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denny
Jul. 12, 2007, 07:46 AM
This past weekend at the Stoneleigh-Burnham event, I was talking about the shaky state of prelim and up events in Area One with Jim Gornall, the TD.
Jim said he felt part of the problem was the thinking from USEF that the main "usefulness" (maybe the wrong word) of these levels was to provide a channel toward the upper levels, and that they therefore had to become harder and more technical, putting the preliminary level out of reach of the rank and file eventer.
He said there was a new rule that says there must be at least 24 fences on a prel.x-c, and that means fences get jammed into places they don`t logically fit on the land, to accommodate the rule.
Anyway, we wondered whose "vision" was ruling all these changes which seem to be afflicting our sport. Is this alphabet soup (CCI, CIC, YEH, Gold Cup, etc. the list goes on) the vision of the USEA, or of the USEF, or of a small cabal of hidden people who are manipulating the sport for certain ends (That conspiracy theory again!)?
Jim said he`s pretty sure David O` Connor has a vision of what he wants, and Mark Phillips has his, and so on, but they may or may not coincide with what the majority of USA riders want or need.
So, we wondered, could we somehow persuade several key eventing leaders (O`Connor, Phillips, various USEA and USEF leaders to provide us all with clear and well articulated vision statements of what they think eventing should be, where they think it`s going, and how it`s going to get there?
Isn`t that what The State of the Union message is each year from the US President? Aren`t we owed that from our eventing leaders?
I think most of us see what`s happening to our sport and just sort of think, "how did this happen?", in the absence of of a clear vision.
Then we could see if there are conflicting visions, which I can almost guarantee will be the case, and it will allow the membership to be heard in a democratic manner.
If our leaders will not tell us what they are thinking, then that tells us something, too.

Auburn
Jul. 12, 2007, 09:21 AM
Yikes! 24 fences?

Once again, Denny, you have opened my eyes. I do appreciate your insights, especially since you have been there.

For those of us, who just want to compete, but have no aspirations ( or are just too old) to go up the levels, this mindset leaves us, where? :confused: I understand the need to have upcoming riders, who can compete on the world stage. Are "the powers that be" planning on pushing the rest of us into the non-recognized events, because we don't have the funds to afford a super horse, who can do this? Or, a super trainer, who can help us get through the kinds of technical maze of jumps that would be required?

The vision of our "leaders" really needs to be that of the USEA members. So, how do we get our voices heard? AUBURN

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:05 AM
I believe David articulated his position very clearly in the last issue of Horses in Sport (if I recall correctly). His vision focuses on attracting the kind of financial support that will keep the sport alive, affordable and accomodating to enthusiasts at all levels. His vision recognizes increasing costs and risks and competition (from other sports), and seeks to find palatable solutions to them. I think David--and Alan Balch before him--should be applauded for their realism and their willingness to take a hard, honest look at things.

Granted, operationalizing that vision is another issue all together!

BarbB
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:05 AM
At the risk of being the spoilsport in the crowd, I think eventing is going thru some growing pains that it may not survive, at least in any recognizable form.
While the training and competing that make up eventing have been around for a while, as an organized sport it really hasn't.
The first generation of event riders in this new organized sport set the tone for how eventers saw themselves and how, I think, others saw them.
Dressage was the penalty phase that bought you a ticket to run cross country. XC was about bold athletic horses with a mind of their own and riders with enough guts to ride them. Show jumping proved that you were still in the game and let the cream rise to the top.

NONE of this was really a sport fit for amateurs (or the fainthearted) but we all wanted to think it was.

When I look around I don't see this sport anywhere in evidence. And while many would argue that that is probably a good thing, I don't think that what has replaced it is a good thing. I see a business that looks, basically, just like the H/J and dressage worlds.
I see a handful of amateurs that are really dedicated and want to learn everything and they are pretty much pushed to one side. On the opposite end of that scale I see a handful of top level riders that still see themselves as athletes competing in a sport, again not the heart of the game.
What has become the heart of the game are the BNTs to whom this is no more a sport than my job is to me, cranking out horses that amatuers can ride and amateur riders who do what they are told without understanding any of it.
We wanted eventing to be more available, more public and to get more recognition and respect. A classic example of why you should be careful what you wish for.

Statements like this:
"He said there was a new rule that says there must be at least 24 fences on a prel.x-c, and that means fences get jammed into places they don`t logically fit on the land, to accommodate the rule."
paint a picture of a sport dumbed down to the point of decisions being made by the numbers (no pun intended) and without any regard for or maybe even any knowledge of the sport.

I'm old and creaky and am losing respect for a sport that used to be for the do-it-yourself types and isn't anymore. I don't honestly know that there is any solution. How do you take a sport that has turned into a business and make it back into a sport? It may not be possible. And honestly I don't see many younger riders who would want to do that if they could. They have grown up in the controlled and coached world that exists today and are comfortable with it.
I just hope someone comes up with a new name because I think it is going to become unrecognizable as eventing.
End of rant.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:12 AM
Baaaaarrrbbbb! Come on, lady!


What has become the heart of the game are the BNTs to whom this is no more a sport than my job is to me, cranking out horses that amatuers can ride and amateur riders who do what they are told without understanding any of it.


Where do you get that from? LOOK at who Denny's teammates were 20-30 years ago and how they afforded the sport. How did Jimmy Wofford get his rides? How did he afford to BECOME JIMMY WOFFORD? Ya think it might have helped that he WAS a "Wofford"? That Bruce was married to a Hannum? That Tad garnered the support of the Pingrees?

Today, to BE a "BNT" you have to HAVE A JOB because the Hannums and Pingrees and old horsey families are GONE. The foundation of the sport is now those amateurs who need the packers the BNTs crank out to put food on their tables. Keeping those amateurs happy is what is keeping this sport alive!

I think you malign BNTs unfairly when you criticize them for having to find a way to support themselves in order to enjoy the sport.

Indeed, I feel maligned myself because if I can't sell horses, I can't afford to HAVE horses, period. This is the lack of realism in the air that really scares and depresses me.

LisaB
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:34 AM
USEF:
Mission statement should be at the 50000 foot view
USEA:
Mission statement should be at the 10000 foot view
Local Associations:
Mission statement should be at the 5000 foot view
The event:
Mission statement should be at the 50 foot view
The competitor:
Mission statement should be at the 1 cm view

To have the USEA determine the number of jumps and also I've heard exactly how the jumps are presented (ie ground lines) is not what they should be focusing on! That's up to the event itself.

USEF:
Marketing, promotion, money generating ventures (think Executive committee) And yes, we deserve a state of the union address but for the horse sport in whole. David is one of us but let's not forget, he's the USEF now.

USEA:
Rules, regulations, management of eventing across the US. The actual sales as well. Think the project managers, change managers, accounting, sales, I.T.. The expense to support the business. They should also have a state of the union. Which they do in a form of the message from the president in the eventing mag.

Local Associations:
Special projects, teaching about the sport(clinics, unrec. stuff, meetings) , assisting the USEA.

The event:
Service department, the guys in the trenches, worker bees. The heart of the business of eventing. In thinking like this, the USEF, the USEA, and local associations need to keep the happy and productive in order to churn more productive events.

The rider:
The customer. The money hander-outer.

Failings:
USEF - no mission statement, no enforcing the rules, no real imaginative marketing or business initiatives. Butt out of the events' businesses! Focus on the above.
USEA - mission statement. Too many chiefs, not too many Indians. Butt out of the events' businesses! Too many rules, not enough vision.
local associations - all I know is my local one stinks and I'm not a member. But that's another topic. So, I go to the Adult Riders. I think our vision is about right. Plus I love them!
Events - getting the brunt of the crap from above. They need to be appreciated more from above and trusted that they know what they're doing. If they don't, let the customer decide that, not the USEF. The rider will complain to the USEA and they will enforce what WE, the RIDER wants. I think this is lost.
The rider - Yeah, YOU. Get out there and help! I think I'm preaching to the choir on this one but there are others out there that we need to hit upside the head. How do we get to the them?

BarbB
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:36 AM
I think you malign BNTs unfairly when you criticize them for having to find a way to support themselves in order to enjoy the sport.
.

I am not "maligning" anyone. I am just describing what I see. I think the sport has changed from a sport to a business. I think that is a loss. Not everyone agrees. Some people are perfectly happy to have it be a business.

nature
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:44 AM
I thought these were meant to be harder prelims. After you do the regular prelims (USEF), then you could move up to the CIC*'s. (FEI) If the regular prelims are beconming CIC*, then why do we even have a national association? Maybe we should just have unrecognized and FEI? (I know, silly statement but really now....whatis going on here?)

It seems all the levels are getting harder, there use to be,(might still be. not sure) a statement about novice being an inviting level to encourage forward riding. Now I see half coffins at novice and all kinds of things that used to be questions at training, only smaller. I guess now that BN is recognized, it is the new novice.

rant over.

flyingchange
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:45 AM
I agree with a lot of what BarbB is saying.

I think that we amateurs have to make a choice of which type of eventing we want to be involved in. You can either participate in the more home-grown type of horse trials that offer Prelim and below, or Training and below, recognized or unrecognized. Or you can opt for the glossy HTs that offer Prelim and up.

I myself find that I enjoy the more backyard type of events at the lower levels. I usually find that I am parked next to someone else who is like me and who has a life outside of the competitions and training, and who therefore struggles to make eventing happen. People who only compete one or at very max, 2, horses per competition. Who are elated coming off a Training or BN course that went well and don't just see it solely as a step in the horse's training, but as a triumph for both. Who don't see the horse as a number (both in financial and in identifying terms). Who don't rely on a trainer and pay a trainer $100/competition to tell them how to jump every single fence. Basically, people who see eventing as an outlet to enjoy riding and improving, but not as an all-consuming lifestyle.

In terms of the "vision," I think my feeling goes back to something that Denny suggested at one time about simply splitting the sport into the pros/ULs and the lower level people. Well, I guess the split has been made for us.

As a sidenote - I think eventing was just fine before David O'Connor took his post at the USEF.

Janet
Jul. 12, 2007, 10:58 AM
The vision of our "leaders" really needs to be that of the USEA members. So, how do we get our voices heard? Attend the Annual meeting. I have always found the "Powers That Be" in the USEA very receptive to the needs of the lower level members (e.g. turning DOWN the proposal to make Prelim Show Jumping 3'9").

That attitude is not always sustained once it moves on to the USEF.

Janet
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:03 AM
I thought these were meant to be harder prelims. After you do the regular prelims (USEF), then you could move up to the CIC*'s. (FEI) If the regular prelims are beconming CIC*, then why do we even have a national association? Maybe we should just have unrecognized and FEI? (I know, silly statement but really now....whatis going on here?)
Prelim show jumping is 3'7". CIC* show jumping is 3'9". I think that is a distinctly non-trivial difference.


It seems all the levels are getting harder, there use to be,(might still be. not sure) a statement about novice being an inviting level to encourage forward riding. Now I see half coffins at novice and all kinds of things that used to be questions at training, only smaller. I guess now that BN is recognized, it is the new novice. A group of us (old fogeys) were discussing this the other night, and be had the opposite impression. That Novice has become EASIER over the years. Particularly wrt jumping over a jump into water, and things like that.

Janet
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:11 AM
He said there was a new rule that says there must be at least 24 fences on a prel.x-c, and that means fences get jammed into places they don`t logically fit on the land, to accommodate the rule.
Not exactly a NEW rule.

The 2004 rule book (the earliest easily accessible on line) says Prelim XC is 24 - 28 efforts. The 2007 rule book has 24 - 32 efforts. So the maximum has increased (from 28 to 32), but the minimum has stayed the same at 24.

tommygirl
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:13 AM
"Anyway, we wondered whose "vision" was ruling all these changes which seem to be afflicting our sport."

Is seems another question should be:

Whose money is driving these "Visions"

I don't believe our leaders are as concerned with the eventing community as much as they seem to be about the $ backing the upper level riders. However, the lower levels feed the upper levels...

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:34 AM
Ok, let me try to approach it from a different angle.

MY vision of eventing is...

A sport that can be accessed at all levels by people with average incomes, individually or collectively.
A sport that uses and preserves open spaces either by financially supporting private farms or by justifying public support through the use of public land and facilities.
A sport where success is based on knowledge and skill more than money--where (financial) "support" for knowledge and skill is possible even if you don't have rich parents or a husband who is a CEO.
A sport where you DO NOT NEED an expensive, purpose-bred animal to "give it a go" as far as you dare.
A sport that still requires that a rider know his/her horse intimately because the challenges are significant enough that you can't get away with being a weekend warrior.
A sport where you have to know more than how to ride.
A sport that can AFFORD to reward horsemanship over showmanship.
A sport that is NOT supported exclusively by exhibitors because if that were so, the cost to participate would be so high that it would (and WILL) become just another elite passtime, reserved for the upper- and upper-middle classes only.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:39 AM
Ok, let me try to approach it from a different angle.

MY vision of eventing is...

A sport that can be accessed at all levels by people with average incomes, individually or collectively.
A sport that uses and preserves open spaces either by financially supporting private farms or by justifying public support through the use of public land and facilities.
A sport where success is based on knowledge and skill more than money--where (financial) "support" for knowledge and skill is possible even if you don't have rich parents or a husband who is a CEO.
A sport where you DO NOT NEED an expensive, purpose-bred animal to "give it a go" as far as you dare.
A sport that still requires that a rider know his/her horse intimately because the challenges are significant enough that you can't get away with being a weekend warrior.
A sport where you have to know more than how to ride.
A sport that can AFFORD to reward horsemanship over showmanship.
A sport that is NOT supported exclusively by exhibitors because if that were so, the cost to participate would be so high that it would (and WILL) become just another elite passtime, reserved for the upper- and upper-middle classes only.

BarbB
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:56 AM
Ok, let me try to approach it from a different angle.

MY vision of eventing is...

A sport that can be accessed at all levels by people with average incomes, individually or collectively.
A sport that uses and preserves open spaces either by financially supporting private farms or by justifying public support through the use of public land and facilities.
A sport where success is based on knowledge and skill more than money--where (financial) "support" for knowledge and skill is possible even if you don't have rich parents or a husband who is a CEO.
A sport where you DO NOT NEED an expensive, purpose-bred animal to "give it a go" as far as you dare.
A sport that still requires that a rider know his/her horse intimately because the challenges are significant enough that you can't get away with being a weekend warrior.
A sport where you have to know more than how to ride.
A sport that can AFFORD to reward horsemanship over showmanship.
A sport that is NOT supported exclusively by exhibitors because if that were so, the cost to participate would be so high that it would (and WILL) become just another elite passtime, reserved for the upper- and upper-middle classes only.

I think you and I are really talking in general about the same things.
You put it it a much more positive light. But I think that what you are describing is how eventing has been in the past and maybe still is to some degree today. What I was describing is how I see it evolving from the very recent past and into the near future, and I admit it is a darker view of things, but I think we are ALREADY headed down that path, the first few steps have already been taken.

So how does the sport retrace those first steps down my darker path and stay on the lighter path that you are describing?

And as far as the business end of it....there is nothing wrong with trainers making a living or breeders making a living. What I have a problem with is when the business end is so important and the sport end is so unimportant that you can just substiture anything in place of 'horse sport'
Good businessmen can go from horses to cars to interior decorating....the commodity doesn't matter, the business does. I think if you are trying to keep a sport as a sport....the 'commodity' has to be more important.

KellyS
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:58 AM
I'm not sure how this will help the discussion, but since losing my horse this spring, I've taken a step back from eventing. It doesn't look like I'll have another equine partner to take part in the sport with for awhile, and I'm afraid of what the sport will have become when I do return.

For what it's worth, these are some of my observations, having begun eventing in 2000.

--As Denny mentioned, the gap between the "lower levels" and "upper levels" courses seems to be getting greater and greater. The result--more riders getting "stuck" at Training level because the difference in difficulty between Training and Preliminary is ever widening. Preliminary seems to be geared more to the BNR with upper level experience (versus the "everyday" riders who are progressing up the levels).

--The costs of competition--the costs of entry fees have almost doubled since I began participating in this sport. To be perfectly honest, I'm having a harder and harder time justifying this type of expense for typically a single day of competition--it is easily over $300 for a 4-minute dressage test, 5-minute cross country round, and 2-minute show jumping course. I understand that the organizers aren't making much money off events, but the way costs are going, it's going to price many of us working adults right out of the sport.

--I see upper level horses being run "hard"--like someone else mentioned, they go, go, go all year. And now with the short format, they are running FEI events more and more often. Eventing used to be about horsemanship and I seriously question the horsemanship of many of these upper level eventers who main focus seems to be competing, making teams, and winning. I not trying to generalize, but the turnover of event horses seems to be speeding up as well--I laugh when I remember some of the UL riders saying the short format would help the horses last longer and make them stars (in fact, AT said this herself). It's just the opposite--the super stars of yester year seem to be gone.

--All the talk about sponsorship, visibility, marketing--and how the upper level riders are just trying to make a living. I'm sorry--isn't that what we are all trying to do and why many of us chose not to make our living in the horse world? If that's how they or we try to justify the reasons that the horses are competing so often; the focus of the "Team" above all else; the attitude toward lower level riders (ala the controversy about the short format and UL riders saying that the lower level riders shouldn't say anything because they don't compete at the upper levels); or why the pressure to win, finish, please sponsors, et causes lapses of judgement (ala the AT case), I think it's a pretty sad excuse. If you can't make a living in this sport being fair to the horse and fellow competitors (ie, the lower level participants in the sport), then perhaps you should make your living a different way.

--The whole "Team" mentality--I know this really hasn't changed for better or worse, but personally, when the foundation of our sport starts to change (ie, losing the long format, lack of horsemanship or putting the horse first) for the "elite" levels, I have a problem with that. In the scheme of things, who cares about medals and glory? It is so fleeting and so, I don't know, well, shallow. I just can't excited about supporting a team right now in light of what has happened recently.

Those are just some random thoughts, and I completely agree that it would be nice to know just what the vision for eventing is from our governing bodies.

canyonoak
Jul. 12, 2007, 12:31 PM
No one I know who has lived anywhere, no matter how rural, sees fewer cars, fewer houses, more open land available for horses and other pursuits.

No one I know finds the conditions for eventing better now than they used to be.

What is the 'vision' I have of eventing in the future?

I see Indoor Eventing as the sport's natural evolution.
Indoor Eventing is already gaining popularity--it consists of two jumping efforts indoors ,one straight show jumping and one "cross-country" going as fast as possible, with cute little hills and banks--and the times are added together to produce a winner over the 2 rounds.

The Indoor Events that have happened so far in Europe (Germany, England, not sure where else) have been huge successes. The first North American one at the recent Royal Winter Fair in Toronto drew great reviews from everyone, including David O' Connor who was the course designer.

The IOC and the FEI will be very happy--it has great spectator appeal and requires next to no monies to build any course--precisely because there is no X-C course.

Some riders will be very happy because there will be no conditioning to speak of; the horse will jump and then jump again--all indoors, with cute little hills and banks--sort of like moto-cross, and with similar outfits on the riders.
There's no dressage. Maybe that can be added on when the sport sweeps the world.

Some of the spectators will be happy because the risk to horse and rider will be not really much different from the risk inherent in any equestrian discipline.

The sponsors will be happy because the sport will attract spectators and not have too much dark downside.

More riders will be able to aspire to upper level competition.

More general-purpose horses will be able to compete.

etc etc etc.

LisaB
Jul. 12, 2007, 12:35 PM
Kelly, one small disagreement I have is that there's a bigger gap between the UL and LL's. Training as I see it has stepped up its game. We used to never see a 'faux' corner and it was introduced in a big whopping way at prelim.
What I do see is that at prelim, it really separates the wheat from the chafe, as it always has. But now, with more penalties and less accidents. The technical stuff certainly makes sure you have your crap together. I'm in the midst of doing that bump. And my instructor states time and again, 'You can get away with that at training and still win but you won't make it through the course at prelim'. So, it's all about real live homework.

