "shindig" the NCQHA awards banquet in GReensboro, two of my students won some pretty big awards in that, not sure what they will give, but it will be good stuff! I like Stuff!
            www.shawneeacres.net

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            • #7
              Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
              It HAS to remain fun AND affordable for the majority of familys. I doubt I will ever become a "fixture" at the A's! I am a SNT and enjoy my "niche" is suppose. yes, I'd like to someday have a student that excells thru the higher competitve levels, and have had some achieve some pretty good success. But overall, I "cater" to the more modest rider/budget. Its a tough job but SOMEBODY has to do it! LOL
              well i am glad there are trainers like you still out there! everyone wants to cater to the A rated crowd, but its just waaay to expensive for the average rider!

              Comment


              • #8
                We actually had a short stirrup kid at the last A show but the division did not fill so she ended up just schooling and not showing.

                I think showing has just gotten so expensive that people are not doing as many shows in general, and the less advanced you are the more you may tend to do the unrated shows.

                Sad, though. Our kid was really disappointed.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  PM, that is disappointing. My oldest is aiming to move up from Short Stirrup on her green large to the Children's Ponies. Holiday Classic had no Children's Ponies-discouraging!! You've been in this area a while and your daughter has been doing this much longer than mine-are you noticing less kids riding?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Limerick - we have noticed less kids showing and more so in that less kids seem to be starting into riding. I consider it an economy impact, if the parents are having some financial stress I could see where they would be less likely for their kids to start into riding in the first place. Riding is an expensive sport and showing even more so.

                    I have just noticed the classes smaller in general but am hoping it will increase in the spring.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                      I have two kids riding ponies, one is starting into her second year of SS and her sister is doing walk/trot now and will progress to YE. However, we only do the "C" shows. The "A"s are just WAY too cost prohibitive I think right now for the average pony rider in the TRiangle area. I think it's cost of shows more than lessons, buying ponies etc. My kids that show are VERY active, but we pick and choose shows that they will do well at and most of them like the goal of some sort of "series" year end awards. No way they could afford to do enough "A"s to get a year end award! We MAY venture to a SMALL "A" show later this year with the SS kid, thought about the holiday classic, but frankly noone is riding right now with all the rain and bad weather since we don't have an indoor!
                      Shawnee Acres,
                      If your kids would have been at the Holiday Classic, they would have done well. I've heard that the NCHJA C shows are going to be more competitive right now than the A shows. I have seen quite a few 4-H kids at the two A shows that I went to watch this fall, and they did well. It was cold at the Holiday Classic, but I thought that it was a nice, quiet little show despite the fact that the numbers were way down and the fact that the Children's U/S class had to go in the dark in the main arena because the lights blew for a few minutes! I liked the fact that there wasn't any braiding.

                      My friend showed in the Children's at the Holiday Classic, but there were only 12 in her classes at the most. There were only 4 in her medal class and only 4 in one of her eq classes. I only saw one pony around the showgrounds the entire time that I was at the Holiday Classic, and I was up there for two days.

                      At the H/J Fair show, I was there watching for the Pre-Child/Adult classes and there were a healthy number of people.

                      There were also about 18 in the Pre-Child/Adult division at the Duke AA show.

                      The A shows are just ridiculously expensive, and people just can't really afford them anymore. I'm actually stretching and showing my guy at the Spring Classic in March after I get him out to the March C show in Raleigh. I'm taking my younger horse to the January 22nd C show in Raleigh, so I'll let you know what I see there.

                      I believe that we will only have two pony riders at the most this year.

                      Ponymom,
                      Your pony wasn't a medium or large gray was he? I couldn't tell the exact height of the pony that I'm talking about because he had a guy pro on him jumping in the covered when I saw him. If I had to guess, the pony that I'm talking about was probably a large though. Or were you talking about an A show before the Holiday Classic?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Horseforthecourse - The pony from my barn would not have had a guy pro on him. Pony is a medium.

