• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the Forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes may be better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts, though are not legally obligated to do so, regardless of content.

Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting. Moderators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts unless they have been alerted and have determined that a post, thread or user has violated the Forums’ policies. Moderators do not regularly independently monitor the Forums for such violations.

Profanity, outright vulgarity, blatant personal insults or otherwise inappropriate statements will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

Users may provide their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, individuals, etc.; however, accounts involving allegations of criminal behavior against named individuals or companies MUST be first-hand accounts and may NOT be made anonymously.

If a situation has been reported upon by a reputable news source or addressed by law enforcement or the legal system it is open for discussion, but if an individual wants to make their own claims of criminal behavior against a named party in the course of that discussion, they too must identify themselves by first and last name and the account must be first-person.

Criminal allegations that do not satisfy these requirements, when brought to our attention, may be removed pending satisfaction of these criteria, and we reserve the right to err on the side of caution when making these determinations.

Credible threats of suicide will be reported to the police along with identifying user information at our disposal, in addition to referring the user to suicide helpline resources such as 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 5/9/18)
See more
See less

riding lessons without showing

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • riding lessons without showing

    Hello to all!
    Ive returned to riding after a good 18+ years off. I am loving it, and am so happy to be involved in horses again. Turns out that I had a very weak foundation of riding skills from my childhood. I have learned more in the past few months from my riding instructor then I ever did in the 10+ years that I rode as a child, a lot of the things I am being taught for the very first time. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, and like I cant seem to make the progress I am striving for. My instructor asked me if I would be interested in showing next year and I was really excited about the idea as it is something that I have always wanted to do. But now I am not so sure, I feel as though I would be better off continuing to take lessons without showing. My overall goal is to become a good, confident rider. Although the idea of showing is exciting, I'm not sure that its for me. Is it expected for all riders to show if they are taking lessons? Perhaps its just my lack of confidence at the moment.

  • #2
    When I was a kid, I took hunter/jumper lessons and never even discussed showing with the trainer. I was with her for probably four or five years. So, no, I don’t think it’s weird to take lessons and never show. Plenty of horse owners take lessons and don’t show. Do what you feel comfortable with.


    • #3
      No, it's not an expectation, at least not at all barns; if you don't want to show, don't show.
      "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM



      • #4
        Should not be an expectation at any training facility.
        And as a caveat: some "pros" are interested in you showing only because they can then charge show fees.

        But if - as you say - it's something you've always wanted to do, give it a try.
        By next show season your confidence level should let you know if you feel ready to "strut your stuff" in the showring.
        Best to start with small, local schooling shows - perhaps even at the barn you are currently taking lessons.
        If it turns out to be not your cuppa, no shame in going back to lessons only.
        Just be sure you are made aware of any & all charges associated with showing when you do not own your own horse.
        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


        • #5
          I took lessons for years before I ever considered showing - and then I (happily) stopped showing for several years. It's a personal decision and a good trainer will recognize that students have different goals and different ways to measure success to them.

          If you don't want to show, there's nothing wrong with that! On the other hand, showing also isn't mutually exclusive to being a good, confident rider either. If you have a good relationship with your trainer, consider talking to them about this. It sounds like you might be interested but are nervous about what it might entail. They may be able to give you some more information to help you decide if it's something you want to do or not.


          • #6
            Sometimes showing can be a confidence builder and give you a goal to work towards. For some competitive people, it is the reason they ride. That being said, I would agree with other posters that you should do what you like, with no expectations other than the ones you make for yourself. Enjoy progressing at your own pace. Showing can (and should ) be fun, and it can be nice to get a different set of eyes on your riding for feedback, but don't go there if the idea is stressful.
            My main discipline is dressage, haven't showed in several years, we'll see if we want to next season.


            • #7
              While I was not riding while pregnant, my trainer decided he wanted to make his business model more of a competition focused barn, and I knew that wouldn't fit with my current needs.I had done plenty of showing as a kid, and as an adult re-rider with a full-time job and a baby, I really wanted to spend my horse time riding and not bogged down with all the show-specific prep, etc. Eventually I found a trainer who knew I wasn't interested in showing and was ok with that. Every once in a while if she was going to a show with other clients she would ask if I was interested, but I never did and it was never a high pressure thing. I rode weekly lessons there for years, made minor progress along the way, but enjoyed the break from "life".

