Switching English disciplines - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-20-2013, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
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Switching English disciplines

So, I have pretty much decided that I am switching riding instructors in the spring and I am super excited to expand my knowledge! I have been riding primarily stock-type hunters/English pleasure for 13 years, but I decided I am ready for a change. I don't ride an appaloosa anymore (which is what I've always had) and I feel like I've pretty much reached my maximum potential with my current instructor. She's great and I've learned loads from her, but I no longer feel like I am progressing with her. I feel like I'm using the wrong approach and I feel like I am in the wrong discipline and show scene for my draft cross. My new instructor teaches dressage and jumping and competes in eventing herself. I have taken two dressage lessons from a USEF instructor and took a few jumping lessons from a different instructor when I was on the equestrian team in college, but I really have very little experience with the dressage, jumping and eventing world. For those of you that have experience in these areas, what differences should I expect in the atmosphere at shows? Might I actually see other horses like my own (17 hand Shire/TB cross) and not feel so much like the odd-man-out? For those of you that compete dressage, jumping or eventing, why do you like it and what turned you towards your discipline?

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post #2 of 8 Old 12-20-2013, 03:40 AM
Green Broke
 
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It would depend upon the level you are aiming at and how athletic your horse is. In the UK you would see many heavier types (assuming your horse is) doing low level dressage, jumping and xc.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-20-2013, 04:04 AM
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It depends I guess on your area, what kind of person you are, what sort of people you are around as to how you'll fit in.

I've found dressage to be a little more "exclusive" but that's just my experience, there are nice and mean people in all disciplines.

Breed wise your horse would probably be accepted best in jumping and eventing. How the scene is will depend on who you hang with I guess. If I had to say I'd probably go with eventing being friendlier, there tend to be more sort of all-rounders, country people from horsey families, where as the people I knew when jumping were mostly wealthy city people who cared a lot about the kind of horse your rode etc.

I like eventing because it's a bit of everything. When I was younger I used to be mainly into showjumping, but I did dressage to improve everything really, so I did a little of eventing too. If I got into competition again I'd probably do show jumping and eventing. But I doubt I will, it's all so expensive!

Last edited by Saskia; 12-20-2013 at 04:08 AM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-20-2013, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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My plans don't go beyond having fun, learning as much as we can, and seeing how far we get. The instructor I plan to start with in the spring says she's gone as far as Prelim level in eventing with similar crosses. I think to aim that far with how little experience I have, would be too far.

The new instructor seems relaxed and friendly, and her approach puts the horse's comfort and the rider's correctness first. It's not about doing whatever it takes to win. She encourages students to take lessons from multiple instructors and watch her own lessons with upper level event riders. She says everyone's more supportive in eventing than hunters and she likes that atmostphere better. I've never really been involved in real hunters either, just the stock-type stuff so I wouldn't know that for myself. I was hoping to scope out whether that might be true or not from the responses here.

I believe my horse has the most talent to jump. I've already had her over up to 3'6" fences in an arena. During one of our first jumping lessons with my current instructor, my horse over-jumped a fence and my instructor managed to snap a shot on her phone of my horse clearing the 5' standard. However, there is a lot more to jumping that just being able to make it over the fences. There is a lot of cleaning up to do, about our approaches and form. Because she's so big and long, I wonder if her agility between fences will be limited.

My horse doesn't have the best build for dressage and it's going to be a struggle to get her to round her hips, but I think we would benefit greatly from learning dressage and I'm excited to take a shot at that as well.

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post #5 of 8 Old 12-26-2013, 09:40 PM
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I've been competing in eventing and dressage for a while now. I switched from the hunters which i pretty much grew up doing. I wouldn't be worried about having a different type of horse in the eventing discipline. It's not so stereotypical to have a fancy warm blood like in the hunters. My friend competes on her huge Clydesdale and has done really well with him. One thing about the actual show that is different is that instead of having a class and showing up when it starts, in eventing and dressage you get a set ride time that tells you the exact time you have to be ready to show in the ring. I hope this helps you :)
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-26-2013, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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That is very cool! I would really like to have set ride times. It's always frustrating when family members interested in watching ask "What time will you be showing?" and I just have to shrug. Ride times vary so much depending on the number of entries, the speed of the judge and arena crew etc. and no one outside of the horse world seems to be able to grasp this concept.

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post #7 of 8 Old 12-26-2013, 10:03 PM
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What I have found is the Hunter ring is very political, you have to be riding a warmblood, have the expensive breeches, the expensive boots, etc. The people in it can be nice, but again, you have to have the right of everything. Some judges do not let a horse's breed, how expensive your breeches look, etc affect their judging, but the sad fact is that even at rated shows it happens a lot in the hunter world. So I would say go with eventing, I've never done it personally, but there is an eventing trainer at my barn and him and his crowd seem really nice, and I've heard eventers are very nice :)

Sully ~Sullivan's Fly Supply~ [17.1 TB] RIP 2/24/14
Rio ~Camperio~ [18.0 Oldenburg]
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-26-2013, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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SullysRider, this is exactly what I've been hearing too, and I'm eager to try something new and possibly a bit more accepting. I've never had a warmblood, but I've always competed hunters, and sometimes it's been tough.

It was especially tough when I was competing on my dad's leopard appaloosa mare. I was once approached after a class by the judge and told that my horse's spots were too "distracting" for her to judge the horse's movement, and that if I ever wanted to place I needed a less colourful horse. D: And I can recall numerous classes where me and my horse did nothing majorly wrong, but the bucking horse, and the horse that cantered around on the wrong lead the entire time would place ahead of us.

I remember I shaved my Shire cross's feathers for one show and a woman approached me, started to pet her, and asked what breed she was. When I said "unregistered draft cross", the woman withdrew her hand like she had just been burned! She then said "Oh..." and walked away. Quite a few people mistook her for an Oldenburg that day and were baffled or disgusted when I told them what she actually was.

I always assumed this is how all of the horse show world was! It will be refreshing indeed if I can find a show atmosphere that is not!

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