Wednesday, June 18, 2008

CATCH RIDING OPPORTUNITIES

Hi, everyone, thanks for your continued support and for sharing your thoughts, feelings and questions about riding, competing and horses!

Today, I thought I would share some of my own personal experiences with catch riding and hope that what I experienced may answer some of your questions about it. When I started riding with Beacon Hill Show Stables in December of 2000, I was very lucky that my parents could afford to lease a very nice, experienced, older equitation horse named, Archie, who helped me learn the basics. My trainers and some of the customers at the barn, gave me the chance to flat and, even have some lessons, on many of the horses at the barn and this was an valuable opportunity.

After indoors in 2001, my family could no longer afford to lease another horse, and with knowing that family finances were tight, my trainers helped find sale horses for me to show and my parents paid some or all of the expenses on quite a few of those horses. I was just trying to get my feet wet and to earn my stripes and I was unbelievably passionate about the sport and thankful for whatever chances to ride came my way. What I did not realize or understand was how subsequent events would and or could transpire and/or unfold but, I did recognize that I had the support of my trainers, my parents and many of the customers. I loved to ride and be around horses and tried to help out at the barn whenever I could.

With the resolve to continue riding and with the never ending support and encouragement of my trainers and my parents, I spent the next two years riding mostly sale horses, and some of them belonged to customers at the barn. When the barn traveled to Wellington in 2001 and 2002 for the winter, I visited Florida for a weekend but had the fortunate opportunity to ride and lesson on the horses that stayed in New Jersey. Looking back on the years when I spent the winters in New Jersey, I realize they were building block years that helped prepare me for what was around the next corner.

In 2003, thanks to my parents financial support, I went south to Wellington, Florida, for over a month, and with the help of my trainers, got some catch rides. As it was in previous years, some of those catch rides were owned by customers at the barn. During the last week of the circuit, my trainers arranged a catch ride on a young, large, attractive equitation horse that was for sale and stabled with a New York and Wellington based trainer, David Raposa. I schooled the horse before the show during the week and was very excited about the chance to show a horse of great quality. That weekend, after winning the USET class, I got my first chance to ride and participate in the Ronnie Mutch Equitation Championship. That particular weekend at WEF was truly an exciting one for me!

In the late spring of 2003, several special opportunities came my way and yet, again, I must say that I had no idea what they would mean to me in the future. One catch ride that stands out in my mind started at the Old Salem A show, just before Devon in May of 2003. My trainers had secured some catch rides for me with, Sam Edelman, of S & L Farms, one of which was a handsome and talented gelding that had done the jumpers and was being marketed as an eq horse. His name was S & L Whimsey. I showed Whimsey in the Maclay class and we were called back on top! Later that summer, Whimsey came to Beacon Hill to be sold and I was so fortunate to get to show him again. At the USEF Medal finals in Harrisburg that fall, I was awarded 8Th place riding Whimsey! Subsequently, luck was with me again, and a benefactor (who chooses to remain anonymous) offered to purchase half ownership of Whimsey, and with their help and the help of my parents, I was given the wonderful opportunity to own my own horse. Unfortunately, Whimsey was injured at Capital Challenge in 2004, but my prior experiences catch riding helped my trainers to continue to secure additional catch rides for me. Without the help and support of my trainers and my parents, I would not have had so many special experiences catch riding.

Each day, I still say to myself that I am just getting my feet wet, earning my stripes and that I want to achieve my personal best. All of my experiences as a junior rider have taught me to be grateful and to look ahead positively because you really might be very surprised about what is around the next corner.

Catch up with me next time with another answer to one of your questions.
Talk to you later!

Maria Schaub

22 Comments:

At Sat Jun 21, 04:06:00 PM, Anonymous Mia said...

Omg! i love you so much your like the best rider in the world. My horse Romeo looks like twins with your horse Whimsey, do you still have him? I bought my horse Romeo about a month ago and he is great, he is my first horse and only horse i have right now. How big were you jumping with Whimsey when you first bought him?

Thanks!
Mia
p.s. You are my role model! =]

 
At Sun Jun 22, 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are Frank and Stacia no longer training at the same farm?

