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View Full Version : USEF Proposal for "Movin' Up"



claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 09:22 AM
A poster on the "Other BB" who attended the meeting did a nice re-cap of the proposal.

-I just wonder about the rationale behind the proposed change:
supposedly having 20 "qualifying" rides @ 2nd will prevent a rider abusing the double bridle???? :confused:

-By requiring anyone showing medium and up to be a $ member of USDF/USEF in addition to obtaining the Level's point requirement at recognized shows, I think will be seeing many riders deciding to put those $$$ into clinics and training and schooling shows. :no:

Anyway, From "the Other BB" :winkgrin:
USEF Proposal (effective 2010)



The basic scheme is to divide "the levels" into:

Basic -- Training - Second;
Medium -- Third - Fourth;
Advanced -- PSG - I1;
International -- I2 -- GP.

For a rider (and this applies ONLY to riders, not horses) to be able to show at a level, the rider must obtain "points" by getting certain scores at designated tests at recognized shows.

To show at Basic level, a rider needs no points. Thus any rider can show Tr-2nd at any time.

To show at Medium Level, a rider must obtain "X" (current proposal is 20 but it is likely that will drop) points at 2nd level while being a Participating Member of the USDF AND a USEF member.

To transition to Advanced you'll need 10 points at M-level; International -- 8 points at Advanced level.

There are certain restrictions in addition to the points such as you'll need to get points from more than one (or two) judges and some of the points must be from the test of the highest level of that level. (Mike Matson has said he may type in the entire proposal for y'all to read so I'm not going to!)

There is a substantial grandfathering proposal -- perhaps the most relevant is that everyone with USDF Medals will be grandfathered at that level (Bronze - Medium; Silver - Advanced; Gold -- International) provided the medals are earned prior to Nov. 30, 2009 (that means two more years). (There are other, less relevant provisions -- How many of you have been USET Long Listed -- if so, you're in!)

Lastly, Juniors competing in their qualifying classes will have special rules.

OK, how do you get points? By competing at recognized shows and scoring above 60%:
60 - 62.99 - 1 point
63 - 65.99 - 2 points
66 - 68.99 - 3 points
69 - up - 4 points

Will it cost money to show enough to move from Basic to Medium? Yup. Assuming you are competing at 2nd level, scoring just over 60%, you'll need (current proposal) 20 rides to qualify. At a "typical" 2 day show, 2 rides/day, that's 5 shows. (In my area where 3 day shows are more the norm, that's 4 shows with some slack.) That will most likely drop (best guess is to 15 points so do the math on how many shows you'll need).

Ja Da Dee
Nov. 30, 2007, 09:39 AM
-By requiring anyone showing medium and up to be a $ member of USDF/USEF in addition to obtaining the Level's point requirement at recognized shows, I think will be seeing many riders deciding to put those $$$ into clinics and training and schooling shows

Actually, it looks like in order for your points from Basic to count to move to medium, you will need to be a participating member of the USDF and a member of the USEF. I wonder if they will remove the Group Memberships entirely? Personally I hope so, that would reduce the fees we have to pay to our GMO's, and I would hate to have my money supporting such an elitist sport.

claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:02 AM
Actually, it looks like in order for your points from Basic to count to move to medium, you will need to be a participating member of the USDF and a member of the USEF. I wonder if they will remove the Group Memberships entirely? Personally I hope so, that would reduce the fees we have to pay to our GMO's, and I would hate to have my money supporting such an elitist sport.


I don't know. But if I am understanding this correctly (I may not be :winkgrin: )
You are "free" to ride around in Basic Level as a "Non-Participating Member of USDF/USEF" :D

It is only when you desire to Move Up to 3rd that the membership $ and points at 2nd become relative.

Like I said, I am seeing more ammies deciding to compete in Basic Level at Recognized Shows or do Schooling Shows and putting their $$$ into clinics and training...

If so, I would wonder if they would give up Group Memberships as a (potentially large) source of income? :confused:

Ja Da Dee
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:07 AM
I don't know. But if I am understanding this correctly (I may not be :winkgrin: )
You are "free" to ride around in Basic Level as a "Non-Participating Member of USDF/USEF" :D

It is only when you desire to Move Up to 3rd that the membership $ and points at 2nd become relative.

Like I said, I am seeing more ammies deciding to compete in Basic Level at Recognized Shows or do Schooling Shows and putting their $$$ into clinics and training...

If so, I would wonder if they would give up Group Memberships as a (potentially large) source of income? :confused:


IF you ever want to move up to third, you will have had to earn your points while being a participating member. I suppose those who have no desire to move up won't need to worry about it, but most riders have some type of goal. Wouldn't it be a huge bummer if you didn't get your PM, then discovered your horse might actually be able to do third? THen you would have to go back and get all those points while your horse got too old to participate in the upper levels.

claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:28 AM
I guess I am just not "understanding" from a business point of view. :confused:

I agree there will always be those who are dedicated to moving up the levels, this rule will not effect them and that pool of $$$$.

What $$$ WILL BE effected, however, are those of people from another discipline, weekend warriors with limited time and $$$ who might choose to go to schooling shows or decline to move above Basic Level at Recognized shows. Taking their $$$ to clinics or private training.

So much for the idea of making Dressage as a sport more appealing to the masses. :winkgrin:

canyonoak
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:38 AM
Who is going to pay for this?

and who is setting up the magic database when they cannot set up a base for anything else trifling, like keeping track of sporthorse performance/breeding/etc.

what a crock.

claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:49 AM
You know, for someone who owns a nice equestrian facility, I wonder about the possibility of making some $$$ organizing and hosting Schooling Shows.

Business Opportunity for 2010 people! :winkgrin:

suzy
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:04 AM
I haven’t read enough on the topic to know the reasoning behind the USEF’s proposal for moving up, so bear with me. My assumption (probably wrong) is to get riders in this country to a higher standard before letting them move up the levels. Whatever the reasoning, I see problems with this proposal.

Keeping track of all this data is an obvious problem. It seems that USDF has enough data to track as it is. Adding this element will likely entail more human and computer resources, which could add up to higher dues for members. With the point system, it could make an already terribly expensive sport even more so, which could actually discourage people from competing (as noted by someone else). And, the fewer people competing, the more it’s going to cost those who are competing. Also, with fewer people competing, I think some shows will go out of business.

Although I prefer to train my own horse(s) up the levels, I have no problem with someone buying a trained horse and going out and having fun. Life is short, and if you can afford a PSG horse, for example, then get one and enjoy to the fullest. Also, there are plenty of riders who could not afford to ride while growing up and are starting as adults. Because of their late start, the game of catch-up will be impossible for many of them. Why should these people, who have already missed out on so much, have to miss out on more?

I think that some of the systems we are copying from the Europeans are wonderful, and I applaud the USEF and USDF for adopting them. However, some of our uniquely American systems, I think, deserve to be preserved. And, one of them is permitting anyone who desires to compete at whatever level they want to compete, to do so. Not only are they able to live what is probably a lifelong dream, but they are helping support competitive dressage for all the rest of us.

By the way, I have no vested interest in this decision as I’m already grandfathered in, but I do feel strongly speaking up for those who would be unduly burdened financially by this change and those who would be prevented from doing something they’ve worked a lifetime for and have a limited amount of time left in which to do so.

CatOnLap
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:14 AM
This didn't start out to be a cash grab, but it sure is turning into one.
There is no reason IMO, to keep people from showing at any level they desire, qualified or not. If they suck at third or PSG or whatever, the scores will reflect it. If they "abuse" their horse, the TD will stop it.

Jadadee pegged it. Its an ill thought out policy by those elitists for whom an extra $3000 or so to qualify would be pocket change.

Regarding the "abuse" of the double? I dunno, I've got a cat on my lap, but IME the double amplifies the faults of the rider and if you don't know what you're doing, it makes everything look worse.

millerra
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:20 AM
I personally find this proposal very narrow minded...

So here is my selfish, narrow minded perspective

I am eventer who occassionally shows at dressage shows. I now have a bonafid dressage horse who we are planning to show 3/4th this year. He is ready. I "think" I am ready. I have shown him 2nd level occasionally (because I am also eventing my event horses) for fun and to get more ring exposure/practice. We got reasonable scores. The caveat: I never showed him as a participating member because I'm a USEA and USEF member w/ a GMO who signs me up as one of those USDF type members. [I pay enough membership fees and horse ID fees already!]. So, now do I have to kick even MORE money out to and drop our plans back down to 2nd just to be able to show at a recognized dressage show? I don't think I will... Certainly I am NOT the only eventer who does this; any upper level event horse may well be ready for a 3rd/4th level test or higher... Why be so elitist and narrow-minded about who can show what... Why limit your pool of mid level dressage riders/horses?

Ack. It ticks me OFF.

Marcia

Badger
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:42 AM
Certainly I am NOT the only eventer who does this

I'm another one. I event and foxhunt my homebred horse, and take him to, at most, one or two recognized dressage shows a year. I'm a gmo member because my work and event schedules are never going to let me go for USDF year-end awards or compete in regionals, but I've plugged away and this year got my Bronze. I'd like to someday get my silver. I love those goals because they require very few actual scores (therefore few shows) but do award achievment as a rider progresses through the levels. It's a great program. I go train until I think I've got a shot at getting the scores I need at a level, then I go do one or two shows, get the scores, go home and train towards the next level. Having to do a slew of shows is going to eliminate people who cross-train, don't have access to lots of show options in their areas, have to budge tightly, etc. There will be a lot of people left behind by these new requirements, and it isn't going to raise the standard of dressage.

Ja Da Dee
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:43 AM
I am eventer who occassionally shows at dressage shows.
Marcia

That's what I am too. It's so frustrating that they seem to be saying that if you don't bow down to the religion of dressage, and spend every penny you have in the sandbox, then really you aren't wanted in the ring.

This isn't about how good you are riding, but how much showing you can afford to do as well as how fancy of a horse you have bought. This year I did 2 dressage shows, 2 classes at each as well as 2 horse trials. That and taking lessons pretty much maxes out my budget.

millerra
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:55 AM
So how do we get our voices heard??? A letter to USDF? a signed petition against this? Ask for a cross-discipline waiver?

suzy
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:59 AM
I'm in favor of a petition but not a waiver.

Holly Jeanne
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:59 AM
Because of their late start, the game of catch-up will be impossible for many of them. Why should these people, who have already missed out on so much, have to miss out on more?


That would essentially be me. I rode growing up but just 4-H and western with no lessons. I'm now an older adult on a tight budget with monthly lessons and 2 young horses. I was already figuring I would only show 1-3 times a year because of the cost but maybe I should just do the lessons and clinics for my own enjoyment and not worry about the showing? Heck, I've even had trouble finding clinics I can go to that are appropriate for beginning dressage riders and horses on a budget. Anybody want to go on a trail ride with me?

claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 12:14 PM
Regarding the "abuse" of the double? I dunno, I've got a cat on my lap, but IME the double amplifies the faults of the rider and if you don't know what you're doing, it makes everything look worse.

-Isn't that the point of raising the rider co-efficient to 3? If the rider is "abusing" the double, couldn't that be reflected in the rider score? :confused:

-And if the rationale of the "proposal" is to raise the quality of riding at competitions:
Why invest the $$$ in more paperwork to keep track of riders scores and membership participation, making shows more and more expensive and making a person choose between lessons/clinic or a show?

If riders show 3rd and up despite recieving poor scores in the current system...I would think they will continue to show at their preferred level at schooling shows under this new system. :confused:

-And if this is all about the $$$. Still does not make good business sense, as they will simply be reducing the (ammie) entries into recogized shows at the 3rd and up levels. :confused:

Who is on the board making these sort of "business" decisions? :rolleyes:

Eventer13
Nov. 30, 2007, 12:18 PM
Could someone explain the point of this (to someone who is in the dark)? Is this for safety? Who cares if someone shows above their level, they'll just get crappy scores. Doesnt hurt anything, does it?

suzy
Nov. 30, 2007, 12:56 PM
Re: other's comments on the double bridle, I do agree that the rider score with a coefficient of 3 will have a noticeable impact on the rider's overall score, so people who are not using it correctly will be put on notice. However, my big issue is that I don't think it's in the best interest of the horse for inexperienced riders to be given the option of using a double bridle at third level. With few exceptions, it's the riders that have the least business using a double at third that are using one.

claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 01:19 PM
I just think that these rules really aren't going to do much about riders abusing the double bridle or raise the quality of riding skills.

Either, these "unskilled" riders will move to unrecognized shows where they can "say" they show 3rd Level (and still be riding the curb).

Or, the riders with more $$$$ than riding skills :winkgrin: will just buy their PSG "Saint" Schoolmaster and shop the shows till they get their qualifying scores.

So, doesn't make $$$$ for the USDF/USEF and doesn't protect horses from unskilled or "abusive" use of the double bridle.

AND it will be a costly venture passed on through increased show costs.

So, the rationale behind this proposal is? :confused:

J-Lu
Nov. 30, 2007, 01:33 PM
Who is on the board making these sort of "business" decisions? :rolleyes:

This is the problem. The system was devised by our top judges and USEF/USEF people. Obviously at the top of the sport, these people truly believe that a first level test in Wellington should be the same as a first level test anywhere in the nation. I was told by one top judge that if you can't meet the Wellington standards, don't show. She also told people that if you can't get a 70%, you shouldn't move up because a 6 is NOT a good score...it's akin to a "C" in school. Give me a break. We're riding horses, not getting degrees in Physics.

Apparently, many amateurs at the lower levels, and many professionals at the upper levels (in short, anyone scoring under 60%) pain judges so they want to cut down on the frequency of these rides.

I think it is easy, when one lives in such an insulated and elite world like the world of elite dressage, to lose touch with the greater reality. This plan is ill-conceived, IMO.

millerra
Nov. 30, 2007, 01:56 PM
[QUOTE=J-Lu;2837272]I was told by one top judge that if you can't meet the Wellington standards, don't show. She also told people that if you can't get a 70%, you shouldn't move up because a 6 is NOT a good score...it's akin to a "C" in school.

Perhaps that judge should be informed that a C is a passing grade and that students are allowed to move to the next class... Moreover, it is an average grade; some better, some worse. My class averages are typically around a C+/B- :D

I do have much snarkier retort to that judge... it is so snobbish, it is beyond words and comprehension. She should recuse herself from being a judge...

suzy
Nov. 30, 2007, 02:01 PM
Well, a 6 is not a great score. Although it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t scream “GOOD JOB, YOU!” ;) However, it should not influence whether someone can or cannot compete.

I have to roll my eyes regarding judges not wanting to judge the lower scoring rides. Okay, fair enough, but if we eliminate that group of riders, we are going to have very few horses/riders to judge and far fewer judges will be needed. These judges might want to rethink this discriminatory attitude if they care about keeping their jobs. And, let’s face it, some of the best riders have the occasional bad ride and score in the low 60s or lower.

The sad thing is that these “average” riders (and I use that term to describe people who don’t have the resources, time or money, to buy the best horses and train regularly with a top trainer) are the backbone of the industry, and they are the ones most negatively impacted by this proposal. They are paying all of the association fees; they pay just as much to enter shows as the elite riders; they make up much of the audience at shows; they make BIG sacrifices to be a part of the world of dressage; they are frequently the volunteers who make it possible for shows to exist at all, yet they get no recognition for their contribution. Most of them will never grace the cover of “Dressage Today,” compete in Europe, or buy a horse trained by a top trainer. But, they attend the clinics, making it possible for us to have top trainers from overseas come here; they manage the schooling shows; they run their local GMOS; they volunteer at the big shows; and on and on. They are the foundation of dressage in the U.S., but they are being treated as though they are disposable.

If USEF and USDF are content to have a small, elite, core group of people footing all of the expenses, that’s fine, but they should not be surprised if this attitude is met with disenchantment and people becoming UNinvolved in the sport. Perhaps, that IS their goal…???

Ja Da Dee
Nov. 30, 2007, 02:09 PM
Well put Suzy

<says a very average rider>

suzy
Nov. 30, 2007, 02:41 PM
I have a soft spot for the average rider, having been one for long enough. I should also add that a 6 means different things for different horses and riders. A score of 6 given to a spectacularly well-bred, well-trained horse with gaits to-die-for indicates that things are not going well for some reason. However, a 6 for a horse with less-than-perfect conformation and not-so-great movement indicates that the rider is doing quite a good job of presenting the horse. So, with the USEF’s proposal, some good riders on “average” (not meant negatively) horses are going to be left behind. Is this really the direction in which USEF wants to go? I would hope not. I got some wonderful show mileage when much younger on a decidedly mediocre Appaloosa mare that taught me so much and was a joy 100% of the time. She went on to help other aspiring riders. However, there won’t be any place for horses like this with this points system, and I think that’s a shame, too.

Dressage Art
Nov. 30, 2007, 02:42 PM
I'm in favor of a petition for points to move up the levels - especially if it will affect pro trainers. But I don’t care for the details of current proposed rule.

By USDF statistics, about 80% of riders don’t show above 3rd level. So this petition will affect only about 20% of dressage riders who SHOW and strong majority of dressage riders don't even show - that is a very small group of dressage riders. Those are NOT average riders.

I've been showing at 2nd level for 3 years now and most of the time; I'm the only AA in my class. I've seen pro trainers showing 3rd levels with horses that are not ready for a 3rd level collect work and ride only tricks scoring 50% - yet those pro trainers don't see anything wrong with that. I've seen pro trainers moving up the levels and consistently scoring in 40%-50%, just to claim that they are showing X level on their “resumes”. When somebody scores constantly below 60% - they are not only missing a couple of movements, they are missing the whole purpose of the level that they show at. That clearly shows that horse doesn't have the training basics needed to show at this level.

To me this rule is about trying to get more attention to correct training basics needed to show at the medium levels. It is about preventing trick riding.

For me, this rule is not about the abuse of double bridle. It is not about making more money for USDF or USEF either. It’s not about cutting off “average riders with limited income”. This rule can possibly prevent trainers and AA from moving up when horses are not ready to move up, it can limit riders who don't care about correct dressage training and who don't care about spending time to confirm their horse at the level from moving up further.

I can attest that 60% is not a high score at 2nd level. I'm already have to be a member of all 3 (USEF, USDF and CDS local GMO) to show.

Now the question for me would be – how many points for AA and how many points for Pros before moving up. 20 points seems excessive.

suzy
Nov. 30, 2007, 02:50 PM
It will affect good riders of limited resources that are riding average horses. Heck, even I don't want to have to spend THAT much money to get the requisite number of scores to move up. It's wasteful.

Dressage Art
Nov. 30, 2007, 03:15 PM
riding average horses.
What is an average 2nd level show horse in your area? Can you describe?

Ja Da Dee
Nov. 30, 2007, 03:21 PM
What is an average 2nd level show horse in your area? Can you describe?

I'm schooling second on a Paint who has 7 gaits. We are still showing 1st though. We show at 2 dressage shows a year.

claire
Nov. 30, 2007, 04:26 PM
It will affect good riders of limited resources that are riding average horses. Heck, even I don't want to have to spend THAT much money to get the requisite number of scores to move up. It's wasteful.

AND



The sad thing is that these “average” riders (and I use that term to describe people who don’t have the resources, time or money, to buy the best horses and train regularly with a top trainer) are the backbone of the industry, and they are the ones most negatively impacted by this proposal. They are paying all of the association fees; they pay just as much to enter shows as the elite riders; they make up much of the audience at shows; they make BIG sacrifices to be a part of the world of dressage; they are frequently the volunteers who make it possible for shows to exist at all, yet they get no recognition for their contribution. Most of them will never grace the cover of “Dressage Today,” compete in Europe, or buy a horse trained by a top trainer. But, they attend the clinics, making it possible for us to have top trainers from overseas come here; they manage the schooling shows; they run their local GMOS; they volunteer at the big shows; and on and on. They are the foundation of dressage in the U.S., but they are being treated as though they are disposable.

If USEF and USDF are content to have a small, elite, core group of people footing all of the expenses, that’s fine, but they should not be surprised if this attitude is met with disenchantment and people becoming UNinvolved in the sport. Perhaps, that IS their goal…???


suzy, great posts. You put your finger on the key issues! :)

You should send this on to TPTB at the USDF and USEF.

rothmpp
Nov. 30, 2007, 06:12 PM
Can I toss another problem out there?

I am an AA rider that has not been showing for several years due to financial constraints (no horse, no time, the usual story...). I had a fairly sucessful yr career and probably would qualify based on that, but what if I didn't?

My young horse went to two shows last year, just to be sure that he was okay being away from home. I then spent this year just working with trainers and clinics. I'm not skipping steps - but he won't score well at first, he didn't score out of the park at training - he is going to be a collection horse, not the long and low type, and I don't want to spend my money riding to a test that wouldn't be what I would work on. By next summer I think he'll be ready and comfortable at third. Under this rule - I would have to spend half the season at second. That would blow - particularly on my budget. I honestly don't know what I would do.

Melissa.Van Doren
Nov. 30, 2007, 06:34 PM
I'm in favor of a petition for points to move up the levels - especially if it will affect pro trainers. But I don’t care for the details of current proposed rule.

By USDF statistics, about 80% of riders don’t show above 3rd level. So this petition will affect only about 20% of dressage riders who SHOW and strong majority of dressage riders don't even show - that is a very small group of dressage riders. Those are NOT average riders.

I've been showing at 2nd level for 3 years now and most of the time; I'm the only AA in my class. I've seen pro trainers showing 3rd levels with horses that are not ready for a 3rd level collect work and ride only tricks scoring 50% - yet those pro trainers don't see anything wrong with that. I've seen pro trainers moving up the levels and consistently scoring in 40%-50%, just to claim that they are showing X level on their “resumes”. When somebody scores constantly below 60% - they are not only missing a couple of movements, they are missing the whole purpose of the level that they show at. That clearly shows that horse doesn't have the training basics needed to show at this level.

