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pwynnnorman
Nov. 11, 2007, 05:13 PM
Can we discuss this--because I read the article (COTH, Nov. 9) with interest, but there were many things mentioned that I simply don't understand well enough to consider.

What exactly is the nature of an "add back," for example? I notice how CT uses the term in reference to urging pros to themselves invest in the sport, but because I don't understand the term, I don't understand how add backs would do that.

Also, aren't there rider's representatives on committees--somewhere? Is it that they are on some committees, but not on others--like those involved in scheduling events?

And by the following, did he mean NOT to do drug testing--or only do them at some levels--and if so, which ones and/or when?



Had a riders’ association been consulted it is not impossible to imagine that instead of drug testing of horses at all levels, funded by an entry surcharge as we currently have, we might instead have had a surcharge that funded prize money, footing research or promotional campaigns, all of which would be more useful.


And what would be the advantages and/or disadvantages to allowing riders (as a group) to overrule the ground jury at events? Is CT correct when he indicates that...



Quite often a ground jury member has less experience than most active, professional riders.


Just out of curiousity, what kinds of things have occurred because of that, if it's accurate?

And just one more:


In turn [after receiving a loan to improve facilities/courses] the USEA and USEF could require events that want to be sanctioned to invest a percentage of their annual gross back into the venue.


Again, I'm asking because I'm ignorant, OK? There's a conversation on the H-J board (or there was) similar to this: how much money do events make?

Anyway, that's jsut the beginning. It is a wonderfully long and in-depth article that brings up just a huge, huge number of issues. Kudos to him for writing it -- he states some very challenging things that show quite a lot of courage, IMO -- but what about those things? With the convention coming up, I'm intrigued by the issues (in a living-vicariously way, since I can't even attend the convention, boo-hoo).

denny
Nov. 11, 2007, 05:27 PM
My first impression was that Craig thinks that the "pros" are poorly represented on the various boards.
So my second thought was, well, this is a democracy, so state your case, run for office, and if you have a compelling enough case, you`ll get elected onto those boards whose leadership you question.
Then you`ll be in a position to effect change, instead of feeling left out.

flutie1
Nov. 11, 2007, 06:01 PM
I've also read Craig's article with interest. Like Wynn, I think he does raise some valid issues, and I too admire him for asking tough questions, whether or not I personally agree with the potential answers they might evoke.

I sit on a number of USEA committees, and I would like to add a sidebar to one of his observations. Committees are constantly seeking, for lack of a better description, high profile upper level riders to become involved because it is imperative that the voices of these active athletes be heard. With a few exceptions, however, committee members are often disappointed by the participation by these individuals in the ensuing meetings, conference calls, e mail exchanges, etc. They are busy people, granted. So are we, but many of us manage to make time.

So Craig, in reality, you guys aren't excluded. We just don't hear you because frequently, you aren't there!

Flutie

GotSpots
Nov. 11, 2007, 06:26 PM
I've not read the article, but I would comment that in my experience, it's tremendously easy to get involved if someone wants to. The riders who have wanted to get involved contribute alot. Karen O'Connor has been a member of USEF Eventing Technical committee, I think she's been on the BOG, and is seriously involved with ICP. Darren Chiacchia has given enormous amounts of time to the Professional Horseman's Council and the Young Event Horse program. Bonnie Mosser, Gina Miles, and many others have run seminars at convention. Other upper level riders who have time are on committees, serve as rider representatives at events, work hard to further the ICP and YEH programs, and work with USEF, including folks like Erik and Sara Dierks, Allison Springer, Bobby Costello, and many others. The half star grew out of the Area II adult riders, was supported by thousands of hours of hard work by both the amateurs and the many, many professionals and ULRs who donate time and money every year, and buoyed by Denny and Kevin Baumgardner's task force, which included both dedicated amateurs and professionals. Across the country, it has become a hugely successful program (supported by the amazingly hard work of USEA's staff and all of the organizers and volunteers who bust their tails to make them very special events).

In short, I suspect that if folks want to become involved, there's alot of room to have at it, and in most instances, ULRs re involved because they choose to be. Does it take a time commitment? Sure. But I'd be darned if I'd ever see someone saying nope, don't need you. It's more the other way around - like Flutie, I can recall several times begging upper level riders to become involved (or drafting them outright).

LisaB
Nov. 12, 2007, 08:37 AM
The add back, I think of this idea as the check boxes on you tax return. Make it optional if you want to pay an $10 for the local animal shelter or ICP program, etc.

The GJ has less experience than ULR, like Bruce Davidson. Ummm, your point? There are rules, the GJ is the enforcer of the rules, period. Like my hubby is a cop. We he has to bust a drunk driver who flailing around, peeing on themselves, it's the law that this person gets locked up. And the hubby has never been busted DUI nor peeing on himself (just bushes and inanimate objects). But he's the enforcer of the laws. He knows the laws, procedures, and actions needed to enforce them. The drunk person obviously doesn't.

Events don't make sh-. All the blood sweat and tears that the organizers and others do is out of shear enjoyment of holding the event. That said, if they are wise, they WILL give back to the venue so they can keep holding events at that venue.
As far as representation of the ULR's, who said they were excluded? I mean really. The majority of ULR's do not have a lick of time to spend on committees and what-not. They don't have the well-oiled barn machines like the O'Connors. They all strive for that, sure. But they are not there yet. It's enough to keep the barn up and compete!
I like that C.T. is giving us some thought provoking articles. He's definitely an idea man. One will certainly hit the mark.

bambam
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:02 AM
The only circumstance I can think of (and I am certainly not in the know so there could be lots of others for all I know) where ULRs' knowledge/perspective/whatever came up against the GJ and perhaps should have won out, was Burghley a few years ago (think it was Burghley) where the rider representatives protested one of the jumps and its safety. IIRC, the GJ may have made a modification but not the one the riders wanted and the fence ended up causing several falls and injuries (I think that is where one of Jan Byyny's horse fell and broke a couple of ribs?). I may be misrembering this incident. In a jump safety context, the ULR's may indeed have more and better experience than the GJ. However, having some sort of procedure for rider's overruling the GJ would be very sticky to set up in a way that does not have serious and unintended results.
And if he is advocating cutting drug testing and using those fees for prize money- big emphatic no on that one. yes the prize money generally stinks in this sport and that makes it hard on the pros- but dumping drug testing?! uhn-uhn :no:

AM
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:03 AM
I think the Add Back is a little different from what Lisa described. I've seen it in a few Omnibus listings where one division is designated as an Add Back and everyone entering that division pays an additional amount of money to create a prize fund for that division. So if thirty riders enter and pay an additional $10, there is $300 dollars in prize money for that division. It's basically gambling that you will place high enough to win back more than you invested in the prize pool.

flyingchange
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:23 AM
My first impression was that Craig thinks that the "pros" are poorly represented on the various boards.
So my second thought was, well, this is a democracy, so state your case, run for office, and if you have a compelling enough case, you`ll get elected onto those boards whose leadership you question.
Then you`ll be in a position to effect change, instead of feeling left out.

ditto.

fooler
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:32 AM
Agree, his article is challenging and it was very courageous to put these items on the table.

It has been years since I did a 'horse show', such as western pleasure + timed events, etc. But at those shows the prize money was based in part by the number of entries. So if 15 folks entered the barrel race at 10.00 each that is 150.00. Say 1/2 goes back to the show committee for expenses and the remaing 75.00 is available for prize money to be added to the funds already stated. Not much money for one class, but if you have timed event horses and enter 3-4+ classes (barrels, pole bending, etc) you can make a little profit.
I believe that is what he is advocating - the competitors pay an increased entry fee expecting all or part of the increase to go the 'pot'. The 'pot' will be added to the stated prize money and divided amongst the winners. So the more entries, the greater the prize money.

The un-intended consequences of riders overruling the GJ makes my head spin. There are processes already in place if competitors believe an official is 'unsafe'. Also when in doubt go home - that speaks volumes. True you have to foreit your entry - but what is more important when safety is involved - money or yours & your horse's health?

I don't really understand where he is going with the drug testing comment. Best to hear from him.