                        I know the Pony Hunters filled because I had some friends in it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a short stirrup kid. Doing her second year this year. We did two A shows last year, and a ton of C shows. This year we are sticking to the C shows till this summer. To me, my student gets more out of the C shows. She's able to feel less stressed about the environment, she's able to focus on me more without some 17 hand level 5 jumper galloping past her in the schooling ring. The last A show we went to was a nightmare for her confidence, so we are sticking to the C shows for a little while.

                          Financially- her parents can front the money for the A shows, that's not the issue. The issue is going to the shows, doing her best, and not shattering her already fragile confidence level. So the C shows is where we will stay for now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It will be interesting to notice in a few years whether something I noticed in the mid 90's will be the case...

                            I had a big-eq student then, and in those classes, we had a very hard time getting them filled...

                            With hindsight, I think it was because there were fewer kids who began taking lessons in the recession years of the early '90's.

                            I think with kids who are already started, sacrifices will be made to keep them going, but maybe not to get started in what is so clearly a luxury sport.
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                            • #15
                              I know when my daughter did the SS ponies it was early 2000's and she and I just decided that it was better doing schooling and C shows. She was young, her pony was young, her barn was smaller and it just made more sense to learn at smaller type shows with less pressure. She was also doing Soccer as well and then Volleyball. As she got older and progressed in her riding she had to make a choice between her other activites and riding because it was too much work to do the A shows and keep up her school work and do other activities along with riding. Eventually she gave up her other sports and just went with riding. I don't know how SS riders go to A shows regularly and have a "normal" life - it just wasn't possible in our situation.
                              The ultimate horse mom

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ponymom4 View Post
                                Horseforthecourse - The pony from my barn would not have had a guy pro on him. Pony is a medium.

                                I know the Pony Hunters filled because I had some friends in it.
                                Glad to hear that the pony hunters filled.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Where are the pony kids

                                  HELLO!!! If you have kids that want to ride...Check out some of your local breeders!!! I would LOVE to have people contact me for their kids to show some of my ponies locally! I would pay the entries and shipping as long as the kids had some good basics and were willing to come and school the ponies a few times before the shows to make sure everyone was on the same page and it was a good match! It sure wouldn't hurt to ask around to the local breeders to see if they had some young stock that was ready to start in the Childrens or short stirrup. AND if they are anything like me, most would be willing to pay the entry fees and shipping, or even ship themselves. I have ponies ready at almost every level, but lack riders..seems quite a few breeders have the same problem.
                                  Fox Ridge

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                                  • #18
                                    I know that at least when I was growing up (I started riding in the early 90s), Triton was the big place for pony kids in the area, but we really only showed at the Triton C shows...we didn't ever get to go off farm - the only kids who did were the kids who had their own ponies, etc. When I returned to the area and showed for the summer after graduating from high school, Triton still had a bunch of pony kids, but not as many...but they were taking more kids to off-site shows, especially the Greensboro C's. I wonder if with the barn moving further out, they have fewer still, and that the pony kid concentration that they used to have has gotten more and more spread out?

                                    It's a lot less fun for the little ones if you don't have a huge posse of fellow pony kids to hang out with all day...and maybe the barns that do have huge groups of pony kids aren't the types of barns that take tons of kids to the As?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There are a bunch of kids at Trademark Stables in the afternoons. My daughter is much younger than the other kids riding so we aren't in the "click", but there are a lot of them and they seem to get along well with each other and I know that many of them show (not sure where though). It is certainly a more enjoyable sport for kids if they have friends to be with.

                                      One other thing - Most of the places don't want to start lesson programs until children are 7-8. But, there are so many sports programs now for Pre-K children, that it is quite possible by the time the kids are 7-8, they are already superstars on the soccer field or halfway to their college scholarship for some other sport that they started with way earlier. Just a thought.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Half Halting, that is a really good point about the kids being very involved in a sport by the time they are seven.

                                        Trademark is a nice facility-we rented that top barn one summer before my old trainer got her own place.

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