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View Full Version : Flamesuit on "whats wrong with the youth program in the USA ?"



rutgerjan
Dec. 14, 2007, 02:27 PM
I know you have some very good Youngriders in the States and Canada, with some very good horses. But what could be the reason that these YR's never make a decend score at the worldchampionships. The USA is the #3/4 country in the dressage-world, but when it comes down to the YR they mostly score at the lowest part of the list.

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 14, 2007, 03:10 PM
Another question-how does the YR dressage compare with the YR in h/j? It seems to me that there are far, far more h/j young riders. But even then, I'm not sure that they stack up favorably internationally, for different reasons.

rileyt
Dec. 14, 2007, 03:15 PM
What youth program?

Therein lies the problem. There is no "youth program" here in the States. Young riders who learn dressage are few and far between. I'd venture to say 80% of our kids ride hunter or western. Maybe 15% do Pony club, 4-H, or eventing.... very very few do dressage.

And, since we have a real dearth of super good dressage instructors here, its highly unlikely that a motivated young dressage rider is going to find the right instructor.

It is just in the recent past that our adults have become competitive on the world stage... it will take another generation before our kids get there.

rutgerjan
Dec. 14, 2007, 03:29 PM
What youth program?

Therein lies the problem. There is no "youth program" here in the States. Young riders who learn dressage are few and far between. I'd venture to say 80% of our kids ride hunter or western. Maybe 15% do Pony club, 4-H, or eventing.... very very few do dressage.

And, since we have a real dearth of super good dressage instructors here, its highly unlikely that a motivated young dressage rider is going to find the right instructor.

It is just in the recent past that our adults have become competitive on the world stage... it will take another generation before our kids get there.

But look at the score-list (this is the third year we have these worldchampionships YR) and you will notice that many minor countries like Latvia, Argentina etc. are doing better. So I stick to your first remark, "you don't have a youth program". But isn't this where it all starts ?

Equibrit
Dec. 14, 2007, 04:22 PM
Not enough $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$
Too many MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILES

rutgerjan
Dec. 14, 2007, 04:33 PM
Not enough $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$
Too many MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILES

But what about Australia, Russia, Argentina etc...

Could it be that the selection procedure in the USA isn't right ? Just asking.:cool:

atr
Dec. 14, 2007, 04:36 PM
What do YOU think, Theo? Give us your solution to the problem.

Equibrit
Dec. 14, 2007, 04:44 PM
But what about Australia, Russia, Argentina etc...
:cool:


Well what about them?


Seems to me you're just stirring. (again....................yawn)

ponyjumper4
Dec. 14, 2007, 04:52 PM
They don't have hunters in Europe. Dressage is big in Europe. That is part of the difference.

rutgerjan
Dec. 14, 2007, 04:57 PM
What do YOU think, Theo? Give us your solution to the problem.

Focus muchhhhhhhh more on the Junior and Youngriders. I just watched part1,2 and 3 of a reality serie broadcasted in the USA called The Next American Equestrian Star (Idols ?). This was certainly a start, but next month we have the same kind of program here in Holland but we have replaced Robert Dover (50+ ?) by Laurens van Lieren (20+). Next to this: the world's biggest sponsor in Equestrian sports (Rabobank) spends 90% of their budget on pony, juniors and youngriders. In the country where the sky is the limit it shouldn't be so difficult to find sponsors :confused:

rutgerjan
Dec. 14, 2007, 05:03 PM
They don't have hunters in Europe. Dressage is big in Europe. That is part of the difference.

When you keep saying this you will never reach the ultimate goal. In Argentina Polo is the biggest sport, in Russia... blahblahblah

The Dutch were beaten by the Germans for over 50 years, but this year the Dutch won gold both in jumping and dressage. It's never a short time struggle but always a long time battle.

And let's have a look at speed-skating, is this a big sport in the USA ?

claire
Dec. 14, 2007, 05:32 PM
Theo,

Equestrian sports are pretty far down in the popularity rankings as far as sports in US. Basketball/Football/Soccer/Baseball/Golf/Tennis/Swimming/Skiing all are more popular and are backed by the big $$$.

Check out the sports with big $$$$$ college scholorships (Not Equestrian and for sure not Dressage or Speed Skating :lol: )

As far as Equestrian sports: Western (Rodeo/WP/Team (cattle) Roping) disciplines are probably more popular than the English disciplines.
Within the English disciplines H/J and Eventing are far and away more popular than Dressage.

And then, don't forget Fox Hunting!
And Endurance Riding and CompetitiveTrail Riding which are really becoming popular! :cool:

USA is a big country that has a huge number of sports for adults and youth to choose from! :D

Check out the thread Denny Emerson (Olympic Gold Eventer) started over on the Eventing Forum : "Boys in Eventing?" asking why there are so few boys in equestrian sports in US...

Might answer some of your questions.

Equibrit
Dec. 14, 2007, 06:39 PM
The Dutch would be standouts in the NFL and MLB no doubt?

rebecca yount
Dec. 14, 2007, 06:44 PM
Why does it matter if riders from a particular country win or not? I never did understand the big deal about having to be a "world power" in some sport. I am sure the horses don't give a crap about winning and would rather NOT get on a plane and fly across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. I think what we do to them and how we drag them all around the world is ridiculous.

I think corruption ensues when money gets into any sport. I wish the corporate sponsors would stay out of it.

Who CARES if the US rider was toward the bottom? Maybe she wasn't as good a rider or didn't have as good a horse as the others. Her test wasn't as good. BIG DEAL. I hope she had fun doing what she did. I think it's much more important for kids to have fun (like in Pony Club) with their horses rather than worry about WINNING all the time--and it's ridiculous to tell a kid or all the kids in the country that something is WRONG with the youth program just because they didn't win. I think in Europe it might be worse than Little League or Soccer Moms.

I am the mother of a wonderful, brilliant girl who went through Pony Club, had a GP schoolmaster that was fabulous, got her C-2 rating, had some great experiences, and graduated from HS at age 17. She then proceeded to get into a first-class school, early decision, where she had to STUDY (Johns Hopkins Cellular and Molecular Biology), and worked her butt off to get fabulous grades there. She is working in a lab at the medical school that does research concerning HIV. She wants to be a research veterinarian or veterinary pathologist. She just was accepted at one veterinary school and got an interview at another, a combined PhD and VMD program. And I bet she will at least get interviews (if not accepted) at ALL the vet schools she applied to. Knock on wood...

SHE'S ON HER WAY!!! And growing up among horses certainly was part of her excellent preparation for real life. There are lots of kids who realize that riding is a fun and important pastime, but that there are other things in life, too. And I hardly think that a large percentage of kids who ride will make a living at it.

So please--don't imply that something is WRONG if riders from a particular country don't win. Our children are just FINE. I hardly think winning medals in dressage or ANY sport is "the ultimate goal". My daughter is helping to find a cure for AIDS. What's your kid doing?

Equibrit
Dec. 14, 2007, 07:03 PM
From my experience, as soon as a sport becomes large and "important" it becomes less of a sport and more of a show for big money. I hope that my SPORT does NOT go this way. Sadly it seems to be doing just that in Europe.

rutgerjan
Dec. 14, 2007, 07:15 PM
Here we go again. And maybe these four words are also the answer.

So let me refrase my question :

Allthough I live on the other side of the big blue ocean I know that you have some wonderfull YRiders and horses in the USA (I know at least five who can battle with the better riders in Europe). But for some reasons the USA don't want to send them to the world championships, or they send the ones who aren't prepaired for a crowded arena or..or... In casu what is wrong in the system ?

And to asnwer some other questions and remarks. When Ice-speed skating isn't populair in the USA why are men like Ched Hedrick and Shannie Davis suddenly at the top 5 during the world championships ?

Fairview Horse Center
Dec. 14, 2007, 07:38 PM
Maybe she wasn't as good a rider or didn't have as good a horse as the others. Her test wasn't as good. BIG DEAL. I hope she had fun doing what she did. I think it's much more important for kids to have fun (like in Pony Club) with their horses rather than worry about WINNING all the time--and it's ridiculous to tell a kid or all the kids in the country that something is WRONG with the youth program just because they didn't win. I think in Europe it might be worse than Little League or Soccer Moms.

Thank-you! I have seen my share of parents pushing kids in Equestrian too. Many learn to hate it. Horses should be fun. A YR on one of my stallion's babies qualified for the YR Area Championships, Scored & placed well qualifying for the Regional level, but did not go. That is fine. She had a great time.

Equibrit
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:14 PM
Here we go again.


Shouldn't that be "Here YOU go again?


Obviously it is not important to Americans, as a nation, to have the "BEST" team of dressage riders in the world. Sorry you cannot understand that. Doesn't that make the US team ranking seem more of an accomplishment compared to all that money invested by other countries?

Alagirl
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:29 PM
Well, differences....

Argentina and Russia are huge countries, so the many miles does not count.

In other countries Dressage is where you start riding, there is no jumping for quiet some time when you start. That's the goal for later, get good enough so they let you jump. There is no either or, it's both for a long time.

