Competing at a Top Level

Discussion in 'Equestrian Events, Shows, Competitions' started by getupasb, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. getupasb

    getupasb Senior Member+

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    This could be breed specific, but I am going to refrain from making it that way as much as possible.

    I have always had a dream to take my horse to the top; originally in saddleseat (which he is not cut out for), but since we changed disciplines, I have thought about maybe making a goal for Nationals eventually. I gave up that dream bc I did not think he was "nice" enough.

    So, within the past few days, I have had many people that compete at that level (some I know, some I don't) tell me that my horse is definitely nice enough to go to Nationals. Obviously, him and I still need a LOT of work, but I have decided to continue with my goal and aim to compete there. I have just made sure my goal is more long term than anything [aiming for "before my horse turns 15"]. It gives me more than enough time to get ready. LOL. I think it's a good thing to have big goals, anyways, even if they don't end up happening.

    My question is, what do you think people at the top level should work on the most? Obviously, anybody competing at that level should be a nice rider and have a nice enough horse, but what things do you think most of the training emphasis should be on? What are the most important things to work on?

    Anybody can answer, even if their talking about dressage or something, but for reference: I show in the ASB circuit. Flat work.
     
  2. aeternal

    aeternal Senior Member

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    Hm, well when I did the whole going to the GN/WC Morgan shows thing, it was being the best you could be. Making the horse be the best they could be. Work on getting the horse and yourself to a point that you can show off the horse so they look the best. Learn to navigate rings full of people, not get covered up, do diamond cuts, straight line cuts, etc, to get the judge to look at your horse and see how awesome they are. I will say that a big thing is not letting stress get the best of you.. and that takes a lot of work when you're in a ring, often a pit ring at least at the Morgan shows, with a bunch of hot, game horses! And don't focus on the placing!
     
  3. farmeress

    farmeress Banned

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    Alot of times...it is not just the horse that needs work at this level...but the rider too...both physically and mentally...especially mentally...you must be of a very confident and sure person at this level
     
  4. getupasb

    getupasb Senior Member+

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    Well, I would say I definitely agree with that! LOL. I need to work on navigating, but the ASB hunter ring never gets very full. I don't know what diamond cuts are! LOL. But, basically what I would think as well. I would never focus on the placing, it would just be the experience. :)
     
  5. getupasb

    getupasb Senior Member+

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    Of course, I meant both horse AND rider when asking this question.
     
  6. windblown

    windblown Senior Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree with aeternal & farmeress so far. I think a LOT of it is mental for the rider, and that just takes time & experience for most people.

    As far as the horse goes, it absolutely has to be confident & comfortable anywhere in that ring. It needs to work just as well OFF the rail as it does ON. It needs to be able to go between horses, pass horses, be okay with being passed, etc.

    Basically you need everything to be the best it can be. Transitions need to be perfect, the horse needs to be steady, the gaits need to have a solid rhythm and balance, etc. Your horse needs to be the same at the end of the class as it was when you came in that gate. The classes can get LONG, so you need to make sure both you & the horse have good stamina.

    I always use these videos as examples, because they are IMO two of the best classes I've ever ridden. I don't have a video of the class I consider to be my best ever, but oh well, haha. So much of it is learning how to show your horse to its advantage.

    Didn't place in this one, but there's not a single thing I would've changed about that ride.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAc5TeWbVxU"]YouTube - Matador[/ame]

    We were third in this class. You can see one time where he sort of scoots behind over a sound, but otherwise he was great.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-4K48D5Uiw"]YouTube - Mattie[/ame]
     
  7. aeternal

    aeternal Senior Member

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    Windblown is absolutely correct. I've posted this before, but seeing as it isn't specifically focused on Bing and I, you can see what he looks like compared to the lower placing horses. Of course, it is a walk/trot class.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdkMVVGFnsw"]YouTube - LCS StrategicallySpeaking W/T 2004[/ame]

    This is a regional show, but you can see how he stands out so much more than the rest of the field.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mjbH5T9jQY"]YouTube - LCS StrategicallySpeaking Hunter Pleasure 1[/ame]
     
  8. GottaRide

    GottaRide Senior Member

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    I can't really say what you should be working on regarding your horse's training. Every horse is going to have different problem areas, as will every rider. I have a quote I always refer back to, in fact it is hanging on a banner in my arena & I see it every time I ride. "Practice doesn't make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect."

    I would also advise to have a goal with a closer deadline. Otherwise it is still just a dream & not really a goal. Perhaps focus on what you want to acheive for this year first. Make it something realistic & tell everyone. Have a plan on how you are going to meet that goal.
     
  9. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    I think at the top levels (IMO) the most important thing is showmanship. And what I mean when I say showmanship, is getting that horse shown at it's best. That entails strategy in the pen, being able to navigate in a sea of horses, finding a spot all alone on the rail and not LOSING that spot, mental toughness and focus.
     
  10. Kat&Ashton

    Kat&Ashton Senior Member+

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    Knowing how to place your horse in the judge's eye and catching the attention right away.

    Don't go into the ring with a ok I am here and just hanging out. Go in that ring saying LOOK at me both you and the horse.

    The grooming needs to be top notch.

    I am not sure if ASB black the hoofs so shiny the look like patent leather like some of the morgans do.

    Your clothes needs to be pristine, clean and well made. Nothing to big or to tight.

    Get the timing down to a T. If he anticipates work that out now before going into the ring.

    Work on doing rail and off rail work, because to get that judges eye you may need to zig zag off the rail.

    Get him used to a horse cutting in front of him or right behind him. I mean not a horse length behind or in front.
     

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