Competition practice without own horse? is it possible?

daydreamer

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Hi I wondered if anyone had any ideas/experiences of doing competitions without their own horse. I have had lessons for years and years and am very good at doing what I am told and riding quite well, sadly I am not very good at thinking for myself. I took my stage 3 exam last summer and passed the flat but failed the jumping. In training I was jumping 2'9"-3' courses ok but my instructor says (quite rightly!) I need to get used to riding under pressure when I can't wait until everything is "right" and and when no-one is telling me what to do. I can't seem to think of a good way to get more competition practice though.

I could so some local (about 50 min drive either way!) riding school competitions but the standard isn't great and they are fairly low key. I might do some of these though.
I could hire one of my instructors horses and do some local competitions but that would be really quite expensive (about £60-70 for 2 class i think depending on entry fees).
I currently share a horse and will try and do some of the yard dressage competitions on him if his owner lets me but he is a bit of a nutter to jump so I don't really want to jump him in a competition.
Do you think there are people out there that do riding club type competitions that would let people like me ride their horse in return for help/a bit of money or do you think that is too much to ask for? I am a sympathetic, quiet and well-balanced rider but how would I get owners to know this/trust me and would it be terrible if I was a bit ineffective/passive in a competition setting?

Any other ideas? I'm trying not to put obstacles in my way but it is quite hard when i don't really like competing! :eek:
 

spookypony

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I've done most of my SJ competing on riding school horses. At the time I did this, the riding school's league was running classes up to 1m, and there were several horses that could do the highest class, each with its own challenges. The difficulty of the courses was generally at least equal to the RC shows at which I've helped. I found this very useful experience, since I was familiar with each of the horses, but didn't ride them regularly, so it was really a matter of get on/warm up, adjust to horse as quickly as possible, and then just go in and get the job done. (In the time since, the larger classes have been downgraded, to cater for a larger population of children on small ponies.) Perhaps you can find a centre near you that runs a similar league?

Another option would be to find a share. Especially a person who is grounded temporarily for some reason (injury? New baby? Locusts?) might well be grateful for someone to do a bit of unaffiliated competing with their horse. I've done that too, for someone who didn't want to lose the entry money they'd already paid. That was very useful, as I had to hop on an unfamiliar horse, hack him to the venue, and compete him (successfully); this was great for confidence!

The other thing would be not to go out to competitions, but to "compete" at home, if you find a share: set up a course, and make yourself ride it as though competing. Perhaps even pretend you're sitting on more than one horse, and compete against yourself! :D
 
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oldie48

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Try advertising in local tack shops etc. I'm looking for someone to give my horse a bit of fun as I'm old and want to concentrate on the dressage but I think he gets a bit bored. I can't be the only owner looking for someone competent to give their horse a bit of variety. In the past I've been happy to take to competitions, pay for entries etc and haven't asked for any contribution, just reliability and a decent standard of riding as he's too good for a novice to spoil.
 

ihatework

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If you would be willing to commit some time and money, then I'm sure you could find yourself a horse share situation.
 

daydreamer

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I've done most of my SJ competing on riding school horses. At the time I did this, the riding school's league was running classes up to 1m, and there were several horses that could do the highest class, each with its own challenges. Perhaps you can find a centre near you that runs a similar league?

Another option would be to find a share. Especially a person who is grounded temporarily for some reason (injury? New baby? Locusts?)

The other thing would be not to go out to competitions, but to "compete" at home, if you find a share: set up a course, and make yourself ride it as though competing. Perhaps even pretend you're sitting on more than one horse, and compete against yourself! :D
I think I will do some of the competitions at the riding school I used to go. It sounds a bit like where you went in that the standard has been dropping recently and now there aren't so many horses that will do the larger classes. I'll have another look at all the local places but generally more and more riding schools seem to be closing or just cater for novices :(

Competing at home is a good idea so i think i will have a go at that and I'll also look out for localised swarms of locusts!

Try advertising in local tack shops etc. I'm looking for someone to give my horse a bit of fun as I'm old and want to concentrate on the dressage but I think he gets a bit bored. I can't be the only owner looking for someone competent to give their horse a bit of variety. In the past I've been happy to take to competitions, pay for entries etc and haven't asked for any contribution, just reliability and a decent standard of riding as he's too good for a novice to spoil.
Wow you sound a dream! I wish I lived near you. Hopefully I will be able to find someone similar :)
 

cyberhorse

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Can I ask what particular aspect of the horse you share at the moment makes him a nutter to jump? Is he dishonest, quirky or keen? I only ask as some horses do improve greatly when jumped more frequently, and mine in particular does not mess about so much at a show when he has more to concentrate on. Has he done much jumping in the past? Some "keen" horses can be classified nutty when they are really overexcited and would benefit from being competed. If he may fall into this group could you get a professional to take him to a show to compete and see how he behaves? I also wonder if a more challenging horse could teach you far more over an unaffiliated clear round than a school master could over a 1.05m track, obviously I don't know the horse you share, but just a thought...
 

daydreamer

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Can I ask what particular aspect of the horse you share at the moment makes him a nutter to jump? Has he done much jumping in the past? I also wonder if a more challenging horse could teach you far more over an unaffiliated clear round than a school master could over a 1.05m track, obviously I don't know the horse you share, but just a thought...
Thanks for the reply. The horse i share is....quirky! He has masses of scope and jumps out of his field for fun and once jumped me off a few years ago by taking a stride out at a jump (I'm normally better balanced than that, honest) so that would be a bit of a worry! At home he is pretty good to jump and i want to jump him more but he ditched his owner out hunting at Christmas and she still isn't riding yet so his fitness is going backwards - frustrating! I don't think he is a very educated jumper and that worries me a bit as I don't want to spoil him as it wore. I also worry about how he would behave in a show environment as I suspect he would get excited and bouncy and strong. I guess i just don't quite trust him in unfamiliar situations as on the ground if he decides to go he just runs through people and i wouldn't want to be on top if he decided to go.

You are probably right that a challenging horse would teach me more but I don't trust myself much and suspect I might panic if I felt out of my depth. Oddly enough it is the thought of the warm up and the horse misbehaving that worries me more than the jumping. I think i'll try and look for that school master and work up to challenging!
 

spookypony

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You are probably right that a challenging horse would teach me more but I don't trust myself much and suspect I might panic if I felt out of my depth. Oddly enough it is the thought of the warm up and the horse misbehaving that worries me more than the jumping. I think i'll try and look for that school master and work up to challenging!
That sounds like a good idea to me! I hadn't jumped anything over about 75cm since I was about 14, so sitting on a "safe" horse to realise that 1m isn't really that big was great! I went through several horses of progressive difficulty: the first would jump anything from a walk, but was hard to maintain a good canter on, and was like steering a big bus around the course. On her, I knew I could always get round without drama, but I also hadn't a hope in hell of winning a jump-off. Later, I rode a mare that was super honest and could turn on a dime, despite being quite tall. She gave me fast double clears every time, but it was hard to ride a really rhythmic round, as she was prone to chipping in short ones if you didn't get the canter right. Then there was a gangly gelding that liked to get long and flat and strong; he would have a pole down if you didn't sort that out. None of them was at all loopy, so I felt pretty good about trying---and even if you won the class, if the instructor running the competition didn't like what you were doing, she sometimes sent you out again afterwards to clean up your act. I found that very constructive!
 
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