PDA

View Full Version : UPDATE: "Masters" of eventing. Last post: Torri's email.



pwynnnorman
Mar. 19, 2008, 05:22 PM
What if it were possible to change the attitude of having to move up to one of having achieved something significant? One emphasizing accomplishment rather than advancement? USDF awards bronze, silver and gold medals for riders who have succeeded at various levels. Consider something like that in eventing--something that USEA could make a big deal out of: mastering the levels.
Bear with me, please.

Imagine meeting the qualification criteria for the next level and receiving a certificate, pin and your name (or horse’s) listed online and in the magazine? Are those just superficial things? Well, in a way, they are—but not if they aren’t treated that way. They can also be symbolic things. Symbols which not only stand for achievement, but also are a reminder of the training and development of horse and rider that is supposed to be at the heart of the sport and its progressive nature. Out there in the real world, symbols are used all the time to subtly remind people of what is important and why. And once they and what they stand for become embedded in the culture, the symbols are no longer hokey. They are valued.

Mastering training level should be more important than competing at Preliminary. I’m sure everyone agrees with that in principle. How can it be made not just agreeable, but even desirable?

Right now, it’s all about the future, not the past. The pressure is to get on with it, instead of master it. And that’s why many--including pros--resist tougher qualifying criteria and also, perhaps, why some move up too soon. With young riders it’s peer pressure and just the atmosphere of the sport. You are viewed with increasing respect and attention the higher up you go. With pros, it can also be financial pressure: the higher the level of horse, the more its worth. Either way, there are no rewards for staying where you are and doing it really, really well.

But what if there were a way to emphasize mastery such that moving up weren’t the only satisfaction out there? What if mastery could be recognized in such a way that not only riders, but also owners and buyers could recognize even the financial value of a horse that has mastered its level? Most event horse buyers are NOT upper level riders. Indeed, upper level horses often sell to lower level riders because by getting to the upper levels it is assumed that they’ve “proven” that the lower levels are well within them. And yet we know full well that that isn’t necessarily true. Competing at higher levels often depends more on who is doing the riding than on what the horse has truly mastered.

So… what if horses didn’t HAVE to be “proven” by moving up? What if staying at a level and competing as a master in that level had significance by itself? What if there evolved special divisions, awards or championships for horses or riders in their “master class”: those that have received their bronze (say, Novice level), silver (Training), gold (Prelim), platinum (Intermediate) or titanium (Advanced) medals? or for the horse with a rider already a master at the next level, or a rider with a horse already a master at the next level—see how a SAFER thought process might evolve by inserting the term "mastery" into the sport's lexicon?).

So I say let’s do something that encourages people to savor their accomplishments and take pride in what has been achieved, rather than what is yet to be. Kinda like stopping to smell the roses along the way. After all, maybe you’ll find a particularly fragrant patch and decide to stay there forever. If you don’t stop and take a good whiff, how will you ever really know?

rebecca yount
Mar. 19, 2008, 05:25 PM
Um...pwynn--have you been following the hoo hah over the proposed "performance standards" in dressage over the months since the end of November?

Check out various threads on dressage forum.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 19, 2008, 05:36 PM
Yes, I have and I was PRAYING that no one woudl take this off track into that direction!

Look, ya think maybe stricter qualifying criteria might just be a bit more palatable if staying where you are and being acknowleged for what you've achieved had as much significance as moving up?

Please don't take discussion on COTH as representative of entire groups of people. I have friends who work hard to achieve their bronze, silver or gold with no concern for the stuff being argued. Why? Because that stuff has to do with moving up, it does NOT emphasize being as good as you can be at the level you are at.

Please don't let this stray! I'd rather it got no attention at all than it missed the central point. The details are irrelevant. I'm not proposing this as the only way to change attitudes, just an example of a potential one--and maybe also the need to think about one.

larapintavian
Mar. 19, 2008, 05:56 PM
Isn't there something similar to this already in place ... it's just not given a lot of recognition?


Under the Rider's Awards you find:

Medallion Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Novice level H.T.s
Blue Ribbon Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Training level H.T.s
Bronze Medal Club -- 1st -5th place at 3 Prelim H.T.s, Events and *
Silver Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Intermediate H.T.s, Events, and **
Gold Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Advanced H.T.s, Events, *** and ****

All three competitions at a given level must take place in the same calendar year and placings must be earned by the same horse/rider PAIR. Riders are responsible for applying for these awards.

Could these be made more prestigious? My daughter got her "Silver" back in '91, and we were certainly proud of her and her horse's accomplishment even though the award itself was only a certificate. Horse/rider pairs earning these awards also used to be printed in the USEA magazine ... don't know if that's the case anymore or not.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 19, 2008, 06:09 PM
Thank you, Sharon. That's great to know about--and why I posted this rather than just sending in as a suggestion. And, yes, that's what I mean: more prestige, more recognition, more respect for doing well at the level you are at, rather than for just "doing" the next (level). It's not something that would change the attitude or culture behind moving up immediately, but gradually and with some loving attention, it might.

Or maybe something else. I'm just thinking that changing out of fear (of what could happen/continue to happen if something isn't done) is probably never, by itself, the kind of change anyone is happy with. Change to return to or support an ideal (as well as prevent tragedy) is a lot more positive.

CookiePony
Mar. 19, 2008, 07:58 PM
How about a nice big ribbon with the certificate?

As a lower-level rider struggling for mastery (no intentions to do ULs), I would love for these awards to get more attention/prestige.


Isn't there something similar to this already in place ... it's just not given a lot of recognition?


Under the Rider's Awards you find:

Medallion Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Novice level H.T.s
Blue Ribbon Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Training level H.T.s
Bronze Medal Club -- 1st -5th place at 3 Prelim H.T.s, Events and *
Silver Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Intermediate H.T.s, Events, and **
Gold Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Advanced H.T.s, Events, *** and ****

All three competitions at a given level must take place in the same calendar year and placings must be earned by the same horse/rider PAIR. Riders are responsible for applying for these awards.

Could these be made more prestigious? My daughter got her "Silver" back in '91, and we were certainly proud of her and her horse's accomplishment even though the award itself was only a certificate. Horse/rider pairs earning these awards also used to be printed in the USEA magazine ... don't know if that's the case anymore or not.

Gry2Yng
Mar. 19, 2008, 10:11 PM
It is a great idea. I don't think the current system applies however. Placings have NOTHING to do with mastery. I think I won one of those back in the 1990's, but it had nothing to do with my ability and everything to do with the great horse I rode. I am a better rider and horseman today, but couldn't string together 3 good ribbons to save my life.

RunForIt
Mar. 19, 2008, 10:16 PM
What if it were possible to change the attitude of having to move up to one of having achieved something significant? One emphasizing accomplishment rather than advancement? USDF awards bronze, silver and gold medals for riders who have succeeded at various levels. Consider something like that in eventing--something that USEA could make a big deal out of: mastering the levels.
Bear with me, please.

Imagine meeting the qualification criteria for the next level and receiving a certificate, pin and your name (or horse’s) listed online and in the magazine? Are those just superficial things? Well, in a way, they are—but not if they aren’t treated that way. They can also be symbolic things. Symbols which not only stand for achievement, but also are a reminder of the training and development of horse and rider that is supposed to be at the heart of the sport and its progressive nature. Out there in the real world, symbols are used all the time to subtly remind people of what is important and why. And once they and what they stand for become embedded in the culture, the symbols are no longer hokey. They are valued.

Mastering training level should be more important than competing at Preliminary. I’m sure everyone agrees with that in principle. How can it be made not just agreeable, but even desirable?

Right now, it’s all about the future, not the past. The pressure is to get on with it, instead of master it. And that’s why many--including pros--resist tougher qualifying criteria and also, perhaps, why some move up too soon. With young riders it’s peer pressure and just the atmosphere of the sport. You are viewed with increasing respect and attention the higher up you go. With pros, it can also be financial pressure: the higher the level of horse, the more its worth. Either way, there are no rewards for staying where you are and doing it really, really well.

But what if there were a way to emphasize mastery such that moving up weren’t the only satisfaction out there? What if mastery could be recognized in such a way that not only riders, but also owners and buyers could recognize even the financial value of a horse that has mastered its level? Most event horse buyers are NOT upper level riders. Indeed, upper level horses often sell to lower level riders because by getting to the upper levels it is assumed that they’ve “proven” that the lower levels are well within them. And yet we know full well that that isn’t necessarily true. Competing at higher levels often depends more on who is doing the riding than on what the horse has truly mastered.

So… what if horses didn’t HAVE to be “proven” by moving up? What if staying at a level and competing as a master in that level had significance by itself? What if there evolved special divisions, awards or championships for horses or riders in their “master class”: those that have received their bronze (say, Novice level), silver (Training), gold (Prelim), platinum (Intermediate) or titanium (Advanced) medals? or for the horse with a rider already a master at the next level, or a rider with a horse already a master at the next level—see how a SAFER thought process might evolve by inserting the term "mastery" into the sport's lexicon?).

So I say let’s do something that encourages people to savor their accomplishments and take pride in what has been achieved, rather than what is yet to be. Kinda like stopping to smell the roses along the way. After all, maybe you’ll find a particularly fragrant patch and decide to stay there forever. If you don’t stop and take a good whiff, how will you ever really know?

I read this as the writer telling me she'd favor quality over quantity any day, any time, any year...

silver2
Mar. 19, 2008, 11:04 PM
Be careful what you wish for.

As a former dressage sales barn rider and instructor I think that is the LAST sport you'd want to emulate in terms of advancing. There are huge commercial operations in the US built entirely on the premise the 2nd level is an unattainable goal. "Riders" spend hours debating vaguely mystical concepts that end in -ness and have elevated the ability to actually ride your damn horse in a straight line then a bendy one then a straight one to the level of acheiving nirvana and being sucked into the cosmos in a poof of white light.

There is little in 4th level that the average amateur can't conquer with a competent instructor, their books confiscated and their mouths taped shut.

Excuse me, I have to go and take my blood pressure medication now.

signed silver "if you can do a shoulder-in you can do a half pass" 2

NowThatsATrot
Mar. 19, 2008, 11:23 PM
As the owner and rider of a horse who is physically limited to the lower levels, I would love if they offered recognition for mastery of different stages... I do also compete in dressage shows and those Medals are part of my personal goals. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for year-end awards and such, but to me it's more than just collecting ribbons, it's having a specific level/title in mind and doing my best to earn it. (Yes, I do set goals outside of those awards, but it is nice to get that extra recognition, and if we're eligible, why not?)

Maybe they could revamp the current USEA "Rider Awards" to make them similar to the dressage awards? ie, it's not the placing that counts, but quality and consistency: scores of __ percent, from __ different showgrounds, under __ different judges. I have been steering well clear of the other threads disputing the performance standards so I don't really want to get into it here... But why not something like that? Achieving a certain score in dressage with a minimum of added penalties, rather than just placing well, and being able to repeat the performance a number of times over different courses.

pegasusmom
Mar. 20, 2008, 07:30 AM
[quote=larapintavian;3086278]Isn't there something similar to this already in place ... it's just not given a lot of recognition?


Under the Rider's Awards you find:

Medallion Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Novice level H.T.s
Blue Ribbon Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Training level H.T.s
Bronze Medal Club -- 1st -5th place at 3 Prelim H.T.s, Events and *
Silver Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Intermediate H.T.s, Events, and **
Gold Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Advanced H.T.s, Events, *** and ****

As far as I know they are non-existant - my son should have gotten his Blue ribbon club and a bronze medal last year. . .

AM
Mar. 20, 2008, 07:58 AM
Did he apply for them? That's the first major flaw in the recognition. USEA is saying we will give you a certificate if you track your placings and let us know that you have achieved this award rather than saying we think your achievements as a rider are important and we will monitor our database of event placings and recognize your accomplishments.

They used to (may still) offer a certificate for volunteering. It was only available to members who sent in a list of three events at which they had volunteered. As a member, I see volunteering as an obligation of membership. I always thought it would be more useful if USEA made volunteer certificates available to organizers to distribute to non-member volunteers as an acknowledgement that we (USEA and its members) can't do this alone.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 20, 2008, 08:30 AM
It is a great idea. I don't think the current system applies however. Placings have NOTHING to do with mastery. I think I won one of those back in the 1990's, but it had nothing to do with my ability and everything to do with the great horse I rode. I am a better rider and horseman today, but couldn't string together 3 good ribbons to save my life.

That's what I was thinking, too. Just as qualifying criteria have nothing to do with placings, neither should any mastery concept. I think it'd be better, in fact, for mastery to be based on qualifying for the next level because then that would help the concept reinforce the idea that you don't have to move up, even if you've qualified to do so. You can stay where you are and enjoy being a master at that level (with all the perks, attention and respect -- or whatever other incentives -- your achievement has earned), at least for a while.



As a former dressage sales barn rider and instructor I think that is the LAST sport you'd want to emulate in terms of advancing. There are huge commercial operations in the US built entirely on the premise the 2nd level is an unattainable goal. "Riders" spend hours debating vaguely mystical concepts that end in -ness and have elevated the ability to actually ride your damn horse in a straight line then a bendy one then a straight one to the level of acheiving nirvana and being sucked into the cosmos in a poof of white light.



Ah, but dressage doesn't have the safety issue we do. If things were to evolve such that the same occurred in eventing, as least riders in barns like that would be SAFE. Better to fiddle around forever at a safe level than fly through more dangerous ones.

But I can't imagine that happening. If you master your level, compete against other masters, become a "master of masters," so-to-speak, eventually, you'll either get bored and move up or sell your master horse and start again with another...or just have a great time being a perpetual master. The nice thing about the sport is that the courses are always different. You're never guarenteed a win...although, I guess if it got THAT bad, masters could receive a handicap of some kind, like adding an automatic 10 points to their scores. But I can't see it becoming like that.

Cody
Mar. 20, 2008, 08:40 AM
[quote=larapintavian;3086278]Isn't there something similar to this already in place ... it's just not given a lot of recognition?


Under the Rider's Awards you find:

Medallion Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Novice level H.T.s
Blue Ribbon Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Training level H.T.s
Bronze Medal Club -- 1st -5th place at 3 Prelim H.T.s, Events and *
Silver Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Intermediate H.T.s, Events, and **
Gold Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Advanced H.T.s, Events, *** and ****

As far as I know they are non-existant - my son should have gotten his Blue ribbon club and a bronze medal last year. . .

I have 2 Medallion club's, one for Spot and one for Cody. But you have to keep up with the paperwork and send it to the USEA to be recognized.

Cody

olympicprincess
Mar. 20, 2008, 09:41 AM
I think it's a great idea.

I never really thought of it, but many dressage trainers do advertise what medals they have acheived, whereas I can't recall an event instructor mentioning which of these "clubs" they are in. Seems event trainers tend to note what event(s) they have done well at.

Personally- I'd like to do away with the term "club" and completely rename the T award.

Gry2Yng
Mar. 20, 2008, 12:35 PM
Jimmy put together a great set of criteria in a PH article. You can review it on his website.


http://special.equisearch.com/downloads/charts/PHRiderRatingSystem.pdf

I would rather be known as a solid 7 on Jimmy's scale than have a "silver medal" from the USEA.

Vuma
Mar. 20, 2008, 03:49 PM
A change of mentality is what is really needed in our sport and I couldn't agree more with a fresh look at acknowleding those who are doing a superior job at their current level. This is why I started the earlier thread re: sportsmanship and moving up without some sort of competitive compitence at a current level.

The mentality of mastering a level brings out the "sport" in our sport. If you are striving to achieve good scores/placings you "will" eventually receive them. And if you're not, why would (or rather "should") you move up?

More importantly, I think humans are inately challenging of any "requirements" that may be imposed on them by a person/sport/organization, etc. We are Americans and we love our freedom. National Qualifying Scores (which I personally am in favor of and wouldn't mind seeing them be more tough) are shunned by many competitors. Maybe "some" of these same competitors, if given a more positive outlet to work for honorable awards before moving up, would be more likely to alter their phyche of "moving up" as a goal to strive for and be driven to stay where they are a bit longer in pursuit of these awards. And again, these award would need some good ad campaigns and PR to really establish themselves as a worthy goal.

