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slp
Nov. 10, 2010, 12:19 PM
I thought that this article in last weeks issue would make for a good discussion topic.

I wish the Chronicle had offered the analysis of several people (like they did in the eventing column) besides just the singular opinions of George Morris. Once again, George states that our country has gotten soft, that the riders need blind ambition, emotion, management, selection and talent, and that they should be spending weeks on end in Europe to find the horses that can get the job done. Not once does he ever mention the word "money".

Yes, it is important to raise the standards, stop lowering the bar at shows, and I have no doubt that there are riders out there that have the talent, the ambition and the emotion to rise to the top of the game, but without the money it will never happen, and George again seems to ignore the financial aspects of rising to the top of this sport.

In another column about the up and coming countries, Peter Wylde summed it up perfectly: "But the reality is that the best riders in the world, the Ludger Beerbaums or the Marcus Ehnings, also have really great owners buying them really expensive horses. Basically, that's the reality of the sport for everyone, whether it's you yourself who's paying for it, or whether you're so talented or likeable that you have financial sponsorship. But there are very few people who get to the top of the sport unless there's money behind them in one way or another."

George says that we have only a handful of 'A' riders, a decent pool of 'B' riders and a very large pool of 'C' riders, and the reason for that is because our country is soft and our standards have been lowered, yet he doesn't once mention the financial part of the equation that is required to reach the top levels.

What do you think?

MIKES MCS
Nov. 10, 2010, 04:33 PM
Yes this is a great topic for discussion, one that has been hashed and rehased over and over again. You're right SLP, it comes down to money. GM thinks American riders are soft, they don't want it bad enough, they aren't disciplined enough, they aren't tough enough.. He's right, there not. So who and what made them that way. The modern riders GM speaks of have been groomed from leadline to Grand Prix every step of the way, they have been handed the best money can buy, they step off their ponies at 14 and onto multiple million dollar, made GP horses without skipping a beat. They have plenty of money to buy the best trainers, best horses, best equipment, show only at the best venues. There parents have been told since the age of 3 how talented there little pony jockeys are, they are indeed headed towards Olympic gold, just keep the wallet open. So after all those years of showing and all those ribbons and medals in the Eq divisions to prove Junior is indeed the best and all that money spent, why is it that these uber talented riders are still so soft, still so unskilled, still so lacking in an education that they must go to Europe in order to get a correct riding education?
Instead of looking to Europe, how about looking at what, where, why and when we went wrong. How about being honest with ourselves. The problem is money, there's just too damn much of it being spent in all the wrong ways. The problem can't be fixed in a couple of years, it would take the entire next generation and a whole new set of ethics to fix the real issues, but why would anyone want to do that, it's just to damn much work and there's no profit in it.

LeeB10
Nov. 10, 2010, 05:11 PM
Yes this is a great topic for discussion, one that has been hashed and rehased over and over again. You're right SLP, it comes down to money. GM thinks American riders are soft, they don't want it bad enough, they aren't disciplined enough, they aren't tough enough.. He's right, there not. So who and what made them that way. The modern riders GM speaks of have been groomed from leadline to Grand Prix every step of the way, they have been handed the best money can buy, they step off their ponies at 14 and onto multiple million dollar, made GP horses without skipping a beat. They have plenty of money to buy the best trainers, best horses, best equipment, show only at the best venues. There parents have been told since the age of 3 how talented there little pony jockeys are, they are indeed headed towards Olympic gold, just keep the wallet open. So after all those years of showing and all those ribbons and medals in the Eq divisions to prove Junior is indeed the best and all that money spent, why is it that these uber talented riders are still so soft, still so unskilled, still so lacking in an education that they must go to Europe in order to get a correct riding education?
Instead of looking to Europe, how about looking at what, where, why and when we went wrong. How about being honest with ourselves. The problem is money, there's just too damn much of it being spent in all the wrong ways. The problem can't be fixed in a couple of years, it would take the entire next generation and a whole new set of ethics to fix the real issues, but why would anyone want to do that, it's just to damn much work and there's no profit in it.