As for most of the remaining comments - I agree with others, either ask to be on the committees or partner with current committees members. Present your thoughts and concerns to those members so they will be presented to the complete committee. It is like voting - if you don't make time to go to the polls, don't complain about who is in office.
And we all have to deal with time, money and relationship restraints, pros and ammys alike.

asterix
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:46 AM
bambam, I _think_ the incident you refer to was at Burghley the year my trainer ran there (2 or 3 years ago) -- WFP, as rider rep, wanted them to either shorten distance or raise optimum time on steeplechase because of the very heavy going, and to provide an option at one of the last complexes on the course, where there was no option.
I think both of these request were declined. There was actually a fatality (rider) at the complex in question the next day, in addition to a number of other problems. The footing was apparently very, very tiring for the horses around the course.

Other than this incident, I am not aware either of what sorts of problems occur with riders vs. GJs of this sort. In any event, the protocol for an FEI level event might not transfer to the local event. Dunno. I hope us non-subscribers can get a chance to see Craig's article -- sounds like lots of fodder for discussion.

Janet
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:58 AM
The ULRider may have more experience RIDING.
But, in general, the GJ has more experience officiating.

How are you going to decide WHICH riders "get to over-rule" the GJ?

If officials demonstrate bad judgement, there are already procedures in place- you can send a letter, or an evaluation form, to the Licensed Officials Committee. (This is copmpletely separate from the event evaluation form).

flutie1
Nov. 12, 2007, 11:33 AM
"... How are you going to decide WHICH riders "get to over-rule" the GJ?"

The loudest and most obnoxious!

:-)

bambam
Nov. 12, 2007, 12:13 PM
"... How are you going to decide WHICH riders "get to over-rule" the GJ?"

The loudest and most obnoxious!

:-)
and there lies the problem :) (or at least one of many that pop to my mind in contemplating allowing this)
and asterix is correct that is the event I was thinking of- I could not remember if it was the complex where the rider was killed and so did not want to mention it

RAyers
Nov. 12, 2007, 12:25 PM
The definition of irony:

A pro feels that they are underrepresented on committees. The lower level riders feel that the USEF does not appropriately support the non-high performance riders.

Reed

flutie1
Nov. 12, 2007, 12:39 PM
EEEK, Reed. You give me a migraine! Just wait 'til the results of next year's massive Maui tree planting!


The sad thing is, your ironical observation it totally right on.

Sigh ..............

flutie

Go Time
Nov. 12, 2007, 01:41 PM
I liked the article, this does not mean that I agree with all of the content. The fact that Craig is thinking about these issues so much that he took the time to write about them, tells me he is serious. And I apprecitate that. I think it is a good thing to get the communication lines open and to get people talking about the direction of the sport that we all love so much.

Regarding not drug testing at all levels. I totally agree. Is it really necessary to drug test at the BN/N/T levels? Really, what is the point in this? These levels are not recognized by the USEF. And if someone is using illegal substances at these levels then they are going to get weeded out by the time they get to Preliminary. Why not give the starter/drug fee from these levels right back to the event to use in bettering footing, building a few new jumps, etc. Definately food for thought.

The other thought that hit home for me was about the riders vs. the ground jury. This is a sticky situation. I don't know how in the world you could even begin to figure out the logistics of a rule like this, but agree there needs to be one. As an example; I was at an event early last spring. The start of the cross-country for the A/I horses was delayed for about 45 minutes because of sun glare. Good decision. The next morning the sun was just as bad for the start of the P/T/N divisions. The ground jury chose to start on time. Several of the first P rides were ULR's on their younger horses. They called the TD over and asked her to please delay the start because of the glare. She assured everyone that the course was safe. So one of the ULR's said "are you sure jump #4 is safe? Your jumping directly into the sun. We can't even see the warm-up jumps that are pointed that way. So she went out and looked at it. Had the ground crew MOVE the jump to a different angle. She came back to the warm-up and told the rider's the jump had been moved. They were like "moved? how do we know what line to take now? We've already walked the course and now it's different." So then, they asked about another jump and wanted her to go look at it. She came back and reported that she thought and I quote "it's safe enough" The riders were like "safe enough?" She said "oh come on, you fox-hunt, are you telling me you can't jump a fence with a little glare on it" The riders said "no, we can't" Anyways, this went on and on. They ended up having her go check out several more jumps that were pointing east. So, in the end, they got their way because they had the TD running around the course for about 45 minutes checking this and that. The riders were absolutely RIGHT. They were the ones putting the safety of themselves and their horses on the line. The TD was absolutely WRONG. I just kept thinking that I was so glad that it was a group of ULR's, because no way would the TD have listened to anyone else. She barely listened to them. Nor, do I think a group of amatuer riders would have had the nerve to call out a TD.

blackwly
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:00 PM
My 2 cents...

Drug testing the lower levels is important. Few upper level horses will last for long at all if they are relying on forbidden substances...however, one can certainly imagine a scenario where a novice or training packer is kept (ilegally) sound enough on bute, etc and wins its way around a season. Just because the horse will never go prelim doesn't make it fair to the other novice/training riders who are competing on unmedicated horses. The basic principles of sportsmanship and safety should apply to our lowest levels as well as our highest.

Allowing riders to "outvote" the ground jury seems very, very shady. This also seems to very much favor the big-name pros who have more influence, more competing students, etc, etc. I can imagine a scenario where you have a BNR in 1st place lobbying for a speed reduction on xcountry because of "poor footing" when in fact they don't want to run their horse that fast on a particular weekend, but they don't want to sacrifice the win. In a sport that can be very political at the upper levels, I can imagine a lot of pressure for the B-tier upper level riders to vote along with the BNRs in a way that could very much alter the competition. I think that if you don't like the way officials officiate, you should get involved in the process we use to train them. Otherwise you should let them do their job, which is to keep the playing field as safe and level as possible.

The bottom line- if you think something is unsafe and that you know better than the ground jury, you should stick to your guns: by slowing down, taking the option, or scratching and coming to play another day. That can feel crummy- I know, because I've given up wins that way- but that's sports.

LisaB
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:06 PM
GoTime,
Sounds yucky! I know I've mentioned a couple of times about jumps. One, I got the shaft (and rightly so after jumping it swimmingly well) and the other was omitted. This was before rider reps came into play. Sorry it's like that but I've felt otherwise. Maybe because all the td's around here know I have a big mouth. I also present it in such a way as asking a question about a jump and returning with my thoughts.
I've found that the GJ, judges, organizers, etc. are people and really don't mean any harm or bad feelings. aahhh, getting on my soapbox ...
Anyway, around here, there are some unscrupulous people who do drug horses. Unfortunate and stupid at the lower levels but true. I've been questioned before on a particularly athletic looking OTTB who was falling asleep all the time. Nope, just watch the idiot on x-c and you'll see.
Oh yeah, I wanted to add another way of thinking about the pro thing. I discuss with my instructor certain topics that would affect her or her operation and ask her opinion. She doesn't have time to sit down and write responses or articles about whatever topic it is. She knows my big mouth and I will try to project what her responses are because I support her and wouldn't want to see anything jeopardize her aspirations. I'm sure there are others out there that do the same.

flutie1
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:33 PM
"... Is it really necessary to drug test at the BN/N/T levels?"

This comment scares the living hell out of me!

(note to blackwly - bute is legal up to a certain amount until one gets to the FEI level)

Janet
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:36 PM
[quote=flutie1;2797921

The sad thing is, your ironical observation it totally right on.


flutie[/quote]
But maybe that is a good thing. If BOTH "sides" think the other has the better deal, it may actually be a good balance!

Go Time
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:37 PM
blackwly and Lisb

I totally see what both of you are saying.

I guess maybe I am dumb enough to believe in the good of people, and didn't even think about the medicated packers cleaning up. But, I definately see your point.

I also think the "out-vote" thing is really sticky. But, unfortunatley have seen a need for it.

I too agree that the officals, organizers,etc. are good people who don't mean any harm.

I too have scratched lot's of times because I wasn't sure about something for my particular horse. And at the end of the day, he is most important to me.

It's a good discussion. thanks!!!!

Whisper
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:40 PM
Yeah, while I'd hope that everyone would comply with the drug rules, I'd think that lower level horses would be more likely than upper level horses to be getting help of that sort. :(
RAyers, I guess I just don't see how that is ironic particularly - the committee members, who aren't upper-level riders, are focusing on what they think the ULRs want instead of on the bulk of the membership. The ULRs don't necessarily agree with the committee members on what is best for *them*, but don't take the time to volunteer or contact USEA to let them know what they want. It's just bad communication all around, I think.

