Hi! I’m looking for jumper focused barns in northern NJ. I’m in Essex County and I can travel 30-35 minutes. I really want to progress because at my current barn, they don’t allow anybody to jump over 2’9 and I feel like that’s limiting me. I’m interested in taking lessons primarily. So any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
From what I’ve read on COTH, you are lucky to find a lesson program that lets you jump lesson horses up to 2’9".
In general, if you want to go higher than that, you need to own or lease a horse.
Does your lesson barn allow people who own or lease a horse to jump higher than 2’9"? Or is it a true beginner barn, and everyone moves on after they learn the basics?
If there are owners or leasers progressing above 2’9" then the solution is to get a lease horse at your current barn.
Also keep in mind that mere height jumped is not the strongest measure of progress. Most of a jumps course happens between the jumps. A few weeks ago you were writing in saying that you couldn’t sit deep at the canter. Have you fixed that? Because honestly there is no point going looking for height until your seat and position and aids are good on the flat and at the lower levels.
My barn doesn’t allow anybody to jump over 2’9 regardless if you own or don’t. I do lease a horse but I also take lessons on the barn ponies for variety. They previous barn was focused on dressage and hunters but I was wondering if there were some barns that were hunter/jumper specific. And yes, I’m so glad I fixed my canter issue! I was overthinking it and locking my hips but I got it all sorted out
Well, if you are truly absolutely proficient at 2 foot 9, then yes it is time to move on.
Can you ride a full course at 2’9"? Have you gone to a local show jumpers at 2’9"? If so, did you ride a successful round? Did you get any ribbons? Are you the “barn star” that all the little kids look up to? If all these are true, yes, you do want to move up to barn that is competing at the next level.
In my area, most of the local shows (even the rated) have very strong competition up to 2’9", and much less at 3’ and above. Once you go above 3’ you are showing in different shows (more expensive ones), riding different horses (that cost at least twice as much), and the courses themselves get more technical and complex. It’s not like a cross rails class just goes up in height. The questions asked also get more complex. And jumper courses ask more complex questions than hunter courses, so if you have shown in hunters you might find jumpers rather different.
Obviously I don’t know how you ride and know nothing about your program. If you have really got to the top tier of your program, then yes it’s time to move on if you can afford the lease and lessons and shows at a higher tier barn.
But realize too that you will be at the bottom of the pack at a barn where everyone is going to A shows from 3 to 4 feet. The learning curve will be steep, and you will have to work to catch up. Some people like that and find it motivates them. Other people get discouraged
Are you a junior? Are you looking to bring your lease horse with you to the new program? Where have you shown and at what level?
Sorry for so many questions, but it will help get appropriate responses.
I’ve just done some schooling shows at 2’9" and local unrated shows at 2’6". I did do a handful of itty bitty jumpers a few years back just to try it and I loved it so much! I did 3 rated shows at 2’6" and placed top 3 in all… and that’s about it . All of the shows were in state. Yes, I am a junior. And I will not bring my lease with me because it’s an on-property lease.
Why do you feel your current barn is holding you back by limiting you to 2’9"? It sounds like you probably have lots to learn at this height still.
What kind of instruction are you getting on things like counting strides, riding related distances and combination, gymnastics, etc? Does your program create students who are doing well at these lower levels? Ate you looking for better instruction overall or just permission to jump higher? What happens if you move to a better barn and they keep you at 2 foot 6 for the next year to build basic skills? How will you feel?
It’s not just a height issue, I feel like they never taught me basic exercises and such fo build a strong foundation. We never did posting canter, no stirrup work, lunging work, gymnastic bounces, or any variety. All we did was jump a single 2’6" fence and call it a day. I feel held back by the 2"9" rule because the horses have the ability to go so much higher. Now I know good riding isn’t determined by fence height but I’m just getting bored at 2’6" and feel like I could learn so much more at a different barn. I have no problem with staying at the 2’6" level at my new barn if they taught me fundamental skills, which my current barn does not.
OK, that all makes sense.
Then what you need to find is not necessarily a barn where everyone is competing at 3 foot 6.