 
At Sun Jun 22, 03:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows why Frank and Stacia are no longer training at the same farm...DIVORCE...Maria no longer owns Whimsey she sold him to the Polle Family

 
At Sun Jun 22, 08:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the great blog maria!! i know i cant prove it or ask you to believe me, but i bust my butt at the barn as hard or maybe even harder than you! but unlike you, i compete on the local schooling circuit were there arent catch rides!! i can only afford to lease my barn's school horse and more than ONE 'A' show a year is out of the question! but i want to make it as far into the show world as a junior as possible! my trainer has been more than fair to me by letting me ride extra horses and letting me watch and help out at the shows she competes at. i have learned and continue to learn so much from her but we're not an 'A' show barn and i dont get those oppurtunites you talk about! we dont train and show sale horses either! so how can a rider in my position secure catch rides?? when you dont have the money to compete on the 'A' circuit, no one will ask you to ride their horse...right?? some advice for local riders would be amazing because there are tons out there like me that want the chance but dont have the money! also, how do you feel about dressage training? most hunter/jumper trainers dont truely teach their horses to "come round" "except contact" "ride on the bit" or "in the bridle." what do you think about that?? please answer back!!!! that would be amazing!!!!

still your #1 fan
a.a.e

p.s. i know i havent been adding comments, but i have been checking your blog almost every day and following along as always! i guess i've just always been jeolous of the riders who are filthy rich (not you) and can afford 3horses! even though you obviously have more financial support than i do and it must make things a bit easier, you still work very hard and you're so humble and gratefull about it so thats what makes you great!! thanks for continuing the blog and best of luck in everything you do!!! =)

 
At Mon Jun 23, 12:02:00 AM, OpenID lambdakicks said...

This is an interesting blog :) Catch riding sounds like a cool opportunity, though it must have been hard to have your first very own horse be hurt :( Keep updating-- it's interesting to read a blog by someone who's showing on the big US circuits!

 
At Mon Jun 23, 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Molly said...

Wow Maria, you are the best! I love how you tell yourself you are "just getting your feet wet and trying to earn your stripes." Well you are doing a great job of it and certainly making a name for yourself! It seems like you have worked very hard for what you have and you are grateful for all the support you have received and know how lucky you are. These are the things that make you so great and make me keep reading your very interesting blog! I would love to be in your shoes and find you a great role model for my riding! Thanks for inspiring me with your incredible riding ability and modest additude. You are awesome!
Thanks!
Molly

 
At Mon Jun 23, 04:26:00 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Wow, this was really informative. I liked that it was really personal as opposed to some of your other entries.

All the best!

 
At Tue Jun 24, 12:24:00 AM, Anonymous Katie said...

I was wondering if you were still friends with your barnmates back from when Horse Power was filmed? Do you guys still talk or ever ride together anymore?

THANKS!
Katie

 
At Fri Jun 27, 08:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wont say why they are getting divorced just that they are...Franks Moved on and is based at a different farm...I dont think any more details are needed

 
At Fri Jun 27, 06:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey. Maria im at Lake Placid and i saw you showing. How much showing are you doing this days as a Pro?

 
At Sun Jun 29, 05:05:00 PM, Blogger EquiSearch.com said...

No more comments on why Frank and Stacia aren't together anymore, please. Let's keep on topic--horses!

 
At Tue Jul 01, 03:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh man! I totally agree with the post a.a.e. put up. Opportunities for the unfortunate riders located in areas where equitation is almost foriegn do not exsist.

I am in the very same situation: I help out at the barn I take lessons, I try to ride anything I can get but we don't have available sale horses to ride or compete with, going to two 'A' shows this year is very stressful on my parents, and getting to these shows is dificult in its own right considering that it is a guarunteed five hour drive in any direction, however I am fortunate enough to own my own horse but competing in the equitation classes is a joke.

How can someone in my position secure catch rides and move my way up the ladder of competition without the show record or the "credibility" that you have been able to atain living on the east coast???

Please help, your advice and insight is inspiring and makes me long for living and breathing this industry even more. Thank you so much for continuing on with your blog! You are amazing.
-sydney

 
At Tue Jul 01, 05:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^why is competing in the eq classes a joke?