I feel this would do BOTH our sport and the safety of it a great deal of good!

throwurheart
Mar. 20, 2008, 05:07 PM
I think it's a great idea. Never even heard of the existing awards, and "club" sounds childish to me, so let's renew it with some better words and put it out there. Personally, I love goals, and I am all about mastering a level before moving up. Kind of nice to get a public pat on the back for it.

larapintavian
Mar. 20, 2008, 06:30 PM
It is a great idea. I don't think the current system applies however. Placings have NOTHING to do with mastery. I think I won one of those back in the 1990's, but it had nothing to do with my ability and everything to do with the great horse I rode. I am a better rider and horseman today, but couldn't string together 3 good ribbons to save my life.

In our case, as my daughter has continued to get better over the years with each horse, she has also placed better, more consistently, and earlier in each horse's career. We just can't afford to get to 3 same-level competitions very often in the same CALENDAR year. For instance, she has had her current young horse out 9 times .... won both of this YEH-4s, 5,2 & 1 in his three Novices, and WON 3 out of his 4 Training levels (two of them with a 10-point lead) ..... but the Training and Novice competition 'sets' were in 2 different CALENDAR years each, even though within a 12 month period, so she was not eligible to apply for either the 'Medallion' or the 'Blue Ribbon' awards with this horse.

If I'm not mistaken, the USDF scores for each level don't have to be earned within the same calendar year.


[quote=larapintavian;3086278]
.....As far as I know they are non-existant - my son should have gotten his Blue ribbon club and a bronze medal last year. . .

That IS part of the problem ... ther RIDER must keep track and make application for these awards, USEA doesn't track it for them. Congratulations to your son. Check out the application (I found it on the USEA site ... just searched 'rider's awards') and see if he can still apply or if there is a time limit.


The USPC Standards of Proficiency (http://www.ponyclub.org) might be worth a look, too.

Agree with this one too ... could offer some ideas


I think it's a great idea. Never even heard of the existing awards, and "club" sounds childish to me, so let's renew it with some better words ......

Definitely agree with THIS too. The USDF 'Bronze Medal' even sounds so much better than USEA 'Bronze Medal Club'.

Gry2Yng
Mar. 20, 2008, 07:06 PM
larapintavian,
I did not mean to imply that improvement in placing is not a measure of improving skill, only that placing well does not always coincide with mastery. In our sport, it can be the winner, who rides hell bent for leather and shows scarcely a trace of mastery and only a lack of good judgement. The winner can also be a master of the level.
Gry

VCT
Mar. 20, 2008, 09:21 PM
I think if you give recognition for achieving the qualifications to move up.. or recognition where more prestige is associated with the higher levels (like "Medallion Club for Novice, but hey if you're doing as well in Advanced them you're in the Titanium Club") just adds more fuel to the move-up fire.

IMHO, a better system would be one where there are say Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals or Clubs awarded to riders in EACH division for specific criteria, for example:

For BN (over a career, not a year):
To acheive bronze: You must have a score of XYZ or better in 2 dressage tests, you must have 3 clean XC rounds, 1 clean stadium round and have successfully completed 3 BN HT's.
To achieve Silver: score XYZ or better in 4 dressage tests, 5 clean XC rounds and 3 clean stadiums and successfully completed 5 BN HT's.
Gold: score XYZ or better in 6 dressage tests, 8 clean XC rounds and 5 clean stadiums and successfully completed 8 BN HT's.

And so on and so forth for each level. I don't know what the dressage scores should be, but a score that is doable, but shows true understanding of the theory at that level and the ability to execute it, at least, satisfactorily.

This way you are not basing the achievement on what qualifies you to move up, NOR how people did placing wise which would be basing the achievement on how people did COMPARED to others at that Trial. You are basing it on really MASTERING that level.

And I think the Horse AND Rider should have this title attached to them. Sop if you were selling your horse, you could say Cody has achieved his BN Gold and N Silver.

And yes, I purposefully made it so that for MOST people achieving the GOLD would take MORE than one year, maybe even more than TWO. It should not have anything to do with moving up. It should have to do with Mastery.

J-Lu
Mar. 20, 2008, 09:24 PM
Jimmy put together a great set of criteria in a PH article. You can review it on his website.


http://special.equisearch.com/downloads/charts/PHRiderRatingSystem.pdf

I would rather be known as a solid 7 on Jimmy's scale than have a "silver medal" from the USEA.

Unfortunately, achieving a 10 on this scale in dressage is a whole lot easier than achieving a 8 or 9. 60% at PSG on a capable horse? Not too too tough.

larapintavian
Mar. 20, 2008, 09:41 PM
Sorry I misunderstood, my error.

I guess I tend to think in terms of people like us (and the majority of our eventing friends) who have to 'make' all of their own horses (with good coaching, of course). I tend to forget about those who are able to obtain a 'master HORSE' to ride and compete and are able to place mainly because of the horse's expertise. Nope, the people we know who manage to qualify for these awards have all done it the hard way ... thorough development of their own abilities along with those of their 'green' horses.

gillenwaterfarm
Mar. 20, 2008, 09:58 PM
IMHO, a better system would be one where there are say Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals or Clubs awarded to riders in EACH division for specific criteria, for example:

For BN (over a career, not a year):
To acheive bronze: You must have a score of XYZ or better in 2 dressage tests, you must have 3 clean XC rounds, 1 clean stadium round and have successfully completed 3 BN HT's.
To achieve Silver: score XYZ or better in 4 dressage tests, 5 clean XC rounds and 3 clean stadiums and successfully completed 5 BN HT's.
Gold: score XYZ or better in 6 dressage tests, 8 clean XC rounds and 5 clean stadiums and successfully completed 8 BN HT's.

I think this is a fantastic proprosal. This type of system of recognition would give me a great long term goal to work towards.

VCT
Mar. 20, 2008, 10:21 PM
Thanks gillenwaterfarm,

I do think it would be good for goal setting, recognizing ability and maybe to outline the difference between able-to-move-up, qualified-to-move-up and MASTERED the level.

I also think it would allow people to know what horse they are buying when horse shopping. As someone else pointed out, just because a horse has done in the upper levels does not make them solid lower level material. It may just be the rider who has brought the horse to success at higher levels. However, if you have a horse who is Gold in BN and Silver in N... and you are looking for a horse for your child (preteen-teen) who is an average capable and ready to do BN to start eventing on... you'd have a good idea that horse with Gold in BN and Silver in N would very possibly be a suitable match for your child.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 21, 2008, 06:47 AM
This way you are not basing the achievement on what qualifies you to move up, NOR how people did placing wise which would be basing the achievement on how people did COMPARED to others at that Trial. You are basing it on really MASTERING that level.

That's an excellent distinction!

I'm beginning to wonder about something else with respect to the "mastery" concept: professionals in the sport.

I love the idea of attaching mastery to the horse and rider separately somehow (but I don't know how, exactly). That would result in most pros being masters at all levels, right?

Well, here's something that has irked me about this sport for a long time and, at first, it may seem totally off-track, but it is directly related to what could come about if the concept of mastery were to become more important.

Have you ever wondered how organizers decide who gets put into which section when a division is divvied up? As far as I know, there are no rules or policies for how this is done. Some organizers do it one way, while others do it another. And yet who ends up in your division can make a big difference in the results and rewards, right? (NOTE: I'm not talking about "open" vs. "horse" vs. "rider". My understanding is that those are entire "divisions." I'm referring to A, B, C sections of the same division.)

What if "master" was always the "A" section? And what if organizers were required to fill the master sections first and divide that section into subsections if the numbers (of "master" entries) warranted, again first, before putting masters into B, C, D, etc.?

People often talk about how motivating it is to compete right alongside the...well, the masters. But what if you had to earn that right? The honor of competing in the A section might motivate those folks to truly master their level. Meanwhile, other folks get fed up with being beaten by...well, the masters. Corralling masters into the "A" section would satisfy that concern, too.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 21, 2008, 06:58 AM
Oh, here's an example that someone, an LLR, said to me once (the quote isn't verbatim, though):



It's kinda hard to explain to your husband that you had a great dressage test, brilliant x-c and stadium, but still placed down the list just because "great" to most folks is a score in the 30s, while "great" to the greats is a score in the 20s.

ivy62
Mar. 21, 2008, 07:22 AM
I am new to eventing so am not up on all the regs but I remember when I was younger, many years ago, starting to show in equitation the calender meant nothing you were able to go to the next level after WINS in a certain division, except maiden and novice those you could do together. As the courses got higher and requirements more you basically had to qualify and the wins also put you out of a division also..

I hope that makes sense to you. I do enjoy watching eventing and would like to see it continue but also liked the long format too

VCT
Mar. 21, 2008, 12:20 PM
Hey Pwynn,
I think we could use the same criteria for horses and riders separately. Like, the horse accrues his stats, possible even with different riders. Rider can accrue theirs possibly with different horses. Or not, it can be the same combo the whole time.
I think your idea about putting people in the same competitive skill level in the same section is a good one. That is something that the Bronze, Silver, Gold standing could be useful for - when the number of entries at an event warranted it. If it didn't you could at least clump the Gold and Silvers in one section and the Bronzes and "Non-medaled" in another section. On some level I don't really think it matters though about who you are competing against. Thats one of the things I sort of like about this sport. The "little guy" is running out there on the same field and competing with the "big guy."

ivy62, I'm not sure what you mean by the calendar meaning nothing. I do know what you mean about wins allowing you to move up and also essentially disqualifying you for a lower level, etc. However, that really can't fly in Eventing. There are serious safety factors involved that you just don't have in Hunters/Eq. 2 or 3 wins doesn't necessarily mean you (or your horse) are ready to move up. There are qualifications necessary to move up in place though (or soon will be in place - I can't remember). For the same safety reasons, no one is ever put UP arbitrarily in Eventing. You can stay at whatever level you want for as long as you want, or forever. There can be many reasons for this. Horse limitation, rider physical, skill or mental limitation. Or some people just want to have a good time bopping around the lower levels and have no desire to increase their risk.

closetoperfectionfarm
Mar. 21, 2008, 01:57 PM
The USPC Standards of Proficiency (http://www.ponyclub.org) might be worth a look, too.

Sorry to completely disagree with you on that one!
I would never base one's ability to ride on the USPC standards....
Quite the opposite actually.

Janet
Mar. 21, 2008, 02:12 PM
As far as I know they are non-existant - my son should have gotten his Blue ribbon club and a bronze medal last year. . .
That is because the rider has to actually apply for them. And I don't know of anyone that bothers to do that. Or if they do, they don't tell anybody about it.

Somewhat like the volunteer awards, in that the people who are most deserving usually don't bother to submit the paperwork.

4Martini
Mar. 21, 2008, 06:19 PM
As someone who has no desire to move up- I love these ideas! It would give people something to work for!

I was also thinking that it would be really nice to year end awards - on a national level for all levels for horses say 18 YO +. This would really reward management and horsemanship. I love seeing the old guys still trucking around. I also respect their owners for all of the effort that must go into keeping them going. This might give an incentive to work hard to keep horses going longer (maybe moving up slower.)

ellebeaux
Mar. 21, 2008, 06:52 PM
I think if you give recognition for achieving the qualifications to move up.. or recognition where more prestige is associated with the higher levels (like "Medallion Club for Novice, but hey if you're doing as well in Advanced them you're in the Titanium Club") just adds more fuel to the move-up fire.

IMHO, a better system would be one where there are say Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals or Clubs awarded to riders in EACH division for specific criteria, for example:

For BN (over a career, not a year):
To acheive bronze: You must have a score of XYZ or better in 2 dressage tests, you must have 3 clean XC rounds, 1 clean stadium round and have successfully completed 3 BN HT's.
To achieve Silver: score XYZ or better in 4 dressage tests, 5 clean XC rounds and 3 clean stadiums and successfully completed 5 BN HT's.
Gold: score XYZ or better in 6 dressage tests, 8 clean XC rounds and 5 clean stadiums and successfully completed 8 BN HT's.

And so on and so forth for each level. I don't know what the dressage scores should be, but a score that is doable, but shows true understanding of the theory at that level and the ability to execute it, at least, satisfactorily.

This way you are not basing the achievement on what qualifies you to move up, NOR how people did placing wise which would be basing the achievement on how people did COMPARED to others at that Trial. You are basing it on really MASTERING that level.

And I think the Horse AND Rider should have this title attached to them. Sop if you were selling your horse, you could say Cody has achieved his BN Gold and N Silver.

And yes, I purposefully made it so that for MOST people achieving the GOLD would take MORE than one year, maybe even more than TWO. It should not have anything to do with moving up. It should have to do with Mastery.


I like this idea! Like someone else wrote, I'm all about setting goals and being recognized for achieving them. This approach also looks like it would be setting solid foundations for horse training by having them stay at lower levels for longer.

PalominoMorgan
Mar. 21, 2008, 08:01 PM
I love the idea of being able to go bronze, silver, and gold at each level. I aspire to do lower level eventing. I don't want to risk breaking myself or my horse (my horse of a lifetime.) It would be great to have a goal to work towards at the level I am comfortable with.

I also think it would be great for marketing horses as well. Just because a horse respects jumps at the upper levels doesn't mean it has demonstrated an ability to pay attention at the lower levels. Knowing that the horse was medaled at different levels would help when selling and buying.

throwurheart
Mar. 21, 2008, 10:51 PM
VCT - brilliant system, and I love where Wynn took it. That's one of my pet peeves too, the groupings of riders. I used to ride in the DC area, and events there generally divided us into open, rider, horse, young rider divisions. I moved to the west, and suddenly all adults are lumped together. Mind you, there were still three divisions - A, B, C - but we were all "open" so I competed against full-time professional trainers. Now why couldn't they divide us into open and limited divisions?

Eh, it's just a 99 cent ribbon. But it's a symbol of achievement that's still somehow nice to get. :)

pwynnnorman
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:45 AM
Thanks everyone. I'm posting one last time just to bump this up and squeeze one more day of reaction out of it before taking all the responses and putting them into a proposal. (Can't hurt to try!)

VCT
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:08 AM
Wow, a proposal? To USEA? or?
Can I help?
email me at vita (at) hogbackhillfarm (dot) com

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:10 AM
Wynn - I'm pretty sure one factor in who goes in Division A, B, and C is how to fit riders with multiple horses in sanely for all.

If a division has 12 competitiors, and you make all the Philips and Karens be in one division of P, say, and if Pro A has 3 horses, Pro B has 2, C has 3, and D has 2, umm, that is a scheduling blech, put mildly....

I *think* according to current rules separation of divisions is supposed to be random, but I can't imagine that it really is much of the time.

Auburn
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:39 AM
Wynn,

I believe that you have a great idea here. I can't wait to see your proposal. Being able to say that you have achieved a Gold medal, at ANY level, would be priceless.

Thank you for all of your hard work to try and make things better for us.

CBudFrggy
Mar. 24, 2008, 12:14 PM
Wynn--I like the proposal with three levels of recognition at each level. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. You have my e-mail already in the "greenies XC schooling" group. Thanks.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 24, 2008, 01:05 PM
Wynn - I'm pretty sure one factor in who goes in Division A, B, and C is how to fit riders with multiple horses in sanely for all.


That was on my mind, too, Jeanette (How's Cass, BTW?), but then I thought about how they (some of the pros with multi multi rides) don't abide by the schedule much anyway. That seems to indicate to me that it's not all that hard to take someone from the A section and schedule their times in another section since all sections of one division ride the same course. And when it is possible to put all the masters into one section (or two subsections or whatever) such that they ride first (and are done), maybe that would even make them more available to focus on their students?

(And thanks, all. NOW, how about a SPONSOR??? That'd really get this thing--whatever it ends up being--off the ground, doncha think?)

Vuma
Mar. 24, 2008, 01:42 PM
Once again, great post! So good to see the positive collective thinking coming through instead of the "who is CMP sleeping with" BS. Quite replusive!

I love the ideas and suggestions, and think a real change in mentality as it relates to compitency is what this sport is begging for. Let's honorably reward all the hard work!

Karma
Mar. 24, 2008, 02:01 PM
As an eventer who does not aspire to the UL I would love to work towards a mastery at Novice and maybe Training someday. I think it would feel great to be working towards it, rather then being "just" a Novice level rider. Thanks for the great idea.

LookinSouth
Mar. 24, 2008, 02:55 PM
So I say let’s do something that encourages people to savor their accomplishments and take pride in what has been achieved, rather than what is yet to be. Kinda like stopping to smell the roses along the way. After all, maybe you’ll find a particularly fragrant patch and decide to stay there forever. If you don’t stop and take a good whiff, how will you ever really know?


Pwynn I think this is a great idea! Acknowledgement of mastery at the lower levels is one thing that I think is truly missing at the lower levels.

