Has anyone else switched disciplines?

I’ve really been thinking about quitting riding all together because it is no longer fun for me to compete or even get on a horse at this point. With my current coach, I feel as if every single thing I am doing is wrong. It’s nothing like bullying or harassment, just no positive reinforcement and I’m just beating myself up over and over again because of it. I have gone from competing in successfully 3ft jumpers to cantering bounce poles on the ground and crying because all I hear is how I’m doing something else wrong, and how she wants to put me on a slow hunter horse and do the 2ft hunters :no:

So, I will be taking a break after my lease is up in September with my current horse. I do not know if this break will be permanent, but I have some interest in eventing, or even western (I adore the reining and barrel racing as I’m a little bit of a speed demon :winkgrin:). Has anyone else gone from the H/J world to eventing, or western? Was the transition hard or did you miss the H/J world too much?

Just want to hear opinions.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing disciplines- do whatever you enjoy! I’d first think about if you are happy in jumpers, if so then change coach. You don’t need someone who doesn’t help you move forward.

I’m in the process of going from eventing/dressage to gaited trail riding, due to age and injury. I’m not into competing anymore, but still really enjoy time on horseback. Just hacking out with friends is so much more fun and no pressure.

I just swapped in the past two years. I was BORED with hunter/jumper, felt like I wasn’t progressing at all, and I had so many falls/near falls in the last year of riding at college that I am still surprised that I didn’t break anything.

Switched to Eventing, and then bought my boy :slight_smile: We haven’t done any shows yet and the most I’ve gotten him off farm is to my trainer’s for baby fun shows and a Paper Chase last year. We’re going XC schooling at the end of the month so I’m really really excited!

Do whatever you are interested in! It may take some time to swap over due to positional changes, etc. but it does provide a new challenge, and Dressage is actually a lot more interesting when you ride it versus watching! :lol:

Bonus: Have yet to fall off except for a minor tack error dealing with round ponies and elastic girths! :winkgrin:

You might also consider just riding for fun, and the companionship of being with a horse, rather than competitive riding which is just another pressure trip.

Go and look around at trail-riding, team-penning, or just plain pleasure barns in your area, meet the people, see their horses and listen to them talk about their riding.

Many times once one is no longer a junior or a professional, the “fire in the belly” for showing goes out; there is no shame in that, for many it’s simple maturity.

Recently I ‘sort of’ switched disciplines… I was an eventer for years, then needed to improve my dressage with my current guy… and now I’m riding dressage only and getting my USDF Bronze Medal. I had to quit jumping. It slowed our progress. Thankfully we only have 1 more score to go then back to EVENTING!!! (can you tell I miss it?)

Years ago-- started as a western trail rider at age 5, then went to Pony Club, hunter/jumpers then Eventing. I say do whatever makes you happy. Horses are too expensive to not enjoy riding. :slight_smile:

Were you jumping 3’ previously with your current coach? I only ask because sometimes when we work with lower level trainers they let us do more than we should. Then we switch to a better trainer and have to go back and fix the holes.

[QUOTE=romewhip;7665730]I’d first think about if you are happy in jumpers, if so then change coach. You don’t need someone who doesn’t help you move forward.

[/QUOTE]
I was considering just switching coaches because I do love jumpers, but I also want to consider other disciplines.

[QUOTE=Finding Serenity;7665782]Do whatever you are interested in! It may take some time to swap over due to positional changes, etc. but it does provide a new challenge, and Dressage is actually a lot more interesting when you ride it versus watching! :lol:

Bonus: Have yet to fall off except for a minor tack error dealing with round ponies and elastic girths! :winkgrin:[/QUOTE]

We have a dressage coach at our barn (my current coach’s sister actually), I’ve been tempted to take a few lessons with her but I think my horse would get really bored with it and start doing invisible jumps :lol:

[QUOTE=olympicprincess;7665881]Years ago-- started as a western trail rider at age 5, then went to Pony Club, hunter/jumpers then Eventing. I say do whatever makes you happy. Horses are too expensive to not enjoy riding. :slight_smile:

Were you jumping 3’ previously with your current coach? I only ask because sometimes when we work with lower level trainers they let us do more than we should. Then we switch to a better trainer and have to go back and fix the holes.[/QUOTE]
I also did trail riding, it’s how I started riding at 4 years old until I was around 9 then I went to jumping. It’s the reason why I’m considering trying western, I reaaally love western saddles :love-struck:

Yes she was the one to bring me up to that level actually, I have been with her for almost 6 years now and she took me from 2’6 hunters to the 3’ jumpers. It has just been recently that she has hammered down on me.

Rode H/J as a kid, did dressage in my 20-30s, switched to western in my early 40’s and have never looked back. Riding and showing western is WAY harder than it looks! LOL!

