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"A"HunterGal
Apr. 17, 2009, 08:24 PM
I was looking through the Devon qualifying list, and as always, multiple names appear on it. There is one rider who is in every pony division AND both small/large juniors! And multiple rides in each division!

Every division I believe has at least two riders with multiple mounts. I want to make it clear that I am NOT downplaying the riding chops of these people. I know many of them, and they are all great riders and nice people to boot. They also, though, represent the riders with enough money to be able to show nearly every weekend.

So what do you think will happen if the rules are ever changed away from a pure point system, to one that's set up more like Pony finals? I know they are starting to play around with it. Do you think it will level the playing field? No? Will it hurt the industry because now these riders won't HAVE to show every weekend, so many of them probably won't? Will it reveal new, perhaps previously undiscovered talent because more good riders will be able to have a shot?

I myself think that there will be more harm than good in tweaking the system away from pure point accumulation. I think that we will see more new names, and more young riders or emerging pros able to take a piece of the spotlight. I also think it will bring in more, not less revenue, as it will take opportunities down into the upper middle class, maybe even the very talented middle class, and not just the upper class.

Any other thoughts or opinions, from either side? Do you think the logistics of ever tweaking the system are just too complicated, because it's been this way for so long? That's another def. possibility.

mvp
Apr. 17, 2009, 09:34 PM
It must be frustrating to have qualified for Devon (or almost) at great expense and effort, only to witness something like "point inflation" and a small handful who can perhaps triple what you spend.

I agree that there might be many benefits to both riders, and horses, if it didn't take "every weekend" showing to get to Devon. But I suspect that its hard for trainers to turn down the client who wants to buy several (and pay commissions) and show frequently (and pay day care fees on top of board and training). Perhaps rainers are taking what they can while they can because it would be tough or uncertain to delay the pay-off of spreading their time among many clients.

Just my two cents. I was both priced out of the Devon chase long ago. My sound, middle-age horse is delighted with his mamma's poverty!

J. Turner
Apr. 18, 2009, 12:06 AM
Well, in the juniors and ponies someone else can ride, so the rider in question probably entered them all and will choose whether she wants to ride in the ponies or the juniors, then have a catch rider do the other division. Also, it's possible if she's moving up to the juniors, a pony rider might lease a pony just for Devon, or starting at Devon for the rest of the year. Sometimes horses and ponies get sold at Devon or right before so of course you'd enter the horse or pony you have for sale so the new owner could ride there.

Mac123
Apr. 18, 2009, 12:18 AM
I myself think that there will be more harm than good in tweaking the system away from pure point accumulation. I think that we will see more new names, and more young riders or emerging pros able to take a piece of the spotlight. I also think it will bring in more, not less revenue, as it will take opportunities down into the upper middle class, maybe even the very talented middle class, and not just the upper class.


Did you mean to say more good than harm? It seems like you're supporting changing over, which is why I ask as you said "more harm than good." Just checking.

I'm all for not only making the sport more attainable to the common rider but also relieving the ridiculous show schedule people set these days. The old pros and greats would have never shown as much as we do now, and their riding was better and horses happier and fresher because of it.

juniormom
Apr. 18, 2009, 12:36 AM
I believe that some changes would be good for the riders and the horses. The horses would enjoy being turned out and just being horses every now and then. I believe that counting the top "x" number of shows would be better than just point accumulation. There should be a "limit" as to the number of entries by one person and/or ridden by one person in order to
enable more people to have a chance to go to finals, etc. The economy would benefit, as you would have more spectators due to the larger variety of riders and/or owners.

I can see the "trainer" side of things, in wanting their clients to have as many horses as possible, etc. However, I believe that those that choose to show all of their horses every weekend will continue to do so. They may have to choose which ones they take to finals, but I would not think that it would affect how many horses they buy or how many they show in general.

Obviously, there are good and bad things about any way you do things. However, I believe that some "new talent" will be discovered and that it will allow more "middle class" and budget minded people to participate. There are a large number of really good riders that are unable to compete in shows every weekend, nor do they have multiple horses. People may go back to enjoying their horses in other ways, ie, trail riding at a more leisurely pace some weekends, etc. This would enable more young professionals to get into the business as well. It is not a friendly life style for young pros with kids. Imagine having to be gone every weekend with clients when you have small children? I realize that is their choice, but it should be that - a choice. They should be able to get clients to finals if they teach at home and their riders do well at shows, even if they don't show every weekend. More people used to do their "homework" at home.

Just my .02 cents worth...................

Flash44
Apr. 18, 2009, 10:06 AM
It's a "Horse" show, not a "Child" show. There will always be kids who grow up totally immersed in horse showing, and have both financial and opportunity advantages over the other 99% of kids who like to ride. Maybe the kids for whom qualifying (or almost qualifying) is the big goal, are also gaining useful lessons in sportsmanship and perseverance.

EAY
Apr. 18, 2009, 02:38 PM
I'm not sure exactly how things work today, but I know that back in the late 70s and early 80s when I showed on the A circuit my trainer had nearly all of her ponies qualify for Devon and indoors. During the summer we showed most but not all weekends but we didn't go to Florida, showed at only a few shows during the winter and early spring, and our season didn't really get going until Upperville which also coincided roughly with the end of the school year. Then the ponies pretty much had September off.

I'm sure summers were tough on family life but at least she was home a good bit during the rest of the year, and of course the ponies also enjoyed that time when they were mostly just turned out and taken on trail rides.

Admittedly she did have some very nice ponies training with her who were very successful when they did show, but at least it was possible back then to qualify without spending the whole year on the road.

