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Competing when you know you don't stand a snowball's chance.

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Gloria, I did see the dressage at Nationals. How do you feel about 2 hands on a curb bit? I think it's not classic western and shouldn't be allowed.
    Ride like you mean it.

    Comment


    • #22
      So,
      you're a beginner in your chosen discipline
      You haven't ridden in 6 weeks
      Your horse has hock issues and may not be sound
      You are very nervous about showing
      You think the judging is unfair

      Frankly, I would just stay home, concentrate on getting my horse well and take some lessons with a good trainer.
      At this point, showing would be pointless, stressful, a waste of money and no fun at all!!
      "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        I know what you mean about the hunter division. A jr exhib I know just got a park horse to show in jr exhib hunt seat. And she will clean up. But all that does it up the ante for everyone else, rachets up the requirements to win in that division. Grapevine says in excess of $100K for the horse. But there are others out there who can and will buy even fancier horses and so it goes...on and on and on.

        The western division has gotten HUGE now. 30 years ago it was a cull division for horses that couldn't do anything else. Now it's common to have 25-35 horses in a class with 15-20 on average.

        btw, I don't have a jr exhib in any division...just commenting on how it's all gotten so exaggerated.
        Ride like you mean it.

        Comment


        • #24
          Your horse is already a winner if he's one you can ride comfortably and safely with your physical limitations. Be content and proud of that. Quit worrying about where you place, if you are sure that the placings are essentially meaningless unless you're a trainer using them for free advertising. Just thank your lucky stars you have a horse you can do that much with, and start just enjoying him!
          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

          Spay and neuter. Please.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #25
            This about sums it up. Thank you for the clarity...really. I mean to sound appreciative, not snarky.

            Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
            So,
            you're a beginner in your chosen discipline
            You haven't ridden in 6 weeks
            Your horse has hock issues and may not be sound
            You are very nervous about showing
            You think the judging is unfair

            Frankly, I would just stay home, concentrate on getting my horse well and take some lessons with a good trainer.
            At this point, showing would be pointless, stressful, a waste of money and no fun at all!!
            Ride like you mean it.

            Comment


            • #26
              If you are doing it for fun anyway, then do it for fun. If you truly feel the judging is unfair (which I am not sure about, as someone else said you're just starting in your division, no trainer?, with a horse with hock arthritis and have physical limitations yourself) I would show wherever I could where I felt it was fair. Such as local shows.

              But if I were to switch disciplines and expect to show I would want lessons from someone successful in that discipline. I think it would help your confidence as well.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                Do you mind if I reprint this and put it on the tack room wall? I have lost my bearings.

                Originally posted by monstrpony View Post
                Your horse is already a winner if he's one you can ride comfortably and safely with your physical limitations. Be content and proud of that. Quit worrying about where you place, if you are sure that the placings are essentially meaningless unless you're a trainer using them for free advertising. Just thank your lucky stars you have a horse you can do that much with, and start just enjoying him!
                Ride like you mean it.

                Comment


                • #28
                  I compete in reined cowhorse ... on my "self" trained 1/2 Arab against professionally trained Quarter horses and riders, the majority of who have their trainers there coaching them along. Talk about a Snowball's Chance ... yea, we are not going to win any of our classes. BUT, when we ride correctly, we get decent score and darn it all, we DO beat some of those professionally trained horses & riders!

                  I have never complained about any bias by the judges (although I have been told by various people in the know and some judges that they ARE biased against Arabs) since we do get decent scores when we are working correctly. I looked at it as a way to improve my skills and my horses skills until the time I could get a horse that would be competive. Because of that, I know alot of people who have told me my horse CAN work a cow decently (she has built up her own little fan club) & we have the respect of alot of the top guys in our discipline. And some of the trainers who are there coaching their clients will sometimes coah me, too, and will answer questions for me. And while we still will not win against the better trained horses & riders, we did win the first annual horsemanship/sportsmanship buckle my association created last year. THAT meant alot to me (sort of felt like my Sally Field's moment "You like me!! You REALLY like ME! )

                  BTW, I have crossed over to the dark side when I purchased a 2 yo QH filly 2 years ago. She will be ready to test the show pen waters in a few months and I'm really excited about her. While I love my Arab's heart and try, this little filly does this work effortlessly; I almost feel guily how easy it is on her. She is going to be FUN FUN FUN on a cow!


