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hunters4ever
Jul. 29, 2009, 08:27 PM
As someone who has regularly competed in both divisions, I wanted to know your personal opinions regarding which division is more competitive within your zone and why?:)

Einstein
Jul. 29, 2009, 08:38 PM
A/A's are more competitive in my zone, the A/O's at local shows don't even fill around here.:(

supershorty628
Jul. 29, 2009, 08:41 PM
A/Os are way more competitive in my zone at the summer shows... in the winter, they're pretty small though.

hunter1985
Jul. 29, 2009, 08:43 PM
I agree, I have watched the Duke Benefit show in Raleigh, NC and the A/O division is so much smaller than the A/A division. Don't quote me on these numbers but I felt like it was 7 horses in the A/O and over 30 in the A/A

This is what I observed at one show, one time. I saw just as many nice horses in the A/A as I did in the A/O

Pirateer
Jul. 29, 2009, 08:44 PM
Your question isn't framed well.

AOs are generally harder to fill, so "less competitive" but the quality is higher. I rarely see anything but a "GORGEOUS AO" whereas while the AA's are easy to fill, you see plenty of nasty knee-hangers mixed in with the fancy ones.

Which is just to say that its more competitive to have to beat 4 gorgeous horses than 4 good and 4 bad.

BridalBridle
Jul. 29, 2009, 08:58 PM
How about the compromise of the 3'3" new A/O div this year. It provides $$$ back and isn't loaded with Shamateurs. If the a/o's and jr div don't fill it helps them fill. Last AA show I went to had 22 3'3" a/o's.
I find that the AA div is too small fences and the 3'6 is to gamey for me. I won a lot in the AA div and am over it. I havent' won as much with the 3'3" a/o s but still will qualify for indoors. I haven't spent as much money this year....not as many shows...money back...RECESSION DIVISION.

pleasedaspunch
Jul. 29, 2009, 09:10 PM
I find that (in zone 3) when the A/O's fill (Upperville, HITS, Lexington etc) they are quite competitive but anything in-between (Lower rated, less attended rated shows) the competition can be quite dismal. Overall the A/A's is much more competitive division. On average there is well over 20 horses and is far as hacks go my OTTB could win or at least pin top 3 in the A/O's but there seems to be a much more competitive u/s scene in the A/A's.

trv_at_tacf
Jul. 29, 2009, 10:18 PM
IMO...

I agree that as far as numbers, the A/A's are twice if not three times bigger than the A/Os. For example, in 2008 at Blue Rock which is an "A" there were around 14 younger A/Os and around 42 younger A/As. However, there is alot of nice 3' horses but, i have to agree that the quality of the A/O horses are higher and therefor just as much competitive. 3' is usually pretty easy for the "average" "athletic" horse, however 3'6 is not.

SquishTheBunny
Jul. 30, 2009, 09:28 AM
Hard to say up here.

The Younger AA's have about 50, but double pin. The A/O's have about 25. There are some really fancy horses in both divisions. Rider capabiltiies also seem pretty on par with each other.

findeight
Jul. 30, 2009, 09:57 AM
I dunno...the last A/A I did before mare and I retired and dropped to 2'6", I was soundly beaten by Dialogue L (after his "retirement" ceremony at Indoors) and Skyy...I see Red Panda in there now.

Nasty knee hangers indeed.:rolleyes:

pleasedaspunch
Jul. 30, 2009, 11:31 AM
Nasty knee hangers indeed.:rolleyes:

Agreed:yes:

Pirateer
Jul. 30, 2009, 12:18 PM
Agreed:yes:

I didn't mean that they all were. Just that in with the ex-HOTY types you also have Joe-Schmo the average guy who can jump around 3'.

Tex Mex
Jul. 30, 2009, 12:53 PM
The AAs where I am are insanely competitive. The horses are so fancy, some of the best movers at the show. The A/Os are good too, but there are a lot less of them. I find that the same errors are made in both divisions- occasional deep distances, late lead changes, etc. In the AAs in my area, there are so many good amateurs riding sale horses, which makes it even tougher to get a ribbon. I think the cut off for the AA classic at the last horse show I went to was an 80. I hear scores of 86, 87, etc. all the time.

RodeoGirl
Jul. 30, 2009, 12:54 PM
I didn't mean that they all were. Just that in with the ex-HOTY types you also have Joe-Schmo the average guy who can jump around 3'.

There are definitely more fancy horses than average horses in the A/A's in Zones 3 & 4.

Pirateer
Jul. 30, 2009, 12:57 PM
Yes, but are there ANY average AO horses?


There are definitely more fancy horses than average horses in the A/A's in Zones 3 & 4.

Tex Mex
Jul. 30, 2009, 01:01 PM
Maybe there aren't any average A/O horses, but the riders still make mistakes so an "average" AA horse will still beat them if they put in a flawless trip. So if there are 4 A/Os and 27 AAs, the AA division is going to be tougher.

