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Schooling show class ideas for old people?

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  • Schooling show class ideas for old people?

    I board/ride at a fairly large boarding and training stable. It's a pretty low-key place; there's a lesson program and kids who do Pony Club and go to shows, but there are a bunch of people(me included) who board/ride there basically just for fun. Some of us ride English, some Western; when weather permits we're usually out riding the trails, but in the winter we ride in the indoor practicing our various disciplines. Those of us non-kiddos are all well past our teenage years; the youngest is in her mid-20's, and some of our group is almost 70; we average about 35-40 years old.

    Our barn hosts monthly schooling shows which are open to the public; the classes are all English/Equitation, hunter/jumper stuff. (Very casual, no show attire or anything.) I've never shown in my life, but I decided a couple of months ago that I was going to go ahead and enter a few classes with my new (green) OTTB, just for fun.

    I managed to talk a couple of my trail-ride buddies into entering with me; we entered beginner W/T, W/T/C, 12-and-up W/T and W/T/C, and I entered a crossrails class. We had a BLAST!!

    Here's the problem, though... the vast majority of the show participants are kids, from 10 to about 18 years old. Personally, we all feel rather awkward entering classes with kids that aren't even old enough to drive yet, even though the classes are open to adults; plus, we all just ride for fun, and we have no interest in going on to "rated" shows or whatever. Most of us don't jump, either.

    So I'm really trying to encourage the BO to start adding some "adult" classes to the next show schedule. I think if there were some classes targeted to us adult pleasure riders, a lot of us would sign up, and not have to feel weird about competing against (and beating) little kids.

    So... any suggestions (and descriptions) of some classes that would be appropriate? They would have to work for both English and Western riders.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

  • #2
    I'm 30...just really getting into H/J...went to a couple of schooling shows this summer and I felt a little awkward because at the first one, all I wanted to do was WT poles. (my horse is green OF too). I felt like a jerk "beating" some 6 YO kid, ya know? LOL

    Later in the summer, I rode one of the school horses against the advanced kids (who really were better than me) and I kicked butt to some degree. Had fun. At least I didn't feel like I was stealing candy from a baby.

    If you have enough PEOPLE to warrant a few Adult Novice classes, it can really be anything.

    Adult Novice WT western
    Adult Novice WT equitation
    Adult Novice anything....egg and spoon heck, why not?

    If you've got ENOUGH.

    My problem was that the barn I was at, I was the only "adult". So it just wasn't feasible to have one class for moi.

    The other option is that you guys could always do the kiddie classes as exhibition. READ: you're not in the game for ribbons. STill good experience.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #3
      just add a "fossils over fences" division and make ch & reserve a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer. ;D
      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


      • #4
        We have "long stirrup" beginner divisions, for those who have discovered, or re-discovered life from the back of a horse! There are also the "over the hill" shows with classes for people 40 and over. These are the best & what sports! I think it's a great idea - even for those of us that have been there, done that & have the faded, torn t-shirt as a dust rag. Maybe be a "faded stars" class for the 40+ that do have experience? Go for it!
        "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." Rick Warren


        • #5
          So a little local show around us used to do these little classes that were like $5 or $8 to enter. They had a gaggle of adult novice riders that didn't feel like doing the hunter hack with the kiddo's so they added a adult showmanship class and an adult equitation class. Basically you showed up in tack that was for your discipline of choice, everybody did a hunter hack type class and you were awarded on your showmanship or equitation for your discipline. Worked quite well and they actually had to expand and split classes so many adults entered. It was pretty fun watching the w/t/c with people in western, dressage, or hj (even 1 endurance rider once) doing what they do and being judged by their discipline standards against other people.


          • #6
            Those "old people" classes used to be held as the "Jack Benney" division (we're all 39!). Can be the same classes offered as for the kids (equitation, showmanship, etc), or do fun gymkhana style events, like the aforementioned egg & spoon, flag race, poles, barrels, perhaps a "Prix Caprilli", a mini-combined event with elements of dressage and a jumping/obstacle course.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by DMK View Post
              just add a "fossils over fences" division and make ch & reserve a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer. ;D
              Ooo, I LIKE this idea... a 6-pack of beer would be JUST the thing to get this crowd to sign up!!
              *friend of bar.ka

              "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


              • #8
                I went to one show where they had over fence and flat classes where the combined age of the horse and rider had to add up to over 30. LOL I won a couple of classes on my 18 year old (and I was 44 so we were OVER-qualified!) A 16 year old girl on an 18 year old horse was 2nd in most of the classes.

                You can have "over 30" classes if you have enough people. If you have a lot of people, just have them do the age groups like a recognized show: 10 or 13 and under, 14-17, 18-25, 26-35, and Over 35. More easily, you can do as my local club does: We do our schooling shows 17 and under and 18 and over. I don't think you need to have any qualms about beating an 18 year old (as opposed to a 6 year old).

                Edited to Add: We used to have playdays where we had a "parents" class, W/T only. The first place rider got a ribbon and a tube of Ben-Gay.


                • #9
                  It is still common for open shows to have Jack Benny/Lucille Ball classes for 39 and over.

