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horseshochamp 11-05-2010 03:16 AM

need to decide on a discipline. Advice NEEDED!!!!!
So I've been riding for about 18 years now and am as addicted to horses as I was when I was 4 years old. My problem is that my whole life I have been able to dable in just about everything and have had the opportunities to ride multiple disciplines. I've had many horses as well and have competed in WP and the Hunter ring at lower levels fairly successfully. My problem here in lies with the fact that I'm a 22 year old college student and my mother is now telling me that I must pick a direction and stick with it.

I LOVE jumping, reining, and mounted shooting (just for fun) but can't decide if I want to stick with, western or english. I know I won't be competing at "A" circuit shows or national shows so I'm not terribly concerned with buying a horse that is specifically bred for whatever.

I train all of my horses with the basics of dressage which is essential for balance and movement in any discipline. Would anyone think I'm crazy if I were to train a horse for jumping but occasionally did mounted shooting with my club. (there is one lady who does it on here OTTB that is a 2nd level dressage horse and she's pretty dang good at it!) I'm going to be buying a new horse next spring and would like to have a general idea of how I'm going to start/break him...I'm very frustrated..has anyone else had issues with sticking to one discipline? The problem is I like doing it all but obviously can't afford it all. I get bored easily and was wondering if anyone had some tips to keep me interested in what I'm doing? Just very frustrated right now, any tips, advice, stories, non-mean/judgemental comments would be very helpful.

mbender 11-05-2010 06:54 AM

Why is your mother telling you that you need to choose? There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a diverse riding style. If you can do it why not? And as for starting a new horse, stick with what you know. Honestly, if I knew dressage basics, I would so use it. It is mainly the foundation to training. I say, do what your heart tells you! Why can't you do both? I guess I don't understand the cost. Is that for a trainer/ instructor? See if there is one that does both. Good luck though and do only what you love.
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rocky pony 11-05-2010 07:54 AM

I'm assuming you mean that you won't be able to get instruction in/show in so many different disciplines, for financial reasons, correct? I can't think of a good reason why you wouldn't be able to ride in any discipline you wanted if not that...but if it is that she were suggesting that you need to pick one for the sake of picking one, I would have to strongly disagree. I don't think anyone should ever have to pick just one discipline if they enjoy a variety of them simply because they "should" be focusing on just one.

If it is for financial reasons, I would say just go with your gut and keep in mind that you can still ride different disciplines on the side if you so desire. Just because you're doing jumping, as in your example, definitely doesn't mean that you can't also do mounted shooting or reining or anything else your heart desires. I'm sure your horse would appreciate the variety, and it would definitely help keep you from getting bored of what you're doing. I definitely don't believe that a horse has to just have one job only and never ever do anything else, and the same goes for a rider, too!
I do confess that I am also a dabbler, my horses and I are usually doing mostly reining but I also love dressage...and we also run barrels and poles, jump, trail ride, and even practice human cutting lol since there are no cows at my barn...the variety keeps things interesting for all involved! Even if I were to get really into competing in one discipline I definitely wouldn't cut out any of the others, even if I couldn't compete in everything.

horseshochamp 11-05-2010 03:06 PM

Thanks for the advice guys! my mom was looking at it from a financial stand point cause I've always had high hopes of competing at big shows but I know right now I can't do that and I just wanna have fun. My mom is a trail rider and doesn't understand my need to compete so she thinks just pick one and be done but I agree with you guys.

It's good to have some other opinions thanks!!

dressagebelle 11-05-2010 07:18 PM

Haha, I also couldn't pick one to stick with. I took all my lessons in english, jumping and dressage as well as Pony Club, but because my dad rode western, and my first horse did both western and english, I had a western saddle available to me, and I did my jumping and dressage, and then went out and did drill team at the rodeo. I would ride bareback, western, english, and even worked cows, though that wasn't on any of my guys. Most of the shows I did were english as well, though I did do a few trail classes, and also gymkhanas, though the last couple of years I did it in an english saddle (our local shows were very laid back), just because I feel safer in an english saddle. I will probably always do a little bit of everything, while doing lessons and shows mainly in dressage and or jumping. I've had to pay for all my shows the last 5 years or so, and even though I don't have a ton of money, I've managed to keep myself happy and entertained, in the show world. Good luck, and keep doing what you want to do that makes you happy, and keeps the fun in horses for you.

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