To me this rule is about trying to get more attention to correct training basics needed to show at the medium levels. It is about preventing trick riding.

For me, this rule is not about the abuse of double bridle. It is not about making more money for USDF or USEF either. It’s not about cutting off “average riders with limited income”. This rule can possibly prevent trainers and AA from moving up when horses are not ready to move up, it can limit riders who don't care about correct dressage training and who don't care about spending time to confirm their horse at the level from moving up further.

I can attest that 60% is not a high score at 2nd level. I'm already have to be a member of all 3 (USEF, USDF and CDS local GMO) to show.

Now the question for me would be – how many points for AA and how many points for Pros before moving up. 20 points seems excessive.

I agree that the proposal (I hope) is about the horse, and for that reason I don't think there should be a difference in points between the ammies and the pros (correct riding and training is correct riding and training). As far as how many points... if I'm reading right... you can earn more points more quickly by simply riding/training better. Hmmmm.

Requiring the points/scores seems a good way to make sure the riding/training progresses so the horses are treated fairly as they are asked to perform more difficult tasks. While I think all riders should be allowed to have fun, I don't think it should come at the expense of the horse.

Do you see another way of doing this?

mjhco
Nov. 30, 2007, 06:54 PM
I agree that the proposal (I hope) is about the horse, and for that reason I don't think there should be a difference in points between the ammies and the pros (correct riding and training is correct riding and training). As far as how many points... if I'm reading right... you can earn more points more quickly by simply riding/training better. Hmmmm.

Requiring the points/scores seems a good way to make sure the riding/training progresses so the horses are treated fairly as they are asked to perform more difficult tasks. While I think all riders should be allowed to have fun, I don't think it should come at the expense of the horse.

Do you see another way of doing this?


If there are so MANY cases of abuse at our dressage shows, then why are there not yellow cards filed against the riders? Why are there not sanctions published in the USEF magazine against these riders?

How much are the horses truly being abused? This needs to be defined and documented if this rule truly is to eliminate the 'abuse'.

Rhiannonjk
Nov. 30, 2007, 07:08 PM
Do you see another way of doing this?


I haven't seen much of an argument that there is a problem here that needs to be so drastically addressed.

But I add to all the people saying that it is not reasonable. Where I am right now, there are MAYBE 4 recognized shows a year withing a 3 hour drive. One got cancelled recently, and sometimes real life events take precedence over showing.

With that sort of show possibilities, it could take YEARS to get the scores needed (20!!!), and I think it would be a shame to have to waste money on traveling far away just to get scores to move up the levels (when you could work with a knowledgable trainer instead with the money)

Dressage Art
Nov. 30, 2007, 07:15 PM
Yes, the amount of scores is incredible! Why to qualify for the championships it takes only 2 scores of 61% on 2nd level, but to move up to 3rd level it will take 20 scores of 61% on 2nd level?

60 - 62.99% = 1 point and 20 points are needed to move up.

That is a serious disconnect. I would love to hear who from USEF came up with this number.

inca
Nov. 30, 2007, 07:25 PM
Wow. I have never shown at more than 4 recognized shows per year. And I usually just show one day at each show so I can trailer in and go home the same day. So, that is 8 tests per year. So, even if I never have a bad test, it's going to take at least 2 years of showing at 2nd level to move up. Because, let's be honest, how many amateurs do you see routinely getting 68% or above at 2nd level? It may take me 3 years to be able to move up unless I am getting 65% on each test. And that won't happen every single test. (Heck, I'd be thrilled if it did but it won't.)

I am not against having to qualify to move up but requiring THAT many scores over 60 for an amateur is ridiculous. There are a limited number of amateurs showing over 2nd in our regoin anyway and that number will probably go down when this goes into effect.

Maybe I better find a 3rd level horse and get my bronze ASAP!

Dressage Art
Nov. 30, 2007, 07:27 PM
If there are so MANY cases of abuse at our dressage shows, then why are there not yellow cards filed against the riders? Why are there not sanctions published in the USEF magazine against these riders?

How much are the horses truly being abused? This needs to be defined and documented if this rule truly is to eliminate the 'abuse'.

I think it’s not about abuse, but it’s about a mistreatment of the horse for the sake of progressing up the levels. Many can train harsh home and be angels at the show grounds. I think it’s about the “middle” between “happy athlete” and “marked abuse” that this rule is trying to address. The big point, I think, is that horse should be COMFORTABLE doing the elements of the level. There are many horses that are pushed beyond their limits and trained with crank and spank methods. For what? For the desire of their owners to move up the levels! There are no benefits to a horse from that. Some so called “dedicated” dressage riders are riding their horses in to the ground. You can easily see that when after shows many horses come up lame again and again and again.


let's be honest, how many amateurs do you see routinely getting 68% or above at 2nd level?
Well, I've shown 2nd level for 3 years now and in those 3 years I've got one score of 68% and one score of 69% on 2-3 and 2-4 from different judges. The stars were aligned for us at those two shows :D

J-Lu
Nov. 30, 2007, 07:41 PM
[quote=J-Lu;2837272]I was told by one top judge that if you can't meet the Wellington standards, don't show. She also told people that if you can't get a 70%, you shouldn't move up because a 6 is NOT a good score...it's akin to a "C" in school.

Perhaps that judge should be informed that a C is a passing grade and that students are allowed to move to the next class... Moreover, it is an average grade; some better, some worse. My class averages are typically around a C+/B- :D

I do have much snarkier retort to that judge... it is so snobbish, it is beyond words and comprehension. She should recuse herself from being a judge...

FWIW, this is what I said. Her reply was that a C is the grade that you get if you show up but don't really master the material of a class. You should aim for a B+ or A, and when you reach that level, you're ready to move out of that grade. That and a bunch of other gems led me to believe that this person is not interested in the base of the sport (she's an international judge who sits on committees, so she doesn't have to interest herself in the base of the sport).

Suzy, right on!

rothhmp - exactly. This rule makes competetive dressage all about the competition rather than some benchmark test in your training. IMO, people should be encouraged to stay home and spend money on training, and show when they feel they are ready. This proposal prevents this.

DA - Alot of people progress a level a year (I did) and this proposal would prevent them from showing. Not everyone has the money or time (it is very hard for me to take 3-day weekends from work) to do 5 shows/year. I've never done 5 shows/year. This proposal ignores the fact that people still progress even if they're not showing. If poor training is the issue, then THAT is where the focus of the USEF should go - i.e. regulating who can call themselves a professional dressage trainer. Also, judges should stop encouraging bad rides by writing fluffy comments such as "lovely pair-has potential" if they really feel the ride is sub-par. I've scribed for many a disasterous training level ride where the judge writes positive comments. And I've heard many of those riders say "but the judge says we're lovely so we must be doing well".

Lastly, some horses/riders will never earn more than 60-63% on average. Why? maybe the rider works 55 hours/week and can't get in the saddle more than 4 times/week. Maybe she has show-nerves. Maybe her horse doesn't do well for three days in a 10x10 stall. Maybe the horse has average gaits (which by current definition, they'll start off with a dreaded 6 on movements) but can technically do the work. They might be very competent for the level but not flashy. Further, maybe the rider makes a couple of mistakes in, say, the walk pirouettes that she normally doesn't make at home. That's a 60-63% ride, giving her 1 point for that test instead of 2. That 10 second screw-up in the walk pirouette just forced her to go to spend another $500 and go to another show.

In all of my complaining about this (and I know, I know, I complain SOOO much about this proposal - I'm sorry!!!), I've yet to hear a convincing arguement about why this proposal is necessary, and why this proposal is *the best solution* to the actual problem.

J. :mad: :winkgrin:

canyonoak
Nov. 30, 2007, 07:52 PM
Reposting earlier excellent post from Janet (from other rule change thread):


<< Rather than emailing the USEF, file an official comment.

This is the link to the proposed Dressage rule changes.

http://www.usef.org/contentpage2.aspx?id=rulebook

CLick on
Summary of Rule Change Proposals for 2008 Annual Meeting
and then select Dressage:

http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/RuleBook/RuleProposals/PRCIndex.aspx


You can read this (or any of the other proposals). This one is 275-07. Then click on the button at the top of the page to submit formal comments.>>



Everyone-- please! Whatever your viewpoint, PLEASE file an an official comment.

J-Lu
Nov. 30, 2007, 08:00 PM
The big point, I think, is that horse should be COMFORTABLE doing the elements of the level. There are many horses that are pushed beyond their limits and trained with crank and spank methods. For what? For the desire of their owners to move up the levels! There are no benefits to a horse from that. Some so called “dedicated” dressage riders are riding their horses in to the ground. You can easily see that when after shows many horses come up lame again and again and again.

How would this rule prevent me from cranking and spanking my new horse through first level? It wouldn't, because I've ridden through upper levels and the rule wouldn't affect me. In fact, the biggest crankers and spankers I've seen are professionals who have cranked their way to FEI or GP, and this proposal wouldn't stop them, either. If the point is to make the horse comfortable performing at a given level, this rule doesn't address it.

millerra
Nov. 30, 2007, 09:36 PM
IMHO this rule would lead to more 'horse abuse' than it prevents - imagine those w/ money going from show to show just to try to get the requisite scores to move up. It punishes those of us who occasionally show dressageand do our homework and show at the level we (our coach and ourselves) think suits us. I don't need to be showing frequently now to move my horse up the levels - but I would have to if this rule goes into effect. But I won't because a) time b) money and c) my horse does not do well on a heavy travel/show schedule.

And yes, I will file a comment if I can figure out how.

Velvet
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:26 PM
I just have a few comments.

I do think that the 20 points is definitely excessive. I don't think having a point system to move up is wrong.

I think that separting riders by amateur and professional status already lowers the bar enough, when creating year end awards, etc. I don't think you need to do that for qualifying. What's the point? All riders SHOULD ride well at each leel they show before they move up. If you lower the standards and create new ones for each type of rider (pro or ammi) then you are losing what dressage is all about--and you are making a mockery of the training scale and what it is meant to create/produce.

I don't think that this will create a problem for the lower level riders, and the backbone of this sport. I agree with what someone else said when they wrote that those people are almost all at the lowest levels and will not be impacted. And if they want to move up, they just have to work at obtaining the points. If they are lowered from that current mark of 20, then that would not be too onerous. Even average horses can get scores in the 60s, and if the points are lowered it wouldn't take as many shows to get them. Say maybe a total of 10 points. That would be something they could achieve fairly easily to move up to the next level. They wouldn't have to qualify out again until and unless they went to the more advanced levels.

It's all rather interesting, but I don't think all the objections out here really hold up. At least not for me. JMO

yaya
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:38 PM
And yes, I will file a comment if I can figure out how.

Go to www.usef.org (http://www.usef.org)
Click on "Rules & Governance" on the left
Click on "Rule Book"
Click on "Summary of Rule Change Proposals for 2008 Annual Meeting"
Click on "DR-Dressage Division"
Now you see a list of all rule changes proposed for Dressage. The rule in question is Tracking Number 275-07.

There is a button above the proposed changes marked "Comment Form" Click on it.

Fill out the form, providing the tracking number of the rule change proposal you are commenting on.

Voila!

Melissa.Van Doren
Nov. 30, 2007, 10:44 PM
If there are so MANY cases of abuse at our dressage shows, then why are there not yellow cards filed against the riders? Why are there not sanctions published in the USEF magazine against these riders?

How much are the horses truly being abused? This needs to be defined and documented if this rule truly is to eliminate the 'abuse'.

[/quote] I think it’s not about abuse, but it’s about a mistreatment of the horse for the sake of progressing up the levels. Many can train harsh home and be angels at the show grounds. I think it’s about the “middle” between “happy athlete” and “marked abuse” that this rule is trying to address. The big point, I think, is that horse should be COMFORTABLE doing the elements of the level. There are many horses that are pushed beyond their limits and trained with crank and spank methods. For what? For the desire of their owners to move up the levels! There are no benefits to a horse from that. [/quote]

Exactly.

zinnniaz
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:20 PM
I think it’s not about abuse, but it’s about a mistreatment of the horse for the sake of progressing up the levels. Many can train harsh home and be angels at the show grounds. I think it’s about the “middle” between “happy athlete” and “marked abuse” that this rule is trying to address. The big point, I think, is that horse should be COMFORTABLE doing the elements of the level. There are many horses that are pushed beyond their limits and trained with crank and spank methods. For what? For the desire of their owners to move up the levels! There are no benefits to a horse from that.

Exactly.[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]

Hm. So what are the numbers behind these statements? How many riders at a show have you seen who needed to be policed by USEF so that they would stop their nefarious showing above their level? Is there a general percentage?

The biggest glaring issue with this rule change is that it is vaguely addressing a vaguely defined problem. The committee really needs to define the frigging problem. Is it the training? Is it that 80% of all riders suck and don't know it? Is it that the US desperately wants to take steps to legitimize our 'system'? Figure out what exactly the problem is! If it is an abysmal lack of training basics, then address TRAINING and TRAINERS. If a vast number of riders have totally missed the point, then let the scores show it! Dammit, give me a TWO or a ZERO if I don't halt. Or a three for a ridiculous amoeboid canter circle. Come ON! If the problem is that the US needs to revamp the system, well then start at the bottom, at the foundation of the sport-- the breeding of horses, the training of trainers, the qulaifications of trainers. Not at the TOP. Showing is not the issue in any of these 'problems'. So why address it with this overweeningly cumbersome points nonsense?

No. The committee needs to rethink. Define the problem. Define the goal. THEN propose a rule that is actually crafted to address the issues. But you cannot hope to solve anything at all when the problem/ goal is so vague. The solution can only be as vague and will not solve anything.

Hampton Bay
Nov. 30, 2007, 11:39 PM
As an ammy with a horse of "average" gaits who is very athletic, I must say this would keep me from ever WANTING to show. I cannot afford to do 3 or 4 shows a year. Given my mare's time off to be pregnant, I would only have her fit to show first, maybe second, in 2009.

So I am the exact case that this is going to hit the hardest. The ammy who truly wants to move up, and not by skipping the basics, but by taking lessons and working with the best trainers I can find. So if I want to ever show third, should I skip taking lessons to afford to move up? I have show nerves, and combined with my mare's average movement, it would be very expensive.

Personally, I prefer to do maybe one or two shows a year at a level I feel I can handle, to make sure my CORRECT BASICS are in place. Under this new rule, I likely would just stop showing at anything past schooling shows.

ltw
Dec. 1, 2007, 12:08 AM
Define the problem USEF and USDF! Start from the bottom up fixing the education and training system!

This is not Germany, this is not Holland. We cannot run down the road to take our Bereiter test on weekends. This is America.

Requiring me to go to 10 shows and show in 20 classes a year is unrealistic!

Thank God, I have already earned my Bronze and most of my silver.
Otherwise, I would be screwed.

There is one USDF certified instructor in my area within 100 miles drive and she is certified to train me to 4rth. Great!, now where do I go to find help for PSG? Sorry to tell you, but the trainers are very thin, pretty much nonexistent........ and I am in Northern VA- 40 miles from our nations capitol!

About 3- 4 times a year I might be lucky to ride in a clinic with someone enlightening!

If you want scores and basics to improve, start with the education system, not with the competition system.

If some fool wants to slap a double bridle on their horse and get a 40% that is their choice. I can guarantee you they will make the mistake once or twice and then will not be seen again until they improve their training. That is my humble observation.

I do not want to have to show in 20 classes per year. That is not a true measure of success. I would much rather concentrate my money on lessons, clinics and buying Hay and shoes for my horses. I can no longer afford $4 a gallon diesel of gas to haul my horse 5-6 hours away to ride for a judge that got up on the wrong side of the bed.


I have competed my whole life. I am just as tired of the mediocre, inaccurate judging I have seen as the bad riding. So lets remember that the coin turns both ways.

When we read our tests and it does not appear the judge was observing the same horse or the same test that day the standards need to go both ways!

I am tired of the judges falling asleep after lunch and the scribe filling in the score without input. I am tired of judges that have ADHD and cannot watch the tests. I am tired of the judges that arrive at the show with a chip on their shoulders and give every rider a 40% to 55% because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I am tired of judges that hold a standard so high they think everyone should be competing at the Olympic level. I am tired of paying $1000's and $1000's of dollars to go to expensive shows to ride in crappy, deep, concrete, slippery. sloppy footing in rain and monsoons with dressage rings that are so deep with water and mud my own shoes and my horses tendons get sucked off. I am tired of judges telling me, that footing is OK, why did I scratch! because I already have a horse at home with a suspensory injury!

I am tired of judges that do not understand, read, or comprehend the correct goals of the level they are judging.

Sorry to be on such a rant, but some of these rule changes are totally over the top! I have ridden and shown for too many years to sit quiet and not speak up about some of these ridiculous proposals! Need I say more....

Sabine
Dec. 1, 2007, 12:48 AM
So, the rationale behind this proposal is? :confused:

The only real payoff of this proposal is the elimination of folks that pay for their schoolmaster and learn how to ride 3 GP tests at 60 or over to get their gold and then hang up their feeble shingle ...it will basically clean up the crowd of bought and paid for riders and hopefully make them all 'real riders...' LOL!...can't see another motivation...

pinecone
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:00 AM
It sounds like they are trying to apply Florida/California/Europe logic to the entire US. In Florida, California, or Europe there are plenty of shows, plenty of pros, plenty of good instructors and trainers, plenty of stiff competition, and plenty of fancy horses for which a 60% is no problem, because they're not trying to earn it starting from 6 gaits.

They forget about the rest of this big huge country, where not all pros should really be pros, where good instruction can be hard to come by, where a good trainer can be even harder to find, where shows can be fewer and farther away, and where not everyone is riding a fancy 8 mover who can sleep thru the test and still easily get the 60+.

This move won't level the playing field more, it will do the opposite. The people with the money will be more easily able to afford extra entry fees and weekends away at shows, and will be able to afford to judge shop, and will be able to afford the fancier horses (a 60% is a lot easier to earn on an 8 mover than a 6 mover), and will be able to afford to keep their horses in training, or they can buy schoolmasters. NONE of that means they are the better riders, but they'll be able to qualify a lot more quickly.

The more I hear about this proposal the more ludicrous it sounds. How many legit pros don't already have a minimum of a Silver medal? (It they don't, I have to wonder how qualified they are to be pros!) So the pros will nearly all be grandfathered in. So this will almost entirely effect only the ammies and the low level beginner level lesson teachers. And those people are statistically much less likely to ever get to Third Level anyhow, so who REALLY does all of this target?:confused:

hluing
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:09 AM
I think this plan is terrible! I especialy think requiring sooo many scores to move to third level is crazy. Chasing points and showing every weekend can be abusive to some horses and this is what this rule promotes. Stick with the regional or medal qualifying system and it all makes more sence.

Rhiannonjk
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:09 AM
Lets forget the low level ammies for a second - what about the privileged Junior/Young rider that is trying to get on the Young Rider team, and literally has a time limit for getting all these qualifying scores in? If that young rider is working hard, and lucky enough to acquire a horse of that level and be able to ride it, I think it would be a shame for them to have to wait another year or two to try to qualifying scores when they might legitimately be able to go for it.

OR should only those Jr/YRs in areas that they can show every other weekend be able to try for this?

claire
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:19 AM
The only real payoff of this proposal is the elimination of folks that pay for their schoolmaster and learn how to ride 3 GP tests at 60 or over to get their gold and then hang up their feeble shingle ...it will basically clean up the crowd of bought and paid for riders and hopefully make them all 'real riders...' LOL!...can't see another motivation...

Wow Sabine, Do you think there are REALLY that many "poser" trainers? Or is that just a west coast thing? :winkgrin:

Seriously, is that the issue they are trying to address?

I can't believe that there are enough people who would be hoodwinked by such "posers" to keep these "Faux Trainers" in business?
(especially, in areas where there are so many legit trainers)

I'm not an expert, but I think I would wonder why my trainer either, never showed or showed and got scores below 60%???? :confused:

As far as the "Buy and Ride" crowd, the people with the $$$$ are the ones who will still be able to buy a "Saintly Schoolmaster" and "Shop'nShow" till they get their required scores to move up.

I think the cost of doing the 20+ recognized shows (as a Participating Member) is what is going to thin the numbers at 3rd Level and up by making showing prohibitive to:

1.) Eventers or other disciplines who like to do a few shows in the "off season".

2.) Weekend warriors who prefer to spend their time and $$$ taking clinics and private lessons on their young prospects and wait to show recognized until 3rd/4th level.

3.) Riders in the "hinterlands" who live hours away from recognized shows,
who prefer to train and do schooling shows at home until they are confirmed at a level before trailering out and spending $$$$ on a recognized show.

4.) Re-riders of a "certain age" ;) who have been confirmed at medium/advanced before raising families/being involved in their careers.
Who do not have the time or desire to spend the $$$ riding in shows at 2nd Level to get qualified.

I still don't understand, from a purely business point, why they would want to alienate that many, to clean up the discipline of a few "posers". :confused:

Sister Margarita
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:23 AM
ltw and Pinecone are right on the mark.
This is not Europe, and while Florida/California are closer in that there are more shows, so many areas of the US are "geographically challenged" to keep up with those types of regulations. Sit at any USDF Annual Meeting and listen to the riders from Wyoming or Minnesota discussing what their plights are. They are different from CA, FL or the mid-Atlantic/Northeast, where shows are within a few hours every weekend or the season is longer. I know of many, many good amateurs (better than many pros) who work full-time and have families who will never be able to show so often as to qualify to advance, and yet they are very proficient at what they do.