                  For over-18 adults, you can add "Adult" to the title and go with it. Adult W/T, Adult, WTC, Adult crossrails, etc.

                  Many adult beginners appreciate having separate beginner-type classes. Many avoid showing because they do not like being the only adult in a ring full of ponies. having adult-only classes is a great idea.


                  • #10
                    One issue about adding classes based on age divisions is that it makes for a very long day. Since it is a schooling type show, why not just make the judging and placing based on age, while you all ride in the same class?

                    We did that at our fun day show, well, something similar, we all entered the barrel racing (most of us just for fun), and the divided up the placings into three groups, the fastest, the slowest and the middle. So, if there were 30 entries, the 10 fastest times were in the first group, the 10 slowest times were in the last group, and the middle was the middle. Then the awarded ribbons to the fastest of each group.

                    So, for age division, if you have 12 people in the class, where 8 are under 30 and 4 are over 30 (just as an example), you could award 1-6th to the under 30 and 1-6th to the over thirty all in the same class.

                    Or consider adding some sort of "trail" or obstacle challenge classes, which are becoming very popular, and don't require perfect equitation.
                    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                    • #11
                      I would skip the cutsie names and just go with adult or 30 and over titles. Fossils over Fences? How about calling the kids classes 'wet behind the ears'?
                      Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


                      • #12
                        If the issue is having enough adults to fill a class, you can have an adult hunter or eq division where the riders pick their fence height -- So you could fill a division with adults jumping crossrails, 2', and 2'6 all competing against eachother --
                        "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


                        • #13
                          Long stirrup or Jack Benny are the adult classes around here. You could always add a Adult Beg or novice ect. and have it be what ever you like. We would not want to jump so we kept saying we were going under fences!


                          • Original Poster

                            Love all the ideas-- thanks!

                            What are some ideas for an "obstacle course"-type class that would be a.) easy to set up, and b.) able to be done by English OR Western riders?

                            I'm thinking maybe a couple of jumps that are low enough to walk over (<12"), walking over a tarp and bridge, figure-eight with barrels, trot poles... any other ideas?
                            *friend of bar.ka

                            "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cnvh View Post
                              Love all the ideas-- thanks!

                              What are some ideas for an "obstacle course"-type class that would be a.) easy to set up, and b.) able to be done by English OR Western riders?

                              I'm thinking maybe a couple of jumps that are low enough to walk over (<12"), walking over a tarp and bridge, figure-eight with barrels, trot poles... any other ideas?
                              Make a square box with groud poles, the horse enters the box, does a 360 turn around in the box without moving the poles, and exits to the next obstacle.

                              Get two barrels, put a bucket on one that the rider has to pick up and carry to the next barrel and put it down on the barrel.

                              Put a raincoat or poncho on a jump standard, the rider picks up the raincoat and carries it to the next jump standard and hangs it on the next jump standard.

                              Make a "gate", using two jump standards and a piece of rope, tied to one standard, with a loop onto the other standard. The rider "opens" the "gate" by removing the end with the loop, and rides through the opening between the two standards, and replaces the rope to "close" the "gate".
                              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                              • #16
                                You can do 19 and up classes, thats what our little local pleasure show does.

                                obstacle course

                                take jump poles and make a box the horse has to walk in and do a turn on forehand/haunches, either one.

                                sidepass down a jump pole, to make it harder you could put it at a 90 degree angle with two poles.

                                jump a small jump

                                back thru cones or poles

                                open/close gate or mailbox

                                bridge or tarp for walking over
                                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                                • #17
                                  I always liked "Brush in the Bucket" - grad a brush at one end and run to put it in a bucket at the other end.....we once even had a small cross rail we had to jump.

                                  Another one was run down to one end...jump off (put stirups up) grab a carrot and have horsey follow you back.


                                  • #18
                                    It won't take any longer to run kids v. adult classes instead of combined if the show is run efficiently -- there will be the same number of competitors. The only additional time will be handing out one more set of ribbons. Most exhibitors are willing to accept this delay!

                                    The #1 thing shows can do to make adults happy is enforce a rule that if there is an empty ring, the class closes. Kids love long show days, but most adults don't.

                                    The AQHA rulebook specifies appropriate trail class obstacles and is a good resource. There should really be no difference between what an "English" and western rider can do if the horse is trained for trail.

                                    I think most adults I know would prefer "real" classes in addition to gymkhana. Many have nerve issues and are more comfortable with W/T/C on the rail. Plus, they deserve to have real classes just as much as the kids do, not just Egg and Spoon for Old Folks.


                                    • #19
                                      I like adult classes because having an 8 yr old whip your butt can be so humiliating. Then you have to convince them that really, pink would look GREAT in their room, and they don't need that nasty old blue ribbon.
                                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
                                        I like adult classes because having an 8 yr old whip your butt can be so humiliating. Then you have to convince them that really, pink would look GREAT in their room, and they don't need that nasty old blue ribbon.
                                        We just tell ourselves that it's because they are riding the easy lesson ponies and we are riding challenging "special" horses.