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Grand Prix at 11!?!

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  • Grand Prix at 11!?!

    I was reading one of the recent Chronicles, and there was an article about the Jaynes that mentioned that Charlie Jayne started doing GPs at 11 yrs old. After I picked my jaw off the floor, I started wondering 1) how common is it for juniors to be able to compete at that level (assuming you have access to the top trainers and top horses) and 2) was he successful because he was incredibly naturally talented, was he on a total packer, were they "easy" GP classes, what?? Its mind boggling that someone could ride at that level with so little experience.

    Of course, in eventing, the rules do not even allow you to compete at prelim until you are 14 yrs old, so you would never see this. But even if the age were open, I find it hard to believe that someone could have all the skills to get around safely at advanced at anything under 16. So to hear someone is able to get around something as technically challenging as a GP course just wows me.

  • #2
    Well, there are grand prixs and then there are GRAND PRIXS. Kind of a catch all term any more.

    There are quite a few level 8 (or even some 7s sneaking in there) classes offering money and labeling themsleves Grand Prix in various parts of the country. It's not always the International level big money type affair you may see at major shows.

    Not saying they are particularly user friendly at all here but most with a decent High Jr/AO horse can get around many of these GP courses. IIRC Maggie J won the Maclay Regionals one night and a 35k GP the next day. Not unheard of.

    The Jayne kids are trainers kids back several generations and get assistance from other trainers as well. no shortage of horses to ride although I bet they were not packers-those the owners want to ride.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • #3
      I have a tape of one of the Lake Placid GPs (you know, back when they actually used to put show jumping on ESPN) from the late 90s and he was in it on a mare named Cleopatra and I think they said he was 11 or 12.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Roxy SM View Post
        I have a tape of one of the Lake Placid GPs (you know, back when they actually used to put show jumping on ESPN) from the late 90s and he was in it on a mare named Cleopatra and I think they said he was 11 or 12.
        Anyway you can post it on youtube so people can see it??
        Author of COTH article "The Other Side of Aaron Vale"


        • #5
          Cleopatra was truely a goddess, that I would have sold half of my brain for.
          "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18


          • #6
            Originally posted by Roxy SM View Post
            I have a tape of one of the Lake Placid GPs (you know, back when they actually used to put show jumping on ESPN) from the late 90s and he was in it on a mare named Cleopatra and I think they said he was 11 or 12.
            I have seen this too! If I recall, the mare was absolutely amazing and a bit older. While the Jaynes are all great riders and Charlie definitely rode very well as an 11 year old, if I recall correctly, that sweet mare did fix a few oopsies for him.


            • #7
              11 still is really young -- There's a boy who competed in some of the national standard GPs on the East Coast last season, and I think they announced his show age as 11 -- Michael somebody? -- I believe his father is a pro --

              I think McLain held the record for youngest GP rider before Charlie, and McLain did it when he was 14 -- McLain also won both the Medal and USET Talent Search when he was 14 -- Once a teenager has had that much success in the EQ ring, it seems to me that you would really be holding them back by not allowing them to move up to GP --
              "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


              • #8
                Originally posted by dab View Post
                11 still is really young -- There's a boy who competed in some of the national standard GPs on the East Coast last season, and I think they announced his show age as 11 -- Michael somebody? -- I believe his father is a pro --
                Michael Hughes, Eamonn's son. I remember when he was doing pony jumpers the same year we had a couple girls doing them and he was like 7 or 8 and was already good!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by findlymine View Post
                  Anyway you can post it on youtube so people can see it??
                  Sorry it's on VHS! All my good stuff is on VHS unfortunately. I want to convert them eventually.


                  • #10
                    Oh .....Here in Germany there are a few now good riders who did big classes as a teenager. Christian Ahlmann got his Golden "Reitabzeichen" when he was 14, you have to won 10 times a S-class( S- starts at 1,40m) and Angelina Herröder won 22 S-Classes at the age of 13!
                    It's posible but mostly they are kids of trainers/riders!


                    • #11
                      Alex had access to incredible safe horses who could provide wonderful positive learning experiences for his children--what parent wouldn't want that?

                      Maggie was about that age & I watched her in the GPs in the spring of '96 down in FL which was an Olympic year so they were pretty good sized (I believe she rode Market Rules & Keystone then?). The "finesse" perhaps wasn't there yet, but getting mileage in the GP ring & being safe gave them what they needed to get where they are today.
                      "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"


                      • #12
                        Thats amazing. Honestly, I dont think I could let my kid do that. Scary!
                        Rural Property Specialist
                        Keller Williams Realtors

                        Email Me for Horse Property!


                        • #13
                          Wow, 11 is young!!!! I did the 25k Cherry Blossom Grand Prix in Atlanta when I was 14 an was 7th with 1 time fault. That said I was REALLY well mounted and my coach probably had me pushed up to fast. After that season was finished I moved barns and didn't show another big class (over 1.40m) until I was 19, however it was much happier at the "lower" levels.
                          The prix in Atl was pretty funny as I was catch riding for a trainer that week. Right after the first round was done I had to rush back for the green pony hack... The SMALL green pony hack. The pony I was put on just so happened to be a tiny dapple grey thing (very cute). After the hack was done I had to book it back to the GP ring for the ribbons and so I trotted the pony right into the ingate for the presentations where I switched back onto my 17.2hh hano gelding who also happened to be an identicle shade of dapple grey. The boys in the class thought it was soooo funny how I "put Tucket in the dryer"... and that "I actually found a horse I fit"... I was around 4'9 and 80 pounds at that age

                          In Europe though, those kids are jumping 1.40m on their ponies so there is no reason why a kid couldn't be fit to do 1.45/1.50m on a horse. Billie Douret from Canada was doing the FEI (1.60) classes in Welly world at 15 I believe with that Sweet Dreams horse... Which I can gaurentee were HUGE!


