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Moving up without horse showing a lot. Is it possible?

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  • Moving up without horse showing a lot. Is it possible?

    Let me preface this with saying that I used to show a lot. About 8-10 weeks a year with 2 horses.

    I took last year off because of the recession and have retired one of my jumpers from the horse show ring. My other horse and I are doing great and have been jumping 1.20 at home. I am feeling confident and very comfortable over that height.

    I am ready to get back in the show ring, but this year it will be possibly only 3 shows period.

    I was showing in the high AA's when I left the show ring and feel like I can step in there and then move up to the 1.20's. What I am getting from some people in the barn, and a good friend who is a trainer, although not my trainer, is that I have been out of the show ring for so long it will be hard to move up in only 3 shows.

    I do know that the show ring is different than schooling at home. But is it so different that you can't improve without going to shows every week?
    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."


  • #2
    I would go back in for one class lower than you were showing before, then spend the first show at the old height and see how it goes. Move up at will then -- your horse will tell you if he's completely confident and ready to proceed.

    I've had horses that could step right in after a year off, and others that needed some time to readjust to the sights and sounds of the ring. If the horse has had a couple of months off I will often put them in one warmup on Wednesday that is lower than they usually show, just as a confidence-builder. I don't usually try to win, just to get around as smoothly and confidently as possible. I save the fast jumpoffs for my division.


    • #3
      I think it depends on the horse and rider. Some riders get really nervous at shows and so they ride much worse than they do at home. Riders that are more confident, however, are fine just going straight into the ring at the higher level. Same with the horses, some need more prep and a gradual move up while others don't care and are fine with the move up. So really it depends on you and your horse personally. In any case, I'd think you could do one class in the 1.10s early in the week to get back into things, and then if that goes well and you and your horse feel confident you can do the 1.20s for the rest of the show, and if not you can stay in the 1.10s.


      • #4
        What does *your* trainer think? Personally, I think that there is way to much hand holding and reluctance to move up in general these days. If you and your trainer think you and your horse are ready to move up, you probably are. I too have clients who haven't had the finances to show much lately, so we get a lot accomplished at home. Certainly depends on the horse/rider, but there is no reason you can't progress at home and bring that experience to the show ring over bigger jumps.
        Please don't sabotash my conchess.


        • #5
          I am not hand holding or blowing your nose for you but taking a year off and wanting to step up? A little premature at this point.

          Go and see how it goes in your first show. Be honest. If you are rusty, work on polishing where you are. If you leave the rails up and EASILY make the time? THEN you can think about moving up.

          Ummmmm....Jumper terminology has changed so much and keeps changing, I'm just an HP and had just mastered the levels, now it's all meters. So help me out here....were the high AAs 1.1 (which is about 3'6"ish)? Are you talking about moving to the Jr-A/O?

          Thing is it's not just height. You have to go faster, the course, jumps and combinations can be more complicated in the Jr-A/O, including more water questions.

          So, if you are talking jumping the same courses within the same time allowed? Sure. NBD. But if you are changing divisions into something with more speed and complexity? Maybe not.

          Think yor first show needs to be where you were, what, 18 months or so ago (if not low AAs to start)? Then decide. Horse is rusty too, overface him, mean it or not, they can get scared. Or hurt.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • Original Poster

            Findlight will you at least hold my hand while I blow my nose

            1.10 is about 3.6" or 3.7" in most prize list. they label it as a level 3.
            1.20 is about 3.9" so it really is only one hole difference.
            Technically it is the modified Junior/amateurs that I want to do.

            And what I am running into is the problem of not being able to show a whole lot again. I don't know if I will ever be able to compete 2 horses for 10 weeks a year. My new reality is just one horse a couple/three shows a year if that. So do I give up on ever getting into the Modifieds

            And I am not saying I am going to step right into that division. In jumper land it is quite common to do a couple of lower classes and then progress through out the week.

            There just seems to be a common perception that you need to spend a lot of time in the show ring in order to progress at a show. What about the people who just can't do that at this time.
            "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."



            • #7
              Are you schooling 1.2m at home, or bigger? I like to show just a little smaller than I'm schooling at home, just so I have that in my pocket, so to speak. If my horse is used to 4', then a class at 3'9 is going to look easier to him (and he's more likely to be confident enough to bail me out if I screw up).

              If I were you I would just see how it goes. Enter the prep class early in the week, and if you both feel good/confident/smooth enter the Mojams. If you're a little rough, do the high AAs.

              I never showed much, but I kept a foot in the door doing haul-in local shows. Can you find some local shows to get in the ring on the cheap? I've been known to take my very jumpery horse around the local 3'3 Eq or Working Hunters just to get out and about for $15 instead of $500. Good practice with finesse as well, as I try not to look like a total joke.

