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Taking a step back: Just a rider/owner; not an eventer; not a dressage queen

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  • #21
    Hunter paces, and if you want something to scratch that cross country itch- fox hunting! Super fun people, no competition, and they love to have a good time. There are flights so you can choose to go at a pace that is comfortable for you. Sometimes I miss lessons but nothing beats a few hours out in nature with good friends.

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      I do go to hunter paces as there are a few around here, but not really all that many. My job won't allow me to fox hunt. The local club hunts once during the week then first thing on Saturday mornings when I'm generally trying to recover from having gotten up at 4am all week and have a sleep deficit. Not to mention the club dues are pretty astronomical. That, and I quite have a problem with hunting wildlife for a pack of hounds to tear it apart if caught. No thanks. If it was a random coyote, maybe. But foxes and bobcats, I have a serious problem with hunting. They're numbers are not out of control like the coyotes. The hunts and the hounds don't discriminate and will hunt whatever runs. Nope.
      Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
      Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

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      • #23
        Switch hunter for eventer and that's me. My recent purchase of a horse and I do not necessarily click over fences. She is a dream in dressage but that isn't too much my thing (though I still take lessons in both dressage and hunter- though it is dwindling).

        I spent the summer hacking around, trailering to a local farm that has a great eventing course and just riding out with friends (we step over most of the logs, ditches, etc). Super relaxing and fun.

        I even went to a trail clinic run by a local well know cowboy. I thought it was just a despooking clinic and it would be good for my mare. Turns out the AM was depspooking (OMG we STOOD on a block like a circus pony), walked through pool noodles on the ground and astride, played with a giant soccer ball!!

        PM was a trail. Up and down mountain and through a RIVER. I thought I was going to die. It was the most fun I have had in a while and it set me up to take a chill and just enjoy my horse. He offers a COW CLINIC and my BWP and I may go in our blingy brow band just for fun.

        Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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        • #24
          Look up Equine Trail Sports, see if there are any if your area. Used to be ACTHA, I had so much fun on those. Trail rides, but with obstacles every mile. You can either compete, or just go along for the ride.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post
            Look up Equine Trail Sports, see if there are any if your area. Used to be ACTHA, I had so much fun on those. Trail rides, but with obstacles every mile. You can either compete, or just go along for the ride.
            https://www.equinetrailsports.com/events/event_types/

            Squee!!! KY and OH may be close enough. I wonder if I can talk any of my friends to go with me.
            Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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            • #26
              How about some mounted orienteering from time to time? I'm also not into foxhunting or the like, but I've done a handful of the orienteerings and they are super fun!

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                How about some mounted orienteering from time to time? I'm also not into foxhunting or the like, but I've done a handful of the orienteerings and they are super fun!
                Frankly, I've had enough competition for now but I've got to admit this sounds interesting. Though I don't know that it's done anywhere around here. Mounted Archery and Working Equitation have both also piqued my interest, but would entail getting back into a routine of schooling and practicing for a purpose, which I am just done with for now. I'm tired.
                Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by FatCatFarm View Post

                  Frankly, I've had enough competition for now but I've got to admit this sounds interesting. Though I don't know that it's done anywhere around here. Mounted Archery and Working Equitation have both also piqued my interest, but would entail getting back into a routine of schooling and practicing for a purpose, which I am just done with for now. I'm tired.
                  But... you could practice for this on normal hikes by yourself, or you and your dog! The group I was with was super relaxed and fun. Just turned a trail ride into a "ride for a purpose" and made you keep aware instead of zoning out. Maybe not every time, but a couple times a year to break things up and meet new friends would be enough.

                  Riding to ride is the best kind of riding there is.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by FatCatFarm View Post

                    LOL! True enough. I already have the truck and the trailer. And I've bought a few things to make camping out of my 2+1 trailer do-able in a pinch. Not ready to rush out and buy a LQ trailer just yet, but won't rule it out in the future. Thing is, most LQ trailers are slants and my big guys just will not fit. Been there; tried that and won't subject them to that again. Fortunately, there are a decent amount of places about that you can trailer to and stay in a cabin or bunk house and rent a stall or paddock for your horse.
                    One day we will meet and you can see how I have turned my BP trailer (albeit a very BIG BP, a 2+1 w/o DR) into something that hauls my fjord+scooter+carriage and then turns into my LQ at a CDE. It's all very low key, easy to set up, take down, get into a gas station, into and out of trail head parking, etc. Oh yes, and I have A/C (actually, I have a coffee bar, wine nook, master bedroom, guest bedroom, master bath, kitchen and room for the dog, but you have to get the grand tour to appreciate that joke)


                    I am competition driven and I do enjoy showing... to an extent. But I have always been just as happy out on the trails up in the Appalachian foothills and I find if I do too much of one, then I get less content. I set a goal over the summer to get Xan's breed award in first level and once that was done, so was our dressage showing for the year. It was short and sweet, it was fun while it lasted, and let me tell you if it had lasted one more day, it probably would have sucked all the fun out of the whole summer. Quit while you are ahead is my motto when it comes to showing.