Janet
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:41 PM
Regarding not drug testing at all levels. I totally agree. Is it really necessary to drug test at the BN/N/T levels? Really, what is the point in this? These levels are not recognized by the USEF. And if someone is using illegal substances at these levels then they are going to get weeded out by the time they get to Preliminary.
A - I DO know of positive test results at BN and N (read the back of Equestrian regularly).
B - They are ENDORSED by USEF.
C - Something like 80% of the horses and riders at BN, N and T are NEVER going to get to Prelim, so they won't get "weeded out" there.
D - It actually scares me MORE to have a BN rider out on a medicated horse (either "behavior modifying" or "pain killer") than a Prelim rider.

Janet
Nov. 12, 2007, 02:45 PM
The other thought that hit home for me was about the riders vs. the ground jury. ... The next morning the sun was just as bad for the start of the P/T/N divisions. The ground jury chose to start on time. Several of the first P rides were ULR's on their younger horses. ... So, in the end, they got their way because they had the TD running around the course for about 45 minutes checking this and that. The riders were absolutely RIGHT. So, you are saying that the current system WORKED. When the ULRs pointed out an issue to the TD, she investigated it. No rule change needed.

Go Time
Nov. 12, 2007, 03:00 PM
Janet, Yes the current system did work. But it was a battle.

I didn't realize drug use at the lower levels was so rampant.
It never occurs to me that just because I'm honest some other's may not be.

Thanks for pointing that out.

RAyers
Nov. 12, 2007, 03:01 PM
At the risk of sounding like a bore at parties, that is the definition of irony. It is the incongruity between the words people are saying versus the preception (real or otherwise) the people experience. ;)


Reed


Yeah, while I'd hope that everyone would comply with the drug rules, I'd think that lower level horses would be more likely than upper level horses to be getting help of that sort. :(
RAyers, I guess I just don't see how that is ironic particularly - the committee members, who aren't upper-level riders, are focusing on what they think the ULRs want instead of on the bulk of the membership. The ULRs don't necessarily agree with the committee members on what is best for *them*, but don't take the time to volunteer or contact USEA to let them know what they want. It's just bad communication all around, I think.

LisaB
Nov. 12, 2007, 03:04 PM
Reed,

:sleepy: :sleepy: :sleepy: :sleepy: :sleepy:

Janet
Nov. 12, 2007, 03:12 PM
I didn't realize drug use at the lower levels was so rampant.
It never occurs to me that just because I'm honest some other's may not be.

Thanks for pointing that out. I wouldn't say it was "rampant", but it IS there.

subk
Nov. 12, 2007, 08:20 PM
At the risk of sounding like Reed:

Isn't ironic that the reason it doesn't seem like we need drug testing at BN/N is because we have drug testing at BN/N?

retreadeventer
Nov. 12, 2007, 09:23 PM
The definition of irony:

A pro feels that they are underrepresented on committees. The lower level riders feel that the USEF does not appropriately support the non-high performance riders.

Reed

Hhhmmmmm. Definition of eternity: waiting for a pro to show up to committee meetings, or waiting for the lower level riders to stop debating mindless trivia at committee meetings!

Janet
Nov. 12, 2007, 11:00 PM
I have just read the article.

If he thinks that the professional riders, including himself, know the sport so much better than the administrators, organizers and officials, why hasn't he got his TD license or Eventing Judge license?

denny
Nov. 13, 2007, 08:04 AM
Over the years I`ve heard the same old thing a thousand times. It goes like this:
"Why don`t THEY fix such and such? Or "THEY don`t listen".
Who is this mysterious "THEY"?
"THEY" is whoever chooses to become involved. These organizations are desperate for fresh new faces, fresh new ideas.
You TRY to get most ULRs involved and see how far you get. And don`t give us that "I`m too busy" guff.
Who isn`t?
I was looking around the room recently at a GMHA members meeting, and I saw mainly grey and bald heads. I was sitting next to Judy Richter, and I remarked that unless we could get some of the 20-30 year olds interested, these organizations were going to be in trouble.
She said it was exactly the same problem in the hunter-jumper associations she belonged to.
So if the "pros", whoever they think they are, want input, why don`t they do what anyone else does in a democratic society? Run for office, and get actively involved?
It`s quite simple.

FlightCheck
Nov. 13, 2007, 08:10 AM
adding my 2 cents...

At many events and dressage shows this year, "older" judges and td's have been discussing the fact that it is extremely difficult to get "younger" riders involved in judging and td'ing.

One reason is the time/money factor: many pros make more in a weekend riding/coaching then they could EVER make judging - or even going through the process to GET their judge's card. They don't believe they can AFFORD to take the many weekends off to go through the process.

Janet
Nov. 13, 2007, 08:17 AM
There are at least two "young professionals" in this year's crop of prospective TDs and Eventing Judges.

kcooper
Nov. 13, 2007, 12:29 PM
I would point out that simply writing this article IS getting involved. Thompson is sticking his neck out more than most people who serve on committees, and I have no doubt he put several hours of work into its production.

And, there are different philosophies on how to best effect change. Some people believe in working towards change from WITHIN a system. Others feel that arguing from the outside is more effective and avoids the hypocrisy of working in a system you object to. I think both models are valid in different contexts. Regardless, instead of harping on Thompson for the method he has chosen to voice his concerns, focus on the actual issues raised in the article.

With regard to the drug testing money -- I would not mind paying it if more testing actually got done. I have been competing and volunteering actively in Area I for several years and can count on one hand the number of events where ANY drug testing was done at all.

I also think the "add back" idea is a very good one. I think a lot of people would pay a chunk extra for a shot at winning a chunk back. Sounds great for the "our ladies of perpetual novice" types as well as the upper level riders.

I agree that more rider input would be helpful in lots of contexts. Licensed officials are very good on the rules, but many of them are no longer actively riding. When your "job" shifts, your perspective shifts. Perhaps it would be helpful to include another position -- someone who works with the TD for example -- who must have actively competed at X level within the last year to approve the course and deal with rider complaints. Actively competing TDs could be exempt from working with the other person.

snoopy
Nov. 13, 2007, 12:45 PM
Perhaps it would be helpful to include another position -- someone who works with the TD for example -- who must have actively competed at X level within the last year to approve the course and deal with rider complaints. Actively competing TDs could be exempt from working with the other person.[/QUOTE]



Sounds like a great idea to me.

flutie1
Nov. 13, 2007, 12:49 PM
Perhaps it would be helpful to include another position -- someone who works with the TD for example -- who must have actively competed at X level within the last year to approve the course and deal with rider complaints. Actively competing TDs could be exempt from working with the other person.



Sounds like a great idea to me.[/QUOTE]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the role of the rider rep?

kcooper
Nov. 13, 2007, 12:56 PM
I don't think the rider rep has anything to do wiht approving the course, that is the TD's responsibility. Also, the rider rep will take the rider complaints to the TD or GJ, they don't rule on them themselves. So, I am suggesting a seperate position that is still a rider but on the "officiating" side.

snoopy
Nov. 13, 2007, 01:09 PM
Exactly....in my experience the rider rep is really the messenger and the TD may or may not choose to address rider concerns. But I agree, a seperate person working with the TD (and who is not riding at the particular event) may just help in getting the rider rep's point/concern across in a more effective manner.

Also this type of situation may help things to run more smoothly on the day as concerns can be brought to light at a much earlier opportunity.

Whisper
Nov. 13, 2007, 01:55 PM
RAyers, I know what irony is, I guess I just think of people whining that they don't get enough input/resources, while choosing not to put their time in, is just the normal status quo!

Janet
Nov. 13, 2007, 02:03 PM
I don't think the rider rep has anything to do wiht approving the course, that is the TD's responsibility. Also, the rider rep will take the rider complaints to the TD or GJ, they don't rule on them themselves. So, I am suggesting a seperate position that is still a rider but on the "officiating" side.
First, there are only "rider's reps" at upper level events.

Second, when I was doing my TD apprenticeships, at events that DID have a rider rep, the TD sought out the rep and asked for comments on the course - not just "complaints".

fooler
Nov. 13, 2007, 02:16 PM
(Quote:)
Exactly....in my experience the rider rep is really the messenger and the TD may or may not choose to address rider concerns. But I agree, a seperate person working with the TD (and who is not riding at the particular event) may just help in getting the rider rep's point/concern across in a more effective manner.