Ammi rule. it blows. In other countries there is no such thing, you can ride what ever is thrown your way, show it and get a little compensation for it. The playing field is leveled by putting in restrictions, so you don't find yourself competing with the local pro on his best horse for a second level medal, but he can break out a greeny and you get to see him/her ride...

Liability and availability. it's not as bad as in the states, so you don't have to worry so much if your catch rider falls off. Quiet a few people I know have started on borrowed horses, my sister included...it worked out to the mutual benefits of both owner and rider...the one got miles on the horse, the other experience. here you have to own a horse to do serious showing. Of course with the monies tied into ownership, the exposure to other horses is limited. Your one horse goes lame, it might be years before you get another.


and trainers, and talented mounts...and money....

claire
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:38 PM
Shouldn't that be "Here YOU go again?

Obviously it is not important to Americans, as a nation, to have the "BEST" team of dressage riders in the world.

Even on the COTH forums, Dressage ranks #3. :winkgrin:

Forte
Dec. 14, 2007, 09:50 PM
Was anyone actually there at the competition who can tell me what happened in Alex Duncan's rides? She has been doing so phenomenally, I was surprised to see her low scores. What a bummer.

vanillabean
Dec. 14, 2007, 10:16 PM
I think, too, that we do have a huge huge lack of trainers that can produce riders from an early age that are correct in position, theory, and have a system of training.
(Really, think about how many people who can truly do this in the US- you could count them on one or two hands!) The trainers that we have that can do this are not neccessarily sought out by younger riders, and it is pretty rare that you get all the factors working- a good trainer, a good rider that has been in the system for awhile, a competitive horse, and the financial backing for it all. If even one of those factors is out of place there will be huge issues at this level.

ksbadger
Dec. 15, 2007, 12:05 AM
I think most people are unaware of the basic difference between Germany & the States. In the States, once you're above the very basic levels you have to buy your own horse. In Germany very few riders own their own horses but get training etc from Riding Clubs that own the horses - so the better mounts become available as the rider progresses. This is similar to the old Cavalry principal of the old horses train the youngsters and the older riders train the younger horses. This leads to perhaps more talented but economically challenged riders coming forward in the German system (a NAJYRC horse can cost an obscene amount of $$$).

The other drawback this side of the pond is that there is a lot of pressure on YRs, even the good ones, to give it up for college and life in general. Some parts of Europe you can easily be a permanent student into your thirties - there certainly isn't the apparent time limit on when you start college like the US.

canyonoak
Dec. 15, 2007, 09:34 AM
The basic reason for the variance in scores is because the American YR program is just now being developed--it is where senior American dressage was umpteen years ago.

That is--the Americans would show here, safe in comfort zone scores, go over to Europe (often same judges) and be trounced handily.

Now, umpteen years later, the U.S. senior team holds its own and often medals.

Dressage is a business-sport in Germany and Netherlands.

It is still very much a hobby-sport in the U.S.

We now have several big-time sponsors, but they sponsor specific riders, not the sport.

Eventually, the U.S. program will find a young Hilda Gurney or Courtney King or Robert Dover and someone to sponsor that rider, and the YR program will get a big shot in the arm and be on its way.

And of course, someday we will have our own filmloop, and the beer and car sponsors will pour money into the sport, and dressage will be all over the television...

oh wait. I just woke up!

LOL

Equibrit
Dec. 15, 2007, 12:02 PM
Be careful what you wish for!

Velvet
Dec. 15, 2007, 01:39 PM
As a generalization? I'd say it's because many of them are not riding from a very young age and learning something other than just dressage. Many of the young riders that make it to the top in this country are on horses trained to the upper levels and they are just thrown on them. They never really have learned anything about the levels and what it takes to get there. In other countries the students are taken through the levels and need to show they have a clue before they move up. And many either do pony club, or learn to jump as part of their basic training. They have a better seat, better feel, better tact, and are just made into better riders that can help the horse rather than get in it's way, or work their butt off to learn how to just get out of the horse's way. They can train, to a certain extent. You need that if you're going to be super successful--no matter what your age.

FEI_JR2004
Dec. 15, 2007, 02:29 PM
I think part of the problem is also that qualification in this country is based solely on the freestyle score, so maybe our best riders are not being sent. The girl who won the Individual Gold at the NAYRC (and finished fourth in the freestyle with a 70%) qualified in second, behind Chelsea Seburn, who finished 19th in the individual test, not even qualifying to ride the freestyle. So, she has a good freestyle to qualify with, but how does that help her if she doesn't have the scores to qualify for the freestyle? How much sense does that make?

Also, we don't have indoor shows here the way that they have indoor shows in Europe. Our horses have never been in that sort of atmosphere, so of course it's a shock to them when they get to these competitions. We set them up for failure because they aren't prepared.

We do have some good Young Riders, and they do have some good horses. Sure, our Young Rider program also needs to get better, but these two problems are also a huge part of it. As for Canada, I'm not sure what happened with Alexandra Duncan, but it's a shame because she finished 4th at this same event last year, beating many of the European young riders. But, she proved last year that Canada is capable of putting out quality Young Riders. They also have a much better national Young Rider program than the United States does. And the US can't blame that on the miles, because Canada is just as big. So, the US needs to take some responsibility, prepare its riders for these sorts of competitions, support them, change the qualifying system, and give them a program to build them up.

Roberta
Dec. 15, 2007, 06:22 PM
I would like to set the record straight on rider selection. Currently, the US does not select riders to go to the Young Rider World Cup. The FEI has an established set of criteria that is used for rider selection. Like the World Cup for senior riders, there is a North American League. The FEI uses the 2 top scores from the Freestyles at CDIs. We tried to argue the point that we are limited in the number of CDIs that our YRs can get to. It fell on deaf ears. It is a system which does not work quite so well for our League. It probably works best for the European League and I doubt it works at all for the South American League.

This system of selection should not be an indication as to whether our young rider program is working or not working.

Roberta Williams
USDF FEI Jr/Young Rider Council Chair

PS - The venue in Frankfurt is not for the faint of heart.

shadowdancer
Dec. 16, 2007, 07:53 AM
Is there a "youth" program for young riders in the United States? We have an extensive and well organized program for recognizing and supporting young talent from juniors through young riders in Great Britain. This doesn't require massive amounts of funding, just good managment and one person in charge who is really committed to improving the sport. I'm fairly certain that the USET is not hurting for money. Perhaps leadership needs to be found?

Debbie D
Dec. 16, 2007, 08:34 AM
Theo, will you have video available of today's YR Freestyles?
To all: the YR from Argentina lives and trains in the US with Lendon....

Kcisawesome
Dec. 16, 2007, 10:15 AM
Well, go to a schooling-type hunter jumper show and then go to a schooling-type dressage show. Count the number of kids in the short-sttirup pony classes and then count the number of kids doing walk-trot dressage.

Kids want to run and jump. It takes a certain mindset to get a young kid to really focus and WORK on dressage, I mean, the kid needs to get over the "dressage-is-boring" bump while they are still pretty little to be good enough at 18 to be doing UL work. And kids just want to have fun. Very few are as dedicated and focused as it takes.

Jumping is exciting. Jumping your first 6inch Xrail is excting. which makes the whole training-working-focusing part much easier for a yong person. Because it is fun from the start to MOST kids.

And not every kid values WINNING that much. Don't you think that is probobly a good thing? I mean, those who DO go to the top are going because they, themselfs want to. After all the "parents are pushing kids to hard" stuff you hear. And the terrible soccer parents and whatnot, isn't it a step in a better direction to not focus on every kid NEEDING to win?

Speaking of winning, a large focus on winning at a young age in dressage seems to me like a VERY GOOD way to teach kids to use shortcuts in dressage. Kids have short attention spans and like I said before, very few have a focus, dedicated mindset. If you rush winning on them they will start doing WHATEVER it takes to win, which, to the mindset of a kid may be to start putting contraptions on the horse or start forcing things.

I personally have had no greater joy than owning and riding my OWN horse. She is not the most expensive horse or the one who is going to make me win now. But not having a crazily structured riding program has taught me to ride threw crap, taught me to focus, taught me to go on a trail ride when we need a break, taught me to enjoy the HORSE and care for the HORSE. If it's not making me win everything I sign up for, SO WHAT? If I don't have the horse who is perfect for me at this moment, SO WHAT? ((((that being said, I DO have upper lvl goals with this mare.))))

Flame suit on. I see many people comparing the US system to Germany and other countries. Wondering why we aren't as good as them, or what we are doing wrong, why we aren't winning the top competitions. Why our riding programs are not as sctructured. Why we arn't as strict and our kids are not as tough. I can awnser that pretty simply. This is America.