Midge
Apr. 18, 2009, 05:14 PM
There are already limits on the number of mounts per division. There are also age limits and age splits and, in the juniors and ponies, size splits. If you start legislating against excellence so 'more people can go to finals', it's not much of a finals.

There are better ways to tabulate quality than just total points, however. The Ariat medal tabulated points by the 10, 6, 4, 2, 1, 1/2 of first though sixth, then multiplied it by the number of people in the class. Fairly straight forward and every show has the same rating.

The other thing that could be done is something like dividing your total points by the number of shows attended. A minimum would have to be established, say eight or ten shows, and once again there would have to be some sort of universal rating, but it would help reduce the raw benefit of going to 40 horse shows.

I don't think either of these plans would hurt any shows because people still want quality and most people rise and fall to the level of their competition. Rich people will still want to go to WEF in the winter, but it would mean everyone staying home still has a shot. Slim down the mileage rule and let the cream rise to the top.

superpony123
Apr. 18, 2009, 05:27 PM
There are limits on the amount of horses that can be ridden in the division, and how many each rider can ride in that division. I think it should stay that way. However, I do think it would be nice if they lowered the amount of points it took to get to devon. I'd also like it if they included more divisons (like children's) but that's a stretch, i guess. The thing about Devon is that we all want to go. But Devon is really for the best of the best. Hence the big sign over the dixon oval- "where champions meet". Champions. A horse show is a horse show, and sometimes you can't change things. There are plenty of other shows to go to. Would I love to be able to show at devon? Yeah. But I definitely won't have the chance in the next year (next yr will be my last as a junior) and certainly wont while i'm in college. Some time in far off adulthood? Possibly. Depends on how much $$ i make and how much my husband makes! :lol: (so i can get myself a nice regular working hunter--i really never enjoyed jumpers that much) Until then, i'll keep going to spectate :) it's..almost as much fun! (as riding in the show) .. lol.

anywho, the catch riders who are qualified to ride something like 15 horses at devon, they do show every weekend and if devon lowered their point requirements, they still would show every weekend. Those riders have the resources. (not that i have a problem with them. if you have the money and the talent, well, why not? i'm a bit jealous, but i don't hold it against them) Not only can they easily afford to show all the time, but they are showing a million different horses. A lot of those horses do NOT get shown every weekend. They get shown often enough, and when they do, they do really well, getting lots of points, so they dont HAVE to show every weekend to make the points they need. These riders just have so many connections (or their trainer does, ill say) that there will always be a different string of horses for them each time. There will always be exceptions, but mostly, the horses and ponies winning at devon have plenty of time rolling in the mud.

findeight
Apr. 18, 2009, 05:45 PM
Ummm...some of those are catch riders or trainers kids riding for multiple owners and sometimes they are listed because they own the horse/Pony but it's been leased and they really will not ride-some of the Juniors have leased their old Pony out for years but still will show in results.

And, please, don't assume they are all pounded to get there. One Circuit Champion at WEF showed exactly 6 of those weekends, 4 o/f and an u/s each of those weekends over 2 days...and I believe that one was Grand Circuit Champion Pony as well. Not exactly working the legs off it...and he has had lots of time to roll in the mud since returning.

Devon is sort of the cream of the crop for the best of the best and it's always been special to get to show there-because it must be earned. You really want to "dummy down" something like that tradition when there are hundreds of other shows you can go show at?

MHM
Apr. 18, 2009, 07:14 PM
Just FYI- anybody can show at the Devon show grounds this year, by attending the Ashley Meadows shows there June 21-24.

It's not DEVON, but if you want to show at that venue, you can, whatever your division.

www.ashleymeadows.com (http://www.ashleymeadows.com) for more details.

Molly99
Apr. 18, 2009, 09:06 PM
All of the qualifying shows only use a max fo 15 shows per horse. You get your best 15 shows during the qualifying period, no more. You can show 40 times if you want, but you still only get 15 shows to count.

It has been that way for many many years for the qualifying shows.

Also, the show doesn't set the cut off. That is determined by the horses that enter. The show says they want X to show in a division. The horses enter, are put in point order and a line is drawn. That horses points become the cut off.

If you want points to go down, get rid of the USHJA Derbies from adding to a horses HOY points in their division. That has caused part of the increase in the # of points required.

The ponies have always had high cut offs, as the ponies go for ever. Horses move divisions more frequently than ponies.

"A"HunterGal
Apr. 18, 2009, 10:02 PM
There are lots of great points! And yes, I did mean to say "more good than harm." I myself just caught that one.

So, first off:

findeight: I don't want to dumb anything down, far from it, I would like to see more of a chance for riders JUST as talented as those who qualify to be able to show. But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.

I guess there's no way to say anything without sounding bitter, which isn't my intention, but I think there is some underlying bitterness when looking at this type of thing. While there are some people (probably myself included) who still couldn't get to Devon even WITH the best horse out there, there are lots of people who are amazingly talented who have no shot with the way things are set up now; I feel that they are being cut out simply because they don't have the mega money needed to get there.

But as far as that's concerned:

Molly99, really? I didn't know that it's still 15 shows across the board no matter what. Is it possible to get points into the 3000 range with only 15 shows? If so that changes things, but I don't see how that can be possible, even if all 15 shows are WEF level.

I like the idea about dividing the points by the number of shows, that seems to make sense.

I also want to say that I think it's a bigger deal now because even the Eq divisions, which were set up for this very purpose, to allow extremely talented riders without the bucks to show their stuff, are now ALSO only for the very rich, mainly because to do well in the Eq one now needs to have an "Eq Horse". Do you think that anything should be done to counteract this relatively new category of mega bucks mount? Or do you think we're already too far down the slippery slope?