Also this type of situation may help things to run more smoothly on the day as concerns can be brought to light at a much earlier opportunity.(Quote)

Keep in mind: The TD 'hands' the event over to the PGJ prior to 3:00 pm the day before the event. After that time - the PGJ is responsible for the event. Address issues with the TD before the competition or division begin - if at all possible. I can't tell you the number of competitors that have approached me about their times or a fence mid-morning Saturday. This while the competition is in full swing! A lot of the 'conflicts' can be related to bad timing - of both parties.

First - if the TD does not 'respond' to your suggestions, etc - take a few minutes to ask the TD their option. If the TD is still 'not responding' - go to the PGJ. Always in a professional manner.

The idea of one more person in the loop to make certain the TD is listening to the ULR's sounds ok to begin with. But to me it just adds one more player to loop, making the whole issue much more complex. Also - How do we verify that person is qualified for the position? What if this person started 4 prelims the year before, but didn't finish any? Is this the right person? Who choses the person? Who will pay for that person's time?

Again the competitors have options in situations such as these:
Speak to the TD, if that does not work, speak to the PGJ. Preferably before the competition or division have started
Pack up and leave
There are forms for competitors to comment on the officials and sent in to the USEF.
Not my favorite option, but some competitors have addressed issues with the organizer who has come back to the officials. Of the ones I have been involved - they have been mostly minor issues - such as waving jackets in breezey 70's degree weather.

This is not a them and us issue. There are good and bad competitors as well as officials. Also this is not a competition of exact facts. It involves horses and humans ( and we know how exact humans can be. . . )

flutie1
Nov. 13, 2007, 02:33 PM
"... But I agree, a seperate person working with the TD (and who is not riding at the particular event) may just help in getting the rider rep's point/concern across in a more effective manner."

This in effect is just adding yet another layer to an already cumbersome bueaucracy. We have a designer. We have an advisor. We have a TD. We have a Ground Jury. We have a rider rep..... and still apparently sometimes everybody gets it wrong. Let's instead work to strengthen/improve the systems we have rather than rushing off half cocked.

LisaB
Nov. 13, 2007, 03:02 PM
I can't remember where exactly I was but the rider rep was extremely effective on a couple of occasions. I think, we the riders, need to be more aware of them and utilize them. They are the conduit for our concerns.

snoopy
Nov. 13, 2007, 03:44 PM
"...

This in effect is just adding yet another layer to an already cumbersome bueaucracy. We have a designer. We have an advisor. We have a TD. We have a Ground Jury. We have a rider rep..... and still apparently sometimes everybody gets it wrong. Let's instead work to strengthen/improve the systems we have rather than rushing off half cocked.

I am for another layer in the name of safety if needs be. The current system has been in place for quite some time and in my experience I have not seen many, if any, changes that have resulted in an improved system. Since you have much experience in dealing with all levels of bueaucracy, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how to go about these improvements.
I believe in layers only so that "everyone" CAN"T get it wrong. What I am saying is that if all levels of the system "get it wrong" (on occasion) than the chain of command/process needs to be addressed. Somethings cannot be fixed and therefore have to be changed.

Hilary
Nov. 13, 2007, 04:19 PM
I've read the article a couple of times, and in between trying actually get some work done trying to formulate a coherent response to Pwynn's question -

he raises several different points here - people stepping up to the plate to affect change, drug fees, splitting competitions between amatuers and professionals, prize money and whether or not riders should be able to over-rule a TD. And I may have missed a couple -

I think this is why I've not been able to come up with a good response- I've started about 4.

So I'll keep this to one train of thought:

The world is run by those who show up.

Getting people to "get involved" has been the bane of every political organizer's (and probably more than a few PTA moms) existence since people began organizing themselves into groups.

I like the idea of professional riders being involved in the governance of our sport - I think it makes the sport better for us amatuers, and I think it makes them better teachers (of us) and competitors, and voices of the sport - what are they going to do when they are too old to compete? They will probably teach and officiate, and if they did those things while they still competed it will make them better judges and teachers in the future.

How do we get them more involved? I don't know. Someone already said that it's more lucrative for someone to ride 5 horses and coach 10 students than it would be to judge for a weekend.

Some people are not suited to judging and officiating and it's better for all of us if they stay on the horse!

Since I'm not a professional, I can't say why more are not involved in a professional horseman's council - my guess is that they say they are too busy in the barn to sit in meetings, that they didn't become professional riders to sit in meetings and discuss things, but unforunately, you can't affect change if you stay in your own barn.

Craig is going to have to get his fellow professionals on board with him and Denny is right, you have to go out and run for something if you want to be included in the discussion.

And now back to my own profession..... (which involves sitting in plenty of meetings discussing ideas - which may be why a lot of amateurs do end up on committees - we are good at it)

flutie1
Nov. 13, 2007, 05:17 PM
"... Somethings cannot be fixed and therefore have to be changed."

Totally agreed. The systems are only as effective as the weakest link. However, as someone pointed out about rider reps, when they are used, they can be effective. They have to be used though, and when used, I have seen changes for the name of safety happen more often than not.

Also, riders must not be shy about talking to officials about safety concerns - and keep at it until a response happens. It's part of the riders' responsibility just as it is the responsibility of the officials to listen and investigate. Yes, and it is the rider's responsibility if nothing happens after these efforts, and the safety issue is in his/her opinion still a problem, to withdraw and write the USEF LOC about the situation and the unresponsiveness of the official.

In the case cited earlier about the sunlight issue, it took a bit of an inseurrection until the problem got resolved. How would an upper level rider tagging along with the TD on a course inspection have helped there? The riders in that case just kept hammering as they should!

I'm not convinced the systems we have are broken. They just need better implementation and taking tghe responsibility of using them.

Flutie

asterix
Nov. 13, 2007, 05:27 PM
OK, so can someone educate me about the rider rep system? I confess I didn't know they even existed until I went with my coach to an event she was competing at (a rare occurrence -- she is more typically officiating) and she WAS the rider rep...and did consult with the TD about the course, brought up a concern about a ground line, etc.

But I had no idea this position existed -- how many lower level riders do know? Does every event have one? This one went up through intermediate, I think (or maybe just prelim -- Loudon HT this fall, Area II).

Can you talk to the rider rep about concerns and have them talk to the TD for you? Certainly in this case the rider rep was both a very experienced upper level rider and well known to all local officials on a professional basis, since she also serves as TD or POGJ at many events, so there was a collegial relationship there -- I imagine her voice went further than Amy Amateur's might have in raising a concern...

snoopy
Nov. 13, 2007, 05:35 PM
I agree...the rider rep concept...in therory...is an excellent idea. But it does not always go down well. I can remember two instances at Badminton...in different years:

1) There was a bounce into the the lake made up of post and rail fences painted the brightest white you have ever seen...it truely was blinding on approach when walking the course. It was very hard for me to read the fence. The colour along with the bright sunlight was disasterous. MANY riders were unhappy with it and complained. The GJ said that the distance/materials/question was acceptable and that no change was to be made....well there were so many problems and falls there....though it was not changed mid course...it never the less was not done again. The riders had it right the GJ did not.

2) Fairly recently at badminton there was a new fence added that was a HUGE ditch with the option of a bounce to a brush fence or a one stride to the same brush....the riders were very concerned about the ditch. The rider rep took this to the GJ and it was decided that the fence was fine and that the brush fence would be forgiving should there be any trouble at the ditch. The GJ focused on the brush fence...and so did the horses...who could not see the ditch. The weather was dreadful with heavy rain. As predicted, the horses were slipping/falling into the ditch....there were many falls and because of the problems, three quaters through the day, the fence was removed. But it took some rather serious incidents to affect this change.

So even with some pretty heavy leaning on by the riders the GJ over looked these concerns with some awful results.

So my question is just HOW does one improve the current situation when the GJ has the ultimate right to the decision???

Now these are just two...I can go into many...but my point is that so many times the programme has not worked.

And alot of times it has not worked because there is an element of ..."well it is too late...lets see how it rides" because the riders are only able to walk the course very close to the day the competition starts.

Janet
Nov. 13, 2007, 06:30 PM
OK, so can someone educate me about the rider rep system? ...