And there's also something we all haven't really touched on and Kelly has done it a bit. It's that team thing. I'm kinda seeing the underbelly of it from afar. While pwynn lives and breathes it by Con being with a star rider, she doesn't see those struggling to get in with the in crowd. There's an honest nastiness to it and THEY FORSAKE THE WELFARE OF THE HORSE IN ORDER FOR THE WIN. I will repeat that. And that's a HUGE issue! Karen O. can afford to say 'no thanks'. Lucky for you, pwynn. The others get railroaded around. They are also very independent type of people. Even more so than the average rider. And that's what makes the ULR's stay up there. They're ability to think for themselves, do everything, nit-pick every aspect of the horse, the competition, and themselves. The team does not harvest this. They want the new rider to do it their way or the highway instead of opening opportunity for a diverse group of riders with ideas to come up with the best solution.
I've been in working environments such as this and those that think for themselves leave. And that environment is left status quo.
You see quite a few riders opting to go to Burghley or Fair Hill instead of riding for the team? Think about it.

mbarrett
Jul. 12, 2007, 12:42 PM
I am strictly a starter level eventer. I work for a living (teacher). I have been a fan and follower of the sport from 1978. I volunteer to jump judge when I can. That is where I am. Here is a parallel I see.

My husband trains and shows reining horses. The NRHA is going through major growing pains right now. Reining has exploded with popularity. The officers and board of the NRHA has wrote a Stragetic Plan that basically screws (of a lack of a better term) the grass roots reiners. They are only interested in international competition and big money sponsors and purses for the shows, all at the expense of the weekend reiner (dues increases, lack of a voice in the organization). They asked for no imput from the little guy when the Stragetic Plan was written. You should hear the uproar right now! The big guys tabled the plan for the moment. There is a movement by the little guys to get involved in the next election and vote, as well as make their voices heard. It seems the NRHA was trying to tell the little guy what was good for them.

Humm, see the parallel. The USEA and the USEF shouldn't be telling the members what is good for us, or what direction the eventing should be goining in without our imput.

I'll tell you one thing, the people who are at the top to the USEA and the USEF are not in my socio-economic group! They need to come down to my level and see the eventing world from where I stand. I can't afford $300-$600 every weekend to event! I am lucky if I can go to ONE event a year!

I realize that international level eventers have some differnt needs from the lower level eventers, however, they need EVERYONE'S input. They shouldn't be telling us what is good for us. I think there are a lot of good people with good ideas out there. The leaders of the USEA and USEF need to consider everyones suggestions. Not all good ideas come from the top.

Why is David O'Connor's or Mark Phillip's visions of eventing the one the world of United States eventing needs to take? They need to be open about their vision and not be closed door about it. It should be made public. I am funding their vision with my dues and entery fees, my position is the eventing world needs to be considered too.

Tiki
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:01 PM
Ahhh, mbarrett, I take it you're not an English teacher!

tuppysmom
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:06 PM
My family has been eventing for about 24 years now. We have evented lots horses from grasshopper to advanced. Almost all OTTBs. Last count we've run events in 15 states, 3 countries, and 2 continents. I, (and I don't ride anymore, just groom), think that the lower levels have become easier. That would make the jump from training to prelim seem bigger, as prelim does not look to me to have been made easier. There has always been a big jump from training to prelim for horses as well as riders. Horses can canter along at a fairly even pace and lift up their legs and get around a training course. At prelim the have to jump and run. By jump, I mean that they actually have to lift their bodies off the ground, by run I mean that they have to be able to speed up and slow down. Of all the horses we have had over the years, the number who were good enough to go on to prelim is less than 1/2. Doesn't mean that they were not good horses, just that they had reached the level where they were comfortable and safe to ride and that level was below prelim.

As for the team thing...

flyingchange
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:21 PM
I think one's perspective on whether the LLs are getting easier or not depends on what events one participates in.

I think *some* of the Training level courses in the VA/MD area have gotten harder, while some have gotten easier. Ie, Waredaca's spring T course was, imho, much harder than it used to be, while Seneca's was easy, which used to NOT be the case. Surefire's is very easy and almost seems like a novice course.

Same thing for Novice courses as well as Prelims.

Anybody who thinks your horse can get around the T xc at Fair Hill, Waredaca, and Virginia by just picking up it's legs and cantering along is not riding the same courses I am!

My point is that broad sweeping generalizations do not apply to answering this question. You have your easier courses and your harder courses.

3Day-Eventer
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:23 PM
I thought these were meant to be harder prelims. After you do the regular prelims (USEF), then you could move up to the CIC*'s. (FEI) If the regular prelims are beconming CIC*, then why do we even have a national association? Maybe we should just have unrecognized and FEI? (I know, silly statement but really now....whatis going on here?)



Whats the point of a CIC*.... I think its so we can pay more $$ to do the exact same courses, and easier dressage test, and a jog up.
Seriously, when I just did my last CIC*, I decided I wont do another. It was a complete waste. No different than the Preliminary except we did a jog, and some people wore a shadbelly for dressage (oh, and it cost an additional $75, because someone has to pay for the FEI's paper clips)

KellyS
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:28 PM
Kelly, one small disagreement I have is that there's a bigger gap between the UL and LL's. Training as I see it has stepped up its game. We used to never see a 'faux' corner and it was introduced in a big whopping way at prelim.

Lisa,

I don't think we are in disagreement; we are just looking at the issue from different perspectives.

Prelim has gotten harder--that's not something I can determine from my few years of involvement in the sport, but I've been told that by many riders who have been competing at that level for many years.

Yes, some Training level courses are stepping up the game and offering Prelim questions in the Training size (ie, the mini corners). I think that is great! However, I believe these type of questions need to be options so that Novice riders moving up to Training can have the option of doing a more straightforward course.

I truly believe that the "hit and miss" aspect of course design is a big detriment to the sport. There doesn't seem to be a logical process in designing courses to move riders through the levels. That, right there, would help a lot with safety because if riders knew what to really expect from each level (instead of hoping the course is appropriate for the level), than they would be better prepared.

For example, a Prelim course last summer had a coffin on it that even my coach felt was most definitely an Intermediate question. And that was supposed to be a "move-up" type course. The result--of the 12 riders in the PR division, only 3 made it around without jumping faults and one horse almost flipped (or did flip) going into it. Now, I'm not one to shy away from a tough course, but there was no reason to throw a combination like this into an otherwise straightforward course, especially at the very end of cross country.

I'm not one who wants the cross country dumbed down, but a logical approach to difficulty through the levels and consistency in courses makes a lot of sense. Making Training "harder" to catch up with Prelim is kind of a shortsighted way to address this issue.

And it goes for every level--when I look at the results from an event (like I did this week) and see over half the BN/N riders eliminated/retired, it seriously makes me question the way the course is designed. That's not teaching anyone anything or presenting a good introduction into the sport.

Hope that makes sense...I could go on and on. :)

frugalannie
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:31 PM
What we are expecting, hoping, praying for is a balance between the goal of international success and that of the "lower level" eventer. And even the latter are more than one interest group. As has been pointed out, there are pro's and semi-pro's who train horses, teach, and may or may not also compete. They'll likely never get their red jackets, but they are in many ways the 'keepers of the flame", introducing rider after rider to the joys and sorrows of eventing. The good ones rejoice in their client's successes and console them (albeit briefly) when things don't go as planned. And, at least with me, have been endlessly patient and good-humored. (You know who you are...and you know I appreciate you!)

Then there are the splinter groups of the non-pro competitors: ambitious, fearless kids and young riders, adults who have been in the sport since childhood and those who have found it as adults. Some want to be in the ribbins every time out, some just want this competition's ride to be a little less disastrous then the last time out, and there are places on the spectrum in between for just about everyone.

And that's what I think eventing should maintain: an openess to allowing every competitor to pursue their own goals. What that requires from competitors is frank acknowledgement of what their goals are and what they are willing to do to achieve them. What it requires from the organizations are consistency, a logical and predictable escalation of challenges, and support and response to issues that the various segments may identify.

My flame suit is at hand, but I don't think Mark Phillips should have any goals concerning lower level riders. His job is to deliver a competitive and preferably winning team for international level competitions. Do I wish he demonstrated a bit more respect for those of us who form the majority of eventers in this country? Sure! But that's not his job. Rather it's Jo Whitehouse's job, and others at the USEA. And I've got to say that I'm basically satisfied at their efforts to address the needs of all of thier constituents.

None of this is meant to negate the point that Denny made at the beginning of this thread: eventing is changing: what do we want it to become? For me, I want it to stay undefined enough that it can accommodate a wide spectrum of agendas, within the framework of predictability, logic and safety. And how often do you hear those words in relation to any horse sport?

hunter-eventer-hunter
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:36 PM
There are a lot of sporting organizations that have gone through this and come out on the other side, groups that cater to kids who do it for fun, kids with serious olympic ambitions, and older grown ups who vary from super competitive to not at all. US Soccer and United State Swimming come to mind.

I swam competitevly for 10 years (7-17 Years of Age) was an olympic candidate (until I broke my back falling off a horse! at 13) and then swam for another 3 years in high school and regional stuff.

I hit the top of my game the summer I got hurt on the horse. But USS (United State Swimming) has always been about the whole range of swimmers in the US, not just the cream of the crop.

USS has its hugely successful Master's Program for people who have aged out of highschool and college, people who come back to swimming after a long break, or for older folks who have never swam in a swim meet in their lives, and get a hair up their butt to start competitive swimming.

Was my experience as a swimmer different when I was a top 5% in the national junior versus when I can back to the pool after a year off in a back brace and 40 lbs heavier. Yep, but USS had programs for both. USEA does not. (Neither does USHJ or USDF for that matter.)

USEA is NEVER EVER going to get this right if it thinks that the same solution can be applied to the BNT's, the up and coming juniors, and the folks like me who peaked at Prelim as a teenager, now have a job and family, want to do a HT here and there, do a hunter show here and there, do a dressage show here and there, or the ones who want to train a newbie $1000 project horse for fun.

We are not the same clients, not good, bad, or indifferent. Just is what it is.

AM
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:42 PM
BarbB speaks my mind. I think the business of eventing is driving the event offerings as well. I remember when there were lower level events and upper level events (like Ship's Quarters). Now everyone wants every level at every event so the UL trainers can compete their horses as well as coach their students at every level.

I haven't competed for years but have continued to volunteer. I've decided I don't really want to support the FEI vision of eventing and will no longer volunteer at events offering FEI divisions. I'll be limiting my volunteering to the training 3 day and a couple of organizer friends.

LisaB
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:43 PM
:yes::yes::yes::yes: KellyS. Options on courses! Is it really that hard to slap a rolltop to the side of a combo so as to incur time penalties? I had this issue with a prelim event last spring. It was our second one and GAWD! there were no options! And the combos were heinous!

denny
Jul. 12, 2007, 01:56 PM
Decisions are made every day which effect the sport one way instead of another way. Example--the decision to send 2 riders and support personnel to a test event in Hong Kong. That will cost what, somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand dollars? More? Less?
The point is that that money could have been allocated for something else. I`m not saying it should or shouldn`t have been spent on two riders, only that some group made that decision instead of some other decision, based upon what that group feels is important.
So what I`d like to hear is a clear and articulate vision statement from those empowered to make those decisions, spend that money. Where do they want to take our sport. Don`t we have a right to know this?
We can`t have a democratic process if we are kept in the dark.
Lots of people are advocating a split between the USEF and the USEA, the USEF to run intermediate and advanced levels, the USEA to run all below that.
Before we even start to go there, shouldn`t we know what those respective organizations think?
Who speaks for USEA? Who speaks for USEF? Would this not be an appropriate time to hear their plans for eventing?
What they are going to do effects all of us, but darned if I know what they are planning for our sport. Do any of you know? Care to share?

krobert
Jul. 12, 2007, 02:02 PM
As an Australian who has been based in the US for the last 2 years. I acquired a green TB to play with and compete at the entry level and I see a big difference between the Australian and US eventing.

The two primary differences being your lower levels are much softer and hence have this large divide between Training to Prelim, and the cost of eventing is at least double and in most cases tripple that of Australia.

I don't necessarily think you need to change the heights of fences as much as increase the technicality of your courses and the types of questions asked. Ohh and the speed....I am forever getting speeding fines!
Your dressage judges are also soft, having a score under the mid 40's in Australia is a very rare occurance at all levels (and I don't think our riders are of a poorer standard).

The other thing I have noticed here is the prizes (especially considering the huge entry fee) are minimal. In Australia all winners (regardless of level) earn an embroided blanket (most often a woollen dress sheet), prize money (often the equivelent of the entry fee or close to it) and in some cases great prizes from sponsors (even had a bar fridge once).

I totally agree with pwynnorman that events should remain accessible and affordable to all who want to participate. Not to mention the backbone of the sport is most definately these lower level riders, who's entry fees support the elite levels. There are far more lower level riders out there having fun each weekend than advanced riders.

I have had a great time on the eventing circuit here and will miss many friends I have made when I return home in a few months. I will however welcome the much cheaper eventing scene back home.

One thing I can definately say is that the eventers here are an equally great group of friendly, down to earth horse people as we have at home. I would hate to see the snobery of the jumping world, where a kid cannot compete unless they are sitting on professionally schooled imported horse (who's price tag is that of a house) engulf the eventing scene.

lizathenag
Jul. 12, 2007, 02:08 PM
I started eventing in the early 60s 'cause that is what you did with your field hunter that you took to Pony Club. I also showed the same horse as a hunter in A level shows at college.

I stuck with it through the 80s.

Now I am doing dressage.

I might go do a BN or N for fun one of these days, but I think its time has past. at least for me.

tommygirl
Jul. 12, 2007, 03:08 PM
"What they are going to do effects all of us, but darned if I know what they are planning for our sport. Do any of you know? Care to share?"

I think the decision for USEF to run I-A MUST be a vote from the members of the organizations - an OPEN poll. Those desisions SHOULD NOT be left up to a few suits "steering" the sports future. Is this no longer a free country where the masses rule? This decision should not be a committee vote.... wow!

I vote for rebellion!

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 03:18 PM
While pwynn lives and breathes it by Con being with a star rider, she doesn't see those struggling to get in with the in crowd.

Lisa, no way! Do you think I've forgotten Connor's riders? I assure you I have not and I've tried hard to credit them and defend the situations they face every chance I've gotten. In other threads, I've talked about how hard it is for them to break in, the sacrifices and risks they have to take, and how there isn't really a system to support them, especially if they face calamities. I have huge sympathy for the way "they" fall by the wayside, often leaving the sport entirely, with huge debts and even physical "souvenirs" which effect them for the rest of their lives. I've stated before that I felt the sport should have a safety net of some kind, some kind of fund to help injured riders that is NOT based on how popular they are. Remember that? So, no, I'll never forget those who put the foundation on Con and I've made sure their names have gotten in print, too.

Anyway, speaking of growing pains, I think what is really happening here is perception more than reality, and the only way to cope with perceptions is to communicate better, and not just one-way, either. Seems to me this is a subject that should be discussed, for example, at the National Convention. I don't even know who the "powers that be" are, for example. Oh, if I did a little work (but who wants to work?), I could probably figure it out, but maybe the time has come for the leadership to be more visible and approachable? Or at least create the impression that they are ("more" so--even though, for all I know, they've been infinitely approachable all along!).

IF people really are pulling back their support for the upper levels, and IF producing teams is a major part of someone's vision, and IF funding for teams depends on the support of the eventing public, THEN thought, effort and even money needs to be invested in addressing that public's concerns and perceptions.

Hmph! Y'know what I want to say, but it doesn't really make sense in this particular context?

"Don't just stand there. SAY something!"

Janet
Jul. 12, 2007, 03:21 PM
I don't even know who the "powers that be" are, for example. Oh, if I did a little work (but who wants to work?), I could probably figure it out, but maybe the time has come for the leadership to be more visible and approachable? Or at least create the impression that they are ("more" so--even though, for all I know, they've been infinitely approachable all along!). The latter.

I think it would be difficult to find someone MORE approachable than Kyra.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 03:34 PM
Thanks for putting a name and face (I actually went and got an issue of Eventing to answer my own question) on things.

Y'know, I really wonder just how "representative" these debates we have here are. They bring out really interesting issues and ideas, but this BB is just a tiny fraction of the sport's base and people who can post online are often vastly different in many ways from those who cannot or who choose not to. When I wrote "perception" earlier, soon after I got to thinking that its more like "internet perception" than it is out-there-in-the-real-world perception. I'll bet that most people who are so very critical in here would and/or ARE silent as lambs out there.

I don't mean to belittle the views introduced here, but ya think sometimes we might blow things out of proportion a bit? The Horse and Hound BB most definitely seems that way to me, but I'm too close to this BB to be able to make that determination here.

Hannahsmom
Jul. 12, 2007, 03:49 PM
What is the 'vision' I have of eventing in the future?

I see Indoor Eventing as the sport's natural evolution.

I shudder to think this might happen. Regardless of what people say about 'do something', some of us don't know what we should 'do'. I guess the initial step is to see and keep a clear eye on the Mission/Vision statement. So I will vote 'yes', I'd like to see that clearly put out there as I feel pretty muddled these days about the USEA and USEF. It seems to have gotten even less clear than in the old USCTA/AHSA/USET days.

LisaB
Jul. 12, 2007, 03:59 PM
Pwynn, I'm not saying anything about your support of the up-and-comers. What I'm saying is that since your horse is in with THE most established rider in the US, you don't get to see the nasty underbelly of being on the team. She can and will call her own shots. Others do not have that luxury and will be pressured to do things they normally won't do.
Not trying to slam you! Just your experience is of what it should be but others can't get there anymore. Karen was part of the team before CMP. She was already established. She can call the shots on her horses and how she rides and manages. Others can't if they want to be on the team.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 12, 2007, 04:04 PM
FYI: Strategic Plan and explanation of USEA vision: http://www.useventing.com/aboutus.php?id=24\

Whoops! Correction. That seems to be a vision for the USEA, not necessarily the sport of eventing. Hmmm. Interesting distinction? Is that what DE is seeking (I missed it). Should USEA articulate a vision for the SPORT itself, not just for the organization?

Legatus
Jul. 12, 2007, 04:15 PM
I have heard much discussion about the direction of eventing. Many times has the demise of the long format been bemoaned, and blame has been passed quickly. How we got to where we are is an important step in understanding how to alter the course and realize eventers' visions. Where we are tomorrow is clearly connected to the steps we take today.

In regards to the long format and the standards of future events, I've seen a lot of us ask, "What can we do?" in order to save eventing as we know it, or even slow the tide. People truly do care about the sport, and that's the most encouraging news out there. But the programs that we've tried to use to support what appears to be a more collective vision of eventing have apparently lost steam. What has happened to the Task Force, headed by Kevin Baumgardner? What has happened to the research about whether the newer designs are really better or safer? Have we given up any hope and said, "Well, it's moving this direction we need to get on board or get left behind?" Is there no other alternative?

It seems to me that as we start to try and predict what the sport will look like in 15 years we create a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, the breed and type of tomorrow's eventer will be a result of today's moves: a) We breed crosses in order to succeed at the sport; b) Therefore, it is crossbreds that dominate the sport in 5, 10, and 15 years; c) The higher preponderence of crossbreds forces people to look for venues that facilitate their doing well (more dressage emphasis); d) We have dug our own hole.

Similarly, the FEH program will encourage more crosses and more warmbloods. Who will win at the FEH shows? There will be very few TBs at the FEH shows, as most are too old by the time they leave racing, and it is a rare find to have a young TB that has not raced. Because of this, it will be the warmbloods that enter and thus succeed at the FEH events, with their graceful, floating movements, and already large builds. We'll say "that's what we look for in an eventer," and then that's exactly what we'll get. To reiterate, the moves we make today will nearly guarantee the place of our sport in five, ten, fifteen years.

I think the most critical thing in determining the vision and direction of the sport is to organize those interested and find out what people want and then how to make it happen. The website savethe3day.org lists an online petition, which I only recently learned about it. It onlyhas 3,033 signatories (which may suggest that the site may not have reached its target audience?), but that is still more than 20% of the USEA membership, which sits around 14,000. While not all signatories are USEA members, 3,033 remains a lot of people, and speaking in unison, that's a loud voice. Even at "Limited" status, that's over $75,000. If this group threatens to pull their support from the organization because it no longer supports them, it may send a clear message.