I understand we wish to raise the quality of dressage to be on par with Europe where there is a qualifying system to advance, but if it excludes those who have limited time, funds or many of the aforementioned reasons, then we are cutting out participation rather than expanding the dressage base.

Unfortunately there are always going to be the individuals who think they ride FEI because they can whip off a crooked bunch of changes or get their horse's mincing trot in place with no understanding of the foundation of what the level means. Hopefully the judges will set them straight, and if getting a score in the 40's is not enough to wake them up, then they are embarassing themselves. Hopefully the TD's will police the situation to insure the situation is not extreme for the horse.

To think that a rule like this will change something at home is ridiculous. We can only hope that through education, where our money and dues are better spent, riders will get the idea and avoid the pros who support bad riding/showing by doing it.

Hilary
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:59 AM
Another eventer chiming in here - and my reaction is TWENTY points?? TWENTY??

To move up from Training to Preliminary, which is the biggest jump in terms of difficulty on cross country, a rider must complete FOUR events at Training level with no more than 20 XC penalties (one refusal) and no more than some gigantic number of rails in Stadium (like knocking down half the fences).

I think this is a good ruling because XC can be dangerous. Moving up too fast can cause serious injury to horse and/or rider.

But 20 points to move up in dressage?? C'mon people- I can see asking for at least 1 maybe 2 scores of 55 or 60, but 20? If you can qualify for a regional championship with a 58, why do you need 20 scores of 60 to move up?

that is a racket. No one is going to get hurt - embarassed? yes, but come to harm? No.

ltw
Dec. 1, 2007, 10:42 AM
Just to give an example about my rant above. I went to Lexington VA for the GAIG finals in VA in October. It poured buckets of water every day of the show. It rained sideways almost non-stop. All of the outdoor rings were swimming pools and outdoor bluestone slippery, sloppy muck. When I went to check the footing my shoes were literally sucked off my feet. Luckily, all of the final championship classes were held indoors.

I arrived on Wed and left on Sunday. In the five days I was there I was able to show in TWO classes. I was signed up to do SIX classes over the 5 days. I spent over $1500-$2000 by the time I paid for stabling, entry fees, hotels, food and gas. This exact same scenario has happened at most of the GAIGs and BLMs in the mid-atlantic for the last few years- bad weather, torrential downpours, sloppy, deep, wet footing.

I work a full time very demanding job, I take vacation from my job, make arrangements to leave my child and other animals, and spend alot of money to go to the show. Due to weather and unacceptable footing I am unable to show in enough classes to make the trip and the expense worthwhile.

I choose not to risk my horse's health and soundness for the sake of a few scores as I am in this for the long haul to have a horse that can hold up to the long term training to get to the upper levels.

The proposal to get 20 scores will cause people to chase scores and may cause them to ride in unsafe footing or push for an extra test on a tired horse. In my opinion this harms the health and welfare of our horses.

My proposal is that you must follow the same criteria outline to get your Bronze, Silver and Gold. You move up to the next level after you have earned two scores of 60% at the previous level. This is more realistic and will be better for the horses in the long run.

angel
Dec. 1, 2007, 10:54 AM
You would have to make that proposal horse/rider specific. Qualified rider/different horse must qualify under those guidelines again. Qualified horse/different rider must also qualify again.

canyonoak
Dec. 1, 2007, 11:05 AM
The committee below is at USDF Conventioin even as we write here.
I am going to eemail this thread to each of them.




Dressage Committee

MRS MARIANNE LUDWIG
Chair
Full Address Not Provided

Day Phone: (239) 947-2506
Cell Phone: (239) 273-5907
Fax: (239) 947-2506
Email: Not Provided


MRS ANNE GRIBBONS
Co-Vice Ch
KNOLL DRESSAGE, LLC
2121 DRESSAGE COVE
CHULUOTA FL 32766
Day Phone: (407) 366-5545
Cell Phone: (407) 267-6277
Fax: (407) 366-7319
Email: agribbons@aol.com


GEORGE WILLIAMS
Co-Vice Ch
PO BOX 598
109 W. WINTER ST.
DELAWARE OH 43015
Day Phone: (937) 348-2895
Cell Phone: 937-603-9134
Fax: (740) 362-5539
Email: GEOROWMS@aol.com


MS JAYNE AYERS
Member
W381 S5225 HIGHWAY Z C
DOUSMAN WI 53118-9441
Day Phone: (262) 965-2066
Cell Phone: (414) 313-4146
Fax: (262) 965-2164
Email: jayne@dressagehorse.com


DR. SAMUEL BARISH
Member
11106 STEPHALEE LN
ROCKVILLE MD 20852-3656
Day Phone: Not Provided
Cell Phone: Not Provided
Fax: (301) 984-9593
Email: sam.barish@science.doe.gov


MISS KATHLEEN CONNELLY
Member
166 MONUMENT ST
CONCORD MA 01742
Day Phone: (978) 486-8674
Cell Phone: 561-632-8674
Fax: 978-254-5248
Email: kathyconnellyavf@aol.com


MRS MELISSA CRESWICK
Member
Full Address Not Provided

Day Phone: Not Provided
Cell Phone: Not Provided
Fax: Not Provided
Email: Not Provided


MR JAN EBELING
Member
13375 BROADWAY RD
MOORPARK CA 93021-9714
Day Phone: (805) 532-2118
Cell Phone: Not Provided
Fax: 805-532-0034
Email: acresrnch@aol.com


MRS JANET FOY
Member
5898 CUMBRE VISTA WAY
COLORADO SPRINGS CO 80924
Day Phone: (719) 260-1566
Cell Phone: 719-237-4067
Fax: (719) 260-1566
Email: dressagejanet@att.net


MS LISA GORRETTA
Member
18120 SNYDER RD
CHAGRIN FALLS OH 44023
Day Phone: (440) 338-1366
Cell Phone: (216) 406-5475
Fax: Not Provided
Email: LISA@PADDOCKSADDLERY.COM


MISS LENDON GRAY
Member
25 LAKE AVE
BEDFORD NY 10506
Day Phone: (914) 234-6302
Cell Phone: (914) 907-0103
Fax: (914) 234-2517
Email: graydressage@optonline.net


MS HILDA GURNEY
Member
8430 WATERS RD
MOORPARK CA 93021-8715
Day Phone: (805) 529-3575
Cell Phone: (805) 300-3560
Fax: (805) 523-0607
Email: hildagurney@prodigy.net


MR. SCOTT HASSLER
Member
HASSLER DRESSAGE
1455 CAYOTS CORNER ROAD
CHESAPEAKE CITY MD 21915
Day Phone: 410-885-3824
Cell Phone: Not Provided
Fax: 410-885-3823
Email: info@hasslerdressage.com


MS CAROL LAVELL
Member
3676 DUELLANT ROAD
LOXAHATCHEE FL 33470
Day Phone: Not Provided
Cell Phone: (561) 313-4484
Fax: Not Provided
Email: LAVELLCAROL@aol.com


MRS JANINE MALONE
Member
PO BOX 976
ROSINBURG FARM
ZEBULON NC 27597
Day Phone: (919) 269-7307
Cell Phone: (919) 602-6203
Fax: (919) 269-6273
Email: jemrph@aol.com


MRS DEBBIE MC DONALD
Member
101 RIVER GROVE LANE
HAILEY ID 83333
Day Phone: (208) 788-9493
Cell Phone: Not Provided
Fax: (208) 788-6244
Email: DRESSAGEMC@AOL.COM


MR AXEL STEINER
Member
1759 LA PLAZA DR
SAN MARCOS CA 92078
Day Phone: (760) 510-9779
Cell Phone: Not Provided
Fax: (760) 510-9599
Email: axsteiner@aol.com


MRS ELISABETH WILLIAMS
Member
611 WADE AVE
HORSHAM PA 19044-1506
Day Phone: (215) 643-9362
Cell Phone: (267) 250-2685
Fax: --
Email: lizyh@aol.com


MRS LINDA ZANG
Member
PO BOX 187
IDLEWILDE FARM
DAVIDSONVILLE MD 21035
Day Phone: (443)-994-4647
Cell Phone: (443) 994-4647
Fax: (410) 798-6151
Email: idlewilde@aol.com

angel
Dec. 1, 2007, 11:13 AM
I would hope they also look at the threads on the other board as well, canyon oaks. Thanks for taking the time to do this for us.

canyonoak
Dec. 1, 2007, 11:21 AM
OK, Ive sent this thread to everyone on that list who has email.

claire
Dec. 1, 2007, 11:24 AM
The committee below is at USDF Conventioin even as we write here.
I am going to eemail this thread to each of them.

Thank You canyonoak! So many good points are being made on this thread! Let us know if you get a response from anyone.

Also, Riannonjk brought up an excellent point: What will be the ramifications of this to the pool of up-an-coming potential rider and trainer talent?

Many of our current Dressage-Pro talent crossed over from the H/J and Eventer disciplines. Would they have done so if it were so $$$ prohibitive to get their feet wet in Dressage while focusing on H/J?


Lets forget the low level ammies for a second - what about the privileged Junior/Young rider that is trying to get on the Young Rider team, and literally has a time limit for getting all these qualifying scores in? If that young rider is working hard, and lucky enough to acquire a horse of that level and be able to ride it, I think it would be a shame for them to have to wait another year or two to try to qualifying scores when they might legitimately be able to go for it.

OR should only those Jr/YRs in areas that they can show every other weekend be able to try for this?

~Freedom~
Dec. 1, 2007, 03:50 PM
The sad thing is that these “average” riders (and I use that term to describe people who don’t have the resources, time or money, to buy the best horses and train regularly with a top trainer) are the backbone of the industry, and they are the ones most negatively impacted by this proposal. They are paying all of the association fees; they pay just as much to enter shows as the elite riders; they make up much of the audience at shows; they make BIG sacrifices to be a part of the world of dressage; they are frequently the volunteers who make it possible for shows to exist at all, yet they get no recognition for their contribution. Most of them will never grace the cover of “Dressage Today,” compete in Europe, or buy a horse trained by a top trainer. But, they attend the clinics, making it possible for us to have top trainers from overseas come here; they manage the schooling shows; they run their local GMOS; they volunteer at the big shows; and on and on. They are the foundation of dressage in the U.S., but they are being treated as though they are disposable.



Very well put.

I consider myself as one of those that fits the above description. I did make to to FEI in spite of low financial resources. I also volunteered to assist at shows and ran several myself. I also due sticking with my dressage plan I became a judge and would never presume to want to judge just the best rides. These are easy tests to judge, The difficult ones are usually the most interesting and it is here where a judge can be the most influential.

Some of the best riders did lousy tests in the beginning and with encouragement can improve--drastically to the point of achieving greatness either with that horse or another. I myself got a ton of encouragement and made leaps in improvement.

In addressing moving up I personally don't agree with this proposal as getting my feet wet at a higher class was something that I did. ( I was prepared but not as competitive as those more "set" in the level)

rebecca yount
Dec. 1, 2007, 06:01 PM
Several weeks ago, I already sent emails to all the members of the dressage committee listed above. I said what I thought about the proposal and provided links to this and two other BBs where this proposal is being discussed extensively. I also spoke PERSONALLY to George Williams (USDF Vice-President) and Sam Barish (USDF President) regarding this issue, as well as to several members of PVDA and a USEF Technical Delegate and at least two judges.

I also re-sent the emails yesterday. I also emailed (back in Nov) Alison Head, the USDF Region 1 representative (that's my region).

From my original email (November), I heard back from exactly TWO of the Dressage Committee members (immediately from Axel Steiner and much later from Carol Lavell). I heard back immediately also from Alison Head.

From my yesterday email, I heard from ONE other Dressage Committee member (Janet Brown-Foy).

They are all busy, at the convention, getting dressed for this evening's festivities. I HOPE THEY ARE ALL LISTENING!!!!

canyonoak
Dec. 1, 2007, 08:26 PM
I remember, Rebecca, that you did this! In fact, that was what inspired me to do it again!

LOL.

Ive also left comments at USEF page.

Honestly, I would be shocked if anyone actually emails me back.

Or at least pleasantly surprised.

(If I could make icons work, let alone any other features, I'd put a wink and a nod here).

<g>

Velvet
Dec. 1, 2007, 08:33 PM
I still think 20 is excessive, but people, people, people...PLEASE read the rules that were already entered in this thread. It's not 20 shows, or 20 rides, even now. If you are able to get higher scores, you can get your points MUCH more quickly.

I'm not saying you can't disagree, just please get the facts straight. We don't want people going off half-cocked. :D

hoopoe
Dec. 1, 2007, 08:37 PM
What provisions will be made for Canadian riders who compete in US shows

Here in Western Washington we get a fair number of Canadians at our larger shows.

I cannot imagine the FEI level riders putting in the effort to get their grading just to show at Devonwood, for instance.

Which is a shame.

Kementari
Dec. 1, 2007, 09:49 PM
If people are advancing too quickly, if they are stuffing their horses into a frame, if they are using a double instead of decent training....

....then the solution is in the judging.

As long as I can go to a show and watch someone get a 6 on a lengthening that wasn't any more than just going faster, or a 7 on a stretchy trot circle that was barely distinguishable from the working trot, or superlative comments on a test that was ridden ENTIRELY behind the vertical then the level of training and correctness demonstrated at our shows is not going to improve.

I got a 5 this year on a movement where my (very green, I hasten to add ;)) horse stopped dead, stared at the Evil Tractor Tire Prints on the ground while sidepassing away, and then finally agreed to pick up the trot again. Now, it was only Training 1, but there is no way on God's green earth that that should have gotten a 5. "Sufficient"?! A 4 would have been generous...a 2 or 3 well-deserved.

If you want to improve the quality of dressage, then you have to improve the quality of judging. If I can stuff a horse together with a double and earn those 60%+ scores, then I can still move up. If I can crank my horse's head in and "look pretty" and still earn 60%+, then I can still move up.

Qualifications mean nothing in a system where judges are rewarding incorrect work. (Unless, of course, we'd also like to change the definitions of correct and incorrect - but while you could argue that that is happening at this very moment, it's another thread entirely.)

Really, if someone goes out and rides a few 4th level tests and doesn't score above 40%, what are the chances they are going to keep riding at that level? I'm sure some will (and even for those I'd say, "What the heck is it hurting anyone?"), but even people whose only aim is to brag would usually rather move down and get better scores and more ribbons than be humiliated show after show.

If the rides at the higher levels are as poor as some people seem to think, then let's start seeing scores that reflect that.

rebecca yount
Dec. 2, 2007, 10:17 AM
Okay, I just copied and sent this whole thread, in the text of the email, to all the dressage committee members who have email. I will do the same for the threads on the two other boards.

Everyone else should do the same. Flood them with information, and maybe someone will listen.

ESPECIALLY send it to Janine Malone, who is the sponsor of the proposed rule change, I imagine in her role on the Dressage Committee. I think Janine reads this BB, too--so Janine--what do you have to say about this discussion? Thanks. Rebecca

poltroon
Dec. 2, 2007, 04:52 PM
This is just awful - far worse than I imagined when I first panned the proposal.

I doubt I have even ridden 20 second level tests, and I showed at second for a couple of years, and then ventured forward into third level, where usually I was the only amateur competing. On my OTTB eventer, we got quite a few 59+% - the world's most frustrating score. Straight 6's with one 5.

And this was Southern California, the mecca of dressage classes, yes? There I was, riding unopposed more often than not, at shows like Cool August Nights where half our USET team was riding Grand Prix in the next ring over.

Can someone clarify - do all 20 of those points have to be at 2nd level, or can they be at 1st and Training? If so, heck, drop down to get those qualifying scores, baby! That will so improve Dressage in the US. :rolleyes:

If there are riders really troubling the judges, break out those 3's and 4's, people. I've hardly ever seen any score on the board lower than 50%, and then it usually involved the horse doing something dramatic. Give scores below 50, and they won't come back for a while.

How can this be about the horse? Is it really in the horse's interest to go to so many competitions? In LA we maybe had 30 days of competition within an hour. That's hardly true for everyone. And if you think you're seeing abuse now, I expect crank-n-spank to accelerate for those 60+ 2nd level scores.

If this rule goes into effect, I expect I'll stop even trying for my Bronze medal (should my new horse get to 2nd/3rd), because to go back and get all those 2nd level scores to get one more third level score is an unimaginable investment. I wasn't sitting on a warmblood, but on a horse where I had to use every bit of ringcraft and riding to get 6 and 7 on the collected and medium work. I'll stick with eventing or go back to the jumpers.

mxkextended
Dec. 2, 2007, 05:03 PM
.

If this rule goes into effect, I expect I'll stop even trying for my Bronze medal (should my new horse get to 2nd/3rd), because to go back and get all those 2nd level scores to get one more third level score is an unimaginable investment. I wasn't sitting on a warmblood, but on a horse where I had to use every bit of ringcraft and riding to get 6 and 7 on the collected and medium work. I'll stick with eventing or go back to the jumpers.

I think this is a good point poltroon. We say that Dressage is for all horses but the rider needing to get every possible point has to be more skilled.

I believe the 20 points must be from Second Level, not Training or First. As said before, the 20 points is not firm, and open for changes.

mtngirl
Dec. 2, 2007, 08:01 PM
Interesting topic and responses.

Like many others, I probably would never be able to advance to Third level with my horse, simply because of the expense. I'm currently in the "no man's land" of Second level...where every judge seems to have a different opinion as to what is "correct".

I would not mind having to demonstrate my competence at 2nd level in order to move up. Two rides of 60% within the level or for test 4 would not be excessive...nor would a specific test for "moving up". Like an earlier poster said, many times it's easier to gain those scores with a more expensive, fancier horse, than with one which is an OK mover, but more properly trained. That isn't the way its suppose to be, but that seems to be the reality of the show world.

Personally, I'd rather not see a requirement at all. While anyone can have an off day, several scores in the low 50's or even 40's is usually sufficient to send someone back to do their homework. Financially...I think it will prove to be disasterous for shows. Many people are already opting out for schooling shows only due to the expense. This will just add one more factor as to why not to show at rated shows.

Velvet
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:10 AM
I have a question, why is having fewer recognized shows a big deal? Why are the awards by the USDF a big deal--if as everyone says, the judging is so terrible? Why does anyone bother? What is the big deal? Why does anyone even want to have anything to do with the USDF if they never have any hope of getting their own horse to the FEI levels, let alone riding for the team some day?

Seriously, I want to know. And it seems the majority of people out here are lower level riders with average horses, not the people who truly teach and train and care about clawing their way to the top.

Why not just go to schooling shows? What's the problem with that? And if you ever get a top notch horse and want to see where you stack up against those with the big buck horses, or the pros, THEN go to a recognized event and see if you can really stand up to them.

Doesn't it make more sense to support your local association and schooling shows and then invest a lot less in the recognized shows? Just compete for local awards. And if you have that magical horse some day, then either save up your money to jump through the USDF hoops, or maybe get a sponsor.

Since this country is so large and the USEF and USDF really don't represent most local needs, why not invest locally and help work on programs through your local GMO to help educate people in your area?

Just a thought...

Badger
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:14 AM
Why not just go to schooling shows? What's the problem with that?

Schooling shows DO NOT cut it.

Around here, you are hard pressed to find one with a large arena, or anything but an "l" judge. That's okay for into and training and the lower levels of first, but not for upper level tests. So if you want to do second level or above, the schooling show isn't for you. Add to that the fact that the scores are inflated and the judges less experienced and often the venues are less than ideal, these shows just are not a substitute for a properly run rated show.

I'm only an occasional dressage show participant, but I am serious about my dressage training. I work hard at it and lesson and clinic and try to improve. When I go to a show, it's because my coach and I feel I'm ready to get an unbiased opinion on where we are, and helpful feedback. I personally like the medals as goals, because they DO measure progress without requiring a lot of showing and without requiring a competitive perspective comparing you to other riders (which is what ribbons and regionals and year-end awards do): you are measured against the standard and your individual process is rewarded.

I'm personally not against having some sort of qualifying requirement, but I think the quantity of showing demanded in the current proposal is a huge mistake. Pick a target (like the 60% at highest test of level), let riders hit it, then move on. Don't make them beat the dead horse over and over and over until they've racked up 20 points.

Rhiannonjk
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:18 AM
I have a question, why is having fewer recognized shows a big deal? Why are the awards by the USDF a big deal--if as everyone says, the judging is so terrible? Why does anyone bother? What is the big deal? Why does anyone even want to have anything to do with the USDF if they never have any hope of getting their own horse to the FEI levels, let alone riding for the team some day?

I show because I need to have that "Goal" to work toward. For me I sometimes need that 3 week push before a show to make progress. And I really do progress at a show - sometimes that intense scrutiny brings out things that just riding at home, or in a clinic doesn't bring out.

And I want to show at recognized shows, because I want a higher level of judging than you get at schooling shows (this is ignoring the fact that there are very few shows in my area in general, so I go to whatever I can get to!). I want to be judged critically - while I may never get to the upper levels, I want to always ride like I will.

Velvet
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:47 AM
There are many schooling shows that only use recognized judges, and full dressage courts. If enough people were interested in that sort of schooling show, then I think that would be the place to go. And if the local organization is sponsoring, you can set standards for that as well and then you can just work toward goals that are local and not national--and you won't have quite the overhead.

So, with that taken care of, why wouldn't you just go to local schooling shows and support them instead of recognized shows?

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 3, 2007, 11:13 AM
The problem with schooling shows aside from the judging and venue, is that the standards are unenforcable. No drug tests, no TD, no one enforcing the rules re warmups, tack, no sanctions for those that don't follow how the NGB has determined things should be run.

