View Full Version : Show-jumper
Sharon & Willow
17th Apr 2005, 07:22 PM
It's my ambition in life to be a professional show-jumper. It's quite literally what I want more than anything in the world and I would give anything to do this.There is nothing anyone can say that would change my mind about pursuing this career, I know it's hard work & difficult but it's all I want in life.
I have the dedication & I quite believe I have the horse (and if it turns out that my mare can't quite reach top level, I will be able to get one that will). I also intend on buying and re-selling show-jumpers to make money (and possibly offering livery) but competing will hopefully be my main thing.
But I still am unsure how to go about it. Currently I am studying 7 subjects for my Leaving Cert (or the A Levels as you would call them.) which I will be sitting this June. I am considering applying for a course in the university of Limerick: Equine Science. (http://www.iei.ul.ie/pages/degree.htm)
Would this be beneficial? It's important that I sort out all this asap as I have only until the end of May to apply I believe.
Or should I just forget about that course and get a job as a groom for a pro rider here after my Leaving Cert or should I even go looking for a job abroad? If so advice on how exactly to find a pro show-jumper to work for would be greatly appreciated.
Basically I'm just wondering on how exactly to get started in the show-jumping world, how to get my foot in the door so to speak. Please reply- all input is appreciated. :)
17th Apr 2005, 08:08 PM
Isn't there an equine Sports degree? I'm not sure, but that could help as well.
18th Apr 2005, 01:59 AM
I would definitely go for that university degree and than go on to pursue your riding dreams.
Its always good to have something to fall back on just in cause your show jumper dreams don't happen exactly the way you want it to.
So while your in university...keep riding...getting better :) Go to a few competitions.
Just because you go to university for a few short years, it doesn't mean that your dreams of becomign a pro-rider are completely over.
Than when you have time, probably after university, you could be a working student or groom for a pro-rider, in exchange for some lessons and knowledge.
You could go to soem big shows, ride well, talk to them, ask them if they're looking for someone.
OR just visit the barn and ask them, list your acheivements, show them ** riding, blah blah
Thats what "I" would do. This is a BIG decision. Good luck with whatever you choose.
29th Apr 2005, 11:07 AM
The easiest way to get you're foot is get in about the showjumpers so thats why i'm gona groom for a top Scottish showjumper, as i have the same idea as you.
30th Apr 2005, 03:40 PM
If you are able then definitely get that degree. Unfortunately you need more then dedication to succeed in the sport. If you are able to study and gain qualifications definitely do it, unfortunately show jumping can be a very expensive sport so every penny helps.
Once you've left University and if you're still going after your dream, finding a yard to work at should be your next step. Don't just think pro-showjumpers though, sport-horse producers, dealers and studs can be just as beneficial and creditable as working for a pro.
Get yourself noticed, compete at shows and win. Not Pony Club or thereabouts, remember that International competition only really starts at 1.30m with 1.60m being the level you are aiming for. You need to get noticed because you need sponsorship and owners, it is virtually impossible to get to the top without them. As Calsanjo said in another thread, 'to get to the top you need sponsorship, but you can only really get sponsorship when you're at the top!' Sponsorship is very hard to come by so anything you can get, take it. If there is one thing that is garaunteed to help you get to the top is sponsorship, and it's not neccessarily the horses first because often sponsors own the horses you ride. Sometimes pros will see riders at shows and ask if they will work for/with them, rarely, but it does happen!
Be sure this is what you really want. Showjumping is extremely difficult to succeed in and you are only really earning money when you are at the very top, and even then it's not a great amount. Hard-work is an understatement, can you cope with riding in a novice class one day and doing quite well, then drive, often alone, for perhaps 8 - 12 hours to get to a Nations Cup in another country, getting there at 5am and have to unload and declare and find a groom etc etc, only to be eliminated at the first fence? I'm not trying to put you off but showjumping is extremely difficult and tiring and nowhere near as glamorous as the press make it out to be and the sacrifices and heartbreak probably outweighs the rewards. Make sure you are absolutely certain that this is what you want to do before you take it on. If so, then best of luck and let us know how you are getting on!
Sharon & Willow
30th Apr 2005, 08:49 PM
Thanks all for the advise. Definitely appreciated.
And yes I am certain this is what I want. I have gone through many many rough times & heart-aches with horses, including nearly being killed & have gotten through them all... I can get through anything that is thrown at me. I'm not in it for the glamour or the glory- it's just my passion in life. I couldn't be more sure that this is what I want... I have the grades to do any job that takes my fancy but this is ALL I want.
So far the plan is to start college in Fall & do that course & compete my mare Willow at 1 metre 20 & 1 metre 30 consistently. Meaning every opportunity I get I'm there. I would be competing her now but she's just had a foal so is on a hiatus. Production of my own place, meaning stables & an all weather riding arena are also beginning this summer.
Next summer I'm buying a horse for the Grand Prixs... yes I have the money to do so. So I hope to get in there as soon as possible with that horse and at the same time continue to bring Willow up through the levels.
Question: If I'm competing at Grand Prix level before I'm finished college (which is the plan & should be attainable) then surely I won't need to go work for a pro jumper after that? Obviously I won't be able to compete as often at Grand Prix as I'd like until after I graduate though.
As for sponsorship, thanks for the advise! I hear it's really difficult to come by so as you've said I'll take anything I get. But question: If I can afford the horses myself would I still need sponsorship?
Just for a little background to me: I've coursed 4'6+ and highest single fence I've jumped is 5'6 to date. I can handle literally any horse I'm put on. I have some competition experience but I need a lot more & I need to compete way more consistently.