                  My Arab mare will still compete in Ranch Horse Shows (we won a buckle in one last year!) and cowboy races, both of which she loves to do. She is far from done.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I think you could do well in Western Dressage. Yes, some of the horses will be from the big barns, but the judge should not be in the back pocket of any trainers. It's also so much better to get a score sheet when you're done; it will give you a lot of hints for what you need to work on. Are there any "dressage dressage" trainers in your area who would take on a Western Dressage client? They might be able to give you some tips.

                    I have a Morgan, too, and steer clear of the breed shows (with the possible exception of the Vermont Morgan Heritage Days this year, which isn't a rated show.) She's palomino (rarely seen in the breed ring in New England, which is VERY conservative about colors and markings) and not very typey, so there is no reason for me to try for the breed ring, even if I wanted to (which I don't.) We do regular dressage, mostly schooling shows and really just for fun. We pick up a few ribbons here and there, but rarely win anything (mostly because of me, not her.) The best we've ever done away from the barn is a second place on a 58.3%, simply because compared to the other horses, she was one of the least likely to spook at the monsters in the woods (she gave them a good hard look but kept going) or refuse to go through puddles (she'd pin her ears, I'd give her a little boot and she'd go on through.) It was not a classy test at all, but she behaved!
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      ezduzit, "haven't had one yet because I am just a beginner in western showing although have been involved in showing for over 30 years.

                      One of the winningest trainers in my area offered to buy my horse from me the first time she saw it. Probably for a 6 year old tho, not an adult amateur. So as nice as he is, probably not suitable for any class I would show him in.

                      I guess I have to stay in my division, my one class and let the trainers have all the others. Or pay my money just to participate, knowing that out of 25 amateurs and 6 ribbons 19 of us will go out with nothing to show for it but a memory and maybe a story."

                      First of all, I want to say that I showed Apps and did what you do - show on my own/no trainer - and not the fanciest horse in the arena. There were times I kicked butt and times I didn't. Sometimes I deserved better, sometimes I got more than I deserved. This was back in the 80s & 90s and the NE was a hotbed of BIG shows and strong competition.

                      You don't mention what class(es) you show in, although you mention western. Is that the only one?

                      You have identified a couple issues here.
                      1. You're a beginner to western. What have you shown before? Have you taken lessons to learn to ride western (as Morgans are shown) correctly?
                      2. You understand that your horse is not the 'quality' that most judges (or trainers) are looking for. What makes you believe that? Is there anything that you can do to improve it?
                      3. You have decided that you cannot win against amateurs with trainers. Why? If you go into the class - ANY class - knowing you're not good enough, then you can be pretty confident that the judge will agree with you.

                      Are you friendly with any of the people you show with? Comfortable enough to talk with them about what you can do to improve?

                      Rail classes are subjective. There will always be judges who like one 'look' (conformation/way of going/way of riding), and there will always be judges who are 'political' (to put it nicely). I had a little black book and kept notes. There were judges to whom I would not show. Tough when they started double judged/double point shows and one was a "don't bother" and one was someone I liked. But the judges whose opinions I respected were big names who judged what was shown to them in that class on that day.

                      I put national lifetime awards on three horses and qualified for Nationals in various classes on all three. It can be done. But you can't go along with a defeatist attitude. Figure out what you can improve, improve it and strut into that ring. And once you're in there, ride smart.

                      How about trail classes? How about dressage (western or otherwise)?

                      You can only change what you can. We had a cutting horse customer who was asked at the beginning of one season why he'd cut his hair (middle-aged man with pony tail - all of a sudden tail-less). His answer: "Well, I ride cutting horses. I can't ride. I'm from Brooklyn. I had a pony tail. I fixed what I could."

