Originally Posted by Quixotic
Is this a bad thing? If they're already competing at 3ft after just a few years of riding, I'd say they were either extremely good riders, or were progressed too far too soon.
A lot of it will depend on how frequently you ride, what you mean by "trained enough", and what level you want to show at the A level. Technically most A shows have an 18 in division. It doesn't take TOO long to get to the point where you can get around a course at that level.
Most of my students stay in flat lessons for about a year. Riding twice a week makes a significant difference as opposed to riding just once. Add in another year (of jumping twice a week on schoolmasters) to get to where they can navigate around a simple 18 in course, but not what I would consider to be more than a beginner jumper. I have a student who's only been riding about a year and a half (but she leases a horse and lessons twice a week) who is jumping 2" very successfully. Won almost every single class she entered in at a show last week with pretty good competition. I would say she's a little ahead of most. I have a tiny little kid who's uncoordinated, unmotivated, and only rides once a week. After a year and a half I still won't let her canter.