Fairview Horse Center
Dec. 16, 2007, 10:22 AM
Absolutely! ALL of the kids either go into Hunters, or Pony Club/Eventing. Go to a small local Hunter show, and you will find 75% kids. Go to the same for Dressage, and you will see maybe 2 or 3 kids out of 50 to 60 people. Some of those (all?) are just schooling their event test. You say dressage around a kid, and they try to be polite, while looking at you like you just told them they should get a root canal. ;)

rutgerjan
Dec. 16, 2007, 10:33 AM
I think part of the problem is also that qualification in this country is based solely on the freestyle score, so maybe our best riders are not being sent. The girl who won the Individual Gold at the NAYRC (and finished fourth in the freestyle with a 70%) qualified in second, behind Chelsea Seburn, who finished 19th in the individual test, not even qualifying to ride the freestyle. So, she has a good freestyle to qualify with, but how does that help her if she doesn't have the scores to qualify for the freestyle? How much sense does that make?

Also, we don't have indoor shows here the way that they have indoor shows in Europe. Our horses have never been in that sort of atmosphere, so of course it's a shock to them when they get to these competitions. We set them up for failure because they aren't prepared.

We do have some good Young Riders, and they do have some good horses. Sure, our Young Rider program also needs to get better, but these two problems are also a huge part of it. As for Canada, I'm not sure what happened with Alexandra Duncan, but it's a shame because she finished 4th at this same event last year, beating many of the European young riders. But, she proved last year that Canada is capable of putting out quality Young Riders. They also have a much better national Young Rider program than the United States does. And the US can't blame that on the miles, because Canada is just as big. So, the US needs to take some responsibility, prepare its riders for these sorts of competitions, support them, change the qualifying system, and give them a program to build them up.

Now we are talking !!!

Due to my work as a musician for the freestyle to music, and owner of some dressage horses I have many (top)-riders from the USA (and other parts of the world) coming over to our house in the Netherlands and/or Belgium. And when the open fire place is burning and the wine and cheese is served we often talk about the fact why so many Dutch Junior and YoungRiders make it to the top compaired to the other countries. The start for the USA could be to appoint someone who is responsable for these riders (like Scott Hassler is for the young horses). In the Netherlands we have seven people running around trying to find dressage-talents. And.... these people also go to the breeders or riders who have tooooooo many horses to ride and try to connect these talented riders to the talented horses. Why don't you give judges like Linda Zang or riders like Kathleen Raine or, or, or, the responsibility and funds to get this YR-program on the road.

And to answer the question about the videos of Frankfurt :

I hope that some of my clients (mostly their parents) did some shooting !

canyonoak
Dec. 16, 2007, 10:43 AM
well, it is possible to see Lotje Schoots/Reine B do the PSG test part of Young Riders.

http://frankfurt07.fileadmin.org/play.php?movie=/ff07-12-14/ff07-12-14_02_20.wmv&bez=FEI+WORLD+CUP+DRESSAGE+Finale+für+Junge+Reite r<br>präsentiert+durch+Schenker+Deutschland+AG


and yes, the Frankfurt arena is a definitely scary place!

Alagirl
Dec. 16, 2007, 11:49 AM
Absolutely! ALL of the kids either go into Hunters, or Pony Club/Eventing. Go to a small local Hunter show, and you will find 75% kids. Go to the same for Dressage, and you will see maybe 2 or 3 kids out of 50 to 60 people. Some of those (all?) are just schooling their event test. You say dressage around a kid, and they try to be polite, while looking at you like you just told them they should get a root canal. ;)


Well, if 'dressage' is not the "ZOMG BORING" for those who are too scared to jump, but the 'hey grasshopper, learn to walk before you fly' deal....

Sitting up straight, long legs, independant from the mouth and OH MY, sitting the trot....basic stuff.

The beginner tests for kids in germany would be considered a dressage test here, it's just for the junior riders...presenting base skills. Once they get solid in the skills they get to jump - or go out on trails...of course, the sport still suits older women more then young men, but it has a large amount of young women, or men that see the benefit from the work...

claire
Dec. 16, 2007, 11:59 AM
Theo,

I think you are putting the cart before the horse here:


Why don't you give judges like Linda Zang or riders like Kathleen Raine or, or, or, the responsibility and funds to get this YR-program on the road.

If you cannot get even a fair portion of the kids interested in Dressage in the first place, what point is there in appointing committees to develop programs?

edit to add: We can't even get enough interest generated to have TV programs like "RD's The Next Dressage Star"/"Road to Maclay Medal" picked up by a tiny network.
(Ask Coreene :D )

Kcisawesome hits the nail on the head here. US is a totally different culture than Netherlands.
We don't have bulletin boards and TV ads with Dressage riders (or any equestrian sports stars)...I would be amazed if even 1% of the kids in US even KNEW who Anky was! :lol:

Of the US kids involved in equestrian sports, the vast majority are participating in H/J, Eventing, Reining, Western Pleasure Rodeo and Team Roping! (The FUN Sports! :winkgrin: )
AND AT THE SAME TIME participating in another
sport: Soccer/Basketball/Football/Golf/Tennis!


Well, go to a schooling-type hunter jumper show and then go to a schooling-type dressage show. Count the number of kids in the short-sttirup pony classes and then count the number of kids doing walk-trot dressage.

Kids want to run and jump. It takes a certain mindset to get a young kid to really focus and WORK on dressage, I mean, the kid needs to get over the "dressage-is-boring" bump while they are still pretty little to be good enough at 18 to be doing UL work. And kids just want to have fun. Very few are as dedicated and focused as it takes.

Jumping is exciting. Jumping your first 6inch Xrail is excting. which makes the whole training-working-focusing part much easier for a yong person. Because it is fun from the start to MOST kids.

flshgordon
Dec. 16, 2007, 12:02 PM
Well, go to a schooling-type hunter jumper show and then go to a schooling-type dressage show. Count the number of kids in the short-sttirup pony classes and then count the number of kids doing walk-trot dressage.

Kids want to run and jump. It takes a certain mindset to get a young kid to really focus and WORK on dressage, I mean, the kid needs to get over the "dressage-is-boring" bump while they are still pretty little to be good enough at 18 to be doing UL work. And kids just want to have fun. Very few are as dedicated and focused as it takes.

Jumping is exciting. Jumping your first 6inch Xrail is excting. which makes the whole training-working-focusing part much easier for a yong person. Because it is fun from the start to MOST kids.

And not every kid values WINNING that much. Don't you think that is probobly a good thing? I mean, those who DO go to the top are going because they, themselfs want to. After all the "parents are pushing kids to hard" stuff you hear. And the terrible soccer parents and whatnot, isn't it a step in a better direction to not focus on every kid NEEDING to win?

Speaking of winning, a large focus on winning at a young age in dressage seems to me like a VERY GOOD way to teach kids to use shortcuts in dressage. Kids have short attention spans and like I said before, very few have a focus, dedicated mindset. If you rush winning on them they will start doing WHATEVER it takes to win, which, to the mindset of a kid may be to start putting contraptions on the horse or start forcing things.

I personally have had no greater joy than owning and riding my OWN horse. She is not the most expensive horse or the one who is going to make me win now. But not having a crazily structured riding program has taught me to ride threw crap, taught me to focus, taught me to go on a trail ride when we need a break, taught me to enjoy the HORSE and care for the HORSE. If it's not making me win everything I sign up for, SO WHAT? If I don't have the horse who is perfect for me at this moment, SO WHAT? ((((that being said, I DO have upper lvl goals with this mare.))))

Flame suit on. I see many people comparing the US system to Germany and other countries. Wondering why we aren't as good as them, or what we are doing wrong, why we aren't winning the top competitions. Why our riding programs are not as sctructured. Why we arn't as strict and our kids are not as tough. I can awnser that pretty simply. This is America.


I think THIS is the only post that has really hit the nail on the head. For kids (and even a lot of adults!) dressage is B-O-R-I-N-G!!!:D There are never going to be a lot of kids in the US waiting to get on the dressage bandwagon so they can learn to ride 20m circle after 20m circle. Hell I can hardly stand it myself and I am an adult with some patience (albeit not that much :winkgrin:) Hunters,jumpers and western riding are way more of a draw for kids and I just don't think there is a lot of hope in changing that anytime soon. I don't think that's anything for the US to be ashamed of just because our kids don't grow up in a structured riding program the likes of which I am sure would kill all but the most strong willed.

rebecca yount
Dec. 16, 2007, 12:06 PM
Hey, Theo..how are Germany and the Netherlands doing in ... reining???????

claire
Dec. 16, 2007, 12:18 PM
Hey, Theo..how are Germany and the Netherlands doing in ... reining???????

LOL, rebecca, We were sitting around the campfire the other night with some cowboys drinking beer and wondering why US is so much better at reining than the europeans!
Just kidding!!!! :winkgrin:

imajicadutch
Dec. 16, 2007, 02:29 PM
It is probably not because dressage is boring.

The main reason that more kids do not do dressage here is simple to answer.
In any region in the US or Canada, how many dressage stables are there that have school horses and lesson programs geared toward children? Not so many, I think.
How many h/j stables offer the same? Just look in your local Yellow Pages. That is where the mothers of potential YR's look when their children clamor to ride a horse.

So, most children have their first lessons in that discipline. They develop barn friendships, allegiance to their trainers and, if they stick with it, go on to buy horses which they will compete. If they have friends at school who become interested in riding, guess where they go? To the local h/j barn.

It all comes down to availability.