IMO if riders were recognized for achievements at the lower levels they'd be more likely to stick around and perhaps put off the "move up" rush. Those that are perfectly content at the lower levels will have something to strive for as well.
As a rider that has no interest in EVER riding above Training sometimes the eventing world seems limiting.
In the Hunters/EQ there are many opportunities for A/A to qualify for various medals, classics etc...and really "master" that level. I think that is one of the best components of those divisions. Riders can stay at that level for years and still have so much to conquer!

To me, if LL eventing at the amateur level offered more prestigous recognition for the mastery of various levels it would be great. Not everyone has the horse OR the guts to move on up the levels but yet they fully love and appreciate the sport. There should be a niche for riders that fall in this category.

Whoever said requiring that the rider volunteer at X amount of events...I think that's a golden idea too. That will help to separate (uh hopefully:winkgrin:) those that are truly committed to the sport at all levels versus those that are just in to "chase points" per se.

ellebeaux
Mar. 24, 2008, 03:33 PM
I LOVE this idea! Uh, but I'm a girl, does this mean I'd be a 'Mistress of Eventing"?

LLDM
Mar. 24, 2008, 05:55 PM
I really, really think you guys have something here! There are truly fabulous ideas on this thread! What can I do to help?

SCFarm

Bobthehorse
Mar. 24, 2008, 06:19 PM
Great idea whoever said horsemanship should be involved in this medal system! Im not sure how you would do that, maybe with seminars....but I do think horsemanship is lacking these days, and an understanding of horsecare should be rewarded and treated as something necessary to riding.

Id like some senior horse awards, great idea! My 18 y/o is still going, with a possible Prelim upgrade this year, and he would like a plaque for all his hard work. I also had a 23 y/o pre-training/novice horse that no one ever guessed was nearly that old. As long as it doesnt encourage people to keep older horses going when they are maxed out...

I also realize this is all American, and Im Canadian....but whatever you guys do will leak into our system eventually.

fourhorses
Mar. 24, 2008, 06:55 PM
but I agree with the line "be careful what you wish for"

All the ideas here are really great, and I totally approve of the impetus behind this post -- people really should quit placing so much importance on climbing up the levels; they should care more about being safe and mastering the skills.

And all of the proposals here might work to make people more happy at the lower levels -- more content to stay there for a while.

But anytime you give people the opportunity to WIN a bit of shine for something, eventually you start seeing abuse of that awards system -- just look at the show horses, the dressage levels/medals. A hypothetical happening if this medals system were to take place in eventing:

"So what if Dobbin is a little sore; he's not lame for chrisssakes, he'll pass muster, and I'm one score away from getting my BN Gold medal....It's not like I'm doing upper level stuff, he can manage doing this just once....and I've worked for two long years to get that award!"

Can anyone else here see how this sort of thing might come about?
I've seen it with western horses, with h/js, and dressage horses -- that's why I wanted to take up eventing.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 24, 2008, 07:13 PM
But Dobbin could still earn his medal after he's sound.

(But agree, IMO it's exactly that sort of reasoning--walking a fine line between a little "off" and a lot unsafe--that may be creating some issues. And you're right--it's everywhere. Why give Dobbin--no, no I LIKE Dobbin, he's a super talent...Why give BOB time off when you can shore him up for a few more runs, a few more points, a little more recognition?)

[Iwish horses got more time off and less high-tech vet stuff.]

LexInVA
Mar. 24, 2008, 07:19 PM
I LOVE this idea! Uh, but I'm a girl, does this mean I'd be a 'Mistress of Eventing"?

Only if you're partial to spontaneous late night rendezvous' for XC and dressage sessions in seedy places, studded crops, jet black skintight breeches, wearing highly polished tall boots, large amounts of cash, and lots of misbehaving.

WNT
Mar. 24, 2008, 07:40 PM
Iwish horses got more time off and less high-tech vet stuff.


Amen to that! I know that a lot of advancement has been made in treating injuries and making horses more comfortable with "wear and tear" issues, that's great. But sometimes, it seems that so much is done to keep a horse going for one more season or qualification, when what they really need is time off to really recover.

Grady
Mar. 24, 2008, 08:02 PM
I love this idea – I started eventing last year – came from the hunters where riders stay in Long Stirrup – 2’6 for years until they get it right…become “masters” and then move up. I think Beginner Novice is hard - and the people who are old school or haven't done it in years - have a different outlook – they think you just go over a log on the ground here and there. We are judged very harshly in dressage where from what I understand in the old days if you got the test right - you did well...now instead of logs and a few coups on beginner novice - we have baby trakheners, ditches, houses, train cars, barrels, things that don't even look like jumps that not only our inexperienced horses are supposed to jump but we are supposed to know how to navigate them! When I schooled at a well known HT last time- the 1st two are ok - then you go downhill over HUGE barrels (to me!) - take a right to a house that has a hole in the middle so they think there is a troll in there - it's the only jump my horse has ever refused in his career - he even did the Prelim water with no fear! Then - you go over a skinny jump lodged in the middle of two TREES!! So if you have a run out or something stupid - you can easily hit the tree - then you go over the little steeplechase jump that I actually love - to the log - to the bank to the log (GREAT BN jumps) then to the baby trakhener which is SCARY to me...so the thread that talks about the fact that the lower levels are having to get beefed up because the upper levels are getting beefed up is absolutely correct. We have in and outs, rollbacks and liverpools in SJ! People are always saying to me, “You’ve done great at BN – when are you moving up?” I am NOT moving up – my first eventing partner has gone on to an easier job, I have a new horse and I may be here forever – or as long as it takes until I am constantly having excellent rounds and the kids with the ponies are complaining that the old lady is stealing their ribbons. My trainer is fully aware that I am here to have fun at the competitions and then go home to my family and wake up on Monday morning and go to work. We absolutely can do our part at the lower levels – I have volunteered at 4 HT’s, donated to the USEA silent auction, am on the USEA Marketing Committee – not because of my great knowledge of the sport – but because of my passion and my willingness to get involved!! When I see “I am just a beginner-I don’t count” in some of these threads – it upsets me – we are the core of this sport! Without us – trainers don’t have students – upper level riders are never created – and our buying power is huge! Accept who we are and be proud!

My biggest issue is that there is no way to "Enter" the sport in a recognized show - you have to be a very good rider with a good solid horse ( I am not talking pros on babies - totally different - they know how to navigate much better obviously) just to get in the door. In the jumpers, hunters, field hunting, fox hunting - you can participate as a true beginner and be safe...How do we fix that??

*My experience with being a Master – last year was my first year to event – I went to the Leader board to and was shocked to see my name at all – but there it was under Master Rider – I
e-mailed the USEA and told them that I was a beginner – not a “master.” They very nicely told me that Master is a nice way of saying “40 and over.” Oh.

CookiePony
Mar. 24, 2008, 08:19 PM
I love the idea of having volunteering as a requirement for earning a medal. :yes:

LexInVA
Mar. 24, 2008, 08:26 PM
I love the idea of having volunteering as a requirement for earning a medal. :yes:

A volunteer class of medals would be great too.

VCT
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:30 PM
Since my example was based on career standing and not yearly, I would think this would not have a tendency to happen. You can always come back next time/next year/whatever and get your last score(s) for your gold medal. Only the most short-sighted person would think it worth risking their horse. There are still Medals at the next level to be won, after all. Better if Horsie stays sound longer so you can keep working on your achievements together.


but I agree with the line "be careful what you wish for"

All the ideas here are really great, and I totally approve of the impetus behind this post -- people really should quit placing so much importance on climbing up the levels; they should care more about being safe and mastering the skills.

And all of the proposals here might work to make people more happy at the lower levels -- more content to stay there for a while.

But anytime you give people the opportunity to WIN a bit of shine for something, eventually you start seeing abuse of that awards system -- just look at the show horses, the dressage levels/medals. A hypothetical happening if this medals system were to take place in eventing:

"So what if Dobbin is a little sore; he's not lame for chrisssakes, he'll pass muster, and I'm one score away from getting my BN Gold medal....It's not like I'm doing upper level stuff, he can manage doing this just once....and I've worked for two long years to get that award!"

Can anyone else here see how this sort of thing might come about?
I've seen it with western horses, with h/js, and dressage horses -- that's why I wanted to take up eventing.

LexInVA
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:34 PM
Absolutely! Grooms, too? (Or some sort of recognition for all they do. :))

I would be deliriously happy with just a sheet of paper saying I was a "master" at something--no medal required!

I really haven't a clue how one would openly award grooms (apart from a pay raise perhaps) but they certainly deserve recognition for their hard work.

fourhorses
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:30 PM
You're right, but unfortunately giving too many people benefit for being long sighted and humane.

How many folks do you know who don't give a fig about even a few months down the road when there's a little prizey, a little giftey for THEM? And as for the horse -- for that sort, what's a horse to them? Why not just buy a new, sound one for next year?

Not to say all people are like this. For the people who are, for want of a better term, squared away and have their heads on straight (at least to my way of thinking) this awards system would be just cherry -- a great idea for them. Unfortunately I can see ANY type of awards system attracting the former element to it -- and that is something I really don't like seeing. A really first rate example of it around where I live was in barrel racing -- 20 years ago it wasn't a horse activity with a huge following and it didn't garner a lot of attention, money, or awards. I can remember seeing a lot of barrel horses in the area competing well into their teens and seeing them year after year; quite a few of the riders were decent enough horsepeople back then too; they could certainly stick on a horse to be sure. Now it's become the thing to do around here and there are folks who go every weekend all year round; they are never on the same horse for more than a few months -- most of the horses just seem to "disappear" after about a year and I could tell you horror stories of animals given cocaine and crystal meth, horses with rotated coffins who are gotten sound by hook or by crook for "just one more run, this is a big jackpot qualifier". As for the riders -- many of them now have trainers to care for and prepare their horses which are up for sale constantly, many of them cannot even stay on a horse unless they have a death grip on the horn even to the point of not being able to steer and hold on at the same time (the horses are drilled on the pattern until they run it automatically with a minimum of fuss) -- taking care of their horse? forget it! that's something you do AFTER you come home...to get it (and I mean IT, a horse is nothing but in this atmosphere) ready for the next big run. Not all of them are that way, but that number has climbed exponentially since there were more opportunities for awards in that sport -- at least in my area. And I have seen similar in a lot of other disciplines as well. Sorry for the rant, but the very lack of focus on winning anything (other than the satisfaction of having worked really hard and finishing in good form) was what has drawn me back to wanting to event in my middle age (I have no aspirations to anything higher than an easy Training Level course, maybe even just getting to BN will be all I can content myself with, given my health now, and having a family and work, plus a talented but ADD horse! so maybe my opinions are indeed all wet, but still....)

And yes Wynn, it seems like the better the gadgets to get a horse, and keep a horse, up and COMPETING (not necessarily GOING, at least in a healthful way) the less real stewardly horsemanship seems to take place and the worse off the horses seem to have it in the long run no matter how much better the science in caring for them. Ditto the money -- really is the root of all evil, or at least tempts folks to do evil things.

oreo
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:44 PM
Did he apply for them? That's the first major flaw in the recognition. USEA is saying we will give you a certificate if you track your placings and let us know that you have achieved this award rather than saying we think your achievements as a rider are important and we will monitor our database of event placings and recognize your accomplishments.

They used to (may still) offer a certificate for volunteering. It was only available to members who sent in a list of three events at which they had volunteered. As a member, I see volunteering as an obligation of membership. I always thought it would be more useful if USEA made volunteer certificates available to organizers to distribute to non-member volunteers as an acknowledgement that we (USEA and its members) can't do this alone.

Sigh - I don't think there is anything like this recognition. I've been organizing/ volunteering at an average of 6 HTs per year for I don't even want to think how long. My theory was to try to work 1 HT for every one we competed one or more horses at. But I've never seen a USEA volunteer certificate.

My daughter thinks I'm nuts b/c she sees an endless stream of people competing who never volunteer.

throwurheart
Mar. 25, 2008, 01:43 AM
Re: bad riders/owners who'll run their horses into the ground in pursuit of whatever... may as well not have any recognition (ribbons) at all then, and call it a day. Really. I sympathize with the concern - I do! - but it will remain the minority in eventing, for the simple reason that it takes a partnership to do this well, and it takes a long time for most of us to build that partnership. People who can afford to replace their mount annually are rare, at least in our world.

Add jackpot money and it *might* change the picture a bit, but I doubt it. Barrel horses have a 15 (+/-) second performance , there is just no comparison.

I love the idea of a masters program from start to finish - Wynn, I'm happy to help however I can.

CBudFrggy
Mar. 25, 2008, 08:04 AM
I really haven't a clue how one would openly award grooms (apart from a pay raise perhaps) but they certainly deserve recognition for their hard work.

Simple: judge the horses' turnout right before dressage, XC and stadium, add the points, let's say 10 per turnout, for a maximum of 30 and best grooming wins--award to the groom--I loff the golden hoofpick idea. Of course, I have a hoofpick fetish--I have at least 7 going back to my first hoofpick I bought as a child in anticipation of the pony I never got for Christmas. But I digress.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:09 AM
Oh, that's an idea. Perhaps the Presentation part of Combined Driving might provide a model? (Not that I know anything about how it is judged.)

Badger
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:23 AM
Please do NOT turn eventing into a beauty contest.

I'm nauseous at the thought.

Just. Say. No.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:43 AM
Any chance we could talk about potential sponsors to approach? I just called DevonAire, thinking the down-to-earth profile of those more interestedx in mastering than in moving up (a MAJOR assumption on my part) might mesh well with their target market. I was told they've already determined their sponsorship activities for the year, but that prompted my brain to think and then say, "Oh, that's all right. We're just trying to gauge reactions to refine our proposal. Could I send you our ideas?" To which I got a yes and the explanation of how it is a family-owned company and not real formal about such decisions (she said they "sit down at the table and talk" about them).

To me, THAT is a nice potential sponsor profile. Don't you think so? Can you think of similar companies? It might take a year or so to get this off the ground, but I do think if it's worth trying, it's worth putting together as complete a packet of potentials as possible. (Sorry for the alliteration.)

Outfox
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:48 AM
Please do NOT turn eventing into a beauty contest.

I'm nauseous at the thought.

Just. Say. No.

:lol:

tx3dayeventer
Mar. 25, 2008, 11:12 AM
Please do NOT turn eventing into a beauty contest.

I'm nauseous at the thought.

Just. Say. No.

I would think that entry into said grooming contest would be optional and not mandatory. I hope :)

CookiePony
Mar. 25, 2008, 11:30 AM
CLOTHES/ APPAREL
irideon
Life is Good
Kerrits

HORSE TREATS
Buckeye
Mrs. Pastures
Likit

TACK
Bates
Dover (house brands)
Intec Performance Gear (International helmets, M. Tolouse, stirrups, spurs, horse boots, protective vests, etc.)
Wilker's Saddle Pads (w/ monogram of award logo)

Just a few ideas...

asterix
Mar. 26, 2008, 10:15 AM
OK, I'm late to this, but I LOVE the idea (um, please make the beauty contest part optional. one reason I adore eventing is that presentable is fine :D).

Please keep us posted!!

And I vote also for the volunteer component -- for each level. How many JR prelim riders regularly volunteer? (don't mean to pick on a group, but we host several major HTs a year, and that group seems suspiciously lacking...). A commitment to volunteer all throughout your career can only be a boost for our sport.

And Grady, I have to say that I do think there are ways, at least in Area II (which is the only area I know!), that you can safely get your feet wet. Before doing his first recognized BN this spring, my young horse will have done
* combined test == first time in a dressage ring, very kind judging, very relaxed atmosphere. Simple and inviting course in an enclosed arena. Horse's first course!
* pipe opener = cross country course on significant terrain, with "baby bear, mama bear, papa bear" (BBN, BN, N) versions of just about everything (ditch, bank, water, helsinki, uphill fences, downhill fences, etc). My SO (a VERY new rider) went out on my prelim horse and had a total blast jumping 2'3" and cantering downhill for the first time in his life. My baby got so much confidence stringing together a whole course, and where a fence looked intimidating, I just picked the smaller one next to it. Do overs and second rounds welcome. It's a great introduction to the sport.

I agree that the recognized levels are not always appropriate for green pairs, but with good unrecognized and starter events in an area, you can get started for less money and with a gentler introduction.

