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rebecca yount
Dec. 31, 2007, 03:47 PM
Here is what I wrote and printed to send snail-mail to all the USEF Board of Directors. I also sent it via email to anyone whose email appeared on the BOD list. I sent each one separately to minimize the chances of it going into spam. I am pretty tired of typing "Rule Change Proposal #275-07" into the subject box. See you all in 2008 in the land of "Rider Score 3":

Dear >>>>>:

I have been a USEF member (175365) since the 1980s. All my dressage competition horses are lifetime registered. I have not yet renewed my membership for 2007, and don’t know if I will, in large part because of a rule change proposal to which I would like to bring your attention. Lest you think my objections are personally motivated, I would like to point out that I have my USDF Bronze Medal, have competed through Prix St. Georges, and under the apparent “criteria” which would eventually accompany this rule I would be qualified at the next-to-highest level of competition. Nevertheless, I strongly object to the rule change.

The proposed rule change in question is #275-07:

Effective December 1, 2009, riders competing in Dressage Competitions at Third Level and above must be eligible according to qualification criteria established by the Federation Dressage Committee.

This rule change should NOT be approved. Please do NOT subject this rule change proposal to the “consent docket” process whereby it is voted on as a block with other proposed rule changes which are considered “unanimous”. It is my observation that, like me, the USEF dressage membership has very serious concerns about a rule change which is open-ended and gives the Dressage Committee free rein (pardon the pun) to enact whatever “criteria” they see fit, without even then as a next step applying the entire rule change process to the “criteria” themselves. The current proposal does not specify anything other than there will be “qualification criteria” and that they will be determined, presumably NOT through another rule change, by the Dressage Committee. This is unacceptable. There are also major concerns about even the identification of the problem which this rule change purports to address.

I implore you, in your capacity as a member of the USEF Board of Directors, to carefully review this issue and the objections being voiced by hundreds if not thousands of USEF members. You will then, I believe, need to seriously consider disapproving 275-07. I refer you to the following websites to read, if you care to, various threads containing extensive discussion by the many members which you represent. If you go to each website and do a search on “USEF proposal” or “performance standards” you should find the pages and pages of objections and very well-thought-out reasoning behind them.

http://ultimatedressage.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=1&sid=35f510dada7b77f49a04b79531caef0f

http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/forumdisplay.php?f=75

I, like most others who have commented on this rule change, feel that it is restrictive, paternalistic, and, if enacted along with ANY sort of “criteria”, will place undue hardship on the thousands of individuals who wish to compete at USEF dressage competitions. This isn’t Europe (and I don’t see why we should strive to be just like Europe)—this is the United States of America, and is a huge country with thousands of miles between competitions. In some regions, there may be only USEF competitions where individuals could “qualify” are much fewer and MUCH farther between than in Germany, Holland, and many other European nations. Dressage training isn’t about all of us getting to the Olympics and then trouncing Germany—it is about our relationships with our horses and our freedom to make reasonable training and competition choices WITHOUT the interference of “big brother”.

275-07 is also un-American and elitist in that it gives a small number of individuals power to enact whatever they see fit. It was not formally presented nor widely discussed prior to its introduction and the dressage community as a whole heard very little about it and its accompanying “criteria” prior to the uproar which ensued when it became more public at the recent USDF convention in November. The data I have indicates overwhelming DISapproval of this rule change.

Enactment of this rule change will result in an objectionable “class” system in dressage whereby people with money able to travel long distances or devote extensive time and money to training and showing will be the ones who will advance. Others who work just as hard and are just as dedicated but perhaps cannot afford world-class horses, facilities, or trainers will be stuck at 2nd level and below ostensibly for their entire lives.

Other objections include that the rule change is too open-ended; it will present a record-keeping and logistical nightmare; imposing standards will encourage “point-chasing” and overuse of schoolmasters; and that this will make it impossible for some older riders to ride at an appropriate level for their (sometimes also older) schoolmasters or trained horses because they will have to go back to 2nd level and “qualify”. It seems that the rule change attempts to address some concern about rider skill by giving the Dressage Committee authority to propose standards and restrictions encompassing factors that have nothing to do with rider skill (e.g. excessive cost to get “points” and unavailability of enough competitions in some parts of the country).

If there are concerns on the part of the Dressage Committee members, some of whom are judges, about poor riding at Third Level and above, those concerns should be defined through examination of data (e.g. test percentages and rider scores) which should prove that a problem actually exists (there are many who think there is no data to back up this assertion). ONLY after data-based information is gathered should a solution be proposed, and then the actual standards should be specified in the rule change proposal.

At any rate, a mechanism already exists, in the USEF rules, for “poor” or “underqualified” riders to be addressed. The rider score and, to a lesser extent, the overall score on the dressage test, should send clear messages to poor riders. If the rider crosses the line into abuse, the current rules allow judges to address this as well by disqualifying the rider. Some judges are apparently (and I have this in writing) reluctant to award low rider scores for fear of complaints being lodged with USEF and subsequent repercussions for the judge, including “not being promoted”, “not being invited back”, or even being sued. It would perhaps be helpful for the USEF to address this issue and to support its judges in feeling empowered to call it like they see it.

In addition, this isn’t an issue of safety like in eventing. It smacks of paternalism and clearly implies that we, as responsible adults, cannot make our own decisions as to the appropriate level at which to compete.