              I ended up switching to dressage (and thus, switching trainers) and now I am looking forward to showing. Part of it has to do with having more time (DS is now a teenager) and part of it is the dressage show format, where you are in essence competing against yourself to improve your score. I have a young horse and we have done a few schooling shows for experience, but I am really looking forward to getting him ready to tackle some "real" shows next year. I also have a great group of barn friends who keep the shows low-key, supportive and just plain fun!

              If it is something you want to try - go for it! If you aren't ready there is no problem saying so and working towards that goal. If you never want to show, that is fine too. If your goals don't mesh well with the trainer you are with now, I would suggest you look for a new trainer that suits your needs better.
              "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham


              • #8
                Are you taking lessons on your own horse, or on a lesson horse? I could understand a trainer wanting students riding lesson horses to show, to "show off" her students on her horses and their skills (and the quality of her training) as an advertisement to promote her business and hopefully get more students.

                Or trainers who require students to have their own horses in a training program where the trainer rides the horse outside of lessons and, again, wants them to show to promote her business as well as their skills.

                But OTOH, you're paying the trainer, so she should be teaching you what you want to learn -- to ride well, and to enjoy riding, not necessarily showing.

                I loved taking lessons as opposed to "just riding" because I enjoyed learning and wanted to be as good as I could. I wasn't interested in showing ... until I went to my first barn show with my friends and fellow riders, and then I wanted to show -- to have my turn in the arena -- but for fun with my friends, not to compete at a major show.
                "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- George Bernard Shaw


                • #9
                  You don't need to be perfect to be showing, so if "whether I am good enough" is your concern, don't. All of us are showing as our imperfect selves. You just need to be proficient enough. Your instructor should know whether you are ready.

                  With that said there is no rule that says you must show. Having a goal (showing) is one excellent way to help you moving forward. However, Many of my friends don't show at all, but they continue to strive forward, taking lessons regularly. They simply don't enjoy the pressure of showing.

                  I suggest that once your instructor says you are proficient enough, give showing a try (if you are interested). You can then decide whether that is your cup of tea. You may also decide that taking lessons is far more fun than showing.


                  • #10
                    I have ridden for almost 40 years and showed both eventing and dressage. (low levels LOL) My horse and I are semi retired. I am really enjoying lessons. I can go at my own pace and focus just on being a good rider . I take lessons to maintain my skills.

                    I enjoyed showing when I showed, but have no interest in it now!


                    • #11
                      When I started lessons, I just wanted to learn to ride competently (fulfilling a childhood dream). After a few months, my trainer suggested I try showing. I was reluctant since that had never been something I wanted to do. He finally talked me into trying a small schooling show on his packer schoolie. I fell in love and I promptly bought my first show horse.

                      My trainer had noticed my aptitude and competitiveness and encouraged me to try showing because he knew I would love it. Sure, it's possible your trainer may want you to show so they can charge you more, but it's just as likely they've noticed that it would be a great fit for you. I would suggest trying a small local show next year to see if you like it. If you don't, then no sweat, just keep doing your lessons and enjoy riding. But you may just as well enjoy setting goals, working for them in your lessons, and achieving them through showing.

                      Don't let your confidence or feeling overwhelmed about everything you're learning hold you back. There are beginner divisions available in almost every discipline (especially at schooling shows). Everyone starts somewhere and it's great to look back and see how far you've come!

                      Just look out, if the show bug bites you, you may have a new obsession very quickly!

                      Good luck with whatever you choose!


                      • #12
                        I always enjoyed the little schooling shows I went to, even though I was a terrible rider with a terrible trainer and a saint of an OTTB. I enjoyed these aspects of shows:

                        1. Getting my horse out into a new place, letting him experience new things.
                        2. Dress up! It's a costume party with horses.
                        3. Challenging myself to overcome show nerves and display the best of my horse I was capable of.
                        4. Kind advice from judges.
                        5. Drinking heavily and telling funny stories with other riders at the end of the day.

                        Also, there are lots of ribbons at relatively small shows, so we took some home.

                        Maybe don't think of showing as competition with others, so much as a benchmark of you and your horse at that moment in time. And by the way, a good show photographer can work miracles for your memories!

                        But certainly you should feel free to not show. Riding is not about competing, but training and joy.