We are certainly developing some great talent in the US and Canada but the pool from which we draw is miniscule compared to Europe.

claire
Dec. 16, 2007, 02:46 PM
Actually, I think that US does pretty well in equestrian sports considering
the small pool of interest here (and the resulting lack of sponsorship and support).

Also, my comments come from observations of the # of kids involved in H/J, Eventing, Reining, Team Roping vs. Dressage shows.

And just talking to friend's and family's children. Many of the kids who come from households where the parents are involved in H/J or Dressage or Eventing...are just :sleepy: about horsesports in general and :dead: about Dressage in particular!

dq140
Dec. 16, 2007, 02:51 PM
The reason is becuase they are taught by people who don't know what they are doing... people who have gotten to top levels (judging or riding) because of their money or their accent!

canyonoak
Dec. 16, 2007, 03:10 PM
just a comment on Reining:

http://equisearch.com/equiwire_news/feireiningmasters_113007/

<< The 2007 FEI World Reining Masters drew riders from 15 countries to the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds on November 29, but three riders caught the judges' attention equally and tied for first place on a score of 221. After a ride off, AUSTRIAN Rudi Kronsteiner won gold. >>


I added the capitals<g>.

ANd yes, sure the horse was trained by Shawn Flarida and Americans tooks 2nd and 3rd.

But hey! Reining is in its infancy in Europe...so this is a pretty good indication of 'globalization'

ducking and running and laughing

Roberta
Dec. 16, 2007, 03:16 PM
In the 22 years that I have been involved in Young Riders, we have:

1. A Continental Championship which hosts all three disciplines for Young Riders. No where else in the world does that happen.

2. We have clinics in each of the 9 Regions of the United States on an annual basis. We reach those riders, their coaches and auditors of all levels and ages.

3. We field 9 YR teams and 9 Junior teams to go to these championships. Canada typically only sends 1 or 2.

4. We have raised qualifying scores from no minimum requirement to a minimum qualifying score of 62% and still can field teams.

5. Have established the FEI Junior and FEI Young Rider National Championships

6. Have established the Young Rider Graduate Program

7. Have David O'Connor announce that the USDF Young Rider Program is the best of all the affiliates.

8. Have established the Brentina Cup and a pipeline to the senior teams.

And we have turned out some pretty good young adults whose characters have been shaped by a strong direction of good sportsmanship and not always winning a blue ribbon. Liz Austin and Courtney King to name but a few that are out there. Yet, in my mind the program is still young and has a long way to go.

I am all for sitting around a fire drinking wine and solving the problems of dressage sport in America. However, the reality of it is that there is no one easy answer. There are so many factors, which most posters here have identified. I would like to invite you, Theo, and the people with whom you share your wine to come to our meetings and give us your ideas.

You can even bring the wine.

And bring the rep from Rabobank.

slc2
Dec. 16, 2007, 03:30 PM
What's wrong with the YR program? Very little, I think. The YR's are 100 times better than they were 20 yrs ago. I think fantastic progress has been made in a very, very short time.

Frankly, I would be far more concerned with a program that produces riders and trainers that want to tie a pony's head to its chest to warm it up.

rutgerjan
Dec. 16, 2007, 06:16 PM
It's good to hear that most posters think that the Youth program in the USA is working well. I only wonder why so many US-Youngriders send me PM's about this subject in which they tell me the opposite.

BTW Today the Worldchampionship for Youngriders was won by an Italian rider, and the bronze medal went to a rider from Portugal on his wonderfull Lusitano stallion. Italy and Portugal both aren't countries where the dressagesport is a high ranked or important sport :no:

Videos will be on-line soon !

slc2
Dec. 16, 2007, 06:29 PM
So Theo, tell us, what are we supposed to change, and what have these private complaints to you consisted of specifically. I'm even more wondering why these comments have gone to you, instead of someone in charge of the youth programs in the USA. You design freestyles, mostly for european adult riders, so why and how did you become involved in this problem?

claire
Dec. 16, 2007, 07:07 PM
I would like to invite you, Theo, and the people with whom you share your wine to come to our meetings and give us your ideas.

You can even bring the wine.

And bring the rep from Rabobank.

So Theo, Are you going to accept Roberta's invitation?

Make sure to tell the Rabobank rep! ;)

claire
Dec. 16, 2007, 07:13 PM
Over on the Eventing forum they are having a similar discussion: "Why boy's aren't interested in Eventing"

Someone asked their husband's opinion and this was the reply :lol:




Over my morning coffee I just asked my husband "why don't more guys get into riding"

His response, and I quote:

"Because of the pants. Gay gay gay. Who wants to wear that sh!t?"

He then made some unflattering commetns on male H/J and dressage riders, which I won't repeat. ;)

(disclaimer, I don't agree with the sentiment, but it's an honest answer to the question we are all asking here)

I've asked non-riding male friends and the response was similar.

But if boys don't have that opportunity to be exposed to horses from the beginning, and most kids do not, then horses are seen as a girls sport in today's society.

jvanrens
Dec. 16, 2007, 08:23 PM
Hey, Theo..how are Germany and the Netherlands doing in ... reining???????

Actually Europe is doing very well considering how new reining is to Europe, :yes: especially Germany and Italy, and the Netherlands is holding its own. But surely you know that, or maybe not? :confused: Reining is such a new sport to Europe compared to Dressage in North America that your comment shows a distinct lack of edumacation in the development of reining department.

Roberta
Dec. 16, 2007, 08:42 PM
[QUOTE=rutgerjan;2872131] I only wonder why so many US-Youngriders send me PM's about this subject in which they tell me the opposite. QUOTE]

If so many of our YRs are contacting you but not contacting anyone else, then how are we to know how to help them? If that is indeed the case, I then must ask you to have them contact me to discuss what their suggestions are; how we can improve, what our failings are, etc., etc.

My E-mail address can be found on the USDF website, or RoGeoWms@aol.com. They can also facebook me, too. They can contact their USDF Regional Coordinator, their regional reps on the Youth Executive Board or even some of our recent graduates if they feel more comfortable. I am completely open to ways to improve our programs. Perhaps we can even get them to become more involved with the organizations.

Dalfan
Dec. 16, 2007, 11:06 PM
If so many of our YRs are contacting you but not contacting anyone else, then how are we to know how to help them? If that is indeed the case, I then must ask you to have them contact me to discuss what their suggestions are; how we can improve, what our failings are, etc., etc.

I seriously DOUBT that is the case at all. Seems he is trying to validate the premise of his post with the help of alleged US YR's who, of course finding no one on this side of the pond to voice their concerns, go to the next logical step and contact - Theo. Anybody buy that? Theo seems to have an obsession with all things American, he always seems so, so worried that us Americans are struggling so in certain areas of the sport. I'm sure it is heartfelt concern on his part, yes I am.

~Freedom~
Dec. 16, 2007, 11:39 PM
Theo seems to have an obsession with all things American, he always seems so, so worried that us Americans are struggling so in certain areas of the sport. I'm sure it is heartfelt concern on his part, yes I am.



Personally I find Canada way more interesting.

Dressage Dreamer
Dec. 17, 2007, 02:39 AM
Speaking from a YR's perspective..I have done saddleseat, hunters and now dressage. The youth program for Saddleseat is actually very good. Everyone (for the most part) starts in an academy divison and in the EQ classes. In those classes you HAVE to ride a horse regulary used in lesson program.That use to be the rule however and I believe it is still current. With hunters, go to a show and you cant spit without hitting other kids and someone needing a catch ride for a pony or horse. Dressage show.. you might have a handful of kids at the show.We do have some good programs for YRs in the US, but just not quite there compared to other disciplines in the US.

Next year will be my last year as a YR. Currently I am struggling with college and trying to make the YR team next year which will be on borrowed horse.I am always considing dropping school and just trying to improve my riding full time or stick with trying to both at the same time.Going the working student in the right situation is great for covering some of these expenses.I have done this most of my life and will again when the right situation arises.

Also most college kids struggle to support themselves as is..now imagine being a competive YR and having the demands for membership,training fees, and shows (not to mention board etc).This is what my friends, who show dressage, and I struggle with. The availabilty of a horse alone is very difficult to find. It took me a year to find one to borrow. It is very difficult for YR's to find sponsers to cover any expenses what so ever. Many YRs that simply can not afford to go an further at the moment choose to do IDA while in college.

I have friends from Europe and the biggest difference I have found with talking to them is their barns have horses that they show,owned by the barn. Their so called lesson horses are amazing! Also they say you can find a well trained horse much cheaper and the cost for care is less expensive. They were amazed when coming here and finding most of us had horses that were green or had issues.Their question..why dont we have any trained horses to ride?

pophorse
Dec. 17, 2007, 06:52 AM
Many of Theo's posts have an obvious tilt against US dressage, and contain a condescending tone that is simply silly.
In the land of dressage milk and honey (Holland, apparently), all is great and the powers-that-be settle down in the afternoons to discuss over wine and cheese how the poor Americans are faring, and to plan strategies for selling them (yet) more expensive horses, while Theo takes frequent breaks to attend to the many US Young Riders that call every night to consult him. :lol:
Give me a break!
Roberta-don't fall into a discussion about this. While the US equestrian federation may have many opportunities to improve in all programs, including YR, it's a model to follow for many countries around the world as it produces winning combinations in all disciplines. ;)

rebecca yount
Dec. 17, 2007, 07:14 AM
I knew that the Austrian had won "gold", but since it was on an American bred and trained horse that he probably bought for lots of money, or else it was still American owned, I didn't put that much stock in it. I will have to further research the background.