While obviously part of the motivation behind this proposal is the welfare of horses, and the people addressing it are well-meaning, it needs to be sent back to the drawing board for much more work and research and then be re-introduced with the backing of the entire dressage community, not just a select few.

Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to contact me at the above email or phone number.

Sincerely yours,



Dr. Rebecca Yount

Hazelnut
Dec. 31, 2007, 05:16 PM
well written.

LexInVA
Dec. 31, 2007, 05:26 PM
Stick it to the Man! :D

snoopy
Dec. 31, 2007, 05:31 PM
Right there with you!!!!

mtngirl
Dec. 31, 2007, 07:33 PM
Kudos on a well written, well rounded letter that expresses the average AA's concern with this issue. I was actually thinking about rejoining USEF and USDF this year, but am seriously reconsidering in light of the proposal. I would be one of those perpetually stuck at 2nd level. :cry:

Although not a current USEF member (I drop in an out according to my competition expectations), I did email letters to several of the committee members. Thank you for diligently following up on this issue.

canyonoak
Dec. 31, 2007, 08:17 PM
Thank you again, Rebecca!

Ive printed your letter out and am combining it with my own and will send it out as soon as everything is proofed.

A good way to start off the new year--righting possible wrongs!

LOL.

I hope everyone will not only read but WRITE and voice their own concerns to the appropriate people.

I do not think that any of the committee members imagined there would be this kind of public reaction AND action...so my thanks to all who have taken the time to think about the issue, take a stand--and communicate their beliefs to the proper parties.

rebecca yount
Dec. 31, 2007, 08:40 PM
Got a reply to my email version of the letter from Archibald Cox, one of the BOD members, and he said he will look into the matter. I'm impressed that he answered.

I can't help but think that letters and emails to all of the BOD members will bear some fruit. I think it's worth the time and the $20 or so in postage. They will have a paper in their hand to take to the USEF convention.

eurofoal
Jan. 1, 2008, 12:36 PM
I wrote a letter and emailed it (thanks to CanyonOak, I believe, who posted all of the emails on one of our other threads) to everybody. Hilda G, Janet Foy Brown and Marrianne Ludwig all replied. Janet Brown was not very receptive to the ideas that I wrote, although I appreciate the time she took to reply. I did put a copy of the current, updated proposal on my website homepage ( www.eurofoal.com ) , so, if you haven't read it yet, there's a place you can find it.


Here's my letter:


Hello,

I'm writing to protest the idea of a performance standard before moving up the levels. I've written a long letter to the USEF on their comments page, but I'll keep it brief. Here,in a nutshell, are my objections:

1) I think it will be too expensive for most people to be locked into getting 10 points per level to move up. Competitions are very expensive and nearly unaffordable as it is. Not all riders have access to many competions per year.

2) There are hardly any competitors, especially ammies, riding between 2nd level -- 4th level. This will drive off many of the ones that are there already.

3) The whole point of giving scores is to give riders feedback on how they are doing. If they are doing poorly, then the scores should reflect it. Furthur policing seems unnecessary.

4) If there is abuse, then the TD and show management already have the rules in place to deal with it.

5) Awards and year end Championships are accolades that are easier to achieve then these guidelines. Why should moving up a level be harder than getting a medal, or qualifying for year end awards? It will mock the achievement of both Medals and Championships. I'd be curious to know how many riders per year would move up under these guidelines. Some cold hard data on our riders/scores would be helpful in forming opinions.

6) Although Medal winners will be grandfathered in, there's no mention of including previous scores for riders who either never applied for thier medals or never quite got all of the right combinations of scores to get a medal. Thus, if a rider has, over a lifetime (or since 1974, if so designated) achieved what would translate into a number of scores that would qualify under this performance standard, they will be forced to essentially start from scratch and do it all over again. This strikes me a a particularly large issue for all of us who have spent thousands of dollars competing but never received a USDF medal.

7) It will be a data nightmare, and the data accuracy has not been impressive thus far.

8) It seems like membership fee increases might be inevitable.

9) The inclusion of judges in the grandfathering clause strikes me as the rule makers holding themselves to a different standard than those they govern.

10) The membership has not been asked thier opinion on this drastic policy revision.

Respectfully submitted,


Jill Pettigrew
USDF, USEF, CDS member
Fallbrook, CA


Some of Ms. Brown's replies included that it should only take 2 shows for someone to get the scores (now 58%)to move up, average riders on non-wbs. She also said the record keeping would not be a problem, and that this whole idea has been brought up for the past 3 years at the USDF conventions. Grandfathering of all scores is now included in the new proposal.

ToN Farm
Jan. 1, 2008, 12:53 PM
Janet Brown was not very receptive to the ideas that I wroteI get the feeling that she was the first to propose such a rule.

eurofoal
Jan. 1, 2008, 12:58 PM
I get the feeling that she was the first to propose such a rule.

Ah, then we really must send her many letters!

yaya
Jan. 1, 2008, 04:12 PM
Some of Ms. Brown's replies included that it should only take 2 shows for someone to get the scores (now 58%)to move up, average riders on non-wbs.

There again, the bias towards the large shows is apparent.

If you are in an area with few shows, that usually means few judges as well.

The only way to get 10 points in 2 shows would be to have at least one of those shows have more than one judge, and to be lucky enough to be scheduled under two different judges at that show.