RodeoGirl
Jul. 30, 2009, 01:04 PM
Yes, but are there ANY average AO horses?

Yes.

see u at x
Jul. 30, 2009, 01:45 PM
OK, please forgive my ignorance, but I'm not competing at the rated levels yet so I don't quite understand why an A/O horse is typically going to be fancier than an A/A horse. I understand the general difference between the A/As and the A/Os in that the A/As don't have to own the horse they ride, but beyond that, I don't get it. Can someone please enlighten me?

MyAlter0709
Jul. 30, 2009, 01:50 PM
A/Os are way more competitive in my zone at the summer shows... in the winter, they're pretty small though.

I don't think this is right. I am in Zone II and generally even at the large AA shows there are at most 15 in the A/Os where the same show will have 35 in the A/A hunters. If you mean needing a nicer horse that's something different but generally the A/A divisions are always twice if not three times larger than the A/O hunters.

MyAlter0709
Jul. 30, 2009, 01:53 PM
I dunno...the last A/A I did before mare and I retired and dropped to 2'6", I was soundly beaten by Dialogue L (after his "retirement" ceremony at Indoors) and Skyy...I see Red Panda in there now.

Nasty knee hangers indeed.:rolleyes:

Didn't they just have a page in the Chronicle this week (or last week) Retiring Dialogue L. Popeye K did the A/As in Vermont last week. You can get some fancy horse in that division for sure.

Go Fish
Jul. 30, 2009, 02:53 PM
A/A's are more competitive in my zone, the A/O's at local shows don't even fill around here.:(

Yep...

It's more a numbers game: you have 30 AAs - you'll get 10-15 pretty good trips; 5 in and A/Os - you'll have at least one or two bad trips. I'm talking big As, here.

Now, in my neck of the woods, you'll have 40-50 in the Long Stirrup. I've seen some pretty good trips in that crowd.

Cathbad
Jul. 30, 2009, 02:54 PM
My own perspective on the diff:

A/Os were the original hunter division for the non-professional rider. (In the 60s, 70s, and 80s). The people competing in that division were horse-centered, often well-to-do riders, from families who rode and jumped, who did actually foxhunt, and hacked for miles over each other's farm properties, and went to steeplechases and owned horses ridden by pros, and so on.

It was a different time, then, and everyone was centered around a pretty genuine outdoor, country lifestyle. The fences were big out in the country and people were just used to that and jumped those natural obstacles all the time.

Then, suburbanization picked up speed and land was handed to development and highways sliced through open land. And riding adaptively inched toward horse showing and ring riding. People who didn't live on farms or know the farm life were living in the middle of hunt country. But, they also were coming out to ride. And so the A/A division was formed to address this eager to ride group that lacked a lifelong horse lifestyle, but nonetheless wanted their crack at it (and the 3'6" Amateur/Owner division was too difficult for most of them, and this division stopped a lot of serious anxiety about the preparedness of these newer riders to gallop 3'6").

In its earlier days, the A/A division was a mixed-bag division, met with some ambivalence. It's evened out though, now.

This is almost a sociological perspective, I guess.

see u at x
Jul. 30, 2009, 02:59 PM
Thanks so much, Cathbad. That's incredibly helpful! I've had horses most of my life, but I don't think I'll be anywhere CLOSE to doing A/Os anytime soon. And by the time I'm ready, I'll also probably be old, decrepit, and ready for a rocking chair. ;) So A/As it is!

chawley
Jul. 30, 2009, 03:07 PM
My own perspective on the diff:

A/Os were the original hunter division for the non-professional rider. (In the 60s, 70s, and 80s). The people competing in that division were horse-centered, often well-to-do riders, from families who rode and jumped, who did actually foxhunt, and hacked for miles over each other's farm properties, and went to steeplechases and owned horses ridden by pros, and so on.

It was a different time, then, and everyone was centered around a pretty genuine outdoor, country lifestyle. The fences were big out in the country and people were just used to that and jumped those natural obstacles all the time.

Then, suburbanization picked up speed and land was handed to development and highways sliced through open land. And riding adaptively inched toward horse showing and ring riding. People who didn't live on farms or know the farm life were living in the middle of hunt country. But, they also were coming out to ride. And so the A/A division was formed to address this eager to ride group that lacked a lifelong horse lifestyle, but nonetheless wanted their crack at it (and the 3'6" Amateur/Owner division was too difficult for most of them, and this division stopped a lot of serious anxiety about the preparedness of these newer riders to gallop 3'6").

In its earlier days, the A/A division was a mixed-bag division, met with some ambivalence. It's evened out though, now.

This is almost a sociological perspective, I guess.