                      Good luck to you.
                      www.ayliprod.com
                      Equine Photography in the Northeast

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                        This about sums it up. Thank you for the clarity...really. I mean to sound appreciative, not snarky.
                        Really, look at small local shows, put on by riding clubs or 4-H clubs.

                        Usually they are much lower pressure (easier on your nerves in the warm-up), and the people usually range from beginners to well-seasoned pros; most doing it because they love the fun and the friendship, not because "they MUST have these points".

                        Go observe a few, chat with some people and find a club that "fits".

                        My DD and her "fancy" horse got her rear handed to her by some rather "uniquely featured" horses sometimes, but she knew the judging was fair, and the group was such as she could laugh off her mistakes and congratulate the winners and go home feeling she earned her placings and with a knowledge of what she needed to work on, rather than feeling the judging was unfair.

                        That is what showing should be about; just because it wasn't a fancy breed or rated show didn't mean it wasn't a great place to learn and show (and make friends).

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by oliverreed View Post
                          Armando del Fuego
                          Aahhh - one of Bobby & Mike's horses! Glad you're having FUN!
                          www.ayliprod.com
                          Equine Photography in the Northeast

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            No. It's not classic western and I agree, should not be allowed. However, Western Dressage is very new and still have a long road to go before all kinks are settled. The reason I believe they allow it is because many of them are Western Pleasure trying Western Dressage, and those horses and riders are accustomed to riding in curb and then it becomes problematic when asked to execute precise exercises at predefined letters. At this moment, I'm going to try to be optimistic and hoping that as it matures, more classical disciplines will follow. I hope that they will start to realize that it is far easier to ride in a snaffle with two hands than in a curb, and more will embrace the classical approach. I myself won't show Western Dressage unless I had such a great seat that I could execute all exercises with correct bends one handed with a curb.

                            Your dressage horse does not sound suitable for you - hell, I don't know any horse that spin and rear is suitable for any amateurs. How safe is your show horse? If he is safe, another option for you is to take him to a "good" dressage clinician or trainer and see whether your horse and you like it or not. You may spend your first two years in learning dressage before your first dressage show but the reward might be well worth the headache you are going through. If you are competitive and willing to put in hard work, which I believe you are, armed with a nice quality horses, you will be given a fair chance of doing really well. I made that switch about four years ago and never looked back since. There are a lot of hard work and sweat but at least those efforts are realized with tri-colors, rosette, and coolers. Actually I might go back to Hunter Pleasure again but that is because my boy loves a big arena to stretch his legs, and I can honestly say I don't care if I get the last place.

                            Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                              I am looking at going to some open shows. Not sure about those because they usually have a stock judge for the western. Not sure I want to go to all the trouble there for more *also ran* ribbons.
                              My suspicion is that you'll be even less pleased with the results in open shows, as my experience is that the judges are QH folks who don't generally take into consideration that you're not riding a QH, and what you ARE riding doesn't GO like a QH.

                              But there's a lot going on in your world that may make all of this moot when looked at objectively.
                              www.ayliprod.com
                              Equine Photography in the Northeast

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                You don't have a sternum. I think you are amazing for just getting on a horse. Forget shows - if everyone else lacked a sternum you would be the only one there so win by default.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  I really appreciate all the comments and advice. I'm in a funk and certainly can't make any plans or hopes until I know if we can get him sound enough to lope. He'll be getting hock injections in the next month or so. He's w/t sound now. I can tell by his willingness in the lope transition. If he doesn't start to lope on cue, he isn't going to because it hurts too much. So that's hurdle #1.

                                  And I am lucky that not only is he show ring quality, he is content to be a safe packer for me. I forget that sometimes when I forget that I'm not 20 anymore, that I have issues that make me a bit fragile and that anybody lucky enough to have a horse is lucky enough.
                                  Ride like you mean it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I showed quite a lot in the last three years, after many years away from showing at all, and we did really well. Really, really well. Lots of high point ribbons and first place ribbons and jam up nice scores (Gaited Dressage at schooling shows) I love my wall of ribbons and looking back over my score sheets, those are great memories and my horse looks so happy and relaxed.