CBudFrggy
Mar. 26, 2008, 10:21 AM
Any chance we could talk about potential sponsors to approach? I just called DevonAire, thinking the down-to-earth profile of those more interestedx in mastering than in moving up (a MAJOR assumption on my part) might mesh well with their target market. I was told they've already determined their sponsorship activities for the year, but that prompted my brain to think and then say, "Oh, that's all right. We're just trying to gauge reactions to refine our proposal. Could I send you our ideas?" To which I got a yes and the explanation of how it is a family-owned company and not real formal about such decisions (she said they "sit down at the table and talk" about them).

To me, THAT is a nice potential sponsor profile. Don't you think so? Can you think of similar companies? It might take a year or so to get this off the ground, but I do think if it's worth trying, it's worth putting together as complete a packet of potentials as possible. (Sorry for the alliteration.)

Horse trailer companies? Shadow, Featherlight, Sundowner, CM?

frugalannie
Mar. 26, 2008, 10:55 AM
Late to the party, but I love the idea of an award for consistency. Cumulative achievement generally isn't recognized, especially if the rider is consistently developing nice balanced ammy friendly horses that will never go above Prelim (not that they can't, but their value is what they can do at the lower levels to introduce new folks to the sport and let them have fun).

colliemom
Mar. 26, 2008, 12:44 PM
Medallion Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Novice level H.T.s
Blue Ribbon Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Training level H.T.s
Bronze Medal Club -- 1st -5th place at 3 Prelim H.T.s, Events and *
Silver Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Intermediate H.T.s, Events, and **
Gold Medal Club -- 1st - 5th place at 3 Advanced H.T.s, Events, *** and ****



I like the concept quite a lot, but one thing that has always bothered me -- and I think goes against pwynn's goal -- is the implied ranking as the levels go up. In society in general, gold is worth more than silver. Silver is worth more than bronze. Therefore, the naming convention itself works against the concept of greatest achievement within a level. You can never obtain the gold standard without moving up to Advanced!

I would much rather see each level have a Gold, Silver, and Bronze level. So that someone can achieve "Gold" certification at Novice. Just that simple change would probably make me work harder within my level, which is after all the goal, right?

It's just kinda demoralizing to realize that as hard as someone might work at Novice, they'll never win the gold...

I also would love to see USEA track this and recognize the achievement without the rider having to submit for it. I know, it costs money, but with the technology having advanced so far in the last few years at USEA with them growing their database and automatic points tracking, it shouldn't be too hard or costly.

RunForIt
Mar. 26, 2008, 05:39 PM
OK, I'm late to this, but I LOVE the idea (um, please make the beauty contest part optional. one reason I adore eventing is that presentable is fine :D).

Please keep us posted!!

And I vote also for the volunteer component -- for each level. How many JR prelim riders regularly volunteer? (don't mean to pick on a group, but we host several major HTs a year, and that group seems suspiciously lacking...). A commitment to volunteer all throughout your career can only be a boost for our sport.

And Grady, I have to say that I do think there are ways, at least in Area II (which is the only area I know!), that you can safely get your feet wet. Before doing his first recognized BN this spring, my young horse will have done
* combined test == first time in a dressage ring, very kind judging, very relaxed atmosphere. Simple and inviting course in an enclosed arena. Horse's first course!
* pipe opener = cross country course on significant terrain, with "baby bear, mama bear, papa bear" (BBN, BN, N) versions of just about everything (ditch, bank, water, helsinki, uphill fences, downhill fences, etc). My SO (a VERY new rider) went out on my prelim horse and had a total blast jumping 2'3" and cantering downhill for the first time in his life. My baby got so much confidence stringing together a whole course, and where a fence looked intimidating, I just picked the smaller one next to it. Do overs and second rounds welcome. It's a great introduction to the sport.

I agree that the recognized levels are not always appropriate for green pairs, but with good unrecognized and starter events in an area, you can get started for less money and with a gentler introduction.

two comments - thanks for the post re: Grady - she's for real, everything she says...if Grady's scared, with super coaching, its for a real reason. Second, you must have one hell of a lovely Prelim horse to send your SO out on him - congrats! Congrats to SO too! :cool:

echodecker
Mar. 26, 2008, 05:57 PM
Pwynn,

I'm a little late in answering, but this all sounds like such a great idea! Giving everyone a set of long term goals and the associated recognition can do nothing but foster the right kind of development in our sport.

I'm also a big fan of the golden hoofpick awards...but don't you think it can be done without turning it into a beauty contest? Turnout can be judged on cleanliness of horse, rider and tack, fit of tack and equipment, fitness of horse (overweight, too thin), etc...not just focusing on who has the most expensive, name brand tack, or the most perfect braid job, but turnout as it relates to functionality and the job at hand for each phase.

Please let me know if I can contribute to your proposal/effort in any way!
Thanks
Erin

RunForIt
Mar. 26, 2008, 05:58 PM
Glad to see you back in the mix, ERIN!!!!! :D :) :cool:

fooler
Mar. 26, 2008, 06:16 PM
I like the idea of Gold, Silver & Bronze within each level - so one could achieve a Gold medal at Novice thru Advance. Way cool especially if on the same horse.

Most of the major events present a Groom's award based on best turn-out. The focus should be on presenting a clean, shiny horse with clean well-fitted tack. I rather like GM's parameters: well-groomed, hooves polished, mane braided or neatly pulled, tail done appropriately, clean well-fitted, understated tack.

No extra points for matching boots (electrical tape) & saddle pads or rainbow reins :)

pwynnnorman
Mar. 26, 2008, 09:55 PM
Well, there are four of us working on writing this up--and, yes, the consensus seems to be three medals at each level. That was an excellent contribution to this idea, IMO. The nicest thing about it is that maybe the bronze can be developed to reward people for taking that first step properly (the first attempts at each new level).

Wouldn't it be great if, even though you'll be out of the ribbons, if you've laid a foundation down such that you can move up and be consistent and safe, you are rewarded. And maybe, somehow, folks will wait until they have collected all three medals before moving on? (And wouldn't it seem a bit odd if someone-or some horse--had only a bronze but still moved up? Indeed, perhaps such a system could help coaches hold back some of their "too motivated" pupils?)

"I'm sorry, Mr. Haffner, but Little Mary really shouldn't move into Training level until she has her gold at Novice." That's a lot easier to say than whatever other reasons might be out there.

"But I don't want a gold," pouts Mary. "I want to be going Prelim by the time I'm 14!"

"But why, honey? And why now?" asks her doting father. "Don't you think that gold medal is an important indication that you're actually ready to move up?"

"Daddy, you jsut don't understand."

"Oh? Well, it seems pretty simple to me--and I don't even know what that Prelim thing is. I thought your coach said something about training."

"It's Training, Daddy. And it's just a low level thing. Muffin has gone all he way up to Advanced, so I know he can do it."

"But what about you? If Muffin has a gold, shouldn't you have one, too? And anyway, isn't gold as advanced as you can be at your level, honey? I mean, you can't do better than gold, can you?"

"Well, no. Not at this level. But I want to ride at the higher levels."

"Then you should be the best at your current level first. You said it yourself: Gold is the best you can be at the level you're at. Be the best you can be first. Move up later."

"But Dad!"

"No buts, honey. I want you to be safe. Muffin is a great horse, but he has a gold and you don't. I don't see how you can be ready if you aren't as ready as your horse. I know I don't understand much about this stuff, but gold means the best in your class, then I want you to have a gold before you graduate. No gold, no more entry fees. That's the way it's going to be."

"You make it sound like school, Dad. It's a competition, not an education."

"Oh, then why are there medals for mastery? Maybe this sport is more than what you think it is."

I really do think this kind of program, if we can figure out the details, can both educate and encourage. It'd be nice to tie it into codified course design goals in conjuction with the expectations and standards at each level. It'd be nice if, from this and other examinations of the state of the sport, there might evolve a sort of "coherence" to it all. One of the folks working on the proposal is trying to pull ideas from other threads to support this. I think there are so many positive connections between the concept of mastery (incremental mastery, that is) and other issues.

colliemom
Mar. 27, 2008, 09:25 AM
Well, there are four of us working on writing this up--and, yes, the consensus seems to be three medals at each level. That was an excellent contribution to this idea, IMO. The nicest thing about it is that maybe the bronze can be developed to reward people for taking that first step properly (the first attempts at each new level).

Wouldn't it be great if, even though you'll be out of the ribbons, if you've laid a foundation down such that you can move up and be consistent and safe, you are rewarded. And maybe, somehow, folks will wait until they have collected all three medals before moving on? (And wouldn't it seem a bit odd if someone-or some horse--had only a bronze but still moved up? Indeed, perhaps such a system could help coaches hold back some of their "too motivated" pupils?)

I really like this direction, and for a couple of reasons....

One: Riding one of those old fashioned cross country machines that struggles to score competitively in dressage (but usually finishes in the ribbons!), it would be so motivating to have some other public goal to strive for. Something to recognize achievement -- good, solid, safe and well prepared achievement. I would also augment the public record of such a horse, and provide a more complete picture in a sale situation. These days, if someone looks at the public competition record, they often don't even bother to ask the "back story" to find out the details. For example, my horse has several eliminations on her record -- every single one of them was because her idiot rider (me!) missed a XC fence, went off course in SJ, or missed a finish flag. All before the advent of the Technical Elimination.

Two: I pride myself in my preparation, training, and skill level. I am told over and over again that I am my own worst critic, and that I am much more qualified to ride at the level I do (prelim) than I think I am, and than many people are. It irritates the hell out of me to then see other people, who don't take the training or the skills required of the level any where near as seriously, move up to Prelim, get around by a squeak, and then brag that they are "riding Prelim." This kind of program would provide me and others like me another avenue for prooving our competence, and separate us from those who just get by.

Three: My first horse was very successful at Novice and Training, and we were thinking of trying prelim when she was injured. Once I brought her back, prelim was out of the question. I searched for some kind of new goal to help motivate me... USEF Zone Awards (nope -- training level was never USEF recognized!) ... AQHA Awards (nope, couldn't find anything that suited). I would have LOVED to have had this kind of program back then, just to help keep me motivated toward a concrete goal of some kind, which is important to me.

Thanks for all the work you are doing to pull this together. If I can help, please let me know!

snoopy
Mar. 27, 2008, 09:32 AM
Glad to see you back in the mix, ERIN!!!!! :D :) :cool:



It's erin, not ERIN...at least this is what I was told by the lady herself.;)

But I will agree, it will be nice to have her input on things with out the responsibility of moderator.
Welcome back.

VCT
Mar. 27, 2008, 11:43 AM
Erin,
I think your idea is good but some of the things you listed aren't in the grooms control much of the time. In fact, except for top level riders who have a full time groom working for them year round most of the time the groom would not have any input whatsoever. Like body-condtion, fitness, tack fit, etc. Granted I have minimal experience grooming at Events (done a few smaller recog's, Fair Hill and will be grooming at Rolex this year), but I have lots more grooming for H/J. In both circumstancs, even if I groom for the same people over and over (which I have). I am not in charge of their laundry or tack before the show, or anything to do with their training and feeding program, etc.

I think if we do a groom's award we should try to find some way to make it work for any type of groom who is working at that particular show - whether it be someone who just gets there for the competition to work that week, or someone who is a full time groom. Either way it's a hard job and everyone working as a groom at that show should at least be eligible.



Pwynn,

I'm a little late in answering, but this all sounds like such a great idea! Giving everyone a set of long term goals and the associated recognition can do nothing but foster the right kind of development in our sport.

I'm also a big fan of the golden hoofpick awards...but don't you think it can be done without turning it into a beauty contest? Turnout can be judged on cleanliness of horse, rider and tack, fit of tack and equipment, fitness of horse (overweight, too thin), etc...not just focusing on who has the most expensive, name brand tack, or the most perfect braid job, but turnout as it relates to functionality and the job at hand for each phase.

Please let me know if I can contribute to your proposal/effort in any way!
Thanks
Erin

pwynnnorman
Mar. 27, 2008, 11:48 AM
To be honest, I'm not in favor of a grooms award within this concept. I think a groom's award would be an excellent program, but I feel the way to make that happen would be to obtain sponsorship for it on a national scale somehow. I don't see the organization working that one out very easily. A sponsor, however, could settle on the details however the sponsor chose to...and could work through the event organizers rather than get tangled up with USEA.

It just seems like a great idea that would be delivered and served better within a different, more independent, framework.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 28, 2008, 09:28 AM
Hey, all. I just got a phone call from Tori at USEA. She is going to take this on--isn't that GREAT? She told me to tell you that she doesn't have an email yet (she has just moved over to USEA from USEF--er, I think that's what I heard...I was a bit distracted by being so thrilled to hear from her!), but she'll let it be known when she does so we can continue providing ideas and feedback as they pull it together. Those of you who have helped me: I'm going to send what you sent me to Tori and I'd suggest that if you come up with more, you send it to her, too (once she provides her email address).

Ain't it great that a good dialog produces real results? Thank you, Tori and USEA.

dirtgirl
Mar. 28, 2008, 09:37 AM
Congratulations on a great idea carried through! I am a little late to the party (hey I was working ok?!) but I applaud this effort. You're right on the mark!

MichMort
Mar. 28, 2008, 02:36 PM
What a great idea! My first horse and I were "career" Training level competitors. I got a lot of pressure to move up, but I knew that for us, it wasn't an option--with my work schedule, I only ride 3-4 times a week, so I knew I couldn't have gotten him fit/schooled enough. He was a fabulous 15-2hh QH who could jump the moon, but wasn't super fast. I also could only attend certain shows each year, because they fell on weekends that I was free each year, and just a handful. I knew that year-end goals weren't reasonable, because we were not out there every weekend, but I love to have something to shoot for...

I applied for, and got, two of the USCTA certificates, and love having them.
My state association also makes a big, fun deal out of putting together a team for the MSCTDA Team Challenge at Kentucky Horse Park. We were so honored to be picked to represent Michigan five times.
Those were my goals--to be eligible to go to KY, and for the certificates. I loved showing this horse, and being with my friends, but to be able to say that I was working toward a "mastery" goal would have been a nice counter-statement to the inevitable question of when I was moving up to Prelim.

Now, I have a great youngish horse, but I'm not as fearless as I was 12 years ago, so I am working very hard to build confidence and take things slowly. Again, this would be a great goal, one that would give me the chance to say "I'm staying at BN until I acheive my gold", which seems easier to say than "I'm staying at BN until the knot unclenches in my gut when I think about XC'! (even though, once I'm out there, I have a blast!) Having the qualifications over as long as it takes would be great, too.

NMK
Mar. 28, 2008, 04:27 PM
PWynn, I think this is a great idea provided it is based on scoring and not on placing at each level.

Nancy

Badger
Mar. 28, 2008, 07:06 PM
PWynn, I think this is a great idea provided it is based on scoring and not on placing at each level.

Nancy

Ditto that. The USDF medal program is a great motivator, and your measurement/performance does not depend on anybody else's. I did my first USDF show in '97, got a score towards my Bronze, and plugged away at it with occasional dressage shows over the years before finishing my bronze last year (on a horse that I foaled the year I went to my first recognized dressage show—it takes a while if you have to grow one and train it through the levels and never do more than one or two shows a year).

I loved that there was no timeline, that I could put the scores together from multiple horses, and that it was not an easy thing to achieve. I thought my 10-year journey must be some kind of turtle record, but USDF provides a list of medalists each year, along with their USDF number. Judging from that list, my 10-year journey was not at all unusual: roughly half the new Bronze medalists had USDF numbers lower (older) than mine, and roughly half had newer ones. I thought that was really interesting.

Having an eventing medal program that measures personal achievement (not ribbons/placing) is a great idea. Make it achievable but not easy, make it based on scores and not placings, and make it something that is not dependent on quantity of showing but on quality of riding.

The USDF medal program appealed to me as a cross-over eventer whereas things like USDF Regionals and Horse of the Year never has any interest. Those other goals have all kinds of qualifications, requirements for multiple shows, extra membership fees, etc.

The Medal program is simple: whenever you finally have all your scorses, just mail in copies of the tests and you are good to go. No extra hoops or memberships or fees or calendar requirements.

ellebeaux
Mar. 28, 2008, 07:11 PM
PWynn,

Thanks for getting this going! It definitely sounds like something I would like to do. I'm looking forward to seeing the proposal.