In many areas, shows only have enough entries for one ring, thus one judge, so you'd have to make at least three shows to get scores from three different judges.

Of course, those in Florida and California who have multi-ring shows with multiple judges could do it in one show, if they got the right combination of scores.

Arathita
Jan. 1, 2008, 08:23 PM
Great Letter!

molliwog
Jan. 2, 2008, 12:13 AM
Thank-you for doing this Rebecca.

I am not totally opposed to a performance standard as long as it is sensible, well defined, and thoughtfully implemented. The current proposal lacks these qualities.

Actually, the part of the whole proposal that REALLY lost me was the fact that it appears that licensed judges would simply be grandfathered to compete at FEI in regardless of their actualy scores in competition. Anyone who has been to a show on the West Coast recently knows why this is a dreadfully bad idea. And no, I'm not talking about a specific individual, because unfortunately, there are numerous examples to choose from.

I'm not going to vote for this one until judges that receives 3 or more scores less than 55% at an FEI level is no longer allowed to compete at that level without earning their lower level scores just like the rest of us. Oh wait! No one asked me to vote. I'm only a lowly member......argh!

rebecca yount
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:18 PM
The USEF website section where people can comment on the proposed rule change has been down all day yesterday and all day today.

I just called USEF and spoke with their IT person, Jamie Unseld, who did not know that it was broken and has fixed it. However, I also spoke with Mary Smith who is in charge of rule changes, and noted that there were two critical days (the last day is supposed to be today) when people could not comment or get to the text of the rule change.

She said people can still send comments. Also comments can be emailed to acook@usef.org that's the person who collects the comments and gives them to the committees.

Mary Smith also told me that they have about 40 comments on this particular rule change. That doesn't sound like a lot to me (I was hoping for more like hundreds) but Mary said that is a lot.

Let's make it 400.

Coreene
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:32 PM
Rebecca, super letter. Love it.

As for the judge who was whining about shitty rides at upper levels, if it is too bloody difficult to sit through it then effing stay at home. No one is putting a gun to your head and making you judge, ya know? :mad:

rebecca yount
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:41 PM
Coreene, did you send anything? I am sure they would like to hear from you.

ljoakley
Jan. 2, 2008, 05:42 PM
Please take the time to write someone or all of them about this issue.

Let's do a practical breakdown here. If I show 4 times during the year at 2nd level and I do 2 classes at each show, that means that I have 8 chances to amass 10 pts. So let's say I'm a real rider and my horse has good days and bad days, at every show I get one 58% and one 60%. That means that I would have 3 pts at each show for a total of 12 points, I can move up.

Now what if you have a nut job who bucks you off some days and other days does beautifully. Day one at the show you get a 53% - zero points and day two you get a 60% - two points. If you do this all year you end up with only 8 pts for the year. then you work all winter and are ready for the next level but now you are stuck and have to show below where you are really ready.

As I have limited funds for showing I'm stuck for a year whether I'm over qualified or not. Don't we all hate it when a 4th level horse and rider drops down to say, 2nd level just to pick up a lot of blue ribbons? Don't you think it will be worse with this rule???

What about the people that are going to be desperate to get enough points to move up? They'll do 4 classes at every show just to get the points. What about their poor horse?

Here are the email addresses. Don't be shy! Write an email!


huzaarsmom@aol.com;
> dressagejanet@att.net;
>
scott@hasslerdressage.com; dressagemc@aol.com;
> dresagejdg@aol.com;
>
kathyconnellyavf@aol.com; Idlewilde@aol.com;
> LizyH@aol.com;
>
Reg2RD@aol.com; graydressage@optonline.net;
> JEMRPH@aol.com;
>
jmludwig@ix.netcom.com; jkeeler@usef.org;
> hildagurney@prodigy.net;
>
sjb3@mindspring.com; acresrnch@aol.com;
> AxSteiner@aol.com;
>
Lavellcarol@aol.com; agribbons@aol.com; GeoRoWms@aol.com

slc2
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:22 PM
Super job Rebecca and Jill P.!

Coreene
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:22 PM
Coreene, did you send anything? I am sure they would like to hear from you.They did, but in a much more polite way than my previous post, LOL. ;)

JRG
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:29 PM
My coach actually emailed me a copy. I thought it was very well written.

Coreene
Jan. 2, 2008, 06:48 PM
And if they do this for dressage, will they then put this same Nanny of America bullshit on the hunter/jumper people? :dead:

yaya
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:01 PM
Well, according to the COTH coverage of the USHJA convention, they do want to start licensing course designers and requiring instructor certification in order to show. Doesn't seem too much of a stretch from there to start having performance standards for competing in the h/j classes.

Coreene
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:15 PM
Dear USEF Board of Directors

RE Proposed Rule Change No. 275.07

Re the referenced rule change, I am a USEF, USDF and California Dressage Society member. And if I had needed a babysitter, I would have hired one. I do not need a paternalistic rule sent down by my governing body to do the same.

Let's get real. We have a sport with a huge reliance on sponsors and volunteers and the money they pour into the sport. And now there is a proposal to raise the middle finger at those very people with a Nanny Of America rule re moving up the levels?

If the judges who do not wish to see crappy rides at upper levels are so offended by it, then they should stop judging. What are they going to do next, petition the FEI to keep the riders from developing dressage nations out of the international competitions because they might only trot off with a 54%?

