Times have brought massive changes in producing young performance showjumpers. Freshmans have died a slow death and are becoming a thing of the past. There was a time during winter you could take all your youngsters out for the day. Jump clubs offered nice easy free flowing open courses encouraging confidence in youngsters. The rounds used to start at 90cm becasue the Maiden D Grade height was a minimum of 3 foot 3. Everyone was getting their Maiden D grade horse ready for the season ahead. Nowadays shows run more than one ring allowing heights to start at 45cm.
Freshmans have died a slow death and clinics have become the new favourite
How do Australian / Victorian horse breeders produce young showjumpers ? Team Joyce break in our horses at 2 years and start small poles at 3 years. Why ? If you want the option to participate in the 4yo Young Horse classes eg – Jump with Stars held March or SIEC in Aug each year you need to have practised and jumped your rising 4 year old before the event. Remember the horses DOB is the date it can start officially jumping not the 1st Aug.
Lets say your horse was born 1st August , we are going by the horses DOB and you want to start jumping your 4yo in a special young horse event at the end of August. You have 3 weeks to prepare.
How do you give your 3yo experience?
Did you know that classes under a 1.04m containing an Article are official – these are not unofficial. The only class deemed unofficial is a Feshmans. But where do we find these ? Is it safe to take a truck load of young horses including stallions to a Pony Club grounds or Equestrian facility to participate in the classes – Freshmans they hold ? The reason we ask is becasue most of the time at these events you are surrounded by many young children and ponies having a fun time out, they are often not aware of how unpredictable a young big horse / stallion can be.
We are not sure that this is a safe option for everybody involved
Maybe the events being run at the moment can hold an A & B section in each height. A is for Open combinations and B for a Freshmans type of event with no jump off for these horses. This would help support breeders and riders training young performance horses for the future.