That is funny that GM thinks riders need to go to Europe to get educated. Funny in that there aren't any equitation divisions there so why does he think that?

There are jumper riders here in the US who are tough as nails and great horsemen as well and they get passed over for those eq riders all the time. I find it interesting. You rarely hear the childrens, mods, or junior jumper riders being gushed over and there is a whole lot of talent in those divisions. Maybe it is not that we aren't tough enough, maybe it is who we promote as our best.

safeharbor
Nov. 10, 2010, 06:56 PM
Well said Mike.

2bayboys
Nov. 10, 2010, 07:02 PM
The problem is money, there's just too damn much of it being spent in all the wrong ways.

What is the right way to spend all that money and move toward fixing the problem?

lauriep
Nov. 10, 2010, 07:56 PM
The OP said that GM said they needed to go to Europe to find the best horses, not get educated. Haven't read the article, so don't know which is correct.

buschkn
Nov. 10, 2010, 08:23 PM
He says they need to go to Europe to find horses and to get the higher level of competition that just isn't offered here since the US has dumbed down the GPs most places. He doesn't say they need to go there to take lessons or anything.

Horseymama
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:48 AM
The problem is that in this country show jumping is too much of a business and not enough of a sport.

MIKES MCS
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:40 AM
What is the right way to spend all that money and move toward fixing the problem?
It starts at the beginning , with changing the attitudes of "why would I spend my money on anyone else when it's MY child I want going to the Olympics, it's my money and if my kid isn't going I'm not going to support anyone else". We have BILLIONAIRES in this sport who could easily support an effort to create a real training venue for talented dedicated riders, from step 1, mucking out stalls to step 99 competing in Europe. I remember as a child donating $10.00 to the USET every year , it made me part of the team. There was an atmosphere that the team was bigger than any individual and that we all had to help. That all changed and we all know when, (if you don't , it was when the team was sued by someone who decided the selection process wasn't fair ).
It's not just the level of competitions the Europeans have on us, they have a support system, schools that are financed at least in part if not all by the state. The children are brought up learning to ride not to pose, they spend months on lunge lines they take there SPORT seriously. Trainers are treated with respect due a teacher, not like a glorified babysitter. I am not saying we need Tax payer support, what I am saying is that with the wealth in this sport, we have the resources to do it, we just don't have the willingness or the selflessness. What would happen if the Arts had no wealthy patrons to support it, doubt we’d be able to enjoy the Metropolitan Museum of Art , or the or Hospitals with the names of Wealthy donors plastered all over the walls in the corridors. The USET does have wealthy patrons, but it seems not as many wealthy patrons as Wellington has in the Winter.

MAD
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:53 AM
It starts at the beginning , with changing the attitudes of "why would I spend my money on anyone else when it's MY child I want going to the Olympics, it's my money and if my kid isn't going I'm not going to support anyone else". We have BILLIONAIRES in this sport who could easily support an effort to create a real training venue for talented dedicated riders, from step 1, mucking out stalls to step 99 competing in Europe. I remember as a child donating $10.00 to the USET every year , it made me part of the team. There was an atmosphere that the team was bigger than any individual and that we all had to help. That all changed and we all know when, (if you don't , it was when the team was sued by someone who decided the selection process wasn't fair ).
It's not just the level of competitions the Europeans have on us, they have a support system, schools that are financed at least in part if not all by the state. The children are brought up learning to ride not to pose, they spend months on lunge lines they take there SPORT seriously. Trainers are treated with respect due a teacher, not like a glorified babysitter. I am not saying we need Tax payer support, what I am saying is that with the wealth in this sport, we have the resources to do it, we just don't have the willingness or the selflessness. What would happen if the Arts had no wealthy patrons to support it, doubt we’d be able to enjoy the Metropolitan Museum of Art , or the or Hospitals with the names of Wealthy donors plastered all over the walls in the corridors. The USET does have wealthy patrons, but it seems not as many wealthy patrons as Wellington has in the Winter.

http://www.hunterjumpernews.com/?p=15450

slp
Nov. 11, 2010, 11:05 AM
http://www.hunterjumpernews.com/?p=15450

That is great, and hopefully will start a trend.