                    If fall ever gets here, I'll spend more time out on the trails, but for now we are back to driving. That show season lasts Dec through March. And until then, I'll enjoy the trails just as much as I enjoy driving/preparing for CDE season. And when that is over we will be ready to hit the trails again in spring.

                    I'm sure it is different for everyone, but the two things that I think contribute to my "stickiness" with showing is that I have always broken it up with periods of just enjoying my horses away from competition/pressures associated with those goals and I have never been part of a program/have an exclusive trainer type relationship. I like to go out and hook up with trainers who I think work for my program, go back home and unpack it on my terms.

                    Do I (and my horses) progress as fast as someone in the full scale program? Honestly, that is a mixed bag. In some cases I am way ahead of people I know who live and die by a regular program. In other cases, well, they can be counted on to clean my clock regularly. No judgment either way, I'm happy with my approach and if they are or are not happy with their program, that has no bearing on my decision.
                    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by FatCatFarm View Post

                      Frankly, I've had enough competition for now but I've got to admit this sounds interesting. Though I don't know that it's done anywhere around here. Mounted Archery and Working Equitation have both also piqued my interest, but would entail getting back into a routine of schooling and practicing for a purpose, which I am just done with for now. I'm tired.
                      I hear you. When I get like this I will take months (sometimes years) away from lessons and "purpose" and just ride either by myself or with a friend outside, even if it is just hacking around a field.
                      For a long time, much as I love dressage, it was not fun. Then a trainer said to me one day, "you know this actually can and should be fun". Working with her it was fun, even with the hard work. Even then I still stepped back from time to time because I just can't deal with a full on program.

                      Anyway. There's nothing wrong with it, or you, at all. I think you will be a better "everything" for it!!!

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                        But... you could practice for this on normal hikes by yourself, or you and your dog! The group I was with was super relaxed and fun. Just turned a trail ride into a "ride for a purpose" and made you keep aware instead of zoning out. Maybe not every time, but a couple times a year to break things up and meet new friends would be enough.

                        Riding to ride is the best kind of riding there is.
                        Interestingly I don't zone out on trail rides. I practice correct position and I do get into a kind of zen flow, but I am hyper aware of my surroundings and my horse. There are always challenges you can give yourself like adding speed, or mountain hills, or new sights and sounds for the horses.



                        ​​​​​​

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                        • #32
                          I just wanted to jump in and say I think it's kind of ironic that the gist of the post is the relief from leaving regular lessons/showing and just enjoying your horse and a lot of suggestions are for other forms of competition.

                          I for one am not a hugely competitive person and to be honest deal with anxiety and nerves anyways and shows make it that much worse, no matter what kind. I don't like to be watched by a bunch of people or strangers. My guy is a few months back from being broke and I can't explain how wonderful it is to just do what I want and what's fun. Sometimes I ride him in the big open field and walk around going wow look at the view. Sometimes I ride in the indoor over all the poles and around the cones they setup for the kids. Sometimes I ride for 15 min because that's all I need or I ride for longer. I like to have something that's a goal to work towards but in my case it's going camping/trail riding in a few weeks with a friend.

                          I am very lucky to have the perfect trainer who doesn't care if I do one lesson a year or 100. She will cater any lesson to exactly what I want. Do I want to focus on jumping? dressage? etc? She's shown and done well in dressage, jumpers and eventing. She has also fox hunted. This last lesson was a trailer ride to her farm to get him off property in a safe environment and we worked on straight lines and chit chatted. It was worth every penny and was SO much fun.

                          Enjoy your pony and see where it takes you!

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                          • #33
                            I'm quite a self directed person so I like setting my own challenges. If I am going to compete formally I want to have some definite skillset already. I dont especially enjoy turning every activity into a competition. But lots of people do find this makes them feel perked up and alert and its the basis for all the board and card and trivia games out there. So it's useful to know yourself in this matter.

                            I'd be interested in learning better orienteering as a survival skill for bushwhacking in range country but can't see doing it competitvely. For that matter at this point I don't see myself doing mountain trail arena competition or even clinics right now. I prefer to just get out and ride in the mountains!

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                              I'm quite a self directed person so I like setting my own challenges. If I am going to compete formally I want to have some definite skillset already. I dont especially enjoy turning every activity into a competition. But lots of people do find this makes them feel perked up and alert and its the basis for all the board and card and trivia games out there. So it's useful to know yourself in this matter.