EV118 Competitor Representative.
At all Three-Day Events and certain Horse Trials two competitor representatives will be appointed. The designation of the Horse Trials and selection of competitor representatives will be made by the Federation Active Riders Committee. The competitor representatives will be selected by the organizers of the relevant competition from among those active riders listed (who are present) at that competition. The representatives will meet with the technical delegate, president of the ground jury, veterinarian delegate, and representative of the organizing committee, to discuss aspects of the competition, voice concerns, and suggest modifications. Any suggestions or action resulting from this meeting shall be reported to the Federation by the technical delegate.

Generally, it seems to be events with Intermediate and above.

There is a specific section of the TD's report on "suggestions or action" from the rider rep.

flutie1
Nov. 13, 2007, 06:35 PM
."well it is too late...lets see how it rides"

I repeat, ANY system is only as good as the weakest link. Agreed, you cited examples of times the RR/officials' system failed miserably - and yes, there are others, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath water! (I do so love that visual......)

I believe the FEI is addressing this kind of a failure to act - read the proposal somewhere, but can't put my finger on it right now. But in their ponderous Swissdom, they are aware of it.

If anything positive has come from the entire past year, it is a heightened awareness of safety issues and a lot of talk about it. Hopefully, out of this some system "fixes" will happen.

One can just keep hammering whether from within OR from outside the bureaucracy.

Flutie

Candle
Nov. 13, 2007, 08:15 PM
I am NOT an ULR, nor do I play one on TV, but it seems to me in just the specific case of the rider rep, why don't the course designers have a list of riders "on call" who have met certain qualifications (ridden and finished five events at that level, whatever). Then, they wait until after the closing date for entries, select a rider off the list who is not riding in that event, and have him/her walk the course with the designer and raise these concerns while there IS still time to improve the safety of the course?

Mary in Area 1
Nov. 13, 2007, 08:50 PM
Just FYI, over the past 2 seasons, our family has had 3 horses drug-tested in Area 1. I welcomed this testing as I knew my horses were not on any medication of any kind. I'm not exactly sure how the USEF chooses events or horses, but we certainly have been well-represented!

cteventing
Nov. 13, 2007, 09:45 PM
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my recent article in the Chronicle. It was my hope in writing it to encourage conversation and at least in this forum I seem to have been successful at that.

I will try to address several of the observations made herein as I believe they relate to my article. The original article that I wrote was considerably longer and more in depth, but did not fit within the Chronicle format.

Addbacks are a way to create prize money. For example, instead of paying a $200 entry fee, a rider would pay a $300 entry fee with $100 of that going into a prize money pool. Before publishing the article I asked for it to be "peer reviewed" by several other professionals. Though everyone agreed that we need to increase prize monies, there was a mixed response to this idea. Some felt that organizers need to be pressured to raise prize money. As someone who has worked as an organizer, this looks like a dead end to me. There is no benefit to an organizer to give prize money. Some felt that add backs were just riders "trading their own money" back and forth; I would suggest that it would be riders in the bottom of the placings trading their money to the riders at the top of the placings. Now there's an incentive to improve your riding! The point that I make in my article is that addbacks are a place to start. If we as professional riders want prize money, then we need to make that happen. One way to do so is addbacks. They show that riders are willing to invest in themselves. A little money raised through add backs could encourage organizers to find matching funds. And such a system will really only work best when the USEA and USEF have to match any prize money raised through addbacks or by organizers. It strikes me as criminal that our sport's versions of Tiger Woods, namely Phillip Dutton and Karen O'Connor, don't enjoy the same winnings as Tiger Woods.

The observations regarding democracy in action, professionals' representation on "various boards" and the use of the word "they" strikes me as having missed the forest for the trees. To me an article like the one I just published is democracy in action. There can be no healthy democracy without a free and vibrant press. Further, it is unclear to me how we can expect to enjoy positive change without policy recommendations. In fact, my article and the Professional Horseman's Council are both designed to influence policy on behalf of professional riders. I for one certainly don't feel left out and I don't think most professionals do. I do, however, believe that our sport is both changing and needs to change; eventing is not the sport it was in the 1970s. I think most current, active professionals are aware of this on some level but are unsure of what those changes should be and where those changes are leading.

With regards to Ground Juries I make a very specific suggestion: At the CCI level, in the event that
riders request a particular change, if the Ground Jury does not make the change, riders should be able use the Friday night Riders Meeting to vote on the decision and the riders' vote would be binding. Ground Juries are generally comprised of individuals with experience in decision making, but they are also headed by a President, who is a dressage judge. There aren't too many of them who know as much about cross-country courses and riding as the competitors participating in modern eventing.

With regards to drug testing, I'm not convinced that the way we are doing it now is the best method. It seems to me that the biggest beneficiary of the current system is the lab that gets paid to handle the samples. Perhaps a better way would be to maintain random drug testing but shift the burden of paying for it. Specifically, maybe a better method would be to charge the owner of the individual horse being tested, or split the cost between the owner, event and national organization on a case by case basis. I think, and the peer input that I received on the article suggests, that most professionals don't mind drug testing. What they do mind is that a piece of every entry fee goes towards it and there are more pressing needs that also require funding. Footing and prize money come to mind.

Though I do not address this particular issue in my article, it is worth reflecting on why professionals are not more involved in the administration of their sport. There is no easy answer. It is facile, but largely true, to observe that most riders like riding horses and not much else. Certainly nothing that makes their head hurt, or involves sitting in meetings or on conference calls. More disturbingly, however, is one factor that I hear often from other professionals. Professionals fear retribution. Most don't want to criticize the USEF because the USEF distributes grants and chooses teams for international competition. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that. And an event organizer one weekend can be your dressage judge the next. *Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that.

Craig Thompson
www.craigthompsoneventing.com

LisaB
Nov. 14, 2007, 07:03 AM
Yeah Craig!
I'm glad you're doing this.
You really hit home with your last paragraph. Most riders can't afford, financially and politically to be outspoken and possibly be on the 'wrong' side. When on top, there are a lot of egos involved (like a Board of Directors in a corporation) and there's a lot of political jostling where most riders would suck at. But they do voice concerns in a hushed manner and they probably feel like they don't know who to go to without retribution.
Us amateurs really have nothing to lose. We can bitch and moan and take action. We spend money in this sport and gain a little ribbon and a lot of satisfaction. But where do the pros go? I'm talking not of Phillip and Karen who are already 'there' but the others that are trying get to be Phillip and Karen. There are a lot of really good pros with a lot of really good ideas that are still in touch with us lower levellers as well.

GotSpots
Nov. 14, 2007, 08:58 AM
Some felt that add backs were just riders "trading their own money" back and forth; I would suggest that it would be riders in the bottom of the placings trading their money to the riders at the top of the placings. Now there's an incentive to improve your riding! Except for most of the true professionals, it's trading their owners' money back and forth, not their own. Pros don't pay the entry fees on horses they ride but don't own; the owners do. And while, don't get me wrong, as an owner I'm always happy if a check comes back to me, it usually gets deposited right back into the never-ending black hole of horse expenses, much of which goes back to the pro in any case - thus nullifying the incentives.

On drug testing, I'd be curious what one horse's drug screen actually costs. In other words, say I'm kicking in 5$/show/horse for drug testing. How many horses kicking in that fee does it take before we can pay for any one drug test? In general, I'm a fan of random testing (and I think just about every one of my horses has been tested at some point or another over the past four years), at every level. I think it's part of what we do to protect the horses from folks who might be a bit unscrupulous, as well as what we do to protect the fair playing field of the sport itself.

RAyers
Nov. 14, 2007, 09:22 AM
Craig,

Yes, press is part of a democracy, however, an active participation in the process at all levels is the lynchpin. It is great that you have stepped forward and now is the time for pros to put thier "money where their mouth is" by letting go of some of the riding and becoming involved with the governance. That is what happens in industry or any other vocation when a person gets promoted. People must give up some of the day-to-day aspects and focus on the more general oversight of their company/industry.

While I agree that there is the concern of retribution when going against the grain, people MUST stand up for what they believe. That is another aspect of democracy. When people are unwilling to defend themselves or others out of fear retribution then they have abdicated their democratic responsibility.

