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View Full Version : Balancing divisions?



archieflies
Nov. 4, 2009, 10:38 AM
So I checked the draw for a smaller recognized show I'm doing in a few weeks, and I see that there is a Novice Rider division and an Open Novice division. I'm in NR. There are 18 currently entered in NR and only 7 in ON. Yes, I understand the requirements for NR, and I realize people put "requests" on entries, but since ON is, actually, OPEN, why not balance the divisions a bit? With a show that's billed as "easy for your first time at the level," I would have expected more, smaller divisions, but maybe I'm off base. Is this normal, or do shows typically balance the divisions?

On the other hand, my pony will be one of four in "BN Level 1," so as long as we don't get ourselves eliminaed, she should have a shot at a ribbon on her first time out!

subk
Nov. 4, 2009, 10:44 AM
"Easy for your first time at the level" does NOT mean "easy to win a ribbon." It means that if you are somewhat prepared you won't have your rear end handed to you on XC. Big difference.

archieflies
Nov. 4, 2009, 10:57 AM
I'm aware of that, but I am still interested in knowing if shows typically balance/split divisions or not.

deltawave
Nov. 4, 2009, 11:02 AM
If the closing date hasn't passed, there's a good chance there will be a lot more entries by show time.

asterix
Nov. 4, 2009, 11:42 AM
eh, my last show was area ii novice champs -- 22 in one division (mine, of course), and 13 in the other. Naturally scoring was also different -- i would have been 3 places higher in the other division. I suspect the small division was the younger riders although it was not labeled as junior, simply novice champs.

Sometimes it has as much to do with scheduling as anything else -- gets mighty complicated to complete and post divisions in a timely way, especially if someone has multiple rides (and if they do, they usually have to be in open or horse anyway)...

Hilary
Nov. 4, 2009, 11:42 AM
I think that's one of the hardest questions for an organizer to answer. If those 18 people all put down that NR was their first choice how can they really complain that they were put in the NR division? That's what they asked for. How is the organizer to know "well I want Novice Rider only if there are fewer than 9 entries, otherwise I want Open, unless that also has a lot of entries. " Or is filled with former olympians. Or has all the people who've been winning all year.




So, no, if the riders asked for a specific division, and the event offers it, they cannot complain about division size if they got their request.

SevenDogs
Nov. 4, 2009, 12:03 PM
Um....probably because then those that qualify for the Rider division would be complaining up a storm because they got put into the "Open" division and now "don't have a good shot at a ribbon because now I am competing against the pros".

Honestly, the over-infatuation with altering divisions, pressuring people to move up, etc, so "I have a better chance of winning a ribbon" on this board the last few days is extrememly annoying. The focus on ribbons has gotten worse and worse as Organizers have tried to offer more and more divisions to satisfy the "I must get a ribbon" monster. At this point, I think we should just go back to one division per level and let the chips fall where they may.

Be glad there are divisions at all... or even a show. Prepare the best you can, go have fun and ride well and let the ribbons fall where they may...... *sigh*...

JenJ
Nov. 4, 2009, 12:13 PM
Um....probably because then those that qualify for the Rider division would be complaining up a storm because they got put into the "Open" division and now "don't have a good shot at a ribbon because now I am competing against the pros".

Honestly, the over-infatuation with altering divisions, pressuring people to move up, etc, so "I have a better chance of winning a ribbon" on this board the last few days is extrememly annoying. The focus on ribbons has gotten worse and worse as Organizers have tried to offer more and more divisions to satisfy the "I must get a ribbon" monster. At this point, I think we should just go back to one division per level and let the chips fall where they may.

Be glad there are divisions at all... or even a show. Prepare the best you can, go have fun and ride well and let the ribbons fall where they may...... *sigh*...

I wonder if that is what is fuelling the multiple identical small divisions I have seen at some events in Ontario. One recently offered Entry (our BN equivalent) split into 3 divisions labelled "Entry - A", "Entry - B" and "Entry - C" each with less than 10 riders. I do not believe these were horse or rider divisions. There were also separate divisions for Junior and Open at the same level.
I, for one, would find it far more rewarding to finish 8th out of 30 when I had a great day, than finish 5th out of 8 with a poor dressage score or a stop on XC.

saje
Nov. 4, 2009, 12:37 PM
The problem with single giant divisions per level is that each rider in a particular division must ride in front of the same judge. That can cause a scheduling nightmare for a big show. Also, because scores must all be in and tallied before they can be posted, the people riding early have a long wait until scores are posted. If there's a problem with the scoring, you only have 30 min from time of posting to protest, so it's usually a good idea to check scores as soon as possible if you have any interest in how you place.

In a perfect world it'd be nice to have all the divisions the same size, and small enough that a ribbon is a likely outcome. However, the world isn't often fair or equitable, so I figure this is a good way to practice dealing with the real world ;)

Janet
Nov. 4, 2009, 01:20 PM
This is what the rules say about it

6. DIVISION OF ENTRIES.
a. If the number of entries at a level warrants, it may be divided by sections or draw. If
the number of entries in one level of a Horse Trial exceeds 40, it must be divided.
Championships and Federation Selection Trials shall not be divided.

I believe that, somewhere other than the rulebook, there may be some guidelines on sizes at different levels.