I, personally, think reining is abusive and destructive of horses, by the way. What are they, used up by the time they are about 4 or 5??

rebecca yount
Dec. 17, 2007, 08:24 AM
Quick! Roberta, and others involved in US "Youth Program" activities!

Maybe when Theo is in the US to see his clients in Ocala you can hire him to "fix" the program?

Wait--Theo, you said for people to worry about themselves and not others. So why did you start this thread complaining about dressage for kids in the US?

dressagediosa
Dec. 17, 2007, 09:27 AM
FWIW, I'm one of the (graduated) Young Riders that PMmed Theo. I chose that method of communication because you vultures scare the snot out of me.

I think that the US YR program is quite good, but that it's tough to compare to Europe's because at this time, there's really only one venue to do so: the YR World Cup, and as Roberta mentioned, that Halle is not for the faint of heart. I think one of the reasons that US representatives haven't always lived up to expectations there is that there's absolutely no indoor show season here, so it's a new experience for these horses. And that's not just an experience for the Young Riders - I'm sure that there's been more than one grown-up Grand Prix horse who's lost it in an indoor. :)

There are two instances pre-World Cup worth noting, by the way, where American Young Riders have faired very well. In 2003, NAYRC Gold Medalist Mary Haskins Gray and Fregat placed 3rd in the Euro Walfried Cup (sp?), a forebearer of the YR World Cup. And US rider Anna Wood, who was living and training in Germany at the time, did all of her NAYRC qualifying in the 2004-2005 season at European shows, with excellent scores. She returned stateside to take Bronze at NAYRC.

Previous posters' points about dressage not being "kid-friendly" stateside are also spot-on. There's no real infrastructure here for very young people in dressage, ala the European's FEI Pony Championships, or even the FEI Children's tests that get used in some parts of the world. I am curious to see how the Pony Club's new dressage grades will change things over the next few years.

And while I belive wholeheartedly in the Young Rider program, it's very important to remember that success in the YR arena is not a prerequisite for success as a "grown up" rider. That said, if Rabobank does express an interest in helping us out, someone invite me to the meeting! :)

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 09:44 AM
I just asked "what is wrong".

When the USA is the # 3/4 nation in dressage, how come that the YR's are always at the lowest rankings at these World Championships YR.

Don't they have the riders ...... Yes they have
Don't they have the horses..... Yes they have

Conclussion : The USA don't have the right environment/program/system to push the youngriders up the hill.

Maybe someone can get the record straight, but imho it is true that when riders like Liz Austin and Olivier, and Courtney King and Mythilius will make it to the next (or next) Olympics they have done this on their own, without any help of the "system"

And Roberta,.....what about Catherine Malone (another recent NAYRC-champion) please fill me in with the details of her whereabouts.

Moderator 1
Dec. 17, 2007, 10:38 AM
We've edited some posts to remove off-topic commentary.

Bogey2
Dec. 17, 2007, 10:52 AM
The reason is becuase they are taught by people who don't know what they are doing... people who have gotten to top levels (judging or riding) because of their money or their accent!
__________________
dq140


are you kidding? there are some damn good trainers out there working with Jr./YR's.
The availablility of horses and money is a big issue in this country. I think it has improved over the past few years thanks to the many people who volunteer their time and effort even in the smallest way.

I do know that our Boston Red Sox could kick your baseball teams butt Theo!:lol:

J-Lu
Dec. 17, 2007, 10:59 AM
I just asked "what is wrong".

When the USA is the # 3/4 nation in dressage, how come that the YR's are always at the lowest rankings at these World Championships YR.

Don't they have the riders ...... Yes they have
Don't they have the horses..... Yes they have

Conclussion : The USA don't have the right environment/program/system to push the youngriders up the hill.

Maybe someone can get the record straight, but imho it is true that when riders like Liz Austin and Olivier, and Courtney King and Mythilius will make it to the next (or next) Olympics they have done this on their own, without any help of the "system"

And Roberta,.....what about Catherine Malone (another recent NAYRC-champion) please fill me in with the details of her whereabouts.

Theo,

There is nothing *wrong* with the program. Obviously, it can be successful, as you have pointed out successful people. I don't know about Liz Austin, but Courtney King "grew up" as Lendon Gray's working student and VERY MUCH was helped by a quality junior/young rider system. My feeling is that, since Liz's family is obviously strong in dressage/dressage breeding, she also grew up with a solid system of training.

The program is developing and successful riders don't bloom overnight. It's that simple. People here have proposed answers to your questions and yet you press on. Your persistence is, well, puzzling.

You can likely find out about past Young Riders on your own.

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:02 AM
FWIW, I'm one of the (graduated) Young Riders that PMmed Theo. I chose that method of communication because you vultures scare the snot out of me.

I think that the US YR program is quite good, but that it's tough to compare to Europe's because at this time, there's really only one venue to do so: the YR World Cup, and as Roberta mentioned, that Halle is not for the faint of heart. I think one of the reasons that US representatives haven't always lived up to expectations there is that there's absolutely no indoor show season here, so it's a new experience for these horses. And that's not just an experience for the Young Riders - I'm sure that there's been more than one grown-up Grand Prix horse who's lost it in an indoor. :)

There are two instances pre-World Cup worth noting, by the way, where American Young Riders have faired very well. In 2003, NAYRC Gold Medalist Mary Haskins Gray and Fregat placed 3rd in the Euro Walfried Cup (sp?), a forebearer of the YR World Cup. And US rider Anna Wood, who was living and training in Germany at the time, did all of her NAYRC qualifying in the 2004-2005 season at European shows, with excellent scores. She returned stateside to take Bronze at NAYRC.

Previous posters' points about dressage not being "kid-friendly" stateside are also spot-on. There's no real infrastructure here for very young people in dressage, ala the European's FEI Pony Championships, or even the FEI Children's tests that get used in some parts of the world. I am curious to see how the Pony Club's new dressage grades will change things over the next few years.

And while I belive wholeheartedly in the Young Rider program, it's very important to remember that success in the YR arena is not a prerequisite for success as a "grown up" rider. That said, if Rabobank does express an interest in helping us out, someone invite me to the meeting! :)

NO, no guarantees, but if we see that a high percenture of the YR's make it to the top in one country, and just a few percenture of YR's in other countries make it to the top, I always wonder WHY.

As stated before many riders from other countries (who have to get used to the European environment (hard/different judging, crowded indoor arenas etc..)) are travelling to Frankfurt already months in advance, but the young dressage-riders of the land of milk and honey are send into the darkness.

flshgordon
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:03 AM
FWIW, I'm one of the (graduated) Young Riders that PMmed Theo. I chose that method of communication because you vultures scare the snot out of me.



Just curious....what on earth did you hope to achieve by PMing a random FOREIGN troublemaker who has nothing to do with US YR programs about the problems with US YRs??? :confused: Please enlighten me because I could not be more confused if I woke up on the moon

CatOnLap
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:13 AM
One may as well ask, why are there so few Dutch players in the NHL or the NBA or professional baseball? What is wrong with the baseball, basketball and hockey programs for youth in the Netherlands?

Equestrian sports are just not as popular here as in Europe. We are also aware that many North American living athletes ride for foreign countries like in the Middle and South Americas. So those countries doing well, may have more to do with the North American "system" than anything available in the countries they ride for.

I live in the Capital City of my Canadian Province. There is not a single FEI schoolhorse within an hour's drive. Not one. There is not a single school specializing in youth dressage. There are very few schools specializing in dressage at all and they mostly cater to adult amateurs who can afford their own horses. There is only ONE public riding ring in the entire city and it is oudoors with footing so degraded most of us will not ride our upper level dressage horses in it anymore. There are NO organized school equestrian programs. No school equestrian teams.

But there is an ice hockey rink every couple of miles and a basketball court in every school and a baseball diamond in every public park. Our town has produced an NBA player of the year and many many succesfull NHL hockey players.

My first cousin and I chose our sports early in life- she joined the Olympic team as a speed skater at the time I had to sell my horse to pay my rent. Her equipment cost her about $2000. Mine would have been about $50,000, if I could afford it, and then I would have had to find and pay for a private indoor arena to ride in, versus the publically built indoor speedskating oval she practiced in every day for free. Her coach was supplied by the Olympic team and prior to that, by a publically subsidized youth sport program. I paid an unsubsidized coach when I could afford it. There is no taste in North America, to fund dressage as a youth sport. And all those youth who think dressage is boring are missing out- they've never ridden an upper level horse and have no clue just how much fun dressage really is. Nor will they ever have the opportunity to do so as youngsters in a public school sport program here.

