What I found most interesting this weekend though wasn't really about me. It was a casual observation really... But I noticed that jump height really didn't correlate with experience and rider level... not exactly anyway. Here's what I mean:
The group I rode in was comprised of four pretty experienced and competent riders. And we were in the 2'6" group. Which, generally in the hunter/jumper world, is a height for lower levels. I chose that group. Eros and I have been putting in good work, and things are coming together. But we both need to get stronger. I wanted to work more on concepts and not be overcome by fear of height. One of the other riders has a young horse who lacks confidence, so she was in a similar boat as me, but for a different reason. My other friend who rode with us was on a lesson horse who maxes out at around 2'6" so obviously that's where they needed to be. And the last one in the group just started college so hasn't jumped in a couple months.
|unrelated screenshot from a different weekend to break up text.|
My observation lead me to thinking about how things change in us as we get older. And I think this applies mainly to amateurs as pros sort of have to stay at the top since it's their job and all. When I was a junior I was always striving for the move up. I showed in the 3'6" junior hunters from my 13 year old show year all the way through high school. Back then there wasn't a 3'3" division, or I imagine I would have started there. 3'6" was kind of the pinnacle for a junior in the hunters then, unless I wanted to compete with the pros in the working hunters at 4'. So I switched to the jumpers to work towards bigger jumps.
|My junior hunter and I circa 1997|
But where does that leave us working amateurs? I've reached an age where I am not striving to reach new levels anymore. I have zero interest in showing in the high a/o jumpers. ZERO. Do I want to do the low a/o's again? Maybe. On the right horse. But it's not something I feel like I HAVE to do. I'd love to get back in the jumper ring. Hopefully doing the high adults. But I might be just as happy in the lows. Or maybe I'll stay in the hunter ring. If that's the case, I really would like to get back to the 3'6" a/o height. But if I didn't, I'd probably feel just as fulfilled doing the adult hunters at 3'.
I think for some trainers that mentality in us amateurs is frustrating. They don't understand why we don't want to jump higher and higher. For me, I'd much prefer to be really, truly competent at whatever level I find myself in. I want to get good at the concepts and the exercises. And if I find myself jumping big jumps once that happens, all the more exciting I guess?
What do you think? Are you still chasing that Olympic dream or would you rather feel truly comfortable and capable at a certain height? Do you think it's an age thing? Do you think my ramblings here are on track, or are my observations just mirroring my personal feelings back at me?