Vandy
Apr. 18, 2009, 10:15 PM
Aargh, I didn't mean to erase my earlier post. Thanks for the clarification, Molly. 15 shows is a lot IMO. Not sure why it's neccessary to include points for so many. I'm not a BNT, but my clients have frequently won at the A-shows we attend. But no one in my program could afford 15 A-rated shows per year - I guess that with the show schedules of most top barns these days, there would be a zillion horses with the same number of points if it were only 5 shows or something like that, but it sure would make it more affordable for those who ride well enough, have nice enough horses, yet can't afford to do 15+ A shows per year or don't want to pound their horses that much. Yes, if you live somewhere that has A-shows within a few hours drive every week, it's not so much...To do that in my area, you'd have to travel a LOT - only 2 A rated shows per year in my state. Traveling as far as one living here would have to - hard on the horses and hard on the wallet IMHO.

Midge
Apr. 18, 2009, 10:57 PM
But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.

Yes you are getting the best of the best. The horse is being judged, and that is based on being the best mover and the best jumper. It is not equitation.





The 15 best shows part of the equation is pretty meaningless. If you only go to 13 shows, every one is one of your top. Even the one where you fell off in one class and went off course in another. If you go to 30 shows, your bad ones are not in the mix.

"A"HunterGal
Apr. 18, 2009, 11:44 PM
Yes you are getting the best of the best. The horse is being judged, and that is based on being the best mover and the best jumper. It is not equitation.


Yeah, I guess you're right. It isn't equitation. We are getting the best HORSES, and that is what we are judging in the hunters.

Maybe since this is the core of the matter, we need to just be at peace with the fact that NOT everyone is going to get to show at Devon or Indoors, no matter how hard you work or how good you are.

Maybe we need to create other, just as important standards for rating this? I know that the programs aimed at young riders and finding talent are beginning to crop up, but we need programs for every age range. Maybe we need to start placing more importance and clout with certification levels....sort of like Pony Club only for hunter/jumper riders, where meeting certain standards is the most important thing?

Do you think that we could ever replace emphasis on these types of programs? This way there would be more than one avenue to becoming a successful trainer with the possibility of having clients who CAN afford to buy the types of horses that can get a talented young pro to indoors? Are the college programs helping at all? I know there are plenty of stories of people coming from nada and getting a big break, but those people are the exception. Or do you think that Horse Showing in and of itself will always be the "end all and be all" of our discipline?

twobays
Apr. 19, 2009, 09:19 AM
But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.


I don't WANT to go to Devon to see the "best" riders sitting on lesser horses. I want to see the most jaw-dropping horses in our sport, regardless of who is sitting on top. I agree that we shouldn't reward the volume of shows people go to, but Devon already caps your points at fifteen shows, so they aren't (at least directly), rewarding people who go to 52 shows a year.

Plus, 15 shows a year isn't all that much...it means showing once a month, plus twice a month for the summer months (June, July, August). It really isn't pounding on the horses.

I think a lot of people get unnecessarily huffy over what happens at the upper echelons of the sport. Yes, there are kids with six ponies and eight horses, but the vast majority of kids (even at the A-level) have ONE horse that can play, at least capeably, in all three rings.

"A"HunterGal
Apr. 19, 2009, 09:26 AM
I don't WANT to go to Devon to see the "best" riders sitting on lesser horses. I want to see the most jaw-dropping horses in our sport, regardless of who is sitting on top.

If you read my last post, you'll see that I conceded that point.

findeight
Apr. 19, 2009, 10:22 AM
But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse... Eq classes, which were set up for this very purpose, to allow extremely talented riders without the bucks to show their stuff, are now ALSO only for the very rich, mainly because to do well in the Eq one now needs to have an "Eq Horse".

Well...see...here's my problem with that logic.

If you have a horse that rates, say, about a 7 or 8, you are ALWAYS going to have somebody with a 9 in there-or a 10-that moves better and jumps better in the Hunters if you want to show at the National level.

So...you would have to penalize them or exclude them. How are you proposing to limit the Hunter that did cost more because it moves and jumps better so a more modesty talented horse can win in a class judged solely on quality of movement and jump?

And, sorry, since when was the Eq division set up specifically for those without the finances for anything else?????

I always thought it was set up to find the most effective rider in the judges opinion over that particular day's course and flatwork regardless of finances. A better horse likely gives one a better ride plus the judge is only looking at that day's course and flat, not how deserving anybody may or may not be.

This whole thing of...OK, I'll say it...whining because others have better horses and more money and can go to more shows gets old.

I have shown for 40 years Western and Hunters, never had any money compared to most, learned to do the best I had with what I had and ALWAYS had better then mine in there. Even the only one I ever had that I paid substantial money for (and the only one anybody else even wanted) became average at the very top level of AA shows...but I went and enjoyed it and got some ribbons too.

This is where the fixation on ribbons really can poison attitudes. The whole "that's not fair because they have more money" totally misses the point of going to a horse show. It is about the best horse or the best rider that day. Nothing else.

Vandy
Apr. 19, 2009, 10:27 AM
It is about the best horse or the best rider that day. Nothing else.My point was, instead of "Where Champions Meet", Devon could be called "Where Champions from the East Coast, West Coast and sometimes Chicago or Texas Meet". Hauling a nice horse around to fifteen+ shows may not be a lot for someone living in New England, but for someone living in New Mexico it's a different ballgame. The Big Equitation qualifying process recongizes this (i.e. point system these days, number of wins required in the old days) - I wish the Hunter and Jumper qualifying process for Indoors/Devon recognized this too!

findeight
Apr. 19, 2009, 10:37 AM
But Devon is different and has more history then any of the others. It's not just another big show.

For one thing, nothing, except Ponies, under 3'6".