CookiePony
Mar. 28, 2008, 07:40 PM
Hey, all. I just got a phone call from Tori at USEA. She is going to take this on--isn't that GREAT? She told me to tell you that she doesn't have an email yet (she has just moved over to USEA from USEF--er, I think that's what I heard...I was a bit distracted by being so thrilled to hear from her!), but she'll let it be known when she does so we can continue providing ideas and feedback as they pull it together. Those of you who have helped me: I'm going to send what you sent me to Tori and I'd suggest that if you come up with more, you send it to her, too (once she provides her email address).

Ain't it great that a good dialog produces real results? Thank you, Tori and USEA.

Wow, she sure is hitting the ground running-- her hiring was just announced today!

From http://www.useventing.com/aboutus.php?id=1442 :


Torri Nahorniak-Broadus named Director of Development and Promotion
Updated: March 28, 2008

Torri Nahorniak-Broadus has been named Director of Development and Promotion for the United States Eventing Association. Previously she served as Managing Director of Eventing for the United States Equestrian Federation, working closely with both High Performance and National Eventing programs. In 2006 she served as Team Leader for the Eventing team at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany.

In her new role Torri will work with the Marketing Committee and Area Councils developing programs to expand the opportunities for our current members, attract new members, and increase public awareness of the sport. She will also serve as project manager for the American Eventing Championships.

Torri will work out of her home office in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Outside of her responsibilities with USEA she will continue to enjoy the sport as a competitor at the lower levels.

FlightCheck
Mar. 28, 2008, 08:23 PM
Torri rocks.

Gnep
Mar. 28, 2008, 08:43 PM
PW,

If this fly, i would suggest that the medal should includ one people can put on their jacket.

In Germany they have the Ridermedal, its achieved through at test of riding skills and theoretical, it comes in Bornze, Silver and Gold ( Gold is based on your show accomplisments at Advanced Levels ). I am proud of my medals and will not put on my coat without one of them pinned to it. I am using my fathers Ridermedal in his honor, when I event.

If people achieve it, they should proudly display it on their coats when they show.

I think this is a great idea.

retreadeventer
Mar. 29, 2008, 12:16 AM
The Novice directives are up.
http://eventhorse.googlepages.com/novice
Sorry to add this to this thread but I cannot find the original one, and Wynn is a positive influence on this entire process so I felt it appropriate to add to her "masters" thread.
This is an explanation of each level and what the instructors or riders need to know to "master" each level. Based on my observation and experience.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 29, 2008, 07:43 AM
If this fly, i would suggest that the medal should includ one people can put on their jacket.

Oh, what a great idea, too. I hope they'll examine a number of medals and badges to get something that would work well in a number of contexts, but the idea of being able to display it...wunnerful.

OK, did some research. Displaying it on a jacket would turn it into a "pin," not a "medal." Here's an interesting "custom die pin" in four colors that looks like it can have a different "rim" for different levels of achievement, if ordered that way: http://www.jonesawards.com/productdetails.aspx?id=CP78 (the one in the lower right-hand corner--the design, not is, NOT the quality, which I think it pretty chintzy-looking). MY greatest concern would be that, if displayed, the medal be understandable by anyone seeing it, not just an "insider" kind of thing. This particular design looks like you could put a logo and a title in it, maybe--on the rim or inside.

My point is that not everyone is going to pay attention to this program, right? Even those competing might not make note of it...but if they SEE it on lapels (or their relatives, sponsors, kids, etc.) and it is self-explanatory? Well, and so the story grows, right?

Badger
Mar. 29, 2008, 08:18 AM
When you get a USDF medal, they mail that to you at the end of the year. Medalists also may purchase a matching lapel pin (for something like $15 or $25 dollars) to wear on their jacket.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 29, 2008, 09:10 AM
Oh, hey, that's a neat way to do it: a smidgen of self-funding?

annikak
Mar. 29, 2008, 09:57 PM
this is a very cool idea! I'd pay for that pin- funding added to keep this whole thing going.

Great idea!

Welcome, Michelle! This is a fun board! Cannot wait to see you out on your new one!

flea
Mar. 30, 2008, 01:33 PM
This is a wonderful idea. I have quickly looked over most the posts but have a question. I probably missed it. Does the horse get the award, the rider, or both. I am a little confused. If you sell your horse that has a silver medal can the new owner take it to its bronze. Are you still a silver medal novice rider? I guess it is a team thing but mainly goes with the horse? As far as the pins go maybe the same pins but a different color background for bn, n, prelim etc.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 30, 2008, 02:14 PM
I think most folks felt that, ideally, horse and rider should be able to achieve medals separately. However, I suspect that may create operational and budget issues. That is, perhaps, a decision USEA will have to make. Perhaps folks should provide Torri with some feedback on that once she has her email address working.

Gnep
Mar. 30, 2008, 08:59 PM
I would say you defeat the purpose if you seperate the rider from the horse. I feel bringing a horse through the ranks, showing the patience and understanding it takes should be part of the reward, otherwise you reward the checkbook or horseswaping mentality.
Its not about having a silver or gold medal horse, but beeing a silver or gold medal rider.
Hanging on to that horse go through all the frustration, elation, victories and defeats and make it work that should be rewarded, because it has become so fricking rare.

ellebeaux
Mar. 30, 2008, 09:07 PM
I would say you defeat the purpose if you seperate the rider from the horse. I feel bringing a horse through the ranks, showing the patience and understanding it takes should be part of the reward, otherwise you reward the checkbook or horseswaping mentality.
Its not about having a silver or gold medal horse, but beeing a silver or gold medal rider.
Hanging on to that horse go through all the frustration, elation, victories and defeats and make it work that should be rewarded, because it has become so fricking rare.

I was thinking about this - what if something happens to the horse? What if you sell it? Do you start all over again? if you're an experienced rider can you skip medaling at BN or N and go right to training with a new horse?

hoofnhopper
Mar. 30, 2008, 09:21 PM
As an adult ammy who will probably never go beyond Training (I'm a chicken in my old age), but is a perfectionist & is bringing along my own homebred- THANK YOU to wynn and all the rest that have worked on this! It is a fantastic idea- thank you for taking the great dialog and exchange of ideas to the USEA instead of just talking about it and waiting for someone else to do something about the issues we face.

I will look forward to working through the levels to earn my gold in each on my pony. I do agree with others that this seems like it should be attached to the rider, but feel that there should also be some form of recognition for the horses.

Thanks again! The ideas that are being generated and hashed through on this board have the potential to shape the future of our sport- keep up the good work!

Kelly

throwurheart
Mar. 30, 2008, 11:22 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I've seen quite a few dressage horses marketed as "I got my USDF Bronze and Silver medals on him, he's ready to do the same for you".

I say rider gets the medal, and the horse can be marketed as above.

Gnep
Mar. 30, 2008, 11:57 PM
ellebeaux, tough break, you start all over, thats what horses are, every day a nother kick in the ass, you hang in, you might make it, might.

Hannahsmom
Mar. 31, 2008, 07:36 AM
I would say you defeat the purpose if you seperate the rider from the horse. I feel bringing a horse through the ranks, showing the patience and understanding it takes should be part of the reward, otherwise you reward the checkbook or horseswaping mentality.
Its not about having a silver or gold medal horse, but beeing a silver or gold medal rider.
Hanging on to that horse go through all the frustration, elation, victories and defeats and make it work that should be rewarded, because it has become so fricking rare.

You make a very excellent point here. I agree, this would make it more of a horsemanship achievement.

Perhaps there could be different awards for a rider on various horses, but there should be something special for the rider who brings along their own horse so they learn how to train as well as ride.

asterix
Mar. 31, 2008, 10:28 AM
Wynn, is the way this is being structured something that would allow for recognition of the trainers who bring along horses very consistently (and slowly), year after year? I was at an event this weekend and ran into the woman I bought my old horse from. She is a local pro, not a big name, who always has a modest string of horses going N, T, P (she has ridden through ** but I don't think she's had a horse of her own who is a real upper level prospect for some time), as well as students who are always thoughtfully and properly prepared.

I have so much respect for her, but I wonder if she'd have more professional success if she could demonstrate how her program has produced results year after year -- perhaps with medals at these levels.

What could this program do for someone like her?

and, RunForIt, just saw your post. He is a STELLAR horse but very atypical for an event horse -- I usually have to kick and he used to fall asleep in the start box :D. He's also a total gentleman and took extremely good care of my husband.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:02 AM
Gosh, such challenging aspects! Gnep, your point makes so much sense, given the philosophy behind the award. And even the "tough break" part supports that philosophy (of patience, committment and determination). My opinion is that awarding the medal to the rider on the same horse is just what it needed, although others may disagree. I would hope that if you've worked hard to get that gold medal, but your horse goes lame, perhaps you will indeed wait, rest him, and bring him back when he's ready to continue (rather than just get a replacement for him).

And if you don't, then maybe you "deserve" to start over? (Or this program is just not your cup of tea anyway, so you won't care.)

Does anyone else think that what throwyurheart pointed out--that you can still promote the horse as a "gold medal earning" ride--should be sufficient "reward" for such a horse (rather than the horse earning its own medal)? I think that works pretty well, especially since it would also close down the possibility that a pro could "put medals on" a horse just to increase its value.

Asterix, your pro-producer (in my mind contrasted with the pro-exhibitor) sure does deserve recognition. Her situation introduces a "multiple medal" question: Should a rider be able to earn more than one of the same medal at the same level? She for the pro who sells the bronze horse and can never keep a horse long enough to earn its gold, would being a "multiple bronze medalist" at a certain level be doable and be worthwhile? I dunno. And it, too, is tied to the rider/horse pair issue, isn't it?

Getting back to the fundaments, though, doesn't it make sense that if you've earned a bronze at that level--it IS the same level, after all--what would keep you from continuing to gain skill and experience with that horse sufficient to earn a silver and then gold? Surely, the majority of the time, only the loss of your horse partner would cause you to stop advancing within that level?

And then, once you get your gold, you have choices:

1.) Stay and earn no more medals, but get to compete--possibly and also perhaps more prestigiously???--against other gold medalists. [Perhaps organizers could be required (dreaded word!) to place gold medalists in either the "masters" section, or if there are insufficient entries, into the open division of that level?]

2.) Move up to the next level because you and your horse have mastered your current one, as evidenced by your gold medal.

3.) Start over with a new horse
a. at the same level--perhaps because the conditions you compete under prevent you from
being, or just feeling like you are, ready to move up--OR
b. at the next level--perhaps even with a new horse which has already produced a medalist at
that NEXT level (e.g. a schoolmaster)

LookinSouth
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:15 AM
And then, once you get your gold, you have choices:

1.) Stay and earn no more medals, but get to compete--possibly and also perhaps more prestigiously???--against other gold medalists. [Perhaps organizers could be required (dreaded word!) to place gold medalists in either the "masters" section, or if there are insufficient entries, into the open division of that level?]

2.) Move up to the next level because you and your horse have mastered your current one, as evidenced by your gold medal.

3.) Start over with a new horse
a. at the same level--perhaps because the conditions you compete under prevent you from
being, or just feeling like you are, ready to move up--OR
b. at the next level--perhaps even with a new horse which has already produced a medalist at
that NEXT level (e.g. a schoolmaster)


Pwynn,
Thank you so much for taking this idea and running with it!! I think this awards program will do great things for the lower levels of eventing that often get kind of "lost" in the prestige of the UL's. This program means SO MUCH to us Adult Ammy riders that have goals and aspirations too but may not ever get beyond Training.

This is why I love eventing and the people in it. There are so many people that are truly dedicated to the sport and willing to do what's neccessary to make changes so that the sport is great for everyone, at every level.
I've witnessed several times, just on this board alone that the people in this sport dont' just talk the talk but they walk the walk when it comes bettering the sport for all of us.
Thanks again!!! I look forward to earning my Gold in BN:D

Badger
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:31 AM
If you are trying to reward "mastering" a level, I invision something like a medal program for the rider that does not matter what horse is ridden. Just throwing this out:

BN, N, T: a bronze medal for each level means completed 10 events with scores of 35 or less in dressage with no jumping penalties and no time penalties

P, I, A: a bronze medal at the level would mean 10 scores of 35 or less in dressage, no jumping penalties, and minimal no more than 20 time penalties.

Silver medal: same requirement but scores of 30 or less. Gold medal: same requirements but scores of 25 or less.

The goal shouldn't be quick or easy to obtain, but once obtained, it should be a measure of someone who really has "mastered" the requirements of the level.

Perhaps a horse could be separately certified, similar guidelines for scores and have it not matter who the rider is.

I love GNEPs idea of rewarding the longtime relationship of a horse/rider pair, but I don't think "mastery" necessarily should be limited to riding one horse long term. There are too many weird things that happen in the horse world, let the riders demonstrate proficiency on any horse they compete. Have a separate award for the longterm partnerships: a platinum for a horse/rider combo that has finished on a dressage score under 40 five times each at three different levels, or something like that.

NOTE: I am just throwing this stuff out there for discussion. With all the talk about riding the courses at appropriate speed for your horse/conditions, I don't think the upper levels where OT is so hard to make should require repeatedly being double-clear cross-country in order to prove mastery, but I think at BN and N that double-clear x-c IS part of mastering that level.

Have fun discussing! ::D

pwynnnorman
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:47 AM
Thanks, LookinSouth. Badger, I appreciate the ideas you are throwing out there, but I'd like to pose a question to you based on them:

Do you think mastery is relevant at the higher levels? Isn't it kinda assumed by then--and then it becomes more of a horse-talent-opportunity thing anyway?

I was thinking that this program would ideally suit (and emphasize and encourage) the "foundation" of the sport: the lower levels (through Prelim).

Also, my reaction to the score scheme you proposed is to wonder how much low scores depend on the horse's quality of movement, especially at the lower levels where there aren't a lot of challenging movements to help the ordinary mover beef up his score? (And I'll admit this reaction is probably due to my oft-noted unfortunate position in not breeding the world's best movers.) How will the (imperfect, subjective) nature of dressage judging impact one's ability to earn a qualifying score?

In my mind, I find myself hoping that such an award would be based only on the objective aspects of the sport. And I also wanted to toss in how good for the sport it would be if qualifying scores had to be earned over x number of different courses, such as the same course in different years or different courses at different events. That way, someone not able to travel far could still get the "mileage" mastery presupposes, while someone perhaps looking to make a point (quickly--as is their right), could rapidly earn medals and move on--IF IF IF they really are a solid, consistent, talented team.

I mean, who would deny that a partnership of horse and rider haven't mastered a level if they've earned bronze and silver in the same year (say, thru 5 different courses in the spring for their bronze, and then 5 more requiring more stringent qualifying scores in the fall)? Then these ambitious riders could quickly start the next spring with, say, three scores for their gold before moving up to the next level by the end of that second spring (the second spring of the partnership). Those with access to more courses could move up even more quickly, but I would suspect that that way of doing it would surely be pretty rare.

Badger
Mar. 31, 2008, 12:03 PM
Well, a score of 35 means a consistent test of 6s and 7s. The gait score is only one score...can't an average mover do a test of 6s and 7s if it is ridden correctly and accurately? I've certainly seen average movers scoring this way. It shouldn't be EASY, but it should be doable. Maybe we should go back to the USDF medal directives and look at their 60% guideline...which is a 40 penalties. So maybe make that the cut-off for bronze?

Re: Mastery at I and A. Would be interested in hearing the input of the likes of RAyers and GNEP on that. In the spirit of being inclusive, wouldn't we want a "mastery" program that demonstrates accomplishment through all levels? I'll say that there are pros out there who advertise their expertise competing through, say, prelim or intermediate who, if you look at their scores, clearly are not "mastering" the level. I like the idea of the same program through all the levels, and the fact that a trainer can advertise being a prelim silver medalist and an intermediate bronze medalist, and that SAYS something about their skillset and experience...a whole lot more than just "competed through intermediate" does.

Re: Different courses: by requiring multiple scores at a level, you are automatically insuring that multiple courses are competed on. If someone is only qualifying at their local event, then it would take a minimum of 10 years to qualify over just one course. For most people I'd expect "medalling" to be a goal over several years at a level, not something to be done in a single season. Could it? Sure. But mostly I thought the inspiration was to inspire the the longtime N rider, for example, and not the rider focused on skyrocketing through the levels.

LookinSouth
Mar. 31, 2008, 01:21 PM
I'll say that there are pros out there who advertise their expertise competing through, say, prelim or intermediate who, if you look at their scores, clearly are not "mastering" the level. I like the idea of the same program through all the levels, and the fact that a trainer can advertise being a prelim silver medalist and an intermediate bronze medalist, and that SAYS something about their skillset and experience...a whole lot more than just "competed through intermediate" does.