We have had one good YR from our town in recent memory. On a PMU horse, as I recall, called "Against all Odds". The horse's name aptly describes the dressage picture for young riders in western Canada. Courtney is an extraordinarily dedicated person, even when she was a young teen, and had a ton of support from the community here. But even so, flying to Europe to compete is hideously expensive. Around $15,000 just for the return flight.

I know, for most YR's, competing at the NAYRC just about beggars the families. Anbd thats comparatively local.

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:24 AM
I really am very greatfull and happy that you have shined so much light on ,what I thought, was a serious problem for the USA. Mea Culpa, mea maxima culpa; I humbly admit that I was blinded by the fact that I thought that there should be a cohesion between the results of the Seniors and Juniors in every country and in every sport.

Roberta
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:28 AM
Regarding Catherine Malone, I believe she is in college. But if you ask Belinda or Bill, I am certain that they will be able to provide you with more information.

You are correct Theo, we do not have the right environment. There are certain factors that we have no ability to change. We have a HUGE country with completely different tax laws than you do. Corporations cannot sponsor individual riders in this country and get write offs the way they do in Europe. We have a country where we pay tons of money because of insurance liability which places restrictions on how horse shows have to operate. You do not have that in Europe. We have lawsuits. The FEI rules for competitions are Eurocentric and put more, not fewer obstacles in our way.

We do not have dressage stables with oodles of horses around for multiple people to ride, let alone give to a YR. The Dutch rider who was Silver at the YR WC is going to concentrate on moving the horse up to Grand Prix and has 2 more YR horses in the wings. I do not know of many, if any YRs in this country with such a luxury.

Our school systems are much, much different than yours. Our school systems do not allow time away for horse activities. The students are required to attend their classes. Over the years, I have written many letters to high schools and colleges explaining the sport and trying to get latitude for the riders from the schools. Rarely does it work. Instead, the YR takes time off from school which in my opinion is not a good thing.

Lauren is also right about the indoor circuit. There is none. There are few indoor venues in this country, period. However, in 2006 we recognized a need to get the WC horses into an indoor arena after the 2005 horse freaked out seeing his image on the video screen. I approached the organizers at the Washington International Horse show and they offered an opportunity to the WC rider to demo ride their freestyle in that arena. Laura Noyes took advantage of it and at least had some preparation. Chelsea couldn't because she is from the West Coast. Cost to fly her horse to Washington would have been around $5,000.00. To get a rider from coast to coast in Holland would have cost probably $500 at the most. It is unfortunate that Laura did not have a real chance to compete in Frankfurt because the horse went lame during the test. Had she been able to compete, perhaps this thread would have never been started.

You simply cannot say that the Americans are always at the bottom from only 2 riders.

You cannot say that our "system" has not helped Liz or Courtney. They both came through our clinic system. They both cut their teeth at the NAYRC. I believe they both have received training grants and have worked with Klaus. We recognized the need for the Brentina cup to help kids like Liz and Lauren and all those who will follow.

I admit that I bristle that you say "what is wrong?". I am a half full person, not a half empty. I don't see things as being "wrong". We do need more and we do need to figure out ways to overcome the obstacles that we have in the United States. Clearly the mountain that dressage has to surmount in this country is far bigger than the hill that you have.

You stated that it took Holland 50 years to beat Germany. Our YR program is only 22 years in the making and we have come a long way. Still have 28 more years to go.

Since you are coming to Florida, I will invite you to come to the Young Rider clinic in Wellington to be a part of a panel discussion on improving our program. I mean it in all sincerity.But you must bring ideas that will work in this country. I am interested in ideas.

You don't even have to bring the wine. Just Rabobank.

Roberta
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:49 AM
My guess is that Lauren PMd Theo for ideas and there is nothing wrong with that. She PMs many people for ideas, myself included and she is also, in my mind, one of our YR success stories. I have watched Lauren since she was a bit of a brat to her finishing college. She rode at the NAYRC on not such an easy horse. She worked her way to the Brentina cup and is starting the "L" program. She is not too proud to ask for help and advice, some of which she takes and some of which she doesn't. Every time she has been knocked down, she gets up smiling. She knows that the value is in the ride, not the ribbon. She loves the sport and one day will be a judge or running these very programs. Twenty eight years from now, it won't be me.

Kids like Lauren are the reason that I hang around this position.

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:54 AM
Regarding Catherine Malone, I believe she is in college. But if you ask Belinda or Bill, I am certain that they will be able to provide you with more information.

You are correct Theo, we do not have the right environment. There are certain factors that we have no ability to change. We have a HUGE country with completely different tax laws than you do. Corporations cannot sponsor individual riders in this country and get write offs the way they do in Europe. We have a country where we pay tons of money because of insurance liability which places restrictions on how horse shows have to operate. You do not have that in Europe. We have lawsuits. The FEI rules for competitions are Eurocentric and put more, not fewer obstacles in our way.

We do not have dressage stables with oodles of horses around for multiple people to ride, let alone give to a YR. The Dutch rider who was Silver at the YR WC is going to concentrate on moving the horse up to Grand Prix and has 2 more YR horses in the wings. I do not know of many, if any YRs in this country with such a luxury.

Our school systems are much, much different than yours. Our school systems do not allow time away for horse activities. The students are required to attend their classes. Over the years, I have written many letters to high schools and colleges explaining the sport and trying to get latitude for the riders from the schools. Rarely does it work. Instead, the YR takes time off from school which in my opinion is not a good thing.

Lauren is also right about the indoor circuit. There is none. There are few indoor venues in this country, period. However, in 2006 we recognized a need to get the WC horses into an indoor arena after the 2005 horse freaked out seeing his image on the video screen. I approached the organizers at the Washington International Horse show and they offered an opportunity to the WC rider to demo ride their freestyle in that arena. Laura Noyes took advantage of it and at least had some preparation. Chelsea couldn't because she is from the West Coast. Cost to fly her horse to Washington would have been around $5,000.00. To get a rider from coast to coast in Holland would have cost probably $500 at the most. It is unfortunate that Laura did not have a real chance to compete in Frankfurt because the horse went lame during the test. Had she been able to compete, perhaps this thread would have never been started.

You simply cannot say that the Americans are always at the bottom from only 2 riders.

You cannot say that our "system" has not helped Liz or Courtney. They both came through our clinic system. They both cut their teeth at the NAYRC. I believe they both have received training grants and have worked with Klaus. We recognized the need for the Brentina cup to help kids like Liz and Lauren and all those who will follow.

I admit that I bristle that you say "what is wrong?". I am a half full person, not a half empty. I don't see things as being "wrong". We do need more and we do need to figure out ways to overcome the obstacles that we have in the United States. Clearly the mountain that dressage has to surmount in this country is far bigger than the hill that you have.

You stated that it took Holland 50 years to beat Germany. Our YR program is only 22 years in the making and we have come a long way. Still have 28 more years to go.

Since you are coming to Florida, I will invite you to come to the Young Rider clinic in Wellington to be a part of a panel discussion on improving our program. I mean it in all sincerity.But you must bring ideas that will work in this country. I am interested in ideas.

You don't even have to bring the wine. Just Rabobank.

Allthough I don't have any problem bringing the wine, I might have some problems to bring the RaboBank. Allthough the husband of one of my lifetime best friends Claartje van Andel (from DressageDirect.com) is one of the descission makers at the Rabobank, you have to consider the fact that the Rabobank is one of the few BIG banks in the world which is owned by Dutch farmers.

But at least we are talking.

canyonoak
Dec. 17, 2007, 12:21 PM
For all the emotion, the personal jabs, etc...THIS thread has actually been one of the most interesting threads on this forum , at least recently.

THIS is why I still read this BB--to get opinions from people like Roberta and Theo. Among others.

To hear different viewpoints and to get at least some mature adult debate.

I am grateful to everyone who took time to put forth a point of view.

FWIW--I truly believe reining will achieve international popularity long before dressage.

just see: "why boys don't like eventing" or "why Heidi and Albrecht keep beating Susie and Bill" --or whatever those threads are called.


as Denny Emerson (among others) pointed out--a sport that encourages the wearing of jeans and cowboy boots is going to attract a lot more attention--from sponsors to future competitors--than a sport that demands white tight breeches and a shadbelly.

The US dressage system has only just developed a process that allows top coaches,etc., to see the talent,whether it be horse or rider.

I may not see too many young(er) riders at dressage shows--but the ones I do see are heads and shoulders above those that used to compete even 10-15 years ago. A blink of an eye for a long-range program.

Coreene
Dec. 17, 2007, 01:13 PM
Roberta, schools in the Netherlands do not just give time off for horsey activities. All that classwork still needs to be completed; some of the more competitive school ages kids have independent study programs similar to what is available in the US. After all, what about all those H/J kids who spend the entire year on the A circuit in the US?

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 01:20 PM
Lots of Oaks and just one Canyon or viceversa :confused:

We have a saying here in Holland "Zachte heelmeesters maken stinkende wonden" I can't translate this in English but somebody probably can come up with a decend translation.