But typically, Novice doesn't get split until you are over 20 entries.

However, the on line listing before the closing date typically shows "what you entered"- not "where they ended up putting you".

archieflies
Nov. 4, 2009, 01:27 PM
Ok, while I appreciate the responses, I really wasn't being the whiney brat some suggested. I suppose the comment about the pony made it come across that way... Where ribbons are concerned, I'm more concerned for the kids- it seems the divisions with kids are always larger, and it is sad for some little ones to never have a shot. This is the first time I've had to ride against all the kids from my barn!

I really just posted with the intention of finding out if balancing divisions was common or uncommon. I've only been to a few events, and only once been placed in the division I had listed as a first choice. I had assumed that was because they were balancing divisions and couldn't accomodate everyone's first choices. In fact, I had assumed that this was the entire reason that they asked for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice on the entry- to enable balanced divisions. Why bother to ask if everyone's going to get their first choice anyway? That is why the size discrepency cuaght my attention. I haven't been around enough shows to have seen this before, I and am curious to see how it all works. Thanks to those that replied, but I guess some of the comments came off as a bit harsh. Perhaps this is in response to other issues on the board that I'm not aware of? I haven't exactly been around here much lately... a sick day is about my only chance to delve into COTH for more than a quick peak!

ETA- thanks, Janet, for the rules! As always!

JumpingBug
Nov. 4, 2009, 01:53 PM
" #11
Nov. 4, 2009, 10:27 AM
archieflies

Ok, while I appreciate the responses, I really wasn't being the whiney brat some suggested. I suppose the comment about the pony made it come across that way... Where ribbons are concerned, I'm more concerned for the kids- it seems the divisions with kids are always larger, and it is sad for some little ones to never have a shot. This is the first time I've had to ride against all the kids from my barn! "

DID not take you to be a whiner first of all!
I look at it both ways. Sure for walk trot classes and what not I like kids to be able to get awards, participation ribbons what have you. However when you start showing sugar coating by assuring a greater number of kids get a ribbon is a distorted view of reality for them. In the real world where divisions are 15-20 on a few can received ribbons. Give them a brass ring to reach for. My barn now has the next generation of kids and a few of them have a FIT when they do not get ribbons and their parents are angry too.. After all they say at the little pony club shows, local lesson barn shows etc muffy always got a ribbon. It is all part of it. Also have the parent who looks at A and B and sees child would have got a ribbon had they been in A or B and I tell them, look it is a pot luck process. AND I also have to deal with many kids in same level and on occasion have had a parent to ask if their child not be in same split as child X as they always beat them... WON'T do it. This is a sport and for me it is about going and putting myself up against my goals and expectations.

subk
Nov. 4, 2009, 02:52 PM
Um....probably because then those that qualify for the Rider division would be complaining up a storm because they got put into the "Open" division and now "don't have a good shot at a ribbon because now I am competing against the pros".

Honestly, the over-infatuation with altering divisions, pressuring people to move up, etc, so "I have a better chance of winning a ribbon" on this board the last few days is extrememly annoying. The focus on ribbons has gotten worse and worse as Organizers have tried to offer more and more divisions to satisfy the "I must get a ribbon" monster. At this point, I think we should just go back to one division per level and let the chips fall where they may.

Be glad there are divisions at all... or even a show. Prepare the best you can, go have fun and ride well and let the ribbons fall where they may...... *sigh*...

Thanks for that.

If you were to "balance" the division set up that the OP mentioned it means taking 6 N riders and putting them in the Open division. That's real nice for the 12 ribbon hungry riders left in the original NR division, but you have just *screwed* the 6 novice riders that now have to compete against more experienced horses and/or riders. How in the world is that fair or "balanced?"

Seriously people, those of you that seem so concerned about the distribution of ribbons I have a suggestion. Go work hard and get your dressage scores consistently in the twenties, jump around clean and you will almost always get a ribbon. Those of you winning ribbons with scores in the mid thirties should be aware that you are only winning them because the good people didn't show up. It's luck not skill, and there is no "Ribbon Entitlement Program." At least not yet!

Now if you can't get your dressage scores down and it's truly and really bugging you I have one more suggestion. Go check out the hunters. Not because we don't love you or want you around--we do--but because you can go to a hunter show and in one weekend can compete in a couple division plus some equitation classes and harvest a boat load of satin! In just a few years you'll have enough ribbons to send to grandma to make you that ribbon quilt. With eventing it's pretty much going to take a life time to win for enough for the quilt.

OP, I am sure you are a really nice person and probably don't really care about ribbons. Unfortunately, we have had to spend 15+ pages and a week hearing about how "icky," "tacky," and "unsportsmanlike" you must be if you are good and ride in a division you are qualified for and prevent others from winning ribbons. It makes people cranky. Your timing just isn't very good on the question...sorry.

Blugal
Nov. 4, 2009, 03:08 PM
Actually, there is a Ribbon Entitlement Program. (https://www.horseshowribbons.com/cgi-bin/WWE/myaccount.pl?Ext-MA-OrderForm)

:lol:

My Dad always says, "Wouldn't it be cheaper to move to a different part of the country, buy a showcase, some trophies & ribbons, hire a photographer to get some action shots, and then brag to all your new friends that you were Regional Champion last year?"