The arrogance is overwhelming. It smacks of paternalistic, socialist nannying, and is certainly not the American way. What's next, having to qualify to ride in the AO Hunters?

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

JRG
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:18 PM
Snippy, snippy Coreene....I love it. LOL

LexInVA
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:33 PM
And if they do this for dressage, will they then put this same Nanny of America bullshit on the hunter/jumper people? :dead:

They wouldn't do that at least not until there is some actual competition coming up the ranks or there is more money coming in at the upper levels for the USEF than the lower levels generate which isn't happening soon but could happen eventually. It would damage the business model the h/j world has been using for years to stay afloat. The old "You're child has Olympic potential." routine wouldn't work as well and the market for experienced horses would falter because people at the lower end of the skill spectrum wouldn't be able to blow their dough trying to buy their way to the top like they do now. If you look at the UL h/j talent pool, it's pretty shallow (personality references aside) because of the expenses which are way out of control due to the social institution that particular sport has become. You have to live in certain places, train with certain trainers, fall in line with certain beliefs, and have at least six and a half figures yearly to commit to your riding or you're just another nugget of poo in the toilet bowl as far as they are concerned.

SGray
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:40 PM
"You have to live in certain places, train with certain trainers, fall in line with certain beliefs, and have at least six and a half figures yearly to commit to your riding or you're just another nugget of poo in the toilet bowl as far as they are concerned."

which seems to be the direction that (the powers that be in the org. for) dressage is heading towards

Portia
Jan. 4, 2008, 12:07 PM
Unlike dressage, in the H/J there is a built-in limiting factor other than just fear of embarassing yourself -- fear of death and dismemberment. You can enter your horse in level 4 jumpers, but if you as a pair aren't ready to do that level, you won't get past the first few jumps because the horse is going to know better than you what it can and can't do. Or if you have a terrifically brave horse with no sense of self-preservation, you will soon enough get one or the other of you seriously injured.

That's not to say we don't see plenty of folks in jumper classes where they should probably be down a level, or where the rounds aren't pretty, but it's really not practical to go more than about one level above where you really should be -- at least, not more than a few times.

Coreene
Jan. 4, 2008, 12:45 PM
How unfortunate that some members of the Dressage Committee have sent out the most rude, bitchy, condescending replies to people who have taken the time to write. They should remember that there is a forward option on emails. Seeing the true colors demonstrated by some of them was absolutely mortifying.

My email went to the USEF BoD, not the Dressage Committee. Fortunately they have been very receptive to hearing our comments. But a few of the people on the Dressage Committee are just disgraceful.

SueCoo2
Jan. 4, 2008, 01:34 PM
Coreene, please post those rude and nasty replies here so we can see too! :yes: :D

Coreene
Jan. 4, 2008, 01:45 PM
Coreene, please post those rude and nasty replies here so we can see too! :yes: :DI didn't contact the Dressage Committee, so I did not receive them; these were emails sent back to others who had contacted those members. I will leave it up to them to share them here, but I was just mortified.

Members taking the time to explain their concerns to Dressage Committee members - people who are supposed to be representing us, the membership - and instead of no response or a generic "thank you for sharing your thoughts," a few of these absolute bitches decided that it was appropriate for them to send back condescending, unspeakably rude responses. I mean, really the email version of "eff you, bitch." Which is why I am glad that there is a forwarding option on emails.

SGray
Jan. 4, 2008, 01:46 PM
[quote=Coreene;2910883]........If the judges who do not wish to see crappy rides at upper levels are so offended by it, then they should stop judging....../quote]

perhaps those judges (that we mortals so offend) should limit the jobs they will accept to Wellington and Devon?

J-Lu
Jan. 4, 2008, 10:35 PM
I sent my rather lengthy letter to the entire USEF dressage committee and some board members today. So far, I've received civil and personal responses.

Thanks, Rebecca, for spearheading the campaign!

J.

YankeeLawyer
Jan. 5, 2008, 06:52 PM
Got a reply to my email version of the letter from Archibald Cox, one of the BOD members, and he said he will look into the matter. I'm impressed that he answered.

I can't help but think that letters and emails to all of the BOD members will bear some fruit. I think it's worth the time and the $20 or so in postage. They will have a paper in their hand to take to the USEF convention.

Great letter, Rebecca.

Archie was a good friend of mine when we were juniors; he is a great person and I am sure he will take your letter seriously.

YankeeLawyer
Jan. 5, 2008, 07:05 PM
I didn't contact the Dressage Committee, so I did not receive them; these were emails sent back to others who had contacted those members. I will leave it up to them to share them here, but I was just mortified.

Members taking the time to explain their concerns to Dressage Committee members - people who are supposed to be representing us, the membership - and instead of no response or a generic "thank you for sharing your thoughts," a few of these absolute bitches decided that it was appropriate for them to send back condescending, unspeakably rude responses. I mean, really the email version of "eff you, bitch." Which is why I am glad that there is a forwarding option on emails.


I would draft a follow-up letter to the USEF and attach those responses to demonstrate how considerate those particular dressage committee members are of the members at large. Surely, if one cannot review and consider comments directed at a rule proposal, one should not "serve" on a committee. I think a number of these people need to get a reality check.