It remains steeped in tradition and is very unique. It needs to stay that way in our mass produced, speed bump, everybody gets a ribbon show world today.

I never went either and never will. I lived and am happy. Only about a million other shows less complicated to get to, less expensive to travel to and that do not require one of the top horses in the country.

You also can just buy a plane ticket and go watch if you want to go. heard it is a great showcase of top horses and alot of fun. Might learn more by watching then trying to figure out how to change what has been the same showcase for the top echelon for a long time.

Lucassb
Apr. 19, 2009, 10:46 AM
I don't want to dumb anything down, far from it, I would like to see more of a chance for riders JUST as talented as those who qualify to be able to show. But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.

The hunters are judged on quality. The best mover and jumper wins unless the rider really screws up. However, to suggest that it is ONLY about money is not true. Yes, beautiful movers and jumpers tend to cost a fortune - AFTER they are made up. Those without the means to buy a made horse CAN make one up themselves. It requires a great eye and a lot of plain old hard work, but it is a route that is available to a rider of more modest means if they truly want to show at that level.


I guess there's no way to say anything without sounding bitter, which isn't my intention, but I think there is some underlying bitterness when looking at this type of thing. While there are some people (probably myself included) who still couldn't get to Devon even WITH the best horse out there, there are lots of people who are amazingly talented who have no shot with the way things are set up now; I feel that they are being cut out simply because they don't have the mega money needed to get there.

Horseshowing is expensive, but again there are other ways to get to places like Devon than simply writing a big check. If anyone could just show up to play at Devon like they can at most other shows, there would be nothing special about it - because what makes it "The place where Champions meet," is the requirement to earn your way into the top of the standings. Let's face it, it is a LOT harder to earn your way if you have to braid all night to pay your entries... but 15 shows is not much more than one a month and it can be done.


I also want to say that I think it's a bigger deal now because even the Eq divisions, which were set up for this very purpose, to allow extremely talented riders without the bucks to show their stuff, are now ALSO only for the very rich, mainly because to do well in the Eq one now needs to have an "Eq Horse". Do you think that anything should be done to counteract this relatively new category of mega bucks mount? Or do you think we're already too far down the slippery slope?

Actually the Eq divisions were set up as a training ground for young riders to prepare themselves for the jumper divisions, specifically those who wanted to go on to the top levels of the sport. Nothing at all to do with creating a place for economically challenged riders. However, this is another division for a rider with more talent and drive to succeed by working hard and schooling their horse vs. simply buying someone else's well broke "machine." The horse need not be super fancy and in fact, a big fancy bascule is often a detriment to the eq horse rather than the huge plus it would be for a hunter. However, regardless of purchase price, the horse needs to be immediately responsive to invisible aids, able to adjust easily, perform the required tests, and jump around a course that asks a lot of questions. And THAT comes from training and a boatload of practice... which you can do in a backyard, if you are disciplined enough.

findeight
Apr. 19, 2009, 11:11 AM
Let me try it this way...

How many Pro athletes spend their entire career without ever going to the Super Bowl or World Series-some go 15 years and are NEVER on a winning team? How many race car drivers never drive at Indy or the Daytona 500? How many jockeys ride 20 or 30 years and never get to the Ky Derby?

Devon is the Derby, Super Bowl or whatever. Would bet that most riders, even with buckets of money, never go to Devon either.

It's not a good example of opening the sport up for more participation any more then letting every Pro athlete contest their sport's Championship game(s) because that would be the only "fair" thing to do.

Vandy
Apr. 19, 2009, 12:03 PM
Findeight, where were you when I was getting berated for suggesting the 3' hunter divisions and 3'6" jumper divisions don't belong at Indoors? :lol: I'm not talking about dumbing down, perfectly happy with the divisions offered at Devon. I'm just wondering why the "best horses" have to do so many shows to qualify. Speaking of tradition, it *wasn't* always like this - back in the day, most of the top horses got at least some semblance of a winter vacation instead of being pounded and campaigned all year round.

"A"HunterGal
Apr. 19, 2009, 12:56 PM
Ok, I wish that someone had READ THAT I CONCEDED THE POINT about it being about the nicest horses. I feel like people kept quoting that over and over without reading that I CONCEDED AND CHANGED MY MIND about that. I admitted that I was wrong and you guys were right. So please read before you keep quoting.

Moving on.

I also want to agree with the whole Super Bowl analogy. I think that's a good way of putting it, and you're right, lots of great pro atheletes never make it to the Super Bowl and still have good careers.

But at the same time, there is also a little more of an acknowledgement that you can be just as good and for whatever reason NOT make it to the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, what have you. Nobody sees these players as NOT as good. With horses, I think that there is a stigma that if you DON'T have these credentials, then it is hard to get respect as a professional rider. Or harder at least. So shouldn't there be some way to let this happen? Could we perhaps limit the number of times people show a particular horse, so it's only 20 times a year, which is still very high? Even with football games and other professonal sports, there is usually a limit to how long the season goes for.

Lucassb
Apr. 19, 2009, 02:37 PM
Ok, I wish that someone had READ THAT I CONCEDED THE POINT about it being about the nicest horses. I feel like people kept quoting that over and over without reading that I CONCEDED AND CHANGED MY MIND about that. I admitted that I was wrong and you guys were right. So please read before you keep quoting.

Moving on.

I also want to agree with the whole Super Bowl analogy. I think that's a good way of putting it, and you're right, lots of great pro atheletes never make it to the Super Bowl and still have good careers.

But at the same time, there is also a little more of an acknowledgement that you can be just as good and for whatever reason NOT make it to the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, what have you. Nobody sees these players as NOT as good. With horses, I think that there is a stigma that if you DON'T have these credentials, then it is hard to get respect as a professional rider. Or harder at least. So shouldn't there be some way to let this happen? Could we perhaps limit the number of times people show a particular horse, so it's only 20 times a year, which is still very high? Even with football games and other professonal sports, there is usually a limit to how long the season goes for.

