Dumbing down? Top trainers’ views

  • NO: Di Lampard, Nations Cup rider and BSJA consultant head of training

    “Generally, the standard [of show jumping] is better but I’m not sure [the new] categorisation will help. In winter, it can be painful to wait till 4pm to jump in a Foxhunter, but splitting shows won’t help the novice. Some riders do the 1.25m and go home. But it’s by watching professionals that you raise your game.

    “So many are capable of jumping 1.10m to 1.15m. This is what people enjoy, but it doesn’t help the next step. The 1.20m isn’t just slightly bigger, it suddenly seems very technical.

    “People jumping 1.20m to 1.25m are often of a good standard, and are probably jumping 1.30m. But if classes for 1.25m and 1.30m were scheduled together, they’d all choose the 1.25m. It’s psychological. You cannot push people — but some could stretch themselves.”

    YES: David Pincus, former Spanish Riding School of Vienna pupil

    “There are enough competitions at [dressage] grass roots but we need the correct competitions, particularly for the young, encouraging development of good riding, seat and knowledge.

    “There is an overemphasis on competing. It gives the opportunity to compare oneself against others but does not develop important skills; the training focuses on the horse, not on the rider’s long-term development, which can make it more difficult for him to progress.

    “Governing bodies should guide the grass roots towards the long-term, larger aim and not make it easy to win prizes by lowering standards. There must be better communication and liaison with the Pony Club and Riding Clubs to cater for this sector.”

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  • Read this feature in full, including more views of other well known trainers, in the current issue of Horse & Hound (20 October, ’05)

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