Horse must be balanced, cadenced and engaged-all on a loose rein and ridden with one hand.

I’ve been at it for more than a decade and still don’t have it down…

Come over from the dark side! You’ll find that there’s plenty to do, including the fast stuff!

Do it!
Cross training will make you better as a rider and horsewoman.
You can always later decide what you really want to do, once you have developed even more skills on a horse from more disciplines.

[QUOTE=Bluey;7665991]Do it!
Cross training will make you better as a rider and horsewoman.
You can always later decide what you really want to do, once you have developed even more skills on a horse from more disciplines.[/QUOTE]

This is wonderful advice. I just quoted your words to a friend of mine asking a similar question. My friend Bluey said… Thanks for this!

[QUOTE=kboned;7665956]I was considering just switching coaches because I do love jumpers, but I also want to consider other disciplines.

We have a dressage coach at our barn (my current coach’s sister actually), I’ve been tempted to take a few lessons with her but I think my horse would get really bored with it and start doing invisible jumps :lol:

I also did trail riding, it’s how I started riding at 4 years old until I was around 9 then I went to jumping. It’s the reason why I’m considering trying western, I reaaally love western saddles :love-struck:

Yes she was the one to bring me up to that level actually, I have been with her for almost 6 years now and she took me from 2’6 hunters to the 3’ jumpers. It has just been recently that she has hammered down on me.[/QUOTE]

Maybe you should have this conversation with your trainer. Explain to her that you’re just not having fun and would like to dial back on the pressure. It’s possible that, having brought you up to the 3’ jumpers, she’s now confused about where/how you got off track and thinks you want to be pushed harder.

My trainer is very competitive on the local h/j circuit, but once I explained to her that I just want to do low level dressage and trail riding, and am really only motivated by a desire to keep my horse rideable, she’s adjusted our lesson focus and we’re really having fun.

By all means try other disciplines - it might make your horse happy as well. Try doing western, then pop him over a few jumps once a week, and I’ll bet you’ll both start having fun again.

We have Morgans, we have used them on everything from driving to eventing, western pleasure to working cattle, working hunter over fences to hunter pleasure… the only thing we haven’t done is what we bought them for English Pleasure

forgot dressage and competitive trail

I grew up doing h/j . . . switched to dressage . . . (bought my own farmette) switched to eventing . . . back to dressage . . . took two years off from showing and lessons and spent most of the time trail riding and working on my own . . . went to a couple cow clinics . . . bought a western saddle and some chinks . . .

I love to do a lot of different things! It has broadened my horizons, taught me so much, I’ve met lots of fun new people, and now I’m ready to shop for a young horse to bring along and do it all again!

I recently switched from hunters to dressage. I’ve been SUPER happy with the change, and so has my horse. It started out with me taking a few dressage lessons with an excellent dressage trainer “to improve my flatwork for jumping,” and before I knew it I was way more interested in doing dressage than I was in jumping. For a while, I kept up with jumping casually, but I realized I was just kind of forcing myself to do it because I felt like I “should” jump him on any given day.

Jumping just kind of lost its appeal for me when I realized how intricate dressage really is. If you are receiving good instruction, dressage is ANYTHING but boring for both horse and rider - really! My horse is great to jump, very honest, and super fun…I could see myself jumping him again someday for fun maybe. But I don’t think I will ever compete a hunter or jumper again. I just really, really hate that whole h/j show scene now and have no desire to go back.

Maybe give dressage a shot, work on improving your flatwork through dressage, and then pick up jumping again if/when you feel like it.

OP: when I was in my 20’s, working and in grad school, I had a horse that I trail rode. Every weekend. Every holiday.
When I was in my 30’s I got interested in carriage driving and ended up competing my mare in open driving classes for 6 years or so.
When I hit 40, I relocated, no carriage driving to speak of. Started jumping the little Q-horse mare over fences and ended up doing hunters for much of that decade.
When I hit 50 I switched to Dressage. Still there. Love the mental aspects and the challenge.

RIDING SHOULD BE FUN. Shake it up. Maybe take a break for a bit, but go on a riding vacation - I hunted (my ONLY hunts) with the Galway Blazers; I spent an awesome 7 days at Bitterroot Ranch in Wyoming, climbing mountains, moving cows. I did a pack trip in the Canadian Rockies. A couple others as well.

Try a bunch of things, you have nothing to lose so long as you don’t buy the horse and the tack, lol.

When I was a kid I rode H/J, in college I led trail rides as a part time job, in grad school I got into dressage and after a few years off I’m going to try eventing. Each discipline has sort of worked with where I was in my life at the time. Now I’m looking for some excitement and dressage is like watching paint dry these days. I think you have to do what feels right. Getting hung up on one discipline can be either really rewarding or really frustrating. If you’re in frustrated mode by all means try something different!

