How to beat fancier horses...?
Hi! I'm doing a local show season this summer called the NWNYs, but i have the odds going against me, and was hoping for some tips :) I am showing over 2'3 in the novice older children's, aka 13-17, and I am one of the youngest riders at 13. Most of the other riders are riding fancy, tall horses that go to the rated shows, but i'm riding a stocky 15.3hh paint named Pi, who doesn't have a flying lead change, only a simple change (he's a really good boy who will save you in a tough situation, though! He will also do the horse stride if you want to have dead tired legs by the end of the course lol!). Here's a vid of a really nice course we did, to give you an idea of how he rides:
Get a solid flying change down pat. That will really come into play against the big boys - you will get docked badly with a simple change or staying on the wrong lead. I will watch the video when I have better reception and try to help. I would strongly suggest you PM Maura if she doesn't visit this thread - she has fantastic advice.
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kk, thanks JustDressageIt! The only issue is convincing my trainer to let me school pi on flying changes while hacking, then taking private lessons to work on courses with flying changes. I'm not sure why she won't let me work with him or work on him herself, she said he would be going to all the rated shows if he had a flying change! I'll find some way to convince her, though :)
Better training will beat out age and breed.
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The video is a tad hard to critique with the angles and wobble, but I'll try. Coming into the third fence, he looks like he's about to add a stride (almost a pat-down, but I don't think it was) but then jumps a tinch long instead - you land on the other side a bit unbalanced, look down, and take a stride and a half to get reorganized. Always look up and where you want to go. The next line (going away from the camera) the striding is a bit (just a tinch) off again, which makes him dive just the slightest bit. Getting him to listen to your striding will help, or if you have a bad approach to the first fence, you know you have to either push forward or hold back a bit to get proper striding to the second. Get him to engage through the hindquarters more as well - he looks to be quite heavy on the forehand on the landing side; that will improve his quality of step as well.
The lead changes will be the killer, though, if that's your weak spot. Really try to get those solid.
Training absolutely does come into play - unfortunately a big part of that will be the changes; the judge wants to see a correct lead right off, or a snappy auto change, which comes from correct training.
I didn't watch the video, but just wanted to comment:
Why do you need to beat 'fancy' horses? Does a ribbon REALLY matter that much?
I compete for my own self satisfaction, if my horse behaves, stays on my aids and does a good job, then I am happy - whether I came first or last ;)
You're only 13, you have years to go. Right now, you should be mucking around, hooning around on your horse having a great time and not worrying about ribbons and beating other horses. We don't ride for ribbons, we ride for the enjoyment we get from being with our horses, and the satisfaction of their progress due to our training.
Eventually you will be up there with those 'big fancy horses'. But don't stress yourself out of it, you have PLENTY of time! At 13, I was still bashing around on a fat little welshie that bucked me off on a regular basis, always came last, and heaven forbid I enter an ODE on her - every single jump she would clear, then bolt and stop dead. I'd go flying over her head and eat dirt, get eliminated, get back on, jump, fall off, get back on, jump, fall off.... and you know what? I'd finish at the end, with a huge grin on my face, covered in mud and bruises, wanting to go back and do it again!!!! Yep, the older girls had their beautiful, sleek, well trained thoroughbreds and parents who bought them everything, but they would get off at the end of the competition, a scowl on their face, tie their puffing horse to the float, and go off to talk to their friends.
And now? Most of those girls have given up riding, and the ones who are still in it, I have beaten by a significant margin at nearly every competition we have attended. I saved my pennies, bought myself my own 'big, flashy horse' and have put in the hard yards to get there.
So smile, have fun with your horse, and enjoy being a kid!
Best answer: practice practice practice!!! Judges can tell who rides all the time and who doesn't. I don't know what afancy horse in your area looks like but ours are the big 16+ warm bloods in pelams that look spotless and the riders are amazing. Remember the horse is half of it ( maybe none if your in eq.) it's your job to make your horse look good, and that's the name of the game. There will always be amazing riders and horses and there will be the not so flashy ones. Give it time, practice your butt off and tell your coach to work on the leads or do it yourself. Most horses in hunters have auto changes, it's expected in my area even from the lowest cross rail classes.
Ok, thanks everyone for your advice and critique! I am gonna see if I can hack pi today, and see if I can atleast get him to swap his front feet for me :) my trainer said to do a change on him, to sit up and go really straight, and even then, it might not work :P ill see if I can surprise her with popping a change, or atleast swapping the front feet at the next show, which is july 29th. Ill try and have a friend tape me if we make any progress during our possible hack, though :)
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Swapping the front legs only is worse than not changing at all!
You do NOT want to encourage the horse to change and canter disunited. Bad bad bad!
Just sitting up tall and straight will not teach a green horse changes. It will probably just confuse him and he'll stop because your body is no longer following the canter's motion.
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