              Or haul in to someone's barn for a jump school? Any of those will make it easier to go right in at the bigger height without breaking the bank.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bluehorsesjp View Post
                1.10 is about 3.6" or 3.7" in most prize list. they label it as a level 3.
                1.20 is about 3.9" so it really is only one hole difference.
                Technically it is the modified Junior/amateurs that I want to do.

                I thought...
                1.20m is 3'11", not 3'9".
                1.15m is 3'9"


                • #9
                  1.1m = 3' 7.31"
                  1.15m = 3' 9.28"
                  1.2m = 3' 11.24"


                  • #10
                    I dunno, another HP here but if you have been routinely schooling this horse at the required height at home for the last year and both of you are very comfortable with the kind of tracks you will see at the horseshows... I don't see why you couldn't manage to move up, particularly if you can do a lower schooling class earlier in the week to get rid of any rusties.

                    I have a challenging work schedule and have never had the luxury of showing a lot. Luckily for me, my horse is close enough that I can ride pretty much daily after work so we stay in a program, but it's not at all unusual for me to go 4 or 5 months at a time without a single horse show. In fact, until last weekend I think I had shown once since our local finals horseshows last September, and we marched into a pretty competitive ring at Ox Ridge on Saturday and jumped around some pretty challenging courses that were built to spec and did just fine. (Granted I am doing the eq, not the big jumpers.)

                    However, I think success in the ring is all about the quality of your preparation at home. Although it is true that there are lots of distractions at a show, etc, the idea IMO is to have your ride tuned up so well in practice that you can manage that additional level of complexity without too much difficulty.

                    You might not want to really go for broke and look for a win the first time out at a new height, but I see nothing wrong with taking a conservative swing at a division just one hole higher than your old one. Sounds like you are well prepared and will do just fine.
                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                      I dunno, another HP here but if you have been routinely schooling this horse at the required height at home for the last year and both of you are very comfortable with the kind of tracks you will see at the horseshows... I don't see why you couldn't manage to move up, particularly if you can do a lower schooling class earlier in the week to get rid of any rusties.
                      Agree with this (and the rest of the post as well).

                      for those of us that only show a handful of times a year, you make do. If you're comfortable/competent at home, you should be able to handle the show. Give yourself a schooling class early in the week and evaluate from there.

                      I'm doing the XC portion of an event derby next weekend. It's just BN, but I've only ridden the horse 2x and jumped him once since November (he's being ridden regularly...just not by me) and haven't ridden him XC since June of last year(?). I know we'll get around, it might not be super pretty but we are both certainly capable of getting around safely.

                      Just because you aren't showing doesn't mean you don't have the skills.
                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                      • #12
                        Why do you need to decide now? I think your goal is completely realistic. But take it one class at a time. You will know when you and your horse a ready. Maybe it is the second of thier class, maybe it is the last class of the last horse show, maybe it is not at all.

                        It certainly isn't something to be getting worked up over before you even go to that first show.

                        Just make sure the oxers you are schooling at home are as W-I-D-E as you will see in the ring. I think that is where people really get tripped up when moving up a level.


                        • #13
                          I agree with Chef Jade and findeight.

                          The answer in overly generic terms is yes, of course you can move up without showing a lot. And the way our shows are set up allow you to feel it out as you ride in the show.

                          It's hard to give a definitive answer for you specifically without knowing you as a rider. But if you've really been jumping 4' at home with the same spreads you'll see at the shows then I doubt you'll have much of a problem. But the best (or at least the least stress-inducing!) way to go about it is to start at the height you're comfortable with on day 1 and go from there.
                          Flying F Sport Horses
                          Horses in the NW


                          • #14
                            I am in the same position as you in that I used to be able to show, but the past two years have just not been able to afford the $1k a week to go to the A shows. I have found I can go to about 10 haul-in county shows for the cost of 1 A show. In my area of Southern Cal. you can do up to 4' on the same grass fields over the same jumps at the county shows. I haul in for 1 day of the weekend and do 2 classes. It's a fun, supportive atmosphere, and my horse likes it because she's home in time for lunch!


                            • #15
                              I agree that you shouldn't rush into it. Do a couple shows in the lower division (I too was just getting well versed with the Level numbers and now this. Too old a dog to learn new tricks).

                              Alot of the 4' division's tests are between the fences. How to approach a roll back with out losing too much time, what speed to come into a double or triple combination. And usually at home you are not taking speed into account. There is always a time allowed, unless you are not interested in placing at all.

                              My experience with A/Os was that the fences were 4'6", a step up that really seems to be separate the "men from the boys" (or how that would be worded when speaking of horses). A good 4' horse may really struggle with the bigger fences.

                              But - do a few shows at the lower division and kick butt before moving up. Save you alot of money, embarrassment (I knew someone who refused out at the first fence on a consistent basis but refused to move down).