Theoretically, rules are supposed to address identifiable issues, and should be tailored narrowly to successully deal with those issues without having adverse consequences (whether foreseeable or not). In the case of this particular proposal, I am still not convinced there is any real, identifiable problem (such as poor riding or abuse). To the extent there is, as others have said, there are more efffective and direct ways to deal with these that would not be unduly burdensome to the vast majority of riders out there who do not present any issue.

canyonoak
Jan. 5, 2008, 07:10 PM
From another BB:

<< "I have been asked to post the following memo from the USEF Dressage
Committee.

I hope that all of you who read it; read it in the manner and spirit in which
it was written. I also hope that someone will post it on the other Bulletin
Boards on which discussions have been taking place as I am not a member of
those other boards.

Memo from the USEF Dressage Committee Concerning the Performance Standards
Proposal :



The members of the USEF Dressage Committee have received many e-mails from
competitors and show organizers, and have, indeed, listened to you. We answered
most of your communications individually. Letters that we did not answer often
were of excessive length and, considering the workload of the Dressage
Committee, difficult for a point-by-point response.

We need to remind the correspondents that the document is exactly what it is
named, a proposal. If performance standards were to be implemented in this or
any other form, they would not take effect before 2010. Rather than rejecting
the proposal outright, competitors can contribute to the deliberations by
reviewing their points and percentages when they show this year. This might
provide us with further concrete suggestions and ideas.

We know that amateur riders are the backbone of our sport. The goal of the DC
is to re-work this proposal and to find a system that is fair to the horses
and allows riders with average horses who are on the right track with their
training to move to the next level expeditiously.

Most judges do complete the score sheets with great care and try hard to give
competitors the scores they deserve. Unfortunately, some riders do not agree
or choose to ignore the judges’ comments. With our proposal, we will try to
find a solution that will work well for all dressage sport participants. Also,
please keep in mind that the proposal to be voted on at the USEF Convention in
January 2008 will only establish a time-line for developing a qualification
system. When the performance standards proposal is finalized, the qualification
requirements will be submitted as a separate rule change proposal."

Respectfully,
USEF Dressage Committee>>


adding from myself:

No, I am not appeased or particularly grateful.

If the Committee wants to do something productive, I can only hope they start focusing on education--teaching trainers HOW to teach; developing a standardized codified system, the way they do in Europe.

The proposal is misguided. No matter how courteous this reply is; no matter how watered down the finalized proposal presentation is--the bottom line is--something that is essentially misguided does not improve by window-dressing. The heart and core of the proposal is still misguided.
IMHO.

OTOH--I am very grateful that we are all now talking like adults and adopting common courtesy.

WRITE to the BoD!!!!

Otherwise, the BoD will just think everyone accepts this new sanitized version of the proposal.

YankeeLawyer
Jan. 5, 2008, 08:24 PM
So, the bottom line in that memo is that we shouldn't be concerned bcause the proposal, if implemented, will not be effective until 2010, and by the way, in the meantime, we should review the scores we receive? What is that supposed to mean? Are they suggesting that we should not worry because by then we could be grandfathered in anyway? I am not sure how the proposed effective date of the rule has anything to do with the merits (or lack thereof) of the rule.

Will someone please explain what problem they are trying to fix? I have not seen one explanation that justifies (or even explains) the implementation of such a rule. Not one.

Touchstone Farm
Jan. 5, 2008, 09:54 PM
Did anyone beside me get the email on their personal email from the committee? I did... Hope I'm not being singled out! But if I am, oh, well, here was my response to the email. I tried to be respectful and thoughtful!

.................................................. ..

I appreciate that the USEF Dressage Committee is trying to improve dressage in this country, and I think the committee has the best of intentions. I honestly believe the committee wants to improve dressage in the U.S. because it is made up of a group of individuals that I highly, highly respect.

However, unlike your email states, I do wonder if the committee IS really listening to members (USEF and USDF), many of whom -- including myself -- do not want a qualification system at this time. I say "at this time," because I'm not opposed to a qualifying system in the future (later than 2010) -- because right now I don't believe we're anywhere near where this is the best way to use limited resources (staff and money). My belief is that we need to be putting the effort toward education because when a rider goes into the ring at a show, it is "after the fact." I'd rather see effort put toward teaching people how to ride, and teaching instructors how to teach. We are not like Germany and other European countries; not only are these much, much smaller country with access to many shows within a close distance, but more importantly, these countries have an infrastructure that could be likened to our baseball culture where there is "Little League," and baseball is a part of high school and college programs, for example. We are not at that point yet with a system of riding schools and education. We just can't copy another country's system and expect it to work here.

Should a qualifying system be put into place -- perhaps a version with much easier qualifications, in order to make it more "palatable" to members, I'm afraid it really won't do what the USEF committee is hoping it will do (because the requirements have been watered down), and we will be stuck with the technology, staff and administrative expense of supporting a data base/monitoring system that isn't doing what was hoped.

Anyway, as I said, it appears the wheels are set in motion, so since a qualifying system really appears to be a "done deal" according to your email ("When the performance standards proposal is finalized..."), I do hope that the expense of such a system (staff time, programming, postage, administrative costs, etc.) will be a part of the information disseminated to members as well as how it will affect membership dues and/or showing costs. (The expense has to be picked up somewhere!) I also hope if a qualification system is put in place that the technology can nearly instantly keep track of a rider's scores so that when riders meet the requirements, they could move up at the next show...which could be the next week. Once a rider is qualified, they should be able to move up to the next level quickly...and not have to wait weeks for "verification."

