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pwynnnorman
Jan. 20, 2008, 08:52 AM
Every single time I bring up the subject of the sport's image, several folks leap at me for one reason or another. I then argue that it's a real issue--then I get poo-poo'ed by those who just...what? Don't want to believe it? Think I'm a nutcase?

But read these snippets from Denny's Beginner-Novice affordability thread. THIS is what I mean. Eventing DOES have an image problem in some quarters. And that that image can interfere, not only with the growth of the sport, but also with garnering support (like sponsorship) for the sport. I know full well, from speaking with others, that that just doesn't matter to some folks--even that there are some folks both inside and outside USEA, who think the sport doesn't need growth if it comes at the cost of certain things they prefer.

So I ask again, as a quasi-poll, quasi-research question: Do these (the impressions implied below) MATTER to you? Do you think USEA would do well to invest some funds in changing these impressions? Do you think these thing inhibit growth significantly enough to require being addressed? (I ask the last question because while the expense certainly is perhaps the major factor, this one--image, combined with education--is something somewhat more doable than making the sport less expensive.


As ridiculous as this seems it is so true! I had NO idea that competitive lower level eventing existed until a friend of mine told me about it. Why? Because I had only ridden at h/j and pleasure type barns and no one knew anything about eventing nor spoke of it.

Based on what I saw and read around me I pretty much thought eventing was for those crazy people that like to gallop over 4ft solid fences :lol: Needless to say at that time I wasn't even going to consider looking into eventing as a possible discipline for myself and my horse.



Get those stories out there. And more publicity showing lower cross country jumps wouldn't hurt either. Those big jumps are really scary!



I was also intrigued to read in Denny's thread how at least one person stated USEA's purpose as "to promote the sport." What does that mean to you? (I'm wanting to get a feel for opinions on this, along with why and who--what type of eventers, not "who" by name--stands where on it all.)

UMass Director
Jan. 20, 2008, 09:22 AM
There are some intersting points to consider for our sports "image" and then how to grow it.

If you read the "Hahah" thread, you will get some idea of what we need to contend with. I'm sure there are plenty of opportunites to get more competitors involved in eventing from other disciplines (like the hunters and jumpers) if we weren't percieved as the sport that "gallops" or "goes fast" (and out of control:eek:)

Yes there are those riders that go too fast and/or out of control for the level (at all levels, including advanced) but the image or thought we need to get out there is that we do it for the love of riding across the country, not in a ring (well for one out of three phases anyway:D). The opportunity for freedom, experiencing the thrill of going up and down hill, through water and over natural obstacles seems to have a more natural connection with our horses (and of course there is that adrenaline fix:D)

From teaching many "low level" students at home and at clinics, most just want to learn how to get around and have the satisfaction of spending a day with their horse and friends. Most have a common goal of just completing, and if they get a $1.50 ribbon at the end of the day it is just icing on the cake (but we come for the cake, not the icing)

denny
Jan. 20, 2008, 09:34 AM
"U-Mass" knows better than most, because for many years, he and his family ran one of the great destination events in Area One, now, sadly, gone, like so very many privately owned and operated events.
This preservation of strong local events must become one of the totally urgent challenges our sport will face as the US population climbs from 300,000,000 in 2008 to the projected 400,000,000 by 2050.

Crazyabouteventing
Jan. 20, 2008, 09:38 AM
I think there is an undeniable link from "image" to that of "growth" within any sport. Every sport requires growth of some sport, people leave or stop participating for a variety of reasons. Growth doesnt just mean getting larger it also means replacing those people that have decided they cant afford it, dont have the time, their priorities have changed or they have found something else.

When I see the stats thrown about how the USEA membership is primarily made from Nov to BN it makes me wonder about representation at the high levels of the sport and if those levels are getting the support they need.

I would think all levels of the sport should be targeted for growth, we need solid programs for the new people in the sport as well as the rising elite.

Image is perception, its an individual thing but often driven best by extensive and these days expensive marketing. I dont think there are any short cuts here, if you want to change the image to something better then you have to pay for it or wait a long time.

The bigger issue is probably one you allude to is what do we want the image to portray?. The high side or the novice side. As with everyone I expect, I come across people in all walks of life that dont know what eventing is. Even the other day at a western barn with 10 horses the owner new nothing about the sport or how it was organized. "Is that the Olympic competition I see?" was one quote.

Yes there are going to be those "inside" that dont want to change the image or care. But for me it comes down to the leadership of sport and how in touch they are with their membership and whats going to drive that membership in years ahead.

Image will mean more people come, but also means a lot of other things

pwynnnorman
Jan. 20, 2008, 09:48 AM
This preservation of strong local events must become one of the totally urgent challenges our sport will face as the US population climbs from 300,000,000 in 2008 to the projected 400,000,000 by 2050.

I coudn't agree with you more. I think a real, solid push should be made to localize press releases, for example. To set up a system wherein, regardless of event organizers abilities--since they are already overloaded with work--USEA has a way to get the winners' (and other eventers) stories in the local press (specifically: a human interest type story before each event, and winners' stories or a news-type report afterward). My proposed solution is a "local liaison" network. Other sports do it. Even here, folks have written about their favorite eventers, big name and small. Why not corral that enthusiasm and put it to good use getting positive images and stories distributed locally and A LOT? I'd bet that even event photographers would pitch in a nice, dramatic, happy, pretty picture to go along with the story--after all, they'd benefit from the local exposure, too, wouldn't they?

CBudFrggy
Jan. 20, 2008, 09:50 AM
was the first time ANYONE in the horse world in which I live was interested in the fact that we're going to be first-time eventers next week.

I attended a well-run hunter pace in the exclusive Caloosa equestrian subdivision in NW Palm Beach County. They had a beautiful, but small, course of SOLID FENCES--can you believe it? There were rolltops, tires, logs, brush box, a real planted hedge, zig-zag fence, pipe organ, coops, barrels, telephone poles stacked, a bank, and a pile of stacked logs. There was even a start "box" and finish "line". What a great little course--not open to anyone but residents, except for this event and their little hunter shows. I'll definitely go back to their hunter shows if its going to be held in their field over these solids.

And there were kids there jumping 18" over these little solid obstacles having a blast. In fact, two little girls "volunteered" on their pony's to reset a ground line that had become dislodged when another competitor reported it. They said, "Oooh, let's canter." And of course I said, "Let's gallop." Their mothers laughed. While we all watched from the side, the 2 little girls cantered out, and the one on the shortest horse got off and fixed the pole, while the other little girl held her pony. Then they cantered back. While we adults made bets as to whether they were going to jump something on the way back. Of course, they planned on jumping a log, but one chickened out b/c she didn't want to get in trouble. Tooo cuuuute.

Anyway, everyone I've ever talked to at our barn (admittedly primarily a reining barn), at hunter shows, and even at the Christina Schlusemeyer clinic held 2 weeks ago in Plantation, says, "Eventing? Where do you do that?" No one has ever said, "Why?" or "Aren't you scared of those fences?" or anything of that nature. I think down here it's a real lack of knowledge. I always have to explain about the 3-phases and everyone acts like they've never heard of it. :confused: :eek:

Up at Caloosa yesterday, at least everyone had heard of eventing, and wished us good luck next week as well as complimenting me on my boy.

Maybe in other parts of the country there's a more pervasive "knowledge" about eventing and accordingly, a negative image?

But for a positive image, a video of those 2 little girls cantering out, fixing the pole and cantering back and sneaking a jump over a little log, would have been great eventing publicity (even though it wasn't an event).

pwynnnorman
Jan. 20, 2008, 09:54 AM
Image is perception, its an individual thing but often driven best by extensive and these days expensive marketing.


Not necessarily. Not if you are willing to think outside the box and maximize resources you already possess (instead of having to buy). There is no rule that marketing has to be expensive. Many an internet upstart has proven that.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:05 AM
Bear with me on this, please. Compare these two images--the first is in use, the second I put together ONLY to make a point (it is not intended to be used):

http://sportponiesunlimited.com/badexample.jpg
http://sportponiesunlimited.com/finalversionjpeg.JPG

To me, the first one looks way, way, way to expensive, serious, upper level. I wish I could have gotten better images of a gray horse clearly doing lower level stuff for the second one, but that was my intent: to show the three phases, but show them as doable and/or familiar--y'know what I mean?

Auburn
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:12 AM
Wow! Great contrasts. Although, I do love the photo of the chestnut jumping the corner jump. ;) Auburn

asterix
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:12 AM
I cannot imagine any better way to sustain and nurture our sport than by getting more first timers out on a cross country course.

Some reasonable percentage of those folks will...
come back next time
decide they want to lease an event horse
decide they want to learn to event with their own horse
eventually shoot for recognized BN
and...
5 years later, be spending all their recreational time and most of their money on a preliminary horse, a prospect (er, husband horse, right), a truck, a trailer, lessons, saddles, clinics, entry fees, road trips to Rolex...hmm...what am I forgetting?

Promoting the sexy upper level events is great but I had seen eventing in the Olympics for years and never thought of it as a discipline I could, or would want to, try.

Not until I was at a barn with an intro eventing program and intro eventing horses available, and found myself careening around a baby beginner novice course...fell off when my horse tripped (that intro eventing program did not include things like proper position and balance and your bridge and...so hunter 2 point I did, all the way around)...got back on...discovered it didn't "count" and crossed the finish line with a HUGE grin on my face...
THEN I thought of it as a sport I might try.

asterix
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:14 AM
pwynn, you posted those pics while I was writing my tome.
Yes.
Yes.
Sexy is great for NBC ads and getting corporate sponsorship, but "hey, I can try that" is what will actually make this sport grow.

