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Am I good enough to become professional rider?

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  • Am I good enough to become professional rider?

    I'm still quite young (19), but I'm seriously thinking about becoming a professional rider (expecially in dressage).
    But I feel like I'm not good enough. I come from a small country with not much interest in horses, so I shold be really good to make everything work.
    I'm currently riding medium level, but I feel like I'm stuck and that I don't proceed anymore. I have extreme luck to have lessons with grand prix riders almost every day, on the other days I hack his horses. But I feels so bad about my riding. I have big difficulties making flying lead changes and nice half-passes and my trainer constantly shousts on me. Sometimes when he is really angry he shouts at me that I have no feeling at all.
    I'm sure that I will never quit because I love riding, but how could I find out if I'm good enough to make it to grand prix and be a professional? (Pleas don't tell me ask my trainer 'cause I'm scared.

  • #2
    honey you need a different trainer. Go be a working student with another trainer (sounds like you may need to go abroad?) and see if you progress then decide.


    • #3
      There are lots of awful awful professional riders. So without seeing anything, yes, yes you are good enough to become a professional rider. All it takes literally is calling yourself a professional.
      Let me apologize in advance.


      • #4
        Without anyone seeing you ride, no one on this board can tell you if you have what it takes to be a professional.

        However, very few people make a living just riding. The often have to train, teach lessons, break young horses, run a boarding barn, etc to make ends meet. You won't get paid just to ride nice horses and go to shows--very, very few people get to do that, and most still teach lessons/clinics/etc at the very least.

        Most people who are successful professionals in the horse world ride with many different people to gain insight and experience. If you are stuck with one trainer and not progressing, how to do you see your career even getting started?

        I agree that you need to find a working student position with a well-respected rider that will hopefully let you ride as much as you can, while still keeping in mind that being a professional is the ultimate dream that not that many people make a living at.


        • #5
          If you are a strong rider and person, i suggest this:

          I have several friends who've really started their professional career here. But you have to basically be good enough to be a pro rider, just need experience and contacts.

          It's really a trial by fire.

          Like him or not, Andreas helgstrand is also regularly hiring working students.
          Let me apologize in advance.


          • #6
            Being a professional is determined by whether anyone pays you to exercise, train, show, or teach riding. In North America at least, anyone can set up shop as a trainer or teacher, accept pay for it, and see if any clients come calling. That is enough to make you a pro (which means you can't show as an amateur). If you are giving beginner lessons on an old pony to 6 year old kids, and charging $10 an hour, you are a professional.

            I think what you are asking is somewhat different. You are asking how do you get to the upper levels of the sport. Many upper level riders are not professionals; they are amateurs with enough money to fund their hobby. Unlike team sports (soccer, etc), you do not need to be a professional to compete at the highest levels. People often are professionals by the time they get there, of course, because they have needed to teach and train for a living in order to stay in the horse world. But there is not in general a special level of "professional rider" in dressage.

            Racing is different. In horse racing, yes, there is a job category of "professional jocket," and these are the only people who rider race horses in competition.

            What you are asking is how do you become a higher-level rider who can move on up to the higher levels of the sport.

            If opportunities are limited in your country, you should still research all the trainers and training barns in the country. You can find out a lot on-line, usually, and you can search the International Equestrian Federation to see who from your country is currently competing internationally. Then contact these people, and ask them what you should do. Perhaps they have a lesson program. Ask them how they broke onto the international level from a small country with little interest in the sport.

            If no one from your country is competing internationally, then do some research on what exists in the way of competition in your country, and figure out what trainers and barns are competing at a higher level. Contact them.

            You say you are training with a grand prix rider. What does this mean? Grand prix is a level of training, a certain test. However, the level and test can be done poorly, minimally, or well. Is this grand prix rider competent? Score well? Compete? Have a verifiable show record?

            And more importantly, is this grand prix rider a good teacher? If you are stuck in the lower levels, sometimes a less advanced teacher who is better able to figure out your position errrors can be very useful for a while.

            Ok, re-read your post. Sounds like your instructor is getting frustrated with you, and things are not very productive.

            I think you need to find a kinder teacher who is ready to work on basics with you. If your instructor thinks you don't have any feel, it probably means you are trying to ride above your basic skill level, can't co-ordinate the aids, and are getting anxious.


            • #7
              Thank you all! I think I should really do some research about other trainers in my country (although I doubt I will find someone better), get back to basics and eventually find a working student position somewhere abroad when I finnish school. Thanks, it has been really helpful!


              • #8
                OP: Consider too, that you may be riding above your instructor' teaching skill level.
                Simply put, just because someone rides GP, and it your area, that may not take much, doesn't mean they can teach. A shouting instructor is a frustrated instructor.
                You ride well enough to be entrusted with their horses but have no feel! Seriously?
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                • #9
                  Maybe this will help you make flying lead changes better. First of all, be sure you understand what aids the horse responds to when asked to take the correct lead. There are so many variations. You may be giving the horse confusing aids without realizing it. When you and the horse are in agreement about which aids you use then practice cantering in a large figure eight. I say large because small circles are hard on your horse. At first when you come to the center of the figure and prepare to change directions, slow the horse to a trot and make a simple change. Do this in both directions. Do this a few times then try a flying change. When I was learning, it helped me to count strides. I would start counting three or four strides before I got to the change of direction. One, two, three, CHANGE. You have to get into the rhythm of the canter so you'll ask for the change when it's physically possible for the horse to change. Having a nice rhythmic canter and asking for the aid in rhythm is crucial for a beginner. It's a great feeling when you accomplish it.
                  I hope this helps you.


                  • #10
                    Another way to look at this is, not necessarily are you good enough to be a professional rider but can you fill a "need" in your intended area of living?

                    For example, maybe you aren't the "best" rider in the area but you maybe you could be the best in the area at starting young horses or maybe you are good at developing safe amateur or kids horses?

                    The great thing about the industry is that there are a lot options, you just have to explore them. Go work for as many people as you can and get as many different experiences that you can and learn what works for you and what doesn't.

                    It sounds like your current trainer doesn't teach in a way that you learn, and that can be very frustrating for both of you.
                    "Hell yes I can ride. I was riding when I fell off!"


                    • #11
                      I agree that your trainer may be an excellent rider, but not a good teacher. It is true that you cannot teach "feel" to a rider, that is something that develops with experience, but a good teacher should be able to give you insight to help you develop your ability to feel. A teacher that shouts is either frustrated at not being able to bridge some communication gap, or is just not good at knowing how to develop confidence in a rider. I am guessing it is a bit of both in your case.

                      If this is the only upper level instructor in your area, keep riding with him, but maybe take a few lessons with a different instructor for a while, pick someone who maybe isn't as high up in the levels as your current instructor, but a person who has an excellent reputation for teaching who can help you work through your difficulties.

                      Then you can choose to stay with the instructor that is less advanced, or you can go back to your high level instructor and let him perfect what the other trainer taught you.
                      Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
                      Bernard M. Baruch