Thanks! Any more advise- please post!
30th Apr 2005, 09:44 PM
Question: If I'm competing at Grand Prix level before I'm finished college (which is the plan & should be attainable) then surely I won't need to go work for a pro jumper after that?
But question: If I can afford the horses myself would I still need sponsorship?
Just for a little background to me: I've coursed 4'6+ and highest single fence I've jumped is 5'6 to date.
Could you define Grand Prix level? I'm assuming you mean 1.60m GP classes, though GP's really can start from 1.10m, I competed in an International GP last month and it was 1.15m which isn't all that hard.
It would still be a good idea to train with someone, there's a lot more to competing then jumping the heights and working with someone who really knows what they're doing will do you so much good.
I'm lucky to be able to stable my horses at a yard my trainer manages and he's a very experienced competitor. Thanks to him I've learnt more then I could have possibly imagined in such a short space of time and he had me competing in international competition within 6 months. Being able to stay and train with people who have been in the business for years is a very worthwhile experience and can really make your career.
You don't need sponsorship for them to buy your horses neccessarily, if you can afford them yourself you're very lucky and by all means, then you can have a real full control over the horses you want to buy. Any leg up in the horse world would be a real help and sponsorship alone can work for your career, people see you're sponsored by a good company they'll think you must be worth watching! Besides, competing as many different horses as you can makes you a more versatile rider.
I'm so so sorry if this sounds rude as I really don't mean it to, but I could go out and jump 6ft on my horse tomorrow, I certainly know we could, but it wouldn't impress anyone who matters. Unless you can go out and jump it round a course at a competition figures are irrelevant, it's how you cope in the competition ring, not at home over a single fence. Unless you're doing puissance of course, in which case keep practicing and go for it!
You really sound like you want this so go for it and work hard.
PM me if you want to talk, I think we're both pretty similar :)
Sharon & Willow
1st May 2005, 09:34 AM
Oh no I'm not offended at all. I appreciate all advise. :) I totally understand what you're saying about jumping a height at home- I do need a lot more competition experience. I can course well over 1 metre 40 at home though I haven't had much practise at that lately & haven't had much competition experience at that height. I've done it at schooling shows but not so much on the SJAI circuit which is what counts.
Yes, I want to do puissance too though I will be motre focused on the other.
What I mean by GP is that when I get another horse I am aiming for competing at 1 metre 60 level come 2007. I won't be graduating from university until summer 2009 though.
Interesting about sponsorship. Thanks for that.
I appreciate everything. I'll definitely PM you.One is coming you way! :)
6th May 2005, 10:30 AM
Hi, I know everyone is sugesting that a college qualification is the way to go but im going to go against the floww and sugest that experiance is more valuable I have recently left college haveing built up a huge debt keeping my self and my horse on a loan and an overdraft I have then spent a year looking for work in the equie industry I know thet it is not a well paid area of work but having studdied for 4 years I really thought my qualifications would be recognised especialy after all the hype the colege gave it I did an HND in equine managment unfortualatly the best pay I have been offered was £3.50 an house that s well of the minimum wage of £5.05 for 22 year olds and barely keeps me and my horse never mind the paying off the debt I now have 1 month to find £500 to make my first loan repayment and have had to leave the horse industry to work in an office and a bar inorder to get that money. From talking to people at interviews the majority said if I had an extra year or twos experiance in areas other than riding schools and livery I would probably be paid more and BHS qualifications seem to meen more in this area of riding than a degree I realise that wanting to be a riding instructor/livery yard manager is a bit different to top show jumper but it is something to bear in mind and with distance learning and colleges acsepting mature students should you deside in a year or 2 that you need qualifications on paper as well as experiance there is nothing stopping you going for it.
If college is still the way you want to go make sure you get a coure with lots of practical work and preferably the posibility of work experiance. make sure you really go for it if you do work experiance Newzealand is a fab place for show jumping I have several friends out there working as grooms and they learn loads though some of there methods are different to our.
any way im going to stop rambaling now but hope that has given you a different perspective qualifications are not the be all and end all im doing the same work as I would have done leaving school at 18 just I have £15000 of debt to add to it.
6th May 2005, 11:30 AM
I did an HND in equine managment unfortualatly the best pay I have been offered was £3.50 an house that s well of the minimum wage of £5.05 for 22 year olds and barely keeps me and my horse never mind the paying off the debt I now have 1 month to find £500 to make my first loan repayment and have had to leave the horse industry to work in an office and a bar inorder to get that money.
Not on topic, sorry, but surely if you're only earning £3.50 ph then you won't be expected to pay back your student loan just yet! :eek: I thought that there was was a threshold so that until you were earning a certain amount you didn't start paying back :eek:
I agree that if you're wanting to get into showjumping then it will be better to work at a jumping yard. Unfortunately as a 'student' you don't have the luxury of a minimum wage which is how they get away with it!
Conversely though you have to make provisions for if you don't make it as a showjumper. I don't want to be negative but you do need to take it into consideration.
The horse industry doesn't pay well anyway but it would be better for you if you were a qualified instructor and had lots of experience in horse care, riding and training. As others have said a lot of yards aren't exactly 'pro' the academic qualifications and will show a preference for people who have worked their way up through the working pupil route and done the BHS/ABRS exams.
If you want to go to university for the experience of going to university then go for it but it is going to be 3/4 years out of your life where you're not specifically working towards your dream.
6th May 2005, 01:18 PM
Hi sorry slight misunderstanding there I had an overdraft as well as a loan and your right I have to earn over £10000 pa before I pay the loan back but the over draft has to be reduced by £500 a year from the day your course officialy ends. :(
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.