Having said this, I don't see a need for USEA and USEF to split; I see a need for USEA and USEF to be responsive to its constituency and put pressure on each successively higher level of governing body. By formulating a grassroots campaign, the strength that comes will allow for change. As trite as it may sound, start a letter-writing campaign to the USEA and USEF telling them what your group wants (CDCTA? NCDCTA? ESDCTA?). Call your area coordinator, call governing members, call Kyra King Stuart and Andrew Temkin and tell them what you think. Better yet, if we could get one centralized and powerful group, with one person to be the spokesperson and head focus, concentrating the efforts will allow for even greater possibility of change.

Do I hear any volunteers?
_____________________
Capt. Andy Glenn
Glenbaer Farm, LLC
www.glenbaer.com

Sandy M
Jul. 12, 2007, 05:27 PM
I started eventing in the early 60s 'cause that is what you did with your field hunter that you took to Pony Club. I also showed the same horse as a hunter in A level shows at college.

I stuck with it through the 80s.

Now I am doing dressage.

I might go do a BN or N for fun one of these days, but I think its time has past. at least for me.


I think you are me, Liz. LOL I evented from approx. 1971 through '87, because the horses I had (appendix QH/not very talented TB/exceptional but loud Appies) weren't suitable for hunters, and I wasn't brave enough for the BIG open jumper classes (though my Appies were capable). Now, it's dressage, though, as you say, I may take the newbie BN or N at some point, probably unrecognized. I stopped eventing when the Prelim courses started getting too technical for what I felt were MY abilities - didn't want to get my horse hurt through my mis-judgment.

Gnep
Jul. 12, 2007, 09:36 PM
Hihi Denny, you realy grew up in the 60 and 70.

The sport right now gets formed to suit the needs of the International Riders and the money from the Orgs flows in that direction.
Why are the shows so expensive, compared to shows in other countries ?
How much of this is useles buerocratic overhang
Drugtesting why is there a need that we have to pay for it, is there realy a need to drugtest at the novice or training or BN level
Why pay a USEF fee from Prelim aupwards, should our membership not cover that, are we with all those fees not just suporting an ever growing buerocratic body.

Options, slaping a nother rolltop on the side costs around 600 to 800, thats about the range it costs to have a jump built

Pwynnorman ( i am not hunting you, ok ) but this is talked about greatly, were is the sport going, were is the leadership, were is the vision, how does the more difficult Prelims, Intermediats conflict with the interest of the amatoer riders, when do you put them out of reach for most of them.

There is a certain lack of understanding in the Orgs. what amatoers can achieve, what they want to achieve, just a very few can ride a prelim on stereoids or an intermidiat that is a 2 star minus 2 jumps.

Grading of the courses 1,2,3 might help and protect organizers their designers and bilders from the rap sheet of the inspectors that sais all jumps need to be 1 or 0.5 under max same with spread, not enough technical questions etc.
The amatoer wants to challenged, by all means, but the challenge should be achieveble and it should still weed out the ones that have not done their home work and it should not requiere the hand down horse from the upperlevels.
What I like to keep is the deversity of breeds that can achieve prelim and intermediat

Janet
Jul. 12, 2007, 11:44 PM
Drugtesting why is there a need that we have to pay for it, is there realy a need to drugtest at the novice or training or BN level Considering that there HAVE been positive drug results at Novice, I would say YES, we do need drug testing at the lower levels.

denny
Jul. 13, 2007, 07:56 AM
I don`t think there was as much tension between the needs of the few upper level riders and the thousands at prelim and below prior to the shotgun marriage of the USET and the AHSA (USA Equestrian).
The former USET had its clear and specific mission: "train and select teams to win medals." It was interested in about 25-30 riders, period.
After the merger, suddenly our national governing body had significant numbers of board members with that old USET mindset.
The USEA board, by contrast, still is made up of a diverse collection of eventers from across a much wider spectrum of interests.
That`s why I trust the USEA a lot more than I trust the USEF to have a vision of eventing that is more in accord with the majority of the riders.
I don`t know, though, whether the USEA has the power or the will to impose its vision over the wishes of Phillips and company, whose vision is much more narrowly focussed.
If the USEA won`t dig in right now, our sport is likely to keep going the way of the long format. Is that what we want?

pwynnnorman
Jul. 13, 2007, 08:30 AM
Gnep, that grading of courses idea has indeed been around a while. Any idea why it has never gotten off the ground?

Y'know, one thing about ALL of the FEI-sport, US organizations that has always bothered me is the way committees rarely report on what they are considering and/or developing. The new USHJA has improved greatly in that area, and I get the feeling there's more coming out of USDF committees on a regular basis, too.

But USEF itself, and USEA for sure, have committees that are never heard from except at conventions, it seems. The membership(s) are asked for input, asked to volunteer, etc., but we aren't actually given any INCENTIVE to react or respond to issues on a regular basis.

And yet in the public and for-profit sectors, when meetings are held, a review of progress from the last agenda is standard operating procedure. A summary of minutes is produced afterward with action items identified and, sometimes, and requests for information or feedback.

Why can't Eventing magazine or the website have a regular section for committee updates and why can't it be mandated that committees report at least every other month? I think that kind of regular attention might result in more interaction (and more understanding) from rank-and-file members. And we could also see where things are headed and provide specific feedback on that course. As it is, right now, it often seems like things are "sprung" upon the membership: new rules, new qualifications, new penalties. I'm sure those things are always deliberated in thorough and considerate ways, but it seems to those on the outside to happen in the dark.

I've said this on the COTH BBs for so many years now that saying it again makes me feel so darn old. Why the heck can't horse organizations' committees communicate their agendas and actions on a regular basis? Why do members have to ask rather than be asked (specifically and regularly)? The costs (to having a regular feature or section involving committee work) would be minimal and the result would certainly enhance members abilities to understand, appreciate and contribute! I've even indicated to someone on a committee (USEF, not USEA) that I would volunteer to call up the chairs and ask them what's going on, write up what they need to have said, and get it to a webmaster or editor in a timely way. The response? Committees don't meet regularly and also members are too busy to have enough meetings to make such reports worthwhile.

And I know, I know, the "they're all volunteers" response to this--I've heard that for years, too. I respect that and appreciate folks' willingness to volunteer. But y'ever think that maybe more would if they understood more? If what work needs to be done was a more visible subject?

Sorry for the long and rambling post, but these discussions always seem to end up in the same place. Great ideas, interesting perspectives, but no CHANNEL for any of them to get anywhere. The only clear, easy way to channel ideas currently is through the staff or the area representatives--that's all that is put forth in the two communication organs available: the magazine and the website. And that's only one-way communication anyway. I am utterly convinced that the current "morale dip" (as I've come to think of it) could be resolved by bringing the membership closer to the leadership through regular, predictable, two-way communication about the issues being considered.

Hannahsmom
Jul. 13, 2007, 08:39 AM
Well said Pwynn and good suggestions about more consistent communication. I think the people on those committees are pretty dedicated, that's why they volunteer their time so I would think they would be happy to report progress. And I like it in Eventing magazine as it gets 'pushed' to the members vs. a website. I can already imagine people saying "that's not what a magazine is for" but for me, it would make sure I was staying up to date on what is going on in the organization and possibly respond more quickly.

frugalannie
Jul. 13, 2007, 10:34 AM
AM: good point about moe "all levels" events. I hadn't thought about it.

Legatus: interesting and provocative post. But I think Denny's request is the logical first step.

Hunter-eventer-hunter: I'd be interested in hearing more about how the USSA defined and then tailored programs to address the needs of its members.

Denny: I read your posts to indicate a frustration with the USET and USEA for not articulating, or at least not widely disseminating, their visions for the sport (not, as has been pointed out, their organizational goals and objectives). You and many others have suggested that it is much more tailored to the ULRs. In the absence of response from the organizations, you're asking us what we think it should be.

1. Am I interpreting correctly?
2. With the backing of all of us who are willing on this forum, and likely many others, would you be willing to take the question to the organizations?
3. Is there something else that you think we should be doing?

Pwynn: Thank you for your balanced and articulate posts.

And Janet: as always, the voice of facts. Thank you.

engineer_eventer
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:03 AM
Having just checked my USEA RSS news feed (the internet is a great thing) I saw that an article was posted today announcing an Eventing Review Task Force

http://www.useventing.com/competitions.php?section=safety&id=1011

Since Denny both started this thread and is on the committee I can only help that he will pass along some of the concerns that have been tossed around here. :winkgrin:

From my own point of view (though I have been out of recognized competition for 5+ years) my main concern is that the sport continue to remain open and accessable to the "little people with so-so horses". As a recent college grad (otherwise known as "financially challenged") I can empathize with those who feel frustrated by the cost of competition. In the few (ok only 2) years that I was able to compete it was only by the grace and generosity of a friend's parents who were not only willing to loan me her ex-one-star horse, but also pay my entry to a couple of HT. It would be great if the sport could remain one that does not require a sponsor or a rich spouse/family just to participate.

But what I found at those few HT was a sport that I found infinitely more appealing than H/J or dressage alone. A sport that encouraged hard work/training and that most of the riders competed not for ribbons (though those are great) but to see if they could do better than their previous ride. I got just as much exhilaration out of winning a BN HT on the experienced horse and I did taking my sometimes lame chicken greenie through a baby level CT without getting eliminated.

I can't speak firsthand to the upper level competition, having never competed above Novice. However, I did have the chance to groom for a friend at a one-star (back in the long format days). And my impression was that of excited awe and along the years has become my goal. To crawl through the ranks just to see if I can make it around. I'm still working at it (vvveeerrryyy slowly), but am depressed to see that now a one-star looks a whole lot like a more expensive HT:no:. (but I'm not going to get into the long/short format debate here)

I think that the managing organizations should do their best (and its not easy) to encourge both the international riders who need points and placings and the hard working amateurs who are only competing against themselves.

hunter-eventer-hunter
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:23 AM
This will be a shot gun answer about how USSA tailors some of its programs to various 'audiences':
1. You have to have reached a certain age to compete a natioanl ranked meets (we sort of have this with the USEA/USEF rules.)

2. USSA has state, regional, and national meets and titles for different groups in the program. (Kids under 9 years of age, Short Course vs. Long Course swimmers, open water vs. pool swimmers, Master's Meets, Master's Amateur Meets (for those who started swimmig later in life not came back to it.)

3. There are many national devolpmental coaches and teams who are identified by USSA as a good coach/club to go to if you are thinking about 'breaking' out of your local club. (Think moving from unrecognized HT to recognized one, or moving from TN to Prelim.) These coaches and teams have no special relationship with USSA, but have a track record or producing swimmers who win.

4. When you are at the top of your game as a swimmer, you still work with your coach from your club. You don't really work with a USSA or USOC coach until you are at the very TOP of your game, and you still work with a coach of your choosing.

I think that a big difference between riding and swimming (and other olympic sports) is that swimmers always has a full time coach. Even the Ian Thorpe's of the world. Top riders may or may not work with a full time coach, outside of a client or a Chef d' equipe. Your top swimmer, track and field runner, top figure skater does not coach other athletes as their full time job. The reality is that really muddies that waters b/t what the big name riders want as a rider, and what they want as a trainer/business person.

Maybe the answer is to somehow draw a lint b/t those competing for their home nation at a HT, or being considered for a place on a team, and their business of being a coach/owner/trainer. Somehow it never sat well with my swimming friends, that at the same HT where you were trying to make a national team you were 'coaching' students, marketing a horse, etc. Just not how it is done in other sports.

My expereice is that many times the athelete is not their own best advocate. There job is to ride the horse and not direct the comings and goings of the sport. That is part of the problem.

Tiger woods does not design the courses he plays, he does not make the rules that he plays to. He plays the game and markets himself. And he has a full time coach. Not a natioanl CDE who desends from upon high.

I did the USEA course walk with CPM and the riders, and thanks to my bat like super-hearing (I pay for it with really bad eye balls) it could not go unnoticed that there was real tension b/t the Big Name Riders of recent naturalization and MP. Along the lines of 'why would you ever jump this jump that way?' There is always more than one way to skin a cat, and I am not sure the , MP, USEA and USEF are in the mood to hear that.

And besides, now I am just being sharky, we have such a great tradition of producing eventers in this country, why can't we have a national coach who is from our school of horsemanship! Jimmy, Denny, Bruce, Mike, etc....Hell at this rate, go for Blyte Tait...at least he is another colonist!:D

Flame suit on!!!!

denny
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:32 AM
I am worried that whenever you are a group with a focused agenda and a strong will to have your agenda carried, whether or not it is the desired agenda of those governed, you are likely to prevail.
Look at the ease with which the petition in favor of the long format was dismissed as irrelevant, despite thousands of signatures.
I think, as someone already said, the fox (USEF) is running the henhouse.
Does the USEA have the clout and the will and the willingness to be confrontational, if needed, to take back the sport for the 25,000 or so lower level riders, instead of bowing to the needs of the 500-750 riders at intermediate and advanced?
There are probably only 150 advanced riders in America, of which maybe 30-40 are potential 4-star quality, of which about 10-15 have a chance to wear a red coat, of which 4 or 5 are ever true star quality.
That tiny tail is wagging a very big dog.
I repeat my question, is that what we want?
I freely admit that when I was on the USET winning medals, that was my only focus. Now, 35 years later, I realize at heart I`m more of a USEA sympathizer than a USET one.
Maybe because I`m personally moving down the competitive ladder, in my mid 60s, maybe because the USET/USEF posture is pretty elitist to my grumpy New England upbringing, whatever the reason, I want this sport to be what the majority wants, not what some group has the power to take.

Janet
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:41 AM
WHO determines the make up of the USEF Eventing Committee? Are they named by the USEF? By USEA? A combination?

When you talk about the USEF being the "tail wagging the dog", it is mostly the USEF Eventing Committee. Most of the rest of the USEF (except David O'C) is not overly concerned about the details of the eventing discipline.

sm
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:41 AM
...I trust the USEA a lot more than I trust the USEF to have a vision of eventing that is more in accord with the majority of the riders.
I don`t know, though, whether the USEA has the power or the will to impose its vision over the wishes of Phillips and company, whose vision is much more narrowly focussed.

If the USEA won`t dig in right now, our sport is likely to keep going the way of the long format. Is that what we want?

USEA, by nature of the org, are this country's eventing experts. There needs to be programs to encompass everyone: the adult ammie who wants a recreational hobby as well as the young rider trying to qualify for the USET. So that'll take more than one format. Let's not forget all breeds, there are 56-plus different breeds/registries in this country and at some point the USEAs vision should boldly embrace all. I don't see the AQHA overly involved, there's a strong growth area. I don't know where the pony clubbers are in all this...

USEA must impose the vision of eventing for all. Hopefully, the vision includes keeping mostly independant economic strength in America -- or North America. Not 100%, but a healthy independance. The USEF can't do it, their purpose is different.

tommygirl
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:42 AM
...I want this sport to be what the majority wants, not what some group has the power to take.

So how do we, as a large group of chickens, get organized to fight the powers that be? (reminds me of the movie 'Chicken Run'). I am willing to devote my free time to being part of an overtaking, or taking-back of our sport.

hunter-eventer-hunter
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:52 AM
Denny: I love the grumpy New-Englander comment:)

You are very correct in your comments, the hen is running the henhouse. I think it is very hard for those of us who love the sport (at any level) to say the BNT and BNR are 'elitist'; that has such a negative taste.

These are the same riders who at an advanced HT in GA this spring were as nice as could be to my two little hunter students who are just getting into maybe thinking about eventing. One of the student's aunt owns the farm where it is run. The riders and their parents who come from hunter land just could not get over how nice and open the top riders were. They keep saying 'those are olympians talking to our girls!'

Here were real stars being nice, and open, when some local hunter snob wont give us time of day b/c we show TB's and QH's or wants us thrown off of the grounds b/c the kid whacked a rearing horse on the shoulder with a jumping bat!

I remember when you camped in the KHP camp grounds at Rolex next the BNT and BNR. It is not the most of these riders are active as if they came from upon high, but the system is. Of course when you are on a USET team winning medals is the point, that is why they are there.

But, USEA has 4-8 people a year who are on the track. 15-20K other people who want to get around and have fun. I can't believe that anyone at USEA is so simple minded to think that those two groups will always have the same goals, the same needs, or the same grips.

Do you think that the AHJA thinks that every kid or adult at a horse show is going to be the next McCalin Ward or Beezie Madden. Nope, that is why AHJA has lowed many divisions....working hunter is almost never 4 feet unless at a rated USEF show. The A/O classes might as well be called 'I don't ever want to jump over 3 feet classes' at most shows. Not that hunter world is great, but they atleast know that most people at their shows are never, ever going to show past what would be equal to maybe training. Those are the people that those B and C, and even some A shows cater to.

tuppysmom
Jul. 13, 2007, 11:58 AM
Someone should warn the folks in Colorado Springs that they might need a larger meeting room!

But I don't think there needs to be a mutiny. All of these ideas have merit and they should be brought up and discussed.

Allagash's mom
Jul. 13, 2007, 12:11 PM
You are very correct in your comments, the hen is running the henhouse.


foxfoxfox :)

JAM
Jul. 13, 2007, 12:27 PM
Having just checked my USEA RSS news feed (the internet is a great thing) I saw that an article was posted today announcing an Eventing Review Task Force

http://www.useventing.com/competitions.php?section=safety&id=1011

Since Denny both started this thread and is on the committee I can only help that he will pass along some of the concerns that have been tossed around here. :winkgrin:


Who are the actual lower level riders and adult amateurs on this task force whose "immediate focus [is] on responding proactively to the growth of the amateur rider population"?

I truly don't mean to be snide, and I applaud this as a first step (but hopefully only a first step and not, as so many task forces can be, an end in itself so that people can say they've done something without actually doing anything), and I also believe (judging from his posts) that Denny will have the lower level / adult am. interests at heart. But, this task force seems to be composed of ULRs, organizers, course designers and other "old hands" (not meant pejoratively) and plugged-in people. There is an aspect to this of people just talking to themselves about what's good for lower level riders and adult ams. without actually talking to the people they're ostensibly trying to help.

LexInVA
Jul. 13, 2007, 12:30 PM
WHO determines the make up of the USEF Eventing Committee? Are they named by the USEF? By USEA? A combination?

When you talk about the USEF being the "tail wagging the dog", it is mostly the USEF Eventing Committee. Most of the rest of the USEF (except David O'C) is not overly concerned about the details of the eventing discipline.


It's not publicly known how they are picked (except for at the highest levels) but if you look at the makeup you can form your own opinion on the matter as the eventing committee is pretty much made up of high level eventers (O'Connor, Temkin, a few others) who are also USEA/USEF officials/reps and anyone involved in certain programs that the USEF/USEA supports such as the Young Riders. I don't know much about most of the members but I would wager there is no Jane Smith from Wisconsin on there if you know what I mean.

JAM
Jul. 13, 2007, 12:54 PM
WHO determines the make up of the USEF Eventing Committee? Are they named by the USEF? By USEA? A combination. ...

Janet -- you posted the following on the "AT Hearing Update" thread: "USEF has an EVENTING Committee. All the members of the Eventing Committee (AFAIK) are USEF members, and many of them are on the USEA Board of Governors."

I realize this doesn't answer your question, but it raises the concern that there is too much clubbiness or coziness b/w the USEF and USEA. I believe Denny (and from what I infer from your respective posts, what you and Canterlope say as well) that the organizations are different and that the USEA does have the LLR/adult am. interests more at heart. What has concerned me a lot, however, is that when the chips are down or when there's a difference b/w the LLR and ULR/sponsor, etc., interests -- whether it involves where money goes, whether prelim. courses should be "destination events" for amateurs or steppingstones for ULRs to move their horses up to I and A, you name it -- it is the "USEF types" (for lack of a better expression or concept) who call the shots at the USEA and the LLR/ adult am. interests will lose out every single time.

frugalannie
Jul. 13, 2007, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the info, Hunter-eventer-hunter (hereinafter called h-e-h)

I think one of the things we want to avoid is fundamental changes in the challenges of the sport, and that is what is happening. Forgive me, H-e-h, but we don't want to "dumb down" eventing. We already have low levels that people who never want to jump above 3 feet can ride at and have a blast. We were all outraged when the classic three-day went away because we felt it dumbed down the sport. And we have Open, senior and junior as well as other classifications I can't keep up with at most venues. What I worry about is that in trying to make the lower levels more competitive for those who choose to ride at them for extended periods (and I'm not knocking that!), we're increasing complexity such that green horses are in danger of being overfaced. Maybe that's a silly concern, but there it is. Comes from being a breeder and competitor, I guess. Neither do we want dressage to be the sole determining factor in the placings.