Thank you for sharing all your experiences and your positivity! It really means a great deal to me :smiley:

[QUOTE=Trevelyan96;7666035]Maybe you should have this conversation with your trainer. Explain to her that you’re just not having fun and would like to dial back on the pressure. It’s possible that, having brought you up to the 3’ jumpers, she’s now confused about where/how you got off track and thinks you want to be pushed harder.

My trainer is very competitive on the local h/j circuit, but once I explained to her that I just want to do low level dressage and trail riding, and am really only motivated by a desire to keep my horse rideable, she’s adjusted our lesson focus and we’re really having fun.

By all means try other disciplines - it might make your horse happy as well. Try doing western, then pop him over a few jumps once a week, and I’ll bet you’ll both start having fun again.[/QUOTE]

I’m afraid my coach really isn’t like that. My last lesson with her, I was really only confident in doing canter poles since my horse was being quite fussy and pulling and jumping only makes it worse with him. Well she decided to focus on the only other girl in my lesson, and spoke to me twice during the entire 45 minutes she was supposed to be teaching BOTH of us. And trying to explain why I was having these issues only got me a “well get over yourself”. So, if I do want to do anything else other than competing in jumpers I either do dressage with the other coach or nothing at all until I can leave in September.

[QUOTE=FineAlready;7666432]I recently switched from hunters to dressage. I’ve been SUPER happy with the change, and so has my horse. It started out with me taking a few dressage lessons with an excellent dressage trainer “to improve my flatwork for jumping,” and before I knew it I was way more interested in doing dressage than I was in jumping. For a while, I kept up with jumping casually, but I realized I was just kind of forcing myself to do it because I felt like I “should” jump him on any given day.

Jumping just kind of lost its appeal for me when I realized how intricate dressage really is. If you are receiving good instruction, dressage is ANYTHING but boring for both horse and rider - really! My horse is great to jump, very honest, and super fun…I could see myself jumping him again someday for fun maybe. But I don’t think I will ever compete a hunter or jumper again. I just really, really hate that whole h/j show scene now and have no desire to go back.

Maybe give dressage a shot, work on improving your flatwork through dressage, and then pick up jumping again if/when you feel like it.[/QUOTE]
I have been considering dressage for a little bit, but I would have to wait until my current lease goes back to his owner because he has no patience for anything past training level work :cry:

[QUOTE=kboned;7666495]Thank you for sharing all your experiences and your positivity! It really means a great deal to me :smiley:

I’m afraid my coach really isn’t like that. My last lesson with her, I was really only confident in doing canter poles since my horse was being quite fussy and pulling and jumping only makes it worse with him. Well she decided to focus on the only other girl in my lesson, and spoke to me twice during the entire 45 minutes she was supposed to be teaching BOTH of us. And trying to explain why I was having these issues only got me a “well get over yourself”. So, if I do want to do anything else other than competing in jumpers I either do dressage with the other coach or nothing at all until I can leave in September.

I have been considering dressage for a little bit, but I would have to wait until my current lease goes back to his owner because he has no patience for anything past training level work :cry:[/QUOTE]

That’s unfortunate that your trainer is like that. Given that, I say go for it with another discipline and trainer.

I started as a young girl riding Saddlebreds. I loved them. When I had children they started riding Saddlebreds. I showed with them until they all went to college. Then I sold all 3 Saddlebreds. I bought a Quarter Horse. I love this horse. He will go almost anywhere. He will go at the speed I want. He takes care of me. I may not ever show again. I may show ranch horse pleasure or reining. I do not care.

Please try other things with horses. You may find something else that you love.

i’ll be a mild voice of caution that it’s worth getting to the bottom of what’s stressing you out in your current discipline. If it’s simply the trainer’s personality, then gosh there are lots of trainers out there. Or just finish out your lease without taking weekly lessons, and just Ride. But the trainer has taken you down a level or two, to fill in gaps that she sees; is your frustration due to the fact that something you think you know inside and out may not actually be “right”? Just trying to say that if the discomfort is due to feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, then changing disciplines may not be the answer. Especially if your inner speed demon is going to get frustrated about needing to build the basics of barrels/reining vs just tearing it up from the get-go. You’re going to be doing crossrails, in effect. Not at ALL saying it’s not a good idea–it’s actually a great idea. But it’s not necessarily the cure for the current malaise.

Riding is supposed to be fun! There is nothing wrong with trying new disciplines (I think I can count the disciplines I HAVEN’T tried on my fingers :stuck_out_tongue: ). There isn’t any rule that says you have to stick with one thing. In fact, you will probably be able to bring stuff over that you learn in one discipline to the other.

That being said, you may just need to try the jumpers with a different coach to rekindle your enjoyment. Not everyone’s teaching style works for everyone.