Thursday, July 9, 2015

4 Reasons I'm Not an Eventer

Because I like jumping and dressage, I usually get pegged as an eventer by people who don't know me. I don't mind it--I mean, eventers have a well-earned reputation for being a little crazy and a lot of fun. I don't mind being linked with that. That said, I do not self-identify as an eventer, and if an actual horse person makes an inquiry, I'm quick to disassociate with that crowd. Here's why:

this is me, wanting to die. at groundpoles.
1) I do not have the guts for it any more.

Plain and simple. I spent a weekend in May watching a really great XC clinic and while I enjoyed the skill level and happiness of the riders and horses present, I had absolutely zero interest in joining them. Frankly, even trotting my horse around the ground poles was enough to make me nauseous. I have a bad history with XC and I don't want to revisit it.

I enjoy jumping, dressage, and trail riding. I have no interest in putting them together to do XC. 

basically a ribbon per hour
2) There are not enough ribbons.

So I entered an eventing, what, division? I dunno. I did my dressage and won it. No ribbon. I went out on the gorund poles course and damn near got disqualified and thus dropped down in the placing. One ribbon. No chance to re do. No chance to make it up or have a better experience.

Seems suspect to me.

this is not what the real eventers wear
3) I can't afford all the gear.

I know wtf I'm a tack ho, right? Well. I am. But I am not a clothes ho. How can eventers afford all the shiznit that goes along with eventing? Let's say you're an average ammy in hunters or dressage trying to switch over. Your horse is reasonably broke. You have breeches, a shirt, and a show coat. WELL NOW GUESS WHAT?

Eventing watch: $100
Eventing body protector: $150+
Eventing air bag: $400+
Arm band (or more expensive ride safe bracelet): $5+

Either your hunter coat is wrong for dressage or your dressage coat is wrong for stadium, so let's guesstimate at $100+ to get a second appropriate coat.

Oh, and say you get dumped in the water hazard: $100+ for back up show breeches.

And that's not including making sure your horse is safely decked out for all three phases.

4) I am not good enough to take those kind of chances.

Here's the thing with eventing: if you fall off because your horse spooks hard on centerline, you're done. In phase one. Good bye entry fees and hauling and hotel! Never liked having money anyways.

I mean, if you're a hot-dogging awesome super-human freak (raise your hand), that's fantastic because you never fall off. If you're me, the very idea of hauling all the way to a show (closest event=6 hours), just to get disqualified with no other options to ride is absolutely sickening.

like these. bought these.
I mean, if I do that at a jumper or dressage show, ah well, get back on, and ride in your next class. LITERALLY NOT A BIG DEAL.

I'm not saying eventing is bad. It's a lot of fun to watch and it gets a lot of visibility (thanks Olympics!). For the people who are good at it, it looks like a total blast. For the rest of us, there's a lot of things that make more sense. Things with ribbons. And multiple classes. And SO MUCH LESS SHIT.

And this from a person who likes accumulating horse stuff.


  1. All very good, very valid, logical points made here :)

    #1 reason I don't event? I have zero desire to jump over shit that doesn't fall down. Period. I give plllllllllenty of props to those eventing folks, but I know it's not for me. I guess that's why there are so many different horsey disciplines!

    1. Yes, this! I'm not even a brave show jumper. Solid fences that don't fall down - no thank you!

  2. Excellent points! Although I have been eventing for the past year in all of my hunter/jumper gear and doing just fine. The only things I added to the equation were XC boots for the pony and a body protector for me!

    1. Yeah it starts like that. Then you need dress boots. Dress saddle. Dressage pads.

      Haha. I respect the people who get it done with one set of tack just as much as I like the ones with ALL THE TOYS.

    2. Haha yup... I started in all my hunter gear. Didn't last. In fact your money guesses are very conservative ;)

      This post cracked me up, even as an eventer

    3. Haha yup... I started in all my hunter gear. Didn't last. In fact your money guesses are very conservative ;)

      This post cracked me up, even as an eventer

  3. Hahaha awesome list! So many excellent points!

  4. You'd be surprised how many people get buy with a minimal amount of shit. Unlike me. Because I'm a hoarder.

  5. one of my favorite things about our local combined training associations is that they pin dressage separately. and have all kinds of awards and stuff. AND the swag prizes go for completions further down than 1st or 2nd - i got to pick my own prize from 5th place. it doesn't quiiiiiite solve the 'not enough ribbons' problem, but it does help a little bit :)

  6. So true about the ribbons. And not having second chances (other than schooling after the show, which many events out here have - for a price). And I'm feeling ya on the lack of guts, but I'm working on it. As to gear, I use the wrong jacket (hunt coat) and borrow eventing watches. I do splurge on safety gear, but I would do so even if I never evented again.