The point I was trying to make is that you don't need to *buy* the winner if you are good enough to make your own. You may or may not be able to show at Devon but it's not entirely unreasonable to think that you *could* IF you had the eye to buy something special as a baby, bring it along well, and get it to one show a month where you were champion or reserve in good company. In that case, it is all about being good enough and working really hard to be successful, not so much about $$$.

If you want another sports analogy, try something individual - like golf. Great players on average teams may not get to the Super Bowl because that requires an entire group to perform at a high level, which may or may not happen. The suggestion about limiting the number of times a pro can show a horse is a little like saying, "Tiger Woods can only play in X number of tournaments... so it gives the other golfers a chance to win, too."

That just isn't the way sports work. They're not limiting the top pros to some kind of quota so a bunch of unknowns can play at the Masters.

twobays
Apr. 19, 2009, 05:32 PM
I also want to say that I think it's a bigger deal now because even the Eq divisions, which were set up for this very purpose, to allow extremely talented riders without the bucks to show their stuff, are now ALSO only for the very rich, mainly because to do well in the Eq one now needs to have an "Eq Horse". Do you think that anything should be done to counteract this relatively new category of mega bucks mount? Or do you think we're already too far down the slippery slope?


I disagree with the idea that you need an eq horse to do well in the eq. Yeah, most of the kids at national finals are on "eq horses," but there are plenty of kids winning at the zone level who ride their normal hunter or jumper in the eq.

Unless your horse is a 10+++ jumper, you should be able to equitate fine on him. A well schooled hunter or jumper can be competitive in the eq...maybe you have to work a little harder, but a kid certainly doesn't need an eq horse to be competitive in the eq at the zone level.

findeight
Apr. 19, 2009, 05:44 PM
I'm just wondering why the "best horses" have to do so many shows to qualify. Speaking of tradition, it *wasn't* always like this - back in the day, most of the top horses got at least some semblance of a winter vacation instead of being pounded and campaigned all year round.


And, again, they do NOT ALL get pounded. There are several from my barn that go, and I can assure you, they get plenty of time off...they go to WEF-as do their owners who hate to ride in the cold and would go with or without the horse. But they do not show every weekend while down there and get turn out etc, etc, etc. I promise you, they have ample opportunity to root and roll and get coated with grass stains. The one example I gave earlier will have done a whole 10 shows by late May including the 6 at WEF-that's about 19 weeks give or take. Not pounding by any definition.

But, then again, it wins almost every time out so they don't have to. That's what it takes.

cantercutie
Apr. 19, 2009, 06:12 PM
Okay here's my opinion:

Yes, you can get 3000 points in 15 shows. In my opinion, the best of the best to do it in less and by going to big shows, but it can be done. I have seen someone qualify for indoors in the younger small juniors with 7 shows.

However, people can also go to a buch of dinky little AA shows, get champion every time and win every class and qualify for Devon. Granted, these kids are still decent riders but usually not of nearly the same quality as those who qualify by going to WEF or HITS. The people that qualify this way generally do not do very well at Devon.

This said, if a solid junior rider didn't have the funds to go to 15 smaller AA shows but still wanted to go to Devon, they could save their pennies and go to Devon and show in the equitation as you don't have to qualify for that. Obviously, they wouldn't have the best 'eq horse' at the show but could go for the experience.

Also, if a 'young pro' wanted to qualify for Devon, they could. They would only need 90 point by taking a supportive client's horse in the Green Conformation at one show and probably qualify. However, many 'big pros' have not gone to Devon but are still recognized as some of the best in the sport: Peter Pletcher hasn't been for a few years and Louise Serio skipped a few years ago.

In my opinion, it should be 10 or 12 shows instead of 15, though. People still construe 15 into showing every weekend but I feel as if they only needed 10 or 12 to qualify their horses would get more of a break.

Vandy
Apr. 19, 2009, 08:00 PM
And, again, they do NOT ALL get pounded. There are several from my barn that go, and I can assure you, they get plenty of time off...Yes, I get that - but 15 shows involves a heck of a lot more traveling for someone who doesn't live on the east or the west coast, that's all.

"A"HunterGal
Apr. 19, 2009, 10:57 PM
I don't think the golf analogy fits exactly, because you don't need a $500,000 set of clubs to win. You just need the talent and the desire and the practice.

I also agree that it's possible to do well in a well bought, well brought along youngster. If I ever decide to really give it a go, that's the route I'm going to take.

So to redirect the conversation a little, ARE there any rule changes that need to be made? I think the conversation has shown that the system DOES work as it is, but there could be other options as well.

Do we think there could be a 2 way method of qualifying? Sort of like wild cards? They do have those in professional sports, the people who definitely make it and those who need to do a little extra proving to play at the top.

So what about this? We keep the qualifying points, but reserve a certain number of spots for "wildcards", who have to....I don't know....compete in a preliminary competition before they move on to the real thing? Or perhaps even have spots reserved for judges choice pairs, those who catch judges eyes consistently at the shows but are just below the cut off? Does anyone think that this idea has any merit, or is viable in terms of execution?

MHM
Apr. 19, 2009, 11:26 PM
Does anyone think that this idea has any merit, or is viable in terms of execution?

In a word: No.

The judges are already picking the horses they think should qualify for Devon- namely, the winners.

The golf analogy is as good as any, since in any competitive sport, there will be the people who are the most successful at it, and the rest of the people on the planet, who are not.

What's next? Tiger Woods should have to play with one hand tied behind his back to even things out?

