I don't know what to do!!! Help please!!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-17-2010, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know what to do!!! Help please!!!

I'm 15 now, have been riding since I was 6 at the same barn with the same trainer. We're not a showing barn, and we only jump up to 2'3". I know that I am capable of doing more but I'm not sure if I want to change barns so I can do more.

I LOVE my barn. There are 3 girls I've been riding with for a really long time and they are my closest friends. I love the horses and one of them, Tia, I just totally adore her and I really have a connection with her. And I'm so close to my trainer. She's a great trainer, and has great ideas for making riding more fun and improving our riding. And we're just really close and she's like a 2nd mom to me (the kind of mom that Rory has in Gilmore Girls, haha sorry for the random tanget). So I don't really want to leave...

But at the same time, I want to jump higher, do shows, etc. I don't want to go to the Olympics or anything that big, but I just really want the experience of doing some local shows and I REALLY want to start jumping higher. So I really want to change barns so I can do that stuff.

Another issue is money. If I were to change barns, my parents wouldn't be willing to pay for shows and stuff. I'm totally willing to put in hours and hours of work to earn money so I can do shows. But then I wouldn't be able to get as much riding time in because I'd always be working.

Sooo....long story short, I'm really torn about what I should do. Opinions please!!!
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-17-2010, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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First of all, you need to sit down with your trainer. She knows better than anyone what it takes, so you want to brainstorm with her before you go trying to persuade your parents of anything. Get the trainer on your side, and then you can both sit down with the 'rents and make a decision.
If you do end up moving barns, see if you can clean stalls in exchange for extra lessons - sort of a mini part-time working student thing. Spend your free time there riding as much as possible, but also watching more experienced riders. That is immensely helpful. At home, be committed to educating yourself - go on Amazon and buy a bunch of secondhand books. You need a copy of Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris, and I highly recommend Carol Mailer's gridwork book, anything by Jimmy Wofford or Bertalan de Nemethy, or any of the other "masters." Get a subscription to Practical Horseman and flip to the jumping clinic session - cover up all the responses and critique each picture, then see what you got and what you missed. Get familiar with every aspect of flatwork and jumping - it will carry over into your riding! And when your parents and trainer see how dedicated you are, they'll be even more willing to help you out.

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-17-2010, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice :) It's not that my parent's wouldn't let me change barns, they just wouldn't want to go the extra mile to pay for shows. At my barn now I'm always there working or volunteering. I love to watch other lessons too, but the thing is me and the 3 girls I ride with, we're the most experience riders there so I can't watch people that more experienced. But I'll totally get more books and stuff
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-19-2010, 01:28 AM
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I know how you feel. I felt like I wasnt improving with my riding at all at the last two barns an they werent patient with me. Maybe your trainer feels you arent ready and at some point you will be at 2'6-2'9' to 3'6-3'9
You will get there if its just a rule she has. Ask her about it...
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-19-2010, 01:54 AM
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talk to your trainer and see if she could help you get what you want, if not you may need to just change barns, as hard as it is, it might be for the better, and if you do it and you go "what a big mistake" go back!! nothing ventured is nothing gained

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post #6 of 13 Old 04-21-2010, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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She thinks I'm ready to do more, but since we're a schooling barn, we don't buy horses that can do more then 2'3". And we only have a few horses that can do that.
I'm might ride elsewhere for the summer and see how I like it. Still not sure though
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-21-2010, 04:18 PM
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Alright, I know you said that money is an issue (for shows? or everything), but this is what I would do and DID do for a while: I started out riding at one barn where I rode for 5 1/2 years. I loved it- I loved the people, the horses, the instructor, BUT I wasn't improving AT ALL once I had the basic walk/trot/canter down. It wasn't a jumping barn, and Medal and Equitation classes are my passion. But I didn't want to leave that barn, sooo I rode there once every other week, and started taking lessons at another barn that gave jumping lessons every week. Eventually I completely switched over to the other barn because I was just wasting my money at the first barn when I wasn't improving at all, and even though it was hard to leave, I knew I did the right thing for myself and for my riding. I'm sure you could find a barn where you could work off some of the costs. At the barn I'm at now, I was able to work off the costs of riding on my own time (out of lessons) and my instructor let me borrow her old show boots and jacket for the shows last summer, which lowered the cost of showing by a couple hundred dollars.
Sooooo now that I'm done rambling on, my point is, why don't you continue riding at that barn and try a couple lessons at another? If it's really worth it for your riding, and if you truly want to improve past what they are able to teach you (be it the horses or the instructors), then I would switch barns. I'd love to ride in some Maclay classes in the far-off future, but with the first barn there was no way they could help me achieve my dreams, even if they wanted to, because they were a dressage barn. So maybe see if you could ride at both?

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-21-2010, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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My current trainer doesn't want me to ride at both barns, as much as I'ld love to be able to. But I've decided what I'm going to do is just stay at my current barn. Then when I go to college (I'm probably going to be at least an hour away from home) I'll either ride at a local barn and do more or ride on the equestrian team if there is one (I know I'll have to be able to do more then I do now for most equestrian teams, so just depends on the level of the team of the school I'm at).
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-22-2010, 07:03 AM
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What you are experiencing is a pretty common thing for someone who only rides lesson string horses. It is frequently not so much that the horses can not physically do more than 2'-3" but more that because they are lesson horses there is no need for them to do over 2'-3". Any lesson barn I know of basically says if you want to get past that level you have to buy your own horse.

Lesson horses work hard for a living and their legs and bodies do not need the extra wear doing bigger jumps can cause.

Before you switch barns make sure any barn you are going to will allow you to jump higher on a lesson horse.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-29-2010, 03:01 PM
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I had the same problem about 5 years ago...I had been riding with the same dressage instructor since I was 9 years old. From the time I was 13-16 I felt like I was going no where. And I was taking a lesson every week. It got to the point where my insturctor would put me on the "naughty" horses just because they needed to be worked. (P.S. I was PAYING to do that) I realize our situations a bit different but I do not regret switching barns. I was invited to train under one of the best dressage trainers in our area and I finally felt like I was going somewhere again. Dont let personal feelings get in the way of your education. I think that the equestrian team through you college sounds like a GREAT idea!!! All of those teams usually have different level riders for competitions. I hope it works out!!!

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