                          • #14
                            This thread is just in time for me! I was just about to post a similar one.

                            I was surprised to see that there are 13 year olds and 15 year olds riding in a grad prix in Madison, WI next month! I was surprised because I don't think young teens can have a significant amount of experience to effectively ride a grand prix course. But maybe my opinion isn't too fair because I'm jealous I'm not doing grand prix classes.


                            • #15
                              i don't think it's common. but I do know michael hueghs (sp?) competes around here (NJ) in the high jr/am jumpers and i think he's done GP's too, and he's only 14 i believe? he might be even younger. he's very successful though! my theory is that these kids that are doing GP's at such young ages are: extremely brave, have a very fair sum of money to dedicate to riding and training, dedicate almost all of their time to riding and perhaps are home-schooled, have a safe and experienced horse, and a very good trainer. but this also depends on the level, location, size of show, etc. i see a lot of teens in smaller GP's that are hardly gp's (might as well be mini-prix's is what i am saying) and then in some lower level GP's but I don't think i've ever seen any real youngsters in level 7s/8s. but when the levels go up, i think the majority of the kids who have the ability to show at those levels do have the resources listed above.. but it's certainly possible to have a cheap horse you picked up somewhere turn into a successful high level jumper!
                              Last edited by superpony123; Mar. 30, 2010, 12:59 AM.

                              Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


                              • #16
                                I rode in my first GP at 14 on my $3500 quarter horse 3'-hunter-flunk-out. Age-wise I wasn't *that* young to be riding at that level, and if I recall correctly there were several other kids around that age showing in the GPs at the time as well. I don't think young teens riding at that level are necessarily given "made" horses or insanely rich (though some certainly are). I think you can work your way to that level by that age if you find a really great horse to take you there.

                                I did have an incredible trainer (who very very rarely sat on our horses) and my horse was one of those "once in a lifetime" horses, but I don't think it's terribly unusual when a good and gutsy rider gets placed on the right horse.

                                I've said it a million times and I'll say it again. The size of the fences are all about the horse you're sitting on. Sit on a scopey and well-trained enough horse and just about anyone can make their way around a GP course (now winning is a whole 'nother story ). And boy, if I could go back to my completely fearless early teen years I'd do it in a heartbeat!
                                Flying F Sport Horses
                                Horses in the NW


                                • #17
                                  GP at 11?

                                  Most of the time you have someone very young doing GP's and JR's, they are trainers kids, often on horses that belong to customers. Often very expensive horses that belong to customers.
                                  It is a good idea for a horse to get some rides that are good, but not exactly professional rides. Sometimes you might have a horse started showing by a pro in the pro divisions, 1st yr, Greens, Level 6 - 8 Jumpers, Stakes, ect. If they ONLY get a pro ride for the first few years, it can be a hard transition for the horse to make to a rider that is an Ami, or Jr rider. For example, after the 2nd years, (few can make it in the Reg Hunters) where does the pro's horse have to go. Most often it is for a Jr or Ami. If the horse is not used to a rider making a few mistakes they may get really worried. They might know how to "take a joke" and keep on smiling.
                                  It is a good idea for the kids of the trainers to get the horses used to a few, little, errors. Don't get me wrong, those kids are really, really great. There have been so many top ones, Liza Towell, Evan Colicchio, The Janes, Mc Lain, ect. I do NOT in anyway imply
                                  they are not great. It is just good for some horses to transition to a C/AA rider with a few rides from the trainers children.
                                  There are also very different levels of difficulty at Gran Prix's, A 25K Prix may be very, very different from a 100K one. Even if the fence heights are the same, they can ride completely different. The horses that are able to give a child or an ami a start at the Level 7's or 8's are few and far between. You have to pay quite a bit for their education and background.


                                  • #18
                                    I remember reading an article about this at the time. Their father commented that he had his kids doing the Gran Prixs really early, but he also said that he had them mounted on really experienced, really safe horses.
                                    The truth is always in the middle.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Roxy SM View Post
                                      Sorry it's on VHS! All my good stuff is on VHS unfortunately. I want to convert them eventually.
                                      Easy and Cheap method -
                                      1. Get a TV adaptor for your computer that includes an antenna attachment (~$30 - $40)

                                      2. Attach the attenna out from your VCR to the Adaptor.

                                      3. Open the TV program that comes with the adaptor.

                                      4. Play the Video and Record it on the computer.

                                      5. Edit/Burn copies/upload to youtube etc.



                                      • #20
                                        My trainer's daughter rode a national level prix at 13. She went around nicely... had 3 or 4 rails, but mostly due to the fact that the horse was reaching the limits of its ability than a poor ride.

                                        I didn't ride at the barn at the time, and had no idea who they were... but I remember the announcer saying she was just 13, and being floored. At the same time though, the round wasn't scary to watch at all. When she left the ring I felt like the horse just hadn't picked up her feet as well as maybe she could have.
                                        friend of bar.ka