Again, I appreciate the concern for dressage in the U.S. that the USEF Dressage Committee has. I personally would just like to see the idea redirected into another solution! : - )

Caryn Vesperman
USEF and USDF member (for at least 20 years!)

Coreene
Jan. 6, 2008, 02:23 PM
I would draft a follow-up letter to the USEF and attach those responses to demonstrate how considerate those particular dressage committee members are of the members at large. Surely, if one cannot review and consider comments directed at a rule proposal, one should not "serve" on a committee. I think a number of these people need to get a reality check.I was happy to see that some of these were indeed forwarded to the Board of Directors, and more are on the way. I mean, really, some of responses from DC members were just beyond belief. :mad:

canyonoak
Jan. 6, 2008, 02:47 PM
My email to BoD:



Dear Director:



I am or have been a competitor, trainer, GMO board member, show manager, scribe, volunteer, instructor, “L” judge graduate, dressage teacher. I have helped other riders gain the USDF Gold Medals.



I am opposed to this proposal which seeks to establish rider eligibility according to the qualification criteria established by the Federation’s Dressage Committee. The proposal itself is misguided and addresses a ‘problem’ that no one except the proposal writers seems to believe is a valid problem.



One. The proposal has no checks and balances. All criteria and management of the program will be determined and changed ONLY by the Federation Dressage Committee;

i.e. : NO vote ever taken, NO input every required from the membership.



Two. WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS?



There has been no proposed budget.

It won't be just the technology that needs to be paid for, but the staff time, postage, administrative expenses, etc. All this will have to be covered somehow -- increased dues? Increased show costs?


Show managers are already concerned with the high cost of showing. This proposal puts ever more burden financially and geographically on the competitor.

Chances are that fewer riders will go to fewer recognized shows.



Three. The latest version of the proposal offered by the Committee LOWERS the necessary scores, to appease the opponents. But lowering the standard simply allows the bad rider on the ‘fancy mover’ more latitude to move up. In dressage tests, there is only one score for rider, all others apply to the horse.



The proposal wants to foster ‘better riding.’ To this end, we ask that the judges makes use of the RIDER SCORE, newly given more weight with coefficient of 3, the only score that has such a high coefficient.



We already have a Rider Medals program in place through USDF, rewarding better riding..



thank you for your time and attention,

Uncle Fester
Jan. 6, 2008, 03:10 PM
I agree with canyonoak.....the solution is the TRAINING of trainers.

Once upon a time, there was a university that admits all comers, pretty soon the teachers got tired of having to deal with the students lack of basic skills, so they got together to solve the problem and.............they raised the standards to get into the university. Pretty soon they were teaching to empty classrooms.
If they would have focused their energies into improving the training of the lower grades, everybody lives happily ever after.

There is nothing wrong with having high standards but there is something wrong when basic instruction is so difficult to find by the average dressage amateur. (There is another thread now on how many years people felt they have wasted getting improper instruction.)

I've been through 6 trainers in dressage over the years. My current trainer is German, all others have been American. The German went through the German certification process and actually, until she told me about it, I had no idea there was such a serious and rigorous process in place anywhere to train horses.

Needless to say she is the best trainer I've had to date.

freestyle2music
Jan. 6, 2008, 04:54 PM
I agree with the fact that the most important thing is to set up a good trainingprogram for the dressage trainers. But I have to add to this, that it is also very important that the advices (of these very well educated trainers) have to be followed by their students. Toooooooo many times I read on dressage-forums that students follow their own opinion and start one or two classes higher as adviced by their trainers. Or things like "my trainer didn't want me to start at 3th level" so I went to another trainer.

YankeeLawyer
Jan. 6, 2008, 06:08 PM
I agree with the fact that the most important thing is to set up a good trainingprogram for the dressage trainers. But I have to add to this, that it is also very important that the advices (of these very well educated trainers) have to be followed by their students. Toooooooo many times I read on dressage-forums that students follow their own opinion and start one or two classes higher as adviced by their trainers. Or things like "my trainer didn't want me to start at 3th level" so I went to another trainer.

Of course, But that has nothing to do with whether we need a qualification system in this country, which will impact many, many more people than the few people who have little self-knowledge and choose to disregard their own trainers' advice.

SGray
Jan. 7, 2008, 11:18 AM
a costly proposal without need nor justification

if there was need/justification then the proponents should have facts and figures to back up said need -- I have not read of any being brought forth

RonaldGroen
Jan. 7, 2008, 11:29 AM
Our German qualification system



Rider has to present the horse in hand in walk and trot.
Rider has to mount the horse in front of the judges.
Horse rider combination has to go over a little jump.
Horse rider combination has to ride between people who are waving ribbons and large empty trash bags.
Some helpers let balloons fly behind a hedge, but in plain view of the horse.
Other helpers quickly open up umbrellas right next to the horse rider combination.
The horse rider combination has to ride across a large tarp on the ground.
A helper has to pull a large bag with rattling metal objects alongside the horse.
The horse rider combination has to ride across a small wooden bridge.
After dismounting, the rider has to spray his horse with water out of a spray bottle

siegi b.
Jan. 7, 2008, 12:04 PM
Hmmmm, we have the same system here except it's applied to dogs and is called the Canine Good Citizen test. :-)

freestyle2music
Jan. 7, 2008, 01:07 PM
Hmmmm, we have the same system here except it's applied to dogs and is called the Canine Good Citizen test. :-)

This is almost similair to what we have in Holland. These tests have to be succesfully done, before you and your horse are allowed to ride on public roads. NO SIEGI THIS IS NO JOKE !