Crazyabouteventing
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:16 AM
Not necessarily. Not if you are willing to think outside the box and maximize resources you already possess (instead of having to buy). There is no rule that marketing has to be expensive. Many an internet upstart has proven that.

Yes and I agree in part but we are not dealing with something thats new, eventing has been around for a long time and the participation rates at RShows last year shows it cant even be considered as fledgling.

We are talking about changing or adapting the "image" of sport here mainly, for the betterment of the growth of the sport. One that will give the best chance the sport prospers for another century.

CookiePony
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:31 AM
To me, the first one looks way, way, way to expensive, serious, upper level. I wish I could have gotten better images of a gray horse clearly doing lower level stuff for the second one, but that was my intent: to show the three phases, but show them as doable and/or familiar--y'know what I mean?

Yep. I love the "Cross country is our game" ad that the USEA runs now, with Sara Davis, I think, jumping a pretty big skinny. HOWEVER, as much as I admire it, I can see it as being intimidating to anyone wondering if they could event, except for that small fraction of envelope-pushers who latch on and know from day one that they want to do the upper levels.

Even substituting just your left-hand image, of the rider's smile, for Sara's intense, focused expression, would change the overall impression.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:42 AM
Y'know what irritates me the most about this subject? The "eventing is an extreme sport" thing. It isn't an extreme sport at the lower levels--the levels most people enjoy most directly. We shoot ourselves in the foot by equating it with that type of sport, don't you think?

Wasn't there a thread at some point that filled in the blanks:
"Eventing is ________"? (I can't find it. Anyone?)

CookiePony
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:50 AM
Y'know what irritates me the most about this subject? The "eventing is an extreme sport" thing. It isn't an extreme sport at the lower levels--the levels most people enjoy most directly. We shoot ourselves in the foot by equating it with that type of sport, don't you think?

Wasn't there a thread at some point that filled in the blanks:
"Eventing is ________"? (I can't find it. Anyone?)

Honestly, I get a little swagger in my step when someone says to me, oooh, you eventers are so BRAVE! But you're right, this is not a constructive image to maintain. I am a firm believer that "it takes guts to leave that start box no matter how big the jumps are, " as a fellow COTHer once wrote. BUT, in reality, I am an average adult amateur of middling ability who just happened to grow up riding at Pony Club barns that had good lower-level eventing programs. Not exactly "extreme."

I don't remember the Eventing is _____? thread... better start another one!

tullio
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:20 AM
Well, if I were printing flyers to convince my (lower level HJ) student riders to try eventing, I'd definitely be making copies of option 2.

I never would have agreed to try eventing if I hadn't gone to watch and realized that I could just lope around the 2' fences and give it a try. I had no idea that ditches, drops, and water were not included in the local unrecognized BN course. (I know that sounds dumb, but come on! How would I know?) I had no idea there would be other chicken-s**t grown folks out there with me, not just a band of young, fearless PCers bent on achieving 4* greatness. I honestly did not know.

I told my eventing friend - "You have to understand. I've watched videos of Rolex and I watched on the Olympic xc course in Atlanta. That's IT. How was I supposed to know what the lower levels looked like???" And that's just for me as a very confident rider who has shown for years, hunted, ridden on trails, etc (and this is back home in MD, where we certainly are not lacking in opportunities to spectate or participate).

But, I didn't know, so I didn't even think of trying it. I would be even more cautious if it were my student or my child riding - eventing would be more of a "no way" for them!

Having seen it for myself, I know that when I'm ready to shop for a new horse, it will have to have the ability to go do a little BN or N event as well as get around in the HJ ring. It doesn't have to win everything in either venue, but that lower level eventing was the most fun I've ever had.

I guess another point is, you need to recruit people into the sport who maybe aren't ready to walk out and go prelim tomorrow. The wide audience of BN and N kids and adults, new to horse sports or new to eventing, is where you need to start - especially if you are going to want some of these people to develop into the future 'big names' of eventing. They have to start somewhere, right? Maybe the next KO'C is out there on a pony in the hunter ring, because mom's too scared to turn her loose with the 'crazy eventers and giant solid fences'. Probably a good idea to get eventing on those radars as accessible and approachable, for those youngsters or less experienced (but SAFE) riders to try.

Minuet
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:33 AM
So many of these replies could have been written by me.
Especially this one.

I had no idea there would be other chicken-s**t grown folks out there with me, not just a band of young, fearless PCers bent on achieving 4* greatness. I honestly did not know.


I'm an adult with a bit of disposable income (not a lot) that I want to spend on riding. And I want a community that I feel would welcome me at their lower levels. I think I see this in eventing.
When I remember the best things about childhood, it's not the ribbons I won or the showring I was in. It was cantering through the woods over brush jumps, and learning to jump on outside courses. We thought we were just having fun, but that's where our riding ability was sharpened.

PatsTicket
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:55 AM
People seem surprised and even unhappy to hear that most of the sport of eventing is at the BN and N level. Most of the sport of baseball is at the high school or company team level. Most of the sport of bowling is friends going to the lanes, not tournament level.

Any healthy sport has to have a solid base of non-professionals who enjoy participating (playing) in their spare time, for fun. These entry level participants are the one who ARE the fans of the professionals. They are the segment responsible for the growth of the sport at all levels.

Let's hear it for BN! I heading UP to that level this year, having started at the unrecognized level of Baby Green and proudly moved up to Advanced Green. And when I told my middle aged hunter friends that they can ride cross country over baby 2' fences, they wanted to try it. And now they want to go to Rolex, and support US eventing. We'll never make it to training level, but our enthusiasm and participation are good for the sport.

RunForIt
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:08 PM
Well, if I were printing flyers to convince my (lower level HJ) student riders to try eventing, I'd definitely be making copies of option 2.

I never would have agreed to try eventing if I hadn't gone to watch and realized that I could just lope around the 2' fences and give it a try. I had no idea that ditches, drops, and water were not included in the local unrecognized BN course. (I know that sounds dumb, but come on! How would I know?) I had no idea there would be other chicken-s**t grown folks out there with me, not just a band of young, fearless PCers bent on achieving 4* greatness. I honestly did not know.

I told my eventing friend - "You have to understand. I've watched videos of Rolex and I watched on the Olympic xc course in Atlanta. That's IT. How was I supposed to know what the lower levels looked like???" And that's just for me as a very confident rider who has shown for years, hunted, ridden on trails, etc (and this is back home in MD, where we certainly are not lacking in opportunities to spectate or participate).

But, I didn't know, so I didn't even think of trying it. I would be even more cautious if it were my student or my child riding - eventing would be more of a "no way" for them!

Having seen it for myself, I know that when I'm ready to shop for a new horse, it will have to have the ability to go do a little BN or N event as well as get around in the HJ ring. It doesn't have to win everything in either venue, but that lower level eventing was the most fun I've ever had.

I guess another point is, you need to recruit people into the sport who maybe aren't ready to walk out and go prelim tomorrow. The wide audience of BN and N kids and adults, new to horse sports or new to eventing, is where you need to start - especially if you are going to want some of these people to develop into the future 'big names' of eventing. They have to start somewhere, right? Maybe the next KO'C is out there on a pony in the hunter ring, because mom's too scared to turn her loose with the 'crazy eventers and giant solid fences'. Probably a good idea to get eventing on those radars as accessible and approachable, for those youngsters or less experienced (but SAFE) riders to try.

Please go check out the thread about the USEA endorsed "intro to Eventing" clinic ... happily, the group that this clinic targets ARE the folks who would like to "try it" - but need to have quality support bridging what they know and do with what eventing will be like.

Even if the pics of advanced riders jumping the big XC jumps doesn't turn me off or scare me away, those pics DO help shape my perception of what my goals SHOULD be, and affect how I feel about myself as a BN/N rider. It would be interesting to see how lower level eventers and riders from other disciplines would respond if the USEA ads had lower level riders in the pics rather than the BNRs going over jumps that at times do seem to present eventing as an "extreme" sport. JMHO :cool:

Crazyabouteventing
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:13 PM
Any healthy sport has to have a solid base of non-professionals who enjoy participating (playing) in their spare time, for fun. These entry level participants are the one who ARE the fans of the professionals. They are the segment responsible for the growth of the sport at all levels..

I cant agree with this, thats too general a statement for all sport. Take American football for instance. Very few people play this sport yet its one of the biggest there is from a Professional standpoint.

The transition points made about coming from HJ are an interesting topic in itself though. From a marketing/recruiting/development standpoint there are lots to like about targeting some of the advertising activity in this area as Im sure everyone is aware. (Just like PCs I guess).

This comes back to the topic of where, when and how the sport is presented to the people that are not yet participants. The "image" to these groups still appear from the comments above that the sport requires high courage and nurtures elitism only.

Change the "image" , change the possibility of more transitions from other equine sporting groups.

tullio
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:19 PM
Even if the pics of advanced riders jumping the big XC jumps doesn't turn me off or scare me away, those pics DO help shape my perception of what my goals SHOULD be, and affect how I feel about myself as a BN/N rider.

Are you meaning this is a positive or a negative thing? Just curious. Even though I enjoyed the outing we did take, I know I'm not interested in going all the way up the levels. I've schooled some Training level things on other trips and different horses, and while we successfully schooled it, I wouldn't want to compete over it. I just didn't enjoy the higher pressure of those situations. (Having ridden hunters my entire life, I'm much more comfortable and don't have the same limits in that discipline.) So for me, pics of the big guns are cool to see but not something I am interested in pursuing, at all.

