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Ok...deep breath...here I go!
I am considering the idea of possibly getting in to eventing.
A few key points to understand about me:
So...I guess I'm looking for a bit of encouragement and advice on how to start on such a journey! I have no aspirations to get to any particular level at this stage. I really just want to dip my toe in the waters. Kind of a bucket list sort of thing.
You are braver than me, way, way braver. I would love to event, jumping & xcountry looks so fun, however I don't wanna fall, I know I will break something.
to quote some actor in some movie i saw some where and some time............ you can do it!!!!!! lol
i think you'd have a lot of fun. back when i had my gelding, i loved jumping with him! mind you, we never had any formal training/lessons together (my minimal jump lessons were on school horses a few years prior), or jumped any higher than 2 foot high obstacles, but it was always so much fun :) best was when they would bale up the straw in the nearby field we were allowed to ride in, and we'd line those square bales up into quite the little xc course. i recall a mercedes straw bale jump being constructed once, lol.
i would say start out by finding somebody to give you jumping lessons, just to get started and learn proper form. that will 'get your feet wet' in the world of jumping and let you get a feel for whether it is something you can see yourself really getting in to.
and draft cross would probably make a decent jumper. won't have the agility needed for higher level events/courses, but IMO just fine for learning on. you have any good conformation type photos of him? we could tell you if he'd be suited physically.
i free jumped my draft cross lease horse the other day......... he basculed (the curvy jumping form of the horse) perfectly over a ground pole and thought it was a good foot and a half off the ground! lol! he's never once jumped like that before, we've only done itty bitty cross rails once or twice, and he looked darn happy doing it! i'd love to take him further, but alas, switching leases and barns end of month.
I just completed my first recognized BN HT last week. I am 46. I highly recommend it regardless of age. What you have going for you is exactly that, your age. You are far enough along in life to have a healthy respect for the dangers of the sport and wise enough to take it at your own pace and only jump at a level you are comfortable with. Find an eventing trainer who can get you started on some trustworthy school horses. There are schooling shows you can do at 18" or 2' jumps so you can safely see if the sport is right for you. Once you are hooked (should happen some time before you even pick up your dressage test at your first show) do what height you feel comfortable at until it is boring and then move up. I did elementary for 2 years and just this year felt ready for the 2'7" height. I'm moving at a snail's pace by most people's standards, but staying safe and having a ball. There are a ton of more age seasoned eventers out there, so don't worry about that. Welcome to the dark side and have fun!
Sorry to hijack the thread....but MBP, have you ever fallen? I love jumping and the xcountry part looks thrilling but I am so chicken of falling & breaking my hip or something like that...
Thanks for the encouragement so far!! :-)
He's a Belgian cross but really favors the Belgian side. So whatever he's crossed with did not contribute any refinement whatsoever.
But in all seriousness...that might be something to consider. I could spend the next months starting to get us both fitter, relax a bit over the winter and then aim for something next year. I'd have to find a trainer to come in but...hmmmmmm....
You may be on to something there EHG!
Hmmmmmm lots of fun stuff to think about and plan for!
I'm turning 40 next month and am secretly fantasizing about competing in reining someday. :)
Eventing is great fun. Once you give it a go, you will be hooked :)
There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when the starter is counting you down and your horse is doing an excited little dance before you head out on course. It's amazing :)
Go for it!! In Alberta we have a very strong "mature" crowd out eventing, gals and guys, some into their 60's! It's great!
One thing I love about eventing is that just about any horse can do it, you don't need to go drop a bunch of money on an expensive horse or anything like that. I've seen everything from TB's to shetland ponies to saddlebreds and full drafts, and everything in between! I wouldn't necessarily write off your guys, many older horses and "other" breeds or mutts do just fine at the lower levels. For just starting out, you might want to look for a been there, done that sort of horse, that way you can just concentrate on yourself, not training the horse as well.
As far as getting started, I would definitely find an eventing instructor to get in with. You should have a decent selection in NJ, and I wouldn't necessarily go for the big names, but instead look for that barn that has what you are looking for, a good solid program whose students are successful at the lower levels. I would also track down your local eventing association, check out what all is offered in your area, see if they have any upcoming events you could spectate or volunteer at. Or see if there's any active facebook pages, so you can kind of get in there and start learning and meeting people. Eventers in general are great, very helpful and friendly, and love it when others show interest in our sport:) Often you can find great instructors by word of mouth. Clinics are great as well, eventers are big on clinics! You can also find some that are kind of an introduction to eventing, or that cater more to the newbies, and they are a great way to get out and get your feet wet as well.
Eventing is a TON of fun, and a good instructor will get you solid in the basics before advancing. I honestly don't find it any more dangerous at the lower levels than show jumping at the same height. Riding horses is always a risk regardless of what you're doing. The great thing about eventing now is that they have starter level, so basically just cross rails for stadium and tiny logs for cross country, so your first event can be very easy, low pressure, and straightforward for those just starting out. You start small and gradually advance, a good coach will help you do it in the safest way possible:)
Many eventers are just out there for the sheer fun of it. Everyone has their thing, some are serious and want to move up the levels, but many also have no aspirations of going any higher than say, novice. So you shouldn't have any worry about only wanting to go out and do the lower levels just for fun.
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