Starting Eventing On My Own (Sorta) - Please Help Me Out Here!

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Starting Eventing On My Own (Sorta) - Please Help Me Out Here!

This is a discussion on Starting Eventing On My Own (Sorta) - Please Help Me Out Here! within the Eventing forums, part of the English Riding category

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    02-10-2013, 09:56 PM
Starting Eventing On My Own (Sorta) - Please Help Me Out Here!

Hi there,
So, as many people know, I have been doing hunters for two years now. I am gearing more towards equitation and jumpers with my new horse, Casper, as he isn't hunter-y like Rusty was. I take lessons once a week with my trainer, who knows tons about the hunter/jumper world...but here's the friend and I have decided to try a horse trial this summer. It's on our bucket list.

We plan to compete in beginner-novice, quite obviously. My trainer doesn't know a ton about eventing, so we're on our own because there aren't any eventing coaches in the area. So, I have a few questions, and please, PLEASE add any more insight or tips for us.

-What kind of eventing vest should I get? I know it should be certified, so the Tipperarys are out, but what can you tell me about Rodney Powell, Airowear, and Charles Owen? Which is the best bang for the buck?

-Can I ride in a close contact saddle for dressage?

-For a horse trial, do I have to be USEA certified - my horse and I are both USEF certified, and USHJA certified. We plan to do the Catalpa Corner Classic or the Iowa Games.

-Do we need to get our horses boots, and if so, what kind? I know a lot of people use splint boots, but I'm not sure if this is what to use. Do they need hind end boots as well?

-What kind of things should I be working on for dressage?

-Do I need to wear a coat for stadium jumping, or can we wear what people wear in the jumper rings - polos, etc.?

-I assume the horses must be braided for dressage?

-What is a good workout program to start for the horses? I know trotting hills are great, but this IS Iowa... :( ...they will be in shape for the rated hunter/jumper show, but should they be in even better shape for a horse trial?

...and give me any and all advice. I am SO excited to try this out!!! Casper is a steady-eddy and loves to jump, as do I! And he's brave!

The end.
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    02-10-2013, 11:18 PM
First, welcome to the dark side. Eventing is a blast, even at the lowest levels. Keep in mind, you can do elementary before BN. It's 2'3" versus 2'7". I have no idea what height you are currently jumping.

As for the vest, I have the Airowear and love it. Top of the line certification, fits well and I forget it's on.

Yes, you can use your CC saddle for dressage. At the lower levels, no need for a separate dressage saddle. That being said, you will most likely get hooked on dressage and end up buying a separate saddle.

I don't think you have to register with the USEF to do beginner novice, but I believe the registered riders get preference for shows that fill up quickly.

For horse boots, think hard shell, something that protects their legs from solid objects. Lots of what you will jumping will be logs with no so smooth bark on them. A lot of riders use Woof boots, but I have a harder neoprene boot that I know nothing will get through. Most riders use the ankle boots on the hinds too.

Dressage at that level is all about showing a relaxed horse in good rhythm, and acceptance of the bit. They want to see a consistent test with clean, well planned transitions.

Usually you show up for stadium in your XC gear, but it varies with the show, so be prepared for either.

For recognized shows, you do have to braid. It's optional for schooling shows.

As for conditioning, your horse should be able to canter for twice the amount of time he would be out on XC. Typical course takes about 5 minutes, so two canter sets of 5 minutes once a week. I would personally just take your horse out of the ring as much as possible and trot around on ever uneven area you can find.

Have fun, stay safe and welcome to the dark side!
    02-10-2013, 11:34 PM
I did not know that there was elementary, so I will check that out! I have trained up to 3 foot and feel comfortable with my mount jumping up to that height. We usually train at 2'3" to 2'6".

Good to know about the saddle! :) I am so super excited! Thanks for all of your information!
    02-10-2013, 11:55 PM
You don't have to braid at BN or N if you don't want to ! My pony looks terrible braided and I never braided him, we used to win at events all the time !

For vests, I have a rodney powell and I LOVE it. You have to take 16 measurements to get fitted so the vest fits you like a glove =]

You do not have to be a usea member, but there is usually a fee if you arent.

Ps I love catalpa, I went to the first event they ever had there =]

If you can get out and get some xc lessons with a trainer that would be great. Even if its with your HJ trainer, that would be fine for BN or lower. Horses can get pretty worked up about cross country so you want to make sure to school him enough.
    02-10-2013, 11:56 PM
You'll find elementary also listed as tadpole, starter, pre-beginner novice. They are only at schooling shows, but most people like to try one at the lower level first until they are confident with the XC part.
    02-10-2013, 11:58 PM
Around here its mostly called starter or preBN
    02-11-2013, 05:55 PM
I am not a very experienced eventer, but my instructor is an eventer par excellence and that is what he teaches. He is constantly comparing what we do to hunter as we live in hunt country.

If you are making the switch, one of the biggest differences will be how you jump. Often hunters ride very forward in jumping and are essentially ahead of their horses with loopy contact.

In eventing, often you will want to start a jump while seated and let the arc of jump itself pull you out of the tack and then sit right back down again. Good contact with the horse is essential too. This is to keep you safe and in the saddle.

As I understand it, hunt seat involves defined and related distances between jumps, whereas eventing does not. Everything is a puzzle and the point is to get over the jump and not worry about pretty so much. More important to stay in the tack because many of the jumps are intended to be difficult and puzzles and therefore surprising to both you the rider and the horse. This difference I would think is much more important than the clothing.

I might get jumped all over for pointing this out, but I am simply repeating what has been said to me by my instructor.

So please ignore, if this is not helpful.
Doodlesweaver likes this.
    02-11-2013, 06:37 PM
I disagree with that idea ! Form always follows function. So if your position does not look good, chances are you are not functioning as well as you should. While I agree that sometimes in eventing you will not look pretty, most jumps your form should look good. Especially at the lower levels, your horse basically has to canter over one jump and a time that is not very technical.

Saying you don't have to look pretty in eventing is just a good excuse to not have proper form.
AllieJ333 likes this.
    02-11-2013, 06:42 PM
Do you have a friend or group of friends who are seasoned eventers to travel with? Showing at an event can be very overwhelming if you go alone (as in without other seasoned competitors).

Also, do you have any One Day or CT shows in your area? I'd go to a few of those first before committing to a 3 day trial.
    02-11-2013, 06:44 PM
Super Moderator
The higher up you go the more chance there is that you will not look pretty
That's when it becomes more important to know how to allow your horse its head to keep its balance and forward momentum while you do your best to stay on board - good luck and have fun
Zara Philips competing at the Olympics
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