                        • #13
                          I had this problem, being a foxhunter. They would ask me why I was taking lessons. Um, to be a more effective rider and live? Better riding = more safety. Simple, right?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by labellavita View Post
                            Hello to all!
                            Ive returned to riding after a good 18+ years off. I am loving it, and am so happy to be involved in horses again. Turns out that I had a very weak foundation of riding skills from my childhood. I have learned more in the past few months from my riding instructor then I ever did in the 10+ years that I rode as a child, a lot of the things I am being taught for the very first time. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, and like I cant seem to make the progress I am striving for. My instructor asked me if I would be interested in showing next year and I was really excited about the idea as it is something that I have always wanted to do. But now I am not so sure, I feel as though I would be better off continuing to take lessons without showing. My overall goal is to become a good, confident rider. Although the idea of showing is exciting, I'm not sure that its for me. Is it expected for all riders to show if they are taking lessons? Perhaps its just my lack of confidence at the moment.
                            You should be encouraged that your trainer is inviting you to show. It means your trainer thinks you have the ability to be competitive. Congrats!!

                            In the meantime, take the pressure off yourself and tell your trainer you would like to think about the idea of showing before you make a commitment. In other words, leave the door open. Next time your barn attends a show, tag along as a cheerleader, groom, etc. You'll learn a lot about what to expect without the actual stress of showing. See how you feel after cheerleading/grooming at a few shows before making a commitment to show or not to show. There is no wrong answer. It all depends on what you enjoy and find to be fullfilling.


                            • #15
                              I showed as a young rider and it was always a struggle as I suffered from terrible show nerves and did not understand how to handle them. I loved hanging out at shows, just not my time riding. Later on I was very happy to be mommy groom for my daughter when she caught the horse show bug.

                              Fast forward to finally getting my empty nest OTTB with the intentions to foxhunt him. I started taking him to schooling shows this summer to get him out and about and to prepare him for hunting. My trainer made me laugh and forget the show nerves (she offered me an adult beverage - I said "let me ride first.") and I just focused on helping the green bean learn. To my surprise I really enjoyed the shows and look forward to doing it again. Short,low key, full of laughs, and local so I can be home by the cocktail hour.

                              Great advice to attend without a horse first to see if you will like it, and give you goals to work towards in your lessons. I set training goals for my horse, and was delighted if he met them regardless of the ribbons won, or not, the day of the show. Trainers love to get you to sign up for the series, dangling series end awards. Getting caught up in point chasing can suck the fun out of the experience, as well as draining your wallet. Focus on learning and having fun, not the points. Do what you enjoy; that's why we ride.


                              • #16
                                I've been riding other people's horses for almost 30 years now. I've shown in 2 shows and have taken lessons on and off the entire time. I've had to stop riding for different reasons, $$, having kids... Am currently taking weekly lessons. It benefits me and the horse. And the horse's owner who generally shows the horse benefits. I would love to be able to ride consistently to feel comfortable showing. That was the plan until I got a crappy health diagnosis in Sept. this year. Sigh. So ride, take lessons and enjoy. Who knows what you'll feel like doing down the road.


                                • #17
                                  I started riding as a teen by attending riding sessions at summer camp. I then found a local barn where I worked in exchange for being able to ride (not lessons, just trails and whatever I wanted to do), and since leaving there I have been taking weekly lessons for over 10 years and riding any other horse I can when I have the opportunity.

                                  In 24 years, I have done some hunter paces but I have never been in a show aside from the little ones we have at the barn for boarders and students.

                                  For me it's mostly about $$ (at our barn you must be part leasing to show off the property, then you have trailering and trainer fees and entry fees and...) it just adds up to the point where if I had that kind of money, I would buy my own horse instead. But I also feel no real burning desire to show. I ride because it's fun and I take lessons to keep up my skills and improve upon them.


                                  • #18
                                    OP, do whatever makes you happy. Plenty of fun can be had outside the show ring if you decide to go that route.


                                    • #19
                                      I used to show pretty regularly, but as some point I just got tired of playing dress up, and I just wanted to ride. Even so, I kept taking lessons, because I still want to get better at riding, I just didn't want to do it while trying to stay spotlessly clean in a black coat on a hot day.

                                      These days I'm slacking, and just hacking out in my own hay field lately, but I'd like to return to taking lessons once I get my shit together, get through some of the zillions of projects I have to finish here on the farm, and decide who I want to take lessons from now that my instructor has moved away.

                                      Returning to showing is much more questionable, but I might do it again someday.
                                      "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                      -Edward Hoagland


                                      • #20
                                        My daughter rides 3-4 times a week, 2 of those as lessons and doesn't show and no plans to show at this point. Several other kids at her barn are the same way. I feel like they are having a lot of fun and instead of being taught to show, they are learning more about riding and training in general. Some lessons they will do mounted archery, other days drill team patterns, and plenty of jumping and trail rides.