Are you saying the pictures of the big stuff give you something to strive for, or they make you feel like you're not living up to the standard?

mbarrett
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:19 PM
IMO, when my horse friends (who compete in other areas of equine sport) think of eventing, they think of the Rolex/Olympic level of the sport. They think of the huge fences, horses and riders "crashing and burning," crazy people who jump out of a gallop, etc., etc. They don't know that the majority of eventing is at the lower levels.

Maybe the USEA (as well as us) need to promote the lower levels of eventing as a sport to improve your horsemanship, become a jack of all trades (3 seperate aspects of riding counting toward one score) and having fun. That's how I look at eventing.

Sure, I love to attend the Rolex, but I do not have asperations to jump/ride at that level. I am a BN ammy, riding for my enjoyment, friendship and improvment of my riding abilities, at my level. Why not promote lower level eventing as that, and not the "extreme sport" angle.

My friends had no idea there was a place for people like me in eventing. Of course, this depends upon the location of the country you live in. I am in a no-man's land when it comes to eventing. Everything is western riding and AQHA shows around here.

To me, eventing's image is not a huge deal. People who love and are passionate about the sport will be attracted to it. People who think it a sport for crazy people who jump giant fences will always think of it in that way.

The solution is to educate the fence-sitting people who haven't formed an opionion about eventing is that it is a sport for everyone. A person and their horse can compete with good quality training and coaching.

My problem with the image of eventing is that there are no decent trainers and coaches in my area. The ones I am aquainted with are not safe, IMO. Too many accidents and unsafe horsemanship. How can we promote eventing if there aren't good instructors?

The certification program that the USEA is a good start, but none of these certified instructors live in no-mans land. I have turned to pure dressage instructors to get help. Also, my husband, who trains reining horses and has a background in dressage and jumping, helps me. He won't let me go to "eventing" instructors, because he feels they are unsafe (too many accidents), don't have common sense, and their horses look bad (a sign of poor horse care.)

I don't have an issue with eventing's image, I have trouble with the lack of good quality trainers and instructors. The bad trainers make everyone look bad.

denny
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:22 PM
Here`s just one thing I`ve noticed. In the whole USEA there are about 200 riders who go advanced, out of an association of what, 13-14,000? And there are maybe another 10-12,000 who event, but aren`t USEA members.
So the advanced riders comprise something like 1/125th of those who ride in the US.
But if we study the covers of the USEA Magazine for the past several years, the same small group of riders are on the cover, time after time after time, with the occasional little kid on the pony, or the 50-60 plus year old amateur..
There`s a message there, isn`t there?
Is it a message that draws people in? Probably it turns some on, and probably turns others off, but it seems a pretty consistent message, and not really representative of the real sport in America.
Should there be a somewhat different "public face" on our magazine? I leave that to the marketing experts!

Crazyabouteventing
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:36 PM
You know we could go another angle what are the advertisers and sponsors of the sport being told and sold?

For sure there are probably different presentations for tack companies than insurance companies but if they want to reach the "most" participants perhaps they are the ones that can drive the most marketing bucks and therefore programs to the lower levels.

There is always the "marketing value" in having those at the top showing off your wares (hopefully that doesnt for instance drive the selection of front covers of magazines but you never know), but reaching the widest audience possible for my product would seem a no brainer as a company owner.

There certainly is image tied in with all this, some companies want to be shown to be in the elite area only. Perhaps we have too many of these sorts of companies backing this sport?. Strange as it may seem. :eek:

RunForIt
Jan. 20, 2008, 12:47 PM
Are you meaning this is a positive or a negative thing? Just curious. Even though I enjoyed the outing we did take, I know I'm not interested in going all the way up the levels. I've schooled some Training level things on other trips and different horses, and while we successfully schooled it, I wouldn't want to compete over it. I just didn't enjoy the higher pressure of those situations. (Having ridden hunters my entire life, I'm much more comfortable and don't have the same limits in that discipline.) So for me, pics of the big guns are cool to see but not something I am interested in pursuing, at all.

Are you saying the pictures of the big stuff give you something to strive for, or they make you feel like you're not living up to the standard?

Just speaking for myself here...I've been goal oriented in sports for years and years, so it was somewhat of a "habit of mind" for me to take on the "gotta' get out of novice to training ASAP" mindset from the get-go. Also, the first real event trainer I had said within 3 or 4 lessons, "you want to do a 1*, don't you?" and that only added fuel to the fire. I've been without a horse to ride at more than a trot for several years, and this time around I'm taking things slowly, focusing on getting good basics in all 3 phases and HAPPILY looking forward to BN events.

I too only had the Atlanta Olympics to introduce me to this sport - my goals in running were to make it to the Olympic trials. It never occurred to me to think any differently about eventing. I should have, obviously. :cool: There are some things I learn more slowly than others.

tullio
Jan. 20, 2008, 01:22 PM
I've been without a horse to ride at more than a trot for several years, and this time around I'm taking things slowly, focusing on getting good basics in all 3 phases and HAPPILY looking forward to BN events.

Yeah, my greatest competition at this point is the clock and the bank account. Finding time and resources to ride are challenging enough to keep me from feeling anything but grateful when I'm in the saddle. Thanks for clarifying! :)

LookinSouth
Jan. 20, 2008, 01:48 PM
Yes there are those riders that go too fast and/or out of control for the level (at all levels, including advanced) but the image or thought we need to get out there is that we do it for the love of riding across the country, not in a ring (well for one out of three phases anyway:D). The opportunity for freedom, experiencing the thrill of going up and down hill, through water and over natural obstacles seems to have a more natural connection with our horses (and of course there is that adrenaline fix:D)




And Amen to that !!! :winkgrin: Couldn't have said it better myself.

LookinSouth
Jan. 20, 2008, 02:11 PM
Are you meaning this is a positive or a negative thing? Just curious. Even though I enjoyed the outing we did take, I know I'm not interested in going all the way up the levels. I've schooled some Training level things on other trips and different horses, and while we successfully schooled it, I wouldn't want to compete over it. I just didn't enjoy the higher pressure of those situations. (Having ridden hunters my entire life, I'm much more comfortable and don't have the same limits in that discipline.) So for me, pics of the big guns are cool to see but not something I am interested in pursuing, at all.

Are you saying the pictures of the big stuff give you something to strive for, or they make you feel like you're not living up to the standard?

Good point and I am in agreement with your rationale about being comfortable at the lower levels. My horse is going to be 17 this year so there is no way I will be making it up to Training with him eventhough he does have the ability. We plan to stay at BN and just enjoy the ride, the commaraderie and going to all the cool venues in Area I.
Honestly, even if I had the ability AND the horse to do Training right now I have no desire too. The thing about BN/N eventing is it is attainable for the average working adult ammy who can only afford to lesson several times a month etc...and may not be able to afford a coach at every event. I think the BN/N are alot more attainable for the average rider/horse combination than many people out there might believe and I think more energy by the USEA SHOULD be spent on attracting lower level riders.

It is still an awesome feeling to go XC whether the jumps are 2'7 or 3'6 IMO. I've known people that CAN and DO jump 4ft stadium courses but were totally blown away by the thrill of jumping 2'6 - 3ft XC fences :D
Galloping and jumping XC is an adrenaline rush at any level IMO and is unparralled by any other discipline I've tried at this point.
I admire the upper level riders and those that have * and *** goals. However, I will choose to live vicariously through them because I just don't think I could deal with the extreme level of bravery, training and committment it takes to be successful at Prelim and above. To me it is just as rewarding to be successful at the BN level as it is to whip through the levels rarely in the ribbons only to get to the upper levels. Not to say this is the case with the majority of Training and above riders...but I know it is the case with some.

Kinda like scraping by Algebra I with a D+ just to get to Algebra II. Yeah you can move on to Algebra II but you really are not all that prepared for it in the longrun. Time and energy would be better spent focusing on honing in on those issues one faced in Algebra I.

Personally, I would have more of a feeling of success and pride in myself and my horse to be one of the top BNR teams in the Area then I would in comparison to a lesser competitive Training/Prelim horse and rider team. Working to be correct and really GOOD at all three phases in the lower levels takes alot too. It's not always about how high the fences are IMO, it's taking the time to learn it and do it RIGHT regardless of the level.

Jaegermonster
Jan. 20, 2008, 03:36 PM
Another hand up for the Atlanta Olympics being my real intro to eventing, and I was in my late 20's.
I rode as a kid at a BNT hunter barn, riding anything I could get a saddle on, and I learned tons and tons and was grateful for the opportunity. But no one else in my family ever rode, and at the time there was no Pony Club in my area. It was hunters or 4h and my babysitter had a horse at that barn, which was how I got started going out there, since my mom worked and couldn't drive me. Eventing was what people like Denny Emerson (:)) and Bruce Davidson did, normal people didn't do that stuff, it was only in magazines. But boy did it look cool!

Fast forward several years, in my 30's I discovered foxhunting. Things change when you are a grownup with your own truck and trailer and can get places. Now I"m doing paces and clinics and little things like that. Wow, regular people can go out and jump natural stuff, it's not all 4' fallen trees jumping into the Head of the Lake!
However, as an adult (with a job) it is very hard to get the time to clinic or lesson on a weekly basis with ONE trainer, much less THREE. And don't even get me started on the $$ committment. All my "discretionary" income goes to the horses as it is, I can't imagine if I got serious about eventing, that would be even more $$. And then there is trying to get time off to go do this stuff. I'm a police officer, we don't get much time period, they act like you asked for a kidney if you ask for a day off. yes I know Amy Tryon did it, but unfortunately it's a lot harder in police work to trade around shifts and so forth.
Something else to think about is the $$ and time committment for the families of these kids on ponies. If they aren't a "horsey" family, and there are other kids with other hobbies, who is going to take a backseat? It's not fair to parents for them to make that choice is it?
I know a family where the mom and daughter both ride, the mom volunteers at the Pony Club rallies and so forth and it works great. But this daughter is the youngest child, so no one else needs new tap shoes, or to be driven to football or hockey or ballet or karate or whatever.
Then there is the issue of the disappearing land and facilities that has been discussed extensively.
So there are many issues for many people in why and how and why not in this discussion. Of course, where there is a will there is a way, but for the Average Joe, that is not always the case. Life has a way of interfering with what you want to do sometimes.