.


Hmmmm.. very interesting point, which I'm inclined to agree with.

VCT
Mar. 31, 2008, 02:25 PM
I don't think it should be restricted to one horse/one rider combos.
What about the kid who can't afford a horse and catches projects for the trainer? What about small time trainers who get horses off the track and send take them out on their first couple BN runs and then sell them to great homes? There are plenty of examples.

I don't think it matters if its on one horse or multiple horses. You are still showing mastery either way by
1. working your horse up through the medals
2. achieving the necessary requirements on multiple horses to work up through the medals.

I don't think this project should be about making everyone feel good and having awards for everyone specific to their situation. It should be simple... it stick to the main idea. MASTER the level. Set and reach goals.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

Hannahsmom
Mar. 31, 2008, 05:48 PM
VCT, neither of the examples you give would "give me pause" but one thing I would like to see discouraged is the "buy the mount" mentality. I love Pwynn's earlier conversation between parent and child. How do we encourage youth (and adults) to become better horsemen rather than just one more 'award' that is easy to buy with the right horse. I know this isn't the only goal of this medal, but it would be an achievement, we just shouldn't make it too easy to achieve or it means nothing.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 31, 2008, 07:17 PM
If someone is only qualifying at their local event, then it would take a minimum of 10 years to qualify over just one course. For most people I'd expect "medalling" to be a goal over several years at a level, not something to be done in a single season. Could it? Sure. But mostly I thought the inspiration was to inspire the the longtime N rider, for example, and not the rider focused on skyrocketing through the levels.

I see what you mean, Badger. I guess it is connecting to just what the criteria would be for each medal: 5, 10, how many rounds/courses/competitions? And for which medals? I'd think the math would have to add up to something reasonable in terms of years.

Let's say, for example, that it should NOT take a novice level rider ten years to get a gold medal (recalling that that means the rider has mastered the level). How long then should it take? And, based on the gold medal, how long for the "lesser" medals?

Just throwing this out there. Say you figure it might take, three years to master a level, based on...on what?...ten competitions a year? Five a season? What's reasonable? Is what is reasonable at Novice level going to still be reasonable at Intermediate?

Anyone have any ideas as to what, exactly, the criteria should be for each medal at each level?

[And I'm not really against offering the program at the higher levels. I'm just not sure how far USEA will go with it...and I guess I'm questioning it philosophically, too. I mean, one thing about the mastery concept is that it implies mastery is what is most important to the rider--not moving up. How many riders consciously decide that Intermediate will be the end of the road for them? I could be dead, dead wrong about this, but my impression is that, for most, Intermediate is just a way station on the road to advanced. It's when you find out if you have a horse with major talent or just a bit more talent than most. One YR I spoke to stands out in my mind because she talked about how she knew her horse couldn't do the height and the speed combined, so would be hitting his limit at advanced no matter what she did. She sold him as a Prelim packer.]

ellebeaux
Mar. 31, 2008, 07:28 PM
[QUOTE=pwynnnorman;3113024]I see what you mean, Badger. I guess it is connecting to just what the criteria would be for each medal: 5, 10, how many rounds/courses/competitions? And for which medals? I'd think the math would have to add up to something reasonable in terms of years.

Let's say, for example, that it should NOT take a novice level rider ten years to get a gold medal (recalling that that means the rider has mastered the level). How long then should it take? And, based on the gold medal, how long for the "lesser" medals?

Just throwing this out there. Say you figure it might take, three years to master a level, based on...on what?...ten competitions a year? Five a season? What's reasonable? Is what is reasonable at Novice level going to still be reasonable at Intermediate?

Anyone have any ideas as to what, exactly, the criteria should be for each medal at each level? QUOTE]

I like the idea of qualifying for at least one medal a year. I mean, 3 years to do BN correctly sounds like too long for me. BUT, I have to qualify this by saying I haven't done it yet! This is just based on what I've seen friends do.

Also you have to factor in cost. One thing I've been wondering is how to get more unrecognized events recognized at lower levels. This would draw more people into the medal program by making it more accessible. Five competitions for a bronze, 10 for silver, 15 for gold? Would schooling sessions count as half a real competition?

I think the requirements should be more demanding for higher levels since they are more likely to have the professional riders in them. The medalling program needs to be welcoming to younger and less experienced riders if it's going to be successful in the long run, while still achieving the goal of developing a solid rider.

I could see myself doing 5 competitions a year but not much more than that.

CookiePony
Mar. 31, 2008, 07:41 PM
Five competitions for a bronze, 10 for silver, 15 for gold?
[snip]
The medalling program needs to be welcoming to younger and less experienced riders if it's going to be successful in the long run, while still achieving the goal of developing a solid rider.

I could see myself doing 5 competitions a year but not much more than that.

This is much more reasonable than 10 events-- it might take me three years just to get to bronze at that rate.

As for getting a 25 in dressage for a gold, I am inclined to wonder, like Wynn, if the clunky movers might not ever get there.

CookiePony
Mar. 31, 2008, 07:43 PM
I don't think it should be restricted to one horse/one rider combos.
What about the kid who can't afford a horse and catches projects for the trainer? What about small time trainers who get horses off the track and send take them out on their first couple BN runs and then sell them to great homes? There are plenty of examples.

I don't think it matters if its on one horse or multiple horses. You are still showing mastery either way by
1. working your horse up through the medals
2. achieving the necessary requirements on multiple horses to work up through the medals.

I don't think this project should be about making everyone feel good and having awards for everyone specific to their situation. It should be simple... it stick to the main idea. MASTER the level. Set and reach goals.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

I agree.

retreadeventer
Mar. 31, 2008, 08:35 PM
BN is, in my view, and from the reading of the rules and guidelines, meant to be an introduction. So one year or two at most at this level.
Novice, again, from doing the directives, is meant chiefly to add continued exposure to cross country and stadium jumping while keeping the dressage basic. This all clear from the rules. So two years seems lengthy enough for this level.
Training begins the first preparation for the tests, which begin at Preliminary. While training has its own set of increasing difficulties, it is meant to be a step up from Novice. Two to three years might be appropriate. Bear in mind if you run out this string, you are talking six years to get to Prelim., which most pros would laugh at. They move horses up much faster than this.
You don't want to utilize the numbers game or you'll encourage point chasing. 10 events a year is torture for the horse and the family, expensive, and difficult if you are in the western regions. For an individual. For a trainer that's different. Busy trainers do 30 a year!
Mastership should be based on quality, not quantity. Average scores for the year then at the end of the year determine the winners, rather than use a finite average based on somebody throwsing a dart at the wall.

throwurheart
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:22 PM
Keeping in mind that everyone has their comfort zone at which they will stop advancing - and this means BN for some - we need to keep the medals a hard goal to reach to ensure that folks who are camping out (or advancing slowly) have something to really work for. Five events in one year with a 35 or under score with no jumping penalties is a pretty big nut to crack for most amateurs. Give them a few years and it becomes much easier.

I vote we count recognized events only (because they have been certified to be an accurate testing system), and require the same level of performance, just multiples of that performance to go from bronze to silver to gold. Meaning - 5 under 35 for Bronze, 10 under 35 for Silver, 15 under 35 for Gold. Or something like that. All numbers could move from there, but it sounds like we're close.

Regarding time penalties, although I agree that lower levels should be easier to make, that's not necessarily so, especially given how many draft crosses are used by low level amateurs. And speed is definitely an individual thing, and especially at the lower levels I don't think it should be specially penalized for reaching medals (e.g. 35 or under dressage score, and double-double clear rounds). Say you got a 30 dressage score, double clear jumping, but got a couple of time faults leaving you still under 35. That's still a darn good (margarita!) day (especially on a draft cross), and most importantly, demonstrates SAFE mastery of the level when you consistently replicate that.

I'm jes' talkin' a bit here... can be persuaded otherwise, but these are my votes now. :)

larapintavian
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:37 PM
Four recognized HTs a year is all we have ever been able to afford .... and that was when we had some in our state. Now that there are none, we have to travel a minimum of 3 hours to adjoining states (N, E, or S) just to get to any recognized HT.... or to school an upper level course.

With today's gasoline prices plus the fact that with the extra travel distance we must also stay an extra night in a motel and take an extra day off work to get there on time ... well, it's going to make a BIG difference in how many we (and most of the others who live in our geographic area) can attend. Add to that the fact that virtually ALL the Horse Trials S of us are a full three days and .... you get the picture, at least 4 days off work and away from home even for those who ride Novice level.

There are many eventers in our state in the same predicament now. They're already trailering together, sharing motel rooms and everything else they can think of (including sleeping in uninsulated, uncooled or unheated trailers ... not good for being adequately rested) to offset the cost of the extra travel, extra time off work, extra day to pay someone to take care of the horses at home, etc. (not to mention the gasoline prices for all that extra mileage) just to be able to compete at a USEA recognized H.T. With the toll all this is taking, it's nearly impossible for most people from our part of the state to even THINK about competing 10 times a year.

throwurheart
Mar. 31, 2008, 11:44 PM
Larapintavian, I feel you! I moved here from out west, and prior to that I evented in the mid-atlantic. One-day events were (are?) common in the mid-atlantic, and just what the doctor ordered to shorten time off work and hotel bills. Very few of them out west, and the story I heard as to why is that it takes so much effort to get somewhere, everyone wants to hang and and party for the full three days. Well, I think "everyone" are those who are currently showing up, not the many who are staying home or never getting hooked on eventing because they can't afford the time away.

But I digress us off-topic. This was a sore point for me out there, as you can probably tell. :)

Your point is well-taken that we have to strike a good balance of hard-enough and not-too-hard to reach the goal, because our various areas have very different operating environments.

larapintavian
Apr. 1, 2008, 12:27 AM
Your point is well-taken that we have to strike a good balance of hard-enough and not-too-hard to reach the goal, because our various areas have very different operating environments.

There is only ONE 1-day H.T. around, and it's a 5 hour drive away .... so much for one day since we have to arrive the night before. And there is only one 2-day HT within the 3 hour drive range. All the rest (HTs and CICs) are a full 3-days .... Dressage on Friday, XC and Jumping on Sat. and Sun., and most of those are well over 3 hours away.

It would be wonderful to live somewhere where 1-day HTs were the norm AND distances were even a little closer.

Because of the above mentioned problems, most eventers from our state also do not do the BN division in recognized trials ... they do BN in unrecognized (there are still one or two of those in our state) and wait 'til Novice level to travel to a USEA HT. For ourselves, we've never entered a BN division at a recognized HT with any of our horses ... when my daughter started, BN didn't even exist.

Vuma
Apr. 1, 2008, 12:32 AM
Wynn re: your quote;

"Also, my reaction to the score scheme you proposed is to wonder how much low scores depend on the horse's quality of movement, especially at the lower levels where there aren't a lot of challenging movements to help the ordinary mover beef up his score? (And I'll admit this reaction is probably due to my oft-noted unfortunate position in not breeding the world's best movers.) How will the (imperfect, subjective) nature of dressage judging impact one's ability to earn a qualifying score?

In my mind, I find myself hoping that such an award would be based only on the objective aspects of the sport. And I also wanted to toss in how good for the sport it would be if qualifying scores had to be earned over x number of different courses, such as the same course in different years or different courses at different events. That way, someone not able to travel far could still get the "mileage" mastery presupposes, while someone perhaps looking to make a point (quickly--as is their right), could rapidly earn medals and move on--IF IF IF they really are a solid, consistent, talented team."



I agree that the directives should include competition at a certain number of venues, not just the same course - great idea. I do, however, feel that Dressage is still part of the "3" phase equation and should carry a representative weight in the qualifications. A solid/accurate test at the lower levels is proving to receive good scores regardless of whether or not the horse is an 8+ mover. In contrast, I give our judges credit that they are not scoring a poorly ridden test highly on a horse who happens to be a 8+ mover. I witnessed this while scribbing not so long ago. The horse was a phenominal mover, but was poorly riden thereby stifling the good/natural movement. It was very telling when this horse received a 10 on its free walk when the rider droped the reins and just sat there doing nothing! In other words, the only time the horse received its due credit is when the rider wasn't really doing anything!

I think the lapel pins are a wonderful idea as well, funded by the qualifiers themselves. I would even go as far as to say that the qualifiers themselves could purchase their own medals. (If they want one of these and not the other, they could purchase what they would prefer.) This would keep the cost out of the membership dues that the USEA might want to use in order to pay for these medals. I would rather see the USEA spend money on the promotion of these awards through good PR. AND, if it were also possible, I would love to see the USEA reward these qualifiers with a sort of scholarship for continuing education with ICP instructors. Thereby, once again, promoting competency and mastery.

larapintavian
Apr. 1, 2008, 12:37 AM
......AND, if it were also possible, I would love to see the USEA reward these qualifiers with a sort of scholarship for continuing education with ICP instructors. Thereby, once again, promoting competency and mastery.

Now, that WOULD be something!

throwurheart
Apr. 1, 2008, 08:23 AM
A solid/accurate test at the lower levels is proving to receive good scores regardless of whether or not the horse is an 8+ mover. In contrast, I give our judges credit that they are not scoring a poorly ridden test highly on a horse who happens to be a 8+ mover.

This was my experience with my not-great-mover. He was obedient, submissive, correct, and not much else. I love dressage, happy to put in the hours schooling, so I ride accurate tests. It was common to be under 30, and pretty much always under 35. My bugaboo was stadium, because the big guy didn't always pick his feet up, and I was not always helping him like I should. These medals would have been very hard to reach for me in the roughly three years I evented him. But it's a goal I would have been absolutely delighted to work for, and if he'd been younger I might have made it.

pwynnnorman
Apr. 1, 2008, 11:41 AM
Mastership should be based on quality, not quantity. Average scores for the year then at the end of the year determine the winners, rather than use a finite average based on somebody throwsing a dart at the wall.


I love this idea! And if the entire score were what was being examined, that would keep the dressage influence in there, but in moderation. It would also involve less work on the part of administrators. I'd think the only thing left (if this were the scheme) would be to determine the minimum number of competitions required.

Can Retread's year-to-year logic be applied competition-to-competition? If you like the average idea, how many competitions per level do you think should be required...per medal? I'm thinking that the higher the level, the more competitions should be required as that minimum. That would encourage more mileage at the more challenging levels and also might result in more encouragement at the introductory levels.

So, with that logic in mind, let me just toss out something. What about (cumulative, not individual, i.e. the previous three plus three more for silver, etc.) this scheme? The numbers below are for the minimum number of competitions to be averaged to obtain a qualifying scores.

2, 4, and 6 for bronze, silver and gold at the BN or N.
3, 6, 9 for T and P
4, 8, 12 for I and A(This would be by rider, not horse or horse/rider pair. So every two qualifying scores at the lowest levels earns you a medal, every three at the midlevels and every four at the highest levels. This is assuming the qualifying scores are indeed challenging to achieve, so unless you and your horse are really talented, you'll need more than 2, 3 or 4 events to actually get the scores that would be averaged.)

So, for a BN just starting out, you could have a really bad first event, get your act together and have a great second event, average those together and get your bronze at BN right away. Instant reward for that bang up second attempt. If you stay consistent with that attempt, your silver and gold would come easily, but if you just got lucky and your scores start bouncing all over the place, you'll lose that early bit of luck in your qualifications, too. It'll help you a little, but not over much if you can't replicate it.

Any of this making sense? I'm thinking this set of numbers would enable someone to indeed master the lowest levels in a year without running their horse into the ground, while two years (providing the qualifying score level is indeed challenging) would be more likely at the midlevels and three at the highest. Lots of guestimating there, though. And I'm basing the I and A numbers on competing in two seasons, four months per season, every other week. That'd be a max, probably. A max of 16 competitions per year. But again, only the Phillip Duttons would likely get qualifying scores in every event, right? But meanwhile, those on multiple horses would have an advantage...Would that be kosher? It'd be an indication of the rider's consistency, wouldn't it?

Badger
Apr. 1, 2008, 12:13 PM
I think a whole lot of eventers outside of Eventing Mecca are lucky to do 3-5 events a year. I also don't think medalling at a level is something that we'd want people to expect to do in a season. I think the score cut-offs should be something obtainable on a good weeked but not expected by most riders every time out. If part of the intent of a medalling program is to reward riders who are not rushing to move up, and give great goals to the accomplished perpetual novice type, then I'm in favor of gearing towards a medal program that most people would expect would take more than a season to get a bronze and a lot longer to get a silver or gold.

