I'm currently checking out four year colleges to transfer into from my community college I'm currently attending. My dream college is across the state, and I'm on track to transfer in!!! My biggest worry, is my six year old Tennessee Walking Horse, Sawyer. I really don't know what I will do if I have to leave him behind, but my parents are convinced that with college and a job, I won't have time to keep him. I'm currently pulling 18+ units at my community college, working full time (30+hours a week here) and riding both mine and my mom's horses. I think I can handle it there with not as many units and not working full time.
What you came for:
In my research, I discovered that this college has an equestrian team, SCORE! One small issue is, my horse and I have never evented in our life. Luckily, for this team, eventing is not necessary. You must take 1-2 (depending on the discipline) lessons a week and attend all of your discipline's shows, but can chose not to compete.
My other issue is, I don't know if a gaited horse can participate in the specific events that this team does. This team only does Hunt Seat Equitition, Western Horsemanship, and Eventing.
Since I am not comfortable riding one handed due to an English background, I would only be able to possibly do Hunt Seat or Eventing. I don't know, however, if either one of those can be competed, or even trained for, without a trot. I would prefer to do eventing, as you get to use your own horse for the shows, and in the Hunt Seat you are provided with a horse you haven't trained on.
My top pick is definitely eventing, as I have been interested in doing gaited dressage on Sawyer, and I used to jump, but I don't know if eventing would even be an option on a gaited horse.
Does anyone have any advice, words or wisdom, or even personal stories of eventing on a gaited horse? Thank you!
Congratulations on your developing future. I hope it works out for you.
Regarding you and your horse and the Team's goals, there is a pretty serious "disconnect." I don't know much about Hunt Seat Equitation so won't make any comments about that.
Western Horsemanship will require a lot of retraining for both of you. You're both young so it could be done. You are in a demanding academic circumstance so maybe, for you, it ought not to be done.
Remember, in all of this, success in academics is primary. Your future hinges on your grades and other factors unrelated to working your horse. That is now secondary in your life. Keep this perspective and you'll have the economic wherewithall to keep good horses in the future. Lose this perspective and you might find your equine related future will be dark.
There's no reason a well conformed Walker can't be successful at the lower levels of Eventing. Scores in the Dressage portion will be poor as Walkers don't generally trot and the trot is the mandated gait.* If you are going to be part of a team you will have to conform to the requirements of that team. This means that if the team is a traditional eventing team then you'll have to teach your Walker to trot. This can be done. A lot of people, on both sides of the gait vs. trot divide, will ask "why?".
Give this matter some thought. Talk to the coach of the team. Then make your choice. Good luck in whatever you choose.
*"Eventing" (with a capital "E") is a formal discipline with clearly set rules; with a lower case "e" it's not. Ditto for Dressage/dressage. As far as USEF is concerned there is no such thing as "Gaited Dressage." The tests are here United States Eventing Association, Inc. - US National Combined Training, Horse Trials: Dressage, Cross Country, Show Jumping
I would definitely talk to the coach. College teams are usually for students who have experience in that particular sport and want to continue training/competing in college. They might not consider an untrained horse and green rider, even if your horse wasn't gaited. Or maybe they would, you'll find out when you ask. And if they won't take your horse but you could take lessons on one of theirs, you might want to consider that. Lessons with a good instructor is never a bad thing. :)
Thank you for your replies :)
School is definitely first for me, as I am not pursuing a horse related career what-so-ever (although, I would some day love to bring my two passions of children and horses together). I just love my boy and would hate to have him 10 hours away. I have contacted them for recommendations of boarding barns in the area, though.
I don't think the team may be good for me, as I really am not that interested in competing, but I would definitely love to find a good affordable barn out there and take some lessons :)
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