I was reading a post online this past weekend about how often people event their horses and how many times a year. Some of the answers varied widely, but most people came to a general consensus of less often for upper level horses, more often for lower level horses. Makes sense.
Bobby and I have spent a fair amount of time on the subject ourselves, particularly since his horse Halo is 17 this year and requires some special meds when he travels to prevent him from getting sick. Understandably, Bobby tends to be conservative with his schedule because of that. When we were sitting there looking at the omnibus, trying to plan for fall (because he always wants to show with me – stalker), he was a particularly annoyed that the 3 shows he really wanted to hit were all 3 weekends in a row. He’s not willing to do that. Neither am I, to be honest, considering none of them are a super short haul. Henry could probably do it and be just fine (I baby him, I know, but to me he’s irreplaceable), but I just don’t feel comfortable with it. Then again it’s not unusual to see the same people hitting every single recognized show in our area, week after week, so a schedule like that seems to work fine for plenty of folks.
Both of our horses are at Training level, so while it’s not a simple trot around the park so to speak, the fences aren’t super big nor are the speeds particularly fast. Last year when we went to Coconino the horses obviously showed back to back weekends, which we actually thought was super helpful and educational. You could come back the second weekend and try to smooth out the rough edges. Granted, two weeks in a row was definitely my limit, especially when flanked by a long drive. And no way I would have wanted to do that more than once or twice a year.
In h/j land, it’s not unusual for horses to show for many weeks in a row, and some of them 4 or 5 days a week. While a lot of people are conservative with how many classes they enter (most jumper folks I know will only do 2 a day max), there also always seem to be those horses that have racked up 15-20 classes by the end of the show. There’s one barn around here in particular that will enter just about everything. Gotta be honest, that really makes me cringe. I absolutely think there’s a lot of educational benefit to getting young horses in the ring more frequently, but I also think there’s a point at which training becomes drilling.
It also makes you wonder how long these horses will last if they’re on the road showing for weeks and weeks on end, almost non-stop. What really started out as more of an h/j problem has started to creep over to eventing too. Winter used to be the off season and “let down” time for a lot of horses, but now that so many people go to Aiken and Ocala for winter, some of them don’t really get much of off season anymore. Maybe a couple weeks or a month in a paddock, which isn’t much for an upper level horse on a busy show schedule.
So, what say you? How often are you comfortable showing, and (for hj people) how many classes a day do you cap yourself at?