When I threw out the idea of having Bronze being 10 double-clears at 35, Silver being 10 at 30, and Gold being 10 at 25, I figured very few would bet a gold even in two years, but those who kept plugging away and improving at the level might get it eventually. Meanwhile, serious, steady competitors would be likely more likely to get a Bronze in a second confirmed year.

From reading the discussions, I'm thinking a better goal might be:
8 scores of 40 or better in dressage, clean jumping = bronze
8 scores of 35 or better in dressage, clean jumping = silver
8 scores of 30 or better in dressage, clean jumping = silver

As far as the speed penalties thing: a properly prepared draft cross or even full draft should be able to do BN or N course at speed. BTDT and think if you are mastering that level you should be able to demonstrated that consistently. Maybe give a window that a percentage of the scores should be without time penalties BN through T?

Badger
Apr. 1, 2008, 12:40 PM
It doesn't work to apply scores and do a bell curve across a single competition (I think that's what you were suggesting PWN) because different judges do score differently. And I'm not sure how it would work looking at everything year-end...would it matter that one person had evented one time whereas another had evented 10 times?

frugalannie
Apr. 1, 2008, 01:11 PM
This idea may already have been discounted but...

What if instead of scores, you used placings? That would level out the interjudge difference. Say you have to place 8th or above in the number of competitions PWynn outlined above. (or pick a different number: 10th is the average class size is 20?))

What would be fun to do but an administrative nightmare is adding/ subtracting 0.5 or something for every year the horse has been owned and ridden by the rider. Then those who bring along their own mounts or keep them going a long time would get recognition.

pwynnnorman
Apr. 1, 2008, 01:24 PM
Arrgh! It gets a little mind-boggling, doesn't it?

Placings: good to eliminate interjudge difference, would require fudging to work for small divisions or sections.

8 scores: good to keep it simple, for sure; heavy dressage emphasis, though--might take some forever/never at the mid- to higher levels. But does that matter? And how much would the result just mirror placings (especially in certain parts of the country)?

If you have an x-c trouper who'll never accept the dressage, will this program appeal to you, given that you may never get beyond a bronze? Or will you bag the whole thing and just move up to the next level and get your thrills from just "being there" (at the higher level), which we're hoping to discourage?

Another thing I wanted to throw out there: What about keeping this parallel with what is already (or going to be) in place concerning qualifying to move up? Would it be possible to break down those qualifications into longer steps or stages and have the medal program reflect that progression?

colliemom
Apr. 1, 2008, 03:06 PM
Arrgh! It gets a little mind-boggling, doesn't it?

Placings: good to eliminate interjudge difference, would require fudging to work for small divisions or sections.

You could have a sliding scale based on number of starters, like they do with points. Fewer than 10 starters, 1st through 5th get 5-4-3-2-1 points. 11-8 starters, 6-5-4-3-2, 19-26 starters, 7-6-5-4-3, etc. Would that be feasible?


8 scores: good to keep it simple, for sure; heavy dressage emphasis, though--might take some forever/never at the mid- to higher levels. But does that matter? And how much would the result just mirror placings (especially in certain parts of the country)?

That would totally discourage me, and many of my peers. Emphasis should be on the total package of all three phases, not be heavy on dressage. I will probably never break 30 in dressage on my horse, but she is a very strong competent safe jumper and places well. Heck, I'm happy to break 40, which in fact is a 60% at Dressage Shows, which I believe is the percentage at which their medals are awarded. Why the push to go to 35, 30, and 25 for eventing?


If you have an x-c trouper who'll never accept the dressage, will this program appeal to you, given that you may never get beyond a bronze? Or will you bag the whole thing and just move up to the next level and get your thrills from just "being there" (at the higher level), which we're hoping to discourage?

Exactly. Would not appeal to me at all.


Another thing I wanted to throw out there: What about keeping this parallel with what is already (or going to be) in place concerning qualifying to move up? Would it be possible to break down those qualifications into longer steps or stages and have the medal program reflect that progression?

It would make sense to try and keep them parallel if possible. Might be introducing too much complexity, though. Not sure!

throwurheart
Apr. 1, 2008, 04:06 PM
wow, a lot has been considered since I posted.

Wynn, I always agree with you. Except this time.

This is about mastering the level, which is a "competition" with yourself, which in my mind is the most elegant version of sportsmanship there is.

So my votes:

multiyear expections to reach YES, end-of-year averaging NO
your own score YES, your placings NO

Couple of rebuttals:

1. I don't understand why expecting a reasonable dressage score is placing too much emphasis on dressage. That's like saying that xc and stadium don't take commensurate skill to go clean. They do. I worked hard schooling my draft cross in dressage. It showed. A mediocre mover routinely scored 60s, even low 70s, in straight dressage, and similarly was 28-40 every time out in eventing after dressage. I actually enjoy dressage, and it makes a difference.

Look at purpl's recent thread about Wing Nut being a HUGE challenge to train, and they actually did really, really well his first time out. If your horse is too big of a challenge in dressage, I say that's no different than a horse being too big of a challenge cross country, because they're too chicken or whatever. It's either a reality check of limitations, or you need to work harder. Period.

Example: I worked my butt off the last few years of my guy's life trying to "fix" stadium. It makes me nervous as hell. Stupid, I know. Combine that with trying to steer a somewhat claustrophic 18 hand elephant around a postage-stamp-sized stadium course (which some are, like they don't have enough fencing or something) on the side of a hill, and, well, you're gettin' some penalties, you know? I finally came to grips with the fact that it was going to be a really special day if we ever went clear in stadium. We never did, and that's okay. So with this program, I'd never have medaled, and that's okay too. But you can bet I would have worked and worked and worked trying to get one! :D

2. Time penalties should not specially be disallowed. Yeah, making time at the REGULAR speed for Novice (350) is easy, even for my draft cross. Making championship speed (400) is not so easy on really hilly terrain. The reason I bring this up is that a very small part of me (emphasis on 'small' ;)) is still childishly ticked off that an event I signed up for at the beginning of the season published they'd run at 350, and when I got there (after training at 370 or so to allow time for jumps) they ran at 400. TD blew me off, rudely. I would love it if that little discrepancy in the rules was filled in.

But I digress. The point of this is to promote safe mastery of each level, giving people a goal to work towards that means something to our community, rather than focusing on moving up. Let's face it, our sport is pretty darn macho. I frequently catch myself saying "aw shucks, I'm just a Novice level rider", because all the accolades go to the BNRs, and to "moving up the ladder". Well no, I'm not "just" a novice level rider. I'm an event rider dedicated to my horse's physical and mental well-being, and I work very hard to mimic the level of professionalism I see at the highest levels of our sport. I'll never ride Rolex, but I can be the best over 2-11 I can be. To this end, I say again: time penalties should not be disallowed.

In fact, I'm going to throw out a blasphemous thought that the final score should be the only determining factor. Refusals and falls (unsafe) would automatically kick your score too high. A few time penalties added to a nice dressage score and and otherwise clean day is a GOOD day, and demonstrates mastery, if not perfection. And if you're a dressage star with cross country machine, you can even afford a rail or two. (See, I could have gotten a medal! :D ) After all, I'm not sure that a failure to do a balanced twenty-meter circle is any better or worse than a failure to leave one rail up out of dozen.

Making the score the only factor makes it SOOO much easier for tracking and verifying, too.

ellebeaux
Apr. 1, 2008, 04:09 PM
Pwynn- Why the heavy emphasis on dressage? I thought the purpose of this medal was to create safe eventing riders. I would weight crosscountry most heavily since that is the most challenging and unique aspect of the sport. If they want to do primarily dressage, they can compete in that arena!

throwurheart
Apr. 1, 2008, 04:24 PM
As if I weren't long winded enough last time. The thought that dressage counts too much is such a pervasive battle cry that I'm going to take another stab at disabusing this notion.

Ideally, each level (BN, N, T, etc all the way up) should strive to require a commensurate level of skill among the three parts. If that is the case, then each is naturally weighted the same. A fab dressage score potentially gives you room for a rail or time penalties. A fab always-double-clear jumper gives you room for a few bad transitions in your dressage. From my perspective (see above post), placings are always determined by stadium. It's the last to go, and I was always miraculously transported from leaderboard to barely-gets-a-ribbon.

What gets people is that there is no such thing as a zero dressage penalty score. Assuming the questions posed are commensurate among all three phases, it's this never-zero thing that creates the illusion that dressage counts more.

ellebeaux
Apr. 1, 2008, 04:34 PM
As if I weren't long winded enough last time. The thought that dressage counts too much is such a pervasive battle cry that I'm going to take another stab at disabusing this notion.

Ideally, each level (BN, N, T, etc all the way up) should strive to require a commensurate level of skill among the three parts. If that is the case, then each is naturally weighted the same. A fab dressage score potentially gives you room for a rail or time penalties. A fab always-double-clear jumper gives you room for a few bad transitions in your dressage. From my perspective (see above post), placings are always determined by stadium. It's the last to go, and I was always miraculously transported from leaderboard to barely-gets-a-ribbon.

What gets people is that there is no such thing as a zero dressage penalty score. Assuming the questions posed are commensurate among all three phases, it's this never-zero thing that creates the illusion that dressage counts more.

Ah, thanks for the clarification. But I still like the idea of weighting cross-country more heavily. However, for simplicity's sake, using the overall placings or score makes the most sense.

throwurheart
Apr. 1, 2008, 04:41 PM
But I still like the idea of weighting cross-country more heavily.

I think I did just that when I proposed just letting the score decide. You regularly blow your trot-walk transition in dressage OR drop a rail OR have a few time penalties - but you always go clean cross-country, where the only jumping fault you could have is a big 'un of refusal or fall? Do that 10 times (or whatever) and you get a medal!

You're safe, you've mastered the level (though not 100% perfect every time out), and you're having fun striving for a goal.

ellebeaux
Apr. 1, 2008, 04:48 PM
I think I did just that when I proposed just letting the score decide. You regularly blow your trot-walk transition in dressage OR drop a rail OR have a few time penalties - but you always go clean cross-country, where the only jumping fault you could have is a big 'un of refusal or fall? Do that 10 times (or whatever) and you get a medal!

You're safe, you've mastered the level (though not 100% perfect every time out), and you're having fun striving for a goal.

Sounds good to me!

throwurheart
Apr. 1, 2008, 05:03 PM
Yay! Consensus of two. It's a start, anyway. :)

TB or not TB?
Apr. 1, 2008, 07:29 PM
I haven't posted on this discussion before, but I've been reading it, and I will add a 3rd consensus! I agree that one's "overall" score should be the one that counts for these medals. That way it also lets people play to their strengths without punishing them for their (or, very legitimately, their HORSE'S) weaknesses.

What about a score of, say.... 40? Or 35? Just throwing it out there. Or maybe 35 for BN, 40 for N, etc.

You have a superstar in dressage that gets you a 25, but he never picks up his silly warmblood hooves in SJ? No problem. Or conversely, you have an OTTB that, even at age 25, will STILL not settle down in the dressage arena, but jumps everything clean and clear, you're still good to go.

And with a score that low, you're not looking at XC penalties.

Could also eliminate people whinging about how the medaling system punishes 'their type' of horse (yet Suzy's always does good in dessage, blah blah). Plus it encourages people to use the horse they've got, what ever his or her individual strengths, rather than just who has the most expensive one. :yes:

pwynnnorman
Apr. 1, 2008, 09:25 PM
Ooooh, I'm lost, I'm lost. Where are we with this? I'm not attached to any particular solution, BTW. I just want it to happen.

However, I do have a hunch that, ultimately, the simplest solution will get the go ahead.

TB or not TB?
Apr. 1, 2008, 09:29 PM
Ooooh, I'm lost, I'm lost. Where are we with this? I'm not attached to any particular solution, BTW. I just want it to happen.

However, I do have a hunch that, ultimately, the simplest solution will get the go ahead.

Instead of creating a score for each phase to base the medals on, we were suggesting using one's cumulative score from the whole event. ie, you must have your score under "40" at x number of events to get a medal.

pwynnnorman
Apr. 1, 2008, 09:35 PM
I could dig that--over x different courses, if possible. But what are the x's to be? Therein lies the problem, methinks.

ellebeaux
Apr. 1, 2008, 09:43 PM
I could dig that--over x different courses, if possible. But what are the x's to be? Therein lies the problem, methinks.


Five. Five for each level of medalling at BN and N. That should take 1 or 2 seasons. Then increase to 7 for T and P?

Are there any other requirements like a certain number of schooling shows or clinics with recognized trainers? Volunteering?

throwurheart
Apr. 1, 2008, 10:02 PM
Our "right up the middle" medal winner is not the person who frequently wins or finishes top three. It's the folks who routinely finish in the ribbons, very consistently turning in safe, well-prepared performances, but who seldom win because they're not foot-perfect in all three phases (which, let's face it, is really starting to require a bit of an expensive horse in most cases). I'm speaking from a marketing perspective here, serving a underserved crowd, and giving them a goal to shoot for and a tangible award to be proud of. Of course, the original impetus for this was to keep people focused on mastery rather than moving up the levels, but I think the two goals can be served by the same program.

To serve the former goal (honoring riders / horses with slight flaws that are insurmountable so they seldom win, but are always respectable) we need a fairly high penalty score like 40, but a higher number required. Say 5 Bronze, 10 Silver, 15 Gold. I think sticking around to master the level before moving on might require slightly different numbers, such as 35, done 4-7-10 or 3-6-9 times. We want people who's intent IS to move up, to have a reason to stick around for more mastery, rather than get impatient and move on.

Okay, in all that musing, I think that's the key. How many solid performances indicates a -possible- ability to move up? I say "possible" because regardless of many solid performances at N, I know I topped out at N with my guy because he just wasn't built to do T with an acceptable margin of safety. But with a more athletic horse, if nailed a 35 ten times, regardless of placings, I'd feel like I was READY to give T a shot.

I think getting your scores at 2 courses is fine to prove mastery. If others feel more is necessary, maybe 2 for bronze, 3 for silver, 4 for gold. (courses, not scores)

Requiring volunteering is a nice (and needed) cherry on top, but we should lose it if we have to to get this done.

4Martini
Apr. 2, 2008, 12:20 AM
Five. Five for each level of medalling at BN and N. That should take 1 or 2 seasons. Then increase to 7 for T and P?


These numbers could hard to hit in certain areas of the country - if you're talking number of different courses. Maybe overall scores => X, but seems high for number of different courses.

pwynnnorman
Apr. 2, 2008, 09:11 AM
I want to reiterate, though, that I think it would be healthy if bronze were fairly easy to obtain, letting it represent (and encourage) a committment to mastering that level (getting to the gold). I'd fear that if folks didn't get a medal soon, they may abandon the program.

Not an ideal situation, but I'm thinking about the psychology of today's active generation. I think a little compromise to that might be needed to keep the program vibrant. It'd be nice to honor the diehards, but, alas, our society isn't populated by a heck of a lot of that type. These days, people need encouragement.

Having slept on it, I now think three under-50 scores involving three different courses should suffice for the bronze at any level. I think we should want most riders with a minimul level of committment to get their bronze. In my mind, "comittment" = "do what it takes (including financially) to be moderately successful over three courses".

(After all, can you be working toward mastery if you only compete over one or two courses? That doesn't give you the mileage you'd need--if you are rewarded for that, what happens when you move up and/or DO attempt unfamiliar terrain? Hard truth, but maybe if you can't get access to a minimum of three different types of terrain, etc., you should not be thinking this is a sport you'll master. Isn't part of what we'd like to get folks to recognize is what is and isn't doable, realistically speaking?)

I remain uncertain about silver and gold, but what about, for simplicity's sake, five under-40 for silver and eight under 30 for gold? That would mean to achieve a gold medal, you'd need to compete progressively better over a minimum of 16 competitions (recognizing that very few will be anywhere near consistent enough to achieve 16 straight qualifying scores). Would that number be reasonable in all parts of the country (something I think we really need to keep in mind). How many people currently compete at one level in 16 competitions?