So the most of you know that I am very direct in my communications or should I say not very diplomatic. Maybe i have learned this while i was sitting on the fence for over 25 years with trainers like Hinneman, Koschel, Janssen, Bontje, Teeuwissen or van Baalen. I never heard them say "maybee you should consider to have you right hand a little bit lower and please if you can handle it and if it's not too much to ask for can you very please try to give a little more leg at the left side ". While I am typing this; I am watching the DVD of "the search for the next American Equestrian Star" and I hear RD tell his students over and over again "this was a complete disaster" or "you better all go home tomorrow".

And yes I feel proud to be part of the American dressage scene, and yes i am dissappointed when the US-YR's don't do well. And Yes I am proud that girls like Liz and Courtney are knocking on the heavens door of dressage. That's also why I posted the ride of Courtney and Mythilius and helped Liz with her winning freestyle. And to be very honest to you, when I make the music for an Italian or Chinese rider I hope that they beat the Dutch riders who aren't my clients.

not again
Dec. 17, 2007, 01:31 PM
This has been an interesting thread personally since I am parent to two young riders who placed well in the NAYRC and then went on to USDF gold medals. Ellie has continued a family tradition of training homebreds to grand prix. Emily often won FEI high score at shows such as Raleigh, not just jr/yr high score, on horses bred and trained from home. We showed as a family and have many happy memories of that, not just the awards. Support system? Start with the family. School? Boarding school had riding as a team sport. College? Part time, commute. Balancing act? You Bet!!! Sponsorship? B of M (Bank of Mom)! End result? Priceless!

Coreene
Dec. 17, 2007, 01:54 PM
BTW, just as an aside, you can buy a package of lessons at a Dutch riding school for €10 each for kids, €12-15 each for adults. Not private lessons, and certainly not for when you're going up the levels, but there is a big difference between taking little Samantha to learn to ride when you're shelling out €10 a week as opposed to $50 for a half hour group lesson here.

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 01:57 PM
As promised I have posted the videos of the Finals at Frankfurt on my website

See also the other thread !

http://www.horsedances.net/MySpacePages/Frankfurt2007WorldChampionshipYRKur.html

Coming up more rides and interviews.

Coreene
Dec. 17, 2007, 01:58 PM
1. A Continental Championship which hosts all three disciplines for Young Riders. No where else in the world does that happen. No, but all you have there is the fact that you've brought eventing, dressage and jumping into one championship. The only difference in Europe is that they don't run all three in the same location. And we don't have them for ponies here, but they have them in Europe as well.

rutgerjan
Dec. 17, 2007, 02:04 PM
Just an off-topic question.

Can you start jumping in the USA without having at least some basic dressage-degree ?

not again
Dec. 17, 2007, 02:09 PM
An added note: My children enjoys heaps of free or minimally priced instruction thanks to their membership in the US Pony Club local chapter. They also attended National Rally several times in all three disciplines before embarking into the world of young riders. Since pony club is about teams, and stable management and horse care are 50% of the pony club score, they knew who to react in a high pressure team situation over several intense days. Some kids who came to YR's didn't show up to feed--didn't know their horse needed to eat!
Oh, and they learned how to make their own music for freestyles. There were no freestyles at YR's yet, only in PC. Emily won the first national USPC freestyle in 1986 on Able Spirit, her homebred mount who later went to young riders 4 times with her and once with Ellie. There is gobs of footage on youtube (under watermarkfarm) which may include some YR days. Other young riders who have gone on in the business: Suzanne Owen Hassler, Scott Hassler, Todd Fleittrich, Heather Mason, Todd Bryan......

Eclectic Horseman
Dec. 17, 2007, 03:00 PM
Just an off-topic question.

Can you start jumping in the USA without having at least some basic dressage-degree ?

Yes. If you look at the thread on the hunter/jumper forum about comments made by h/j guru George Morris, you will see that many people believe that this is extremely detrimental to equestrian education in the US. They teach beginners this "half seat" or "two-point" perch so that they can begin jumping as early as possible, and then, unfortunately, the student never really learns to ride. They are little more than passengers.:no:

Tasker
Dec. 17, 2007, 03:43 PM
Well, this is just my .02 cents worth but...

I don't really see anything wrong with the YR/JRs program...but then again I aged out 10 years ago. It was a great experience (met lots of friendly folks, got to ride in big venues, had a lot of success) but learned a painful lesson - you can have your horse pulled out from underneath you at any moment if you don't own it (we had a lease). Sooo, that taught me something I will carry to my grave - I will ride what my parents or I own. Period. A nasty international showdown with the owner & all the BN officials standing by was humiliation enough thank you very much.

So with that in mind, we have been bringing along the youngstock and breeding a few more horses for me to have coming along for the past decade. Funny thing about breeding from your own stock - you can't fast forward time, so you get to be patient and ride the ones that you have while you wait! :)

Here is footage of the big mare my sister and I both got to ride - She was a homebred, raised and trained 1979 model - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAgWIAHkuZI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yADLzv5IIzs

And we are lucky enough to have several of her children and grandchildren coming along. The footage with me from 95 was when she was just a few weeks pregnant with her first foal FWIW.

There are other videos of Prissy but those are some of the YR tests that I've gotten up thus far.

ozjb
Dec. 17, 2007, 05:04 PM
As a brand new member of the forum and mom of a very keen 12 year old dressage rider, I have found this thread VERY insightful. And depressing.

We are Americans living in Australia. (The US Young Rider Program is light years ahead of anything here.) There is no development program for kids who are young and starting off. Most of the kids in our program have parents who are in the industry and have access to the horses they need. Or they have a LOT of money and can buy the horse.

Our local clubs offer Young Rider sections, but my daughter usually competes against adults. And she rides a pony. Only this month have the rules changed to allow ponies to enter Official classes along with the horses. And the ponies either have to go first or last (all in a group and I would bet the farm the organisers will always put them first) in those classes.

When we were qualifing for the 2007 New South Wales Young Rider Championships, our local clubs never offered tests she could ride in. They refused to allow ponies and horses to do the same tests. Crazy stuff. I had to call other clubs, beg to let her ride HC just to get some sort of score! LOL At the last qualifier, one club was super. They let her ride, the judge didn't realize she was HC and she actually won on an 11.2 pony against adults on warmbloods. Of course they wouldn't award her the placing and lost her test, but still we knew! (She is VERY accurate and so picks up points by not making mistakes. This is a very little pony who used to be her leading rein pony. This pony is a star, but not the next WonderPony of the World or anything.)

But I digress here. Is there any hope at all for a kid with talent and determination, but whose family isn't in the breeding business? Or wealthy?

From your experiences, what can the moms in my position do? Dressage IS pretty popular here with the kids. The adults just don't like them around too much. Are there any e-mail lists or forums where I could learn? I am happy to offer my help with a Young Rider group in our area, but I am such a novice. How would I start??? I would be interested in anything you can tell me!

We do have Interschool Competition which is wonderful! Just getting started, but has the potential to really take off. They (EFA) have also introduced a program called EquiSkills, which also has great potential.

We were in the US in July and attended the US Pony Club Festival and Championships. I was so so impressed with the knowledge every kid there seemed to have. It was amazing. Our Pony Club does not put that much emphasis on knowledge.

Oh, one more thing and I will finally finish . . . we come back to the US at least once a year to visit family in the Seattle and Central Fl area. Are there any trainers in those areas who would give my daughter a few lessons? On school horses, of course. I am thinking of trying to expose her to as much as I can, when I can! Would there be an opporunity to go to Europe and train with someone on those wonderful ponies???

Thanks so much!

not again
Dec. 17, 2007, 05:18 PM
ozjb:
Ah the world is small. I have several horsey friends in Florida who like kids (there are some of those, really) and are in to dressage. (I put in a stint as national dressage ch. for USPC). But also, please come to Pennsylvania if you have a chance.:)

Lendon Gray
Dec. 17, 2007, 06:58 PM
I just returned from the YR World Cup where I was the coach for the Argentine rider. Whereas I don’t wish to get into this “discussion” I would like to make a few statements. First of all for the sake of riders outside of western Europe, thank you to Ann Katrin Linsenhoff, Eva Soloman of the FEI, and sponsor Schenker Deutschland for giving an opportunity to riders from all parts of the world to experience true international competition. I am guessing that the riders from Australia (whose horse has a two month quarantine in England before returning home!), Latvia, and definitely Mica could never have participated without Schenker paying for much of the transportation, stabling, and hotel.

I can speak mostly for Mica who is the only FEI Young Rider from her country where Dressage competition is minimal. At the end of the summer one of my clients whom Mica was teaching loaned her his horse – she went to 2 CDI’s, got her two Freestyle scores over 66% and I believe was the only rider from Central and South America to compete in YR CDI’s. So her third competition was the World Cup. We didn’t go with grand expectations, he’s not a super horse and Mica has two years of minimal competition experience. I would have given anything to have a camera to capture her expression when she first walked into the Festhalle where they competed. What an experience she had and when and if she ever has an opportunity to compete at that level again she will be so much better prepared. Did she ride as well as she can? No. But she has never been in a festively decorating arena with the very large crowd right at the edge, with the turn at A so tight her horse didn’t think he could make it. Was she prepared to deal with him losing his attention each time he came down the center line and being distracted by the over head TV screen? He also had never seen trees in the shape of horses. He’s never spooked with her before he got there. Likewise she has never been in a situation where she traveled 18 hours across 6 time zones three days before the competition started, had a horse who wouldn’t drink, then drank little for the days up to the competition so work was heavily curtailed. Then to warm up with the likes of Isabel Werth and Monica Theodorescu.