NRB
Jan. 20, 2008, 04:23 PM
Wasn't there a thread at some point that filled in the blanks:
"Eventing is ________"? (I can't find it. Anyone?)

The following is my perception of eventing.....not sure if this helps Pwyn's original question.

Eventing is for the Jack of all Trades, master of none.

Evening is for the All Rounder.

Eventing is for the ADD in us all.....ok kidding

Eventing is for everyone.

Eventing is for people who want a well balanced, well rounded horse. I want to ride a horse that can perform a lovely supple obediant dressage test one day, then on the next go out and enjoy riding across the countryside, go through water without balking, jump fences in a natural setting. Then I wanna jump fences in a relaxed, obediant fashion in an arena. I want it all dammit and I'm not afraid to admit that I'd be BORED out of my skull just doing ONE of these things all the time. And the kewl thing about eventing is that you don't have to go out and buy a super duper fancy and expensive horse. The little scrpappy appy or the QH who wasnt cut out for the breed shows, or what have you non-expensive critter you can imagine, can do well in eventing. at the lower levels.

Ok so I make a poor ad rep. But that's my image of eventing.

frugalannie
Jan. 20, 2008, 04:37 PM
Some random thoughts from someone trying to avoid watching the AFC game (makes me waaaay too nervous).

PWynn, your ad was great. I love the photo of the rider smiling, the angle she appears to the viewer (very welcoming) and the selection of photos. I might tweak the tag line to "Three phases, two hearts, one goal." The one heart, while appealing, does sound a little like mad scientist stuff. (just kidding: couldn't resist).

Pony Club was always the entry port for kids and eventing. Is that no longer true? Are kids going to H/J barns and the show ring instead?

Maybe a solution is for local eventers to, no matter what their level, reach out to the H/J barns. I have always made an effort to tell the H/J barn near me when the big event in our neighborhood was, emphasizing the various levels, and noting when the Olympic Medal winners would be riding (whatever levle they were riding at). I have offered to come to their barn during "camps" to talk about eventing, and maybe do a demo with one of my horses. Kids could be handed dressage tests and try to score them or ride them on ponies, and afterward jump a small course. I don't know: something to introduce the concept that there's more than one definition of riding, and participating, or at least watching others can be great fun.

Maybe an effort can be made to recruit from the H/J barns for volunteers for events?

Maybe I should go back and watch the game?

Crazyabouteventing
Jan. 20, 2008, 06:01 PM
Some random thoughts from someone trying to avoid watching the AFC game (makes me waaaay too nervous).

PWynn, your ad was great. I love the photo of the rider smiling, the angle she appears to the viewer (very welcoming) and the selection of photos. I might tweak the tag line to "Three phases, two hearts, one goal." The one heart, while appealing, does sound a little like mad scientist stuff. (just kidding: couldn't resist).



My version borrowing from the original and yours "Three phases, two hearts, one load of fun"

pwynnnorman
Jan. 20, 2008, 07:10 PM
My version borrowing from the original and yours "Three phases, two hearts, one load of fun"

Great ideas--but the credit for that line goes to someone else--'cept I can't remember who right now! On this BB.



Eventing is for people who want a well balanced, well rounded horse. I want to ride a horse that can perform a lovely supple obediant dressage test one day, then on the next go out and enjoy riding across the countryside, go through water without balking, jump fences in a natural setting. Then I wanna jump fences in a relaxed, obediant fashion in an arena. I want it all dammit and I'm not afraid to admit that I'd be BORED out of my skull just doing ONE of these things all the time...


What a testimonial. I can just see the ad/poster/webpage now...

RunForIt
Jan. 20, 2008, 07:17 PM
:cool:
Eventing is for people who want a well balanced, well rounded horse. I want to ride a horse that can perform a lovely supple obediant dressage test one day, then on the next go out and enjoy riding across the countryside, go through water without balking, jump fences in a natural setting. Then I wanna jump fences in a relaxed, obediant fashion in an arena. I want it all dammit and I'm not afraid to admit that I'd be BORED out of my skull just doing ONE of these things all the time...

this sums up the many folks who event at the lower levels - perhaps the focus needs balance.

ksbadger
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:55 PM
Horse Trial Quebec has been running this video for several years. I think it says more about our sport than almost any other position paper or article I've ever seen and deserves a much wider distribution.

http://www.canadianeventing.com/accc/HTCVideoEng.WMV

I've got a full copy and it's never failed to impress both eventers & non-eventers alike whenever I show it.

quietann
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:26 PM
I was lucky enough to get a very informal introduction to eventing when I was a teen. The love of my instructor's life was foxhunting, but she also felt that a good dressage foundation was essential for all riders. So without really knowing it, I got dressage-style flatwork, stadium jumping (because kids want to jump, and in a 50 minute lesson it was just easier to keep it in the arena), and little X/C fences my instructor and other people had built all over the place ("the place" being San Diego, the areas now covered with biotech (Sorrento Valley) and houses (North City West/Carmel Valley).

I do remember watching eventing on the Olympics at that time, and thinking the eventers were NUTS, but a good kind of nuts. I found X/C way more exciting than stadium jumping.

Fast forward a couple of decades, I start riding again, and by sheer chance I fall in with someone who has evented on and off since she was 9 (and she is now 39). She lets me ride her horses, and finds it easy to get me into an eventer's mindset, since that's what I had in the first place. And my formal lesson instructor is also an eventer.

HOWEVER -- the first "real" event I spectated/volunteered at was Groton House 1, and even the BN course scared me half to death. So I didn't really think of myself as "someone who could do that." Then a few weeks later I was my friend's groom at an unrecognized N-level event, and saw that this event also had BN, Elementary, and even Pre-elementary. And that is when the "I can do that!" switch went on. I had to see people who were fairly new to horses, riding whatever sort of mount they could, out enjoying themselves before I'd believe that one didn't have to be an advanced rider to event.

J-Lu
Jan. 21, 2008, 03:02 AM
I'm basically a lurker here, but I thought I'd add my two cents.

I'm a dressage rider these days but I used to event and before that I did hunter/jumper stuff. I didn't really know about eventing until I lived in a town with a cross-country course and an active eventing community. It was the local eventing population that generated the excitement. This was how they did it:

1. A sense of community. The local eventers also did some of the local h/j shows and dressage shows. They talked about how fun eventing was and always extended invitations to people to come out to clinics or schooling days, etc. They offered trailer rides. Not having a truck/trailer myself, I took advantage. They shared vests with people not quite ready to invest. I thought riding cross country was the most fun thing ever. The community was *extremely* supportive of the BN people because they really wanted us to come back. That same sense of community encouraged us to volunteer as well - it was fun and new people are very enthusiastic about volunteering. BTW, the local x-country course was on private land and was "built/enhanced" by a big name designer but totally maintained by volunteers at the time.

2. Participation at all financial levels. The community hosted an accomplished clinician every year who was not cheap but was great. They also hosted adult rider camps, clinics with local trainers and schooling days with your own trainer. "Entry" level people could get their feet wet cheaply and then become more involved if they wanted to. Most wanted to because they got hooked. The rider camps and yearly clinic were sooooo fun and the things I looked most forward to.

3. "Feet-wetting" events. The course offered mini-trials with pre-BN levels. This was great for introducing timid riders to the sport-many became serious from this.

I watched the Olympic eventing because of this experience, became a USEA member (was something else at the time), and participated in recognized events at BN and N.

Perhaps it was a unique area (NM) or I was naive, but I never had the perception that BN or N riders were lesser than upper level riders when I evented. Most people I knew at upper levels were encouraging and were people to emulate. When my current horse retires from dressage, I hope to event her. But with her WIMPY attitude cross country (despite her ability to jump), I'm sure BN is about as much as she can mentally handle. She'll be an example of an FEI horse who has to concentrate deeply to get over a log she's never seen before. NOT real eventing material but we'll have fun.

J.

LessonLearned
Jan. 21, 2008, 07:47 AM
Many of us learn about a variety of sports through the events that get promoted on television (the Olympics being the great equalizer -- I mean, who knew that archery could be so interesting ;) ). But one of the things that we lose sight of is that when someone makes it to the Olympics, or Rolex, or the Spruce Meadows series on OLN, they represent the PINNACLE of the sport -- not the average participant.

I think a huge part of the problem here is that in the States, equestrian events are not considered "mainstream" enough to rate consistent televised coverage. If you look at Great Britain they have a GREAT deal of programming that spans the various disciplines and levels (including pony club finals, etc.). People get a more well rounded view of horse sports.

So, here, when you mention eventing, people think the HUGE fences (crashes, run-outs, injuries) they see at the Olympics or they start muttering about Christopher Reeve -- and this can be seen even amongst horse people!

Perhaps during some of those events that DO make it to tv there could be a short piece focusing on the kids and up and comers who participate in eventing at all levels (cute kids on ponies and members of *my* clique the "old farts over itty-bitty fences" doing their thing).