Anyway, I want eventing to continue to be the sport where lowly me can compete against the BNRs at the lower levels and have a good shot. I cherish the memory of edging out Denny Emerson himself at Huntington one year by half a point or so for the blue. (I didn't come down from that cloud for months!)

Thank you for serving on the Task Force, Denny. Will you be able to share information from it with us on an ongoing basis?

denny
Jul. 13, 2007, 01:31 PM
I wish you hadn`t beaten me. I find that my need to win blue ribbons remains constant, while my ability to do so diminishes.
Very annoying.

Gnep
Jul. 13, 2007, 01:47 PM
Denny the opener of cans of worms, thanks to him from my side, I think most frustrating is the Corparate Mentality of the Orgs and how much riders are actualy left out.
The 3D thing was probably the most compelling example of the Corparate Mentality.
The USEA and USEF are so interwoven at the leadership that they are basicly the same, thats empire building.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 13, 2007, 02:16 PM
I guess my vision is a little cloudy....or I just think differently from some of the other posters. My flame suit is on.

I've been the lowly groom, ridden the cheap OTTBs while scraping together money for lessons....rode at least one cheap OTTB to Intermediate. I don't come from money and my parents really didn't support my horse habbit. I didn't start eventing until I was an adult. But I have a few friends who evented at the *** level back in the 70-80s and know a few competing at that level now. I choose not to do horses for a living but now make a living that allows me to afford more purpose breed horses, hire the help of a trainer consistently (although I still would prefer to do most of the training myself time permitting) and hopefully buy my own farm soon. I still aspire to ride around Adv. but not sure whether my work schedule will permit me....Prelim is clearly within my range.

I view the sport the way I've always viewed the sport....an olympic level sport or a professional sport. To reach the highest levels....you had to have talent and you had to give your all...time, talent, money, and Luck had to be on your side. Most of the top riders of the 70-90s did the sport fulltime....devoted their life to it. I consider that more then a hobby...it was their passion and living. It was just harder to actually make any money...so you had to either be born with it, marry it, or be one of the lucky few who were sponsored by people who were born, married or made a ton of money.

While I can dabble in at the lower levels....and have fun doing it, the ultimate goal is the highest of all levels or ****. Most will never reach it....but it is cool to be able to compete against some of the current and future stars at a lower level and then watch them do the big stuff. While the majority of the competitors are at the lower levels....I first wanted to compete and try this sport because I watched Rolex.....helped my friend by grooming at some Adv. level HT and ultimately some CCI** and CCI*** events. That was what was exciting. I do not want the sport reduced to lowest common denominator. I want to strive for the best ....whether or not I or my horse will ever reach that level.

I get concerned when people say we at the lower level of the sport are the back bone of the sport....perhaps we are....although at most the events I compete at, I'm not so sure that is truly the case. The pros are spending far more in entry fees on multiple horses competing at all levels....they are supporting the venues by riding multiple horses and bringing multiple students. So yes, we ammy riders or riders with just one horse are important.....but so are the pros. I personally would rather become an ammy rider that people mistake for a pro rider....competing against the pro in the big event and going as far as I can....and then cheering those on that I once competed against as they may go further. There is no shame or issue with not aspiring to go beyond novice.....that is a wonderful goal. But what makes eventing exciting for me is being able to participate in the novice events since that makes me then truly appreciate the difficulty of the **** level which is what the sport is ultimately about. It makes be more impressed with the riders at that level....just as anyone who has tried to hit a stupid little white ball can then appreciate how difficult the sport golf can be and what a fantastic play Tiger Woods is who can make those shots look easy. It makes watching the best of the sport more exciting since I do participate in the sport and understand its difficulty.


So maybe my vision is off.....but I am more concerned with the direction of the UL events, and the international level....I do not want to see the loss of the **** level events since that is what inspires so many to dabble in eventing even at the lower levels....that is what when we dreamed of doing. My concern is what is the vision of where international eventing is heading because if we are losing cross country at the highest levels, it will just be a matter of time that we loose it at the lower levels. Open land, costs, accidents.....there are so many factors that are putting the sport at risk.

I don't disagree that our organizations should have more clarity and transparency as to their visions and as to the process to impliment those visions.....but I personally think the sport and the focus of the sport should be at the highest level....as is the focus of most professional sports....and I'm just glad it is a professional sport that is relatively easy for an ammy to participate in.

CarrieK
Jul. 14, 2007, 09:28 AM
I get concerned when people say we at the lower level of the sport are the back bone of the sport....perhaps we are....although at most the events I compete at, I'm not so sure that is truly the case. The pros are spending far more in entry fees on multiple horses competing at all levels....they are supporting the venues by riding multiple horses and bringing multiple students. So yes, we ammy riders or riders with just one horse are important.....but so are the pros.
I'll have to challenge you there: I think lower level and amateurs are the backbone, but of course I have no stats to prove my point. But look around at your next event. If the amateurs were suddenly split off into their own league, as it were, leaving only the pros (even those starting horses at lower levels) and the Olympics-bound, how many people would be competing? If clinics were only available for pros and the Olympics-bound, how many clinics would be in your area? Lower level riders put a lot of juice into this sport.

And because we amateurs can compete right alongside the pros and the Olympics-bound is the very reason that we are a viable force in this sport, and we should be represented in all governing bodies.

Janet
Jul. 14, 2007, 09:53 AM
I'll have to challenge you there: I think lower level and amateurs are the backbone, but of course I have no stats to prove my point. But look around at your next event. If the amateurs were suddenly split off into their own league, as it were, leaving only the pros (even those starting horses at lower levels) and the Olympics-bound, how many people would be competing? If clinics were only available for pros and the Olympics-bound, how many clinics would be in your area? Lower level riders put a lot of juice into this sport.
Probably depends on where you are. Around here, we get LOTS of ULRs and pros.

I know a couple of organizers who TRIED to have an amateur division, but didn't have enough entries, even under the new amateur rules.

nature
Jul. 14, 2007, 10:30 AM
From Denny's post
"Does the USEA have the clout and the will and the willingness to be confrontational, if needed, to take back the sport for the 25,000 or so lower level riders, instead of bowing to the needs of the 500-750 riders at intermediate and advanced?
There are probably only 150 advanced riders in America, of which maybe 30-40 are potential 4-star quality, of which about 10-15 have a chance to wear a red coat, of which 4 or 5 are ever true star quality.
That tiny tail is wagging a very big dog.
I repeat my question, is that what we want?"

25,000 lower level riders
150 advanced riders,

I wonder what % of the lower level are pros that only compete at the LL along with their students.

Lower level riders are the backbone of the sport and always will be. Ammy divisions are more of a H/J, open breed show thing. They have never been big in eventing and probably never will. We have always had rider divisions. I think, part of the heart of eventing, even at lower levels is to compete against a big name rider and place over them!! It does happen, They do not always win. This is part of the draw of eventing, it is you and your horse against the course and placing is a plus, especially over a big name.

CarrieK
Jul. 14, 2007, 10:30 AM
d'oh! Yes, of course, Horse Country isn't called that for no reason!

oops--Nature and I posted at the same time. I was responding to Janet, but that d'oh was aimed at me.

And another d'oh! because I had read Denny's posts with the stats.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 16, 2007, 10:58 AM
My point was I do not think that the sport SHOULD be geared for the LL. Around here there are a TON of pros....that is the area that I'm in (Area II)....and while I acknowledge that the lower levels and ammys are important (hell I'm one of them)...a sport geared to them is NOT the sport I want. I want the LL around to allow everyone a chance to participate and way to bring along young horses and riders....But the sport is about the highest levels to me. I didn't start eventing because I went to a novice level event and thought that looked exciting. I started eventing because I went to Fair Hill CCI*** and thought that looked exciting. When I show the sport to non-horse people...I show them Rolex and the other CCI**** events....not my DVD of a local training level event.

This sport is more about the LLs now then it was 15-20 years ago. You didn't even have Novice level then...and you pointed out of training level quickly. Most competitors were striving for at least Prelim level if not higher. Yes there are more LL riders and Yes they are important....but to me, just as with any professional sport which is what eventing always has been....it is about the highest levels. And if we lose the highest levels...I honestly believe we will lose the sport.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 16, 2007, 11:29 AM
I didn't start eventing because I went to a novice level event and thought that looked exciting. I started eventing because I went to Fair Hill CCI***

Well said. I'm not sure I believe in the trickle-down effect in economics, but I am certain of it in sports. Sports are about who is or may become the best verses the rest. It's fine to set personal goals, but in the end, it's how you measure up against others than makes a sport "sporting," providing role models and personal incentives to "win" in whatever way you choose to define winning. Without "the best," you're left with little more than aerobics at the gym, aren't you?

frugalannie
Jul. 16, 2007, 11:46 AM
So what is it that the lower level riders want that they're not getting? Representation? Feedback, timely feedback from committees and task forces of our governing bodies?

Bornfree, you said it better than I did, but I agree with you and Pwynn.

BarbB
Jul. 16, 2007, 11:57 AM
....but to me, just as with any professional sport which is what eventing always has been....it is about the highest levels. And if we lose the highest levels...I honestly believe we will lose the sport.

I totally agree. I think my dissatisfaction with the path of the sport, which I have expressed as my observations about it becoming a business rather than a sport, stems from the same feeling as bornfreenowexpensive.

Several people have replied to my posts in this vein on this and other threads as if I am slamming the pros for making a living. I am not. I think that is is not helping the upper levels of the sport and our place in international competition when the elite riders spend their days training amateur riders and horses for amateur riders.

There is a huge difference in my mind between upper level athletes in ANY sport taking time to run clinics and do coaching and give back to the sport and upper level athletes who have to give lessons and train at the lowest levels 7 days a week to pay the rent.
It turns the 'sport' at any level into a business and it diminishes the opportunities for the best to be the best.

Several people have touched on the possibility of two separate tracks within the sport. Like many I initially resisted this. One of the unique things about this sport is the opportunity to best Denny (or Bruce or Kim)at his own game on any given day. But I am rethinking that. It occurs to me, somewhat belatedly-duh, that the legions of softball players, many of whom play religiously, for blood and with every bit of athleticism that they can muster ---NEVER expect a professional ball player to be available at their beck and call to TRAIN them to compete.
The same is true for all sports where there is a professional and an amateur version of the same sport.

Perhaps there needs to be a way to support the elite riders to a greater degree and free them up to COMPETE.
I would be in favor of supporting ANY advanced level rider who has a stated goal of competing for the team.

And now here is where I will show my ignorance of the upper levels:
Is there any ORGANIZED, tracked and ongoing campaign to obtain sponsors for the upper level riders? Not all of them have a charming smile and good cocktail manners and can get their own sponsors.
I do some work for a (horse product) company that has spent an enormous amount of money on sponsorship and as far as I know had to figure out who to contact and how to donate money on their own. They might be the only company that got skipped, but......
Is there a procedure for advanced level riders who are interested in riding for the team to apply for any funding, get help with sponsors, find out if there is any money available to help them?
Do the Areas have any formal programs to help sponsor advanced level riders in their areas?

I am talking about comprehensive, ongoing, tracked programs, not hit and miss and 'if you know the right people' attempts to help the sport, which I know are in existence, but just do not work in an organized fashion.

Just some rambling thoughts, provoked by some previous posts.

Gnep
Jul. 16, 2007, 01:33 PM
Barb B ,
excelent thoughts. what I wonder is there any comprehensive sponsorship planing, besides AEC, Goldcup and few other Programs.
I have absolute no idea how one should run such a sponsorship program, it is way out of my legue, but I wonder, why neither Lowe or Home Depot are not on any sponsorship program, what are we building our jumps out of, tools, nails, bolts, screws and lumber.
Are there any sponsorship advisors at the USEA or USEF.
That would be a Office or program, that is badly needed and it needs to be run by real pros in that field.

Ja Da Dee
Jul. 16, 2007, 02:05 PM
Several people have touched on the possibility of two separate tracks within the sport. Like many I initially resisted this. One of the unique things about this sport is the opportunity to best Denny (or Bruce or Kim)at his own game on any given day. But I am rethinking that. It occurs to me, somewhat belatedly-duh, that the legions of softball players, many of whom play religiously, for blood and with every bit of athleticism that they can muster ---NEVER expect a professional ball player to be available at their beck and call to TRAIN them to compete.
The same is true for all sports where there is a professional and an amateur version of the same sport.

I find it interesting that you think this. One of the things I love about dressage and eventing is the availability for people at the lowest levels to be able to learn from those at the top. Learn from someone who knows where the path goes because they are doing it themselves. I firmly believe that it helps keep the UL riders connected to their roots. If they become untouchable, icons in the sport, I would think it would be far easier for them to want to step on their horses and the lower level riders. I mean really, how many pro football players do you respect as contributing members of society, not just sport machines? Also, the legions of amature "ball" sports players don't compete against the pro teams like we do either. Our sport actually has YR's being competative against the UL's, and while sometimes frustrating, I do think it's a wonderful part of our sport.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 16, 2007, 02:14 PM
If we didn't have ULR's training our amateurs, it would be a very scary world out there! I want someone who is competing and has competed at the highest level of the sport teaching me the ropes and helping me out. Isn't that what defines us as amateurs and professionals? I mean, if we didn't have that help, who would teach the amateurs?

BarbB
Jul. 16, 2007, 02:22 PM
Ja Da Dee,
I think it is a wonderful thing for the lower levels also. I think that it doesn't serve the upper level riders or the sport at the professional levels.
It is accepted and expected in all horse sports that the upper levels will give back time and knowledge to the lower levels and I am sure this will continue regardless.
What I was talking about was two separate competition tracks, one to serve the needs of the amateur and one to serve the needs of the professional and The Team. The YRs belong on the professional track, in my opinion, until they decide otherwise.
This separation has been brought up by others and I have rethought my orignal stance on this. I see eventing heading down the path of show ring Hunters and am willing to consider anything that can change that course.

BarbB
Jul. 16, 2007, 02:36 PM
If we didn't have ULR's training our amateurs, it would be a very scary world out there! I want someone who is competing and has competed at the highest level of the sport teaching me the ropes and helping me out. Isn't that what defines us as amateurs and professionals? I mean, if we didn't have that help, who would teach the amateurs?

All upper level riders do not have a stated goal of making the team.
There are plenty of upper level riders available to be coaches and instructors. Why does it need to be the ones that are shooting for the top? The professionals that are not trying for the team, that want to make a living coaching would be competing on the "amateur track"
Which would obviously have to be called something else, otherwise you get into the mess the H/J world is in. This would include the majority of eventers.
Creating an elite track for the others with sponsorships and fundraising would stop muddying the waters between the two types of competitors that already exist.
And for the rest, if "making a living" didn't include the cost of flying your horse to Brazil, it might help relieve some of the business pressure put on riders to acquire more and more students and charge higher and higher fees.

Whisper
Jul. 16, 2007, 04:15 PM
I think that offering options (to accomadate people who have just moved up, or are planning to move up) would be great! Perhaps to minimise the expense of extra fences, course designers can include more option fences from the level above and the level below, set up in a way that asks questions that are fair for that level? It's like the Maui Jim Intermediate/Advanced thread - they were sharing a lot of the same fences, but asking different questions. I'm hoping to do my first recognized BN this fall, and I know that the courses tend to be tougher in the Fall than in the Spring, and harder at some places than others (of course, what's tougher for one pair can be easier for another). Events are usually too far away and too infrequent to be able to pick the perfect move-up course. I don't know if this is appropriate to address at the National/USEA level - it's probably more of a per-organizer thing. If the course designers can have a lot of emphasis on this in their training, and the USEA can encourage more organizers to offer more options (not sure how they would go about it), that would be fantastic.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 16, 2007, 10:38 PM
Barb, the American Horse Trails Foundation offers a way to channel funds to riders.


...upper level athletes who have to give lessons and train at the lowest levels 7 days a week to pay the rent. It turns the 'sport' at any level into a business and it diminishes the opportunities for the best to be the best.

Interesting that you should point this out as Linda Allen and Bill Steinkraus (or maybe it was GM) have said something similar with respect to why our show jumpers are always a few steps behind the Europeans. Most of our up-and-coming (and many established ones, too) show jump riders have to work hard OFF the horse as well as on to support their careers, going to shows every single weekend, coaching students from dusk to dawn, riding a dozen horses in between, travelling to buy horses or look at horses to buy, overseeing big barns, etc. Allen and Steinkraus have pointed out how, in Europe, because the sport is subsidized both by sponsorship and by the shows themselves, riders can focus on being riders without having to be trainers and managers and coaches and dealers, too.

But that's Europe, where 250,000 go in person to spectate at Badminton and there's a couple of televised, big-dollar Grand Prix in a couple of different countries within a few hours drive of each other every week.

People dislike it here sometimes when some of us argue for more publicity for the sport, but this is why, folks. Exhibitors continue to support the bulk of "English" sports in this country. Change the image, play up the personalities, and welcome the masses and maybe that would change--and a lot about the sport might change with it, including its dependence of deep pocketed owners and/or parents and/or spouses. Go negative on newbies or the curious because they haven't read the rulebook, dare to be critical or fail to worship on someone's altar, and the sport will eventually shrivel into even more obscurity than it is in today, IMO.

denny
Jul. 17, 2007, 07:32 AM
It`s been said a thousand times, and it`s true, that there is an enormous difference between a sport and a business.
The hunter/jumper world has been a business for a long time, and some of eventing is well on that path.
Go spend time at a few horse shows if you want to know why "shrivelling into obscurity" has a certain appeal.
This is where the tension lies in trying to develop a "vision for eventing"
Too much commercialism, and much of what makes eventing so special will die, and become like the friendly atmosphere of hunter/jumperland. Not enough, and owners like some of you can`t pay the rent.
So maybe two tracks is an answer, one track for the"Fortune 500", another for all the thousands of others who could care who wins at the now non existent 3 days.
If you don`t personally ride in a risk sport, you cannot personally know that the euphoria eventers get is the result of being scared all day before x-c, then rising up to cope with that fear, vanquishing it, at least to some extent, and then savoring the feeling that they`ve accomplished something hard.
And they share that risk, which is what makes this so special.
Totally different from the hype and gloss and "who has the more expensive horse/trailer/trainer/farm/tack/ of many horse sports.
Can a balance be found? That`s the heart of the question.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 17, 2007, 08:12 AM
But, Denny, I don't see why the commercial side has to change that at all. What evidence is there that the sport is lessened by sponsorship, by breeders producing young horses that sell for a profit, by riders developing and selling horses, by trainers who pass their knowledge on, by events that offer significant prize money--or by vendors who support events with their presence in trade booths, cooperative advertising, rider sponsorship and other "business-like" activities? And even media attention can't change the sport in negative ways unless the sport chooses to.

It isn't the business activities that harms the sport, it's the people and how they engage in them. It's also, IMO, in large part due to the nebulous way the membership's views and ideas interact with or fail to interact with decision-making bodies.

If a rider over does it with a horse because that's what the sponsors want, that isn't the sponsor's fault. It's a weakness in the rider. And who is to say that ambitious riders haven't been doing that ever since this little sport offered prestigious victories, if only to its miniscule set of followers? I think folks make assumptions about the impact of commercialization and take the easy route in blaming those who need to profit to participate. Those of you who have been around the sport for 20-30 years, like me, surely you remember the stories we've heard...

Oh, heck, Might Tango didn't die at the World Championships and heaven knows I've adored Bruce forever, but it happened, right? The welfare of the horse has been impacted by rider judgment since the sport was created. Maybe different flavors of misjudgment are served now, but who knows the rate or the severity of it, compared to before? I think we want to create some mythical Camelot out of the past that didn't exist. I was working in the trenches of a sales barn in the days of LeGeoff, Ledyard and the early legends. Horses weren't mollicoddled any more or less then than now--there were just fewer opportunities to err, I think (because there were fewer events and fewer competitors).

