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View Full Version : Need info on A Circuit in the U.S. please!



lovesponies
May. 28, 2011, 09:46 AM
My daughter currently shows on the A circuit in Ontario. We will be moving to the Boston Area in the fall, specifically to the Groton area. I don't fully understand how the A circuit works in the states. I know there is A, and there is AA, and different zones etc. Is there a website for the different zones? Or the entire A/AA circuit? Are the shows at different venues every week? And in the winter, do most people do HITS shows, or stop showing, or...? I'm sure there are threads on this topic, but I have searched and can't really find the info I am looking for. If someone would like to direct me to appropriate threads, I would be happy with that too!

Lucassb
May. 28, 2011, 10:08 AM
My daughter currently shows on the A circuit in Ontario. We will be moving to the Boston Area in the fall, specifically to the Groton area. I don't fully understand how the A circuit works in the states. I know there is A, and there is AA, and different zones etc. Is there a website for the different zones? Or the entire A/AA circuit? Are the shows at different venues every week? And in the winter, do most people do HITS shows, or stop showing, or...? I'm sure there are threads on this topic, but I have searched and can't really find the info I am looking for. If someone would like to direct me to appropriate threads, I would be happy with that too!

You will find lots of useful info at the USHJA site: http://www.ushja.org/Default.aspx

Mass is in Zone 1, which is quite competitive, and there are tons of shows throughout that area year round. Yes, a lot of the bigger barns do go to FL for some or all of the winter circuits (Wellington or Ocala) or to Gulfport (MS) in some cases.

Show ratings ( A vs. AA, etc) depend on things like the number of classes and money offered within the rated divisions. You can find the specs in the USEF rulebook: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/RuleBook/2011Chapters.aspx

There are some larger venues that offer competitions regularly, but often riders WILL go to different locations to show from week to week. The schedule is usually determined by the trainer.

lovesponies
May. 28, 2011, 10:12 AM
Thank you, Lucassb that's very helpful. When you say there are shows year round in that area, do you mean they hold the shows indoors? Is that something you have to qualify for? I will look on the site too, might have an explanation there.

findeight
May. 28, 2011, 10:24 AM
Ok, glad to help out. Sometimes we use the generic terms, A, B or C to describe the level of a show that is not rated at all here on COTH. Might get a little long here, even for me.

USEF is our national governing body that rates shows-the A, B and C ratings refer to classes and prize money offered. AA level would be, typically, a 5 day show offering everything from Ponies to Grand Prix and would attract a large number of entries-and if it is in a nice place and can be combined with a vacation they can get really big. I am not sure they actually still designate them as AA instead of just A but we all use that AA rated to mean a big deal show. There can be unrated classes -like puddle Jumpers and 2'6" Hunters called Pre Child or similar-offered at AA shows.

B offers fewer classes and less money, typically these are 3 days max. C can be pretty sketchy, usually 1 or 2 days. There are very few B shows any more, most are either the big As or little Cs.

The USHJA (US Hunter Jumper Assoc.) is the arm of the USEF responsible for all those divisions. You will be required to join both USEF and USHJA to show at the rated shows.

No, not everybody goes to Florida-it can run 7500 to 10k usd a month for horse and peeps to do that. There are winter circuits offering smaller A/B shows indoors within an easy drive of the Groton area-and some people just take the winter off.

We tend to group the bigger shows into "circuits" meaning there will be a big rated show every week for anything from 2 to 10 weeks at the same venue. It is popular because it cuts the amount of travel and everybody can settle into the place. Our shows are pretty spread out-you can do Florida in the winter, The Kentucky Horse Park in spring, Lake Placid or Traverse City in summer and Indoors in the major east coast cities (those do move almost weekly and have an off week or two but they are close together) in the fall. All multi week circuits.

Can't help you with the zone websites, they are a bit difficult to find sometimes and can be vague. Basically, the USEF/USHJA makes the rules but the zones can interpret them differently (with approval) in things like cross entering between divisions and fence heights for some divisions. USEF/USHJA awards annual high points-called HOTY (horse of the year) but the zones track and award some divisions. Kind of confusing. But you really just need to worry about your home zone (1 or 2 I think) and/or the one you are showing in of you go show in another zone. Confusing, eh;).

To add to the mix, there are local USEF affiliated organizations like the North Shore Horseman's Assoc that "rate" and offer year end awards in all sorts of divsions not recognized nationally and any show in their area. So you can go show at the USEF A show at Fieldstone in Junior Hunters (3'6") and get USEF points, zone points and North Shore points (if you are a member, of course).

Just to muddle it up, some unaffliated state clubs assign A, B and C ratings to their shows. Causes some confusion on here when somebody say they won at an A show but it was a North Carolina or somewhere A rated with nothing at all to do with the USEF officially.

I hope this makes sense to you, shows are a big industry here. But the good news is there is something for everybody and alot of year end awards go out on all levels, USEF rated or more local.

