• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Having Trouble Placing Higher than 5th

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Having Trouble Placing Higher than 5th

    I was wondering if anyone has some good advice - I'm feeling a little lost. I have put a lot of effort this year into showing - last three shows I place very inconsistently. The last show we did hunters 2'9 and my horse scooted at one side of the arena (although we recovered easily/ it dropped me out of placing at all - we made all the distances in between the fences). In the middle of an under saddle class she broke from the canter as I tried to steer towards the center line and was obstinate about picking the canter back up again - everything else was pretty perfect - I still managed to place even though the judge acknowledged the break in stride). At another show she kept getting distracted about what was in the judges stand (she can easily get distracted and my trainer wants me to be patient and not "hang on her face" when she starts looking at things - I feel I am trying to gain her attention by a check release action, but sometimes the horse just gets uptight about it) My trainer says I have been riding consistently better each lesson (I feel it too), but the horse I ride can be very inconsistent - some days she is "up" and some days is is sluggish. On some days I know she is perfect and I get a prefect ride. The days she is sluggish I feel she is resisting my leg. My trainer doesn't want me to use spurs and a crop tends to "freak her out". I don't know if it is my skill set - I take lessons 1-3 times a week on the same horse. I don't know if it's a relationship thing - the horse I ride is not "mine" and she is not what I would call a people oriented horse. Her ground manners are pretty annoying - she drags everyone all over the place - whether it's to get at a patch of grass or to see whatever she wants/ very pushy when she feels like it. I feel she would benefit from a ground manner training session at least once a week to get her focused on the leader/trainer - I don't get the sense my trainer thinks this is the issue. I think she feels it's all about my leg aids and focus, but I think there is more to it than that. I feel we are at a plateau until consistent behavior on the part of the horse can be expected. Any professional suggestions or similar experiences out there? I would like to figure out a solution. Thanks!

  • #2
    Not a professional, but IMO, that's the nature of the sport. The fact that you're getting more consistent in lessons is great, and eventually it will happen at shows, too, but it usually takes longer. Horses are different animals at shows: when I jump my horse at home he is pretty much always soft and responsive, and therefore we usually have good courses. At the show I was at yesterday (3' A/A Hunters), he was extremely tense and we had at least one chip or extremely long distance in every class except my last course when I finally figured out how to ride the horse I had that day. It was like I was riding a completely different horse- one that only knew 2 speeds: up and down, or dragging like a freight train.

    I didn't get upset about it because I know that my horse is more than capable of being soft and relaxed, even at shows, and yesterday just wasn't his day. Often, the first outdoor show of the season goes like this, and then we improve from there, so long as we are showing consistently (he's one of those thoroughbreds who THRIVES on work/repetition).

    So instead of being upset about your show performance, be happy about your improvement in lessons, and keep showing as much as you can until it clicks there, too!


    • #3
      Don't blame the horse for normal horsey behaviors. It's your job to learn to ride the horse so that the bobbles -- which are inevitable and which every horse does -- look smooth. Then the ribbons will come.

      It is extremely common for horses to be different one day to the next. It is extremely common to ride better in lessons than at shows. And it is extremely common to be frustrated with the process. Hang in there. She sounds like a nice mare, particularly if you are getting any ribbons at all with major flaws such as those you describe (breaking gait, etc.).


      • #4
        This may come across sounding bitchy, but...When someone complains about my (very nice!) lesson horses, it drives me crazy! Be thankful that your trainer has a horse you can show at 2'9" and be in the ribbons, that you didn't have to buy, maintain, or pay board for!

        You know the way you can have a "perfect" horse? BUY ONE. And once you've done that, you will probably find that even your "perfect" horse has good days and bad days, good trips and bad trips, good shows and bad shows, no matter how much money you spend or how nice it is. If you want to ride something that behaves exactly the same way every time you get on, buy a motorcyle instead.
        Please don't sabotash my conchess.


        • #5
          As far as her ground manners go - you need to nip that in the bud ASAP - the longer she gets away with that stuff, the hard it will be to correct. If you need to, lead her with a shank and as soon as you even feel her start to move where she should not be give her a little "reminder" that she is to be paying attention to you.

          Maybe start each lesson with 15minutes of ground work and then ride. If you're getting lessons 1-3x a week and you take 15mins each time to work on that, she should turn around pretty quickly. Ground work is the first part of training and if she's a lesson horse, she may have had kids letting her get away with that kind of behavior because they couldn't hold on to her well.

          Per the spooking and the breaking stride, the more you take her places the better she will get. And just keep a firm leg on her so that you don't get jolted out of the saddle if she does decide to spook. Most shows let you school in the rings your classes are in beforehand so that way you can get all those little quirks out and you can actually stop and let her look at what she is shying at.

          Breaking stride, you may need a small spur and keep it on her in the shows just to remind her, "hey, we're cantering and we're going to keep cantering until i say whoa" - Is she in shape? That could also be an issue with breaking stride.
          And of course practice holding a canter a few trips around the ring in each direction when you're warming up.