                                    I ran into politics only when I switched into association-level 'breed' shows, where everybody knows everybody and it's all quite clique-ish and someone's routinely very successful on their consistent (but not top-notch) horse, and even the show organizers weren't welcoming of new people to their association and not in their clique (as in yes, ma'am, your dressage class has been scored and placed, and no I won't give you your test sheet. Only I can post the placings, and only I will do that when I get a moment. Even though there are 4-5 people milling about behind me in the office, eating doughnuts and talking. And for two hours I will sit and gossip and check people into the show grounds and take my time gathering payments while this folder with your dressage class postings sits under my elbow and yes I know you are sitting there, waiting to drive home on a Sunday, four hours away. And yes I will tell you multiple times I'll do it when I can and then I will watch you leave the office and drive away and two more hours later I will call you and tell you how you placed. but only After you complain about it on Facebook. I rode my test sat 8:30 and 10:00.Dressage was completely done by 11:00. I got my scores at 4 that afternoon. That's not how dressage works in the "real world" but it's how it's managed by this association when you aren't a bestie, a valued member- I was just a checkbook). The whole experience was unpleasant and unwelcoming and dampened my enthusiasm and interest in giving them one more dime of my money, ever. They can't grow their membership but seemingly don't get it that they refuse to let it grow by treating new people like something stuck on their shoe.

                                    So now I trail ride again. On a really jam up dressage horse and I help to run shows for my GMO, and I will do - and currently do- everything I can to make new people and green beans feel WELCOME and appreciated. It's a horse show, it's supposed to be about getting together, admiring good horses, awarding good horsemanship, and having a good time. Every damn one of us.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                                      ... and that anybody lucky enough to have a horse is lucky enough.
                                      THIS IS THE TRUTH!

                                      It's the end of the winter, and I think most folks are in a funk right now between the crappy weather and lack of quality sunshine.
                                      Alis volat propriis.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        My sternum got infected following heart surgery. They had to take it out. It was a big deal, life or death, at the time. Not so much now. The meds following the surgery were the worst part. I lost so many years to going downhill, then hitting bottom and then the long climb back out of the hole that I WANT IT ALL AND I WANT IT NOW!! Totally unrealistic, I know. Just seems like I'm always a little late to the party. And then when I catch up, the party has moved on.

                                        My horse has some championships under his belt, as an AOTS. They were in NC where a western class with 4 horses was considered BIG. Not so much when there's 15-20 horses to pick from. Here a small class is 10-12. My first western class ever had 17 horses is it. My daughter was worried about me getting thru the traffic. I only ever saw the horse in front of me. My nerves got worse as his hocks got worse so I think he was transmitting HIS anxiety about pain to me.

                                        I don't know where I'm going from here. Maybe just show clothes, show tack on a Sunday afternoon ride around the yard.

                                        And then out to dinner with the money I saved!
                                        Ride like you mean it.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I'm looking at this from a different angle.

                                          I don't understand why you put yourself through this - it sounds as if you DON'T enjoy showing at all, even though you say you do. For example, you say ribbons aren't important to you, yet you are upset about not getting ribbons. Ask yourself why? Why do you want to show? What about it in your mind has you convinced that it is fun even though in your gut you know it isn't? What does it mean to you to be out there in the show ring? Acceptance by a certain group of people? Denial of aging/medical issues/something else? Living in the past? Hope? Proving something to someone?

                                          Obviously this is something you're thinking about a lot. Maybe just go deeper than the surface of "I'm not doing well at shows." Your horse is having soundness problems...you've had soundness problems. If your horse could talk, what would he say about going to shows? If you give up on taking your horse to shows, would you feel like you're giving up on yourself?

                                          Horses can be great mirrors for what we're going through - what can you see reflected in this situation?
                                          My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                                          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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