Lucassb
May. 28, 2011, 10:26 AM
Thank you, Lucassb that's very helpful. When you say there are shows year round in that area, do you mean they hold the shows indoors? Is that something you have to qualify for? I will look on the site too, might have an explanation there.

Yes, there are lots of shows indoors in that area in the wintertime. Most are just regular horseshows (so you do not have to qualify.) A few of the year end finals do require that you qualify - like the MA medals http://www.mahorsecouncil.com/Medals.html and the New England Equitation http://www.newenglandequitation.com/

Rel6
May. 28, 2011, 10:31 AM
I don't know your zone specifically, but I would imagine there are a ton of "C" shows during the winter. If you daughter is doing a division offered at C shows, like the children's hunter or even the bigeq, you can accumulate points at those such shows instead of spending the money to go to Florida. Obviously if your daughter is doing the junior hunters or jumpers thats not really a viable option.

Honestly, your best bet is to start contacting barns in the area you are going to be living in. Are you bringing your horse/pony? Looking to buy/lease one in the states? Your questions can be aimed at your future BO/BM because their answers might also determine if it is a suitable facility for you (if they are gone the entire winter and you aren't...problem. If you want to go to Florida and they don't...problem.)

Also you and your daughter should be prepared to spend some time acclimating to the different circuit, and expect to run across things you didn't expect to. For example, we had a girl whose family moved from France and she brought her pony with her. They wanted to do pony jumpers, and at the first show handed over the pony's card (it was in French, but they accepted it anyway.) Next show was AA rated, and since it was in a foreign language they measured the pony anyway. Pony stuck at 14.2 3/4...Apparently in France 14.3 and under is a pony.

Good luck to you and your daughter!

Rel6
May. 28, 2011, 10:36 AM
C can be pretty sketchy, usually 1 or 2 days.

Don't let this scare you off. C shows are a great way to get experience on the circuit without committing a few grand to go to HITs, Vermont, etc.

Again, not familiar with your area. But around me the C shows are great. They are held at gorgeous venues that also host AA shows (Fairfield, Ox Ridge, Old Salem, etc.) and are still very competitive. There are people that ride on the AA circuit that do not go to Florida for whatever reason that you'll see at a lot of them.

findeight
May. 28, 2011, 10:42 AM
Oh, the New England Eq medal is HUGE. She has to qualify but plenty of shows in your area offer those classes. Finals in the Fall are at the Expo in...oh...Springfield, isn't it? Right on the Mass/Conn border, just off I- 90 and an easy days drive from most of New England.

It is THE regional big deal. DD will want to do that with all her new friends, even just to watch.

Rafiki
May. 28, 2011, 12:53 PM
There are a number of "local" medal finals (based on equitation). Each has a slightly different way of allowing the rider to qualify. The Massachusetts Hunter Jumper final is at the end of August at Fieldstone (goes by MHJ for short). The Massachusetts Horseman's Council runs a final in the beginning of Oct. at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA (goes by MHC for short). Both are 3' finals and a lot of fun. MHC is especially generous with prizes and they also offer a mini-medal final at 2'6". You qualify for MHC and MHJ by accumulating 10 points (10 points for a win and I think 6 for 2nd and so on—I could have the lower ribbon points wrong). The last three MHC finals have had over 150 riders and the courses were very demanding.

The New England Equitation Championships (goes by New England) is 3'3" and to qualify you must win a New England class (which can mean very different things if you are showing at Vermont or at a local one-day show). New England is a really fun show too, held at the Big E in Springfield, MA.

Ray
May. 28, 2011, 03:58 PM
I live in central MA, so feel free to PM me re barns and shows, i would be happy to answer questions

MHM
May. 28, 2011, 04:13 PM
You can also go to www.usef.org (http://www.usef.org) and do a competition search for shows to get an idea of what goes on in that area. You can narrow the search by state, zone, month, division, rating, town, etc. There are lots of shows at different facilities, and also some circuits (Vermont, Saugerties, and several others) where they have shows for multiple weeks in a row.

Good luck with your move, and welcome in advance to the United States! :cool:

lovesponies
May. 28, 2011, 09:59 PM
Thank you SO much everyone for your replies, you have all been most helpful! I'm not at home right now, and I don't have enough time to read all of your responses in great detail, but I can't wait to study all the info! Someone asked if we had our own ponies or would we be leasing etc....we have our own ponies, and will be keeping them at home as we do now. Thanks again for all your help. Seems to be a bit different from Canada! I have more questions that I will post tomorrow. Goodnight!!