On the other hand, if it's LLR riders' comfort levels about the sport that is impacted by commercialization (which I actually think is no more or less than just the natural growth of the sport), well, that's something else and we should be honest about it. I wonder if it would be instructive to list the ills of commercialization--what's your beef with it, Denny? And I must say that I think you are being unfair to h-j'ers since not all of them are driven by the trends you imply. Indeed, I dare say that what drives the upper levels is similar across ALL horse sports today--and probably the lower levels, too (that timid housewife on her packer in the adult ammies is not much different than that baby novice on her hilltopper--both worry about that big, scary oxer and both are exhilarated when they clear it...and neither could have done so without the help of a pro at some point in their efforts).

Anyway, Denny, I think you are being stubborn here. You do not want to address the finances or the fairness head on. It is, indeed, somewhat negligent for you to dream of shrinking the sport back to its "traditional" roots because in doing so, you also dream of excluding a lot of people who don't have the time, money or resources to spend the hours in the saddle or the unreimbursed funds from their banks on doing what they love. And, heck, that is awfully similar to the upper eschelons in h-j land.

nature
Jul. 17, 2007, 09:48 AM
There is a difference between eventer and H/j. So MANY riders, even at the local level, (Non-USEF show) have theri trainers ride their horses and expexct that. they cannot go in the ring without thier trainer by their side.

Eventing is all about the partnership between the horse and the rider...at any level. the trainer cannot run behind the horse and yell sit up or......

The sport of eventing to me is all abouot this partnership, the event irder that whispers to her horse in the start box..ok, fella, take care of me...as the starter says 3..2..1...GO! It is about the kid on a pony doing their first cross rail X-C.

Yes, even H/J riders get a thrill when they jump a fence they were a bit scared of but it is just not the same as when riding a X-C, at any level as you and yor horse soar over that max oxer. ( even at BN!!)

I have done jumpers to 5; and evented prelim, so I can say, for me, there is a difference. I Left the H/J world many years ago and now stick to eventing and mostly schooling shows.

The sport is changing to be too commerecial...just what Denny said....it is sad

colliemom
Jul. 17, 2007, 10:18 AM
There is a difference between eventer and H/j. So MANY riders, even at the local level, (Non-USEF show) have theri trainers ride their horses and expexct that. they cannot go in the ring without thier trainer by their side.

Eventing is all about the partnership between the horse and the rider...at any level. the trainer cannot run behind the horse and yell sit up or......




I have not posted on this thread yet because so far everyone says what I want to say first, and probably much more articulately than I can. But this comment made me think of a conversation I had the other day with a friend who also works with me on the organizing committee of our own recognized HT.

Someone earlier talked about how important the ULR / Coaches are to the bottom line of local events, and this is true. Often local pros will haul in with whole truck loads of students.

Because of this, secretaries are already making accomodations in the schedule they might not normally make (and didn't have to make in the past.)

Starters at XC and SJ are encouraged to accommodate riders with multiple horses and do so gladly (at least for those riders who are willing to work with them and are pleasant about it!)

None of this is a bad thing -- we do these things gladly to attract more entries and thus help our bottom line, and allow our continuation. However... I see a potential trend toward "trainer conflicts." It is not a very big jump at all to go from what we are now doing -- accommodating riders with multiple horses and changing the published time schedule -- to doing what H/J shows do ALL THE TIME -- holding up things because someone's trainer is not there yet. I've already seen glimmers of it, all within the current rules, but the trend is disturbing. Sure, trainers can't comment or coach once the rider has started, but more and more often they are being paid to be there and watch and critique after the fact just like our cousins in the show ring, and you can bet that if an event tries to be tough and hold to a published shedule when that happens, some pros will threaten to not bring their students back next time.

THIS is the part of H/J land that I see in our future, and what I fear begins the slippery slope.

When I started eventing 10 or 12 years ago (having come over from equitation and jumpers), it was rare to see someone at an event with a coach/trainer. It was one of the things that attracted me -- that whole "do it yourself" mentality. It's not rare anymore.

It was also common to ask a pro who was at the event competing if you could walk the course with them, and most if not all would gladly offer their advice in a course walk and do it for free. It's rarely free any more.

Are these changes bad? I don't really know. I instinctively agree with what Denny is saying, but I can see and understand the points that pwywnnnorman is bringing up as well (it sucks being a Pisces and seeing both sides of every argument!) All I know is that in my own personal experience I am noticing all the same trends that have taken place in the H/J world over the last 30 years occurring in eventing, and that worries the crap out of me. I left that world because of the backstabbing, fashion conscious, entitlement, trainer-driven enviroment it had become. And I don't want eventing to continue down that road.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 17, 2007, 10:30 AM
But some forms of commercial support can also save a sport. I don't know the answer. I think it is a difficult line to walk. I look at the PBR (Professional Bull Riding). They seem to have really created something great. Bull breeding for the sport is through the roof (with bulls selling for 6 digits), prize money high, sponsorship high and spectator support high. Now that is a sport very geared to the American public. Dangerous, exciting....and quick (even the American public's attention can be kept for 8 seconds).

I'm not saying that eventing should (or can) get as popular in the US as the PBR. Just as the English horse sports are a part of the culture for Europe...the cowboy and rodeo is the part of the culture for much of the Americas. But look at how the PBR developed. It was from the brainchild of a few individuals and the input and participation of primarily competitors who were and had competed at the highest level of the sport. It is the best of the best. That is the appeal. And by supporting and putting the best of the best forward....it is supporting and trickling down to the rest. It will be interesting to see if it continues now that the true business folks have bought out the original creators....but I suspect it will do just fine.

I do think the two tracks may work.....except for the cost of putting on an event is high.....the venues in short supply. So while in concept I agree...my practical side is not sure it will work. And while I do think the one thing that may save the sport is increasing its popularity among the masses and increasing sponsorship....it may also be its downfall UNLESS as Denny has suggested, a strong vision for the sport is set forth and strong willed individuals are in place to keep the sport on the "golden" path. Will there be aspects of the sport I dislike...of course...but hopefully the important aspects of the sport can be preserved so that it may be enjoyed by future generations.

Whisper
Jul. 17, 2007, 10:44 AM
, trainers can't comment or coach once the rider has started, but more and more often they are being paid to be there and watch and critique after the fact just like our cousins in the show ring, and you can bet that if an event tries to be tough and hold to a published shedule when that happens, some pros will threaten to not bring their students back next time.


When I started eventing 10 or 12 years ago (having come over from equitation and jumpers), it was rare to see someone at an event with a coach/trainer. It was one of the things that attracted me -- that whole "do it yourself" mentality. It's not rare anymore.

I'm still doing unrec. BN, and I do very much appreciate help from my instructor or XC coach in my warmups, or feedback after my rounds. Sometimes they'll have another student to warmup, and can't watch me compete, or are competing themselves, and can't warm me up for XC (so far, they haven't missed any of the other phases), and so I'm on my own, and I'm fine with that. If I were moving up to a new level, especially at a new venue, I'd be a bit nervous about the do-it-yourself approach. I don't think it has anything to do with H/J, more that as a greenish rider still, I think that the feedback in my warmup helps me go better, and from my rounds helps me do better next time. :)

BTW, Nature, I haven't ever seen a crossrail, or even a regular oxer(I've seen a few obstacles that ask a similar question), on XC, so I'm a little confused by your post. I've seen a few different Elementary XC courses, and even a ground poles division at one course, but not ordinary jumps with standards.

colliemom
Jul. 17, 2007, 11:06 AM
I'm still doing unrec. BN, and I do very much appreciate help from my instructor or XC coach in my warmups, or feedback after my rounds. Sometimes they'll have another student to warmup, and can't watch me compete, or are competing themselves, and can't warm me up for XC (so far, they haven't missed any of the other phases), and so I'm on my own, and I'm fine with that. If I were moving up to a new level, especially at a new venue, I'd be a bit nervous about the do-it-yourself approach. I don't think it has anything to do with H/J, more that as a greenish rider still, I think that the feedback in my warmup helps me go better, and from my rounds helps me do better next time. :)


Whisper, don't get me wrong -- I applaud you for seeking good training and instruction and support as you learn and get more and more involved in the sport. I, too, have brought my trainer to events when I felt I needed the extra input, either in walking a tough course I was worried about, or just properly warming up so I could accomplish what I'd been working on at home. Nothing at all wrong with that!

I'm just observing the trend as another example of the increased "business" aspect of the sport.

Hannahsmom
Jul. 17, 2007, 12:50 PM
colliemom, I agree with your post 100%. And I'm not saying that people shouldn't get good instruction, but the hand holding at the event seems to be on the rise. This does fall in with the 'where's the partnership going to' question. When I'm on XC, I don't need my coach, I need a horse I trust implicitly because we have been through it all together. It's what I love about eventing.

I have read this thread with interest and find a lot of insightful comments. But I will finally put my flame suit on and admit that I don't care a rodent's behind about the Olympics so maybe we do have two tracks in the current age. Some people aspire to make the team, well good for you, everyone needs a dream. For me, I'm hoping for the cure for cancer as my dream. I'm glad for the entertainment at the top events such as Rolex and appreciate the great skill, but I have enjoyed spectating less with the advent of the short format. I used to stand next to the ropes at Kentucky and just watch the riders and horses gallop by and feel awe at their dedication and bravery. For some reason I don't get that same 'feel' anymore.

I also think people can make a living as an ULR without all the hoopla, many did and do. Not everyone married into money, some were just business savvy. I could care less if they dropped eventing out of the Olympics. I don't bother to watch the Olympics anymore as it's all about professionals, I get more entertainment out of the kids and ponies actually. For those where the commercialism is necessary for their business? Good for you, the sport is on the right track to keep you fed. But I do it for a hobby and I don't find the commercialism helpful.

And no, I didn't go to Rolex to be inspired that "that's what I want to do". I was doing hunters in the early 80's and got talked into going XC. I loved the partnership aspect with the horse. I feel that with the loss of land, that sometimes eventing is the only opportunity for us to get that great feel of galloping a good horse across a rolling field. So for MY vision, it is that future riders have THAT opportunity, so whatever it takes to keep organizers willing to run events and volunteers out there to keep it affordable, well that's my vision. So far the USEA seems to be aligned with that.

My 0.2, totally unsolicited :)

denny
Jul. 17, 2007, 12:54 PM
Commercialization, in case you failed to notice, took speed and endurance out of eventing. And thereby changed the heart of the sport from one that appealed to real honest to God cross country riders, who also foxhunted and raced over fences, and handed it over to very technically proficient riders who didn`t care for the rigors of all that speed and endurance.
Stubborn? None of us who loved real 3 day events were stubborn enough. We handed our sport away to a bunch of Europeans, and our own upper level riders, many of them as commercially oriented as any hunter/jumper trainer, embraced this new vision.
But I damn well don`t.

nature
Jul. 17, 2007, 01:17 PM
BTW, Nature, I haven't ever seen a crossrail, or even a regular oxer(I've seen a few obstacles that ask a similar question), on XC, so I'm a little confused by your post. I've seen a few different Elementary XC courses, and even a ground poles division at one course, but not ordinary jumps with standards.

At many scholing events, telephone poles are used X-C as a cross rail fence for beginner horses or riders. It is a great fence for newbies. Cropss rail does not have to be stadium poles. It can be timber, Old wires spools(big ones) make great standards for these fences and then you cna put one rail up for a bigger division.

Cross country fences if they contain width and height are referred to oxers. I remember quite a few years ago when the first 'Oxer Massif" came out at one of the big events. It was a massive major timber oxer. There are many oxers cross country at all levels inclusdng BN, they are just within the dimensions. Same with verticles, there are vertical cross country, they are just solid and do not fall down.

Event people often refer to a cross county obstacle as an oxer or a verticle depoending on its shape.

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 01:17 PM
Commercialization, in case you failed to notice, took speed and endurance out of eventing. And thereby changed the heart of the sport from one that appealed to real honest to God cross country riders, who also foxhunted and raced over fences, and handed it over to very technically proficient riders who didn`t care for the rigors of all that speed and endurance.
Stubborn? None of us who loved real 3 day events were stubborn enough. We handed our sport away to a bunch of Europeans, and our own upper level riders, many of them as commercially oriented as any hunter/jumper trainer, embraced this new vision.
But I damn well don`t.


Now Denny!!! The sport was NOT handed to europeans!!! That is very short sighted. Most countries do not have the vast quantities of land required for the full phase three day event. In a lot of ways this was a practicle decision WHERE LAND USAGE was a factor. Area I used to have it all, but there is no land left...europe does not have the luxury of land like Canada and the US. The US is facing these sorts of issues as well. Not everyone is lucky enough to own a billion acres in VT;)
Of course there are other factors contibuting to the changes...which I DO NOT AGREE with....re-read the last sentence if needs be!!... But many european nations were finding it terribly hard to continue to accomodate the space required. I am only talking about the LAND issue in the changes to the format.
Unfortunately gone are the days when you had the likes of Neil who was willing to spend vast sums on the sport....just because. People want something in return for their investment, so commercialism will factor in. Am I for the short format...having experienced both...HELL NO!!! I just cannot see how the old format could survive in a new world.

colliemom
Jul. 17, 2007, 01:20 PM
I have read this thread with interest and find a lot of insightful comments. But I will finally put my flame suit on and admit that I don't care a rodent's behind about the Olympics so maybe we do have two tracks in the current age. (SNIP) I could care less if they dropped eventing out of the Olympics. I don't bother to watch the Olympics anymore as it's all about professionals.....

hannahsmom, you won't get flamed from me! I could not agree with you more. I have felt that way since the very beginning of the "should eventing stay in the Olympics" discussion started years ago. I could never understand the logic behind "eventing must stay in the Olympics to survive" when in order to survive it had to change into something almost unrecognizable. So, at what cost survival? And I know there are those who feel that it's just the natural and necessary evolution that should be embraced, but I personally don't agree.

And I don't find it very interesting to watch a competition where the course must at the same time adequately challenge the best in the world without killing the competitors from less skilled countries. That is in my mind a lose-lose proposition.

Does anyone care about Olympic tennis? No, they care about Wimbledon, and the French, Australian, and US Opens. Why can't our sport have Kentucky, Badminton, Burleigh, and Adelaide -- in their former formats -- as the pinnacle of the sport?

So maybe that's what I want as the vision for eventing -- re-introduce and fully support the long format in some capacity at CCN events Nationally, and have THAT be one of the "tracks" -- available to anyone, without the added burden of fees and rules imposed by the FEI -- and leave those gunning for the red coats their "track" of international FEI competitions in whatever form they choose. That would bring back (the missing) part of what inspired me and attracted me to the sport, and give people I know (my husband for one) their goal back (as full time working adult amateurs, striving to do a true long format three star!)

And KellyS ... I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said in your earlier post!! Especially the cost part. Entry fees have passed that point where I feel it's worth it anymore.

LisaB
Jul. 17, 2007, 01:47 PM
Here here Denny!
Sorry Pwynn, but you didn't come from the foxhunting/cavalry/steeplechase background. Or even like me, the cowboy, ride out for hours in the middle of nowhere. You are what we see coming to us. You've got a great mind for business and breeding. You've bred a really nice horse (pony, excuse me) and all you've seen is the modern eventing set. So your view is basically different than what Denny and others' views are because of it. Sorry, but I want Denny's vision of the world. There is a greater number of people like you and we somehow have to educate/enlighten, something like-minded people to get the big 'IT' of eventing. We're losing 'IT'.
And I'll repeat my view of the Olympics. Keep it in. It's a MARKETING TOOL. It brings riders who otherwise don't have the ability to ride a ****, to be in the big lights and the big stadium. Keep it a *** HORSE TRIAL. Yeah, the venues are NEVER going to be KY, Burghley, Badminton. DON'T make them such. Make them have the ability to bring in riders and horses and countries together in the name of sporting competition. UTILIZE it's ability to be viewed by the masses.

sm
Jul. 17, 2007, 02:11 PM
The sport was NOT handed to europeans!!! That is very short sighted. Most countries do not have the vast quantities of land required for the full phase three day event. In a lot of ways this was a practicle decision WHERE LAND USAGE was a factor. Area I used to have it all, but there is no land left...europe does not have the luxury of land like Canada and the US.

Actually, the shortage-of-land theory does not hold up: endurance has become the third most popular FEI sport (as I remember, I hope I can source this if asked to). Anyway, endurance has grown in huge leaps and bounds internationally over the past ten years. Endurance can require a 100 miles per course... it's for other reasons we've allowed the long format demise.

But the good news is, I think if USEA can develop themselves as the experts in eventing (different versions, not stuck to one brand like a retarded --well, mentally challenged-- one trick pony) then USEA has the ability to control the sport in North America. One of the problems was the USEA had no control over the FEI rulings and therefore could not protect either it's members or it's sport.

EDITED TO ADD SOURCE: Endurance became an FEI discipline in 1982... In 1982, there were four international rides... Thanks to the sponsorship of the UAE National Federation, 47 NFs came from all over the world to compete. This huge attendance proved to be the catalyst for an amazing growth in participation. This tendency was confirmed in 2005, when the 353 international competitions made Endurance second only to Jumping and Eventing... For a Championship FEI 4* one-day competition, the distance is usually 160 km and the winning riding time about ten to twelve hours. http://www.horsesport.org/e/about/about.htm

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 02:15 PM
Actually, the shortage-of-land theory does not hold up: endurance has become the third most popular FEI sport (as I remember, I hope I can source this if asked to). Anyway, endurance has grown in huge leaps and bounds internationally over the past ten years. Endurance can require a 100 miles per course...


Yes but the TYPE of land required is altogther different.

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 02:25 PM
But the good news is, I think if USEA can develop themselves as the experts in eventing (different versions, not stuck to one brand like a retarded --well, mentally challenged-- one trick pony) then USEA has the ability to control the sport in North America. One of the problems was the USEA had no control over the FEI rulings and therefore could not protect either it's members or it's sport.


Protect them from what?

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 17, 2007, 02:40 PM
I'm not sure commercialization caused the loss of the long format....I think that over simplifies things. And I for one do not consider the Olymipics the top of our sport. But I do think that just because Rolex didn't inspire a person to start eventing doesn't matter one bit.....if we lose the top premier events such as Rolex, we will likely lose eventing in the long run. Perhaps some riders will not care because they can catch the thrills they care about at a local paper chase....I for one will care....it is not the same. When you have sweated and struggled trying to master the dressage, the stadium and the x-c.....eventing is about challenge....not just x-c. It is mastering it all and developing the partnership with your horse. That is the most true at the higher levels. It is still a sport where you can NOT buy your way to the top. By a two track....all I was envisioning was a focus of resources, advertisement etc at certain identified premier events. At these events, the ONLY levels would be Inter. and Adv. They would offer prize money and other perks....and perhaps be invitational only....with the goal being that at these events....riders can focus on being riders....and the goal of the events would be a showcase of the sport.

I think a vision is important....but I also think that vision needs to be practical. Commercialization of the sport can bring a cost....but it can also bring a huge benefit. In order that the commercialization or business of eventing does not out strip and change the sport from its core is going to take strong leadership at the top.....strong leadership from the ULRs.....and strong leadership from the average competitor. And it will require a uniform vision about the direction of the sport.

Don't like the stuck up snobby behavior of some from the h/j world...don't tolerate it at the events you go to or from the pros you learn from....teach the young riders about sportsmanship both formally AND by example. This is the area the everyone of us can easily participate and support.

I agree with Denny to a point....I'm not sure that there is a clear vision for eventing....and I fear without that vision, eventing may disappear or at least change beyond something that I recognize.

sm
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:06 PM
Yes but the TYPE of land required is altogther different.

The argument was the land isn't there for long format, yet see long course endurance events held all over the world in this fast GROWING sport: GER, ITA, CAN, FRA, USA, etc, in the FEIs July and August Endurance calander http://www.horsesport.org/e/calendar/calendar.htm

sm
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:15 PM
I'm not sure that there is a clear vision for eventing....and I fear without that vision, eventing may disappear or at least change beyond something that I recognize.