Reed


The observations regarding democracy in action, professionals' representation on "various boards" and the use of the word "they" strikes me as having missed the forest for the trees. To me an article like the one I just published is democracy in action. There can be no healthy democracy without a free and vibrant press. Further, it is unclear to me how we can expect to enjoy positive change without policy recommendations. In fact, my article and the Professional Horseman's Council are both designed to influence policy on behalf of professional riders. I for one certainly don't feel left out and I don't think most professionals do. I do, however, believe that our sport is both changing and needs to change; eventing is not the sport it was in the 1970s. I think most current, active professionals are aware of this on some level but are unsure of what those changes should be and where those changes are leading.

....

Though I do not address this particular issue in my article, it is worth reflecting on why professionals are not more involved in the administration of their sport. There is no easy answer. It is facile, but largely true, to observe that most riders like riding horses and not much else. Certainly nothing that makes their head hurt, or involves sitting in meetings or on conference calls. More disturbingly, however, is one factor that I hear often from other professionals. Professionals fear retribution. Most don't want to criticize the USEF because the USEF distributes grants and chooses teams for international competition. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that. And an event organizer one weekend can be your dressage judge the next. *Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that.

Craig Thompson
www.craigthompsoneventing.com

snoopy
Nov. 14, 2007, 09:39 AM
When people are unwilling to defend themselves or others out of fear retribution then they have abdicated their democratic responsibility.

Reed


AGREED!!


If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.


That is to say if you "do" nothing, you'll "get" nothing.

If for what ever reason one decides to stay of the the decision making process, then decisions are made for you...and complaining about it does no good.

subk
Nov. 14, 2007, 11:22 AM
Perhaps a better way would be to maintain random drug testing but shift the burden of paying for it. Specifically, maybe a better method would be to charge the owner of the individual horse being tested, or split the cost between the owner, event and national organization on a case by case basis. I think, and the peer input that I received on the article suggests, that most professionals don't mind drug testing. What they do mind is that a piece of every entry fee goes towards it and there are more pressing needs that also require funding. Footing and prize money come to mind.

Drug testing is not cheap. Shifting the burden of who's paying for it is only a shell game--it won't change the real cost unless you are advocating for less testing. I can think of more than one person who would be financially gobsmacked to go to an event, get drug tested and discover that the weekend will be $100 more expensive than budgeted. Regard must be given to those people who are footing their own bills as opposed to those who have owners to pass the cost on to!

Also be careful what you ask for, as I believe winning horses are more apt to be tested, and statistically I bet that more pros win--meaning you'd be shifting the cost more toward the pros if you followed through with your own idea. $5 for every entry may very well be cheaper at the end of a year for a pro than to foot the bill for a test or two.

And secondly, many commenting on the TD issue don't seem to realize that a TD can only (supposedly) officiate at a level they have either ridden themselves or coached. So the potential field of candidates for upper level TDs is pretty small and select to begin with. Which brings us back to the problem of younger UL riders getting (or not) involved with the governance of the sport.

hey101
Nov. 14, 2007, 11:51 AM
Also, riders must not be shy about talking to officials about safety concerns - and keep at it until a response happens. It's part of the riders' responsibility just as it is the responsibility of the officials to listen and investigate. Yes, and it is the rider's responsibility if nothing happens after these efforts, and the safety issue is in his/her opinion still a problem, to withdraw and write the USEF LOC about the situation and the unresponsiveness of the official.



I think this is an important point. I think many eventers, and I have been there myself, have the tendency to not want to "whine" about a jump that might look "scary", ie "I don't want to be the baby afraid to jump that jump, when clearly everyone else is OK with it". (when in reality, probably more than a few people are "worried" about it).

Janet
Nov. 14, 2007, 12:04 PM
Perhaps a better way would be to maintain random drug testing but shift the burden of paying for it. Specifically, maybe a better method would be to charge the owner of the individual horse being tested, or split the cost between the owner, event and national organization on a case by case basis.So, you are going to be randomly hit by a bill for several hundred dollars.

And then some committee is goiing to decide "on a case by case basis" who is going to pay the bill.

Sounds like a nightmare to me.

BTW, IIRC, "the organization" already DOES pick up part of the cost of drug testing, in the stipend that USEA pays USEF.

Janet
Nov. 14, 2007, 12:10 PM
Professionals fear retribution. Most don't want to criticize the USEF because the USEF distributes grants and chooses teams for international competition. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that. And an event organizer one weekend can be your dressage judge the next. *Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of that."

It works the other way as well. If an official wants to be hired at a future event, the official does not want to antagonize today's rider who is next week's organizer, or who has influence over the organizer's choices.

EVERYBODY - riders, organizers, officials - needs to "do what is right" without fear of retribution.

RAyers
Nov. 14, 2007, 12:10 PM
Hey 101,

I think a key to that point is that many riders don't feel that they are the advocate for their HORSE and not other riders. People can get too caught up in the cult of personality and forget that they are the voice for their animal.

I had plenty of questions about fences at the AECs. I went to the rider rep and to the TD directly and in the meantime if I looked like a wuss to the pros in my division, so be it. I was advocating for my horse and I will be happy to cause a scene for him, be damned the powers that be. The nice thing was that since I did it in a professional, logical and well thought out manner, the rep and TD were both very attentive and addressed each of my concerns directly.

That is another point, riders do have a voice, provided they spend time to think about what they want to say and do it in a professional manner. If there is a problem don't just point it out but also provide some ideas to correct the problem or offer to help fix things.

That takes us right back to Craig's point of democracy. :)

Reed

I think this is an important point. I think many eventers, and I have been there myself, have the tendency to not want to "whine" about a jump that might look "scary", ie "I don't want to be the baby afraid to jump that jump, when clearly everyone else is OK with it". (when in reality, probably more than a few people are "worried" about it).

Hilary
Nov. 14, 2007, 12:30 PM
The process for becoming an official is arduous. It is time consuming and done on your own dime.

I think that all of us would be well-served if more riders were officials.

If riders want to be taken seriously by the officials when it came to having an opinion about something on the course, wouldn't it help if they were also officials themselves? That way the officials would not be talking with "just" a rider, but a peer?

So, is there a way to make it less difficult to become a TD or a judge and still retain the important parts of the training?

Charging the person getting drug tested is an awful idea - make this person wait around for several hours AND charge them for the priviledge? No.

If we are all up for grabs about being tested (and me and my 40 time faults on XC are not likely to be suspect) then we all need to put in for the cost. I'm ok with that. If it keeps people honest, that's what, $8? well spent.

As far as the add-backs - When I'm in the division with 3 pros, the incentive for me to chip in for their prize money is pretty small. I'd rather give them $75 and have a lesson. When I'm bumping up against the winning scores more frequently, maybe I'll change my mind.

hey101
Nov. 14, 2007, 12:44 PM
People can get too caught up in the cult of personality and forget that they are the voice for their animal.

....in the meantime if I looked like a wuss to the pros in my division, so be it. I was advocating for my horse and I will be happy to cause a scene for him, be damned the powers that be....

That is another point, riders do have a voice, provided they spend time to think about what they want to say and do it in a professional manner.
Reed

Reed, whether it's "right" or "wrong", I think it's simply a fact that people don't want to be the "complainer", or come across as being intimidated or in some way weaker or less prepared. And it goes the other way too, sometimes even if the question looks scary, it is appropriate.

For example, where I used to live in Bucks County PA, there is a "notorious" trakehener at a local event that is WELL within the specifications of Training level. it does look scary and for those who aren't ready for it, it is intimidating. I am well aware that the organizers get MANY complaints about it at horse trials, and it absolutely catches out the people who aren't ready for it. My old mare sailed over it with no problems, but I'd NEVER take my younger horses to a Training level event there until I felt SURE they could handle it. That is how one way that riders should be an advocate for my horse; by not entering them at a level that they are not ready for.

Now having said all that, I absolutely agree with you that competitor concerns should be raised in a calm, professional manner with TD/ PGJ, etc. I think though it is tough to decide whether one person's "scary, intimidating, I-just-moved-up-to-Training-and-THAT-is-an-UNSAFE trakehner", is another person's "ooh, that is a GREAT test to see if my bold, PREPARED training horse is ready for the prelim move-up".

So did the officials at AEC's change anything on your course based on your inquiries?

pwynnnorman
Nov. 14, 2007, 01:31 PM
The process for becoming an official is arduous. It is time consuming and done on your own dime. ...I think that all of us would be well-served if more riders were officials.