          You're paying your trainer, if you know she has issues, speak up to your trainer and let her know that you want to work on these issues.. even though they're the trainer, they don't always know best.
          Friend of bar.ka!
          Originally posted by MHM
          GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
          "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."


          • #6
            Don't get discouraged, which is easier said than done. I don't ride the fanciest horse in the barn who also happens to suffer from ADD. So show days can be a bit hit-or-miss for us. Over fences I need to be consistent about riding the horse underneath me at that particular moment and quickly determine the best way to show off the horse's strengths. The under saddle part is usually more of a "hide the mistakes" effort at this point. It's taken quite a bit of experimenting to find the best way to hack the mare. For example, she gets hyped up after group canters but relaxes if you slip the reins and scritch her neck, which I try to do discreetly. If you reverse by making a half turn she'll get jiggy so we try to cut across the middle a bit. If you take up the reins too much before the upward transition she gets hollow, so we shorten the reins after the transition. She can get distracted about her left lead so I try to be off the rail to leg yield back or in a good position to circle or cut discreetly across the ring to pick up the left lead. For me, I look at shows as a guage of how well I understand my horse and how I've improved as a rider. Sure I can ride more consistently at home or in lessons but can I translate that increase in skill and consistency to a better ride in public and under pressure? The highlight of my last show season was my second place ribbon in an under saddle class. My critter is generally towards the bottom of the class for the hack (not fancy mover, a bit more knee action) but I managed to keep her organized and focused during the class to the extent that I could ask for a little more expression and "fanciness" when the judge was looking my way. And it paid off! Yep, ribbons are awesome, but do you feel like you got a better performance from the horse at each consecutive show?
            "Beware the hobby that eats."
            Benjamin Franklin


            • #7
              Well, welcome to showing

              I wouldn't worry about it at all. Everything you describe is completely normal. Everyone's better at home, not just ponies. You may be doing something without even realizing it to make the horse even more nervous at shows because, well, you payed for it and it's darn important! But, that's how it goes.

              If you find her ground manners annoying, don't let them do the annoying things around you. She doesn't need a training session once a week, just good, consistent handling. And if you being consistent doesn't fix her for everyone else, she can at least behave for you because she knows you won't put up with being dragged and pushed around.

              At shows, your trainer's right. A tense horse is only going to get worse if you choke up and ride with the E-break on in an attempt to get their attention back. I know it sounds crazy, considering you do care, but go in and try to ride as if you don't really give a crap about anything. "Oh, judges booth? What freaking ever! " It'll help her relax and focus more than any kind of micromanaging that you can do. If you're loose, relaxed, and swinging along like you're out on a Sunday ride, she'll try and match you. Horses like it when you do your own thing, it comes off as leadership, and heavens do they like to follow.

              Also, don't get too nervous to ride as if you're in a lesson. Would you not keep your leg on in a lesson and let her drop from the canter? No. So always keep your leg on, even if she's tense. Would you let her drift through a line in a lesson? Again, nope, use those little legs! If you think of it more as a lesson where you're just trying to get things done correctly, rather than a show where everything has to look nice and pretty, you'll ride much more efficiently and help her relax into show pony mode.


              • #8
                It is extremely common for horses to be different one day to the next. It is extremely common to ride better in lessons than at shows. And it is extremely common to be frustrated with the process. Hang in there.
                This. Please stop blaming the horse, and ask yourself what YOU can do to improve.

                It sounds like you possibly get a little tense at shows. Could that be the case?
                They're small hearts.


                • #9
                  In reading your explanation of te situation all Im hearing is that you are not at a level yet where you can adapt to what your horse is giving you. All of us out there in the show rin are dealing with little issues just like your horse has, we are just better able to cope with it and make it invisible.

                  Don't blame the horse for your pinks and greens. No, it is not reasonable tht you should expect consistency from a borrowed horse. You have to CREATE consistency through your ride. All of the things you mentioned that happened at the show started with "she" - she broke the canter, she scooted, etc. It should read, I was not on my game and failed to anticipate a reaction to the scary end of the ring, I forgot to support her with my leg when I cut across the ring at the canter.

                  Ask your trainer to set up show situations at home - scary objects in the corner, other traffic, a horse turned out next to the ring, and practice keeping the horse focussed underneath you.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RxCate View Post
                    As far as her ground manners go - you need to nip that in the bud ASAP - the longer she gets away with that stuff, the hard it will be to correct. If you need to, lead her with a shank and as soon as you even feel her start to move where she should not be give her a little "reminder" that she is to be paying attention to you.
                    If this horse belonged to the OP and she was requesting suggestions on improving ground manners, that would be great advice. However, it is NOT her horse, and there is already a trainer involved.

                    Does this horse drag the trainer around? If so, I can see the OP's frustration. If not, the OP is the one who needs to improve her handling skills, not the horse. I have more than one adult student who has let my lesson horses drag them around on the ground...The horses are not stupid, and they sometimes take advantage of a timid or inconsistent handler. The students are the ones who get the "groundwork" lessons, not the horse. And there is no shank involved.

                    Believe me, I am the first person to put a shank on an unruly horse. But in most cases with the lesson horses? I'd be after the rider. And I'd be pretty pissed if one showed up with a shank for my horse because of some advice given on an internet BB.
                    Please don't sabotash my conchess.


