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The lower levels of show jumping are fantastic because.........

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  • The lower levels of show jumping are fantastic because.........

    The lower levels of show jumping are fantastic because they are in the scope of the ordinary rider and the ordinary horse. They also provide a stepping stone for riders and horses on their way to higher levels. Thanks to the popularity of the lower levels of show jumping, there's a market for horses who will never make it to the upper levels. To have these lower levels is not dummying down the sport, it's opening it up to the masses. Some might see that as a bad thing but I don't.

    So I believe that the lower levels of show jumping and the horses and riders that compete in them should be celebrated.

  • #2
    Thank you....I agree! My daughter is showing novice rider this weekend. She's a good rider, eager to learn, having fun, and improving all the time. But her goals and her horse's ability are modest. If she likes riding him bareback in the woods, isn't all that interested in competing but likes showing in jumpers when it strikes her fancy, is that really a problem?


    • #3
      In my experience, one of the only negatives to the lower levels is watching the less talented members of the turn and burn crowd. I feel bad for the horses. Other than that, it's like any of the lower levels- some people are there for experience and miles, some are there on older horses who can't do the upper levels anymore, and some people are there because they can't or don't want to move up, for whatever reason. So what? There are a variety of people and horses with different skills and abilities and as long as they are having a good time and not horrifying the spectators/trashing their horses' legs, who cares?

      I'm never going to be Queen of the High AA jumpers with my current horse- we can't (and I don't want to) do really serious turn and burn, so unless everyone else has rails or other problems we rarely win blue. We are usually clear but sort of slow, and have a number of red, orange, and white ribbons. But so far I have really appreciated the chance to get good ribbons in the division, have fun in the Classics, and get miles to move up to the next level. Do I want to stay there? Nope, my little guy has the scope and talent to go quite a bit higher. But it's no concern of mine if everyone else in the High AAs continues in that level. Why would it be?
      You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil


      • #4
        I have a lot of fun doing the lower jumper stuff. It's good experience, and the horse seems to have fun with it.

        Originally posted by foursocks View Post
        In my experience, one of the only negatives to the lower levels is watching the less talented members of the turn and burn crowd. I feel bad for the horses.
        So much this also. At least one gasp-inducing trip in every lower division I've ever watched. I always want to yell "It doesn't have to be that way!" at those folks, because zipping around at Mach11 while steering an unbalanced horse entirely by it's face isn't teaching anyone anything.

        Last weekend, I went in and did a jumper round as a warmup round for my horse and myself before our equitation classes, because I have a terrible tendency to underride the first fence, and a jumper round was a great warmup to get us thinking forward, and have it not be the end of the world when I failed to put leg on in the last 3 strides before fence #1. Yes, we had an awful chip to fence #1 but otherwise put in a trip that was basically a slightly forward eq round, that got to be fun and even more rollbacky and bending line-filled than the typical eq classes around here. Usually when we do jumpers, we're in the "slow but clean" pastel ribbon range, which is fine with me, but this time we were 2nd. Because we went in and rode a deliberate, planned, consistent round.

        You should still be aiming for good riding, whether it's in the 2' Puddle jumpers or in the Grand Prix, and bad riding is appalling all around. The bigger courses weed it out a bit, because fewer horses can do that.
        A Year In the Saddle


        • Original Poster

          I have to confess that I wrote the original post from the view of an Australian who watches Australian and British show jumping. In Australia you don't jump until you ride fairly well and the crest release is not the norm. You learn the automatic release from the beginning. I should have remembered this. My excuse (and by heck I need one) is that for me seeing people ride well in the lower levels is the norm with the occasional yahoo who shouldn't be in the class. If you are in a class that's beyond you or riding a horse who is beyond you, the other riders will shamelessly wonder why you are there. I have observed this in action.


          • #6
            The local unrated show circuit got those "turn-and-burn" rounds under control by adopting a "best time" for lower level classes. Being fastest gets you nothing, being closest to the "best time" is the goal.

            And low level jumpers is perfect for us little old lady re-riders who prefer to own and show "safe and agreeable," even if it isn't pretty or the best mover, and who have had enough of hunt coats and hairnets. I love being able to turn out in a polo shirt, paddock boots, and half chaps with my calm quarter horse who never refuses a fence, but doesn't have the step or polish to do well in hunters. Plus, no braiding! Yea!
            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
            that's even remotely true."

            Homer Simpson


            • #7
              I don't have the time to dedicate to keeping myself and my horse fit enough for the higher levels. Even if I did, I wouldn't have the budget for the bigger shows anyway.

              The AA type classes allow me to compete and have fun on a middle class budget while working a full time job. I don't have 6 days a week to ride like I did when I was a junior.
              Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
              My equine soulmate
              Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


              • #8
                Originally posted by KittyinAus View Post
                I have to confess that I wrote the original post from the view of an Australian who watches Australian and British show jumping. In Australia you don't jump until you ride fairly well and the crest release is not the norm. You learn the automatic release from the beginning. I should have remembered this. My excuse (and by heck I need one) is that for me seeing people ride well in the lower levels is the norm with the occasional yahoo who shouldn't be in the class. If you are in a class that's beyond you or riding a horse who is beyond you, the other riders will shamelessly wonder why you are there. I have observed this in action.
                The crest release is not the problem. Ability isn't really the problem. The problem is that when the fastest round wins and the fences are small enough (3'3 or less) you can really run at them and 99% of the time the horse will still get over them, so there's no incentive to work to put in a more balanced trip that might be slower. There's no consequences for bad riding or bad judgement, right up until you hit that unlucky 1% and crash. As you move up the levels/heights, the horse has to really jump rather than just canter over the fences and you either fix things or you have lots of rails/stops and stop getting ribbons.


                • #9
                  The majority of riders I see competing in lower level jumpers are in control of their mounts and put in nice rounds. I usually see one or two riders per show that aren't, and I would say the majority of the time they are young riders who are there with no trainer and a questionable amount of jumping training. While it can suck to lose to these riders because they got around a course out of pure luck, most of the time they learn pretty quickly after a show or two that it is dangerous and not fun to ride like that and they seek professional training or go back to the discipline they were doing before. There is a rider I knew of a few years ago who was actually a barrel racer. She would take her barrel racing horse to any show under .90 offering money and full out gallop the whole course. I think she eventually had a bad fall because she stopped showing up.