Following on from 'dying breed' - are we all competing less?

catembi

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Just musing, really...

When Catembi was alive (died early 2007), I used to compete BS and BD nearly every w'end, & alternate every week between dr & sj lessons. After a long break (sicknote horses, lots of 'life events') I am now firing on all cylinders again...but seem to have lost the urge to compete. I used to hate all the cleaning & polishing (grey!) & tack cleaning & plaiting beforehand, the stress of the day, all the hanging around, the frustration when it just didn't go right in the heat of the moment... It seems far better 'value' to pop up the road, do a lovely group clinic in a non-stressy environment, pop home & then get on with something else. Dog walking, uni work, housework etc...

Dunno... For the last 12 years, I've been thinking, I can't wait to pick up where I left off (1m 15, getting ready for a crack at Fox...9 or 10 points in BD...) but now it seems such a stressy hassle. I feel sick thinking about BS warm-up arena! Everyone else is tense & stressy, the longer you hang about, the less you want to do it, cold, wet, horse being a d*ck... So far, we've done a v local show, 30 cm & 40 cm class, & had a great time, so maybe as we do more, I will want to go higher. Horse is v new to jumping. I have been trying to work out whether it would be possible to have a non stress sj comp, like Dressage Anywhere...

I have also considered the comps where you do more riding & less hanging around...Le Trec, v lower levels of endurance, maybe just pleasure rides... Or maybe I will stick to my clinics. Or maybe I will get the bug again! Who knows!

Thoughts, anyone...?
 

ycbm

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I'm absolutely where you are. It no longer seems worth the effort of cleaning up, the travelling, the hanging about, the interaction with other stressed competitors and the sheer expense, to compete like I used to.

..
 
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AdorableAlice

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Yes, much less for a lot of reasons. Advancing age, not having a really good horse anymore, cost of entries at higher level shows, lorry costs and decreasing competitive drive.

We still enjoy a bit of local level stuff, but the days of leaving home at 4am for far flung county and national level shows is long gone. I also don't miss the pressure of trying to keep a top horse going all season either. We are really fortunate to have several nice competition centres within an hours drive and we can take a horse for a couple of classes and be home for lunch. We are at the age now that an afternoon nap is needed !
 

teddypops

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I’m definitely competing less. I used to go somewhere most weekends but I have only been out once so far this year. I don’t like the hanging around and the poor attitude of a lot of fellow competitors.
 

Goldenstar

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After my hip break in May I can’t see me going out and about again .
But I think the young are still out and about as we where .
I have a lovely rider riding mine to help me out atm the other day she drove to Yorkshire ( two hours ish ) had a lesson with Chris Bartle drove home sorted out her horses then came to me and rode mine .
I would have done that at her age but now I just have not got it anymore .
Soon one of mine who was ready for afflilated when I fell ( about two years Graf then I self destruct at the last moment such is life ) so I have taken the huge step of getting my trainer to compete him they will be out soon . So I will have to kick my bum into gear to get the horse cleaned up and to the competitions my other has helpfully gone lame so I don’t have to worry about him for a while .
Not sure how I feel about all this atm.
 

EKW

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Ive only been out once so far this year. The judges just arent coming up for me. Plus I have 2 rounds of probationing to do, I am doing one under a judge I would normally show under and its because I respect them and value their opinion that I am forsaking showing for a valuable learning oppertunity. I am in demand as a steward as well so I have been doing a fair bit of that. I think the next time i am showing myself is the middle of July just once or twice. Then maybe August but Im not sure I am even going to do my local show this year due to judges 😂😂😂 I wouldnt have been taking the Wee Coloured Job to that one regardless as the area for shetlands is so small and cramped and he likes to wander and be nosey he wouldn't like it.

I also dont chase big qualifiers and generally wont travel more than an hour unless it is a very special reason! I dont compete at all in winter. Bugger that! Thats when I go racing!
 

tatty_v

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I like getting out, but stick to one or two outings a month plus one or two lessons. That seems to be a good way of balancing my hobby but also my other commitments (baby, husband (!), dog, house, garden, friends etc.) I’ve never been one for too much hanging around so a spot of unaff dressage, clear round SJ, combined training etc works a treat for me.
 

Follysmum

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I think shows years ago were really well attended as there weren’t the clinics and many other activities to choose from like we have now
 

Bernster

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I’m similar. I do get out and about but enjoy clinics and hire as well as competing. Never really did horses as a youngster so this is my only experience of it but it is a lot of hassle, time and expense. I tend to go out max twice a month but there’s lots of times it’s less than that. Hard to balance everything.

On a busy yard of 40 plus liveries, very few go out and even fewer compete.
 