Scott Stewart should have to show without a saddle so somebody else can qualify?

"A"HunterGal
Apr. 20, 2009, 02:47 PM
In a word: No.

The judges are already picking the horses they think should qualify for Devon- namely, the winners.

The golf analogy is as good as any, since in any competitive sport, there will be the people who are the most successful at it, and the rest of the people on the planet, who are not.

What's next? Tiger Woods should have to play with one hand tied behind his back to even things out?

Scott Stewart should have to show without a saddle so somebody else can qualify?

Again, no, golf is NOT a good analogy, because ANYONE who is talented and works hard can make it. They don't need an amazingly expensive set of clubs, nor is it prohibitively expensive to enter tournaments, though there is of course some cost involved.

Please, I never said Scott Stewart should show without a saddle. I'm just trying to brainstorm some ideas. Let's keep the gloves off, ok?

findeight
Apr. 20, 2009, 03:08 PM
Having once dated a guy who was trying to get his PGA card after a nice college career as an amateur, I can assure you anyone can NOT make it at Golf on a pro level.

Despite living in a good and central location travel wise, this guy did get the card but could not afford to travel to the events and house/feed himself for the week 20 or 30 weeks a year. Quit after 2 years.

Plus, you priced 18 holes lately on a tournament quality course? IF you are even allowed to play them (most being private)?

The board for my horse in a nice show barn is equal to the MONTHLY dues at a nearby TPC famous Pro designed course for those with full course priviledges. That, effectively, keeps that sport somewhat elitist and out of reach in the minds of most despite not needing a horse.

Tini Sea Soldier
Apr. 20, 2009, 04:32 PM
What I would absolutely love to see... is that you keep it the way it is for the Top 15... and then have a "wild card" spot open for 5 of the TOP horse shows in the country. That way, you'd get the best of both worlds... the horses that do chase for sure-shot to get in... but if you have that exquisite pony/horse that you don't want to or can't afford to do every weekend... or do for 10-15 weekends... you've got the ONE SHOT. THAT.. to me.. is what would make it SUPER exciting. Being that "one-shot wonder"... that could maybe go all the way.



It gives those on a budget a big show or 2 to get the wild card option... but doesn't discount those that enjoy doing the circuit and qualifying the old-fashioned way.

MHM
Apr. 20, 2009, 04:50 PM
What I would absolutely love to see... is that you keep it the way it is for the Top 15... and then have a "wild card" spot open for 5 of the TOP horse shows in the country. That way, you'd get the best of both worlds... the horses that do chase for sure-shot to get in... but if you have that exquisite pony/horse that you don't want to or can't afford to do every weekend... or do for 10-15 weekends... you've got the ONE SHOT. THAT.. to me.. is what would make it SUPER exciting. Being that "one-shot wonder"... that could maybe go all the way.


This is a little bit similar to what they've been doing for the Maclay Finals the past few years. Kids qualify, then go to Regionals to make the cut for Syracuse, BUT they also invite the ribbon winners from the other equitation finals that fall.

So a good rider who had a bad day at the Regionals still has a chance to get to the Maclay Finals, as would a kid who came out of left field to get a ribbon at one of the other finals.

Not sure how it would translate to the hunter divisions, though.

Midge
Apr. 20, 2009, 06:41 PM
In my opinion, it should be 10 or 12 shows instead of 15, though. People still construe 15 into showing every weekend but I feel as if they only needed 10 or 12 to qualify their horses would get more of a break.


I think taking the top 15 shows, or ten or 12, is not all that helpful from a point chasing perspective. So, you go until you are champion 12 times or 15 times. It really doesn't do anything to lessen the number of shows you go to.

I decided to look up the year end points from last year for a couple of divisions.
First the large ponies, who always seem to need the most points to get in:
The first place pony went to 34 horse shows and that was the most.
14th pony was the first to do less than 20, at 16
20th pony went to 13
23 went to 28
33 went to 16
37 went to 14

So even though year end and qualifying points do not strictly match up, there's your cut off to indoors.

66th went to 28
96 went to 25
106 went to 8, the first pony to do less than ten.

Younger smalls, traditionally the easiest junior division to get in
1st went to 23
2nd went to 33, the most in the division
7th was the first horse below 20 shows at 17
8th went to 29
41st went to 23
54 was the first below ten at 9

Old A/Os, generally the easiest A/O division

1st went to 24
29 went to 26
50 went to 20
52 went to 8

Young A/O

1 went to 31
2 went to 26
5 went to 17
7 went to 41, the only person to go to more than 40 in any of the divisons I checked.
10 went to 40 (same owner as above)
45 went to nine

Here's what I think drives the number of shows:

People like to show and will do as many as they can afford to, win or lose.

SilverBalls
Apr. 20, 2009, 08:26 PM
Devon should have a rule: One horse, per owner per division!

A rider may ride more than one, but not more than two in the professional divisions only!

Riders under 18 are not professionals... one ride per kid per division.

mvp
Apr. 20, 2009, 09:04 PM
The only problem with arguing that Devon ought to remain hard to get into is that it is, in fact harder to get there, on an absolute scale.

I feel sorry for the horse or pony who must show every other weekend to get there. Can you say it took that much pounding or money to get to Devon 100 years ago?

If not, why continue to privilege that tradition for tradition's sake? it's not even the same. It may not be better today.

One reason I don't chase points is because it conflicts with what I think is good for my horse. I see no way to balance my ambition with my horse's happiness and longevity at that level.

SilverBalls
Apr. 21, 2009, 09:29 AM
Devon takes the top 15 shows for qualification purposes. I do not think there is that many people showing week in and week out for Devon. :winkgrin:

Point chasers are point chasers... motivated by many variables:D

findeight
Apr. 21, 2009, 09:40 AM
Yeah, you can't legislate morality.