I agree, which is why I think a multi-faceted approach by the USEA is good: try to be all inclusive and embrace all, be the "go to" source for all eventing in North America. The french are working on yet another version http://www.aso-equitation.com/2007/us/complet.html

pwynnnorman
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:25 PM
Here here Denny!
Sorry Pwynn, but you didn't come from the foxhunting/cavalry/steeplechase background. Or even like me, the cowboy, ride out for hours in the middle of nowhere. You are what we see coming to us. You've got a great mind for business and breeding. You've bred a really nice horse (pony, excuse me) and all you've seen is the modern eventing set. So your view is basically different than what Denny and others' views are because of it.

Whoa, there, Lisa. I may not have come from that background genetically, but I'm probably more steeped in the traditions of eventing than 95% of the people here. Don't make assumptions, OK? I regularly hacked out one of Denny's student's horses when his rider--who, as a matter of fact, wasn't able to ride him 6 days a week because she had other responsibilities--was preparing for the very first Training Level Championships in Area I. I suppose I need to repeat that I went to the same high school as Mike Plumb and passed under his pictures on the wall of the administration building every day on my way to English class? Or that Bruce was a member of the same pony club as I (a decade earlier), which gave him movie star status among most of us? I lived and breathed eventing, foxhunting, and just about everything living in a very old horse community could offer. Goodness, my official school sport was riding!

No, Lisa, that's just it. Denny's seen it from his end, but I've seen it from mine. He's got 20 years on me, sure, but that doesn't take away from the more than THIRTY years I've been deeply into it--to the extent that my finances allowed, of course. Indeed, that's why I'm saying that the pressures folks gripe about pros succumbing to now aren't necessarily new. I've worked for pros, been kinda one, and have socialized with them for a long, long time. They aren't the enemy. And I don't think they make any more mistakes now than they made then--their mistakes are just more apparent now.


you can bet that if an event tries to be tough and hold to a published shedule when that happens, some pros will threaten to not bring their students back next time.

Great point. And so who will be to blame if the organizer caves in? The pro for asking or the organizer for being desparate for the almighty dollar the pro provides? It's the organizer, of course, but what choice will they have? HOW WILL YOU FOLKS MAKE EVENTING AFFORDABLE WITHOUT COMMERCIALIZATION? Some of you have already noted how high your entries fees are. Well? If that pro didn't bring a gazillion students, whose going to enable the organizer to pay for what you enjoy? YOU ARE--if you have the funds, that is.


from one that appealed to real honest to God cross country riders, who also foxhunted and raced over fences, and handed it over to very technically proficient riders who didn`t care for the rigors of all that speed and endurance.

And just where are those "real honest to God cross country riders" now, Denny? How many of them are actually out there TODAY? Enough to support an exhibitor supported sport? Of course not. The average rider today doesn't have access to enough land to be one of your "real honest to God cross country riders."

Honestly, I'm as anti-elite as they come. I'd LOVE to see the old TBs come back and show their stamina and courage. I'd LOVE to kick the whimpasses out of the sport and stand in awe of good ol' blood-and-guts eventing. But get real, folks! Instead of crying for the past, how about fighting for the future? How can exhibitors relieve the pressure on organizers to fund the sport? Isn't that one of the issues at the heart of the negatives that seem to be developing? I agree with the fear of trainer pressure--I heartily agree that between the big trainers and the show managers, hunters (but not jumpers) have created shows that are nightmares.

But it makes no sense whatsoever to blame commercialization on that because at the moment, no one pays for hunter classes except hunter riders. So if show managers don't attract enough riders, they can't offer the classes...and that's EXACTLY the dilemma event managers will face, isn't it? SOLVE THAT and maybe you'll be able to preserve some of the traditions you love about the sport. Just remember, the short format exists in large part because that dilemma couldn't be resolved!

Pferd51
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:31 PM
I think that very definitely it was the financial pressure from trying to run a commercially successful Olympics that caused the elimination of the long format. I also think that the timing was unfortunate, since the titular head of the FEI at the time was the Spanish dame who apparently thought eventing was cruel or excessive. Rather than fight the change, I think she encouraged it. With a different person in there, I think we might have had a different outcome. At this point, the damage has been done and it will be very hard to go back.
For the official version of eventing, there should be a dual population of eventers, like ordinary members of the USGA and the professional golfers in the PGA. Perhaps the USEF and the USEA can be those organizations. In order to compete as or with professionals, there are requirements for qualification. Everybody else can play, but not with the big boys. Tons of people play golf with no aspiration to play professionally. That doesn't mean they don't contribute to the industry.
On the other hand, as demonstrated by X-games sports, if you want to have control over your sport, you have to go outside of the usual governing bodies and start from the ground up. The only way to regain the old form would be to start a new organization dedicated to it alone, staffed by people who believe in it. This means losing all the established venues and exposure--which means that someone would really have to sacrifice if they intended to pursue this dream. You would only have like-minded people to keep you company. The participants would be laboring in relative obscurity for the sport they love. There is power in this approach--who would have believed some of the exposure those sports now get. Our trouble is that takes a lot more than a snowboard and a hill to event. But if it attracted enough interest, at some point it could become an accepted alternative to the current FEI version.

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:38 PM
The argument was the land isn't there for long format, yet see long course endurance events held all over the world in this fast GROWING sport: GER, ITA, CAN, FRA, USA, etc, in the FEIs July and August Endurance calander http://www.horsesport.org/e/calendar/calendar.htm


You are missing my point...the type of land required for upper level full phase three day events is different from what is needed for endurance riding. It is not just about acreage.

sm
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:41 PM
You're making a lot of sense overall. I just don't know why you'd propose a new org outside of the USEA. You'd want the seamless intregration offered by one org at the helm:


On the other hand, as demonstrated by X-games sports, if you want to have control over your sport, you have to go outside of the usual governing bodies and start from the ground up. The only way to regain the old form would be to start a new organization dedicated to it alone, staffed by people who believe in it.

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 03:45 PM
You're making a lot of sense overall. I just don't know why you'd propose a new org outside of the USEA. You'd want the seamless intregration offered by one org at the helm:



Agreed.

LisaB
Jul. 17, 2007, 04:14 PM
Sorry Pwynn! My bad :)
But, sorry to intrude, you haven't done a lot of eventing? Okay, okay, okay. I'm intruding. I'm dropping it. Still love Teddy :cool:
Still, I think snoopy, sm, etc. have a point. To get back to the ol' free days. But a new org? Nah ... I think a side set of a different kind of eventing, like what someone posted about that French system. Let it gain popularity or fall flat. If it becomes popular, then we've got something to hold onto. Kinda like the T3DE has now exploded because of the ingenuity of Glen Oro.
Oh oh oh! Here's one for ya. A friend (that we all know and dearly love in this area) and I wanted to propose a T3DE to be held in conjuction with or the week after a particular *and** that was held at Great Meadows at the time. The venue was there, the location was there, we have a TON of ULR's to help out. All we needed was help from the org that put this event on. Well, we never have been so insulted! The completely treated us like dirt and stated 'A T3DE is dangerous. Training riders don't really jump and should definitely not be doing steeplechase because the jumps would be so low.' After that, I never put my membership into the local CTA again. And they STILL have this elitist attitude and STILL put on a terrible event. They do everything possible make us NOT want to enter an event like 15 min. from my house. Given this scenario with old stodgy stuck-ups, maybe it's time to do a little re-orging if the USEA is in the same boat? I still don't think USEA is half as bad and stodgy as the USEF but it's their baby brother for sure.

Pferd51
Jul. 17, 2007, 04:32 PM
Sorry Pwynn! My bad :)
But, sorry to intrude, you haven't done a lot of eventing? Okay, okay, okay. I'm intruding. I'm dropping it. Still love Teddy :cool:
Still, I think snoopy, sm, etc. have a point. To get back to the ol' free days. But a new org? Nah ... I think a side set of a different kind of eventing, like what someone posted about that French system. Let it gain popularity or fall flat. If it becomes popular, then we've got something to hold onto. Kinda like the T3DE has now exploded because of the ingenuity of Glen Oro.
Oh oh oh! Here's one for ya. A friend (that we all know and dearly love in this area) and I wanted to propose a T3DE to be held in conjuction with or the week after a particular *and** that was held at Great Meadows at the time. The venue was there, the location was there, we have a TON of ULR's to help out. All we needed was help from the org that put this event on. Well, we never have been so insulted! The completely treated us like dirt and stated 'A T3DE is dangerous. Training riders don't really jump and should definitely not be doing steeplechase because the jumps would be so low.' After that, I never put my membership into the local CTA again. And they STILL have this elitist attitude and STILL put on a terrible event. They do everything possible make us NOT want to enter an event like 15 min. from my house. Given this scenario with old stodgy stuck-ups, maybe it's time to do a little re-orging if the USEA is in the same boat? I still don't think USEA is half as bad and stodgy as the USEF but it's their baby brother for sure.

I don't really have a particular side, but this attitude and the conflicts that arise when working within a large, entrenched organization is why I naturally think about a new one. Or at least a dedicated splinter group within the old one (but I think they would go crazy trying to get things done).

TB or not TB?
Jul. 17, 2007, 05:30 PM
Even though I wasn't alive during some of eventing's real glory days, I consider myself to be pretty "old school" in my views on the current trends in our sport. I don't like the bastardization of the top levels, and frankly if I had a horse capable of competing at them, I would have to think very long and hard about whether I wanted to pit him or her against the technical and hazardous XC of the short format.

Fortunately that is not a decision I am faced with at the moment. ;)

I recall my PC days and how we weren't allowed to have a coach or receive instruction during rallies. That's pretty hard core. I don't think eventing needs to go quite that far, but perhaps some guidelines would not be out of order to prevent the H/J phenomenon of delaying classes and long waits.

Like many of you have stated, I, too, foresee the splitting of the sport, into the more commercialized USEF version (complete with Olympic goals and pink coat dreams) and the more traditional version (probably aimed more at non-professionals). Honestly eventing in the Olympics is a bit of a joke, isn't it? When there are more difficult international competitions already? And remember several people preferred to go to Burleigh instead of the PanAm games. Who ever mentioned tennis and golf were right on. That's a vision I could buy into.

Lastly, I wonder if the up and coming generation, having seen firsthand the effects of the commercialization, will be as eager to pursue it. I for one plan on never competing at a short format event, if I can help it. :D Even if that means starting my own event.

BarbB
Jul. 17, 2007, 05:41 PM
...europe does not have the luxury of land like Canada and the US. The US is facing these sorts of issues as well. Not everyone is lucky enough to own a billion acres in VT;)

There are ways to do it if you want to. I have the tape of the World Games in Stockholm in 87(?) and roads and tracks went thru city parks and streets. The steeplechase was around the edge of a city park. People were hanging off of apartment balconies cheering.
You have to want to do it badly enough to look at all the options. It's easier to say it can't be done and voila! it isn't done anymore. :cry:

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 06:27 PM
There are ways to do it if you want to. I have the tape of the World Games in Stockholm in 87(?) and roads and tracks went thru city parks and streets. The steeplechase was around the edge of a city park. People were hanging off of apartment balconies cheering.
You have to want to do it badly enough to look at all the options. It's easier to say it can't be done and voila! it isn't done anymore. :cry:


The WEG were in stockholm in 90';). I am not saying that it can't be done....but the logistics now are just too difficult. It becomes a point when organizers say, is this worth it? We have had a couple of Pan Ams that were incapable of running the eventing portion of the equestrian events. Fairhill in 2003, in my opnion was a joke. Yes they ran "a division" as part of the pan ams...but no real sence of occasion. Infact the atmosphere was rather flat. London...YES LONDON!!! is already having problems with the eventing portion of the games...and this is the short format!! The WEG in 94 (holland) had the horses travelling 2 hours to do the XC portion only to have them moved 2 hours back to do stadium. The LA olympics faced the same problem...it almost did not happen in 84....they literally had to BEG anyone with enough land, and finally a golf course relented.
I personally believe that we are fighting a losing battle with keeping this sport in the Olympics/pan ams even with the short format.

sm
Jul. 17, 2007, 07:16 PM
It all may be going the way of **drumroll** Indoor Eventing. I do think however if there's a will there's a way.

flyingchange
Jul. 17, 2007, 08:48 PM
LisaB -

Your post is RIGHT ON.

And I know exactly which local CTA you are speaking of and feel pretty much the same. I have both volunteered for them and ridden at their HTs several times. The volunteering effort was rewarded with being condescended to by the organizer. I've ridden at their HTs 3 times and will NEVER go back, even though their venue is literally 20 minutes from my house.

RAyers
Jul. 17, 2007, 09:23 PM
Bornfree,

You highlight a HUGE thing about the hypocracy of the USEF and FEI. If they really want more commercialization they would GET RID of DRESSAGE and KEEP STEEPLECHASE. You want an exciting sport that the random public can get behind. That would be it.



But some forms of commercial support can also save a sport. I don't know the answer. I think it is a difficult line to walk. I look at the PBR (Professional Bull Riding). They seem to have really created something great. Bull breeding for the sport is through the roof (with bulls selling for 6 digits), prize money high, sponsorship high and spectator support high. Now that is a sport very geared to the American public. Dangerous, exciting....and quick (even the American public's attention can be kept for 8 seconds).

I'm not saying that eventing should (or can) get as popular in the US as the PBR. Just as the English horse sports are a part of the culture for Europe...the cowboy and rodeo is the part of the culture for much of the Americas. But look at how the PBR developed. It was from the brainchild of a few individuals and the input and participation of primarily competitors who were and had competed at the highest level of the sport. It is the best of the best. That is the appeal. And by supporting and putting the best of the best forward....it is supporting and trickling down to the rest. It will be interesting to see if it continues now that the true business folks have bought out the original creators....but I suspect it will do just fine.




I see the sport becoming purely amateur (horse trials) and then the URL and pros going the CIC/CCI route. The two tracks already exist and it is readily apparent that riders are beginning to split on these tracks. This weekend at Maui Jim all of the URLs did the CICs and the "regular" folks did the horse trials with a few exceptions. This was the general trend. Take a look at the results and entry list.

The lower levels are becoming alienated by the governing bodies because they are too busy catering to the IOC with their noses completely buried...

MY vision for US eventing is breaking away from the FEI, IOC and returning to the long format. Screw the Olympics, they are just "toy" sports anyway that are trying to capture a dwindling audience (Rugby an Olympic sport!?). Horses will be out in the next 20-30 years so why stand on a sinking ship? Just to see the last few gasping air bubbles?

Kill off the the CICs. They are a farce. There is no real "barn inspection" or vet checks. If these are meant to be FEI, RUN THEM AS FEI!!!! Have real inspections. Separate the horses and make the riders really follow ALL of the FEI rules. Right now it is an absolute waste of time and money for the organizer, the vets, and the officials.

Folks talk of LAND. Guess what, move west. There are thousands of acres available. Either that or drive. It is a lame excuse that land is going away. Yes it is on the coasts, but in the center of the US there are THOUSANDS or great places that can be made to run large international level events, if folks really want it. The FEI uses that excuse for Europe but it sure as heck does not work here. A little more than 1/3 of the US population lives between California and the East Coast so it seems to me that there is plenty of open space. For the price of 1 Lamplight, a person could buy 200-300 acres on nice airable footing, build a full XC course up to the CIC*** level and probably have money left over in places such as Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska.

More ranting later.

Reed

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 09:33 PM
MY vision for US eventing is breaking away from the FEI, IOC and returning to the long format. Screw the Olympics, they are just "toy" sports anyway that are trying to capture a dwindling audience (Rugby an Olympic sport!?). Horses will be out in the next 20-30 years so why stand on a sinking ship? Just to see the last few gasping air bubbles?
Reed



Reed:

I happen to share most of your sentiments but one thing bothers me about this thread. It is about "US" eventing. Surely if the US decides to do things their way, forsake the FEI, and run an international sport on their own terms, wouldn't that cause problems?

I laugh when I hear the term "world series" in baseball...yet the world is never involved....just the US. Some suggestions for the sport in the US would really only serve to alienate the US from the rest of the international event community.

RAyers
Jul. 17, 2007, 09:41 PM
You bring up another point. Sure, these things are "really" American but see how many countries send athletes to play. Look at the NHL and NBA. It is not that we need to compete with world but the world can come to us if we make a great product. That is my vision of US eventing.

I admit I am a bit ornery today.

Reed

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 09:51 PM
You bring up another point. Sure, these things are "really" American but see how many countries send athletes to play. Look at the NHL and NBA. It is not that we need to compete with world but the world can come to us if we make a great product. That is my vision of US eventing.

I admit I am a bit ornery today.

Reed


But WILL they if other countries are not on board with the proposed changes. The US changed to suit everyone else. Do you honestly think that the rest of the world will abandon "their" sport in order to appease the americans? I could understand this if the US as a land mass were not so isolated. But providing a "better" product that does not work in other countries is not a better product.

Pferd51
Jul. 17, 2007, 10:16 PM
Bornfree,

You highlight a HUGE thing about the hypocracy of the USEF and FEI. If they really want more commercialization they would GET RID of DRESSAGE and KEEP STEEPLECHASE. You want an exciting sport that the random public can get behind. That would be it.

MY vision for US eventing is breaking away from the FEI, IOC and returning to the long format. Screw the Olympics, they are just "toy" sports anyway that are trying to capture a dwindling audience (Rugby an Olympic sport!?). Horses will be out in the next 20-30 years so why stand on a sinking ship? Just to see the last few gasping air bubbles?

Reed

Spectators and tickets are money. People might pay to see steeplechase if it was done in a racing format, rather than one horse at a time. If this phase brought in big money, it might never have been dropped.
I agree that eventing as it exists now will have a limited lifetime. To the general public, horses are less and less perceived as vehicles and more and more as pets. The public won't tolerate the risk inherent in eventing as we know it. The various alternatives usually discussed will probably only change the number of years before the sport is brought to an end. I think the only way to make a competition which will have a long-term future is to dumb down the XC and institute an endurance phase that is killer. The sport will be very different, no doubt. But I believe it will be beyond our control. Maybe the diehards won't like it, but I think as a competition the combination of dressage, XC, endurance, and stadium jumping (especially if you start thinking about changing the order) could be quite a challenge.

RAyers
Jul. 17, 2007, 11:02 PM
snoopy,

You are right to a point. Hockey is Canadian. It is not European but the majority of hockey players are from Europe so it is obvious that this model can work. What gets me the most is that the USEF has been completely reactionary in its handling of this sport and not proactive.

The sport will not need to be abandoned. It is dying as we speak, even in Europe. The evolution has bastardized this discipline to lowest level. So, now is the time to envision what is next. Once horses are out of the Olympics, the IOC will hold no sway and the FEI will have to suddenly stand on its own to defend the WEG. Each country will again have eqaul footing in the say as to what the sport will be.

Reed

snoopy
Jul. 17, 2007, 11:21 PM
snoopy,

You are right to a point. Hockey is Canadian. It is not European but the majority of hockey players are from Europe so it is obvious that this model can work. What gets me the most is that the USEF has been completely reactionary in its handling of this sport and not proactive.

The sport will not need to be abandoned. It is dying as we speak, even in Europe. The evolution has bastardized this discipline to lowest level. So, now is the time to envision what is next. Once horses are out of the Olympics, the IOC will hold no sway and the FEI will have to suddenly stand on its own to defend the WEG. Each country will again have eqaul footing in the say as to what the sport will be.

Reed


Very valid points....

But:

The europeans that came to canada to play hocky have embrassed EXISTING rules...they have not changed them to suit their own needs. Everyone who plays hockey plays by the same rules.
It is not one sport for them and another for Canada.


I totally agree with the comment regarding Olympics/FEI.

What makes you think that the sport is dying in europe? Counties that were not previously performing to a high standard are winning, beating the US. The UK has suffered no ill effects, the sport is constantly over subscribed. They cannot keep up. A couple of years ago, Badminton had a fairly large waiting list and two weeks later over 200 entries at advanced level competed at chatsworth. I can assure that there were a healthy amount of foreign competitors. It seems to me that it is working in europe. The numbers are up in "developing nations" as well. On paper, given the results so far, it would seem the only country struggling with the new format is the US.