Another thing to keep in mind: IF you can only do two competitions a season, should you, again realistically speaking, believe you CAN master a level--at all? Again, there needs to be some committment to learning, including getting mileage. If you just can't make that committment--because of location or finances or horse soundness or whatever--maybe you need to get the message that, no matter how nice a horse you buy, you won't master this sport. You can still enjoy it, of course--probably along with those hunter or dressage shows you also go to because they are more abundant/accessible in your area--but in this sport, you need more committment than that to truly master it.

throwurheart
Apr. 2, 2008, 10:22 AM
I like your thinking on this, Wynn, except for the 30 score for Gold. I thought of another way to reiterate what we're after here: mastery, not perfection. Perfection (generally those under-30 scores) gets the blue all the time.

Look at this example: if over the course of a single season, you're always fourth at Novice, it's tempting to move up to Training, because a potential sixth at Training is cooler than fourth at Novice. If you stay at Novice, can you eventually fix your flaws to get those under-30 scores consistently? Maybe, maybe not. If you do, I would say that's a great indicator you could move up safely and successfully. But there are a whole lot of us who find themselves in the situation where we probably can't fix that one little niggling thing holding us back from ever seeing a blue ribbon, short of selling our partner and starting over. For those of us with one beloved horse that's a 98% perfect partner, that's hard to do, especially if we don't have aspirations to keep climbing the levels.

The point of the medal program is to encourage people to not succumb to the enhanced cool factor of moving up, but instead to hang out a little longer in each level, and in working on getting these scores, be forced to confront their weakest points with renewed vigor. Those who move up will do so with significantly enhanced preparation, those who don't will have a fabulous award to work for that honors their not-quite-champion-but-darn-good-and-consistent performances over time.

On the other end of the score, I think 50 is too high, because it leaves room to get a refusal penalty.

Similar to your thinking, here's what I'm kinda liking:

Bronze: 3 scores below 40, each obtained at a different course.
Silver: 6 scores below 40, obtained at at least 3 different courses.
Gold: 10 scores below 40, obtained at at least 3 different courses.

I really can't speak for UL riders, as I am soooo far below that pay grade. But it seems to me, looking at scoreboards over time, that this would even work well for P, I, A.... except that maybe it needs to be "below 50." That does leave room for refusal penalties, but only if somehow you didn't rack up time penalties with that refusal, AND you went clean otherwise AND you had a great dressage score. Pretty easy at the lower levels, not so easy at the upper levels.

NMK
Apr. 2, 2008, 11:25 AM
Pwynn,

I agree you are going to have to keep this simple.

BN/N/T four scores of 40 or under...bronze
BN/N/T three scores of 36 or under...silver
BN/N/T two scores of 32 and under...gold

Would you put the scores for P, I and A together too?

P/I/A four scores of ?? or under..bronze, etc.

I think easier is better, it would make it easy to do and easy to ID.
Love the pin idea.

N

TB or not TB?
Apr. 2, 2008, 06:23 PM
One ? on the requiring different courses -

When I lived in MN, most amateurs went to just 3 events each year, and that was only at two different facilities (a spring and fall event at one place, yearly event at the other). Would that mean they could only use two of their 3 yearly events toward a medal?

pwynnnorman
Apr. 2, 2008, 08:20 PM
I think it might, TB. (Of course, none of this is up to us. I hope we're just tossing stuff out for Torri to consider.) Anyway, I do think one needs to accept a few unfortunate facts of life in potentially dangerous sports. I don't know if "three" is the magic number, but my concern is whether a rider can truly have mastered x-c riding if the rider only has experience over one or two types of terrain. To reward that might send the wrong message.

Also, numbers-wise, it's the same problem, I suspect, with "leading rider" honors, isn't it? No program is going to be perfectly fair for everyone, especially those in resource-poor regions. Earning medals may be prohibitively expensive for some (because they'd have to compete far away from home), but I do think there needs to be some rationale, some foundation or philosophy, behind whatever numbers are incorporated.

That said, I haven't a clue how to defend "three" over "two."



Bronze: 3 scores below 40, each obtained at a different course.
Silver: 6 scores below 40, obtained at at least 3 different courses.
Gold: 10 scores below 40, obtained at at least 3 different courses.

I really can't speak for UL riders, as I am soooo far below that pay grade. But it seems to me, looking at scoreboards over time,


That's certainly simple enough! And I love the way you've reasoned it based on the scoreboards.

pwynnnorman
Apr. 4, 2008, 11:46 AM
FYI to all interested parties: Here is Torri's email address. You can send any additional comments or questions to her now. Thanks for all of your contributions to this project!

"Torri Nahorniak-Broadus" <torri@useventing.com>

CookiePony
Dec. 20, 2008, 10:02 AM
Resurrecting this thread because it has come to fruition! From the USEA website:


Each individual member may earn a Bronze, Silver, and/or Gold medal at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels. A separate medal will be awarded for a horse registered with the USEA, based on the same scores. The goal is to begin the program on February 1, 2009 and results from that point forward may be put toward earning a medal, with results being cumulative.

Members will submit their scores to the USEA for verification once the requirements of a medal have been met. The form will be available online or at events and there will be no fee associated with the submission of this document. Once the scores have been verified the member or horse owner will be provided with the associated awards for the medal achieved. Should there be a discrepancy with the scores or required membership status, the rider or owner will be contacted via email.

Well done pwynn and other COTHers (cbdfrggy, VCT) who worked on this!

Auburn
Dec. 20, 2008, 10:24 AM
I was just on the USEA site, but did not see this. Would you mind posting a link?

Wynn,

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to have this done for us. Hopefully, this will give folks incentive to stay at a level long enough to achieve a medal. Ultimately, everyone will gain the experience that is needed to move up to the next level.

CookiePony
Dec. 20, 2008, 11:03 AM
Sure!

http://www.useventing.com/competitions.php?id=1776

pwynnnorman
Dec. 20, 2008, 11:09 AM
Thanks, but I'm not convinced that the mere presence of the program will produce the desired effects (in terms of encouraging and honoring mastery of the sport at each level).

It will be up to the USEA to support the program with effective communication and promotion to make sure the goals behind the awards are just as visible and just as admired as the awards themselves. If the program is just put out there with no editorial follow through, it will become what I've come to think of as just another example of a strategic void within the organization.

ivy62
Dec. 20, 2008, 11:14 AM
I have been following this thread from the begining, I think it is a great idea to give recognition at lower levels so maybe people will stay there longer. I am not an eventer per say but follow the sport and am sorry to have seen the sport move in a direction that is so hazardous. I hope the USEA follows thru and brings safety to the top of the list....
It is a start but in no way the sole answer...
Good work to those who contributed to this...
Just my two cents

canterlope
Dec. 20, 2008, 12:44 PM
Thanks, but I'm not convinced that the mere presence of the program will produce the desired effects (in terms of encouraging and honoring mastery of the sport at each level).

It will be up to the USEA to support the program with effective communication and promotion to make sure the goals behind the awards are just as visible and just as admired as the awards themselves. If the program is just put out there with no editorial follow through, it will become what I've come to think of as just another example of a strategic void within the organization.Pwynn, you say it will be up to the USEA to support the program. I have a question. Who is "the USEA"?

I would submit that "the USEA" is every person who joins the association and partakes of the benefits it offers. If this program is going to succeed, it will be up to each of us to do just what you say needs to be done. Relying on the association's leaders or the staff at the national headquarters to communicate and promote the program isn't going to get it done.

I very much appreciate the work you've put in and your dedication so far. I very much hope it will not end there and every USEA member will join in the effort to make the program a success instead of just another example of a strategic void within the organization.

Janet
Dec. 20, 2008, 02:02 PM
IIRC, the USCTA had a program which gave recognition to people who completed a certain number of events at each of the lower levels. Maybe called something like the Blue Ribbon Club. They printed the names of the new winners in every issue of the magazine. But I never botherd to submit my scores, nor did practically everyone I knew.

So the queestion is "How do you make the medal system 'desirable' to the competitors?" It isn't just editorial hoopla, but I don't know what it is.

pwynnnorman
Dec. 20, 2008, 06:43 PM
Relying on the association's leaders or the staff at the national headquarters to communicate and promote the program isn't going to get it done.

In a perfect world, I'd agree with you, canterlope, but that's not the world we live in. It would be very unusual for member-stakeholders to pick up the ball and run with it (with the desired effects, including messaging, that is--NOT the "just do it" attitude that tends to dominate our society today) without considerable urging, reminding and "incentivizing" from the organization. Such behavior is simply not typical of membership-based organizations. I realize it is a burden on the leadership, but reality is reality: members need to be led, encouraged, reminded, organized, rewarded, asked, sought, invited, honored, etc., etc., etc.

If they didn't, there'd be a lot more of them at conventions, volunteering for or communicating with committees, and participating in showcase competitions (like AEC) and other activities.

Frankly, I believe that if the organization feels any program--not specifically this one--is worth offering, it needs to be a part of an overall strategy. I disagree strongly in creating programs that just sit there "hoping" they will contribute to some coherent plan for the sport. They don't, won't and can't until someone creates that plan and inserts the organizations' programs, campaigns, events and activities into it.

Mustang51
Dec. 21, 2008, 12:04 AM
The press release says the medal earner will recieve a pin among other things. Would the pin be something that could be legally worn in competition?

It seems to me that something visible (though subtle of course) that a rider could wear as part of their show attire - a pin, patch, colored item of some sort - would be a good incentive to achieve the award. I mean ribbons, medals, even your name in small print one time in the magazine are nice, but really aren't terribly visible to the public. I would think that if you had earned a medal it would be nice to be able to show it off every time you rode.

Anyway, just a thought. This kind of system works in lots of other organizations (scouts etc.), but maybe wouldn't appeal so much to the horse crowd.

canterlope
Dec. 21, 2008, 01:11 AM
IIRC, the USCTA had a program which gave recognition to people who completed a certain number of events at each of the lower levels. Maybe called something like the Blue Ribbon Club. They printed the names of the new winners in every issue of the magazine. But I never botherd to submit my scores, nor did practically everyone I knew.The USEA still offers this program, only it's called USEA Rider Awards (Blue Ribbon was the name of the award you received for placing 1st-5th in three Training level Horse Trials). The form used to submit your results is posted on the USEA website. It's the first one listed under Competitions on the All Forms and Documents page.
Frankly, I believe that if the organization feels any program--not specifically this one--is worth offering, it needs to be a part of an overall strategy. I disagree strongly in creating programs that just sit there "hoping" they will contribute to some coherent plan for the sport. They don't, won't and can't until someone creates that plan and inserts the organizations' programs, campaigns, events and activities into it. I'm not sure the USEA has ever created a program and just let it sit there in hopes it would take on a life of its own. However, no matter how much effort is put into creating a program's strategic plan and inserting it into the organization's activities, at the end of the day it is the members of the association who will dictate the program's ultimate success or failure.
I realize it is a burden on the leadership, but reality is reality: members need to be led, encouraged, reminded, organized, rewarded, asked, sought, invited, honored, etc., etc., etc.Up to a point, I completely agree with you. However, this is a bit like leading a horse to water and trying to make it drink. You can beg and plead all you want, but until the horse becomes an active and willing participant in the process, you will never get him to put his head down to take a sip. The association can chat up this program until the cows come home, but at some point the members will have to step up to the plate and do their part.
The press release says the medal earner will recieve a pin among other things. Would the pin be something that could be legally worn in competition?Yes. Wear it on your lapel, stick it on your helmet cover, use it as a stock pin. If you earn it, show it off.

pwynnnorman
Dec. 21, 2008, 10:04 AM
The association can chat up this program until the cows come home, but at some point the members will have to step up to the plate and do their part.


Sorry, Canterlope, we're going to have to agree to disagree. The Ph.D. I can stick behind my name allowed me to indulge in a decade of studying -- and now 20 years of teaching -- that that kind of fatalism about stakeholder influence is not necessary. But you're not alone in thinking "my" field is powerless! "We" aren't, but when we succeed beyond expectations, it's not "we" who get the credit. That's the reason, perhaps, behind your doubt -- which has gotten me worked up enough that I'm now going to do some research to try to change your mind! :-)

[I use the quotation marks because I am not really a practitioner, just an academic--and now, an ex-academic at that.]



Oh, too easy... Here's some evidence of what I mean, Canterlope:


Experimental methods were used to examine the influence of public relations strategies on beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Seven public relations strategies were tested using the theory of reasoned action to determine strategy influence on individuals’ beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions toward an organization responding to activism. Results indicate that salient beliefs predict attitude, and attitude and subjective norm predict behavioral intention. In addition, results indicate that salient beliefs are predicted by attitude toward organizational response to activism, which is influenced by public relations strategy type. Findings suggest that any type of strategic response to activism is better than no response. The cooperative problem-solving strategy produced the most effective outcome for the organization, and the threat and punishment strategy produced the least effective outcome for the organization. ~ http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/1/1/3/9/p111395_index.html



Not the perfect source, since it deals with activism, but if you substitute "activism" with "just going to competitions," which is a kind of passive response to the organizations non-competition goals, you can see some parallels, I think.

BTW, community engagement (getting a community to participate in issues, like urban renewal, for example) also provides good models for considering this issue.

Janet
Dec. 21, 2008, 11:40 AM
The USEA still offers this program, only it's called USEA Rider Awards (Blue Ribbon was the name of the award you received for placing 1st-5th in three Training level Horse Trials). The form used to submit your results is posted on the USEA website. It's the first one listed under Competitions on the All Forms and Documents page.I'm not sure the USEA has ever created a program and just let it sit there in hopes it would take on a life of its own. However, no matter how much effort is put into creating a program's strategic plan and inserting it into the organization's activities, at the end of the day it is the members of the association who will dictate the program's ultimate success or failure.Up to a point, I completely agree with you. However, this is a bit like leading a horse to water and trying to make it drink. You can beg and plead all you want, but until the horse becomes an active and willing participant in the process, you will never get him to put his head down to take a sip. The association can chat up this program until the cows come home, but at some point the members will have to step up to the plate and do their part.
I guess that begs the question, what is different about this program that will make it suceed when the USEA Rider Award program basks in obscurity?

As far as I can see, the primary difference is a focus on dressae score instead of final placing. (And I think the new program is BETTER, becuase you could get 5th in small division without actually doing very well, and you could get worse than 5th in a big division with a VERY good performance) But, in general, the people eligible for the Rider Awards program will be the same people eligible for the Masters of Eventing program.

What is different that will make them bother to send in their scores for this one? While I agree tha PR can be important, I don't think it is the whole answer.

Obviously, such programs CAN work, people bend over backwards to qualify for the USDF Bronze Medal.

What the eventers I know seem to care about is qualifying for AEC (even if they have no intention of going) or the Area Championships (agein, even if they don't go). Maybe a special division at specific events restricted to "Masters of Eventing"?

fooler
Dec. 21, 2008, 04:31 PM
As a rule eventers have not had the same mindset required to qualify. Which would explain why prior programs have not thrived. Most eventers are looking at having a better go at the existing level or moving up or as Janet noted, qualifying for AEC or Area Championships.

How does the USDF program encourage folks to attain their medals? Hard to believe it is such a totally different mind-set as so many eventers 'retire' to dressage.

canterlope
Dec. 23, 2008, 02:39 AM
Pwynn, nice try but you still haven't changed my mind, basically because the study you quoted does not go far enough to be applicable to the situation at hand. To be sure, the USEA should very much focus on finding ways to produce positive beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions in its members toward the program. However, these positive beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions have to translate into positive action on the part of the members in order for the program to succeed. Ultimately, this will come down to a value judgement on the part of the members. They will have to determine if the benefits reaped by participating in the program outweigh the associated costs.

The AEC is a prime example of what I'm talking about. I think it is fair to say that the USEA did a good job of instilling positive beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral intentions torwards the Championships in the membership as a whole. Especially given that the membership was quite divided in this area prior to the first running of the AEC.

If all that was needed to make the Championships a success was the instillment of a positive outlook towards them, then we would expect a proportional level of participation in them across the board at all levels. However, that is not what we have seen in actuality. At the Beginner Novice through Preliminary level, participation has been excellent. However, at the Intermediate and Advanced levels, participation has lagged behind what you would expect given the number of horses and riders who compete and qualify at those levels.

If I only used your line of thinking when trying to determine why participation in the two upper levels is lagging behind what would be expected, I would conclude that it was solely the result of a negative mindset amongst the members at those levels toward the AEC. But this is not the case as most members at those levels do have a positive outlook in relation to the Championships and support the concept in principle. As a results, there has to be something other than positive/negative mindsets driving member participation at those levels. Find out what that is and you'll have answered the $64,000 question.