Some will always chase and pound and wonder why their horse is always off.

The worst I have ever seen was somebody doing about 40 shows in WALK TROT for a regional year end award. Really.

You overlegislate and end up hurting somebody who legitimately wants to do one more then whatever your cut off is and these knuckleheads will still find a loophole. They don't get it, you can't make them.

I do think that you can do about 30 a year IF you stick to the main circuits to cut down travel and are very careful about how many classes, avoid between show lessons and schooling to the extent possible along with down time and some turn out. They aren't that fragile if you take care of them properly.

mvp
Apr. 21, 2009, 11:47 AM
Yes, you CAN legislate morality. We do it all the time with drug rules, creating intelligent limits to point systems, whatever.

No this doesn't make people angelic. Yes, it's a clumsy way to get things done.

My point is that those "at the top"--whether USEF committees, BNTs, Devon, should not avoid the responsibility of creating incentives and disincentives for the kind of horsemanship they want. With power comes responsibility, no?

SilverBalls
Apr. 21, 2009, 12:40 PM
Yes, you CAN legislate morality. We do it all the time with drug rules, creating intelligent limits to point systems, whatever.

No this doesn't make people angelic. Yes, it's a clumsy way to get things done.

My point is that those "at the top"--whether USEF committees, BNTs, Devon, should not avoid the responsibility of creating incentives and disincentives for the kind of horsemanship they want. With power comes responsibility, no?


:yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes:

findeight
Apr. 21, 2009, 12:45 PM
Indeed, and they are aware and considering how to stop it but the exsisting bureaucracy is a behemoth and everything so far suggested has a downside or loophole just like what we have.

But disagee about morality, it is too often subjective or open to interpretation.

Limit it to the best fill in the blank with desired number of shows and there will still be those that go to 100 trying to come up with a best whatever number. Can't stop that.

Better education, better trainers who are not afraid to say no to a client and all that...in a perfect world. But we don't live there.

notimenomoney
Apr. 21, 2009, 01:23 PM
I think part of the reason people trying to qualify for Devon and Indoors compete in more than 15 shows a year is because the shows have different qualifying time periods. Devon is April to March and Harrisburg is September to August (not sure about the other shows for indoors). Also, you need to do several 2-A shows to get high enough points with the 15 show limit to qualify. As for zone 2 (on the east coast), there aren't many local 2-A shows unless you go to NY for the summer and do HITS so many of them go to Ocala or WEF in the winter. Unless you live in an area that has multiple 2-A shows in a reasonable driving distance you will need to travel to qualify for any of these shows. BTW, some people qualified for Devon last year but didn't qualify for Harrisburg. The points where higher in some the divisions for Harrisburg than they were for Devon.

hellerkm
Jun. 4, 2009, 06:01 PM
But Devon is different and has more history then any of the others. It's not just another big show.

For one thing, nothing, except Ponies, under 3'6".

It remains steeped in tradition and is very unique. It needs to stay that way in our mass produced, speed bump, everybody gets a ribbon show world today.

I never went either and never will. I lived and am happy. Only about a million other shows less complicated to get to, less expensive to travel to and that do not require one of the top horses in the country.

You also can just buy a plane ticket and go watch if you want to go. heard it is a great showcase of top horses and alot of fun. Might learn more by watching then trying to figure out how to change what has been the same showcase for the top echelon for a long time.

LOVE this post, I too have never ridden at Devon and never will. BUT I am there every year watching and learning and taking it all home to use. I am a good rider, and I am training my daughter, she is training her first pony this year. they probably will not make it to Devon either , not because her pony is not nice enough ( she is) but because honestly its a LOT of stress! on her, on the pony, and on my wallet!
We will show and win and have fun, and each year we will head to Devon and the indoors to watch and learn. There is something to be said for a kid who wants to learn and train green ponies, she realizes that the accomplishment is not always rewarded in the ring , but in the barn isle at midnight with a ponies head asleep in your lap, or in the ring when you accomplish that first PERFECT flying change that you taught the pony yourself!
Changing the rules to get in would be wrong, Devon is a tradition and some traditions should be honored.

3Dogs
Jun. 4, 2009, 08:20 PM
Ha - I am trying to decipher your post Midge and then put it together with all the bradaggio of Devon being the best of the best of all time -

So, before I do, Midge - in your list - older A/O's (you do make me laugh thinking it is the easier division - heck, not when I was showing - Twinkie, Mary Anne, etc etc ) - but back to regular programming:

Is that list the list of qualifiers? - ie that it took 29 of the qualifiers to get there based on 26 shows ? But 52 qualified just going to 8 shows? Am I reading this right?

Hmm - big point spread between these two groups?

I went to Devon once with one pony. All I remember was waiting, and waiting and waiting.

And while living in CA I never knew anyone (who qualified) who wanted to go to Devon.

So while it is a fanatastic and historic show, pfui, same old WEF faces by and large. Does need some diversity :D






I think taking the top 15 shows, or ten or 12, is not all that helpful from a point chasing perspective. So, you go until you are champion 12 times or 15 times. It really doesn't do anything to lessen the number of shows you go to.

I decided to look up the year end points from last year for a couple of divisions.
First the large ponies, who always seem to need the most points to get in:
The first place pony went to 34 horse shows and that was the most.
14th pony was the first to do less than 20, at 16
20th pony went to 13
23 went to 28
33 went to 16
37 went to 14

So even though year end and qualifying points do not strictly match up, there's your cut off to indoors.

66th went to 28
96 went to 25
106 went to 8, the first pony to do less than ten.