                              I'd be interested in learning better orienteering as a survival skill for bushwhacking in range country but can't see doing it competitvely. For that matter at this point I don't see myself doing mountain trail arena competition or even clinics right now. I prefer to just get out and ride in the mountains!
                              I'm with you. I've judged a few ETS rides (you're like a fence judge on XC), and that side of it was fun and I enjoyed supporting the effort. I have zero desire to compete in one. As for NATRC, please no, not for me, at least not around here. Most of the NATRC riders in this area are flippin' busybodies at public trail heads. Do NOT come at me about how I do things wrong (my horses wear rope halters, I tie with them, they go to sleep at the trailer while we get ready, they have impeccable ground manners). One is the local woowhoo natural horsemanship gal too and she's insufferable. Funny, she keeps having horse wrecks on her own horses while so far I'm good, thanks, been at this a while, have a nice day (and leave me alone!!!) LOL.

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                              • #35
                                I also love riding alone, or with very carefully selected companions. They need to be safety minded riders and also people I would spend a day with otherwise. I find the bigger the group the fussier the horses and the more chance of a wreck and the chattiier everyone gets.
                                i don't feel it's wise to go real back country alone but that's more a conscious safety choice rather than me being nervous in the actual moment alone.

                                So meeting new people isn't a huge draw for me because I want to vet them pretty thoroughly before I ride with them

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by DMK View Post

                                  One day we will meet and you can see how I have turned my BP trailer (albeit a very BIG BP, a 2+1 w/o DR) into something that hauls my fjord+scooter+carriage and then turns into my LQ at a CDE. It's all very low key, easy to set up, take down, get into a gas station, into and out of trail head parking, etc. Oh yes, and I have A/C (actually, I have a coffee bar, wine nook, master bedroom, guest bedroom, master bath, kitchen and room for the dog, but you have to get the grand tour to appreciate that joke)
                                  This I've got to see. Let me know if you're ever at Chatt Hills as I'd love to meet you and Xan.

                                  Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                                  Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Originally posted by stargzng386 View Post
                                    I just wanted to jump in and say I think it's kind of ironic that the gist of the post is the relief from leaving regular lessons/showing and just enjoying your horse and a lot of suggestions are for other forms of competition.
                                    !
                                    LOL! Noticed that too but such is the nature of these boards. And you never know what someone might get into next. I think most horse people are restless by nature, so after a period rest, however long that is. New adventures are possible
                                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                                    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

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                                    • #38
                                      I stopped competing a few years ago, aside from a fun local show here or there. I have brought my mustang along from an EMM dropout to a lovely trail companion. For quite awhile I tried forcing a square peg into a round hole and work on some dressage work. She HATES IT. She will, however, ride on trails for days with no quit in her. I think she likes exploring.

                                      I do mostly lone trail rides or trail rides with a few select friends. I trailer to different trail heads and spend the day there. I do enjoy other work, such as obstacles, but not the competitions. I hope to soon be able to get over to this one obstacle challenge farm where they have "play days". You can go with friends, meet a few new like minded people, and leisurely work on different things on each of the obstacles at your own pace and whichever you choose, and lunch is included!

                                      The mustang I am bringing along for my daughter, she does eventually want to show. So I am sure I will be attending some casual shows, and will probably bring my mare along and just chill with her. Ride her around the grounds, cheer my daughter and her horse on, and spend time with my daughter and our horses.

                                      I certainly do not miss the show atmosphere and a lot of the...not so nice personalities I encountered off and on through the years. I am enjoying just being with my horse, enjoying nature, and taking things at a slower pace. I have nothing to prove to anyone for once, and I am quite enjoying that change in my outlook!

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                                      • #39
                                        This thread makes me so, so happy! Bought a horse not really thinking about what would happen when we moved to an international competition area in the US. (Husband's job.) The pressure has been so intense. I love to trail ride my big beautiful dressage horse. He loves it to. Unplugged from the dressage world this summer and riding is fun again. Thank you for posting OP. Now I can put away that last remnant of guilt!

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          #40
                                          Originally posted by SporthorseFun View Post
                                          This thread makes me so, so happy! Bought a horse not really thinking about what would happen when we moved to an international competition area in the US. (Husband's job.) The pressure has been so intense. I love to trail ride my big beautiful dressage horse. He loves it to. Unplugged from the dressage world this summer and riding is fun again. Thank you for posting OP. Now I can put away that last remnant of guilt!
                                          Good for you. It can be hard to just let go and enjoy riding for the sake of riding, instead of a purpose. I had two dear friends come over and ride with me around the three lakes on the water authority property next door to me and we just had the best time. Covered 8.5 miles in 2.5hrs with my dogs along for the ride. We then sat around talking and watching the horses once we got back to the barn for a while, which was almost as fun as the ride. So relaxing and not stressful.
                                          Last edited by FatCatFarm; Sep. 23, 2019, 11:54 AM.
                                          Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
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