The only thing which we have added in Holland is that you have to mount from the ground.;):yes::cool::cool:;)

So start preparing yourself, because I also know that the American government has planned to implement the same law.

AND AGAIN : NO SIEGI THIS ISN't A JOKE EITHER.

Theo

eurofoal
Jan. 7, 2008, 01:58 PM
Quick access to the DC emails:


doconnor@usef.org
Cc: taubercj@msn.com ; kkm@usef.org ; redwing@htc.net ; mike@tomlinson.com ; armand@drleone.com ; wch4@aol.com ; kallendvm@aol.com ; a.balch@asha.net ; beachfelix@aol.com ; sam.barish@science.doe.gov ; clearseas@earthlink.net ; lbibbler@gmail.com ; acoxweho@aol.com ; macron@insightbb.com ; EDiBella@aol.com ; equitalk@aol.com ; GUYHORSE@YAHOO.COM ; cecileponies@earthlink.net ; mikehuberusa@hotmail.com ; stsj@aol.com ; jerrkmml@gmail.com ; jemrph@aol.com ; beminer@comcast.net ; Bill2760@aol.com ; nowakarabianfarm@aol.com ; ronrhodes@roadrunner.com ; robert@ridland.net ; LSERIO340@GMAIL.COM ; howard@hbsimpson.com ; KYRAS@FRONTIERNET.NET ; scf29@bellsouth.net ; haybernie@aol.com ; lanceanddebby@verizon.net ; janmweber@gmail.com ; GEOROWMS@aol.com ; sblinks@vzw.blackberry.net ; brunjesk@yahoo.com ; roc72665@earthlink.net ; Sdedvm78@aol.com ; thehillofit@aol.com ; MarketStreetInc@yahoo.com ; LAVELLCAROL@aol.com ; tcutch1@verizon.net ; chester@chesterweber.com

Coreene
Jan. 7, 2008, 03:55 PM
Quick access to the DC emails:


doconnor@usef.org
Cc: taubercj@msn.com ; kkm@usef.org ; redwing@htc.net ; mike@tomlinson.com ; armand@drleone.com ; wch4@aol.com ; kallendvm@aol.com ; a.balch@asha.net ; beachfelix@aol.com ; sam.barish@science.doe.gov ; clearseas@earthlink.net ; lbibbler@gmail.com ; acoxweho@aol.com ; macron@insightbb.com ; EDiBella@aol.com ; equitalk@aol.com ; GUYHORSE@YAHOO.COM ; cecileponies@earthlink.net ; mikehuberusa@hotmail.com ; stsj@aol.com ; jerrkmml@gmail.com ; jemrph@aol.com ; beminer@comcast.net ; Bill2760@aol.com ; nowakarabianfarm@aol.com ; ronrhodes@roadrunner.com ; robert@ridland.net ; LSERIO340@GMAIL.COM ; howard@hbsimpson.com ; KYRAS@FRONTIERNET.NET ; scf29@bellsouth.net ; haybernie@aol.com ; lanceanddebby@verizon.net ; janmweber@gmail.com ; GEOROWMS@aol.com ; sblinks@vzw.blackberry.net ; brunjesk@yahoo.com ; roc72665@earthlink.net ; Sdedvm78@aol.com ; thehillofit@aol.com ; MarketStreetInc@yahoo.com ; LAVELLCAROL@aol.com ; tcutch1@verizon.net ; chester@chesterweber.com (chester@chesterweber.com[/quote]Two) This is not the DC, this is the USEF Board of Directors - the right list to send your emails to, but just clarification that it is not the DC.

But thanks for posting these Jill! Big kiss for Margo!

arnika
Jan. 7, 2008, 05:01 PM
Our German qualification system



Rider has to present the horse in hand in walk and trot.
Rider has to mount the horse in front of the judges.
Horse rider combination has to go over a little jump.
Horse rider combination has to ride between people who are waving ribbons and large empty trash bags.
Some helpers let balloons fly behind a hedge, but in plain view of the horse.
Other helpers quickly open up umbrellas right next to the horse rider combination.
The horse rider combination has to ride across a large tarp on the ground.
A helper has to pull a large bag with rattling metal objects alongside the horse.
The horse rider combination has to ride across a small wooden bridge.
After dismounting, the rider has to spray his horse with water out of a spray bottle


This sounds very much like a typical Western trail class anywhere in America. Even our children do this in those classes.

canyonoak
Jan. 7, 2008, 07:00 PM
<< The only thing which we have added in Holland is that you have to mount from the ground. >>


Well, that's the dealbreaker that stops me from moving to Holland!

LOL

tabula rashah
Jan. 7, 2008, 08:44 PM
Here, here! Rebecca- a very well written letter indeed!