I think tennis actually offers a good model. Yes, the people playing at the US Open are pros and we expect great things, but we also get a LOT of advertising from the USTA showing ammy players, local tennis leagues, programs for kids, etc.

I think advertising focused on the range of levels, ages, and ability levels would be useful in bringing people to the sport and changing the perception of eventing amongst other equestrians.

LisaB
Jan. 21, 2008, 07:58 AM
I boarded at a local hunter barn for the winter as they had a lighted arena. I was in a sea of tall thin blondes :eek:
Anyway, I generally work on small stuff over the winter. Lots of ground poles and occasionally do some real jumping. But they were super interested in eventing. And yup, they all said the exact same thing, 'How can you gallop so fast and jump those solid jumps?'. I replied, 'I first trot over small solid jumps'. They had the :confused: look on their faces. I explained that in bn and most of nov, you can trot the course (well, nov. you really should do a nice hand canter). But really, they thought we HAD to gallop at EVERYTHING. I then took them to Wingreen and had them walk stuff and trot. Told them if they feel like cantering, go for it but it's not requisite. They had a total blast! Because they COULD trot.
So, yes, we need different types of advertising. What got me in was the LA Olympics. I never even heard of eventing before but the tickets were cheaper and close to my house so ma never forgave herself for buying those tickets.
Olympics are a marketing tool. They are a PITA to put on, sure and they are generally not in a perfect venue. But leave at a *** to be more inclusive.
We, in each of our areas should go to a h/j clinic or winter board at a hunter barn. Something to show others that we aren't out for a death wish. We do it locally and spread the word.
The USEA should pick on us AA's as we have some really talented folks who are in marketing and advertising. I'm sure they would volunteer their time to help out.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 21, 2008, 08:02 AM
I mean, who knew that archery could be so interesting...


Archery! What about Curling!!! I was totally, totally hooked on it. Chess on ice.

We definitely need to get a video like the Canadian one on a webpage designed specifically for those curious about and/or considering the sport.

denny
Jan. 21, 2008, 08:14 AM
Lisa, love your sea of tall, thin blondes comment.
My friend, Ken, describes eventing as :"a field full of interchangable blonde girls"
That`s HIS perception and definition of an entire sport!

LookinSouth
Jan. 21, 2008, 08:45 AM
HOWEVER -- the first "real" event I spectated/volunteered at was Groton House 1, and even the BN course scared me half to death. So I didn't really think of myself as "someone who could do that." Then a few weeks later I was my friend's groom at an unrecognized N-level event, and saw that this event also had BN, Elementary, and even Pre-elementary. And that is when the "I can do that!" switch went on. I had to see people who were fairly new to horses, riding whatever sort of mount they could, out enjoying themselves before I'd believe that one didn't have to be an advanced rider to event.


And I think ultimately this IS what needs to be promoted first. The unstressful,inviting and unintimidating unsanctioned's in the area ARE going to help get people hooked on eventing in the long run.

For example: My friend that is a jumper rider groomed for me at a nice unsanctioned this year and she was dying to try one this past year after going to that event...even at the BN level which is considerbly below her current level in stadium simply because of the challenge of XC. I kind of felt stupid asking her to come groom because I figured a unsanctioned event that tops out at Novice would be realllllyyy boring for someone that's shown all over the country at respectable levels. But she actually was thrilled to come along because it was something totally new and exciting from H/J land.

One of the most attractive things about these events for those just starting out is they are affordable, you dont' have to send your entries in eons ahead of time to make it in and IF you have to scratch due to weather, sickness what have you it isn't a huge financial loss. They are just so attainable for the average person and there is a division for nearly anyone.

The Elementary division at 2'3 is awesome for those just learning to jump. They can still trot fences in stadium/XC if need be and not look like an idiot. To me it is a far more inviting environment for adult re-riders or beginners to learn and have fun in a competition setting than anything I've come across in H/J land. That is partially what hooked me. I could still go out and have fun and if i needed to trot a fence or two on XC it was no big deal at 2'3 and MOST of the adults in my division did as well. I met alot of other local riders and we chatted about meeting up to school XC. The commaraderie was like nothing else as well.

In Area I there are numerous well run unsanctioned events. More than I could ever have the time or finances to attend. Many are put on by top notch training facilities like Apple Knoll, Flatlands, MVHC as well as countless other places. I *think* Denny has some up at Tamarack too:winkgrin: ?? I would love to make it up there this year!!!

The question is where are these events promoted and advertised?? They are listed in the omnibus on the Area I site!!!!:eek: That is the only place I've found them advertised thus far.

How many H/J's or beginner riders do you know that regularly check the Area I site and peruse for events/clinics? I can't say that I know ANY.
The Area I site is really only poplulated by EVENTERS and those who are already fully aware of the offerings of the sport.

We need other ways to let riders in other disciplines or those just starting out about these great starter horsetrials! Posting flyers at the tack shops, grain stores etc... offering affordable intro clinics for riders in the area and passing out flyers there....the list could go on.

If we get them hooked on those it WILL lead to more membership and participation in the USEA events. Why? Cause eventing is addicting.:D!!!

I really can't think of many riders I've talked to that said "yeah I did a 3 phase at blah blah blah and I hated it"... Usually it is quite the contrary. They LOVED it.

RunForIt
Jan. 21, 2008, 08:56 AM
The unstressful,inviting and unintimidating unsanctioned's in the area ARE going to help get people hooked on eventing in the long run.



We, in each of our areas should go to a h/j clinic or winter board at a hunter barn. Something to show others that we aren't out for a death wish. We do it locally and spread the word.



In Area I there are numerous well run unsanctioned events. More than I could ever have the time or finances to attend. Many are put on by top notch training facilities like Apple Knoll, Flatlands, MVHC as well as countless other places. I *think* Denny has some up at Tamarack too:winkgrin: ?? I would love to make it up there this year!!!

The question is where are these events promoted and advertised?? They are listed in the omnibus on the Area I site!!!!:eek: That is the only place I've found them advertised thus far.

How many H/J's or beginner riders do you know that regularly check the Area I site and peruse for events/clinics? I can't say that I know ANY.
The Area I site is really only poplulated by EVENTERS and those who are already fully aware of the offerings of the sport.

We need other ways to let riders in other disciplines or those just starting out about these great starter horsetrials! Posting flyers at the tack shops, grain stores etc... offering affordable intro clinics for riders in the area and passing out flyers there....the list could go on.

If we get them hooked on those it WILL lead to more membership and participation in the USEA events. Why? Cause eventing is addicting.:D!!!

This is the key to have more folks "try it" - give them a safe, fun INVITATION - make it doable, keep it real, and have riders leave knowing more about themselves and their horses. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE RESPONSE WE'VE GOTTEN TO THE INTRO TO EVENTING CLINIC MARY BESS SIGMAN IS DOING, not just on the COTH BB but by phone and email - just read the threads on the H/J board and the dressage board, as well as our own BB. The last post on the thread sums up the intent of the clinic, as well as the possibilities that are out there for attracting riders to eventing:


I'm participating in this clinic with my young dressage horse. I think it's a great cross training opportunity for those from other disciplines (I'd never be brave enough to think of switching over!)

LookinSouth
Jan. 21, 2008, 09:04 AM
This is the key to have more folks "try it" - give them a safe, fun INVITATION - make it doable, keep it real, and have riders leave knowing more about themselves and their horses. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE RESPONSE WE'VE GOTTEN TO THE INTRO TO EVENTING CLINIC MARY BESS SIGMAN IS DOING, not just on the COTH BB but by phone and email - just read the threads on the H/J board and the dressage board, as well as our own BB. The last post on the thread sums up the intent of the clinic, as well as the possibilities that are out there for attracting riders to eventing:


I know it's just amazing!!! We really NEED to offer something like that up in Area I as well.
There are so many great starter horsetrials up here but no real way others to learn more about it and get their feet wet PRIOR to just packing up the trailer and actually doing one of these starter horsetrials.

Offering an intro clinic in every Area that offers nice starter horsetrials would be ideal and a great way to advertise Eventing to the non-eventing community IMO.

denny
Jan. 21, 2008, 09:12 AM
I remember a talk Jack Le Goff gave about the 5 kinds of jumps that are exclusive to cross country.
1.Ditches
2.water
3.up banks
4.down banks.
5.bullfinches---(which you hardly see anymore)
Everything else, Jack said, is either a varient of a vertical, a square oxer, or a ramped oxer, fences we also find in show jumping.
This lecture was 30 plus years ago, before the invasion of skinnys and corners, so we might add them as 6 and 7.
My point?
What probably intimidates "outsiders" from trying eventing are these unfamiliar kinds of jumps, especially, I`d think, ditches and water.
So we might consider ways to explain that these aren`t the spawn of the devil they may appear to be. Also, that eventing is NOT meant to be a kamikaze charge at high speeds, teenager`s normal xc rounds notwithstanding!

asterix
Jan. 21, 2008, 09:28 AM
And the funny thing about that list is that ditches and water are things that you can introduce your horse to AT A WALK hacking out at a park. My green horse came to me not knowing he had two leads, uncertain about the role of the bridle in riding (steering, hmm, bit, acceptance of, hmm), but he would pop across ditches on a loose rein and happily bomb through water because he was started by a foxhunter and all that sort of thing seemed, well, natural to him.