Younger smalls, traditionally the easiest junior division to get in
1st went to 23
2nd went to 33, the most in the division
7th was the first horse below 20 shows at 17
8th went to 29
41st went to 23
54 was the first below ten at 9

Old A/Os, generally the easiest A/O division

1st went to 24
29 went to 26
50 went to 20
52 went to 8

Young A/O

1 went to 31
2 went to 26
5 went to 17
7 went to 41, the only person to go to more than 40 in any of the divisons I checked.
10 went to 40 (same owner as above)
45 went to nine

Here's what I think drives the number of shows:

People like to show and will do as many as they can afford to, win or lose.

FarnleyGarnet
Jun. 5, 2009, 11:45 AM
Devon should have a rule: One horse, per owner per division!

A rider may ride more than one, but not more than two in the professional divisions only!

Riders under 18 are not professionals... one ride per kid per division.

I read your idea and immediately thought "Now THAT would be cool to see!"... and then I gave it some thought.

I don't think it would be that beneficial. So let's say Scott Stewart can only ride 2 horses in a division at Devon. He's still going to have a huge barn of gorgeous and talented horses at the shows attempting to get them all qualified. Then he'll pick his top 2 to ride at Devon. He'll most likely then suggest another pro he respects (or possibly employs) to pick up the ride on 2 of his others and so on until all the horses he qualified are in the ring at Devon. He's not going to trust a rider he's never heard of before, right? Or (and worse) if he can only ride 2 and his clients can only show 1 each maybe Scott and the other BNTs decide to scrap Devon all together because it's not worth their time and expense for such a limited number of horses and riders.

As neat as it sounds I don't think it would open the door for talented unknown riders to show against the big names. And if all the big names don't bother showing up then it's not really a championship show anymore is it?

luvs2ridewbs
Jun. 5, 2009, 01:56 PM
Maybe it is time to have a "National Hunter Finals". Make it like Pony Finals in that you must be champion (or Ch/Res in greens) at an "A" show to get there. Maybe run an over fences class, a handy and an under saddle and leave it at that. (not a full division)
BTW, what happened to the Legacy Cup which was supposed to showcase up and coming, talented, Pros, Ammies, and Juniors?

Jack16
Jun. 5, 2009, 03:56 PM
I completely understand what the OP is saying. I would love to be able to qualify and go to Devon but it really is cost prohibitive to most people. I have a very very fancy gelding that I just retired but I was offered 6 figures for him on multiple occasions. I did exactly what some of you suggested. I bred a mare to get him and I raised him with my local level trainer. I probably lucked out a little bit to get such a fancy guy but I did it right. I am lucky enough to live in Virginia where we are close to a ton of AA shows but I still don't have the money to go to them.

I go to 2 to 3 rated shows a year because they cost a fortune. Once you add in trailering, hotel, stall, braiding and classes for 2-3 days you are looking at over $1000 no matter how you break it down. I don't want to see less fancy hunters but it's true that most people are going to have to raise them to get them which is unfortunate but it is what it is. There are always going to be richer people out there to afford those horses and the OP conceded that.

As for equitation not having to cost a lot of money....Okay sure at a lower level than Devon you don't have to spend a ton of money but to ride at that level, again for the most part it is cost prohibitive. This is where it's unfortunate. There are a ton of extremely talented riders that will never be able to do the big stuff because they don't have the money. I went to college with girls that won Nationals that had never seen a rated show before but were such good riders that when they came to college they cleaned up in the IHSA.

Different avenues for the qualifying and the points I think is the point to this thread and I am the perfect example of someone who has the horse and I think I can ride in pretty good company but I could never go to enough shows to qualify for Devon.

Midge
Jun. 8, 2009, 07:43 AM
Ha - I am trying to decipher your post Midge and then put it together with all the bradaggio of Devon being the best of the best of all time -

So, before I do, Midge - in your list - older A/O's (you do make me laugh thinking it is the easier division - heck, not when I was showing - Twinkie, Mary Anne, etc etc ) - but back to regular programming:

Is that list the list of qualifiers? - ie that it took 29 of the qualifiers to get there based on 26 shows ? But 52 qualified just going to 8 shows? Am I reading this right?

Hmm - big point spread between these two groups?

I went to Devon once with one pony. All I remember was waiting, and waiting and waiting.

And while living in CA I never knew anyone (who qualified) who wanted to go to Devon.

So while it is a fanatastic and historic show, pfui, same old WEF faces by and large. Does need some diversity :D

3dogs, the cut off for qualifying in the older a/os is generally lower than the youngers, which is what I meant by easier to qualify. I was making no comment on the quality of the competition.

At the beginning of my post, starting with the large ponies, you can see I explained that I was looking at year end points. I said the first place pony, the 14th pony etc. I carried these down to the other divisons. In the older a/os, the person in 29th place went to 26 horse shows. The person in 52nd place went to eight horse shows.

My conclusion in all this based on the number of shows people go to and their relative ranking in points, is that people like to show and they will go to as many as they can afford to, regardless of their likelihood of qualifying.

As far as Devon being the best of the best of all time, the motto of the show is 'Where Champions Meet', which is true. The motto is not, 'Where Every Champion Meets'.

Jsalem
Jun. 8, 2009, 08:47 AM
To the nay sayers who claim it's political, blah, blah, blah. It can be done. We did it.

Inexpensive (but high quality) completely green horse, unknown (but talented) rider, small (but doable) budget + hard work = blue ribbon at Devon in the First Year Green Division. The famous pros were welcoming and gracious.

Most people who claim foul overestimate their ability (to select the right horse and/or to ride it well) and overestimate their work ethic and commitment and they don't have a very good strategy (good training program, save the horse between shows, etc). Flame away....