Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
There is no hard and fast rule Lea, because no one starts in the same place.
You have been riding 3 1/2 years, but others you ride against may have been with horses since the cradle, and others only a year.
So the only reliable guide is to go to shows and compete. Everyone wants to win that is why we compete. But you aren't going to win every time, so make sure you enjoy the process. And if you are winning all the time, you are either very very good, or you are competing way below your level, you will know which or certainly your trainer will.
And if you compete at a level where you are not placing or winning all the time . . . . that is the place you will start to learn more by watching others. Don't be the 'grumbler' that 'thinks they should have won' every time. Its not attractive and alienates you from other competitors. If you have a genuine complaint, put it in writing to the show committee.
Occasionally you will get a judge that makes a mistake, or simply doesn't like you/your horse - but that is rare. They are not 'technically' wrong so you just have to 'suck it up' and move on. I had one judge like that years ago, so we just didn't go to a show that person was judging.