It would be great for local organizations (like our Area II Adult Riders) to host "get your hooves wet" parties for other riders -- no crazy running around, just do what LisaB did at Wingreen -- come on out, dink around over tiny little things, walk up and down a little bank and across (or through) a tiny ditch. Just have fun at a slow pace...

denny
Jan. 21, 2008, 09:35 AM
Asterix, that`s EXACTLY what I was thinking.
When Formula One was a baby, I`d take him on walks on the line, and pretty soon he was following me up and down the banks, through water, and over a little ditch like a puppy.
Same thing with my new stallion, Skybreaker.
They get broke and desensitized to all that stuff without even realizing it.
But do we (I`m not sure who "we" is) tell that side of the story? Not very well, I don`t think.

asterix
Jan. 21, 2008, 09:54 AM
No, we don't, and I think that's a shame. This seems like a prime opportunity for a new message and some low-key events to open the door for new enthusiasts.

frugalannie
Jan. 21, 2008, 10:03 AM
Is that partly because it's "back of the house" stuff? When you go out to a restaurant, you really don't want to know how the chef prepared that gorgeous dish: not really!

So we don't talk about our "back of the house" stuff. However, the interest in cooking shows (and Iron Chef among them) shows that many folks do want a behind the scenes glimpse.

So maybe PWynn and Denny collaborate on a YouTube video showing how they have gotten horses from youngsters not sure where their feet are to top ranked competitors. Can't you just see pictures of Teddy as a baby, then under saddle for the first time and at his first show? Denny, the idea that your stallions are mannerly enough to go for walks over obstacles is also a great marketing tool, and something people who are only used to buying the seasoned campaigner should see. That it is really quite straightforward and simple.

We assume that riders know what it takes to raise a horse that is a useful, good citizen. In fact very few do, I think, and the number is decreasing. But eventing allows any rider with an interest to teach their horse and themselves to think a little out of the box (or the ring, as it were), without starting with a weanling.

RunForIt
Jan. 21, 2008, 10:10 AM
Reading this thread and the continued thinking that has grown over the past several pages has given me some ideas to take back to India Watson who organized the Intro clinic (as part of a USEA committee) with Mary Bess. Of course your're right, Denny - water and ditches are what get most riders and horses doing the "I can't event dance". Once I got to watch Robin Bass' husband Rob Law walk a fabulous 2 yr old TB around Pine Top doing exactly what you described doing with Formula One. Baby went over little logs, back and forth, walked happily across the most shallow water with Rob, then in no time was almost refusing to leave he was having such fun! Rob hopped the Tadpole ditch, baby walked right over it...older horses could do similar stuff, couldn't they? Or maybe just have a clinic that focuses on helping horses and riders go on hacks...hacks that include water, ditches, and logs.

I can imagine several follow up clinics after MB's at venues like Ashland Farm that have soooooo many levels of ditches and water and logs and a brush jump at BN/N (Roger Haller is such a pro - even at designing for the lowest levels). Plus, Ashland has little eventing derbies in the spring and fall so folks can try out their newfound skills and fun: divisions are amoeba - Prelim. lots of possibilities for us BN folks! :cool:

Kcisawesome
Jan. 21, 2008, 10:16 AM
I have to agree. It is hard trying to get some of the 4-H kids to try eventing because they have an image of it being this crazy, impossible "extreme sport" for diehards who have alot of money. They have no clue that their backyard Qhs could event, and that there is a whole population of kids and adults who just trot around at starter and BN.

I think advertising eventing as being the sport that any horse and any person can do might generate some interest. I mean, when my thoroughbred went lame before a schooling show I took my friend's little arab and she rocked. I have another friend who did qute well on her 14.2hh paint horse.

then there is also the variety of riders, ranging from 5 yrs old to 90. I mean, does it get any better than that?

what I personally love about eventing is how it is about the horsemanship. I mean, it simply does not work to send your horse away to the trainer for months and then just hop on it for the event. you HAVE to know your horse, you HAVE to know how to ride it (to an extent), you HAVE to know how to care for your horse...etc. It really generates a wonderful partnership with your horse that come into play not just at advanced, but at green-as-grass.

I LOVE the idea of an eventing-intruduction party or clinic. I have also intruduced horses to ditches and water and banks by hand-walking them over the obstacles. And in fact, I think that you shouldn't be acctually galloping your horse over jumps until around prelim...I mean, BN can be done trot-canter, novice is a large canter, training is a hand gallop.. So, many people never acctually end up(or should end up) in "Galloping wildly over huge jumps"

So, why do we tell everyone that that is what we do?

Hmm..this thread is making me think about taking my 4-H group to a low level event for a field trip or somthing...hmmm..

inquisitive
Jan. 21, 2008, 11:17 AM
This lecture was 30 plus years ago, before the invasion of skinnys and corners, so we might add them as 6 and 7.
My point?
What probably intimidates "outsiders" from trying eventing are these unfamiliar kinds of jumps, especially, I`d think, ditches and water.
So we might consider ways to explain that these aren`t the spawn of the devil they may appear to be. Also, that eventing is NOT meant to be a kamikaze charge at high speeds, teenager`s normal xc rounds notwithstanding!

Although skinny jumps are found in the jumpers and equitation and corners are similar to fan oxers :)

As someone who recently got into eventing, I agree that the local unrecognized events were the only reason. I showed at a much higher level than I felt comfortable eventing at and found the low-key, fun events were a great introduction. I will say though, that I NEVER would have done it if the barn I moved to didn't have a CT trainer. Most H/J people know nothing about it, and wouldn't know how to get there even if they were interested...

Now I'm trying to get some H/J friends to go to FMF's PO and prelim excites me :lol:

MTshowjumper
Jan. 21, 2008, 11:36 AM
I coudn't agree with you more. I think a real, solid push should be made to localize press releases, for example. To set up a system wherein, regardless of event organizers abilities--since they are already overloaded with work--USEA has a way to get the winners' (and other eventers) stories in the local press (specifically: a human interest type story before each event, and winners' stories or a news-type report afterward). My proposed solution is a "local liaison" network. Other sports do it. Even here, folks have written about their favorite eventers, big name and small. Why not corral that enthusiasm and put it to good use getting positive images and stories distributed locally and A LOT? I'd bet that even event photographers would pitch in a nice, dramatic, happy, pretty picture to go along with the story--after all, they'd benefit from the local exposure, too, wouldn't they?


I haven't read the rest of this thread yet, but.....

I agree with you and Denny. One event that has done a excelent job of gaining public exposure is Rebecca Farms in MT. Every year they have tv ads and an entire section of the newspaper dedicated to the event that explains the event and gives human interest stories and profiles riders (lower level riders as well as upper).

You know what? It works. When you go to the event there are fields full of parked cars with horse drawn wagons carrying the spectators up to the entrance. They have volunters to herd spectators on xc day. There are people there who go watch every year even though they have nothing to do with horses otherwise, and the general public knows what eventing is! One year I was there watching and I was taking a lunch break sitting in the pavillion talking to a very friendly biker guy (complete with zz tops beard and leather jacket) who heard about it and stopped on his way through the area. They also have lists of local businesses sponsoring, as well as a full trade fair (not just one tack store). As well as Prizes and prize $$ for all divisions.

When I was there I thought all big events where like that (Heron Park was too, it was a bit smaller and there was just less room so spectators parked along the road). Boy was I surprised when a came out east and the events I had heard about where so low key and "under the radar". I have to explain what eventing is to all the other riders at the barn I board at. I was honestly kind of disapointed.

Picasso
Jan. 21, 2008, 11:42 AM
We need an ad campaign with children. I love what Wynn showed (second version), but how awesome would that look if it was a child? We see all the cute pictures of hunter rings and adorable braided girls and wonderfully cute ponies. Parents see that and see their children doing that - they then invest in riding lessons. Why not the same for eventing? We need to reach that crowd. Please, Wynn, do another one with children, wouldn't that speak volumes? I am not talented enough to develop what you did, but I DO have the model for it!

RunForIt
Jan. 21, 2008, 11:47 AM
I'm going to get some pics at the Intro clinic and with permission post them here on COTH - I hope to see some smiles of fun and satisfaction - maybe get some quotes from riders...:cool: pwynn can probably make them into BIG possibilties for eventing attraction.

CBudFrggy
Jan. 21, 2008, 11:55 AM
We need an ad campaign with children. I love what Wynn showed (second version), but how awesome would that look if it was a child? We see all the cute pictures of hunter rings and adorable braided girls and wonderfully cute ponies. Parents see that and see their children doing that - they then invest in riding lessons. Why not the same for eventing? We need to reach that crowd. Please, Wynn, do another one with children, wouldn't that speak volumes? I am not talented enough to develop what you did, but I DO have the model for it!

I wish I had taken video on Saturday of the 2 little girls I mentioned at the beginning of this thread! Why am I always on the horse when the good opportunities arise?

denny
Jan. 21, 2008, 12:05 PM
See, that`s what may be the missing piece on our USEA Magazine cover. Which attracts people better, yet one more photo of some big name rider jumping into The Head of the Lake at Rolex, or a grandmother and granddaughter, both competing at the same event, maybe even in the same division?
Please, I am not being critical of our magazine, which does a wonderful job. But maybe the emphasis is a bit top heavy, and could be balanced more to reflect its real constituency, which, face it, isn`t always some bronzed god or goddess with the physique of a Greek statue on the frieze of the Parthenon!!

LookinSouth
Jan. 21, 2008, 12:12 PM
See, that`s what may be the missing piece on our USEA Magazine cover. Which attracts people better, yet one more photo of some big name rider jumping into The Head of the Lake at Rolex, or a grandmother and granddaughter, both competing at the same event, maybe even in the same division?
Please, I am not being critical of our magazine, which does a wonderful job. But maybe the emphasis is a bit top heavy, and could be balanced more to reflect its real constituency, which, face it, isn`t always some bronzed god or goddess with the physique of a Greek statue on the frieze of the Parthenon!!