That said, I have and will attend schooling shows, some of them even offer percentage classes for 2nd level and above. But, if I was going to spend $150 on a schooling show that has a "real" judge, why wouldn't I spend slightly more to ride at a venue that has a TD? I've also shown recognized in the past because I believe(d) it was important to support the organizations.

I don't show to qualify for the Championships, I don't show to get tons of points, I show to see how my training holds up against a judges standards and the horses/riders at my level. It's a test to see how well we are doing on our training. Many people are complaining about the poor teachers out there, I believe this rule will keep more people out of the show ring, so keep them from getting valuable outside input.

mtngirl
Dec. 3, 2007, 12:08 PM
Velvet: You are one of the fortunate ones if the schooling shows in your area use recognized judges. Of the four schooling shows this year that were available within a 90 min drive from me, two had recognized judges, the other two were learner judges. Don't get me wrong, the learner judges need experience too, and I was grateful to get their opinions. An outside person often sees something - both good and bad - that you or someone you train/ride with on a regular basis takes for granted or overlooks.

I try to support my local shows every chance I get. It has gotten to a point now, that at some of the local schooling shows, if I want to show I have to make a special request to show Second level, as that is not generally offered. All the show organizers and judges have been most generous and accomodating (I usually offer to bring copies of the tests for them to use, since they aren't offering them on the show bill). Those schooling shows that do offer Second level will maybe have two or three horses max showing for the entire Second level, and usually none above. In fact, it is not unusual for me to be the only ride above First Level.

I use shows as a training tool, to confirm my progress and what I believe I need to work upon, but soon (hopefully), I will be exceeding or outgrowing my local shows. My horse is not a big mover, but he looks to be very promising as to collection, which is where I think he will shine. We still have some rough spots in Second level, and I'm using the schooling shows to help us through those, with hopes of doing a couple of recognized shows at Second level next year. He is beginning to school some of the Third level movements and being an AA with a full work load, I anticipate that any testing at Third level will not occur for at least another 12-18 months.

So, if this rule is implemented, before I can attempt to show any Third Level Test, I will have to spend mucho money in trying to get points to show I can move up. It is rare indeed to see Third Level or above offered at any schooling show in my area, so other than clinics etc, my source for outside or supposedly objective opinions will be a rated show.

And despite what some posters have said, not all the judging is bad! I've shown long enough to have a general idea of how a number of judges score...and despite the fact that some may actually score very low, when I look at the overall picture, and compare what I do with others, I'm generally not too far out of the range of where I should be, and in general, their comments are dead on and helpful. With the proposal as it stands now, the chances of me being able to move up are slim, not so much because of my ability - as to the financial aspect that will be necessary to achieve the requirements. I know that I am not alone in this delimma.

millerra
Dec. 3, 2007, 02:22 PM
Quote of Velvet: "And if you ever get a top notch horse and want to see where you stack up against those with the big buck horses, or the pros, THEN go to a recognized event and see if you can really stand up to them."

So, the implication here is that Recognized shows should only be for expensive "top notch" horses and professionals. The rest of us pain in the arse amatures should go just to schooling shows... and not pain the dressage world w/ our mediocre horses and bad riding.

Is this what you really meant? Just so we're clear...

My apologies if this reply seems extraordinarily snarky; I just find the idea incredibly offensive.

Badger
Dec. 3, 2007, 02:35 PM
Dressage means "training" and is supposed to be something that all horse and riders can benefit from.

The test are, indeed, tests of that training, not an end of themselves. One of the nice things about the dressage testing system is that riders are compared to a standard and they can chart their progress as they improve against that standard. It doesn't matter who else or what else is riding the same test as you are, you can mark your own progress through scores and hard proof when you achieve a personal best.

Shows should never only be about the few, the deep-pocketed, the completely committed, the elite. They should be about testing training, getting feedback, enjoying time with like-mind people, and most importantly about happy, relaxed, trained, fit, gymnasticised, responsive horses. About horse and riders on a journey to improve their communication, not about "finished products."

One of the problems with the proposal, as I see it, is the stress on "quantity" of showing, not quality of riding.

atr
Dec. 3, 2007, 03:20 PM
Gee, Velvet. All of those in flyover country should just head back into our caves and chew on the odd bone with our few remaining teeth, maybe?

Dressage in this area used to be dreadful. It's starting to improve as we get more decent trainers, and they bring in more decent clinicians for us to work with, and in turn, more decent judges are prepared to come out to the wilds to our shows because they've got something to judge. Take all the AAs out of the few recognized shows we have a year, and the shows will go away. With them will go the decent, FEI level trainers--they already have to travel too much in the show season to comete against their peers. Then we won't get the clinicians coming in to work with us members of the herd, either. Then dressage will go back into a downward spiral.

Most AAs genuinely want to do better. Really they do. Trust me, riding dressage isn't exactly the easy option for riding around looking pretty out here. But with crap training and crappy shows and crappy judges, it'd soon get to be too discouraging even for die-hards like me.

But what the heck. We're only riding our cheap horses out in the sticks and probably don't deserve anything better.

Velvet
Dec. 3, 2007, 06:55 PM
Quote of Velvet: "And if you ever get a top notch horse and want to see where you stack up against those with the big buck horses, or the pros, THEN go to a recognized event and see if you can really stand up to them."

So, the implication here is that Recognized shows should only be for expensive "top notch" horses and professionals. The rest of us pain in the arse amatures should go just to schooling shows... and not pain the dressage world w/ our mediocre horses and bad riding.

Is this what you really meant? Just so we're clear...

My apologies if this reply seems extraordinarily snarky; I just find the idea incredibly offensive.


I was not making that comment because I think this way. This was based upon what other people in this thread were saying would happen if the rule was put in place.

If you go back and read all the posts, you'll see that this is one of the concerns that was raised.

No snarkiness at all. Just responding to the fears that were raised, and bringing up options that seemed viable IF that were the case.

Velvet
Dec. 3, 2007, 07:02 PM
Gee, Velvet. All of those in flyover country should just head back into our caves and chew on the odd bone with our few remaining teeth, maybe?

Dressage in this area used to be dreadful. It's starting to improve as we get more decent trainers, and they bring in more decent clinicians for us to work with, and in turn, more decent judges are prepared to come out to the wilds to our shows because they've got something to judge. Take all the AAs out of the few recognized shows we have a year, and the shows will go away. With them will go the decent, FEI level trainers--they already have to travel too much in the show season to comete against their peers. Then we won't get the clinicians coming in to work with us members of the herd, either. Then dressage will go back into a downward spiral.

Most AAs genuinely want to do better. Really they do. Trust me, riding dressage isn't exactly the easy option for riding around looking pretty out here. But with crap training and crappy shows and crappy judges, it'd soon get to be too discouraging even for die-hards like me.

But what the heck. We're only riding our cheap horses out in the sticks and probably don't deserve anything better.

Doesn't anyone out here read all the posts in a thread anymore, before getting their undies in a wad?

I said that people should possibly take advantage of this to support local schooling shows and organizations to HELP with local programs, such as clinicians, etc. Because the larger organizations often don't and can't help with developing riders in areas like yours. So the money you invest in them, doesn't offer any payback for your area. This way it would be a direct re-investment in your local dressage community with funds that could be offered for education at the discretion of local associations that know the real needs.

I'm all for growing the outlying areas and improving the level of dressage EVERYWHERE in the country, and especially for those with fewer resources and less "able" dressage mounts. I think supporting local shows is a better way of reaching those goals, and I asked people if why they didn't feel that it was.

I'll reiterate my other point: If you have local schooling shows, that are supported and governed by your local organization, you can bring in recognized judges for the show and save some money. That way it would direct money back for education. And if you later reach the point where you want to go to a recognized show, you go and get your scores. But until then you stay at less expensive shows, support your local groups, get better education, good judging, and develop yourself and your horse.

Carol Ames
Dec. 3, 2007, 07:46 PM
I know I am confused because I came late to this thread,:o so,I have a very basic rquestion; What is a point,:confused: and how does one earn one?

canyonoak
Dec. 3, 2007, 08:30 PM
A score of 60% will gain a rider 1 point.

and it goes up a point through 70%...

but the reality is, the committee are still arguing over how many points a rider needs (ie, how many scores over 60+% ) in a specific level in order to move up.

It is not the number of points that bothers me.


It is the entire idea of the proposal--that 'qualifying' is a necessary step in the further maturation of dressage as serious sport.

Qualifying was invented in Europe when there were too many riders applying for too few spots in a show.

The US is HARDLY in that situation.

And I do not see that 'qualifying' has had one shred of effect on the sport in Europe.

The professional riders like Anky, Isabell, Miriam Henschke, Hubertus Schmidt etc etc etc etc did not become who and what they are because of a qualification system!

The whole idea is preposterous!

Exactly who and what is this idea aimed at?

The judges are 'tired' of watching poor riding?

well then-- perhaps the committee can sit down and work out a plan whereby each show of a certain size has some educational/entertainment attached to it.

I mean, it is like the brouhaha over the 'double at Third'.

The Germans have had the double bridle in lower level classes forever--after all, all of this came from the military.

When dressage started in the US, there was a realization that most people, with hunters in background, understood one rein better than two used independently, not like a pelham. (Among the may things that riders in this country did or did not understand, according to the powers that be, like Stecken and Littauer).

and now--we have the double back again.

Big deal.

I think the dressage committee has delusions of grandeur--that it is so self-important, it can actually change and affect the learning curve of the sport.

HAHAHAHAHAHAH.

I mean, if the committee is so enamoured of the European model, perhaps we can shift the payment of judges to the European model as well: that is to say--a lovely present, a comfy hotel, some kind of little per diem. No actual judge fee.

But (cupping hand to ear) what's that? All the American judges plan to RAISE their daily rate next year ? S judges plan to ask for about $ 500/day?

No wonder all the European judges LOVE to come judge here--coz then they get the same rates too!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

millerra
Dec. 3, 2007, 08:30 PM
"I was not making that comment because I think this way. This was based upon what other people in this thread were saying would happen if the rule was put in place.

If you go back and read all the posts, you'll see that this is one of the concerns that was raised."

Thank you for the clarification!

I find schooling shows useful for my green beans; once they are somewhat (ahem) more reliable, we go recognized. I guess I like the "valid' scores of a recognized show, the atmosphere, the 2 -3 day format for learning and improvement. I have also been showing eventing and dressage for (cough cough) years... I am not exactly "new' to showing myself although given my years of riding, you'd think I'd be better at it...

Please also note that I have not whined about the judging or playing w/ the big boys. In fact I find the amateur categories in eventing and dressage a bit silly. Your score is your score is your score. The color of the ribbon or lack there of is rather irrelavant.

millerra
Dec. 3, 2007, 08:36 PM
Does any one know what happened? Did the proposal pass or not?

Touchstone Farm
Dec. 3, 2007, 09:08 PM
I just wish I understood what this proposal was trying to correct. I am unclear about the reasoning for this. I'm all for raising standards and improving dressage in this country, but I don't get how this is suppose to do that. (For the record, a few years ago I voted to up the qualifying scores for Regional championships and I agree with the proposal which was approved that increased the percentage for showing a musical freestyle.)

If the judges don't like seeing bad riding, then score appropriately (or continue to score appropriately -- don't want to imply that judges aren't doing their jobs now!). Perhaps some riders will actually read their tests and think they are at a level beyond their (or their horse's) capabilities. If not, well, the judge's did the best they could and it's the person's money or embarassment on the line...therefore, their personal choice about what to do from that point.

If the judges don't like seeing people's ineptness with the double bridle at 3rd, take that "allowance" away.

I don't think the shows are over-subscribed with riders, so this proposal isn't a way to limit the number of people showing.

If it is about the "abuse" seen at shows in the rings, then put more TDs in the warm-up areas. There is much more abuse going on during the warm-up then in the actual show ring, so perhaps if it was discouraged or eliminated there, the judges wouldn't have to see it in the show ring.

In our area, we have a plethora of really fine shows -- one nearly every weekend. But there are other areas that have limited shows and a short show season. I think this change would be a real hardship for those who must travel 6+ hours to get to a recognized show.

Instead of putting the time/money/resources to monitoring this, put the time/money/resources to rider and trainer education. That's a more positive way to make an impact than a punitive one.

I have my silver medal, thanks to a wonderful horse, so I don't believe it would affect me, an amateur...but I'm still bothered by this proposal. I just don't understand what the point of it is. Does anyone know? I didn't hear how it was presented at the USDF conference so I really don't know the premise it is based on.

Velvet
Dec. 3, 2007, 09:21 PM
Does any one know what happened? Did the proposal pass or not?

It won't be officially "discussed" nor proposed until the USEF annual meeting (I think that's in January) in Kentucky.

Carol Ames
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:29 PM
Mus hse scores all be on the same:eek: horse?

atr
Dec. 3, 2007, 10:30 PM
I did read all the posts, Velvet, and you are missing my point. Which is:

If lower level riders go off and do their thing at schooling shows, the recognized shows in the hinterlands will disappear completely. This will have two effects. 1.) the higher level riders/trainers will move away with all that entails (see my previous post). 2.) The lower level riders will have nowhere to move up to.

There aren't enough of us out here for anyone to make a red cent out of running a show. Most of them run at barely break-even by the time we've flown in judges, paid for facilities, etc., so they aren't exactly the world's best way of raising money to "grow the base."

My apologies if I came across as snarky, but this is a serious concern to those of us out here in the sticks.

Hampton Bay
Dec. 4, 2007, 12:59 AM
this is a serious concern to those of us out here in the sticks.

While I do not live in the sticks, I will say that its just as much of a concern for those of us trying to do this sport on a strict budget. It will make it impossible to compete past second level for those of us in either situation.

I think this is the worst idea they could have for the future of dressage in this country.

rebecca yount
Dec. 4, 2007, 06:51 AM
MUCH to her credit, in my opinion, I have received several emails from Janet Brown Foy in response to emails I sent. I am printing the text of two I received this am below:

From Janet:

"Just to clarify, there is not a different system for Juniors and Young Riders (as far as points are concerned) as you printed on the website for The Chronicle.

The difference is that at USDF/USET Young rider and Junior qualifying shows for the NAYRC and NAJC the riders do NOT have to qualify for those classes and a warmup class. IF they enter a FEI Young Rider Team Test at an OPEN show, then they DO have to qualify.

Hope this clears this up, and hope you will change the information you have put on the website.

Janet Foy"


and also this:

"We face several problems. One is that many riders buy horses with a lot of training and they then rider them above the levels of the riders ability. These horses are confused and quite frantic. Imagine as a judge you see the rider leaning the wrong way, with the wrong bend -- trying to perform a half pass. They then try the flying change but again the horse is totally confused. The horse makes a mistake. The rider then jerks the horse with the double bridle and spurs at the same time. I wish this were an unusual occurance. It is not. This problem arising at 3rd to GP level. The committee is responsible for the welfare of the horse. Just giving the rider a 3 or 4 doesn't seem to be enough. And we dont' want to take away the double at 3/4th because why should be punish those riders who use this tool in a good way?

So....

We are working VERY hard with all of the input we are getting to make this fair across the country. We are considering lowering the points needed, using 58% as a start instead of 60%. Again, the welfare of the horse is our goal, not to punish the riders.

Janet Foy, Chair, Standards Committee"

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 4, 2007, 08:51 AM
"We face several problems. One is that many riders buy horses with a lot of training and they then rider them above the levels of the riders ability. These horses are confused and quite frantic. Imagine as a judge you see the rider leaning the wrong way, with the wrong bend -- trying to perform a half pass. They then try the flying change but again the horse is totally confused. The horse makes a mistake. The rider then jerks the horse with the double bridle and spurs at the same time. I wish this were an unusual occurance. It is not. This problem arising at 3rd to GP level. The committee is responsible for the welfare of the horse. Just giving the rider a 3 or 4 doesn't seem to be enough. And we dont' want to take away the double at 3/4th because why should be punish those riders who use this tool in a good way?

Thanks for posting her reply, and if you are reading this Janet thank you for responding. I'm curious if this is such a big deal, why doesn't the USEF give the judges the ability to blow the whistle and excuse these riders for abusive riding?

On one hand, we want riders to get those schoolmasters to learn on, but then we penalize all riders because a few people are riding those schoolmasters at a level they are unprepared for. A schoolmaster By Defination will be teaching riders who don't have the ability to ride at a certain level, some confusion on the part of the horse while teaching the rider is to be expected. If the rider then yanks and spurs because the horse is confused, the whistle should be blown. Then the rider will be getting valuable insite that maybe their coach isn't giving, or they aren't listening to. Having a discussion at C with the judge tends to make a lasting impression. <at least it did for me when I was hanging on the right rein so my horse looked NQR. Informing the judge, who told you to have your horse checked by the vet, that it's not the horse, but the rider, really taught me to release>

rebecca yount
Dec. 4, 2007, 09:05 AM
Here is my reply to Janet:

"Hi Janet. I know you are all working hard on it. I really appreciate you taking the time to read the comments, and the dialogue and feedback from you--because as you know what we read on the internet can sometimes be less than accurate.

If the (admittedly horrible) scenario below is common, and scores of even 2 or 1 are given (I am about to be a demo rider for Jeff Moore for the L program this weekend, so I am sure the "rules" for giving 3,2,1 will be discussed--but the written descriptions of bad and very bad, I think would at least apply to what you describe), why can't the judge whistle the rider out of the ring? Do you have any statistics re how many 3s, 2s, or 1s have been given and what the result is in terms of the rider continuing to show up month after month--firm statistics, not just general observations? Can you collect these statistics?

I think the rules allow for judges to eliminate riders for abuse, don't they? What you describe below would constitute abuse under the general rules--excessive spurs, jerking on curb bit. The way I read it, GR 302 (Abuse), 4 l. prohibits "inhumane treatment in a...competition ring"; 2 allows for appointing a veterinarian to examine a horse, and 5 defines abuse further as "any actions deemed excessive by a judge". Also, DR 124 1 i allows a judge to eliminate a rider for "cruelty" (including but not limited to as defined in GR 302), and also allows a judge to eliminate a rider when there is l. "concern for the safety of the rider, other exhibitors, or their entries".

I also believe that the TD can take various actions, including speaking to people, giving warnings, and eliminating people, too, can't they? Could the judge send a message to the TD telling him/her to watch a particular bad situation for the rest of the show?

I think reducing the number of points necessary as well as starting at a lower percentage will make it better. And watching out for inconsistencies--e.g. I have my 4th level scores for Silver Medal. Under what I've heard might end up being the criteria, I can't ride PSG to get the other two scores for the silver because I don't think I have scores at 4th 3 specifically. The horse I earned the 4th scores on is now dead--so I have to go back to 4th with my young horse when she's ready in order to get the scores for the Silver. Which might not be a big deal--but somehow maybe this can be tied to criteria that now exist for medals?

I will post your info re JR/YR issues on all three of the BBs. I just wanted to make clear that all the comments I pasted into those other emails from the BBs were not written by me. I post on all Bulletin Boards with my real name but most other people use "alters"--fake names or other designations so no one knows for sure who they are. So the only comments I made are ones that specifically have my name on them. Thanks again for discussing this and paying attention--again any way I can help I will. Rebecca"

DontTellMama
Dec. 4, 2007, 09:34 AM
At the end of the BOG, Sherry Guess pointed out to the executive board the problems with the PM membership issue. The executive board pointed out that the USEF appointed the USDF to track the scores, and the executive board was only trying to cover the additional costs of the additional labor. The executive board also said that they had not considered this impact on the GMO's, and would look into other ways of 'funding' the program, including sponsorship, etc.

Abuse of the double bridle was never openly stated at the meeting as a reason. The reason for the qualifying system was stated as being to help the governing bodies look out for the welfare of the horse. The term abuse was really not ever thrown around. IMO the abuse is not always obvious. I don't think we can only see abuse as the whipping, spurring, and mistreatment of the animal, but what about the effects of long term improper collection?

And there were those that felt that the average horse could make the scores, and those that did not. But it does make you wonder if having an 'average horse' is truly a reason for not being able to acheive sixties or better. Surely they must be capable?

My question would be, and I think it's an honest one, can you honestly say, that a rider who cannot score consistently in the sixties at second level, where collection is sometimes an elusive thing, is ready to attempt the more strenuous exercises of third level, when the horse is not yet strong enough? And if a horse and rider are so well trained that they can score higher, they can move up more quickly and easily. And average horses can easily score mid sixties or better at second level. Are we being fair to the horse to allow them to be pushed up into levels where extensions are necessary, but sometimes very poorly ridden as the strength for collection is not truly developed?

Personal heart strings aside, I think this program is a very good thing!

inca
Dec. 4, 2007, 09:44 AM
My question would be, and I think it's an honest one, can you honestly say, that a rider who cannot score consistently in the sixties at second level, where collection is sometimes an elusive thing, is ready to attempt the more strenuous exercises of third level, when the horse is not yet strong enough? And if a horse and rider are so well trained that they can score higher, they can move up more quickly and easily. And average horses can easily score mid sixties or better at second level. Are we being fair to the horse to allow them to be pushed up into levels where extensions are necessary, but sometimes very poorly ridden as the strength for collection is not truly developed?

Personal heart strings aside, I think this program is a very good thing!

Not arguing that a qualifying program is a good thing. I just think it needs to be realistic from a financial standpoint. I choose to spend my money on lessons and clinics and then go to just a couple recognized shows a year. Under the proposed rule, I wouldn't be able to do that and show above 2nd level. You can not get enough points in a year to move up to 3rd without riding a MINIMUM of 5 tests. And I know I will not be getting 68% on those 5 tests, so it would take more like a minimum of 8 or 10 tests. That is 5 recognized shows in a year, IF I get above a 62 or 63 EACH test. (Better not have a bad day!) So, I would be spending $1,000 or more to get those scores. Probably more like $2,000 if I figure in total costs, not just entry fees.