                    • #11
                      You are absolutely correct -

                      I guess I rely too much on hoping people have enough common sense to ask before they do things like that if it's not their property.

                      And like I said, the mare probably gets away with it with the other lesson kids, so yes, it most likely is the handler's.
                      Friend of bar.ka!
                      Originally posted by MHM
                      GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
                      "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."


                      • #12
                        I know a lot of people, myself included, ride very differently at home versus at a horse show sometimes. I've gotten a lot better about it (now I just jinxed myself!) but sometimes I just get so nervous at shows that the great lesson I had the week before doesn't appear at all in the show ring because I channeled my nerves to my horse.
                        Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Class of 2014

                        Chance Encounter
                        RIP Tall Tales


                        • #13
                          There are some push button horses out their that go into a ring and do their job and figure out everything on their own - lead changes, strides, etc. But even these "perfect" horses will break from the canter and peek at some spooky objects. I understand being frustrated when your ride doesn't go the way you wanted to or isn't the best that you can do. But I don't think you can worry to much on placings because it doesn't always depend on how you do, but on how everyone else competing that day does.

                          It sounds like you feel you don't have enough tools at your disposal to get this horse to listen to your leg when she is not being forward. Perhaps your trainer could work with you more on how to respond when the horse is ignoring your leg? Also, if this horse is pulling you around on the ground, ask your trainer to show you how to handle this, too. This way, you are treating the lesson horses in the way your trainer considers appropriate, but also you will be consistent with how the trainer responds. That consistency across the board can result in some actual changes.
                          My blog: Journeys in Riding


                          • #14
                            Perhaps, if you are not consistent at home, you shouldn't be showing. Nothing personal, but I see an awful lot of this at shows these days. In their haste to get to the show ring, many riders are missing the basics that allow them to deal with a less than perfect horse at the shows.


                            • #15
                              I think you should consider buying your own horse. I think you are pretty fortunate to be able to show a horse over 2'9" without having to pay the bills on it.

                              Most people plateau on lesson horses. That's the reason that people buy their own horses -- to move forward on and progress ESPECIALLY if showing is what they want to do.
                              Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by NorthFaceFarm View Post
                                In reading your explanation of te situation all Im hearing is that you are not at a level yet where you can adapt to what your horse is giving you.
                                I agree with this. Part of learning to ride is learning to ride "whatever comes out of the barn" on any given day. Horses are consistently inconsistent as a general rule. Push button horses are rare, and even those that are truly "push button" will still break from a canter without proper instruction from the rider.


                                • #17
                                  Never blame horse. Especially one that is trained to do their job. A green horse just doen't know enough.

                                  It is holes in your training not the horses. Do you do a lot of flat work in lessons or is it just jumping? The flatwork is where many problems happen from what I reading. Do you keep the outside rein contact and your inside leg on?

                                  Oh and there was one show season that my old horse and I never came home with a ribbon at all. I was thrilled when we placed 5th or 6th.
                                  OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane - the big dog!
                                  Tuggy - RIP 9/12/2016 - Wait for me at the bridge
                                  Foster LolaMaria AKA LolaBean (Boxer)


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks so much to all for the advice -

                                    Just for clarification:

                                    I own three horses (including a pony I purchased to help out with income for both my trainer and me)
                                    I pay for trainer's fees and the use fee of this horse (I ride this horse as she is most suited for showing - my other three horses: a pony for others, a fox hunter and a very young/green horse)
                                    I have ridden for many years as a youth/did some showing/ left riding for 20+ years to earn more money/ now returned and am loving that I can now afford to ride - I fox hunt with a wonderful fox hunter and have just recently started to show hunter ring.

                                    She is a wonderful horse, just a little ADD (she has a hitch in her walk and occasionally bucks in transition from right to left lead canter). I wouldn't call her green - quite experienced actually - nor is she push button and I am trying to get a balanced judgement on what is reasonable to expect from me, her and/or possibly somethinge else I haven't considered.

                                    I plan to speak to my trainer (of course) - I don't really use COTH much and thought it might be interesting to see/share in other's experiences.
                                    Thanks again.


                                    • #19
                                      As someone without a horse I can sympathize with the plight of the OP. It can be frustrating when trying to improve your skills when no matter how well you do with a horse, he will be ridden more often by others. Those "others" are out of your control and could be complete novices.
                                      It doesn't appear that the OP is ungrateful for having a horse able to show 2'9 and it's not like she's trying to get out of paying for her use etc.

                                      OP, you may still be a bit nervous in the ring and are conveying it to the horse. The only cure for that is to keep going until get becomes "boring." There is also the possibility that this mare's "maximum" performance is being attanined and she is just a step below the best horses in the division/area where you show. If that is the case accept it. Keep going to shows to build your confidence and you may see her step up a bit more.
                                      F O.B
                                      Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                      Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                      • #20
                                        Keep in mind - Lessons will be where your performance peaks!

                                        Do not expect the same results when you have no coach at your side along with the pressure of being all alone in a show ring.