“I wondered if you could give me some advice with my just turned 5 year old. I backed Magic last year and then turned him away for winter, allowing him to mature a bit more. Then I brought him back into work and got him fit and then began competing at South View’s Combined Training events, giving Magic the experience of jumping new fences and riding dressage tests. We then went on holiday to Delamere Forest where he jumped his first cross country fences, with plenty of scope. I’m 17 and would love to get into eventing, our family has limited funds and so I’m wanting to gain experience with Magic and then hopefully go from there and work up.
I’m thinking of getting him fit and then begin by taking Magic to some fun rides over the next coming months, continue his Combined Training and do some Arena Eventing to give him experience. Then at 6 he can begin doing some events.This allows me to finish college and get a job, so I can fund myself. I’m worried I’m not doing the right thing and taking him to fast. What would you do with a 5 year old?”
Oliver answers: There is no definite right answer, as it all depends on the horse. We all have a plan but some horses take a lot longer and some fly through. Out 5 year olds are normally at BE100 level if that gives you an idea, with some going to the Burghley Young Event Horse class at the end of the season.
What you have been doing sounds ideal, although it is very hard to have a opinion without knowing your capabilities or the horse’s. But as long as you are both happy there is no official programme that they have to be doing, and if they are taking to it all like a duck to water just carry on, as some horse do find it all easy and need to be challenged to keep their mind on board. My advice to you is play it by ear.
I hope this is of some help to you, good luck with him and have a great 2013 season.