Your absolutely right and I agree. This is especially true since if we consider the level of BN/N participation at the sanctioned events versus Training and above the numbers of participants dwindle significantly the higher up the fences go. BN/N almost ALWAYS have the largest participation at events and at the unsanctioned's Elementary is always packed too.

In order to keep the sport growing and spread the word there must be more of an effort made to highlight what exactly goes on in BN/N that makes it so accessible for the average ammy rider.

LisaB
Jan. 21, 2008, 12:15 PM
face it, isn`t always some bronzed god or goddess with the physique of a Greek statue on the frieze of the Parthenon!!
Hey! I resemble that remark! :winkgrin:
While I would love to have a shot in hell of being a magazine cover girl, I think we need to be on the cover of practical horseman instead.
Like the T3DE are great examples of yr and aa's out there 'doing it'. I would love to see a cover shot on a generalist mag such as that. If we were to be on the cover of the usea mag, it's like preaching to choir. We need to reach the masses. Inform them that, hey, we're normal. We need barf bag looking at the Head of the Lake too!
But then I think of the UK. They have more sponsorships and such. While not ideal, they are in a better situation than us so we must look at what they do. And their mag is chocked full of the stars and section for yr. You hardly ever see stuff featuring the aa's. So, hmmm. no point just a thought.

VCT
Jan. 21, 2008, 12:42 PM
Some excellent points are being made here!

I do think that not publicizing the lower levels more may not be all there is to it though. I do really like Pwynn's reworking of the poster/flyer. I think it's very inviting and makes the sport seem more approachable. But who is going to SEE that poster? People who already get practical horseman or the USEA magazine? Will that help significantly?

Look at the Hunter/Jumpers for example. Much of the publicity in those genres is for the GP and upper level Jumpers... but it's pretty widely known that Baby Jumpers exist and Level 1, 2, etc. Many of the pictures of hunters one sees are of Working Hunter and around that height of jumps.. but it's known that there is long stirrup and Low Hunters, etc.

So my question is: WHY do people either know there is a lower level in these sports... or WHY do they assume there is? And WHY do they assume there is NOT in Eventing?

I don't think this can just be due to some photos which the greater majority of people never see. I never see any ads for eventing out in the world. And yes it would be fabulous to get different types of photos publicized in the USEA magazine, but really ... who gets that mag?.... USEA members! We already know there are lower levels.

I think as a whole the horse industry seems unapproachable to outsiders. I'm a member of the Erie Hunt and Saddle Club and we have a bunch of shows, a mini trial, couple recog. HT's, hunter paces, etc etc etc every year.

Nearly every season, at least once, I see someone wandering around the grounds during a horse show, looking kind of lost. So I'll ask if I can help them find someone or something. And they'll ask if this is a horse show, and are they ALLOWED to watch???? !!!!!!! I explain to them that anyone is completely welcome to come watch and even volunteer if they want. I'll bring them to the club house, give them a copy of the yearly show book so they can come to other shows, etc. If I have time I'll even explain a bit about the competition that day, how it's judged, etc.

It AMAZES me. People, the public, in general is not sure they are allowed to be present at a horse show. Hello? This is a major problem. We have recently gotten a sign that we put up the week before the show that says something like:

Horse Show Saturday - Public Welcome!

It may seem like a separate issue but I think it's connected.
Even within the horse industry... for example there are people on this thread who have said they were big into H/J and never realized that there were lower levels. Why wouldn't they ask? It would never occur to me NOT to ask... so I don't understand, personally. Is it because there is a such a great divide between the disciplines? Do people not feel comfortable approaching people in another discipline to find out more about it... Or what? Are people in the USHJA unaware of the USEA and the members don't know they could go look up their questions anonymously online?

How do we reach these people? The public? People in other disciplines?

I don't think it can be by changing our pictures on publications that only we are getting... Where are people getting the "extreme sport" impression in the first place? If it's people only the Olympics and Rolex are televised/publicized then why do people not have that impression of the Jumpers, where World Cup type level is the only televised/publicized thing.

Don't get my wrong.. I think that using more lower level photos and making the sport seem more approachable in all mediums is a Great Idea. But... I think the problem runs deeper than that.

Why are there lots of local fans, not necessarily parents either at high school baseball, football, basketball games? Why are, generally, the only people in the stands at your average horse show people who are involved directly with the organization of the show, or competitors??

frugalannie
Jan. 21, 2008, 12:59 PM
Denny, I love the idea of a multi-generational magazine covr, but Eventing Magazine would be preaching to the converted.

What about Practical Horseman, or that wonderful magazine that reaches so very many in the horse world, COTH?

And people like Gnep and Reed can maybe get featured in Western riding press.

denny
Jan. 21, 2008, 01:14 PM
Darned if I know how to change our image from "extreme sport" (which is what advanced actually IS), to a sport which, while, having that as ONE segment, is so much more than only that.
I think we maybe spent so many years pushing that one aspect of our sport that we`ve painted ourselves into a bit of a corner.
There are sharp business minds with major advertising savvy on this board, and now would be a good time for you to weigh in!

fooler
Jan. 21, 2008, 01:30 PM
One option & we may have time:
During the Rolex TV presentation what do people see? The top of our sport - bronzed god or goddess jumpong the big x-c fences. The commercial is young as in teen girls with their older (20-30's) coaches! We show a very stricted sport - you are either young females or the bronzed gods/goddesses & how did they get at the top?

A new commercial(s) are in order. They should show:
BN thru Training competitors - maybe footage from a .5* long format!
Multiple ages
Both sexes
Footage of Denny (or other 'mature' competitors) riding @ Rolex and coaching a lower-level rider or even riding a lower level horse
Footage or pics of current team riders from their early days to compare to their Rolex footage
We need to share the multiple layers of our sport.

Everyone knows we have t-ball, little league, HS & College Baseball, minor and major league Baseball. About time to show the different levels of Eventing


Wynn - I like your poster/picture idea, again let's show the multiple ages, both sexes and levels.

I know it is alot of info to pack in a commercial or on a poster which leads one to multiple posters &/or commericals.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 21, 2008, 01:36 PM
Can't you just see pictures of Teddy as a baby, then under saddle for the first time and at his first show?

I actually have a piece of video of him as a three-year-old. He look like he's all legs and big feet and flops around with his forelock over his eyes, stumbles onto his nose, tries to buck, stumbles again, pops over a little jump like it wasn't even there. I need to try to get it off the 8mm tape its on somehow.



Please, Wynn, do another one with children, wouldn't that speak volumes? I am not talented enough to develop what you did, but I DO have the model for it!


Send me the pictures--anyone! I'd love to develop a file. Just remember, they need to be hi res and permission to use them has to be available. I don't know if USEA keeps a file of photos just in case projects like these come along, but even if so, I'm sure more would be appreciated. (Oh, and folks, FYI, I know that the marketing committee is also appreciating your comments greatly.)

LookinSouth
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:06 PM
Look at the Hunter/Jumpers for example. Much of the publicity in those genres is for the GP and upper level Jumpers... but it's pretty widely known that Baby Jumpers exist and Level 1, 2, etc. Many of the pictures of hunters one sees are of Working Hunter and around that height of jumps.. but it's known that there is long stirrup and Low Hunters, etc.

So my question is: WHY do people either know there is a lower level in these sports... or WHY do they assume there is? And WHY do they assume there is NOT in Eventing?

I don't think this can just be due to some photos which the greater majority of people never see. I never see any ads for eventing out in the world. And yes it would be fabulous to get different types of photos publicized in the USEA magazine, but really ... who gets that mag?.... USEA members! We already know there are lower levels.



I think you bring up some important points VCT. I agree that ads in PH and USEA Mag are probably not going to reel the numbers in.

I was one of those riders that knew nothing about eventing except that XC was very big, solid, scary jumps that are taken from the gallop. I did know that lower level H/J shows and classes existed. Why? Because there are tons of them at fairs, unrated shows, rated shows, AA shows etc... they are everywhere and they are held year round!!!
I didn't find out about LL eventing until my friend that leased my old TB said one day on a hack "I used to want to do eventing....I still do when I get back into shape and buy my own horse"

I responded kinda in shock..."Eventing?? Isn't that XC jumping with those big solid fences at a gallop?" :eek:

She laughed and responded..."Yeah that's the upper levels like they have at Groton House but they even have levels with little logs that you can TROT over, that's more along the lines of what I want to do".

So that's how I found out about the Lower levels and went on to seek more info on my own:D. If I hadn't met her I may not know still to this day.

Obviously there are not nearly as many local, unrated HT's as there are H/J shows or all around shows WITH H/J classes ;).
I think the fact that there are so many pleasure and H/J barns as well as small shows that offer these types of classes for these barns to attend is largely WHY most riders know about the LL H/Jer's.