The process has been developed by amateurs--no disrespect intended--and as a result, it is INEFFICIENT. If becoming a judge, TD, steward, etc., etc. were as efficient as, say, becoming an EMT or a Transportation Safety Office (at the airport), then more would probably go for it. Why? Because regardless of the sport, those positions offer a pro or pro-wannabe priceless networking opportunities--and I think those who are serious realize that, but forgo it because the logistics don't work out.

Please note I'm not talking exclusively about eventing. Several of us on the h-j BB (and other BBs) got into this a few years ago when the "fast track" for hunter-jumper judges was first proposed. We looked at how officials are trained in the horse industry--and a couple of us in academics (and one in manufacturing) noted how poorly devised the processes were. And at that time we proposed developing more effective training tools for officials (which would also be valuable for exhibitors) as well as sound methodologies for evaluation.

We got poo-poo'ed (by h-j insiders). For every suggestion we made, why it wouldn't work (without doing any research, which we HAD done) was thrown in our faces. I stopped participating in those efforts and have not commented here either because, while I'm interested in these issues, I tire of hearing all the reasons why something CAN'T be done by folks who have spent little to no time thinking about any alternatives at all--much less actually investing in some RESEARCH to find out, one way or another. As we noted back then, there are a ton of highly effective and efficient training models out there for virtually every profession and involving virtually any circumstance (psychological, social, environmental, operational, technical, etc., etc.) that the trainee might face once accredited. Horsepeople, however, prefer to ignore the outside world and reinvent the wheel in whatever hit-or-miss way is produced by whoever's immutable territory the project was.

Janet
Nov. 14, 2007, 01:54 PM
The process for becoming an official is arduous. It is time consuming and done on your own dime.

I think that all of us would be well-served if more riders were officials.

So, is there a way to make it less difficult to become a TD or a judge and still retain the important parts of the training?
I am in the middle (hopefully close to the end) of the (TD) process. While it is certainly time consuming, I wouldn't say it was particularly "arduous". I have not added up all the expenses yet, but the price of a weekend apprenticing is less that the cost of a weekend competing. The expenses ARE tax deductible.

I figure it has taken 9 weekends (5 of them 3-day weekends). One for the training class, 4 for the TD apprenticeships, 2 for the jumping apprenticeships, one for the exam, and one solid weekend of paperwork.

While I can certainly see ways to make the process more efficient, I do not think it is excessive.

Janet
Nov. 14, 2007, 02:00 PM
To go back to the article, I think a Professional (Event) Riders' Association would be a GREAT idea. If nothing else, to get consensus, and avoid the "fear of retribution".

pwynnnorman
Nov. 14, 2007, 02:03 PM
To go back to the article, I think a Professional (Event) Riders' Association would be a GREAT idea. If nothing else, to get consensus, and avoid the "fear of retribution".

Not that's a good point. Not just the "strength in numbers" idea, but also the "safety in obscurity" one.

Janet
Nov. 14, 2007, 03:00 PM
WRT increasing the role of the rider rep, check out rule change proposal #087-07
http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/RuleBook/RuleProposals/tempPDF/11142007025611131_131_1_131.pdf

MTshowjumper
Nov. 14, 2007, 03:18 PM
On Add Backs-

One of the things I miss from switching from jumpers to eventing is the lack of prize money. Rebecca Farm (And formerly Herron Park) is the only event I know of off the top of my head to offer it at all levels. When I did the jumpers there was almost always prize money even at the little weekend local unrated shows. Usually there would be a $500 purse in addition to a $10 - $20 add back at these little shows. I could usually count on winning back most if not all of my entries if not more on top of them. Even if I didn't win it all back even getting a little bit helped me justify showing to myself, if only in my head ;)

So how come the little local H/J shows could offer prize money, but the big recognized events can't? I really am curious. I always feel sheepish when talking to non-riders about eventing, and having to explain when they ask about prize money that I went from a sport with prize money to one without! I would not be adverse to paying $50 extra to enter even on my very tight budget if I thought there was a chance at winning some back. Especialy if the event offered a purse in addition to the add back like the little jumper shows do. Craig is right that it is excelent motivation to ride well!!

RAyers
Nov. 14, 2007, 05:40 PM
Horsepeople, however, prefer to ignore the outside world and reinvent the wheel in whatever hit-or-miss way is produced by whoever's immutable territory the project was.


Amen sister! You said a mouthful! :D

Reed

flutie1
Nov. 14, 2007, 05:42 PM
WRT increasing the role of the rider rep, check out rule change proposal #087-07
http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/RuleBook/RuleProposals/tempPDF/11142007025611131_131_1_131.pdf

Thanks Janet. I knew I'd seen it somewhere!
Also there is a Professional Horseman's Committee within USEA. Darren and Gina co-chair it, and I understand it's quite active.

RAyers
Nov. 14, 2007, 05:44 PM
The rule change for rider reps to be part of the GJ is by Gnep, here on COTH. I was there at his reference fiasco.

Reed

snoopy
Nov. 14, 2007, 05:48 PM
the rider rep's responsibilty is to write a report AFTER the competition....:confused:

fooler
Nov. 14, 2007, 06:46 PM
Snoopy you are missing the point - the rider rep's responsibilty is to write a report AFTER the competition....


The proposed rider's rep would be part of the GJ. If the rider's voice a concern and the PGJ + TD disagree, then they (PGJ & TD) must put it writing along with the Rider's Rep, sign and send it in to the USEF & USEA.
Funny how putting your decisions to paper and signing it can make one re-think their decision.
While it may not resolve what happened at that event - the governing bodies now have a record of the officials thoughts and actions that can be brought to bear. We officials must take a 'rules' test every 3 years, attend training every 3 years. Our officiating record is reviewed by the LOC at any time, meaning our license can be revoked.

snoopy
Nov. 14, 2007, 07:24 PM
I am missing no point....

As I understand it the RR is to write a report AFTER the competition. Should the RR bring to the attention of the PGJ of rider's concerns and they decline to act then THAT conversation is to be documented (as well) and signed by all memebers of the GJ.

I sited two instances where the RR and or riders did go to the GJ and voiced some serious concerns and they were over looked with some disasterous results. The point being that the GJ still has the right to decline the requests of the RR.

If this rule was in place at the time of my two stated incidents then what good what it have done? The "damage" was already done by having the horses jump those two fences. So in those cases, the USEF would do what? "OOOPPPSS!! I guess the riders were right after all."

I am all for a rider vote if the GJ declines the rider's concern. Though I do not see what changes can be made if the vote is taken on the friday night and XC on the next morning. It does not leave much time for alterations should they be needed.

cteventing
Nov. 15, 2007, 07:45 AM
With regards to add backs, they will only work well if they are mandatory, and matched by organizers and the USEA or USEF. They don't strike me as necessary at the lower levels.

Speaking specifically about myself, I am not opposed to participating in meetings and conference calls and committees. However, to suggest that because I have written about topics I think important mandates that I must run for office is a bit off base. According to that logic Maureen Dowd and George Will should enter a congressional race. Further, the Professional Horsemans Council is designed as a way for professionals to be involved and many of us already are.

Many of the comments made on this BB illustrate to me that what I have observed about professionals and amateurs is true. There is a growing gap. This isn't good or bad, but our future policies need to reflect that.

Drug testing does need to remain a part of our sport. But currently we pay for it with a tax. I, and every professional I've spoken to, feel that we might be able to spend our tax dollars more effectively elsewhere.

As I mentioned previously the original article was longer than the published version. In the original draft I discuss the need for an "eventing think tank" to research and develop policy. This I think is absolutely essential in order to avoid continually re-inventing the wheel and making decisions based on conjecture.

CRT
www.craigthompsoneventing.com

bambam
Nov. 15, 2007, 08:24 AM
Many of the comments made on this BB illustrate to me that what I have observed about professionals and amateurs is true. There is a growing gap. This isn't good or bad, but our future policies need to reflect that.
And on that I think you are dead wrong- I agree there is a growing gap but it is one I can only see damaging the sport. There are both pros and ammies that think otherwise and thus are not fazed to see it happening but it scares the bejeezus out of me.
Okay back to the topic- or maybe this is part of the topic since some of your comments/suggestions are geared towards the pros and the upper level riders only (since you suggest the add backs should not be in place at the lower levels and the Rider Rep does not exist for the levels).