DabDab

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Yes, I feel the same. Partly it is because the big idiot is a terribly inconsistent competition horse, but is a delight to just chuck on a lorry and go for a hack or a spot of xc, so I have fallen into the habit of doing that and just enjoying it. And partly I think that my competitive ambitions went hand in hand with showjumping, and since I don't want to showjump anymore I don't really feel the need to compete.

I love flatwork training, but don't particularly care for the competition dressage scene these days (not really sure why), so a clinic seems much more attractive to me. Maybe I'll try some dressage anywhere type stuff....
 

Sleipnir

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I have never had high aims - just paddling around like the amateur that I am at max 80-90cm classes and maaaaybe sometimes jumping a 100cm vertical at home. My gelding also is extremely chill in the competition atmosphere (to the borderline where spectators cheer him up by yelling "Faster, horse! You can do it!" :D :D , as we float by very much at his pace. So, I have enjoyed every event that we've attended just for the sake of our fun. However - I have been competing less and less (if "less" is even possible in our situation right now!), as the costs of travel and participation have been steadily increasing in my area and I now longer find it financially feasible and worth it to pay the amount that I have to for a few minutes of actual fun.
 

Michen

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If I had to chose competing or having the horse I have in my life (aka if he wasn’t able to compete or be ridden) I’d choose the horse every time. But absolutely wouldn’t judge anyone that wouldn’t and if I had the time/money I’d probably want a second to do the competing stuff with.

I actually think I prefer hunting, just so much fun and such a good vibe. You develop an incredible bond with you horse and of course there’s no pressure other than to have a good time.

That said I love the low level eventing too, but it’s bottom of the pile after hacking and hunting!
 

mavandkaz

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I'm going to buck the trend, and say I compete more now. (although of course it is largely horse dependent and current horse turned into a little superstar who has made it all so easy)
I wonder if it appears classes are smaller as there are now so many options?
Current horse as opened up a world of dressage I never knew about. I am lucky that I live in an area where I can get to several competition venues within 30mins.
For example, when starting out I went to a couple of local riding club dr shows - very low key, even allowed lead rein, and only went up to novice. I could then move on to the local competition centres own unaff leagues and championships, then of course there are national unaff champs such as Trailblazers. I then moved on to My Quest, before going fully affiliated. Have done Area festivals and was toying with regionals. The options really are endless.
If i was happy to compete in a variety of disciplines I could compete every weekend and only go to one venue. (BS, BD, unaff sj and Dr, combined training, showing and clinics)

although similar to others, i am much more picky about where and what i do. i won't travel more then an hour (just don't see the point/can't be bothered), and will try to go somewhere I know that has a large and quiet warm up. Can't be doing with showing - way too much waiting around. And will now only sj at places where there is a drawn order - again, no waiting around and the warm up is much more organised.

Although horse is now broken, and i am going stir crazy - what do normal people do on a weekend?!
 

Ceifer

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I ought to compete more. Haven’t been out in a year or so. Used to love a little venue 10 mins from the yard that did unaffiliated dressage. Really friendly and good fun but less and less people coming (ironically) made them stop.

I went out to a couple of the bigger venues but found over the winter a lot of the eventers bringing out their youngsters or pot hunters made it less pleasurable to make an effort to travel a lot further out.
I’m aware that makes me sound like I’ve got sour grapes 😂
 

gunnergundog

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Totally agree. I've even cut back on the number of days hunting I do.....doing lines, it has become boring and predictable. I know the country pertaining to the three hunts I ride with like the back of my hand - and often better than the huntsman if he is a newbie! :)

I couldn't compete at the level I used to thirty or forty years ago even if I still had the nerve, the ability and the finance, so I tend to just hire a course of SJs and go and have a play. I get more satisfaction from riding a course well, improving the way of going over a difficult line of fences, than coming back with a piece of ribbon. Various friends still ask me to go and help them XC schooling but increasingly it's a case of shouting at the friend's offspring, or even more scarily, the friend's grandchild. Am waiting for the first request from a great-grandchild but I will probably be pushing up daisies by then. :)

If I need help with a horse with something I am lucky in that I have a number of people I can call on within a short distance and who will come to me. Am getting to the stage where I may soon sell my lorry ....most of the problems I have had with it this year are due to it not being used enough. Hmmmm......need to think long and hard about this one.
 

Steerpike

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That's why I took up endurance, you are just competing with yourself, you don't even have to do that just enjoy riding somewhere new, very relaxed, no need for special kit, respectable start times depending on which rides you do :)
 

BMWKIPP

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Yes, I was out competing weekly 10 years ago, now days the showjumper is retired and the youngster I bought 8 years ago has been drama after drama mainly behavioural, this summer was meant to be our time to get going but she's just had 5 weeks off after having a strop in the field and doing nerve damage in her off fore 🥺🥺🥺
 

milliepops

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Nope I'm still basking in the glow of finally having my own transport (actually in the ridiculous position of having 2 lorries... must get big lorry test done! 😳) so I'm still making up for lost time.