IMO one way to spread the word about LL eventing would be to post fliers and pamphlets at local tack stores, feed stores etc...with a brief overview of LL eventing and an ad for one of the introductory clinics. Posting fliers for the local unrated HT's wouldn't hurt either so riders are aware that they ARE out there.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:19 PM
Besides the happy faces (on horses and riders), beautiful scenery, etc., doncha think the colorfulness of x-c garb has a certain appeal to the eye, too? Like this (bit of an awkward moment, but cool--makes me think "My little pony has really grown up!"):

http://useventing.com/resources/gallery/2007_Wellpride_AEC/Day_3_Novice_Cross_Country/day3_novice_xc_051.jpg

Whisper
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:34 PM
Hmm, other than the horse/rider injury issue, the "image of the sport" negative perceptions I've seen/heard about are:
- horses are crazy/uncontrollable/have poor jumping form
- young horses pointed at a dressage or H/J career shouldn't do eventing because it will "ruin" them, and eventers (horses) are bad prospects to "retrain" for Hunters or Dressage
- riders are incompetent/scary (especially at BN, to some extent at N)
- riders shouldn't attempt to crosstrain in Dressage or do Eventing until they have mastered Hunters (pick one thing at a time and do it well)
- eventing trainers encourage/allow riders to show and school well above the level they are competent at (related to the above, but doesn't apply to all, since some people show without a trainer)
- eventing trainers aren't competent/qualified to teach low-level jumping, only to show people who already know how to jump how to fine-tune for XC

I'm not sure how we can address those three areas, and of course there is always room for improvement. I agree that measures to market low-level eventing is a fantastic idea, especially to horse people in other disciplines. Offering introductory clinics like the one that was mentioned already is a great step.

CBudFrggy
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:43 PM
This weekend a bunch of the reiners at my barn went to a fun show in Miami, while I departed for North Palm Beach to my hunter pace. While the reiners at my barn are all NRHA, FRHA members, local shows also have reining classes where the greenies can get out and practice. Same patterns, real judges, just less hassle than competing at a sanctioned event.

While I realize that venues for eventing are more scarce every year, my point was targeting the membership of the NRHA/FRHA. The local show targeted that membership by offering the classes and made some money off the entries.

What if, for example, the AQHA had a LL eventing division--same rules, same tests as USEA, but another gazillion potential members to play the game? If eventing was offered at Elementary, BN and N, wouldn't these owners be a different demographic to market LL eventing to? How could the USEA market it to them? Would the USEA want to market LL eventing to breed associations?

To what other organizations other than Pony Club (already eventing-friendly) could the USEA market eventing?

(Hopefully this isn't too much of a Spin-off of the topic of image.)

Edited to add: Appaloosas?

LisaB
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:48 PM
That's cute Wynn.
The CUTEST thing I ever saw was the kid that won the bn aec's on the fjord. They were adorable. I just wanted to go up and pinch their cheeks.
And ya know, thinking about this. There's a small abundance on schooling h/j shows around. It's like, 'hmm, I think I'll go to a show today' and voila, you hitch up and go (not really but a lot less hoopla involved). Around here we have Penny who puts up a set of unrec. things at smaller venues. It just seems we are fairly inaccessible and not enough unrec. things or don't advertise as 'come on and try a dr test. extra points given for staying in that little danged arena'. While, yes, we want to promote safety, I think we need a few more, 'give it a whirl' type of events.

frugalannie
Jan. 21, 2008, 02:57 PM
Before I lose the thought, it would be neat to see a profile or two of some lower level horses that have been outstanding in their fields.

Christmas Twinkler comes to mind. No bigger than a minute, I remember him at my first Groton House almost 20 years ago going Training (Mind you, I was on a 16.3 OTTB and scared silly going Novice!). If I'm not mistaken, I scribed a test he did with another little kid this past year. How neat it would be to assemble his "graduates" and give the little guy credit. And I'm sure there are other great horses and ponies like that, too, which would highlight not only the longevity of our equine participants, but the wide variety of participants, human and equine, in our sport.

Carol Ames
Jan. 21, 2008, 03:01 PM
typos, When I first started eventing,1960's:eek: we learned a dressage test and schooled cross country fences; also showed almost every weekend in the hunters; foxhunted on occasion ;)I was riding with Russ Walther , Sr., a protoge of Vladimir Littauer; our "textbook " was Common sense horsemanship" and combined training was touted as"the "complete test of horse and rider;" described as improving any horse and rider; Should we revert to the name "combined training?"

KayBee
Jan. 21, 2008, 03:23 PM
[QUOTE=LookinSouth;2952031]I know it's just amazing!!! We really NEED to offer something like that up in Area I as well.[QUOTE]

Please do! Or in NJ (Area 2).

CookiePony
Jan. 21, 2008, 03:49 PM
Horse Show Saturday - Public Welcome!



That's so simple that it just might work! How many events do this?

We have gotten some really interesting responses to these two threads over on H/J and Dressage... hop over and take a look.
http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=130740
http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=130739

Wynn-- did you get my silly pic? I don't hold a candle to that cute kid, but I do look like I'm having a good time. :D

ZEBE
Jan. 21, 2008, 04:30 PM
Horse Trial Quebec has been running this video for several years. I think it says more about our sport than almost any other position paper or article I've ever seen and deserves a much wider distribution.

http://www.canadianeventing.com/accc/HTCVideoEng.WMV

I've got a full copy and it's never failed to impress both eventers & non-eventers alike whenever I show it.



I just watched that video.. what impressed me the most was that it highlighted the "everyday eventer more than the "Rolex"/Olympic" rider. It showed riders trotting x-country, and cantering courses.. typical horse trial without a lot of drama but alot of excitement. This was marketing of the sport at it's best!

Denny keeps reminding us that there are only about 200 ADV but 12,000 lower level... why shouldn't the marketing and push be for those riders! Watching that video got me excited again for the coming season. (even if it's 20 degrees and the ring is frozen... and snow is still covering most of my pastures.

UMass Director
Jan. 21, 2008, 06:03 PM
Horse Trial Quebec has been running this video for several years. I think it says more about our sport than almost any other position paper or article I've ever seen and deserves a much wider distribution.

http://www.canadianeventing.com/accc/HTCVideoEng.WMV

I've got a full copy and it's never failed to impress both eventers & non-eventers alike whenever I show it.


Ksbadger,

This is the best piece of media I've seen for eventing since the "Eventing" video following Mark Todd, Bruce Davidson, and others to Gawler WC. This is even better because it shows the common rider, not the cream of the crop.

I'd like to get a copy for my instructors course at UMass... PM me on how!

pwynnnorman
Jan. 21, 2008, 06:21 PM
That's cute Wynn.
The CUTEST thing I ever saw was the kid that won the bn aec's on the fjord.

Drat, Lisa. You beat me to it. I was going to mention that pair. They are perfect.



What if, for example, the AQHA had a LL eventing division--same rules, same tests as USEA, but another gazillion potential members to play the game? If eventing was offered at Elementary, BN and N, wouldn't these owners be a different demographic to market LL eventing to? How could the USEA market it to them? Would the USEA want to market LL eventing to breed associations


Actually, I've always thought that the way to promote the sport to the breeds would be to go the USDF way: breed awards, but have the awards sponsored by the breeds themselves (I actually don't know how USDF does it, so maybe this is how). Every major breed probably has a breeder or owner or two who seriously breed for or have an interest in eventing. If we could find that person/biz and get them to sponsor the award within their breed, by promoting the award to their membership, the breed registries could actually end up promoting the sport themselves (rather than USEA).

In fact, right now, the Shetland folks are doing something similar by offering a $10,000 prize to any Shetland or half-Shetland that wins a class at the Pony Hunter Finals. They may not realize it, but each time they advertise or discuss that award, they are getting Shetland owners to at least think about Shetlands for the hunter division.

Picasso
Jan. 21, 2008, 06:44 PM
Ok, Pwynn - pics coming your way to do as you see fit! I'll email them, if that's ok.

piccolittle
Jan. 21, 2008, 08:38 PM
a grandmother and granddaughter, both competing at the same event, maybe even in the same division?


This is really off topic, but what Denny said about the mixed generations in eventing reminded me of my own experiences, and really made me smile.

My stepdad joined my family when I was 8, and we both started eventing together when he married my mom; neither of us had done it before- he had point-to-pointed and I was in Pony Club, but we both starting foxhunting and then competing together. My mom rides, but she's kind of a chicken (more than me, which is shocking!), so she would come groom for us while we would walk courses and stuff. When we started we were both sort of "making do" with the random horses we could find to ride, but it's those ridiculous memories (like my ancient horse Hershey freezing in the middle of the road while my stepdad's crazy TB went bucking off without us- everyone was safe in the end though!) that keep us laughing today. Now, 12 years later, we still go to shows together, and often compete in the same division. Sometimes he beats me, sometimes I beat him... and sometimes one or both of us will have a really crappy day... but it's the shared experience that really shaped my childhood and my relationship with my family.

We both credit riding, and eventing, for the incredibly strong bond we share. And I just think it was an incredible opportunity to have growing up.

Sorry for that, but I was inspired :P

retreadeventer
Jan. 21, 2008, 09:43 PM
the breed awards are EASY to do. takes phone calls and letters. Gee how hard can that be if you have an office and people staffing it.

frugalannie
Jan. 22, 2008, 09:12 AM
There have been some breed awards, but they aren't advertised at all, and there hasn't bee any cash award (that I know of) just a certificate.

I personally know of the Welsh Cob award, which any horse at least half WC could qualify for (unfortunately my mare was 1/4 WC). The NAWPN had one, too: my other mare was 5th nationally one year.

CBudFrggy
Jan. 22, 2008, 11:05 AM
There have been some breed awards, but they aren't advertised at all, and there hasn't bee any cash award (that I know of) just a certificate.

I personally know of the Welsh Cob award, which any horse at least half WC could qualify for (unfortunately my mare was 1/4 WC). The NAWPN had one, too: my other mare was 5th nationally one year.

I guess my point was that a breed association would already have the $$$ in place to (1) have a venue and (2) have interested breeders/owners/ competitors. Voila! More people eventing at the lower levels at their breed shows, more positive images going around. The sport has now been promoted to another gazillion people without the USEA having to really go out of pocket, and it might get more members.