Gnep
Jul. 18, 2007, 12:10 AM
I agree completly with Reed, I think there is a need for 2 seperate lines in the sport FEI and National.
I agree to that eventing is basicly out of the IOC, it just does not make sence. It is such a rare sport and so highly specialized and so very expensive what keeps it is tradition and Europe, nothing else.

Buthow one can do a sucessful and very popular WEG was shown in Aachen and now the look in the future. Eventing and volting were so popular that the organizer of the world famous CIO of Aachen desided to make them part of their show. It was a huge success.
They ran a 3 star on the WEG course, but they toped it, they had the last 4 jumps in Aachen Stadium and it was packed. Even a water jump.
That was advertising and it was on TV life.

So the top guys got what they came for exposure and serious competition. The advertiser got what they wanted and the people got what they wanted.

One mega show and it put fringe sports on the map, big time.
Just think, Stadium Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Volting and the Drivers ( and they are something ), the world elite in one show, The Show.
Every Year.
Get it.

So let them have it, its all FEI, the glory lane.

So what is at the bottom in that country, HTs, X-C trails, young horse, eventing horse and they combine those shows with run of the mill dressage and stadium shows, they even have x-c based on equitation, some HJ X-C, extremly popular.
It is grass roots that carry the sport, from Dressage to Jumpers to Eventing, to Driving and Volting. Their FN understands, you need the top but you have to have the base and both are extremly important.
You will never hear the Coach talk politics of eventing or get involved in politics.
If you call up the webpage of the German FN, you have the news ticker about the the big events, FEI stuff, but is nothing, 99 % is grass roots and a huge spread of education.
Grass Roots education, every thinkebel sport with horses.

They have their top guys and they take very good care of them, some horses are even owned by the FN, but they take very good care of the lower levels. Les buerocacy, more service.
Ever tried to enter an FEI in the US as a German, piece of cacke, its super easy, or Canada.
Even their Passports are half the price.

Get it

RAyers
Jul. 18, 2007, 01:26 AM
Wrong about hockey. Europeans have a very different set of rules, including different rink sizes. They changed the rules to suit themselves. do you ever wonder why US and Canadian hockey have a hard time in the Olympics even though the sport was created on this side of the pond? It is because the IOC uses the European rules.

The same goes for horse sports. Right now the FEI makes the rules in a Eurocentric manner. Of course foriegn entries are up in Europe. Folks have to go there in order to learn to play and to get the recognition they need. That is why the US sends their riders there. It would make more sense if the US just had their team based there year-round and then focus on the lower levels at home. We have only 1 major ocmpetition here that brings true European riders with any regularity and that is Rolex. Everything else is in Europe.

Why are other countries doing better with the new format? Because the rules were modified to help them. It is not that they are performming at a higher standard. The standard was changed to fit their abilities.

This topic is about a vision for US eventing, not international eventing or eventing at large. In my opinion, US eventing should NOT be based on a European model other than basic rules. It needs to be modified just like hockey, to fit our country, not us modifying our country to fit the FEI.

Again, the US is reactionary to the FEI and not proactive. We are following and not leading. Of course we are going to fall by the wayside.

Reed


Very valid points....

But:

The europeans that came to canada to play hocky have embrassed EXISTING rules...they have not changed them to suit their own needs. Everyone who plays hockey plays by the same rules.
It is not one sport for them and another for Canada.


I totally agree with the comment regarding Olympics/FEI.

What makes you think that the sport is dying in europe? Counties that were not previously performing to a high standard are winning, beating the US. The UK has suffered no ill effects, the sport is constantly over subscribed. They cannot keep up. A couple of years ago, Badminton had a fairly large waiting list and two weeks later over 200 entries at advanced level competed at chatsworth. I can assure that there were a healthy amount of foreign competitors. It seems to me that it is working in europe. The numbers are up in "developing nations" as well. On paper, given the results so far, it would seem the only country struggling with the new format is the US.

denny
Jul. 18, 2007, 07:28 AM
I can envision the USEA holding a 2-3 day think tank, and inviting representatives from the various US eventing constituencies, riders at all the various levels, commercial sponsors like John Nunn, organizers at all levels, both rec and unrec, horse owners, USEF officers, USEA Board members, sports writers from the bigger magazines, Chronicle, Practical Horse, etc, land conservation groups, any and all concerned constituencies.
Place on the table the desire to create a 10 year model for USA eventing, recognizing that varying sectors of the same sport may have widely divergent needs.
Hire a professional moderator.
See what comes about, and in an open, totally transparent way, share the information with all of us.
Might that not be a way to go?

snoopy
Jul. 18, 2007, 09:27 AM
Wrong about hockey. Europeans have a very different set of rules, including different rink sizes. They changed the rules to suit themselves. do you ever wonder why US and Canadian hockey have a hard time in the Olympics even though the sport was created on this side of the pond? It is because the IOC uses the European rules.




I was not aware of this fact.....but thank you for correcting me.





The same goes for horse sports. Right now the FEI makes the rules in a Eurocentric manner. Of course foriegn entries are up in Europe. Folks have to go there in order to learn to play and to get the recognition they need. That is why the US sends their riders there. It would make more sense if the US just had their team based there year-round and then focus on the lower levels at home. We have only 1 major ocmpetition here that brings true European riders with any regularity and that is Rolex. Everything else is in Europe.




You say in another post that the SPORT is dying in europe....I disagree, by virtue of the numbers at ALL levels.
You do not believe your own remark becasue you state above "of course foriegn entries are up in europe".
I believe the only reason there is 1 major competition here in the US is that the number of entries to this event are low compared to events of this standard in other countries. It would seem not justified to have more than the one.






Why are other countries doing better with the new format? Because the rules were modified to help them. It is not that they are performming at a higher standard. The standard was changed to fit their abilities.



Rules were not changed, just the format...Infact the standard of all three phases has become so much higher and more technical. So yes, the scores would suggest that that other countries are meeting this standard.



This topic is about a vision for US eventing, not international eventing or eventing at large. In my opinion, US eventing should NOT be based on a European model other than basic rules. It needs to be modified just like hockey, to fit our country, not us modifying our country to fit the FEI.



You are quite right with this statement, so I appologise if I have taken it in a different direction.






Again, the US is reactionary to the FEI and not proactive. We are following and not leading. Of course we are going to fall by the wayside.



As I understand it the FEI does not really dictate national level competition judging by the different divisions, levels, and rules in all countries. The FEI is the GOVERNING body NOT the US...so why should the US or any other country feel the need to lead.
Back to the topic at hand.:D


Reed

Snoops

snoopy
Jul. 18, 2007, 09:49 AM
I would just like to add, I am on board for changes in the sport....as a whole.

I guess what I am getting at, in the end, is WHY the resistance to adapt when other have done so?

The sport is flurishing elsewhere so the changes would seem to be working.

Is it because the US does not like change? Is it a situation where by the US will take all it's toys and play in their own sandbox? If so is this a good thing?

Embrace change if it is good for the masses, not the one.

Does anyone know of any other sports where there is in effect "two" sports within the one? How does it work for them?

I would like say that This topic has really been productive for me and my thoughts on this issue.

Gnep
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:00 AM
what Reed I guess means, by following the FEI and modeling the sport according to the needs of maybe 150 riders that are able to compet internationaly with the rest of the world, the sport has lost its national identety.
The sport florishes in Europe, because each country does it their way, their national way and than the FEI way.
Eventing in France, Germany, GB and so on looks completly differant in each country, it is modeled around the needs of the lowe and mid level riders, on top of it is a completly differant branch which is modeled around the needs of the FEI and the riders that compet at the international level.
Eventing in the US has given up its national identety and tries to be FEI from BN to A in order to furnish the needs of the a few.

I think he is absolutely correct in pointing out that for example Rolex is the only show that attracts foreign riders from Europe, but just a few. The real FEI competition is in Europe and thats were the top of the crop is based.

The NRHA does thinks their way, they have not changed a bit, and the few that go to FEI competition have to do things both ways NRHA and FEI.
If they want to ride FEI they need horses that are 6 and older, if they do NRHA they use horses 3 and older for example. The NRHA does things their way, they don't give a dam about the USEF or the FEI on the national level, only on the international level do they obey the USEF and FEI.

Speedy
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:25 AM
Eventing in the US has given up its national identety and tries to be FEI from BN to A in order to furnish the needs of the a few.

I haven't had time to read the entire thread, but there are very few specifics mentioned in the posts that I have read, beyond those that relate in some way to the long v. short format debate.

So, could you please provide some specifics around this? I compete at the lower levels and I just don't see this. I compete under the basic rules that apply to everyone at recognized events and I am not subject to many of the FEI requirements that would apply if I were doing FEI events.

Additionally, the USEA has (fairly recently) recognized the BN and N levels, allowed (and even supported) the proliferation of the T3D, which is tailored to the increasing influence of the amateur riders who aspire to do the traditional long format, and the long format has been preserved (at least for the forseeable future) at the * level, again (at least in part), in order to address the needs/aspirations of the amateur riders.

It concerns me that people on the board who compete at the upper levels enflame the passions of the lower level base regarding the direction of the sport, when the reality is that the sport has become increasingly user friendly for the base, even to the extent of providing the lower levels the opportunity to experience the long format. I guess I just don't see how that serves the "needs of the few" at the very top of the sport.

Janet
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:34 AM
So, could you please provide some specifics around this?
Allowing half chaps (though they don't call them that).
The change from 5 to 4 total stops on cross country.
The change from 3 to 2 stops in show jumping (at Prelim and above).
The change in time penalties on show jumping (used to be 1/4 per sec, now 1 per sec)

Those are just the most recent chnges that come to mind without research, that are a DIRECT result of "following FEI".

Speedy
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:41 AM
Allowing half chaps (though they don't call them that).
The change from 5 to 4 total stops on cross country.
The change from 3 to 2 stops in show jumping (at Prelim and above).
The change in time penalties on show jumping (used to be 1/4 per sec, now 1 per sec)

Those are just the most recent chnges that come to mind without research, that are a DIRECT result of "following FEI".

They are good examples, but please tell me how they serve "the needs of the few"? One might make the argument that these are good changes intended to address some of the safety issues that we have all seen at all levels of the sport. If you are properly trained/prepared for the level, these changes shouldn't cause a whole lot of heartburn. And that's coming for someone who has been training and competing a 4 year old through her first season...I guess I'm still not getting it.

colliemom
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnep
Eventing in the US has given up its national identety and tries to be FEI from BN to A in order to furnish the needs of the a few.

Originally Posted by Speedy
I haven't had time to read the entire thread, but there are very few specifics mentioned in the posts that I have read, beyond those that relate in some way to the long v. short format debate.

So, could you please provide some specifics around this? I compete at the lower levels and I just don't see this. I compete under the basic rules that apply to everyone at recognized events and I am not subject to many of the FEI requirements that would apply if I were doing FEI events.


I don't know if this is what Gnep is referring to, but there have been many rule changes (can't bring specifics to mind at the moment, though) in recent years that were justified by nothing other than "to bring USEF in line with FEI Rules."

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:47 AM
Bornfree,

You highlight a HUGE thing about the hypocracy of the USEF and FEI. If they really want more commercialization they would GET RID of DRESSAGE and KEEP STEEPLECHASE. You want an exciting sport that the random public can get behind. That would be it.




My mare would REALLY like that sport!!!....so would I for that matter;) But then of course it really wouldn't be eventing any more.

JAM
Jul. 18, 2007, 12:25 PM
They are good examples, but please tell me how they serve "the needs of the few"? One might make the argument that these are good changes intended to address some of the safety issues that we have all seen at all levels of the sport. If you are properly trained/prepared for the level, these changes shouldn't cause a whole lot of heartburn. And that's coming for someone who has been training and competing a 4 year old through her first season...I guess I'm still not getting it.

The change in SJ penalties from 1/4 to 1 per second unquestionably has the effect of enhancing the significance of SJ to the final results and minimizing the significance of XC. This does change the face and focus of the sport. Recall the 04 Olympics when, Pippa Funnell aside, XC had little or no impact and SJ was determinative (though not b/c of time penalties :)), though I have seen lots of other events, lower and upper level, where SJ time penalties have been decisive). I don't regard this as a positive change or a change that addresses any of the safety issues we've been having.

I believe one could argue that the change from long to short format was FEI driven. There are those who might make the argument that this is a good change, but I would definitely not be among them. IIRC, the general belief is that this change *was* driven by a select few.

sm
Jul. 18, 2007, 12:28 PM
You highlight a HUGE thing about the hypocracy of the USEF and FEI. If they really want more commercialization they would GET RID of DRESSAGE and KEEP STEEPLECHASE. You want an exciting sport that the random public can get behind. That would be it.

Quite right on that observation. Ironically, the French are using “commercialization” as a way to get their version up and running, not just in Eventing but Jumping and Driving as well:

- “All three disciplines have been redesigned, within the framework of FEI regulations, to create a livelier, more spectacular and more entertaining event.”

- Of course they also mentioned another reason, “The first edition of R.I.D.E., organised in the Paris region in 2004, was approved unanimously by those primarily concerned: the competitors. Whatever the discipline, jumping, eventing or driving, riders and drivers appreciated the original concept of the competitions and their technical quality.” Both quotes excerpted from: http://www.aso-equitation.com/2007/us/organisation.html



The NRHA does thinks their way, they have not changed a bit, and the few that go to FEI competition have to do things both ways NRHA and FEI.

If they want to ride FEI they need horses that are 6 and older, if they do NRHA they use horses 3 and older for example. The NRHA does things their way, they don't give a dam about the USEF or the FEI on the national level, only on the international level do they obey the USEF and FEI.

That's what I'm talking about with independence and keeping the economic strength in North America. I used AQHA as an example in the past, here is yet another org that can protect it's members and it's sport.

sm
Jul. 18, 2007, 12:41 PM
Might just end up with well-meaning but ignorant thoughts because there's not enough depth of knowledge (not speaking of the entire list proposed, just parts of it).

The think tank could consist of horsemen and leaders like Wofford, Denny, course designers who understand cost, USEA safety committee, USEA Region leaders who also understand cost and what it'll take to implement the ideas discussed), etc. Maybe include international horsemen who can offer their perspective, esp if we are thinking of North American participation ultimately. Past coaches of USET: is the french coach who coached our USET team after he rode on France's Olympic team still around -- USA gave a horsemenship award to him, last I heard he was living in PA. Moderator a good idea, and bring the petition signed for long format:



I can envision the USEA holding a 2-3 day think tank, and inviting representatives from the various US eventing constituencies, riders at all the various levels, commercial sponsors like John Nunn, organizers at all levels, both rec and unrec, horse owners, USEF officers, USEA Board members, sports writers from the bigger magazines, Chronicle, Practical Horse, etc, land conservation groups, any and all concerned constituencies.
Place on the table the desire to create a 10 year model for USA eventing, recognizing that varying sectors of the same sport may have widely divergent needs.
Hire a professional moderator.
See what comes about, and in an open, totally transparent way, share the information with all of us.
Might that not be a way to go?

Speedy
Jul. 18, 2007, 01:09 PM
The change in SJ penalties from 1/4 to 1 per second unquestionably has the effect of enhancing the significance of SJ to the final results and minimizing the significance of XC. This does change the face and focus of the sport. Recall the 04 Olympics when, Pippa Funnell aside, XC had little or no impact and SJ was determinative (though not b/c of time penalties :)), though I have seen lots of other events, lower and upper level, where SJ time penalties have been decisive). I don't regard this as a positive change or a change that addresses any of the safety issues we've been having.

I believe one could argue that the change from long to short format was FEI driven. There are those who might make the argument that this is a good change, but I would definitely not be among them. IIRC, the general belief is that this change *was* driven by a select few.

Honestly, again, focusing at the lower levels (if that really is the base) - I don't see that this change really affects us. When I go to an event, I expect to have to excel in every way at every phase in order to win. When I am training, I don't place any particular emphasis on a phase because there is more weight from a scoring standpoint - I train my weaknesses and my horse's weaknesses and know that if I do my job in the ring or whatever, it will work out. I don't know too many people at the base that loose sleep over how the scoring is weighted - that is a concern that people competing at the upper levels tend to have and so I don't mind very much, if there is a change that will affect the upper levels. If they are competing internationally and expect to, well, be competitive, they need to adjust themselves accordingly. But, that doesn't affect my success at an event or my focus in training.

I think my point is that there is a lot of direction setting happening on this board, by folks who are not actually a part of the base. It doesn't necessarily make sense for those of us who are the base to get all riled up over some of these issues, because they haven't been addressed in a way that negatively affects us - and in fact - some changes have been to our benefit. I would again point you to the T3D and long format at the * level. Let's not allow ourselves to be manipulated by folks who have an agenda.

Gnep
Jul. 18, 2007, 01:51 PM
Course design, the national courses are becoming more technical, the amount of jumps, how many meters appart the jump are, how it shortens the gallops etc. it all gets adjusted according to the FEI recomendations.

snoopy
Jul. 18, 2007, 01:51 PM
[QUOTE=sm;2569102] Past coaches of USET: is the french coach who coached our USET team after he rode on France's Olympic team still around -- USA gave a horsemenship award to him, last I heard he was living in PA. QUOTE]


Yes I wonder what dear old Jack Le Goff would have to say on the subject....

RAyers
Jul. 18, 2007, 01:59 PM
Speedy,

If you want examples of how FEI regualtions affect the lower level rider, let's look at the economics. When a competition runs either a CIC or CCI, they must hire FEI vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc. Entry fees for the riders at those levels don't even come close to covering the costs. Guess who pays? You, with increased entry fees.

The FEI begins to define what and how courses must be designed. To save costs, it is pointless to create a seperate course for lower levels, so all courses become "mini" FEI courses which may be much more difficult than the weekend competitor expects. It also affects the green horse because they will be expected to step up in technical ability before they may be ready.

I am an amateur who has worked my way up the ranks from training. I am not sure what you are implying by "having an agenda." I know it is not personal but being from your background, I am sure as heck going to protect what was once there.

Reed

Janet
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:00 PM
Another example - tied to RAyers point.

It USED to be that there were "Two Day Events" and "CCN" (with stars) in the US. They were MUCH cheaper to run than a CCI- in part because you did not need to import foreign judges, and thus cheaper to enter. Because they counted (then) as qualifying competions for CCI, they attracted both the "elite" ULR (with International aspirations) and the "non-elite" ULR (without International aspirations). You could do a FULL FOrmat Threed Day Event, without needing to involve the FEI, either as organizer or competitor.

Then the FEI CHANGED the RULES, and said that ONLY CCI and CIC counted as "qualifying competitions" for CCI. CCN and Two Day Events no longer qualified you for a CCI. That meant that the ONLY people who would go to a CCN were non-elite ULR (without International aspirations).

Running a CCN or Two Day Event with a mixture of "elite" and "non-elite ULRs was financially possible. Running a CCN or Two Day Event with ONLY non-elite ULRs was NOT financially possible. So, while they are still in the rule book, there are very few (I think ONE, somewhere "out West") still in the calendar.

So the FEI rule change "killed" a whole segment of the calendar.

Again, it doesn't DIRECTLY affect the LLR, but it DOES affect the entire structure of the calendar.

Speedy
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:14 PM
Speedy,

If you want examples of how FEI regualtions affect the lower level rider, let's look at the economics. When a competition runs either a CIC or CCI, they must hire FEI vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc. Entry fees for the riders at those levels don't even come close to covering the costs. Guess who pays? You, with increased entry fees.

The FEI begins to define what and how courses must be designed. To save costs, it is pointless to create a seperate course for lower levels, so all courses become "mini" FEI courses which may be much more difficult than the weekend competitor expects. It also affects the green horse because they will be expected to step up in technical ability before they may be ready.


As a lower level rider I welcome all of the above (vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc.). These are actually the things that keep me going to recognized, rather than unrecognized, events. And, one day, I may be happy that they exist for me at the upper levels. We shall see. Right now, if the base is at the lower levels, I do not see anything negative in this.

In terms of the technicality of the courses at the lower levels, I am in Area II and I think the courses are pretty well designed and fair for the levels (and I am training and competing a 4 year old). When I go to an event, I do not feel overwhelmed by what is being asked of me or my horse - we have not been overfaced by anything we've seen this season and I actually think from time to time that it would be more fun if the questions were a bit MORE challenging than they are. This is an issue of proper training and preparation (something that IS lacking at the lower levels, unfortunately), not overly zealous course design (it is so easy and acceptable these days to blame others for our failures than to take responsibility for the training and prep required to safely event at ANY level).