But best of all to see that the best in the world can bomb their tests too.

But she like our American rider was always a good sport – they tried their very best – and I am proud of them both. In Mica’s case she will be returning to her home country in time and will hopefully be part of bringing a higher quality of Dressage to it, thanks to opportunities like these. I hope that all these riders will not feel that they carry the weight of their countries’ training programs on their backs, but that they can go and do their best and ride Dressage for the love of it.

And you Australians should be very proud of your rider. She rode so well on a horse who is not of the quality of the big European horses.

And by the way, Courtney King and Mythilus who did come up through our Young Rider programs did a lovely job in the Grand Prix World Cup qualifier. She started her international career at the NAYRC on a VERY substandard horse and placed VERY low. However I tell all my students to ride whatever comes their way, take every opportunity to get experience and to learn. And have fun along the way.

claire
Dec. 17, 2007, 07:21 PM
Thank You Lendon for putting everything into perspective...as always!

Allioness
Dec. 17, 2007, 10:39 PM
I tell all my students to ride whatever comes their way, take every opportunity to get experience and to learn. And have fun along the way.

That is why she is Lendon Gray. And we aren't.

You are an inspiration. Thank you for bringing us back to earth.

ozjb
Dec. 17, 2007, 11:49 PM
Yes, Lendon, thank you. I think Australia is proud of our young rider! I actually love that little horse and have since she was being competed with a senior rider.

It was very tough for them as we have been in a lockdown situation with no horse movements and so no competitions since 25 Aug due to EI. (Unless you are a racehorse, but I won't even begin to try to explain the hash the government has made of this).

Sabine
Dec. 18, 2007, 12:07 AM
Being an 'old' German I am pleased beyond description to hear that Schwenker donated this and sponsored a lot of the event- how great- I have known this company since my childhood- *and sadly I am definitely in the 'second' part of my life* and it shows that a traditional company with not very equestrian connections can be convinced to contribute to this sport!! Fantastic!

On the other hand- I think anyone that can relate to some business concepts will follow what I have to say now:

YR programs are just like any 'product' they have a slow upwards curve until people catch on- and then they experience a rapid growth and support phase- while the competition becomes furious - only to establish themselves on a relatively high level for some time- until someone comes up with a better concept.
These trials and tribulations are what we are going thru- and to go back to the OPs question:
The US has an enormous potential but needs much more saturation in the major metropolitan areas in order to man a serious team. This has not happened yet but is beginning to happen- from there we need major sponsors because our transportation costs are enormous and frightening and in general any major transport too often is AGAINST the horse's health...and the rider's probably too...LOL!

I actually look forward to the time- when I am old and in a chair watching TV and the US team beats the Dutch team- because it's not 'in' anymore over there- to be riding horses...we are just a tad behind- but that doesn't mean in any way that we are out...LOL!
By raking in the major $$ in all the variety of auctions in Europe you are actually spreading the wealth and I am very confident that we in the US just like in other parts of the world will eventually have all the bloodlines and knowhow- to do what you guys do....and we don't carry the baggage of the 'holy old ways'....
Many times you just have to see the opportunity and next thing - you are winning..!!

rutgerjan
Dec. 18, 2007, 08:44 AM
Being an 'old' German I am pleased beyond description to hear that Schwenker donated this and sponsored a lot of the event- how great- I have known this company since my childhood- *and sadly I am definitely in the 'second' part of my life* and it shows that a traditional company with not very equestrian connections can be convinced to contribute to this sport!! Fantastic!

On the other hand- I think anyone that can relate to some business concepts will follow what I have to say now:

YR programs are just like any 'product' they have a slow upwards curve until people catch on- and then they experience a rapid growth and support phase- while the competition becomes furious - only to establish themselves on a relatively high level for some time- until someone comes up with a better concept.
These trials and tribulations are what we are going thru- and to go back to the OPs question:
The US has an enormous potential but needs much more saturation in the major metropolitan areas in order to man a serious team. This has not happened yet but is beginning to happen- from there we need major sponsors because our transportation costs are enormous and frightening and in general any major transport too often is AGAINST the horse's health...and the rider's probably too...LOL!

I actually look forward to the time- when I am old and in a chair watching TV and the US team beats the Dutch team- because it's not 'in' anymore over there- to be riding horses...we are just a tad behind- but that doesn't mean in any way that we are out...LOL
By raking in the major $$ in all the variety of auctions in Europe you are actually spreading the wealth and I am very confident that we in the US just like in other parts of the world will eventually have all the bloodlines and knowhow- to do what you guys do....and we don't carry the baggage of the 'holy old ways'....
Many times you just have to see the opportunity and next thing - you are winning..!!

But didn't you notice that dressage is in the genes. Tineke Bartels-Imke Bartels, Coby van Baalen-Marlies and Marrigje van Baalen, Leunes van Lieren-Laurens van Lieren, Alex van Silfhout-Diederik van Silfhout. And YES I would cherish the day that the Germans and/or Dutch are beaten by the USA, Spain or..... Because when you want this sport to survive you need more countries which can get the best bite of the cake

And what my best friend from the USA wrote me tonight :


"Theo it's not only the hugh distances, but it also the hugh differences in culture".
...
...
"On one side of the USA we have people who think they can buy a gold medal and on the other side of the USA we have people who are trying to change Polar Bears in dressage-horses".
50 different cultures and only one organisation

I am really getting the picture !

not again
Dec. 18, 2007, 08:48 AM
Ruterjan: Dressage is in the genes over here too. You just don't know the gene pool.:winkgrin:

rutgerjan
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:00 AM
Ruterjan: Dressage is in the genes over here too. You just don't know the gene pool.:winkgrin:

OK send me the list :

Robert Dover - .......................
Stephan Peters - .....................
Courtney King - .........................
Lisa Wilcox - .............................


and maybe our Dutch gene-pool is also coming to an end

Edward Gal
Hans Peter Minderhoud
Arjen Teeuwissen
Aat van Essen

:cool:;):lol::D

claire
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:33 AM
I am very confident that we in the US just like in other parts of the world will eventually have all the bloodlines and knowhow- to do what you guys do....and we don't carry the baggage of the 'holy old ways'....
Many times you just have to see the opportunity and next thing - you are winning..!!

Good points Sabine...I like the business aspect! :winkgrin:

And, regarding someone who didn't have the Dressage genes:
Sjef Jansen :cool:

But he managed to "see an opportunity" in Dressage competitions, and ultilized various methods into a modern training system that maximized the opportunities to WIN competitions!

rutgerjan
Dec. 18, 2007, 09:49 AM
Good points Sabine...I like the business aspect! :winkgrin:

And, regarding someone who didn't have the Dressage genes:
Sjef Jansen :cool:

But he managed to "see an opportunity" in Dressage competitions, and ultilized various methods into a modern training system that maximized the opportunities to WIN competitions!

Claire you might be misinformed about the riding skills of Sjef Jansen. Both times Anky was pregnant Sjef rode all the horses. And it is no secret that they came out even better as before :

But let's wait and see, waht happens with the new generation of the Janssen's Click on the following link and you might havean early picture of the new generation !



http://www.anky.com/index.asp?page=nieuws&item=16722&lang=en

claire
Dec. 18, 2007, 10:16 AM
No, Theo. What I was saying is that Sjef did not come from a background of dressage in his youth/genes. At least according to HIS interviews, he came to Dressage competition fairly later on in life. Skilled athlete. Yes.

But I agee if you are talking about genes. With Anky's timing and technical abilities and Sjef's inate understanding of training and showcraft...the deck is definitely stacked in their (children's) favor!!! :winkgrin:

rutgerjan
Dec. 18, 2007, 01:14 PM
No, Theo. What I was saying is that Sjef did not come from a background of dressage in his youth/genes. At least according to HIS interviews, he came to Dressage competition fairly later on in life. Skilled athlete. Yes.

But I agee if you are talking about genes. With Anky's timing and technical abilities and Sjef's inate understanding of training and showcraft...the deck is definitely stacked in their favor!!! :winkgrin:

But dressage is fairly new; Tineke Bartels was a school teacher, Joep Bartels was a PsychoTherapist, Arie van Baalen was a farmer and Coby van Baalen was a nun etc.. The dressage-genes collectors has just started 30 years ago. But I also know that when these dressage-genes were spread over Holland, Sjef Janssen joint the party from day one. And I still can remember Sjef living in his car and driving from one breeder to another to find the 1000 guilder (US$ 500,=) tophorse.

Alagirl
Dec. 18, 2007, 02:27 PM
EEEEWWWWWWW, you guys sound like you want to start a breeding farm.....

fiona
Dec. 18, 2007, 02:53 PM
Coby van Baalen was a nun

Is that true? Which order? Where? What? How? and WHY?