You need to find a barn that teaches correct basics and turns out good riders. You want a barn with a good solid program for juniors. You problem is not really that you are being held to 2 foot 9, but that you are in a barn without a rigorous program and with rather lazy instructors.
sweet Jesus you don’t need to learn to post the canter.
Uh, yeah. I thought this too. The OP’s last post was that they couldn’t sit the canter because they had been taught a “hunter light seat.” Anything I’ve seen that could be called posting the canter looks like the rider is trying for a light seat but falling out and thumping the horse on the back at every stride. IMHO you either do a nice deep seat where your butt just rolls with the horse (like a western rider), or you get out of the tack and protect the horse’s back.
I think though it’s clear enough that it’s early days for the OP and that they haven’t had particularly good instruction along the way. It’s clear they know they need better instruction. But my reading of the situation is that they are interpreting “better instruction” as being allowed to jump 3 feet, when they are really only comfortable at 2’6" now.
I do think OP needs to go looking for better instruction in the basics, which will clear up some of these misconceptions. But I don’t think OP needs to be jumping 3 feet at this point, and putting that as the sole criteria for a barn might or might not lead to a barn that teaches good basics.
It could just lead to a more yeehaw version of the existing barn, where no one has good basics but the instructors aren’t as safety conscious either.
Umm actually it’s an amazing exercise! It helps me and my horse set the pace of the canter and keep him steady. I do know how to sit the canter now, as I said earlier. Anyways, when I say I’m feeling restrained by the 2’9 limit, I’m obviously not talking about now. I’m just looking into the future when I do want to be jumping 3-3’6. I’d rather switch barns now to develop better foundations that will help me when I’m jumping that high than max out at the 2’9 but have awful technique, if you know what I mean. Sorry if I sound rude but thanks anyways
You definitely need a good trainer. Once you have one, please don’t argue with them about what you think is a good exercise.
You do not know how to sit the canter.
Finding an instructor who can teach you these very basic horse riding skills must be your top priority.
Frankly you don’t need to be jumping at all.
Why do you think I’m arguing with my trainer about exercises? Why would I do that? I certainly don’t know more than my trainer. I didnt argue that omg the posting canter is the best exercise in the world, you’re wrong if you think otherwise. My trainer has told me that and other threads on COTH too, plus, from personal experience I can say that posting the canter has helped me in warm ups. How do you know I don’t know how to sit the canter? In my past thread I literally asked for help and then applied that to my lessons and it finally clicked. As I said before, I was overthinking it and locking my hips, but now I can deeply sit in the saddle, thank you very much. EXACTLY! I’m trying to find an instructor who can actually help me build a strong foundation so when I get to higher jumps I don’t kill myself. I don’t need to be jumping? I want to be jumping and now that I know how to sit the canter, I’m very comfortable with jumping. I’m trying to find a better instructor so I can learn the basics and build up my skill and strength but you’re not even reading what I’ve said and jumping to false conclusions.
OP, I wish I knew of even one jumper barn in NJ so that you could at least get one piece of productive, useful information out of the time you have spent posting this thread and responding to the know it alls who think they need to know if you are the “star” of your barn (really, wtf?) before they can possibly answer your question, but I don’t.
I would suggest that you bail from this thread and find another source of information. Maybe a google search, Facebook, or go to some shows in your specified area and introduce yourself to the trainers of riders who look to be riding successfully at the level you want to get to.
Also, don’t assume that a top trainer won’t take on riders at your level. An Olympic rider who was local to me took on students who struggled mightily at 2’6; they rode with his assistant and not him.
I asked some questions here, then spoke to the OP via PM. I think she has some quality options to consider, so long as she is humble enough to take the feedback and apply it
thank you so much for your reply! I’ll definitely check out the area and attend a few local shows for more info. I’m really grateful for your reply
Alicat, I really appreciated your PM and help! I will definitely be visiting the barns you recommended!
I am sure there are plenty, but one that comes to mind that isn’t too far away is Tranquillity Farm, the Desiderio’s . Beautiful farm, good talented people, horses for all levels. Jumpers, hunters & EQ.
That is a gorgeous farm and a great suggestion.