At a show every week or 10 days unless having a planned break, and we head out for a lesson every fortnight. I love it 😁 lessons are my absolute fave activity but my little horse has progressed well each year so far so there have always been champs to aim at and qualifications to chase. I enjoy meeting friends at shows and having a catch up.
 

Nudibranch

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Yes...I have a nearly 3 year old son, and work 3 days a week so competing is out bar the occasional in hand show just to give the 4yo a bit of experience. When she's backed and my little boy starts full time school I want to do some pleasure rides, and maybe some xc for fun but I have no interest in competitive outings any more.
 

hihosilver

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I used to love eventing and my sister and I thought nothing of driving 5 hours away and getting up at 3am! but we had great success. A horse who went to Burghley and intermediate one who was just a hunter but we put the work and it paid off. The intermediate horse was scoring 43 then got to 21! but now when I go ( professional rider rides my boy) it seems that you have to have the posh Warmbloods or TB that get those 21s even if they make mistakes or are misbehaving. My little Connie doesn't put a foot wrong and he moves really well but he scrapes a 33! still have a great day out but just wondering if eventing is just for the upper class with those stunning horses?? its such a huge cost as well.
 

scats

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I went through this for a few years. I had showjumped since I was 11, then moved into showing in my twenties and I just got fed up of it all. Had a few years break from competing and just did Farm rides, hacking and schooling at home. Then a few years ago, I decided to go down the dressage route. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, but I don’t put enormous pressure on myself. I get immense satisfaction from training horses, the rosettes are just an added bonus.
 

Wheels

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I have been competing quite a lot recently. In my mid and late twenties I was out affiliated SJ every week, sometimes twice and lessons nearly every week. Then i had to retire my horse, moved areas and lost interest in competing. I had a couple of RC and hacking horses then bought a young dressage prospect who I had to retire very young. I thought my competing days were over but then came along my wee connemara who has changed everything. Now I am out most weekends at something or other and I'm having a lot of fun doing a bit of everything with him. I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. We will probably SJ and dressage affiliated next year as I like going to big shows like regional and national finals.
 

TPO

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All competitive aspirations seem to have abandoned me.

After years of broken horses and being transportless (new word) I finally have a sound, sweet horse, a TB at my disposal, my own wee lorry, spare time and finances but I have no desire to do any of it 🤷🏼‍♀️

Part of the reason for a lack of desire is that I know people out competing who's horses are lame and/or who use some very questionable schooling and management methods yet they always seem to place. I really dont want to be out amongst that or to be judged by the judges/taught by the trainers who are condoning and encouraging it.

I've found a fantastic very old school trainer so I'm looking forward to spending months in walk relearning how to sit on a horse the correct way 😁
 
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As a kid, I wanted to compete but we didn't have a trailer so I went to shows within hackable distance and that was not often. Now fast forward 30 years, I'm back into riding and have a trailer and the time but I'm losing the will. I agree, I hate the hanging around for classes. Hunter Trials are the worst.I usually go on my own and just recently I just can't be bothered and get more out of an exhilarating hack
 

catembi

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H'mm, some interesting perspectives. And I have spent some time today planning our next few outings, including first dr comp (*sighs* mane pulling *sighs*) and a next-rung-up sj comp... Maybe I will feel differently if I ever get my arena (planning headache) & can crack on a bit? I used to get so stressed though when I was competing at NC! But then again, there is no feeling like it when it's gone well... Then OTOH, it hardly ever did...!
 

equi

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Ive lost interest too. I only show in hand but for the last two years have only had my own homebreds which have done okay (usually 1sts and 2nds in their classes) but it just was meh. It just is not as exciting as it used to be. The out of ring drama got to me and i dread most shows. I think i will do one more this year then maybe take an entire year off.
 

DirectorFury

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I've lost any ambition I had to compete because of all the waiting around. I'd rather do lessons or arena hire with a fixed start and end point.
 

Ceifer

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I've lost any ambition I had to compete because of all the waiting around. I'd rather do lessons or arena hire with a fixed start and end point.
I’d agree with this too. I get much more enjoyment out of lessons. The only thing I miss is putting my show gear on.
 

Cobsxfan18

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I have been competing quite a lot recently. In my mid and late twenties I was out affiliated SJ every week, sometimes twice and lessons nearly every week. Then i had to retire my horse, moved areas and lost interest in competing. I had a couple of RC and hacking horses then bought a young dressage prospect who I had to retire very young. I thought my competing days were over but then came along my wee connemara who has changed everything. Now I am out most weekends at something or other and I'm having a lot of fun doing a bit of everything with him. I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. We will probably SJ and dressage affiliated next year as I like going to big shows like regional and national finals.
Sounds like you and new horse are having great time how comps have you done so far
 
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