YankeeLawyer
Jan. 8, 2008, 11:08 AM
Our German qualification system



Rider has to present the horse in hand in walk and trot.
Rider has to mount the horse in front of the judges.
Horse rider combination has to go over a little jump.
Horse rider combination has to ride between people who are waving ribbons and large empty trash bags.
Some helpers let balloons fly behind a hedge, but in plain view of the horse.
Other helpers quickly open up umbrellas right next to the horse rider combination.
The horse rider combination has to ride across a large tarp on the ground.
A helper has to pull a large bag with rattling metal objects alongside the horse.
The horse rider combination has to ride across a small wooden bridge.
After dismounting, the rider has to spray his horse with water out of a spray bottle

I wonder how many Olympic riders could do this on their Olympic mounts. Perhaps they should be made to re-qualify for third level, also.

freestyle2music
Jan. 8, 2008, 11:16 AM
<< The only thing which we have added in Holland is that you have to mount from the ground. >>


Well, that's the dealbreaker that stops me from moving to Holland!

LOL

But heeeeee, you know we have a lot of well educated gentlemen in Holland who all have sufficient scores to help you to make the big jump.;)

Coreene
Jan. 8, 2008, 01:07 PM
<< The only thing which we have added in Holland is that you have to mount from the ground. >>


Well, that's the dealbreaker that stops me from moving to Holland!

LOLWell, see, you've got to be creative. Mount while on a steep hill. In the 11 years I had Willem, that was the only time I could mount him from the ground. :lol: So do this part of your Trail Horse Test on a reeeeeeeeeally steep berm. ;)

freestyle2music
Jan. 8, 2008, 01:11 PM
Well, see, you've got to be creative. Mount while on a steep hill. In the 11 years I had Willem, that was the only time I could mount him from the ground. :lol: So do this part of your Trail Horse Test on a reeeeeeeeeally steep berm. ;)

But Coreene you know that we don't have hills in Holland. That's why it is called "the flat lands", but also for you I will make sure we have a couple of hills created along your path.

Coreene
Jan. 8, 2008, 01:42 PM
But Coreene you know that we don't have hills in Holland. That's why it is called "the flat lands", but also for you I will make sure we have a couple of hills created along your path.I know, I know! Amersfoort (our home town) boasts the Berg Hotel. On what we would call a tiny hill, but to them is Everest. ;)

Theo, I will be there in late April. Can't wait.

Whisper
Jan. 8, 2008, 02:52 PM
Are people allowed to run the stirrup down a few holes for the test? I can mount from the ground on shorter horses, or vault on if the horse is moving, but getting my foot high enough on a 17-hand horse when I'm wearing tall boots is pretty challenging. :)

Anyway, here is the letter I sent:
Dear USEF Board of Directors,
Please deny Rule Chage 275-07. It is unnecessary, since judges can already handle abusive riders by disqualifying them. If they are merely bad riders rather than abusive, the judge can give them a rider score of 1 or 2, and emphasise that the rider is not ready for the level in the comments. The rule change doesn't address the problem directly at all. If the proposed criteria were for 2 or 3 scores of 6 or 7 for rider at the highest test of the previous level, that would be more germane, and reasonable.

The rule change will unecessarily make the show organizer's job more difficult. It will also limit advancement for competent riders who are in areas with few shows.
I wrote to the USEF Dressage Committee previously, and while Janet Foy-Brown and Hilda Gurney kindly responded, I would not have been aware of the proposed changes to the criteria if I were not active on a couple of equine-related sites. I hope that the membership will be kept informed on this very important ruling if you pass it in spite of the opposition to it from many USEF and USDF members.

Sonesta
Jan. 8, 2008, 03:04 PM
Here's a copy of my letter:

To the USEF Board of Directors:

I am a 52 year old long time member of USEF, USDF, USCTA and various GMOs. I have competed in dressage, eventing, show jumping and various breed disciplines during my long life. I have acted as scribe, volunteer, eventing jump judge, and every other darned thing you can think of. I am also a breeder of warmbloods that have been quite successful in dressage and show jumping. Oh, and I'm an attorney, so have a decent amount of education.

I now train riders in dressage to third level, giving them GOOD basics and have audited the "L" judge program and am working on my Dressage Sporthorse Breeders Judge's license, having attended several of the seminars from members of this BOD.

I write to say that while I DO understand the desire of some of the DC members to have some qualification standards to move up the levels in dressage, I think the current rule is unworkable, will be prohibitively expensive, is elitist and will drive many people away from the sport.

Besides, there is already a VERY simple method of making it known when a rider is not qualified: the rider collective score -- however, our judges seem to be unwilling to use it.

If our judges would actually UTILIZE the full range of scores and punish bad riding, the issue would be resolved with no additional cost to USEF or the competitors. Would this keep bad riders out of the upper levels? Not as well as qualifying scores, but it would certainly go a long way towards educating the riders as to their actual riding ability (or maybe give them a "lightbulb moment" that, perhaps, they need to find a better trainer).

But even the proposed rule will not keep out the determined bad rider who will buy/lease an expensive moving horse that will receive good enough gait scores to overcome the "5" that the judges seem to think is the lowest rider score they should give. The only ones who'll actually be affected are those riders who cannot afford to buy their way into the upper levels.

This is the United States of America. We don't punish our citizens who are not wealthy -- at least we should not.

Please do not pass this proposal. It will not be good for the sport. The unintended results will be very bad.


Rebecca Pennington

Coreene
Jan. 8, 2008, 03:48 PM
Sonesta, I love it!

rebecca yount
Jan. 8, 2008, 06:06 PM
Well, okay Coreene and Theo--stand up on a dike then.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Jan. 8, 2008, 06:11 PM
Sonesta - I also liked your letter. It seems to me the administration of this system will be One. Big. Headache.