 
At Tue Jul 01, 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^i'm sorry but it's not just because you can't/don't show on the A circut that you can't get catch rides. You have to be a pretty darn good rider-enough so, and have enough noted success, that people will want you to ride their horses that they've invested alot in. If you are a good rider you can still find people that will happily let you ride/train their 'ordinary' horses. Just because it's not the A or AA show and a quality horse doesn't mean you can't gain from riding Joe Doe's green TB, or heck, even school the old lesson horse (cheesy i know but you still do learn, or at the very least be able to focus on your own eq), and if your a good rider and can ride/train the ordinary horses you will eventually get a reputation, even if on a smaller scale, built. I'm sorry if this sounds snarky but if you really are a good rider out there, and you find yourself being good enough to be seriously competative at bigger shows but lack the financial means/horse, then be proactive and go to the closest big-name trainer, show, whatever, offer to be a working student or some sort of deal, and work your way up. There are alot of good oppertunities out there if your are a phenominal rider. Yes it will be hard and yes others will be able to get there easier with money/horses(but that doesn't mean they automatically have any less determination or hard work than you), but it's not impossible, especially if your are a great rider. I've done very similar and it's not impossible. There are lots of oppertunities that will be discovered or present themselves if you are a good rider. So sorry again if I sound conceived but for goodness sakes it is getting somewhat annoying the whole thing about being a great great rider and being unable to advance purely because lack of this or that .
again i don't aim to cause a fight here but the same sort of story keeps getting reposted and i hope this can provide some sort of response for it.

 
At Wed Jul 02, 08:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No fight started. I just thought it was b/c you were from a more rural area. :]

 
At Thu Jul 03, 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the reason people keep talking about this topic is becuase we're looking for advice from maria!! i know life isnt fair and that EVERYONE couldnt be on the 'A' circuit or it wouldnt be much of a sport. but tips on how to go as far as we can with the finicial support we have is all we're asking!! obviously maria cant sit here and help us all becuase everyone has unique problems and situations, but just some advice and words of wisdom on the subject would meen a great deal to me and i know many other people as well. advice on what owners are looking for in a catch rider and what to say, do, ect. if someone asks you to ride their horse. tips on how to figure out a new horse quickly when you're about to school and show would be great! if anyone knows how to show a new horse and do it well, its maria! tell us about some of the sale horses you worked with at beacon hill and your new barn. when training these horses, how did you start some of them and move them up through the divisions and stuff at shows? what did frank or the other trainers look for when buying a prospect to show and sell?? from your experience, what charicteristics have you found that make a good eq/hunter/jumper horse besides form?? such as personailty in the barn, paddock, around you and other horses ect. things you would look for when trying a horse. have you ever had a horse you've been training to sell that just wasnt cut out for the dicipline?? what did you do?? have you ever been asked to catch ride a horse you thought wasnt safe and had to somehow tell the owner no?? i would love for any or all of these questions to be answered in your next post if you have the time!! you've lived many girls dream lives and we would love to hear about it!!!!! thanks so much!!

a.a.e

 
At Tue Jul 15, 10:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI PLEASE UPDATE IT'S BEEN OVER A MONTH THANKS!

 
At Wed Jul 16, 11:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At Thu Oct 15, 04:29:00 PM, Anonymous Kerry said...

Hey Maria!!!! You are an amazing rider and you are a total role model for me!!!! DO you still talk to the riders from horsepower???? Chelsea Moss rides at my barn in Bridgehampton ny. ( wolffer estate stables) when she has off from school cause her boyfriend is a teacher here!!!!! Last yr was my 1st tome doing the Winter Circut, and I'm just trying to get myself reconized so I can be a catch rider tooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks,
Kerry

 
At Sat Nov 14, 11:47:00 PM, Anonymous Meredith said...

Okay... My name is Meredith and I'm 14 years old. I might be going to ride at HITS in Ocala, Florida for the winter circuit, and go to school and the showgrounds and all that jazz. But I have one major dilemma. My parents can't afford for me to have my own horse to show down there. So I would have to catch ride. Which I'm totally fine with actually...I prefer it really, I love to ride anything! But I just don't know exactly how to get catch rides. We're trying to figure out if I could get hooked up with a trainer or how it would work out. I need to figure out a way to be able to catch ride or be with a trainer! By reading this, it seems like you did a lot of catch riding and I was wondering if you could help me? My email is mdenny555@gmail.com if I might be lucky enough for you to email me! Thanks

 
At Sun Jan 01, 02:47:00 AM, Blogger Mehwish Riaz said...

It is an informative post.

 
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