With choice comes the need to make decisions.
When there is so much choice in disciplines and competitions the questions is asked, what to do. Should kids do a bit of everything or should they pick one and focus on that?
I don’t think there is a simple right or wrong answer but rather an individual choice.
I will give you my take on it so you can ponder on that and see if that fits with your ideas and your child’s goals.
When you have a look at all the disciplines there are generally multiple ones you can group together.
If you look at the English styles of disciplines, the dressage, show jumping and eventing for example they all fit together very well because one builds onto the other and they compliment each other.
Dressage is your base, your foundation.
That is the schooling of the horse like math and english in your child’s schooling. Now most kids don’t like dressage, the same as most kids don’t like math. We don’t drop maths at school because it’s not enjoyable, we keep it because it is part of our foundation in our education.
Not every child has to choose hard math, they can stick to more basic math, but they need to continue math.
Not every child/rider has to climb up the ladder in dressage, they don’t have to specialise and compete every weekend in dressage, but they need to continuing the dressage training.
Dressage is a foundation.
Show jumping builds on from the dressage training.
A good show jumping rider needs their horse to be well schooled, supple, adjustable and responsive in order to jump clear rounds. Dressage offers great training exercises and patterns for that.
Eventing is a combination of dressage test, show jumping rounds and a cross country course. That means that every event rider needs to train in all three disciplines in order to compete.
So, if your child is interested in the English disciplines, please encourage them to train and compete in all three until they reach a higher level.
- A rider who competes at EA (Equestrian Australia) elementary level can start to think about specialising.
- A rider who competes in 1.20m show jumping competitions can start to think about specialising.
- A rider who competes at 2* level can start to think about specialising.
That will give the rider a solid basis across the relevant disciplines and increases their foundations which will lead to greater success long term.
But that’s just my opinion.
Part 3 available soon.