Good stuff Cathbad! I grew up (not well to do financially) riding all day long, fox hunting, and showing in large, open fields over big, natural fences. I would like to add to what you said.....the horses are different too. Back in the day when you galloped a course without counting strides at whatever pace was comfortable for your horse, jumping 3'6" wasn't a big deal for most horses. Today, with the precision of the hunter classes, it takes a very special horse to lope around at a slow pace, on a certain stride length, and have beautiful, perfect form over such big jumps. For this reason, these horses are priced out of the budget of many normal people like myself that are more than capable of showing 3'6". It's just easier to find a nice AA horse, bring them along, and go have fun.

Einstein
Jul. 30, 2009, 03:38 PM
Also let's not forget, the A/A's are always "C" rated.
This gives the working A/A who can't get to a lot of multi day "A" shows, a chance at qualifying for zones.:D

supershorty628
Jul. 30, 2009, 05:57 PM
I don't think this is right. I am in Zone II and generally even at the large AA shows there are at most 15 in the A/Os where the same show will have 35 in the A/A hunters. If you mean needing a nicer horse that's something different but generally the A/A divisions are always twice if not three times larger than the A/O hunters.

I interpreted the question as the overall quality of the horses, not the number of competitors. ;)

Addison
Jul. 31, 2009, 08:34 AM
You may have the fanciest "retired" 3'6-4' horse in the world but you still have to be able to find 8 jumps. The quantity of entries does not indicate the quality of the competition or competitiveness of the division either.

I just returned from Vermont where there were about 15 younger A/Os and only a few horse/rider combinations were worthy of that ring. Same thing for the Younger adults where there were 26 entries (close to that same number for the "mature" adults).

The AO/Junior division is not competitive at the B level and the local A shows in my area central PA,3 -6 entries per division, often combined) and almost all of these horses will go to zones, not indoors.

Treasmare2
Jul. 31, 2009, 04:48 PM
Generally a 3'6 horse is a higher quality animal with a little more talent and a little more "under the hood". This is not to say the depth of talent in the AA is not there but 3'6 requires a better jump just to get it done. Many AA horses go on to the AO or the AO go into the AA but sometimes a 3'6 horse is not going to give the respect to a 3 ft fence in a way that makes the horse look brillent. There are fewer horses around that will do the 3'6 so from the start the AO is a rarer bird....quiet enough with some talent and a little more forward way of going. Because of these things the AO is more competitive in that you have to get to the point of being able to do it well, but the numbers are lower, so in that way it is less competitive. It is a little like comparing apples and oranges I think. I think some of the best 3 ft horses are the ones that are getting closer to the outter limits of their comfort zone....3 ft is enough to impress them. Regular hunters are often totally unimpressed by 3 ft and sometimes a horse needs to go into the AO in order to be impressed enough to give a great jump. I hope I am expressing my thought clearly. My other thought is that in the AO there is less margin for error where in 3ft a good horse is better able to play fix it up which suggests the riders have an impact too. JMHO

see u at x
Jul. 31, 2009, 04:53 PM
Generally a 3'6 horse is a higher quality animal with a little more talent and a little more "under the hood". This is not to say the depth of talent in the AA is not there but 3'6 requires a better jump just to get it done. Many AA horses go on to the AO or the AO go into the AA but sometimes a 3'6 horse is not going to give the respect to a 3 ft fence in a way that makes the horse look brillent. There are fewer horses around that will do the 3'6 so from the start the AO is a rarer bird....quiet enough with some talent and a little more forward way of going. Because of these things the AO is more competitive in that you have to get to the point of being able to do it well, but the numbers are lower, so in that way it is less competitive. It is a little like comparing apples and oranges I think. I think some of the best 3 ft horses are the ones that are getting closer to the outter limits of their comfort zone....3 ft is enough to impress them. Regular hunters are often totally unimpressed by 3 ft and sometimes a horse needs to go into the AO in order to be impressed enough to give a great jump. I hope I am expressing my thought clearly. My other thought is that in the AO there is less margin for error where in 3ft a good horse is better able to play fix it up which suggests the riders have an impact too. JMHO

I think you expressed that really well, actually. Thank you!

Silk
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:01 AM
I dunno...the last A/A I did before mare and I retired and dropped to 2'6", I was soundly beaten by Dialogue L (after his "retirement" ceremony at Indoors) and Skyy...I see Red Panda in there now.

Nasty knee hangers indeed.:rolleyes:

Yup...I would say if those horses found all 8 jums, they would be retty stiff competition;)

Silk
Aug. 1, 2009, 11:09 AM
Yep...

It's more a numbers game: you have 30 AAs - you'll get 10-15 pretty good trips; 5 in and A/Os - you'll have at least one or two bad trips. I'm talking big As, here.

Now, in my neck of the woods, you'll have 40-50 in the Long Stirrup. I've seen some pretty good trips in that crowd.

LOL!!! Sometimes its harder to find the distance to an 18" fence:)