Here we go again or The Curse of Training Level Part III

I have a new horse.

We’ve been getting to know each other and gearing up for our first recognized horse trial.

In preparation for this adventure, we’ve been doing a lot of schooling and been to several clinics.

For background, in the last 21 years (yes – really) I’ve purchased 5 (or 6) horses with plans to compete at training level.

Here’s one.

Without fail I did not actually complete our first recognized horse trial with ANY OF THEM.

And Another…


Yep, another one……

I learned the hard way that “Ready for Training” is code for:
Kinda gets around at Novice, does NOT jump ditches, and will attempt suicide if you line up 3 jumps in a row. Ready for training level only if you’re listed in the Top Three on the USEA LeaderBoard.

Yeah……….uh huh……….

Do not fall for the “ready for <next level up>” myth.

If the horse was really READY FOR TRAINING LEVEL…..they would be

Just sayin’!

So……………….back to my new horse. This one has actually competed SUCCESSFULLY at Prelim.

Lessons have all been learned well about the “ready for” myth so I was bound and determined to buy a horse with ACTUAL experience at the level.

So we do several schools at our local XC course.

We take 2 clinics there.

We compete in a schooling horse trial there where she jumps clear.

When it comes time for our first recognized show, I feel prepared.

After all, I’m on a PROVEN horse, over a course we’ve schooled AND competed over.
What could possibly go wrong??


In the warm up, I spy a 4* rider who had been recommended to me as a coach.  I approached said person and asked if they were taking new students. The reply was, “Yes.” And I explained I was on a new horse recently purchased from another 4* rider and we could use some help. He mentioned that he knew the other rider AND the horse! I was in business!

Now that I had called attention to myself I headed for the start box.

I have no doubt – he was watching.

My working student was watching AND filming.

There was also a bit of a crowd……..

We hopped the 1st jump, and that’s where it all went wrong.

My new trusty steed who had jumped this course 5 (or 6) times already took a HARD LOOK at the
yellow flowers under the 1st jump and gave me every indication that they were

As is true form for anyone as BAD at eventing as I am, I didn’t do anything about it & we kind of crawled over the first jump.
We rounded the turn for jump two, and my now not-so-trusty-steed let me know the FENCE JUDGES were absolutely NOT supposed to be there either.

She spooked so hard from the 2 people in chairs that by the time she saw the giant table in front of her, she had about 18″ of a 16′ wide jump left to jump over, and in a moment of better judgement she just went around it.

No, it wasn’t exactly a Rolex jump

We had a RUN OUT – at the second jump – on a course that we had jumped at least a half dozen times, in front of ……….well……….everyone.

There is nothing quite like hearing the video when my student exclaims,

At which point someone in the crowd says, “Oh who is your trainer?” and she volunteers my first and last name……….her trainer……….. who just had a run out at training level on a proven Prelim horse. Here’s the video!

Yep.  Still Bad.

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