I would much prefer the rule be something like 4 scores of 60 or higher, with one (or two) of those scores on the highest test of the level. That shows competency and is affordable to do.

If they think this rule is going to purge this country of bad riding, I am afraid they are sadly mistaken.

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 4, 2007, 09:46 AM
And there were those that felt that the average horse could make the scores, and those that did not. But it does make you wonder if having an 'average horse' is truly a reason for not being able to acheive sixties or better. Surely they must be capable?

My question would be, and I think it's an honest one, can you honestly say, that a rider who cannot score consistently in the sixties at second level, where collection is sometimes an elusive thing, is ready to attempt the more strenuous exercises of third level, when the horse is not yet strong enough? And if a horse and rider are so well trained that they can score higher, they can move up more quickly and easily. And average horses can easily score mid sixties or better at second level. Are we being fair to the horse to allow them to be pushed up into levels where extensions are necessary, but sometimes very poorly ridden as the strength for collection is not truly developed?

Personal heart strings aside, I think this program is a very good thing!

Well, I do think that an average horse can score in the low 60's, at least I hope they can. But, the average horse owner doesn't have the thousands of dollars it would require for them to get the 20 points within the horses useful life time. For an average horse that scores around a 62, you are looking at a couple throw away scores when you first move up, then the majority in the low 60's, hopefully you can pull out a few really special classes and hit mid 60's, you are still looking at around 15 to 20 classes. My horse objects to 3 days of dressage, so figure 10 days of showing two classes a day, shows run around $200 to $400 per day depending on how far you travel, and if you need a hotel. My show budget for dressage is MAX $400 per YEAR. My training budget is a lot higher, do you think I should train less and show more?
Maybe I should quite my very good, but pricey trainer, and train with someone less qualifed?

My horse will be my one and only horse until the day he dies, I would like to be able to ride him third level <if we can do it> but I'm not willing to bankrupt myself OR stop eventing to focus 3 years on only showing. I did actually give up a year of eventing to focus on dressage, I competed in something like 8 classes that year.

DontTellMama
Dec. 4, 2007, 10:03 AM
But I think, what all this says is, if a rider scores only 62-63 per cent, maybe it's not time yet to move up? A combination that scores only in the low sixties at one level will not score higher at a higher level?

It doesn't get any easier that's for sure.

And if the horse is so limited as to only be able to score low sixties, then maybe he is not physically capable to show at a higher level without risking some physical repercussions?

I didn't read anywhere, or hear any comments about which test at second level you had to have your scores. If you are capable of getting consistent 60's at second four, then surely you can score significantly higher at second one?

suzy
Dec. 4, 2007, 10:04 AM
I think it would be a pity to deprive riders of the benefit of getting experience at the upper levels on a schoolmaster. If the horse is not quite through enough or the lateral work lacks impulsion or whatever, it's not hurting the horse. However, if the horse is getting an undeserved spur or yank on the reins, give the judge the power to really let the rider know that that's not acceptable. A few scores in the 0-3 range should be a wake-up call to most riders.

canyonoak
Dec. 4, 2007, 10:26 AM
I do not believe for one moment that a rider can receive 2s and 3s and the comments that necessarily accompany such scores and that the rider will continue to show without at least trying to fix the problems.

This is 'judge abuse'?? that a judge has to watch poor riding?

Then all the more reason for the judges to help FIX the problem as opposed to attempting to legislate a bandaid solution and pretending that the problem no longer exists.

Judges get PAID to watch. If the job is so nervewracking and depressing--get a different job.

I think this bandaid solution makes the problem even worse. HOW on earth is this supposed to actually work?

Does anyone in their right minds believe that the horses are going to have more fun at home, in the eternal quest to get the rider their necessary points?

Who is kidding whom?

And riders will of course 'vote with their pocketbook ' and choose shows that continue to hire Santa Claus judges who will somehow give points.

Show managers have to fill shows. No point talking airily and theoretically about the purity and transparency of judging. The reality is--one has to hire judges that riders like.
Shows have to fill in order to continue.

So let's actually look at the European models: there are the big shows with the big names that all the O judges of the world get to judge.

There are the backyard 'club' shows that no O judges ever see--and the riding there is as dreadful and annoying as here.

BUT--all these shows do have some criteria in common--they are amazingly a lot less expensive to attend. And a lot easier to get to.

And did I mention a lot easier to get to? The entire country of Holland takes about 6 hours to drive across.

And a lot more sponsor prizes.

Jan Brink has won SIX cars in the past twelve months. Just as an example.

But even at local shows in Holland, you'd be amazed at the prizes given.

So--THAT is how you attract better riders, better athletes, better competition.

Velvet
Dec. 4, 2007, 10:33 AM
suzy, this is one point where I will also disagree. I think that even if people by a schoolmaster, they need to know how to ride the levels before the one that the horse is finished to. If you buy a GP horse, you need to show that you can ride up the levels before you suddenly go out and show GP.

Now, if that person schools at home a LOT and works up the levels on that horse and then shows, and shows very well, that's a good idea. The problem is that many of us see people who go in the arena on recently purchased horses that are WELL above the rider's level of competence (let alone comprehension) and they are basically passengers. The horse makes up for a lot of their short comings. This happens not only with adult riders, but very often with young riders. It creates large gaps/holes in their training if they just hop on to show and don't really do the basics.

Many people get away with this for quite a while, and eventually their scores get lower and lower due to their poor riding skills. I think if you buy a schoolmaster you could easily go to a show and prove your skills at the lower levels and get the necessary scores to pass out of Second Level, then each of the others. And it would show you could ride that uber trained horse correctly. You'd have to if you wanted to get the scores and win at the lower levels and then go out and do the higher tests.

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 4, 2007, 10:35 AM
But I think, what all this says is, if a rider scores only 62-63 per cent, maybe it's not time yet to move up? A combination that scores only in the low sixties at one level will not score higher at a higher level?

It doesn't get any easier that's for sure.

And if the horse is so limited as to only be able to score low sixties, then maybe he is not physically capable to show at a higher level without risking some physical repercussions?

I didn't read anywhere, or hear any comments about which test at second level you had to have your scores. If you are capable of getting consistent 60's at second four, then surely you can score significantly higher at second one?

Not necessarily, I don't know where you are located, but around here, most horses are scoring in the upper 50's, mid 60's. Since the score is based first on GAITS, then the better moving horses will score higher given the same level of correct training. Horses with 6 to 7 gaits will score in the mid to low 60's. Horses with 7 to 8 gaits will score in the high 60-s rarely bumping into the low 70's. That's what I see in the show ring around here. None of this reflects the horses ability to collect, but their ability to suspend. Suspension may affect the changes, BUT I've been told that getting the changes is the movement that decides if you are moving up or not.

CatOnLap
Dec. 4, 2007, 11:04 AM
along those lines, JDD, that is the typical score around here too. And it is not so unusual. The last Olympic games, there were a number of riders ON OUR TEAM who did not get the necessary qualifying scores but were sponsored to go anyway. It is NOT uncommon to see our olympic riders scoring in the low 60's or below. Now, I know Canada isn't exactly MECCA for dressage, but we often show respectibly. But I guess according to the quoted passage, our olympic riders are not yet ready for that level...

You can bet these are the best horses money can buy. What is an average backyard rider expected to do?

The whole idea of qualifying doesn't fit my geography. We have ONE nationally recognized show here per year. Down from Four, ten years ago, before they began to raise the prices for showing and re-arrrange the national bodies (which must've taken a wad of cash for all those committee members traveling all over the country to gather opinions).

In order to gather 6 scores, I'd nee to attend probably 4 shows at a cost of over $1000 each, since I must now travel 3 hours away minimum to get to those shows.

When I was in Germany, we had a choice of 3 to 5 recognized shows to attend within an hour's drive on any given summer weekend. And those shows were so oversubscribed, that they ran 3 riders AT THE SAME TIME in the lower level tests- they did the tests nose to tail in the same ring. Our last show here was cancelled due to lack of entries...NOPE the qualifying doesn't make sense here.

MontanaDun
Dec. 4, 2007, 11:41 AM
Agree with the posters who are poking at the notion of identifying and addressing the real problem.

The real problem seems to be riders who are abusive in the ring.

If that is the real problem, the judges and TD's need to get a spine and discipline the problem riders.

If a rider attempts third level and lallops around in a training level frame, it may be annoying to the judge, but it isn't hurting the horse.

If a third or GP or training or ANY level rider jabs the horse with spurs and yanks on it's mouth inappropriately, the judge and/or TD need to address the problem by eliminating the rider. The tools are already in place for them to do that.

Installing a glass ceiling for third level is not addressing the real problem, which is that folks (judges, TDs, show managers) don't want to go through the ugly process of eliminating riders who are abusive.

Defining that would be much harder than slapping a feel good bandaid in place.

MD

Badger
Dec. 4, 2007, 12:05 PM
I had a response from Janet Brown Foy as well, it does sounds like the committee is being responsive and is listening to member concerns. She sounded like they were considering lower percentage requirements that could be met in a shorter time frame than the "20 points" originally proposed.

If a qualification system is going to be put in place, how would you feel about the following qualification for 2nd level scores before showing 3rd level?
• 3 scores from 3 different judges
• minimum of 58%
• 2 of the scores from the highest test of the level

canyonoak
Dec. 4, 2007, 12:18 PM
I feel about the lowered expectations qualification system exactly as I feel about the entire qualification system--except I think LOWERING the standard is even more piffle.

The problems have nothing to do with a qualification system.

Let's just NOT pass the proposal and move on.

ShotenStar
Dec. 4, 2007, 12:26 PM
...
If a qualification system is going to be put in place, how would you feel about the following qualification for 2nd level scores before showing 3rd level?
• 3 scores from 3 different judges
• minimum of 58%
• 2 of the scores from the highest test of the level

Still don't like it.

Qualifying scores are great for year-end / champoinship awards / large shows (DAD). There the issue is crowd-control and selection of the best riders for the final award -- valid show management needs.

Qualifying scores to move up a level for the general population are a punitive measure: it punishes those who are unable to ride the required number of tests due to issues beyond their control and unrelated to their riding abilities (distance, show availabity, financial issues).

Qualifying scores also creates a bookkeeping nightmare for show management -- show secretaries are already loaded down with paperwork, errors in which can get them fined by the governing bodies -- this just adds to the problem.

I would rather see a rule put in place that provides positive reenforcement for doing well -- such as setting a minimum score for awarding ribbons. I.e.: ribbons will not be awarded for scores below x % at y level; riders with scores below that benchmark will be noted as 'also rode' in the final results.

I sent this recommendation to the committee members, and the replies I have received indicate they think they current proposal is positive reenforcement -- which is not correct in the details of training / learning psychology. In behavior psychology, the trainer rewards successive approximations of the desired behavior, thereby shaping the behavior to the desired final goal.

Example: the current rule proposal ONLY rewards the rider AFTER they have jumped through all the hoops.
A ribbons-for-above-min-score system allows the rider to try behaviors (approaching the hoop, stepping through the hoop, finally jumping through the hoop), with incremental rewards for each good attempt (ribbons above min scores at each level). Riders getting below min scores get no reward / no pay-off for the effort -- no ribbons to hang on the wall. And let's face it, who remembers which robbons were won on days when your ride was the best of a very bad lot?

*star*

Velvet
Dec. 4, 2007, 12:50 PM
But, Shoten, showing is not training. Showing is getting in a ring and letting everyone see what you've worked on and achieved. If it's not up to par, it fits to have rules in place to have people show that they are able to ride at that level.

The only reason MOST people currently show above the level they can actually ride is because they just might end up in a class with fewer riders and they can later hold up that ribbon and say they won a certain placing at a show at that level. It's like being the only on in a GP class. You might get a 30 for your score, but you got the blue ribbon.

This is why I always thought the ribbons should have certain mandatory scores, like the old Dutch scoring system. So a first place was actually being awarded to those who could successfully ride the level/test. If not, they still got a ribbon, but it was much lower.

Training is for at home. Thus the reason for positive re-enforcement (if you need it in your lessons). Showing is for competition, using specific standards. I agree with those out here who say we need to get the judges all on the same page about the standards if this is to be instituted, but I still think this is not a big deal. An average horse can get the scores in a couple of shows, at Second Level, if it is being ridden correctly. At least that's what I see everywhere. When a horse really knows what it's doing, and so does the rider, Second Level is not that difficult and good scores are not hard to come by.

Again, though, I think the point system needs to be altered. I think it's a bit too demanding as it is currently being presented.

ShotenStar
Dec. 4, 2007, 01:03 PM
Velvet

We are agreeing here ... if you re-read my post, I am talking about behavior management (training) of RIDERS, not horses. As you said, riders are currently rewarded with ribbons even when they ride poor tests at a show -- the reward is the ribbon, which is given for a relative placing, not for meeting specific performance requirements.

My proposal takes away that rider reward if a minimum standard of performance is not met.

If you have ever done clicker training, this is an example of classical conditioning and shaping of behavior:

-first you reward looking at the hoop
-then you reward for approaching the hoop
-then you reward for touching the hoop
-then for walking through the hoop
-finally ending in a shaped behavior of jumping through the hoop

The current rule only rewards the rider AFTER she has jumped through the hoop.

*star*

suzy
Dec. 4, 2007, 01:30 PM
If this proposal is really about abuse, the USDF is completely missing the boat. Sure, I've seen some lower-level riders give an accidental poke with the spur or clumsy half halt on the reins to their GP schoolmaster, but I haven't seen anything that qualifies as actual abuse. OTOH, I have seen some top pros administer some seriously questionable jabs with the spurs and very harsh half halts on the reins. I think the wrong group is being targeted by this proposal. If abuse is the real issue, the USDF needs to seriously rethink where and from whom this abuse is originating.

There are so many reasons why this proposal should NOT be passed, and I can't find a single strong reason in favor of it. This proposal will harm dressage in this country for all the reasons listed in previous posts. The people at the helm are sadly out of touch with the riders who are helping to build the industry by volunteering and competing. They are not the independently wealthy riders who can devote 100% of their time to their riding. There are a few very wealthy individuals who sponsor events that get enormous coverage, but do they want to have to sponsor everything? I doubt it, but that's what will happen if we lose our base of everyday riders and have only the "elite" competing.

Velvet
Dec. 4, 2007, 01:36 PM
But that's to be expected. You don't reward a person on a job by giving them a higher salary if they haven't performed. I don't see clicker training principles working here. I see that a person is rewarded for their hard work/efforts, by achieving a minimum and then getting to move up.

I also see it as positive re-enforcement. You are rewarded for something you have achieved. To use your horse training example, you'd have to say that when a horse is advanced in his training his is given a reward AFTER he has achieved the specific goal.

But back to the point, I do see it as a positive reward.

Maybe I'm still not getting your point today, but I'm on the side of the USDF on this one. I think that the USDF definitely has a problem with setting the points too high (as with the instructors certification points/hours of additional training required each year). They have a tendency to jump on things without a reality check, but in both cases having SOME required points is appropriate. They just need to not break everyone's piggy bank in the process.

I do see this as a positive step. I see it as something that can be achieved IF they lower the points (maybe go to a couple of tests as qualifiers as suggested by others out here) and make it follow the current qualifying standards for medals, etc. That proves you are ready, and would cost less and would not drive away the lower level AAs that they need. (I still think the local GMOs could benefit from this IF they go ahead with their proposal AS IS.)

This way if they still feel that people are being scored incorrectly, then they have to go back and address the problem with the USEF judges. Placing it squarely where it needs to belong--if that truly is the root problem (as others out here are stating).

Jay-N-Jete'
Dec. 4, 2007, 01:45 PM
I agree that the judges and TDs, etc., need to be BRAVE and do their JOB by smacking down on the abusive riders.

I also agree that the riders that are just sitting up there b/c their trainer installed the "buttons" are not really harming the horse by letting him travel around on his forehand.


BUT
I also want to say - I'm currently riding a REALLY hardworking OTTB...b/c he gets a 6 on gaits, on our BEST day, we still barely break 60%. Therefore a PERFECT ride for my guy might approach 63-65% (halt, lengthenings, collectives, etc.) whereas a more talented horse with 8 gaits can make a lot more mistakes and still get by with a 65%.

Would the work be easier with a more talented horse? Yes

Would it be easier to get higher scores on a more talented horse? Yes

Is my horse LESS well-trained than the fancy mover in the next ring? I'd like to think No.

Could I do just as nice a job as the next rider given a more talented horse? Maybe, maybe not

Point is:
Riding is a partnership.
The team can only go as far as each partner can contribute.

If my gelding is trying his heart out, enjoying his work, and getting out there to show, but still only attaining 60+%, it is NOT b/c poor training methods or that I am not riding him well.

If we are to go by the standard presented in the L program where you get a score for gaits and deduct from there or add points for a particularly nice moment, if he has a 6 for gaits and receives 60+%, he is putting in a near perfect test!



The USDF can't choose who we ride, or how fancy a mover it is, or who our trainer is, (or if the planets are aligned that day...)

They can only judge what they SEE on a particular day.

This means they need to make the RIDERS (and maybe their trainers) take RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS.

suzy
Dec. 4, 2007, 01:46 PM
In a perfect world, I would agree with much of your logic. But I'm more of a pragmatist, so I'm disagreeing (politely--unless you push me too far, then out comes the frying pan). ;)

I really think that a lot of people will stop competing, and this will put a number of shows either out of business or cause them to raise their fees to ridiculous levels in order to be viable.

In addition, I think that adults who came to dressage (and riding for that matter) late in their lives will be penalized by this system. I have several friends and acquaintances in their 50s and 60s who want the joy of riding changes, half passes, piaffe/passage etc. and wearing a tailcoat. They know they can't compete against the likes of a Michael Poulin or a Carol Lavell, but they want to go out and have some fun while they still can. They are in no way hurting their horses--in fact, they are usually the most cautious and conscientious--and they are helping defray the expenses for the rest of us. How can that be a bad thing? They also provide great homes, in general, for older horses that might otherwise be used "too hard" or euthanized. On the other end of the scale are the talented young riders on mediocre horses who will have to spend a small fortune to move up the levels. So, they will be held back due to their lack of cash. Again, turning the sport even more elitist than it already is.

There is much to admire about the European's system, but we are decades behind them and need to learn to walk before we can run.

Velvet
Dec. 4, 2007, 02:01 PM
suzy, I know we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. ;)

The way I see it is that the people who really want to put on the tails and ride a test that is a mockery should be able to go in the ring and do so. They will be able to do that by riding without honors. They could probably do that at a schooling show, in the future, as well--and possibly get ribbons there. If they want to do it and know that they have achieved a goal of riding at a level and meeting the standards, then they should fulfill the requirements that will be set in place by the USDF and USEF. (I don't see ADJUSTED points and a better thought out score system for qualifying as anything that requires people to ride at the level of our top Olympic competitors. To me that's just taking this conversation to an extreme that is not implied nor expected by the requirements even as they now stand.)

I'm just not seeing how this will put shows out of business. If the majority of people really ride and compete at or below Second level, then they will still be able to compete and show at recognized events at those levels.

atr
Dec. 4, 2007, 02:04 PM
This proposal makes the assumption that if you train more, your scores will increase. Up to a point, I guess this is true, but at a certain point, you've really got what you've got. The limit is usually the horse's way of going, and the rider's time and ability.

What I see when I track people's show records around here is that if you've got a 62% horse--a decent sort that looks after his mum and does his job to the best of his ability, but isn't a wow mover or especially motivated--the chances are he's going to stay a 62% horse throughout his career, whatever level he's competing at. He'll probably top out at third or fourth level, usually because he'll get too darned old to go on to the much more demanding FEI level stuff.

Respectable but not fabulous is OK, you know. Kinder to the horse to accept this fact than to keep pushing and pushing and pushing to make him into a 70% horse.

SGray
Dec. 4, 2007, 02:11 PM
USDF is gonna shoot itself in the foot


if there is a problem (abusive riding) then address the problem itself rather that coming at it obliquely and punishing other competitors/shows/clubs in the process

cyndi
Dec. 4, 2007, 02:30 PM
I don't have a problem with the SCORES required - what I DO have a HUGE problem with is the NUMBER of points they propose. 20 is ridiculous. Just how may times do you have to PROVE you are proficient??? It only takes TWO
60+ scores at ANY test of the level to count toward the USDF Medal program. So two scores is enough to show proficiency for the Medal program but not for moving up? :confused:

I had what I thought was a nice first year (and only year at recognized shows) at Second level on my homebred. We typically only show enough to get the 8 scores required to qualify for year end awards each year. And so far with this horse, we've moved up a level a year. So, out of 8 attempts, she had 7 scores of 60+ and had a year end median of 62.7. Under the proposed rule, she would only have earned 12 of the 20 points needed to 'move up' to third. guess what. I think I know best whether my horse is ready to move up. And I sure as heck don't want to spend another entire year (or two) showing at a lower level just to meet some arbitrary 'standard' invented by the 'powers that be." That extra year of showing would cost me over $1,000.

Requiring 20 points, which could equate to 20 scores of 60% to show 'proficiency' is, excuse the pun, beating a dead horse.

yaya
Dec. 4, 2007, 03:08 PM
Repeat after me:

THIS IS NOT A USDF PROPOSAL!

THIS IS COMING FROM USEF!

SGray
Dec. 4, 2007, 03:49 PM
well yes, all rules are usef rules -- but who actually proposed it?


Janine Malone is USDF secretary is she not?

SGray
Dec. 4, 2007, 03:59 PM
http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleChanges/275-07.pdf

Intent of Proposal: "To introduce timeline for dressage performance standards system."