  7. Yeah I get this too, because we also dressage and jump. But Tucker is terrified to be alone and I can't see him happily galloping off by himself around a x-country course, and I just don't have the skills or mental ability to give him the confidence he would need to get through it if he's not sure about it. So, I'm a dressage rider who jumps sometimes.

  8. Ugh yes I totally agree! I hated that feeling that one misstep in any one phase would affect my satin hoarding. It put so much pressure on me that I never felt like I rode my best in events. At dressage shows, I always feel like I'm riding close to as well as I can ride and I think the lower stress helps with that a lot.

    Plus dressage shows can be done so cheaply. I never paid more than $120 per rated show for a one day doing one FEI class. So cheap. My entire show budget last year was maybe $500 for four shows! Ridiculous.

    1. I find this argument very compelling.

    2. Jeez, how do you do this Megan? It's $500 for a two-day show here (two classes per day, not FEI obv). Clearly I need to ride FEI so it's cheaper! ;)

  9. This is a great post.

    I'm not sure I'm committed to eventing yet, but my horse seems to FREAKING LOVE IT and I adore my coach, so I'll see what happens.

    I got my watch for $15 at Target but I might have to upgrade to the real thing when I start caring about time. I hate the idea of something that huge on my wrist but I guess it beats squinting while galloping.

  10. Interesting! I didn't even think about anything other than the first one. No ribbons? No fair.

  11. I just don't want to jump those jumps, but I will steal all your reasons and sound smarter about it.

    1. Hey now. I'm too tired to now if that was a compliment or an insult.

  12. I have to say that I wear the same coat for dressage and jumping and often the same breeches if the break between phases isn't very long. I also ride all three phases in one saddle. I don't have an air vest but I did splurge for a good body protector because safety is important. No watch because I totally am not ready to worry about time. I've never been disqualified in dressage before but I have on XC and often times the ride powers that be will let you go ahead and ride your next phase (unless it was a bad fall or something.) I've just never been that into ribbons (I know how weird is that?). So that part doesn't really bother me much.

    But I still completely agree it is just a stupid expensive sport, but then again I think that is true of all equestrian endeavors. I love it but can barely afford to do even one event a year! When I move I doubt I will be doing much of it at all and I'm hoping to focus a little more on dressage to get our flat work better.

  13. I stopped at "jumping solid obstacles that don't fall" no thanks!!

  14. I think everyone should do what they enjoy (safely!!!), heck that's why there ARE different disciplines. I don't care about ribbons, others do -- totally cool, being an adult means you get to make your own choices, woot! (even the bad ones, those are less fun, sigh)

    However, I can't help myself, I do have to correct a couple things. While I can't afford it, I can't afford much else either...b/c ALL horse sports are expensive (eventing is a helluva lot cheaper than hunter circuits or western pleasure, omg, but all are kind of in the "choose your money pit" category!). Watch--massive #s of us use the awesome Timex Ironman which is waterproof & all of $25-30 at Target or wherever. Timers, minute markers, alarms, you name it. HATE that stupid yellow thing, no good reason to buy it (& this is from someone w/ an eye Rx of -8).

    Air vest? No. Freaking. Way. A terrible product with marketing so heinously misleading, they've been legally required to remove parts of it & the vests themselves can worsen or cause injuries on their own. 0.o No, I am not your company's guinea pig....

    Which is why I always tell people to read the rule book. Needs: horse. You. A saddle that is black or brown & fits. A bridle that is black or (and, in my case in the past) brown & fits. A pair of breeches (all mine are normal tan, tyvm, who wears white things around horses), a shirt & boots. Helmet, of course. And at least basic galloping boots are a good idea for XC.

    Srsly. All stuff that most competing riders already own. Oh wait--foldy chair, beer, grin, & sense of humour. :D

    The rest of the "stuff" is some gimmicks, some "just for fun," some "nice if you can, but not required or something you will die without." I rode through Novice with my one, inexpensive close contact saddle & a $10 black bridle with brown reins. No effect on score.

    As for the risk factor, yes, there is always a risk factor, which goes back to my first part. It's a continuum though, & it all goes back to rider responsibility. The vast majority of riders I know who have had serious injuries (including myself)? Walking on loose rein, trail riding, dismounting, a seemingly uneventful slideoff in stadium (me), etc. Yes, there are serious & fatal falls. And a LOT of variables -- but no matter what you are doing, you should always make sure you respect all the risks, be certain your horse & you are more than prepared for as many contingencies as you can think of, your homework is thorough & most importantly... know when to walk off & call it a day. And that too goes for everything! :) Stay safe & the other most important part: if you're not having fun, never be afraid to try new things!


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