MIKES MCS
Nov. 11, 2010, 03:23 PM
I agree very generous, and a definite step to helping fund "the" team. Still there remains the issue of developing riders from the ground up. How is it done in this country? The answer is, it's not. We develop a hobby, a social situation, an activity. We don’t develop riders, we develop people who can sit on very well trained horses and hopefully not get in there way or ruin them. They cannot manage them, and they certainly can’t train them, but they can buy them and when it doesn’t work anymore buy another.
From the time a child steps out of the Land Rover and through the barn door, the first assessment of the child is, his/her parents have money, Mom's wearing a big rock, and Nanny is along side. The kid doesn't have an honest chance. Trainer puts child on BEST school/show pony in the barn and proceeds to tell parents what a wonderful little rider the kids is, a natural talent, Sold! 3 months later kid is sitting on a $100,000 pony and winning the short stirrup hunter (never mind kid can't ride and is flopping all over the place, the pony is doing it's job) and so it goes, throughout this Childs career, the ponies come and go, the ribbons flow and everyone’s happy. Child goes to collage pony/horse is leased sold or retired and parents and trainer have done their job. Except for the kids that actually want to continue, the kid that really has developed a passion and love for the sport, with all there money is now so ill equiped to go on to the next step.They discover now comes the tough part, and their not, tough that is, not disciplined enough, not knowledgeable enough, not educated enough. They've spent the better part of their horseshow lives being taken care of, never having been taught to take care of themselves, never learning to learn from mistakes because quite honestly if their horse/pony doesn't get them around there sold and another takes it's place. No one wants to waste time teaching a kid to ride through anything, their horses are lunged to death, drugged , schooled by pro's and sold to buy up for their entire life in the saddle, by the time a kid is 18 this "method" has trained the tough right out of most of them and it's too late to train it into them. Sure they can ride that tough EQ horse to a medal win but what happens when it becomes a tough JUMPER or the courses are tougher , the competition steeper, the pressure and the risk higher. When Mom is bedded down with them in the hotel room and trainer can’t dial one in for them. It doesn’t just take a pretty rider at that point , it takes a tough one. One who can stand on their own make decisions in and out of the ring and manage themselves. It's too bad the kids who might have the financial ability to really excel don't get the chance, they’ve been drowned in their own privileged lives by a system that says let someone else do that for you.

lauriep
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:05 AM
The problem is that in this country show jumping is too much of a business and not enough of a sport.

Please explain to me how show jumping is anything but a HUGE business in Europe? There is far too much money involved for it NOT to be treated as a business.

WB Mom
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:47 AM
This is a great thread - so much truth here.
I am old enough to also remember when we all kind of felt being a 'part' of USET. The sport seemed (at least to me) to be more of a 'family'.
Stopped riding in college, completely out of horses - fast forward almost 30 years. Started riding again.
Did I hope that during that time the sport would have matured in this country? That the AHSA/USET, etc. would have developed appropriate programs to develop truly talented riders no matter their economic status? Sure!!
Did ANYTHING like that happen? No
If anything, from my very little corner of the world, it was more eliteist and money driven than before.
Am I disappointed? Yes
It's very simple. The organizations that have the responsiblity to help our sport grow and mature are not doing their job. They are taking the easy way out. It seems no one has ever been able to come up with any programs on a national level to grow the sport? Really? Nobody can figure this out in 30 years?
I think all of us have known someone who is a very talented rider, who is hungry and would do absolutely anything in order to be a better horseman, but does not have the funds to do it. We have the talent, it is out there - absolutely. The curtain (no make that wall) of money that is required, it seems, cannot be opened in order for these riders to be able to step through to the other side.
Unfortunately, after all these years, I guess I just need to come to terms with the fact that our sport will never grow in this country. It seems to all boil down to the folks who can make it happen, won't. Notice I didn't say can't.
How sad.