MontanaDun
Dec. 4, 2007, 03:59 PM
USEF rule based on details provided by the USDF.

And I doubt very much that the folks at USEF mused one afternoon that it would be nice to put some performance standards in place for American dressage riders without any input from the USDF.

Oldenburg Mom
Dec. 4, 2007, 04:34 PM
Ok. I'm getting ready to get beat up ... and walk away--no crawl away--thoroughly bloodied. I haven't ready every reply, I'll admit that right up front. I stopped on page two after reading Suzy's reply about mid-way.

I applaud their (USEF & USDF) effort to try and do something to improve basics. Please, don't immediately start to beat me up, because I'm one of those beginners that's got a lifetime (or at least what's left of it) at basic. I've always said, I will be VERY lucky if I ever get to ride a 3rd level test. Dressage is HARD. If it wasn't we'd all be riding Grand Prix.

I'm not trying to be holier-than-thou, but I have scribed for a LOT of the low levels. A LOT, mostly in NY, but a few shows here in VA. When a rider gets in the low 50's at training level, and thinks she's doing GREAT, there is a problem. When a rider is riding a PSG test and gets a 30 (yes, it happened, I scribed it.) there's a problem. When a judge is cringing because an unfit rider is slaming down on the back of a horse, every stride at the canter, there's a problem.

I am not saying what they've come up with is perfect ... it's probably a heck of a long way from perfect and I'd bet my last bottom dollar there will be an outcry that may very well dwarf the issues we've faced here on this BB over the last 48 hours. But I'm going to take a guess here that they're trying to change the system for the better.

It's very easy to sit back when others have gone out on a limb—opened themselves up to criticism and abuse, in an effort to change for the better. That doesn't mean we shouldn't examine their proposals, make suggestions, try to take the next step, etc., take the initiative and try and improve. Can't we give these people a little credit for trying?

There are a lot of people who scribe on this BB. Tell me, those of you who scribe: are the problems as rife at the lower levels as I've seen?

SGray
Dec. 4, 2007, 04:46 PM
but conversely, the more the sport grows and the greater participation, the more we can afford to bring in and use really good clinicians and trainers

Commander Cody
Dec. 4, 2007, 07:39 PM
Janine is on the USEF Dressage Committee which is where this rule proposal originated. She is also the USDF Secretary, but really she wears many hats and is able to act independently. The first the USDF Executive Board (except those that are on the USEF Dressage Committee) saw of this proposal was with everyone else at the USEF Dressage Committee open meeting at the USDF Convention. We had heard of it, as had many other people, but knew nothing of the details. The USDF Executive Board is a group of pretty independent thinking people and I can assure you that we do not all agree on the details of this. Nor do all our members, as this thread makes clear. We did not push the plan on the USEF.

Lest you think all USDF Board members are "elitist" or out of touch with the real world etc.. I can assure you that this proposal will affect many of my students who are normal, hard working AAs like those posting here. And while I am a professional and am grandfathered, several of the regional directors ARE adult amateurs who could personally be affected by the new rules and have some of the same concerns you have raised.

I don't see the benefit of the rampant criticism. I think we should do a better job of working together to first try to influence the USEF decision makers and then, depending on the outcome, to create the best possible program.

Oh and an aside to LTW: I beg to differ. There are some excellent riders and trainers both in and near the Northern Virginia area, from top FEI riders (including our Pan Am gold medalist and our USEF Young Horse coach within 2 hours drive), to a variety of successful local trainers, to 3 (yes, 3) USDF Certified Instructors thru 4th level, all of whom have competed or are competing at Grand Prix. I don't think talking all of us down does much to further this discussion.

rebecca yount
Dec. 4, 2007, 08:02 PM
EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH THIS VIDEO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRry1KLvJ2U


It's Janet Brown-Foy at the 2007 ESDCTA Trainer's Symposium (sometime summer 2007)discussing the new proposed qualification requirements.

This was just posted on another thread and it is very informative.

poltroon
Dec. 4, 2007, 09:06 PM
If we are to go by the standard presented in the L program where you get a score for gaits and deduct from there or add points for a particularly nice moment, if he has a 6 for gaits and receives 60+%, he is putting in a near perfect test!

I felt the need to repeat this. 8)

poltroon
Dec. 4, 2007, 09:24 PM
I do really appreciate the committee's good intentions and hard work, and especially replies here, communicating with the membership.

If the purpose of this is to address abuse, my experience suggests that it will not be successful. When I hear 'abusive riding' there is a particular person who comes to my mind - but she routinely gets 60%+ scores, because she is very nicely mounted.

Give the 30% scores for badly ridden tests. Whistle riders out if they are abusive. I promise, that will get their attention far better than sending them to 20 shows where they score 58-62%, yanking on the reins and poking with the spur in every ride. Best of all, it requires no paperwork, no new tracking databases, no hardship, and no rule change. Take a year, give it a try, see how you like it.

Fundamentally, we seem to have a problem in dressage deciding whether we are judging the rider or the horse. We talk about riders, about giving them fundamentals, about how they need to learn collection, but when we score a test, we mostly care only that there's a rider up as an accessory. The score is for the HORSE, we're judging the HORSE, and his gaits, and his suitability to move up the levels and go to the Olympics. The 60% score might be for an incredibly well ridden test on an ordinary horse, or it might be for a young horse with a quality rider, or it might be for a beautiful and talented horse poorly ridden. We have no way to distinguish.

If it is about riding, perhaps we need to make some tests and scores more about riding. Or perhaps we should try designing some special tests meant to be 'equitation' - tests with no gait score, with multiple collective marks for the rider (seat, hands, use of leg, harmony, accuracy of transitions, etc). Score a free walk for that special test only not on how extravagant it is (an arthritic QH is not able to show a big overstep without causing herself physical pain) but on the relaxation and the quality of the forward. Put coefficients on transitions only, and on rider movements like the turn on the haunches. And then maybe use those for your qualification scores.

But personally, I think the idea of qualification is unnecessary and burdensome. Allow people to use their judgement, then correct them with painfully low scores when they make a mistake. It's simple, it promotes good riding, and it adds no burden to anyone aside from judges who risk offending other judges, trainers, and wealthy potential sponsors. But that's why they're judges.

Oldenburg Mom
Dec. 5, 2007, 06:46 AM
Poltroon,

What an exceptionally insightful post! Especially:
Fundamentally, we seem to have a problem in dressage deciding whether we are judging the rider or the horse. We talk about riders, about giving them fundamentals, about how they need to learn collection, but when we score a test, we mostly care only that there's a rider up as an accessory. The score is for the HORSE, we're judging the HORSE, and his gaits, and his suitability to move up the levels and go to the Olympics. The 60% score might be for an incredibly well ridden test on an ordinary horse, or it might be for a young horse with a quality rider, or it might be for a beautiful and talented horse poorly ridden. We have no way to distinguish. Again, I can only speak to what I've seen during scribing, but I think you've put your finger on probably the biggest problem.

Plus, I think most judges really do want to give people the benefit of the doubt in a questionable situation. One example: a rider, outside the ring, gave a horse a few short HARD snaps with the whip. Inappropriate, IMHO, in a show environment. Did this demonstration influence the judge's scoring of the test. Of course, the judge never said anything but my opinion is yes it did. And it sure should have. But he/she still tried to judge each movement on its own merits. My point here is the judge gave the rider the benefit of the doubt... I guess my question here is: should she have?

Every single judge that I have scribed for always, without exception, hopes for good riders and good tests. They really truly want the riders to do well. But they also have a problem as they are paid to judge by the show. I think if most judges really gave the scores a lot of the riders deserved they would not be asked back to judge. Naming no names, but there is one judge I'm thinking of that does judge "hard", has a reputation for judging hard, and indeed this individual is seen at fewer and fewer shows. Bottom line? It takes a LOT of guts for a judge to give a competitor a 30. Having said that, I'm not a judge...what the heck do I know.

Rhiannonjk
Dec. 5, 2007, 06:50 AM
I think I have to agree with the people saying that the judgin needs to change. In that video, she talks about riders getting a 4 on the rider score, and acts as if that would be the end of the world. So the difference is you will get a 4 instead of a 5, and tha's supposed to increase your interest in being a good rider? I think rider scores of less than 4 need to be considered.

suzy
Dec. 5, 2007, 07:56 AM
Fundamentally, we seem to have a problem in dressage deciding whether we are judging the rider or the horse. We talk about riders, about giving them fundamentals, about how they need to learn collection, but when we score a test, we mostly care only that there's a rider up as an accessory. The score is for the HORSE, we're judging the HORSE, and his gaits, and his suitability to move up the levels and go to the Olympics. The 60% score might be for an incredibly well ridden test on an ordinary horse, or it might be for a young horse with a quality rider, or it might be for a beautiful and talented horse poorly ridden. We have no way to distinguish.

I agree with your comment about the 60% score for the incredibly well-ridden test on an ordinary horse but differ on the rest. Even my husband, who is most definitely not a horse person, can tell the difference between good and bad (or even mediocre) riding. Judges at recognized shows have gone through extensive training and testing, and I'm sure they can see the difference, too. It doesn't matter how talented a horse is, it still requires someone competent in the saddle to bring out its best. Sure, a 10 mover might get a 10 in the movement section, but if the rider doesn't ride a precise test with the horse on the aids, the rest of the scores will drag down that one 10 significantly. I think we have some wonderfully capable judges, but I also think that some of them don't dare use the whole range of scores, and that's a pity and a disservice to those of us competing. But, I can appreciate their concerns about not being hired again.

Poltroon, I wholeheartedly agree with the rest of your post--some great ideas there!

suzy
Dec. 5, 2007, 08:21 AM
The only reason MOST people currently show above the level they can actually ride is because they just might end up in a class with fewer riders and they can later hold up that ribbon and say they won a certain placing at a show at that level. It's like being the only on in a GP class.
Actually, I know a number of people for whom this doesn't hold true. They are the people I mentioned earlier who got a very late start riding and want to ride the FEI levels before they pop off. ;) Generally, they don't care about the ribbon; they just want the experience and fun of riding a PSG or higher test.

As I said earlier, this proposal will not affect me since I was grandfathered in about 15 years ago. But, it will affect a lot of friends and students and, as Oakcanyon said, it is unlikely that it will raise the level of riding in this country...it will just make the classes smaller. Since most shows are not oversubscribed as it is, it is difficult to see where there can be a positive outcome from adopting this proposal. With fewer competitors, show management will have to raise their fees, and that will likely serve to reduce attendance further.



I don't see the benefit of the rampant criticism.
I don't think that "rampant criticism" is really accurate. This is a "Discussion Forum," and we are discussing an issue that could impact us directly or indirectly. "Rampant" means unchecked and without thought. I think that everyone, even the posters with whom I don't share the same opinion, have put a lot of thought into their posts as I have done with mine. The only way to arrive at a solution is to discuss this and hear all possible sides of the issue. So far, most everyone has been polite in offering their opinions and concerns.

Ja Da Dee
Dec. 5, 2007, 09:48 AM
I have another idea, in addition to a) blowing the whistle when the judge sees abuse, b) having the USDF assign judges to the shows instead of the show managers picking them. Maybe there should be a box on the bottom of the test saying "this rider shows proficiancy at this level" Once they have two boxes checked by two different judges, they can move to the next level. This would eliminate the "is it an 8 mover or a 6 mover? Did the horse have problems, but the rider rode very well?" issues.

NoDQhere
Dec. 5, 2007, 10:34 AM
I have another idea, in addition to a) blowing the whistle when the judge sees abuse, b) having the USDF assign judges to the shows instead of the show managers picking them. Maybe there should be a box on the bottom of the test saying "this rider shows proficiancy at this level" Once they have two boxes checked by two different judges, they can move to the next level. This would eliminate the "is it an 8 mover or a 6 mover? Did the horse have problems, but the rider rode very well?" issues.
I like this idea of the check box! It would really make everything so much easier as far as paperwork and tracking.

But personally, I think the idea of qualification is unnecessary and burdensome. Allow people to use their judgement, then correct them with painfully low scores when they make a mistake. It's simple, it promotes good riding, and it adds no burden to anyone aside from judges who risk offending other judges, trainers, and wealthy potential sponsors. But that's why they're judges.

These two posts, IMO, really "say" a lot. I don't think we need this qualification system when we have Judges with the power to influence rider's decisions. "Painfully low scores" are pretty darn effective.

Our rider is grandfathered in so this proposal doesn't affect us "personally", but it will affect the number of shows. In fact I believe it will be the end of shows in the "hinterlands" because of the lack of entries. Many people in the "hinterlands" have worked very hard to promote Dressage and bring people into the sport. In our part of the country we drive 6 to 12 hours to get to shows. I think most of our lower level riders will go back to Rodeos and Playdays!

The 20 points to be able to ride at 3rd Level is unreasonable. (On the video, Janet Brown-Foy says 10 points?) If there has to be some form of qualification, wouldn't the Bronze Medal score requirement be enough? Or better yet, let the "Judging" get the job done.

patch work farm
Dec. 5, 2007, 10:51 AM
As a "Participating Member" I believe that we should have a vote on whether this would be of benefit to the sport. I have to say that I take this to be a completely BIASED decision and will be glad to stop spending my money on my memberships within the USDF and USEF organizations.

Let me give a real live example from an AA who works a full time job, runs a breeding farm and competes as well...I am 51 with a very talented horse that will be turning 15 in '08. I moved up to second level probably before I was ready to, but spent '06 showing at that level, highest score was a 59% (just missed 60% and I went to 7 shows). For '07, I opted to spend my money on training as well as having to take some time from set backs (got a foot stomped on by one of my broodmares, was trying et with my riding mare) so it wasn't in the cards to be showing.

My point is that for me to get 20 scores above 60%, might take the rest of my lifetime or my mare's, especially since we have a limited number of shows in our area. I ride with a very talented trainer (but I am not a "natural" and he has had his hands full getting me to "let go, give, etc." over the years, but finally I am getting it) and I clinic with Scott Hassler (who by the way, is supposed to be the young horse coach, not the gray haired old ladies' coach). I know that second level has been difficult for me as well as my horse and I wouldn't move to third until I felt like I could be less than a huge embarrassment, why not put a "certification course" together?

Just because you get 20 scores also does not "fix" the possibility of abusive use of the double which Janet states is the reason behind this change. Frankly, I have found that we get some of the toughest judges at our shows (just look at the year end scoring east coast to west coast) so it might NOT ever be possible to get any scores above 60%, should I be punished because of the judging, not my or my horse's ability??!! I have had 3's on tests-heck, I have probably had a 0, but I find it rare that any judge truly use the scale and gives a 10, why is that? Until the judging is more in line and consistent, I find it unacceptable to change this rule.

I think the membership should be in an uproar since we are paying for these decisions.

Velvet
Dec. 5, 2007, 11:09 AM
:rolleyes: Once again, you have it wrong. Unless you are only able to get a score at the lowest third of the 60 percentile range, it WILL NOT TAKE 20 QUALIFYING RIDES to complete the requirements.

(I seem to be repeating myself, and repeating the original definition a LOT out here. Please read the other replies before making an assumption.)

SGray
Dec. 5, 2007, 11:20 AM
you can't legislate away bad riding

ThreeFigs
Dec. 5, 2007, 11:30 AM
Haven't read all the posts yet, as I'm short on time this morning, but a visit to COTH is as essential as my morning coffee. Spoke to a BNT/judge yesterday about this proposal. It's just that, a proposal. Nothing written in stone yet. There's the possibility that the score requirement will be lowered (oh, say, to 58% to earn a point...) and that (as someone else mentioned) the requirement for points will be lowered from 20 to 15.

Do I feel daunted? Yes, given my mare's difficult personality -- neither of us may live long enough to earn that right to ride at Third. Do I feel singled out? No. I think the majority of riders compete at or below Second. If I (or others) manage to qualify to move up, well, that's quite an accomplishment!

So, once my cousin's estate is settled, I will be shopping for a less-argumentative horse. One that might be easier to move up with. But I'll keep plugging along with the Beaster in the meantime -- because it would mean so much more if I can qualify with HER. She has taught me a lot. I can't stand the idea of "giving up" on her.

One other thing. Any "points" you may have earned in years past will (most likely) be counted towards your advancement to the next level. I think I have one point already earned! YAAAAY!

dresstar
Dec. 5, 2007, 11:48 AM
I have just watch the video. I have to say I think the rule change is a good one. If you are not getting 60% at what ever level you are not ready to move up. Also your points go up with the score. The higher the score more points you get. Right now you need two scores Training thru third to get a bronze. I would say all of that can do better get it now if you can. This is not an easy sport. You have to work hard, have a good horse, and lets face it have some money in your pocket. It is like every other sport in the world. It is sad but a fact. I have been on a horse not talented for third level and it was hard to get above a 58%. I do feel bad if you are a good rider and have this. But over all I am for the rule change.
dresstar

Rhiannonjk
Dec. 5, 2007, 11:53 AM
:rolleyes: Once again, you have it wrong. Unless you are only able to get a score at the lowest third of the 60 percentile range, it WILL NOT TAKE 20 QUALIFYING RIDES to complete the requirements.

(I seem to be repeating myself, and repeating the original definition a LOT out here. Please read the other replies before making an assumption.)

We hear you.

BUT do you hear me, that I might go to one show and get a score in the lower 60's, and not be able to get to another recognizd show for almost a year? Is it impossible that I might be schooling and clinicing at the same level (if not higher, because I'm able to focus in training instead of competing) than a person that shows during that time period?

Is it not possible that a score of 60 and a year of training would be enough to move up? If shows were more common in some areas, it wouldn't be a big deal to get that score in the upper 60's (of course, God Forbid you have a Bad Day) - but with the limited showing available to some people, a show requirement is flat out annoying!

patch work farm
Dec. 5, 2007, 11:57 AM
Velvet,
So sorry, if I quoted it incorrectly but whether it is given as one point or two points, etc. I still think this is a restriction that the membership should have a voice in. If I HAVE to join as a Participating Member, then I should be allowed to Participate in this type of decision. I think it screams elitest which most dressage riders resent being called and MORE importantly it WON'T solve the problem. If there is an issue of abuse, those individuals should be eliminated or forced to ride at lower levels but this is not the way to solve it.

Some of us do ride difficult horses or are not naturally talented riders, so the climb to higher levels is a huge struggle at best, why burden those that are trying harder anyway?! From all of the posts that I have read, most people feel it is not the AA's that are in this category so why not impose this on those that are in question?

millerra
Dec. 5, 2007, 12:27 PM
Why do I disagree w/ the proposal - well, because it would directly affect ME.

I have written this before, but... here it goes again. I have 1 dressage horse who I have shown at 2 dressage shows over the last 3 years. Why? Because I event as well and weekends are limited.

I showed him at 2nd level - our first time ever for both of us above first. I got scores of 60% or higher mostly - I think 1 58%. Let's be clear- the "poor scores" were due to my bad test riding. It's hard to ride an entire test well. fortunately I have a relatively nice horse who scores reasonably even w/ an "idiot" in the irons. Problem: NONE of the scores were w/ me as a participating member. So I have zero points at 2nd level.

Over the last year or two, I have been working very hard to improve both of us. I learned really how to sit the trot and engage him from the seat. He has learned collection and developed strength. He has changes now. I continue to work on my test riding. He is ready for 3rd/4th, according to my coach. I did ALL the training under a watchful eye. He is started in a double. NO, I can not spur him or hit in the mouth w/ the curb. He will break my nose - He is a TB w/ little tolerance for abject stupidity.

I would very very much love to show him 3rd a couple of times this coming summer. It is what is needed next. If this proposal passes - I will not be able to. Instead, I will have to let my coach ride him if I want him to have scores at 3rd/4th or compete him myself 2nd for 2-4 more years in the hopes of getting enough scores to move up... I don't think I will. I don't see the point.

SO, bottom line - you all can argue about how good the qualification is for the good of the sport but to me - it would hurt...

ThreeFigs
Dec. 5, 2007, 12:47 PM
Millerra, these proposed changes wouldn't even be implemented until 2010, according to my BNT/judge informant. So calm down, go ahead and show Third or Fourth next year and enjoy yourself! By 2010, you may even be able to move up from THERE, you lucky so-and-so, you!

And if I'm mistaken about the 2010 implementation, I'm sure someone will correct me.

millerra
Dec. 5, 2007, 12:59 PM
\these proposed changes wouldn't even be implemented until 2010, according to my BNT/judge informant.
And if I'm mistaken about the 2010 implementation, I'm sure someone will correct me.

Wow, ok. Thanks. I truly didn't get that part... I'm only lucky cuz of my horse and coach.

Now, the delayed implementation puts a different spin on things... Those of us at the "cusp" of moving up still have time to get "grandfathered" in at our current level and (ahem) become participating members.... Is this good or bad? Don't know... hmmm. it puts the proposal in a different light for me....

I will now go ride my pony (and hide my head in the sand!:o)

DontTellMama
Dec. 5, 2007, 01:01 PM
Re: Participating Membership requirement -

If you were at the Board of Governors meeting, I think you would have seen that this most likely will NOT happen. Sherry Guess, who is the head of the GMO council, and is very well respected at USDF, was quite outspoken about how this would effect GMO membership in a very negative way, and how the GMO's and GMO members would not be happy about this. At that point, I believe both Sam Barish, the president, and George Willams, the VP, replied to Sherry that they had not considered this, and that they would certainly be taking this under consideration.

poltroon
Dec. 5, 2007, 02:09 PM
I agree with your comment about the 60% score for the incredibly well-ridden test on an ordinary horse but differ on the rest. Even my husband, who is most definitely not a horse person, can tell the difference between good and bad (or even mediocre) riding. Judges at recognized shows have gone through extensive training and testing, and I'm sure they can see the difference, too. It doesn't matter how talented a horse is, it still requires someone competent in the saddle to bring out its best. Sure, a 10 mover might get a 10 in the movement section, but if the rider doesn't ride a precise test with the horse on the aids, the rest of the scores will drag down that one 10 significantly. I think we have some wonderfully capable judges, but I also think that some of them don't dare use the whole range of scores, and that's a pity and a disservice to those of us competing. But, I can appreciate their concerns about not being hired again.

