Need Help making decision - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help making decision

I'm desperate for some advice...My daughter, 11, is completely hooked on riding and is currently a student of Saddle Seat. We originally signed up at this barn because the BO has a fantastic reputation for being a great trainer. As a previous rider myself - I really wanted her to develop fantastic ground work and a lot of confidence dealing with horses.

My daughter has progressed nicely within one year - places first in her classes. One problem that we are facing is that our current barn has quit showing Academy and my daughter hasn't shown since the Spring. She's driving me crazy and wants to seriously pursue this. I have approached the BO about showing and have been told that she would not take my daughter to certain shows and that they are for "serious" riders. She participates in 2-3 lessons a week. We have not pursued leasing or buying from the BO and I can only assume that this is what she is expecting us to do. We have not considered this since we feel she would have to trade up in a couple of years and we are not sure this is the discipline she needs to pursue. I'm concerned that she may have more opportunities in other disciplines.

Now on to the second problem, she attended a summer hunter camp and fell in love with it as well. I know that this other barn shows a lot.

As I type this I am beginning to realize that we need to first decide the discipline she wants to pursue. But, don't you think 11 is a little young to have to pick? Is it possible for a child this young to be taught to do both? Or would it jeopardize her technique?

To top it off - these barns are very competitive and we have all heard the arguments "my style is better"! I do not feel comfortable discussing these issues in depth with either trainer.

I had a friend who recommended 4-H. But I'm not sure how that works if we do not own a horse suitable for showing.

This is wearing me out and we are wasting time - advice please...

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 09:55 PM
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I think you ought to consider buying or leasing a horse regardless of weather you're going to need to 'trade up' in a couple years or what discipline she pursues . Fact of the matter is if you're going to be competitive its going to be very very hard to do so without at the very least leasing a mount to practice more than 2-3 times per week on.

life has no remote control hitch them up and drive them your self

Last edited by Ashleysmardigrasgirl; 10-13-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 10:06 PM
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It sounds like each barn is specialized? One hunter, the other Saddleseat? Can you find a barn that does both? Because then you could make arrangements to lease a country english horse and have your daughter also take some hunter lessons. Yes, she can learn 2 disciplines, we used to do it all the time. You could only get the Year End Belt Buckle or other trophy if you showed in at least 2 seats. It will make her an all around better rider.

If your current training barn no longer shows Academy, then I'd be finding a new barn and leasing from someone else. The comment from the trainer about "serious riders" would p*ss me off to the point I'd be leaving her barn regardless. 3 lessons a week isn't exactly a kid with a fad, nor are her parents. Expecting an 11 year old kid to be a "serious" rider at this point would also p*ss me off. This is supposed to be fun and educational and a stress buster. Time enough for your daughter to learn to be a professional rider after she turns 18.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 10:50 PM
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As a riding instructor of all ages - please don't pick a discipline to specialise in. A child of 11 should be out 'having a go' at all the equestrian disciplines. We have ponies here that will do quality dressage, show jump to Grand Prix, compete in horse trials and then go and be games ponies another weekend.

A well schooled pony should be able to multi discipline and give your child a lot of fun in lots of different equestrian disciplines.

If your child is competent you really don't need to go everywhere with a trainer - it's a very American thing and great for the trainer who picks up the fee for being there but is not totally necessary, you may make mistakes but then hopefully learn from them. Read the rules for the discipline and go and watch shows of different disciplines - it's the best way to learn.

If she is being taught well then she should be able to apply the lesson knowledge to the competition ring. Find her an honest pony with nice paces that has been well schooled on the flat and over jumps.

You will need transport if you plan to go to shows so you may need to invest in a vehicle that will pull a float/trailer and of course a float/trailer too.

Choose equipment that will multi task - a GP/AP saddle for a couple of years is absolutely fine, then go for a dressage saddle and a jumping saddle once the competition gets tougher. I competed to national level in a GP before I could afford a specialised saddle.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 10:57 PM
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I think the first question needs to be directed at your daughter: If you can only pick one, which one do you prefer?

She's 11. If she changes her mind in six months, no big deal.

Does the hunter barn allow her to show with lesson horses? If she's wanting to do hunt seat and this is an option, I would consider seriously pursuing this. Even if they're just schooling shows, to an 11-year-old shows are often just shows, whether schooling or rated. They will also give her good experience. And the fact of the matter is that sometimes little girls outgrow horses. I generally find that 13-14 is that "golden age" so to speak--if at 14 she still loves it, then she'll probably love it for life (and you'll be able to breathe easy that she'll most-likely always prefer horses to boys! Yay!).

So let her do what she wants, though personally I think the hunter barn sounds like a better choice since you've determined she likes it already. If she decides she wants to go back to saddleseat, then no problem. Easy enough. If in a few years she wants to get even more serious about showing, then I would consider leasing a horse or buying if it's in your budget. But wait on that until she finds where she wants to be. A saddleseat horse is a far cry from a hunter/jumper.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-13-2012, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
It sounds like each barn is specialized? One hunter, the other Saddleseat? Can you find a barn that does both? Because then you could make arrangements to lease a country english horse and have your daughter also take some hunter lessons. Yes, she can learn 2 disciplines, we used to do it all the time. You could only get the Year End Belt Buckle or other trophy if you showed in at least 2 seats. It will make her an all around better rider.
Let me clarify this post. I meant you could lease an saddleseat horse for her to continue to progress on and she could take her huntseat lessons on another horse. I didn't mean she could do SS and Hunt on the same horse, the shoeing for the SS horse is waaaaay wrong for a hunter, as is the size of the trot.

I agree with the poster who said to let her get out and experience a whole bunch of different stuff while she's young. I'd be looking for a barn where she could ride bareback, western, hunt, English and do gymkhana all in one facility. She's only 11, she needs to check it all out so she can a) be good all around and b) make an informed decision later if she decides to pick one discipline to specialize in. But it's way too early now.

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