RAyers
Nov. 15, 2007, 09:28 AM
...Further, the Professional Horsemans Council is designed as a way for professionals to be involved and many of us already are.

Many of the comments made on this BB illustrate to me that what I have observed about professionals and amateurs is true. There is a growing gap. This isn't good or bad, but our future policies need to reflect that.

Drug testing does need to remain a part of our sport. But currently we pay for it with a tax. I, and every professional I've spoken to, feel that we might be able to spend our tax dollars more effectively elsewhere.

As I mentioned previously the original article was longer than the published version. In the original draft I discuss the need for an "eventing think tank" to research and develop policy. This I think is absolutely essential in order to avoid continually re-inventing the wheel and making decisions based on conjecture.

CRT
www.craigthompsoneventing.com

Craig,

Again, I appreciate your candor and willingness to speak out. In this case I want to ask questions your comments raise. Since I am a professor I tend to force poeple to defend their position during the questions. This is not personal.

So how does the Professional Horseman's Council protect or advocate for the TRUE base of the sport, the amateur who competes at preliminary and below? The reality is Professionals/ULRs are supported by a base that must be appropriately represented and currently barely is. What does the PHC do to the betterment of the sport for all?

Yes, there is a growing gap between amateurs and pros. Many amateurs see a sense of entitlement provided by the governing bodies such as the USEF as well as the fact that professional horsemen and women see the need for a council to represent them. That becomes a distinct demarkation between amateur and professional. How can you say this is niether here nor there when the low level riders create the opportunities for ULRs to have competitions?

As for drug testing, yes it is a tax but it is present due to a need. Do you think it is there because low level riders are drugging thier pony to get through the novice division or the pro who is running 3 horses at multiple upper level events to try to get a qualifying score? While yes, there are instances of both, the big motivation is with the pro, not the lower rider. And, generally, if it is a low level rider, it is under the advice of a pro.

Reed

pegasusmom
Nov. 15, 2007, 09:30 AM
On Add Backs-

So how come the little local H/J shows could offer prize money, but the big recognized events can't? I really am curious.

From my standpoint, it is a question of money. How much does a little local H/J show cost the manager/organizer to put on? How much does the little local horse trial cost to put on? What expenses in addition to the horse trial do I have to cover? In my case it's a whopping monster mortgage on the property. I'd love it if someone would come along and retire that debt, or at the very least buy a stall so we could retire the stabling debt. Then we could look at offering more prize money.

I am not trying to be totally negative here, but the simple fact of the matter is that you can not compare the cost of running a H/J show to a horse trial. And trying to get sponsors of any kind to cough up the cash is difficult. We have had sponsors in the past, and will in the future,. The manufacturers want to donate in kind, hence the gloves, magnetic stud dishes and galloping boots some of you won at our events this past year. There is no influx of the cold hard stuff. Hell, I'd rename my event if a sponsor would agree to underwrite the cost of it for even one year.

Just imagine. . . The Champion Vikingsholm Bear Flutie Horse Trials ;)

snoopy
Nov. 15, 2007, 09:37 AM
As for drug testing, yes it is a tax but it is present due to a need. Do you think it is there because low level riders are drugging thier pony to get through the novice division or the pro who is running 3 horses at multiple upper level events to try to get a qualifying score? While yes, there are instances of both, the big motivation is with the pro, not the lower rider. And, generally, if it is a low level rider, it is under the advice of a pro.

Reed[/QUOTE]



:winkgrin::winkgrin::winkgrin:

flutie1
Nov. 15, 2007, 10:45 AM
"... The Champion Vikingsholm Bear Flutie Horse Trials"

Wow Dana, what that would have done to that egotistical guy's Ego - but the problem was, he was totally cheap!

:-)

BigRuss1996
Nov. 15, 2007, 02:54 PM
OKay...so if someone were to "buy a stall"...do they get to pick which one? and do you get to use it every year during the event? What would a stall cost???





From my standpoint, it is a question of money. How much does a little local H/J show cost the manager/organizer to put on? How much does the little local horse trial cost to put on? What expenses in addition to the horse trial do I have to cover? In my case it's a whopping monster mortgage on the property. I'd love it if someone would come along and retire that debt, or at the very least buy a stall so we could retire the stabling debt. Then we could look at offering more prize money.

I am not trying to be totally negative here, but the simple fact of the matter is that you can not compare the cost of running a H/J show to a horse trial. And trying to get sponsors of any kind to cough up the cash is difficult. We have had sponsors in the past, and will in the future,. The manufacturers want to donate in kind, hence the gloves, magnetic stud dishes and galloping boots some of you won at our events this past year. There is no influx of the cold hard stuff. Hell, I'd rename my event if a sponsor would agree to underwrite the cost of it for even one year.

Just imagine. . . The Champion Vikingsholm Bear Flutie Horse Trials ;)

pegasusmom
Nov. 15, 2007, 06:29 PM
Big Russ - I'll PM you with the details. . .

but yes, I think I could guarantee that if you paid for a name plate, we'd make sure you had that stall everytime! and Yes you could pick it!

pwynnnorman
Nov. 15, 2007, 08:10 PM
Actually, I do think comparing to H-J might be valuable because, IMO, MTShowjumper makes a good point: Local H-J shows get sponsors, often for individual classes, all the time. Often those sponsors are stables or trainers or horse owners. How do they become sponsors? Usually, someone asks them! Why are they asked? Often because they are located near the show or frequent the show or have a horse that shown (and may be deceased) or a child who won big but moved on, etc., etc.

It IS possible to learn from others. Does sponsorship have to involve huge sums? No. The price of a 1/4 page ad in a decent publication would do it, for a start: say, $600--paying back $300, $200 and $100 or some such breakdown. Pays for an entry fee, maybe (I'm talking all levels here) and certainly for some gas. Does sponsored prize money have to concede to the pro winning the pot? No. Sponsors can specify to the highest placing ammy, if they want to, can't they?

I wonder if only BIG is deemed worthy of attention--and so sponsoring a division by putting up $600 bucks would be poo-poo'ed. But I can't help noticing in reading Eventing (UK) that nearly every division is sponsored by some business of another. It sounds funny to read about the Littleton Manufacturing Plant Open Intermediate Division C, but there you have it. Here, it might be more reasonable to expect Fox Ridge Farm Novice Horse Division, but it's the same thing: a business gets its name in front of a small but highly select group of potential customers.

Indeed, when I get prize lists for horse shows, sometimes there is a little blurb somewhere that says "Would you like to sponsor a class or a division?" Why not include such a blurb (and reasons why "you" should) as standard statements in the Omnibus? Why not start a tradition at your event wherein each division is sponsored by someone or farm, each year? The sponsor gets to feel good about supporting the sport, gets to give out the checks, see and be seen, maybe shake a few hands, be carted around "their" course in a golf cart like a VIP, hob-nob with other division sponsors at the sponsors dinner or competitors party, whatever. And meanwhile, the idea of sponsoring starts to catch on--and maybe grow bigger.

Why not, indeed?

petit fromage
Nov. 17, 2007, 08:34 PM
This is probably a dumb question but I am curious....
Do I understand correctly that a person is classified as a professional if they win $2500? Or, is it that a person takes money for training, teaching, etc? Or, does a "professional" get most of their livelihood from various activities related to eventing?

Also, what is the breakdown, by numbers, of amateurs and professionals?

Janet
Nov. 17, 2007, 08:55 PM
This is probably a dumb question but I am curious....
Do I understand correctly that a person is classified as a professional if they win $2500? Or, is it that a person takes money for training, teaching, etc? Or, does a "professional" get most of their livelihood from various activities related to eventing?

Also, what is the breakdown, by numbers, of amateurs and professionals?
"Winnings" are generally not used in deteremining amateur/professionla status, becuase, at least in principle, it is the HORSE that wins the money.

In general, you become a professional if you make ANY money from teaching, riding, training, coaching, etc. But (for eventing only) if you make less than $2500 per year from "professional" activities, you can still compete as an amateur in eventing,

frugalannie
Nov. 18, 2007, 08:40 AM
Don't let the IRS see this response, Janet. They'll expect us to do tax returns for our horses!

(Still bruised but getting my sense of humor back.)