Poltroon, I wholeheartedly agree with the rest of your post--some great ideas there!

I'm not saying they can't SEE the difference - there's no question in my mind that the judges can see the difference.

I'm saying they can't SCORE the difference. There's no opportunity for them to do so. The rider collective is one mark out of many, and my experience (scribing, riding, viewing friends' scores) is that it is usually about the average for the test, unless the horse was naughty. For 95% of the marks, the judges are taught in the 'L' program to start from the gait and score from there. And so, a poorly ridden circle on a 10 mover gets an 8 or 7, and a perfectly executed circle on a 6 mover gets a 6. The poor rider advances, with the apparent blessing of the judge; the good rider goes home to try to make her circles just a bit more brilliant.

The tests are written to score the horse. We could choose to write different tests that score the rider.

SGray
Dec. 5, 2007, 02:16 PM
I'm not saying they can't SEE the difference - there's no question in my mind that the judges can see the difference.

I'm saying they can't SCORE the difference. There's no opportunity for them to do so. The rider collective is one mark out of many, and my experience (scribing, riding, viewing friends' scores) is that it is usually about the average for the test, unless the horse was naughty. For 95% of the marks, the judges are taught in the 'L' program to start from the gait and score from there. And so, a poorly ridden circle on a 10 mover gets an 8 or 7, and a perfectly executed circle on a 6 mover gets a 6. The poor rider advances, with the apparent blessing of the judge; the good rider goes home to try to make her circles just a bit more brilliant.

The tests are written to score the horse. We could choose to write different tests that score the rider.


yes, instead of requiring pts at 2nd to move to 3rd just write a 'rider proficiency' test that they have to pass with at least a X% before they can make the move

no new record-keeping necessary -- just did you or did you not get at least an X score on the RPT?

SGray
Dec. 5, 2007, 02:17 PM
for that matter, you could have RPTs for every move up

suzy
Dec. 5, 2007, 03:42 PM
Now I do "get" exactly what you are saying. And, this is why I'm hoping our local GMO is able to hold the L judge's program this year so that I can audit. Your points are well taken.

inca
Dec. 5, 2007, 03:48 PM
I was thinking it was 2009 but if it is 2010, that is very good news. That means I have 2 YEARS to hopefully get a stupid single flying change, get my bronze and be grandfathered in. My goal is to show 3rd 1 next fall (have everything except a reliable change) and I might actually make it.

I STILL think 20 points to move up is excessive. You can be showing 2nd 4, getting consistent 60-62 and NOT be abusive. I wouldn't think you need to ride 2nd 4 TWENTY times in order to move up. If you have a flying change, I think it's possible to move up from 2nd 4 to 3rd 1 and get the same type of scores you were getting at 2nd 4.

Home Again Farm
Dec. 5, 2007, 03:53 PM
Can anyone give me the number of the proposed rule change? I assume that it is one on the page below?

http://www.usef.org/contentpage2.aspx?id=rulebook

yaya
Dec. 5, 2007, 05:36 PM
The tracking number is 275-07. All the rule change says is that there will be a program to be determined by the USEF Dressage Committee. The program is not spelled out in the rule change.

As for scores earned while not a PM: They said that unitl November 30, 2009, all scores obtained, whether while a PM, GM, or non-member, would count towards points. But AFTER November 30, 2009, you would have to be a PM and a USEF member to earn points.

Hampton Bay
Dec. 5, 2007, 08:25 PM
You know, maybe I would like this whole mess more if they accounted for the differences in horses.

My mare is a 6 on her gaits IMO (don't have any of my score sheets handy). She can in no way compete with a horse who would be an 8 or 9. The way the tests are written and scored, it just won't happen. I am fine with that because I know what my mare is capable of.

So, maybe they should take the total %-age score for the test and divide it by the gaits score. So rider with a horse with a 6 on gaits that scores a 62% might have a chance of qualifying in a timely manner.

Or change the proposal to read that a rider must score a 6 or a 7 or whatever on 2 or 3 tests at second level to move to third.

I think requiring anyone to show competency past 2 shows is just going to be a burden on those who cannot show on a regular basis for whatever their reason. And I can only imagine the paperwork behind the whole thing.

Touchstone Farm
Dec. 5, 2007, 08:55 PM
OM wrote: "Plus, I think most judges really do want to give people the benefit of the doubt in a questionable situation. One example: a rider, outside the ring, gave a horse a few short HARD snaps with the whip. Inappropriate, IMHO, in a show environment. Did this demonstration influence the judge's scoring of the test. Of course, the judge never said anything but my opinion is yes it did. And it sure should have."

OM, while I agree with you that I feel that most judges want to give the rider the benefit of the doubt, I disagree that what the rider did OUTSIDE the ring should affect the score...IF you look at the rules, per se. I had an experience where I was rushing to my test...my reader didn't show up, I was in pain because of recovering from a recent collapsed lung (and probably should NOT have been showing) and frankly, I was flustered outside the ring. Once in, I pulled myself together and performed a good test. Later, I was talking to the scribe and judge who basically said they thought the test was going to be bad because they were watching me go around before the bell was rung. Thank goodness, they only judged what they saw my horse and me do IN THE RING....not what you think they should have done! :-)


Per another post, Milerra's, I believe. The thing is you may be grandfathered in, as I probably will be, but there will be others behind you and I who won't. I don't think those of us who will be grandfathered should go, "Whew, at least I'll get in, so who cares?" (Milerra, I'm not saying that YOU are saying this but I HAVE heard this from others who have basically said, "Who cares? I'm grandfathered in." To me, they're not looking at the big picture, just their personal situation...)

Oldenburg Mom
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:01 AM
OM wrote: ...Of course, the judge never said anything but my opinion is yes it did. And it sure should have."

As usual, *sigh* I didn't make myself clear. Sometimes it's hard to explain all the nuances of "real life" when you're making a point.

I'll say this, which may help ... the over-correction of the horse seen on the outside of the ring, continued in the ring. Now, there were no snaps, but as you can probably imagine the ... what, assertiveness? ... aggressions ? ... that the rider demonstrated outside the ring continued during the test,... although much much more subtle. Did she use her whip DURING the test, ... no. Does that make sense? Do you see what I'm getting at?

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:30 AM
Define the problem USEF and USDF! Start from the bottom up fixing the education and training system!

This is not Germany, this is not Holland. We cannot run down the road to take our Bereiter test on weekends. This is America.

Requiring me to go to 10 shows and show in 20 classes a year is unrealistic!

Thank God, I have already earned my Bronze and most of my silver.
Otherwise, I would be screwed.

There is one USDF certified instructor in my area within 100 miles drive and she is certified to train me to 4rth. Great!, now where do I go to find help for PSG? Sorry to tell you, but the trainers are very thin, pretty much nonexistent........ and I am in Northern VA- 40 miles from our nations capitol!

About 3- 4 times a year I might be lucky to ride in a clinic with someone enlightening!

If you want scores and basics to improve, start with the education system, not with the competition system.

If some fool wants to slap a double bridle on their horse and get a 40% that is their choice. I can guarantee you they will make the mistake once or twice and then will not be seen again until they improve their training. That is my humble observation.

I do not want to have to show in 20 classes per year. That is not a true measure of success. I would much rather concentrate my money on lessons, clinics and buying Hay and shoes for my horses. I can no longer afford $4 a gallon diesel of gas to haul my horse 5-6 hours away to ride for a judge that got up on the wrong side of the bed.


I have competed my whole life. I am just as tired of the mediocre, inaccurate judging I have seen as the bad riding. So lets remember that the coin turns both ways.

When we read our tests and it does not appear the judge was observing the same horse or the same test that day the standards need to go both ways!

I am tired of the judges falling asleep after lunch and the scribe filling in the score without input. I am tired of judges that have ADHD and cannot watch the tests. I am tired of the judges that arrive at the show with a chip on their shoulders and give every rider a 40% to 55% because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I am tired of judges that hold a standard so high they think everyone should be competing at the Olympic level. I am tired of paying $1000's and $1000's of dollars to go to expensive shows to ride in crappy, deep, concrete, slippery. sloppy footing in rain and monsoons with dressage rings that are so deep with water and mud my own shoes and my horses tendons get sucked off. I am tired of judges telling me, that footing is OK, why did I scratch! because I already have a horse at home with a suspensory injury!

I am tired of judges that do not understand, read, or comprehend the correct goals of the level they are judging.

Sorry to be on such a rant, but some of these rule changes are totally over the top! I have ridden and shown for too many years to sit quiet and not speak up about some of these ridiculous proposals! Need I say more....

Ditto, well said.

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:38 AM
Re: Participating Membership requirement -

If you were at the Board of Governors meeting, I think you would have seen that this most likely will NOT happen. Sherry Guess, who is the head of the GMO council, and is very well respected at USDF, was quite outspoken about how this would effect GMO membership in a very negative way, and how the GMO's and GMO members would not be happy about this. At that point, I believe both Sam Barish, the president, and George Willams, the VP, replied to Sherry that they had not considered this, and that they would certainly be taking this under consideration.

They had not considered this? What were these people thinking? I am sorry, but that is infuriating.

rutgerjan
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:43 AM
Lets forget the low level ammies for a second - what about the privileged Junior/Young rider that is trying to get on the Young Rider team, and literally has a time limit for getting all these qualifying scores in? If that young rider is working hard, and lucky enough to acquire a horse of that level and be able to ride it, I think it would be a shame for them to have to wait another year or two to try to qualifying scores when they might legitimately be able to go for it.

OR should only those Jr/YRs in areas that they can show every other weekend be able to try for this?

I agree with this and this is also the reason why in the Netherlands we have some openings in this system. An Example: When my niece got the ride on the GP horse of her mother, they asked the KNHS (our Equestrian Organisation) to apply the rule which say that in special circumstances you can ask to ride for two International judges twices and these judges can advice the KNHS to give permission to ride in the JR o YR classes or any other class.

suzy
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:50 AM
Yankee Lawyer, I empathize with your frustration. Many of the officials of these governing bodies are out of touch. They either have deep pockets or have sponsors with deep pockets, so they have no clue how much of a financial stretch it is for the average AA to compete.

Rhiannon, great point about our Jr/YRs. I hadn't even thought of that! This proposal would clearly have a negative impact on yet another group of riders.

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:54 AM
I agree with this and this is also the reason why in the Netherlands we have some openings in this system. An Example: When my niece got the ride on the GP horse of her mother, they asked the KNHS (our Equestrian Organisation) to apply the rule which say that in special circumstances you can ask to ride for two International judges twices and these judges can advice the KNHS to give permission to ride in the JR o YR classes or any other class.

I don't see why we would put people through that. I don't understand why the scoring system and TDs can't take care of those who are riding above the level at which they "should" be riding (i.e., poor scores for poor tests; TD citing/eliminating riders for any abusive conduct on the showgrounds).

I think the proposed rule negatively impacts true amateur riders in particular -- those who actually have jobs and balance these with riding and other commitments, as well as those who primarily ride in other disciplines (e.g., eventing, hunters, and jumpers) who may have a very high level of competence but nonetheless only show at dressage shows occasionally.

Personally, I would be too embarassed to enter classes at a level that is too high for me. I also prefer to spend more time and money on training with a top trainer (i.e., lessons and clinics) and only showing occasionally. So the proposed rule would stink for me, and as far as I can tell, would serve little purpose.

And what about people who have a superb upper level schoolmaster that needs careful maintenance? Why require that pair to put all the additional wear and tear on the horse just to be able to compete at a level they should be competing at?

patch work farm
Dec. 6, 2007, 08:19 AM
My personal rant about being a Participating Member and having no voice in this decision is a few pages back. I find it even harder to believe that they didn't take the GMO's into consideration?!!! Where do they think the $$$$$$$$$$$$ is coming from?!?!?!?!

Overall, even if this rule does not take effect until 2010, it is:

1) Going to cost them more $$ than not when members stop joining the organization
2) Stop attending shows ($$$)
3) Show that it is elitest since only a "chosen" or grandfathered group can participate
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY IT WILL NOT "CURE" THE ABUSIVE USE OF THE DOUBLE BRIDLE!!!!!!!!!

If there is that much abuse out there, we have a bigger problem to worry about and oh, by the way, you can ride 3rd level in a snaffle...

Rhiannonjk
Dec. 6, 2007, 08:27 AM
As for the JR/YR issue - I believe that has been addressed (if you watch the video), but I believe it is a silly way to address it. They are saying that the JR/YR test can be ridden without any approval. So evidentally, these JR/YRs will have to be riding second level attempting to get scores, but able to go into the PSG level qualification classes?

It seems like being able to ride in the PSG classes (That is the level of the JR/YR tests, correct? I have never really had any involvement in the program) would be essential to scoring well in the qualification classes.

yaya
Dec. 6, 2007, 08:38 AM
I was thinking it was 2009 but if it is 2010, that is very good news. That means I have 2 YEARS to hopefully get a stupid single flying change, get my bronze and be grandfathered in.

The start date would be December 1, 2009, which is the beginning of the USEF 2010 show year.

So you do have 2 years - the 2008 show year (already started) and the 2009 show year.

yaya
Dec. 6, 2007, 08:46 AM
As for the JR/YR issue - I believe that has been addressed (if you watch the video), but I believe it is a silly way to address it. They are saying that the JR/YR test can be ridden without any approval. So evidentally, these JR/YRs will have to be riding second level attempting to get scores, but able to go into the PSG level qualification classes?

It seems like being able to ride in the PSG classes (That is the level of the JR/YR tests, correct? I have never really had any involvement in the program) would be essential to scoring well in the qualification classes.

Actually, the proposal states that "ONLY FEI Juniors, FEI Young Riders, Brentina Cup riders, and Developing Horse Riders who are entering US National Championship or NAJYRC QUALIFYING shows are exempt from qualifying to compete."

What this means is, at Qualifying Shows only, they can ride the tests without having to earn the level. HOWEVER, if they ride the J/YR or Developing Horse tests at regular dressage shows (those not designated as official qualifying shows), they do have to earn the level.

Because these shows are time-limited (horse or rider can age out), they can still qualify and ride at the finals, but only by going to official qualifying shows (which they had to do anyway before this proposal). The only thing that is changed is they can't "practice ride" the tests at non-qualifying shows unless they have earned their way up to that level.

ETA: Earlier in the proposal, it states that riders in FEI Pony, USEF 4yo, FEI 5yo and FEI 6yo tests are always exempt from qualifying for the level. (Again because of the age thing)

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 6, 2007, 09:06 AM
You cannot judge the merits of a rule change by determining whether you personally are able to qualify for any grandfathering prior to the effective date of the rule. The myopic yank-the-ladder attitude (sorry, that is what it is) has no place in rulemaking or policymaking.

I just do not understand the need for such a rule. There is no such requirement that I am aware of for showjumping or eventing, yet there are far greater safety concerns in those disciplines, and at least an equal opportunity for abuse.

If horses are not being treated properly at a show, then penalize or eliminate the competitor. Why is it so hard to expect judges and TDs to do their jobs?

rebecca yount
Dec. 6, 2007, 10:33 AM
The text of the details of the qualifying procedure proposal as handed out at the USDF convention has now been posted on another thread on this bb. It says they have asked for feedback for several years.

I have been an exhibitor for 22 years and I have never been asked for feedback (as stated in the above info--"After gathering comments and feedback for several years from officials and exhibitors") in any way, formal or informal, regarding this proposal except for the past several days after I emailed Janet and other members of the USEF Dressage Committee. Janet has been discussing it over email--I also did get short replies (e.g. "we'll talk about it at the USDF Convention") from Axel Steiner and Carol Lavell, also from the Region 1 rep Alison Head.

If you look at the Rule Change Proposal on the USEF website, you will see that the Proposal (general, not details) was submitted in August (I think August 3 or something like that). That was before that video was made at the ESDCTA Symposium in October 07, where Janet talks about it a little bit.

The membership of USEF and USDF have not been polled or questioned about this, as far as I know. Anyone else?

Refer to other thread about this issue--on this BB

DontTellMama
Dec. 6, 2007, 10:49 AM
The membership of USDF/USEF are always invited to voice their opinions. If they were to poll the membership for every change made in the organizations, the price of our memberships would go through the roof.

However, as a competitor, you are always invited to voice an opinion in the report forms that are available at your USEF show offices. These forms are taken seriously, and review by the Competitor Council with the USDF, among other places.

You are also always invited to make your voice heard through the USDF Convention, etc. If you feel so strongly about the state of dressage, why not get involved? Either regionally through your GMO or nationally with the USDF. Volunteers are ALWAYS needed!

And don't forget, the people who you are lobbying, the Janets, Axels, etc, are all volunteers as well. They do what they do because they are passionate about the sport, and not because of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

SGray
Dec. 6, 2007, 12:46 PM
USDF would be wise to actively solicit opinions from grassroots members when it comes to this type of proposed change

grassroots is who pays the bills for USDF

DontTellMama
Dec. 6, 2007, 12:55 PM
At the board of Governors meeting, there are many individuals who speak out consistently for the "grass roots" members.

millerra
Dec. 6, 2007, 01:00 PM
In a nutshell - IMHO, it is still not a good rule, even with the 2 yr implementation for the following reasons-

1) too many shows/scores required for AA or persons in other disciplines - especially in the "fly over country"
2) promotes pushing horses hard in the next two years in order to be "grandfathered in" and afterwards to obtain the necessary scores to move up. # of times in the show ring does not necessarily equate to proficiency. In this aspect, the rule does not promote good horsemanship.
3) does not allow for "really good" riders in other disciplines to step in at a level appropriate to their training and their horses at a dressage show.
4) takes away rider/trainer responsibility of determining when someone/horse should move up. And promotes for the attitude - "well, I got my 20 pts at 2nd or 4th - now I'm ready to move up." Of course, this may very well NOT be the case.

I understand what the "powers that be" are trying to address, but I'm not convinced this is the right way.

I will go hide my head back in the sand (err.. snowbank) now...

Janet
Dec. 6, 2007, 01:41 PM
I just do not understand the need for such a rule. There is no such requirement that I am aware of for showjumping or eventing, yet there are far greater safety concerns in those disciplines, and at least an equal opportunity for abuse.
There ARE qualification requirements for Eventing at Prelim and above. See Appendix 3 of the Eventing rules. But they are much more reasonable.

(There are alos some rule change proposals that would make qualifying a bit stricter - but nothing like THIS.!)

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 6, 2007, 02:09 PM
There ARE qualification requirements for Eventing at Prelim and above. See Appendix 3 of the Eventing rules. But they are much more reasonable.

(There are alos some rule change proposals that would make qualifying a bit stricter - but nothing like THIS.!)

Thanks, Janet. Admittedly, I am quite certain you are more knowledgeable about those rules than I am! I do think requiring some qualifications in eventing makes sense in order to keep the sport safe.

SGray
Dec. 6, 2007, 02:25 PM
comment on the proposal that I left at usef

The proposal to require qualifying points for 3rd level and above will result in a contraction of the membership and participation levels for dressage and is not in the best interests of the growth of the sport.

rebecca yount
Dec. 7, 2007, 07:35 AM
I will be seeing Jeff Moore this weekend at the L program. He's obviously very active in USDF and can get info to the right people. If anyone would like me to hand-deliver comments and statements, if you will email them to me (letter with real name, address, etc) at dryount@yahoo.com I will print whatever I get before Sunday and put them in an envelope and give it to him on Sunday.

If we want to be heard we have to say something. I would recommend trying to be strong and constructive in statements. Say what might work better. Say that according to the problem "definition", what would work and what wouldn't and why. You all know what I mean.

Anyway, send me those emails.

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 7, 2007, 12:26 PM
I will be seeing Jeff Moore this weekend at the L program. He's obviously very active in USDF and can get info to the right people. If anyone would like me to hand-deliver comments and statements, if you will email them to me (letter with real name, address, etc) at dryount@yahoo.com I will print whatever I get before Sunday and put them in an envelope and give it to him on Sunday.

If we want to be heard we have to say something. I would recommend trying to be strong and constructive in statements. Say what might work better. Say that according to the problem "definition", what would work and what wouldn't and why. You all know what I mean.

Anyway, send me those emails.

Thanks!
I think it would be helpful if people could provide specific examples of situations that illustrate the potential negative impact of the rule (e.g., I am an amateur who shows in X shows a year, and for me this means X,Y,Z). As Rebecca indicated, it also is always helpful to offer an alternative solution to the problem at hand as well.

poltroon
Dec. 7, 2007, 01:01 PM
Thanks!
I think it would be helpful if people could provide specific examples of situations that illustrate the potential negative impact of the rule (e.g., I am an amateur who shows in X shows a year, and for me this means X,Y,Z). As Rebecca indicated, it also is always helpful to offer an alternative solution to the problem at hand as well.

I think the Committee needs to remember that the rule they are writing applies not only to California, Florida, and the northeast, but to the whole country, including places like Alaska and Hawaii. If you live in Nebraska you can probably get enough shows by hauling a mere 10 hours each way each weekend. If you live in Hawaii, it's not like you can haul out of state to get those 20 scores.

Given that we have international riders coming out of the most interesting places (Idaho, anyone?), it seems a shame to make promising careers any more difficult.