As for the fees, if I have to pay higher costs to support the sport, I am fine with that. I think of it as a donation to a good cause because I'd like to see eventing survive in some form and, frankly, I don't think that's a given. If you work with a top tier trainer (yes, one of the dreaded "few") and keep your horses at a boarding facility, as I do, the fees really don't amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

OK, I realize that I have now outted myself as not being in step with many of the people who post here and I won't say any more on the subject. But, I think it's important to know that there are those of us who don't tow the BB line.

Janet
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:20 PM
As a lower level rider I welcome all of the above (vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc.). These are actually the things that keep me going to recognized, rather than unrecognized, events. And, one day, I may be happy that they exist for me at the upper levels. We shall see. Right now, if the base is at the lower levels, I do not see anything negative in this.
I think you are missing the point.

EVERY event needs/hires vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc. No one is suggesting running an event without them.

The point is that a CCI has to hire FEI-Licensed vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc. And quite a few of them have to be "non US" officials. They are considerably more expensive than USEF-licensed official, and the travel expenses are MUCH more.

colliemom
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:25 PM
Honestly, again, focusing at the lower levels (if that really is the base) - I don't see that this change really affects us. When I go to an event, I expect to have to excel in every way at every phase in order to win.

It used to be that the phases were designed to have different "weights" by design, so that each phase would be more or less influential on the overall outcome, with the emphasis always placed on Cross Country, followed (I believe?) by dressage, and then by Show Jumping. While this may still in fact exist in the verbiage of the rulebook (Janet??) it certainly does not exist in reality. These rule changes have seriously reduced the influence of cross country -- at all levels -- resulting in a sport that has a different profile.

Speedy
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:26 PM
I think you are missing the point.

EVERY event needs/hires vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc. No one is suggesting running an event without them.

The point is that a CCI has to hire FEI-Licensed vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc. And quite a few of them have to be "non US" officials. They are considerably more expensive than USEF-licensed official, and the travel expenses are MUCH more.

No, not really missing the point. Happy to pay them! Obviously I am feeling irritable and argumentative today :)

RAyers
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:36 PM
Janet, not to mention the CIC and CCI XC courses have to be up to FEI specs which means added costs for the fences, tracks etc.

Basically a WHOLE second set of officials are hired so while, you, Speedy, go around at, let's say Training, there is a bucnh of folks only focused on the CIC/CCI. So, your entry fee pays for a whole set of officials and efforts of which YOU have NO part. If you are happy to pay for that, enjoy. I liked it when I could run 2 events at Prelim for $250 total entry fees and get to have Mr. LeGoff be my judge.

Reed

Janet
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:48 PM
No, not really missing the point. Happy to pay them! Obviously I am feeling irritable and argumentative today :)
I expect that the majority of the LLR are a little more concerned about costs.

JAM
Jul. 18, 2007, 03:52 PM
Speedy -- I don't think it's a question of not toe-ing the BB line -- there have been a variety of viewpoints expressed on this thread, and they have all been expressed in a constructive, respectful fashion -- I don't see a party line here.

I do think that what Reed, Janet and I have been trying to say is that there have undoubtedly been changes resulting from the acceptance/use of, or capitulation to, the FEI model that have affected the lower as well as upper levels -- increased costs of lower level events, more technical (perhaps even overly technical) XC fences at lower levels, greater emphasis in scoring on phases other XC, etc. As one lower level rider, you may be indifferent to or supportive of these changes, but that does not mean the changes haven't happened and it doesn't mean that there is not a whole lot of other lower level riders out there, myself included, who are decidedly against these changes.

As Denny's original post that kicked this all off reflects, there does not seem to be any question that, at the lower levels, the USEA and recognized events are losing market share to the unrecognized events, and the questions are (i) why; (ii) do we care; and (iii) if we do care, how do we address the situation. Your vote on #2 seems to be no -- and I don't say that pejoratively; that's a perfectly legitimate viewpoint -- but realize that in adhering to that view, you risk the future well-being of the lower level recognized events and the adoption of further changes with which you may not be so happy.



As a lower level rider I welcome all of the above (vets, TDs, judges, course designers, etc.). These are actually the things that keep me going to recognized, rather than unrecognized, events. And, one day, I may be happy that they exist for me at the upper levels. We shall see. Right now, if the base is at the lower levels, I do not see anything negative in this.

In terms of the technicality of the courses at the lower levels, I am in Area II and I think the courses are pretty well designed and fair for the levels (and I am training and competing a 4 year old). When I go to an event, I do not feel overwhelmed by what is being asked of me or my horse - we have not been overfaced by anything we've seen this season and I actually think from time to time that it would be more fun if the questions were a bit MORE challenging than they are. This is an issue of proper training and preparation (something that IS lacking at the lower levels, unfortunately), not overly zealous course design (it is so easy and acceptable these days to blame others for our failures than to take responsibility for the training and prep required to safely event at ANY level).

As for the fees, if I have to pay higher costs to support the sport, I am fine with that. I think of it as a donation to a good cause because I'd like to see eventing survive in some form and, frankly, I don't think that's a given. If you work with a top tier trainer (yes, one of the dreaded "few") and keep your horses at a boarding facility, as I do, the fees really don't amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

OK, I realize that I have now outted myself as not being in step with many of the people who post here and I won't say any more on the subject. But, I think it's important to know that there are those of us who don't tow the BB line.

Whisper
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:02 PM
As Denny's original post that kicked this all off reflects, there does not seem to be any question that, at the lower levels, the USEA and recognized events are losing market share to the unrecognized events, and the questions are (i) why; (ii) do we care; and (iii) if we do care, how do we address the situation.
I'm confused. I went back and re-read Denny's initial post, and it was about Preliminary and above, and what direction Eventing as a whole is going in. Most unrecognized events I've seen do not offer Prelim, or at most offer an easier "Intro to Prelim".

I'm hoping to do my first recognized BN in the next couple of months. I've won my last three outings at BN (two HTs, one CT), and attended other unrecognized events at 3 other venues, as well as doing some H/J and dressage schooling shows. I didn't percieve any of those as competing with recognized HTs for my money, nor that of the other people who competed there. Some, like me, didn't feel ready to try recognized yet. Others do regularly attend recognized competitions, but wanted a low-key outing that was nearby. Most weren't scheduled at the same time as recognized HTs in the state, and the few exceptions were several hours away. I could just stick to H/J and dressage schooling shows, and do some Hunter Paces, instead of attending unrecognized HTs until I was ready to go, but I'm thrilled that I had the option of experiencing all three phases. :D

If recognized competitions seem to be losing market share in your area to the unrecognized ones, perhaps the organizers can coordinate better so that there are fewer conflicts? Encourage volunteers and competitors to attend both, by advertising at each other's websites, helping each other distribute flyers to tack/feed stores, getting onto the local horsey event lists, perhaps even giving volunteers at one a small financial break on entry or schooling at the other? Could portable fences and heavy machinery be used at both venues to cut down on operating expenses? I don't have the answers here, obviously, since I'm just starting to get involved as a participant, and I've only volunteered as a jump judge, not as an organizer. I'd really hope though that the various events can find ways to work together, rather than competing against each other. That way, everyone wins!

JAM
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:24 PM
Sorry, Whisper, I was mistaken -- it was not this thread, but another thread that Denny started about the cost difference b/w recognized and unrecognized events. I think the sense there, though I'm not sure there are hard data to back it up, is that unrecognized events in some areas are growing significantly in competitor attendance (both people who are switching, for at least some if not all of their events, from recognized to unrecognized, and people just starting out who are going and staying in unrecognized) and that there are some organizers who find the bureaucracy, extra cost, extra staffing, etc., required to run a recognized event not worth the trouble and are therefore going unrecognized (or disappearing altogether).

Whisper
Jul. 18, 2007, 11:34 PM
No problem, I remember that thread, now that you mentioned it. Actually, I think I posted something along the same lines there. I really hope that it doesn't need to be an adversarial situation. I don't think it is, in my area, but it may be in other parts of the country where there are more events vying for the same riders, volunteers, and dates. I really think that having the unrec. events is great for people and horses who are new to eventing, but I don't think that rec. events should all stick to Prelim and above, either. I'm really looking forward to moving up as soon as I can, but I'll probably still do some unrec. competitions as well. :D

Most of the people I know who do both give the rec. competitions their priority, and do the unrec. ones when there isn't a conflict or if they need the extra schooling after an injury or before a move up.

Gnep
Jul. 19, 2007, 01:19 AM
Whisper.
Unrecognized are a great roots affair, some are small some are big. We have one in Area 10 that has a turn out that rivals any of our recognized shows. than there is a nother one that runs on the same level as regs, same courses same stadium etc.. They do everything the same as on their regular show, but for less, they even have the CD on hand.

That brings me to a nother question, double standard, maybe. According to the rules the CD is not only responsebil for the x-c but for the stadium, too.
So even if a show has a stadium course designer and pay for him/her the stadium has to be signed of by the CD.
So how can it be possible, that at most shows the CD is not present. How can the CD sign of on stadium, his/her responsebility, according to the rules.

Or even better, how can it be that a CD has never seen the course he/she designed. Yes they walked it with the builder, put this one here, that one there, spread here, vertikal here, combi there and so on, and than might see the course a year later ( actually I know some of those courses and they had some rather badly placed jumps, or rather dangerous jumps ).

Or the CD just appears in the Omnibus, I know some of them, troubling, upper level stuff.

So how does all of that complies with the rules, or are the rules putting to much stress on to few, or are the orgs turning away, because they are certified officials, or is having a CD around to expensive for the show.

Designing and building a X-C is realy a mayor feat and it needs endles tweaking. And even tweaking during the show and especialy for the next show. One only knows, if things has been right, after the horses come back, or you have actually seen how they jump it.
The rule for a CD only makes sence if the CD has to watch what he/she designed and the same for the stadium rule.
Either those rules are enforced or they are just a burden on organizer and the riders.

pwynnnorman
Jul. 19, 2007, 11:38 AM
I was reading through an old Eventing, the Jan/Feb issue of last year (maybe--I'm not sure and I can't look it up right now cuz I'm in the library--network is down at home), but anyway, in that issue somewhere was something about some committee that met during the convention to discuss "the direction of the sport" (or something worded very similarly).

Does anyone remember what came out of that meeting?

[BTW, going back to your concern, LisaB, I eventing in my late teens, early 20s--on a 14.1h pony and a Connemara cousin to the one, Karen, coincidentally, was riding around the same time. I even managed a few top placings and a win, believe it or not--and more recently, I schooled and rode Teddy throughout his first season eventing in all but the events themselves...But I do think you make an excelent point about needing to appreciate MORE the contemporary hoops LLRs have to jump through in entering/participating in events today (so much so that I'd sure hope a good representation of LLRs--those competing several times per month AND those who can only manage one a month or less) would be in on any think tank meeting. I also would hope that several types of event managers (unrecognized through CIC) would be able to voice their opinions. I wish more were here, on this thread, in fact. The organizers' viewpoint must be a fascinating and vital one within this issue, I would think.]

LLDM
Jul. 19, 2007, 06:28 PM
I've been reading this thread with great interest. And one of the things I think muddies the waters quite a bit is that I don't really think the demarcation line is really between Amateurs and Professionals. Not that I do know where and what that line is - but I would hazard to guess it is more complicated than that.

If I had to guess, I would say that there are those who consider eventing a hobby, those who consider it a sport, and those who consider it their life (be it their livelihood, business or obsession). But that is just a guess.

In 2005 (I believe) the USDF did a rather extensive survey with the goal of identifying just who their membership was. Although I found it a bit intrusive, I also thought it was a rather good idea - so I did fully participate. The results were enlightening, on many levels, and useful on many levels - including the development of programs and sponsors. I also know the Brits are very good about knowing their membership base and using the demographics to attract sponsors and advertisers. Maybe it is something the USEA might consider doing - if for no other reason than to figure out how to attract more members and money.

In abstract, I came back to eventing because it allows me to focus on the most well rounded development of my horses, with the competition as the test of the training. It really is that simple for me. So to me, the competition is not the goal, but the objective assessment of how the training process is coming along. But tests are good - they keep me motivated. :yes:

But I do worry that all our orgs are built around the competitions and thus the whole focus on the process tends to get less attention. This IMHO is where the trainers get the short end of the stick. It has to be tough to try and teach riding and horsemanship to a student for an hour a week. It's an odd model. Not that I know how to fix it. It does make me pine for a system like the BHS (not that it's perfect) - but how many people can manage to do the working student thing?

I think it would be helpful to do something like more clubs, camps and clinics which are as much about managing one's horse as an athlete as they are about riding skills. Because we do need to employ our pros to teach more than just riding and coaching at events. Or force them to live off commissions. We need a better, more realistic business model for them.

Maybe this isn't "the vision" Denny had in mind. But I think it might be the reasonable precursor to it.

SCFarm

denny
Jul. 19, 2007, 09:02 PM
I don`t know what "the vision" is, or ought to be, without the benefit of some type of summit meeting/think tank, where all constituencies are given the chance to say their say.
In other words, my own idea of an agenda is to figure out how to create an agenda that embraces all the "pieces" that seem to be spinning randomly all around, all of which are labelled "eventing".
Who would convene such a meeting, or who would be invited to attend, or how it would be structured, all of these are unanswered questions.
Maybe they`ll stay unanswered, or maybe someone will run with it. We`ll have to wait and see, I guess.

JER
Jul. 19, 2007, 09:16 PM
denny, didn't endurance go through a similar crisis in the 70s? The FEI stepped in at some point and started making demands and the traditional US endurance crowd objected?

Some of the prestige events of endurance in the US -- the Tevis Cup, for example -- are not run under the auspices of the FEI but others - like the AERC National Championships -- are FEI events.

It seems to be working for endurance and the endurance riders I know are far more anti-authoritarian than your average eventer. Perhaps there's something we can learn from them?

TB or not TB?
Jul. 19, 2007, 11:18 PM
Who would convene such a meeting, or who would be invited to attend, or how it would be structured, all of these are unanswered questions.

We can have it at my house. I'll make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone. :yes: The whole lot of you can come.

Drvmb1ggl3
Jul. 20, 2007, 03:16 AM
denny, didn't endurance go through a similar crisis in the 70s? The FEI stepped in at some point and started making demands and the traditional US endurance crowd objected?

Some of the prestige events of endurance in the US -- the Tevis Cup, for example -- are not run under the auspices of the FEI but others - like the AERC National Championships -- are FEI events.

It seems to be working for endurance and the endurance riders I know are far more anti-authoritarian than your average eventer. Perhaps there's something we can learn from them?

Learn how to become less competitive on the international stage maybe?
Endurance used to be a sport completely and utterly dominated by the US. Now it's all French, Italian, Spanish, Australians and UAE, and a US rider is lucky to break the top fifteen or twenty.

ambar
Jul. 20, 2007, 04:40 AM
Learn how to become less competitive on the international stage maybe?
Endurance used to be a sport completely and utterly dominated by the US. Now it's all French, Italian, Spanish, Australians and UAE, and a US rider is lucky to break the top fifteen or twenty.

Some of that has been attributed to the tendency of FEI endurance events, outside North America, to aim for flat/fast "racing" courses, rather than the technical mountain courses like Tevis, Old Dominion, or the Big Horn. Those are very different kinds of events.

Gnep
Jul. 20, 2007, 10:03 AM
dvmb....

but has that hurt endurance, that US riders are now happy if they break into the top 20 internationaly.

JER
Jul. 20, 2007, 11:07 AM
Learn how to become less competitive on the international stage maybe?
Endurance used to be a sport completely and utterly dominated by the US. Now it's all French, Italian, Spanish, Australians and UAE, and a US rider is lucky to break the top fifteen or twenty.

I think most US riders would rather have that Tevis belt buckle -- and for good reason.

sm
Jul. 20, 2007, 12:35 PM
Can the USEventing.com IT Dept get an online questionnaire up, with a poll feature to questions asked so one can view results (like the COTH fearture here)? IT Dept can trap the data, yield percentages, and it all can be part of the USEA records (as opposed to talking in a room).

Play your cards right :) and one can include unrecognized eventers as well as sponsors and, well, the long list of people you'd want input from:


I don`t know what "the vision" is, or ought to be, without the benefit of some type of summit meeting/think tank, where all constituencies are given the chance to say their say.
In other words, my own idea of an agenda is to figure out how to create an agenda that embraces all the "pieces" that seem to be spinning randomly all around, all of which are labelled "eventing".
Who would convene such a meeting, or who would be invited to attend, or how it would be structured, all of these are unanswered questions.
Maybe they`ll stay unanswered, or maybe someone will run with it. We`ll have to wait and see, I guess.

hey101
Jul. 20, 2007, 12:58 PM
Somewhere back in the middle of this thread, someone commented that the Europeans have made even more changes to their sport to conform to FEI. Does anyone know, or can any of the Europeans on this forum comment on, how the lower-level bases in those countries feel about the changes (loss of three-days, increasing emphasis on dressage/ SJ, etc)- is there the same outcry from the plebes that there is in the US?

For me personally, I used to have aspirations to ride at the upper levels, but those dreams are fading a bit as the rest of life intervenes, I get older, and I hate admitting this, but after a bad fall and injury last year I'm definitely a bit more cautious. Right now a Novice course is looking like a Trainig course to me anyway (because of my fall) combined with the fact that courses ARE harder than they were even a few years ago! I am going to stay where I'm comfortable for awhile. I guess it would take the right horse for me to go higher than Prelim, but it's not going to consume my life if it never happens.

As a lower-level rider, I'm happy that full-format CCI's are still available at the 1-star level and that seems like a perfectly reasonable goal to me. If and when I finally do one, I'm going to approach it as "what are the challenges of the XC course NOW, not what were they 10 years ago and oh my how things have changed". If I decide that a CCI* NOW is too hard for me, for whatever reason, well then my goals will get re-adjusted.

And, as the cost of eventing continues to go up, I'm finding myself starting to make other choices. I was looking through my omnibus last night and it would be almost $400 per horse (including everything) for me to do a recognzied event out here in SoCal!! :eek::eek: Not to mention that it seems like ALL the events out here run Fri-Sun- so that is two days off from work. I just don't see the value in that for anything lower than Prelim. I've found I'm enjoying trail-riding more with my husband, right now due to my location it's easier for me to focus on dressage and show-jumping, which will make it harder to progress in XC, and I keep saying this, but I really want to get more involved in fox-hunting. If it really costs that much to event out here, I will most likely do a lot of XC schooling and unrecognized HT's, and maybe one recognized a year, at least up and until I get back to Prelim. I just can't justify $800 and two days off for one weekend of showing.

So that was a lot of rambling to say... basically I agree with whoever said there's a lower-level through Prelim divide and a Prelim through upper level divide in US eventing right now. And that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Hannahsmom
Jul. 20, 2007, 01:49 PM
Can the USEventing.com IT Dept get an online questionnaire up, with a poll feature to questions asked so one can view results (like the COTH fearture here)? IT Dept can trap the data, yield percentages, and it all can be part of the USEA records (as opposed to talking in a room)

The problem is you don't want people to 'stuff the ballot box'. That isn't a good way to gain statistics. One needs to make sure people are only voting once. I think the USEA does a good job of sending out questionnaires when appropriate, but the membership needs to respond to those questionnaires when they do come out.

sm
Jul. 20, 2007, 05:19 PM
One could have one vote per USEA number. Then you would have the competition level which would be interesting.

All the online version does is eliminate the paperwork and manual recording generated from mailed in questionnaires.

Maybe it's password protected and everyone gets a different password and allowed one vote only. The password for USEA members would be their number. Anyone else you want voting would be assigned a specific password. Wow, is that difficult or not for the IT Dept? I have no idea, but manually reading then recording questionnaires isn't easy....

pwynnnorman
Jul. 20, 2007, 06:01 PM
The technical aspects of doing a survey should be absolutely no big deal. You can even hire an online service to do it for you. I have my media research classes do surverys via online resources all the time. Some applications set up a unique identifier for each respondant automatically (as long as they use the same computer).