Steffan Peters was joking that he was lucky that he didn't have to requalify. I laughed, but I think it would be rather a PITA for him to accumulate all those scores, and I don't think he has any worries about being able to score the requisite percentages.;)

Equibrit
Dec. 7, 2007, 01:31 PM
It may be worth pointing out that similar qualification systems are in place in Europe, where shows are regularly over prescribed, and that is most definitely NOT the case here. I'm afraid this will thin out the meagre show entry figures here and therefore USDF memberships in general. I am most definitely not renewing my membership this year. It would be interesting to find out why the "powers that be" deem this to be a necessary change.

lorik
Dec. 7, 2007, 02:26 PM
For those of you who are thinking of not rejoining USDF and USEF remember that there are now non-member fees for both of these organizations in order to show in licensed shows. If you are going to more than 2 licensed shows, it's cheaper to join USEF than to pay 3 non-member fees. For USDF, join if you are going to be in more than 3 licensed shows.

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 7, 2007, 09:33 PM
I think the Committee needs to remember that the rule they are writing applies not only to California, Florida, and the northeast, but to the whole country, including places like Alaska and Hawaii. If you live in Nebraska you can probably get enough shows by hauling a mere 10 hours each way each weekend. If you live in Hawaii, it's not like you can haul out of state to get those 20 scores.



Excellent point

honeylips
Dec. 7, 2007, 10:40 PM
I will have George Williams with me next weekend. Send me your thoughts and I will convey as I can without overwhelming him!.

J-Lu
Dec. 7, 2007, 11:04 PM
The text of the details of the qualifying procedure proposal as handed out at the USDF convention has now been posted on another thread on this bb. It says they have asked for feedback for several years.

The membership of USEF and USDF have not been polled or questioned about this, as far as I know. Anyone else?


As an avid reader of "dressage news", I can say that I've never seen a solicitation for comments ever! I've seen two articles in COTH that reference it, and I've heard Janet F-B say that it was something that people were tossing around 2 years ago, but that's it. They've asked for feedback from each other, not the membership.

And to whomever said (whomever with few posts and likely an alter) that it would be impossible to poll the membership - poppycock! Every week, COTH has a readership poll. We on this board can launch a poll! Every week, I get "the week in review" from USEF, and right now I'm getting tons of emails for membership renewal from USEF and USDF. WHY can't they electronically poll their membership, and also write a feature article in USAEquestrian or USDF connections? WHY hasn't an actual article been written BEFORE the convention? And BTW, this isn't just any proposal, this is a BIG proposal likely to affect a significant portion of the membership. I don't buy the argument that the USEF can't possibly poll the membership about every little detail. I also don't buy the argument that I, and AA, can just take time off of work, hop a plane to the convention, and spend hundreds on registration and hotel fees just to have my voice heard. That's not how memberships are supposed to work.
J.

J-Lu
Dec. 7, 2007, 11:41 PM
And there were those that felt that the average horse could make the scores, and those that did not. But it does make you wonder if having an 'average horse' is truly a reason for not being able to acheive sixties or better. Surely they must be capable?

My question would be, and I think it's an honest one, can you honestly say, that a rider who cannot score consistently in the sixties at second level, where collection is sometimes an elusive thing, is ready to attempt the more strenuous exercises of third level, when the horse is not yet strong enough? And if a horse and rider are so well trained that they can score higher, they can move up more quickly and easily. And average horses can easily score mid sixties or better at second level. Are we being fair to the horse to allow them to be pushed up into levels where extensions are necessary, but sometimes very poorly ridden as the strength for collection is not truly developed?

Personal heart strings aside, I think this program is a very good thing!

I'm sorry, I'm a little late here. What is "an average horse". I've heard Olympians say that the horse they rode in the 90's would never be competitive today. By riding "the average horse", riders automatically start at a lower score and can only receive modifiers from there. I've seen some super movers with terrible riders outscore average movers with good riders more times than I'd like to mention.

I'd like to state an emphatic "yes" to the second paragraph above. Honestly. However, in your thinking, you assume that most riders show and show until they get the scores that they feel they need to move up. You do not take into consideration the significant amount of people who stay home and show when they are ready. Their goal is 1-2 shows per year. Most people I know do this, and my own goals are no more than 3 shows per year. Isn't this the model you'd like to encourage? I skipped second level entirely and came out at third because I lived in a place where the nearest show was over an hour away and I don't own a truck and trailer. Yet I continued to train. When I moved, I showed second level only enough times to fill in the scores for my scores for my Bronze. I'm a competent rider, but if I didn't move to a more show-friendly locale, I'd still be at the level I'm at now (significantly above first level) but i'd be forced to go back and show at first level. To me, that is a waste of my money.

I can HONESTLY say that I don't know ANY rider who consistently scores poorly at one level and then moves up *without significant training* in the mean time. I don't know any rider who mismanages her money so much and has such a tiny ego that she spends thousands a year just to get bad scores. Who are these people that you are using as an example?

I disagree that an average horse can easily score in the mid-upper 60's at third level. Average horses score between 60-65% on average.

Are we being fair to allow the problems of a few to affect the membership as a whole? Personally, I don't think so.

Lastly, I do not think that pushing a horse in the ring is as earth shattering as judges would like to think. Most of these horses have better health insurance and better nutrition than I do. I think that perspective is lost.

Thank you, though, for posting your side. I honestly, honestly don't understand your perspective but I'm happy you presented it.

J.

J-Lu
Dec. 8, 2007, 12:02 AM
But, Shoten, showing is not training. Showing is getting in a ring and letting everyone see what you've worked on and achieved. If it's not up to par, it fits to have rules in place to have people show that they are able to ride at that level.

This is what the test is for, not the point system. If it is not up to par, you get a low score with bad comments. When you pay your entry fee, you are paying for 10 minutes of a 1-on-1 with the judge, IMO. Thus, to me, it does not fit to have rules in place that legislate when a rider can move up. It fits to have judges score honestly. Each time I scribe, the judges go on about how they aren't supposed to be negative and they aren't allowed "to teach". If they were honest, instead of writing "lovely pair" and "has potential" on every test, people would stay home. It seems like a game of "pass the buck" when I hear judges complain about not being invited back and trainers complaining about making their mortgage payments.


The only reason MOST people currently show above the level they can actually ride is because they just might end up in a class with fewer riders and they can later hold up that ribbon and say they won a certain placing at a show at that level. It's like being the only on in a GP class. You might get a 30 for your score, but you got the blue ribbon.

You have to be kidding. I've never met anyone content with a ribbon and a bad ride. Please, most people aren't that superficial.


This is why I always thought the ribbons should have certain mandatory scores, like the old Dutch scoring system. So a first place was actually being awarded to those who could successfully ride the level/test. If not, they still got a ribbon, but it was much lower.

BTW, it's my understanding that in Germany, the top 25% gets a ribbon.


Training is for at home. Thus the reason for positive re-enforcement (if you need it in your lessons). Showing is for competition, using specific standards. I agree with those out here who say we need to get the judges all on the same page about the standards if this is to be instituted, but I still think this is not a big deal. An average horse can get the scores in a couple of shows, at Second Level, if it is being ridden correctly. At least that's what I see everywhere. When a horse really knows what it's doing, and so does the rider, Second Level is not that difficult and good scores are not hard to come by.

Yes, training is for home, and shows are for competition. Forcing people to show in order to move up is logically counter to every argument I've heard to support this rule change. Any good trainer can tell you that horses don't always follow the movements by the levels. And any horse person can tell you that if the horse is going to get a hot nail or a snotty nose, it'll be around the time of the 1 spring show or 1 fall show your area offers. The country isn't like, say, Houston, Velvet, where there are 5 or more shows in our area. Some places have only 1-2 recognized shows per year within a 5 hour drive. I once lived in one of these places.

I appreciate your perspective, thank you for sharing it, but I disagree.

ThreeFigs
Dec. 8, 2007, 12:44 AM
J-Lu: "I skipped second level entirely and came out at third because I lived in a place where the nearest show was over an hour away and I don't own a truck and trailer. Yet I continued to train. When I moved, I showed second level only enough times to fill in the scores for my scores for my Bronze. I'm a competent rider, but if I didn't move to a more show-friendly locale, I'd still be at the level I'm at now (significantly above first level) but i'd be forced to go back and show at first level. To me, that is a waste of my money."

If you have your bronze, you would be "grandfathered in" and considered ready to move on up to fourth. You would NOT have to "requalify" for the proposed system.

eurofoal
Dec. 8, 2007, 01:04 AM
Count my vote as big fat NO!

I already spend a fortune on this sport, and, like ltw, I have plenty of issues with horse shows... crabby judges (really, only ONE ride in this whole show gets in the mid-sixties???...nearly everybody else in the 50's? why, that's a LOT of pretty bad riding, or could it have been the judge?).

I have a schoolmaster, and this horse does tempi changes far better than stretchy circles. Getting on my horse in a snaffle and dropping down 2 levels at a horse show isn't going to get me a bunch of 7s and 8s... more likely comments like "running away". Not everybody who has a schoolmaster ALSO has a horse to get through the lower levels. Not every upper level horse was good at 1st or 2nd level, either... maybe thier talent lies in collection, brilliant tempi changes, piaffes to die for, etc. Not everybody wants to go from test to test, either, as, <gasp> every horse has strengths and weaknesses and a good competitor will choose classes that show off their mount to the best advantage. At the prices we pay for both the horses and the horse shows, why would we???? When my horse does changes for an 8, I'm looking for tests that have skip to m' loo changes.

As others have said, if a person goes out and gets scores in the 40's... they're not running back maschochisticly to the next show to do it again, they're going to go home an practice, then come out and try try again. There's really no need to weed these people out, they're not exactly clogging up the system.

I live and compete in San Diego, CA, within an hours drive of several of the best trainers in the nation, even with these resources, the ammy classes at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are pretty nearly empty in the smaller triple rated shows. Sometimes they actually are empty, or one or two ammys compete against a pro or several. A rule like this might just empty out the ammy divisions all together.

JRG
Dec. 8, 2007, 07:37 AM
I have been pouring over all the information I can find, and reading everyone of the comments I can find on this subject. I am going to write my letter but, I have not come to a clear format as of yet. I want to make sure I have the succession of my concerns in order. Some of my largest concerns are these:

1) The european system is not suited for the states due to the sheer size of this country.
a)There is not enough shows, within reasonable distances to do this.

b)Shows here in the east coast stop in November and don't start back up within reasonable driving untill May.

c)Shows run on top of eachother, unlike the hunter/jumpers there is a mileage rule to eleveate that problem (put they don't like the mileage rule for their own reasons, they have enough shows running all year they would like to choose who they give there money to).

d)For horse shows to pay for themselves, they need to have more horses compete not less. Dressage facilities can operate with two rings, one to warm up and one to show. Only one horse at at time goes in on a strict schedual. Many facilities don't have two areas to run in the winter, nor have a ring that is regulation size that is covered.

2) Judges can send a clear message on the score cards.

a) There are the scores to send the correct message. Nationally posted scores are for everyone to see. I myself, did an absolute boob of a move and deserved the. 3 I got on one movement this year. It was bad and I knew it immediately. I went into the schooling ring to focus on why it happened and fixed it.

b) Judges should not need to worry if they score accordingly will they be offered back to a venue. They are the ones that need to uphold the standard.

2) Horses, although in this country there are some wonderful movers but in the grass roots there are fewer great moving horses that are competeing in lower levels. Dressage is supposed to be about training. I have seen beautiful movers score really high despite there rider, and really great rides on horses that are not 8 movers both still get above 60. The so/so mover 61, the flamboyant mover with a rider that couldn't get out of its way 67. According to the point system the poor rider would still be rewarded in higher points and the so/so horse, is the one that more often then not is the person that can only go to a limited number of shows and is on a budget still has to go to even more shows to earn their points. Again, we are rewarding the uber movers not the rider.

3) Record Keeping

a) As it is now, USDF/USEF can't keep on top of that now. It takes an average of 2 months to see scores posted under your horse. Some shows, are part of that not submitting the scores in a timely fashion.

b) What if you want to move up and they don't have your earned scores recorded from a previous show? Does that mean you can't show. I see this as a nightmare, and our membership fees increasing....which gets me into another rant, for a second post later.

This is what I have so far. Just some ramblings from me. I come at this as an owner of a schoolmaster that does much better doing upper level movements but, I have choosen to go for my bronze as I am new to dressage in the last couple of years.

dressager
Dec. 8, 2007, 06:35 PM
2) Horses, although in this country there are some wonderful movers but in the grass roots there are fewer great moving horses that are competeing in lower levels. Dressage is supposed to be about training. I have seen beautiful movers score really high despite there rider, and really great rides on horses that are not 8 movers both still get above 60. The so/so mover 61, the flamboyant mover with a rider that couldn't get out of its way .

This is really one of my main concerns with this proposition. For people with the "less than fancy" horse who can still go out and DO IT WELL (and seriously, they can) it eliminates their chances at moving up. The horse may be a low 60s horse, no matter what level, but can go out and show the right stuff and do it well, but can't score really high on a consistant basis. Why should these people be punished? This proposed system encourages over showing (which I will NOT do) and literally, "point chasing" (to an even more severe degree).

J-Lu
Dec. 8, 2007, 10:33 PM
J-Lu: "I skipped second level entirely and came out at third because I lived in a place where the nearest show was over an hour away and I don't own a truck and trailer. Yet I continued to train. When I moved, I showed second level only enough times to fill in the scores for my scores for my Bronze. I'm a competent rider, but if I didn't move to a more show-friendly locale, I'd still be at the level I'm at now (significantly above first level) but i'd be forced to go back and show at first level. To me, that is a waste of my money."

If you have your bronze, you would be "grandfathered in" and considered ready to move on up to fourth. You would NOT have to "requalify" for the proposed system.

Hi. Sure, medals grandfather you in to whatever extent. But I wrote this to illustrate the fact that those people in the future who find themselves in my shoes won't be. They'll be forced to show 2 or more levels below what they're ready for in order to make up scores. That's what I'm concerned about. I'd love the emphasis to be on *training*, and when ready *showing*.

TouchstoneAcres
Dec. 9, 2007, 11:12 AM
I oppose the rule in any form for reasons so well expressed by otheres on the BBs.
If there must be a rule it should be rider oriented, based on rider scores not horse scores. Otherwise, the rider should be able to move up provisionally and get several chances to pull a decent score at the new level, 55%+ for ammies? 58%? 60%? or have to go back a level for a time poeriod or # shows. Don't restrict unlkess there's evidence that it is necessary! If one wants to debut at 3rd or PSG let them.

ThreeFigs
Dec. 9, 2007, 11:52 AM
Last night in a phone conversation, a good friend and knowledgeable horseman opined that the solution is to simply ban double bridles at Third Level. That would remove the possibility of "abuse" via double bridle at Third. (Um, puts the "abuse" off till Fourth, I s'pose.)

If these changes go through as planned and it alienates enough members that USDF sees its membership drop precipitously, the grand poobahs will get the message.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 9, 2007, 12:27 PM
I have been following this thread but haven't said much... I think this is a pretty terrible idea over all and will have no effect than to make the sport more elitist than it already is. I would have less trouble with it if ONLY the rider was being judged...in other words...using collective marks for the rider.

I've seen way too many mediocre riders who had the dinero to buy a really nice horse score well and get points from that horse. Coach hops off, rider goes in and shows horse all nicely warmed up now. Seen other riders who have a lesser horse but are good riders and work very hard struggle to get the same scores since their horse get's 6's for gaits and not 8's. They might work alone and not have a coach. I have no doubt the well mounted rider with the great coach will qualify long before the other rider...and how is that fair? I just think this qualifying system rewards the wrong things.

exvet
Dec. 9, 2007, 11:50 PM
I have been following this thread but haven't said much... I think this is a pretty terrible idea over all and will have no effect than to make the sport more elitist than it already is. I would have less trouble with it if ONLY the rider was being judged...in other words...using collective marks for the rider.

I've seen way too many mediocre riders who had the dinero to buy a really nice horse score well and get points from that horse. Coach hops off, rider goes in and shows horse all nicely warmed up now. Seen other riders who have a lesser horse but are good riders and work very hard struggle to get the same scores since their horse get's 6's for gaits and not 8's. They might work alone and not have a coach. I have no doubt the well mounted rider with the great coach will qualify long before the other rider...and how is that fair? I just think this qualifying system rewards the wrong things.

You've said it much better than I tried to DDB. So obviously my sentiments exactly.

PS. Are you sure we're on two different coasts because your observations sounds very, very much like mine :winkgrin:

YankeeLawyer
Dec. 10, 2007, 12:39 AM
I have been following this thread but haven't said much... I think this is a pretty terrible idea over all and will have no effect than to make the sport more elitist than it already is. I would have less trouble with it if ONLY the rider was being judged...in other words...using collective marks for the rider.

I've seen way too many mediocre riders who had the dinero to buy a really nice horse score well and get points from that horse. Coach hops off, rider goes in and shows horse all nicely warmed up now. Seen other riders who have a lesser horse but are good riders and work very hard struggle to get the same scores since their horse get's 6's for gaits and not 8's. They might work alone and not have a coach. I have no doubt the well mounted rider with the great coach will qualify long before the other rider...and how is that fair? I just think this qualifying system rewards the wrong things.

I have seen this also. Similarly, what about ammies who buy youngsters and enlist a pro's help to develop them? The ammie might be training at home on a schoolmaster and spending show dollars on having a pro ride the young prospect. If the ammie then wants to debut at 3rd or, gasp , 4th, on the younger horse when it is ready, is that ammie seriously supposed to go back several levels to get the required scores?

Further, I think it is ridiculous to force very good riders from other disciplines to show at levels that are beneath them. I recently had a GP jumper rider ride my dressage horse; the rider is trained through 4th level in dressage. Making her show at a lower level because of some arbitrary rule makes no sense. I think it also would be discouraging to lower level riders to have to compete against people who should really be showing at a higher level.

rebecca yount
Dec. 10, 2007, 07:44 AM
I gave all the emails to Jeff Moore yesterday when I was a demo rider for the "L" program.

Here's my prediction: The USEF rule change proposal might very well pass--it's only saying there WILL be a system, and that the USEF Dressage Committee will make up the specific criteria.

Then the USEF Dressage Committee (made up, of course, of all USDF people) gets to decide whatever it wants. Remember, the specifics that are being passed around are NOT exactly part of the rule change--they are just some version of what the USEF Dressage Committee wants to enact. There is no specification of what they can enact in the actual rule change.

Which is exactly why I don't think the rule change should pass--because it gives the Dressage Committee absolutely free rein to put in whatever they want without, if they don't feel like it, honoring what others want.

I'm having a lesson with Scott Hassler today, who is on the Dressage Committee. I will talk to him about it, too.

They should have made the rule change specify that when the specific criteria are looked at, that will entail another rule change--remember this one is only about a timeline (December 2009) for criteria to be put in place. But as it stands now, the only rule is about the time it takes place, NOT what the criteria will be.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 10, 2007, 08:58 AM
You've said it much better than I tried to DDB. So obviously my sentiments exactly.

PS. Are you sure we're on two different coasts because your observations sounds very, very much like mine :winkgrin:

hehehe...maybe we are long lost sisters? ;) It is funny as I think we have a lot in common in our breeding programs also...different breeds but similar philosophies and goals.

I sure hope they don't adopt this new rule. God knows how I will afford the time and shows also to campaign my stallion when Spring and early Summer is off limits due to foaling and breeding. Florida all winter long is out of the question...I have a farm to run.

Rhiannonjk
Dec. 10, 2007, 09:33 AM
I sure hope they don't adopt this new rule. God knows how I will afford the time and shows also to campaign my stallion when Spring and early Summer is off limits due to foaling and breeding. Florida all winter long is out of the question...I have a farm to run.

The word that has tricked through my GMO is that the proposal was NOT well recieved at the USDF convention. I'm not so worried anymore.

canyonoak
Dec. 10, 2007, 10:29 AM
no no!

danger will robinson, danger!

the word we have heard is that there were no votes taken , no recommendations before or against from USDF BOG (because they are such wusses)

DontTellMama
Dec. 10, 2007, 11:30 AM
I think the "anti-establishment" sentiments are leading a witch hunt here. So for the record:

There was no vote taken at the USDF because there is nothing to vote on.

The topic was brought up at the end of the BOG meeting, when Sam Barish opened the floor to "Discussion". He knew what the floor was being opened to. Several people stood up, and there were pro's and cons listed.

The biggest cons were those people who were decrying the PM membership requirement, and how this would CERTAINLY hurt the relationship of the GMO's and the USDF. There were a few others standing on personal soap boxes.

But there was nothing for them to vote on. The executive board was opening the floor to listen to what the membership represented at the BOG had to say. They did not defend the proposal, the did not support it in any way. They just sat there and asked questions, gathering information so that HOPEFULLY they can best represent the feelings of the membership at the USEF meeting.

Sam made it clear that the record keeping duties of the program were being imposed on the USDF by the USEF. When the BOG made their unhappiness clear to Sam, there was even a discussion as to how the program could be otherwise funded, including sponsorships etc.

There were no "wooses" that I saw. So extinguish the fires, put down the guns, and continue writing your USEF dressage Committee.

rebecca yount
Dec. 19, 2007, 06:39 AM
Just so everyone knows, after an initial few emails in reply to ones I sent, the responses from the USEF Dressage Committee seem to be tapering off. I know the members of the committee are busy and it IS the holiday season.

I encourage everyone who is interested to keep sending emails to all members of the committee, regularly, including links to all the threads on all bulletin boards regarding this subject. Paste comments from threads into the emails. It is probably important to let TPTB how the discussions are evolving and make them aware of new points (some very good ones, IMO) that are being raised. ry