lovesponies
May. 29, 2011, 10:11 PM
One more question about the A/AA thing...I just need a bit more clarification. Are they interchangeable? Are they both A circuit but the AA is bigger? Do you accumulate points from both together or do you have to choose either A or AA? Here in Canada, everyone who shows on the A circuit all across Canada accumulate points with the goal of qualifying for the Royal Winter Fair in the fall (those who show in core divisions). It sounds as though it is very different in the states... I think I need to go re-read some of these posts before I ask any more questions!
On a different note, we will be looking for a farm, around 5-10 acres, with a house, preferably with a granny suite or a second residence of some sort on the property. I'm not positive what are price range is yet, but somewhere around 300-500k. We will have to start looking seriously soon, and have been perusing the real estate sights, but if anyone lives in the area (Groton, Leominster, even New Hampshire, somewhere in that area) and knows of a nice farm, please let me know, thanks!

lovesponies
May. 29, 2011, 10:27 PM
Ok I think I should narrow this down...daughter will be showing in the small pony division next summer. She has a couple of ponies she will do in the smalls. So basically we will want her to show on the A/AA or whatnot, and accumulate points for...something? Here it would be the Royal. I realize a lot of this will become clear when we move there, but I like to walk into things fully informed! We will be sticking to A circuit. So if I understand correctly, there will be venues that will hold 2-3 weeks of A shows at a time? I'm assuming the smalls just show once a week as they do here. I'm going to check out the website and see what eq division she would be doing. Here it's C eq. Sorry soooo many questions, just like to have all my ducks in a row!

Jumpthemoon16
May. 29, 2011, 10:59 PM
Ok I think I should narrow this down...daughter will be showing in the small pony division next summer. She has a couple of ponies she will do in the smalls. So basically we will want her to show on the A/AA or whatnot, and accumulate points for...something? Here it would be the Royal. I realize a lot of this will become clear when we move there, but I like to walk into things fully informed! We will be sticking to A circuit. So if I understand correctly, there will be venues that will hold 2-3 weeks of A shows at a time? I'm assuming the smalls just show once a week as they do here. I'm going to check out the website and see what eq division she would be doing. Here it's C eq. Sorry soooo many questions, just like to have all my ducks in a row!
If she's showing ponies, she'd probably want to be qualifying for Pony Finals, in Kentucky each year. That's where you have the Division ponies (Small/Med/Large, Greens and Regulars) as well as Pony Equitation classes. To qualify, she'd have to get either a Championship at an A show or a Reserve OR Champ at an AA show. There will be venues that will have a few weeks of A shows, but I'm not familiar with the area. Ponies will show a few days out of the week, though, not just one. Maybe 2-3, and if she does the Eq it'll be another day or two. If she's showing Eq on ponies, there's special classes for that - she probably wouldn't compete in the age-based Eq because that's generally kids on horses.

ETA: Ponies can also qualify for big shows like Devon and Pennsylvania National, and those are also based on points gained at A and AA shows.

Rel6
May. 29, 2011, 11:07 PM
Ok I think I should narrow this down...daughter will be showing in the small pony division next summer. She has a couple of ponies she will do in the smalls. So basically we will want her to show on the A/AA or whatnot, and accumulate points for...something? Here it would be the Royal. I realize a lot of this will become clear when we move there, but I like to walk into things fully informed! We will be sticking to A circuit. So if I understand correctly, there will be venues that will hold 2-3 weeks of A shows at a time? I'm assuming the smalls just show once a week as they do here. I'm going to check out the website and see what eq division she would be doing. Here it's C eq. Sorry soooo many questions, just like to have all my ducks in a row!

Looking at the website and prizelist for the HITs show might help you get a better of idea of what the show week would look like. Saugerties goes on all summer, May-September basically. Here's the link: http://www.hitsshows.com/saugerties/index.html
Vermont summer festival (http://www.vt-summerfestival.com/) is another big one for the summer.

On a small pony, I'm not sure what eq division would be open to you. Keep in mind that HITs has a lot of extra classes and division you won't find at other AA shows (you can google Old Salem Charity Horse Show, Ox Ridge charity, Fairfield charity, as well as look up info and prizelists for WEF and Ocala.) Its a lot of information, but scanning the schedules and prizelists might give you a better idea of what divisions your daughter would show in, equitation wise.

MHM
May. 30, 2011, 02:02 AM
In the United States, there are four major shows every year that hunters (including ponies) qualify for based on points. They are Devon, Pennsylvania, which is happening right now, and what we call Indoors in the fall: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in early October, Washington, D.C the following week, and the National Horse Show after that, which is moving this year to Lexington, Kentucky.

The Indoor tour starts with Capital Challenge in Upper Marlboro, Maryland at the beginning of October, but that show is not restricted to those who qualify on points. It is open to anybody on a first come basis.

Ponies have their own championship event called Pony Finals every summer in Lexington, Kentucky, which is lots of fun for the kids. That one is much easier to qualify for, since you can do it by having one good A or AA show. There is also a big equitation class at Pony Finals for kids who qualify, which again can be done at one good show.

The points are awarded on what we call the increment system, based on show rating (AA, A, B, C), and also on how many entries are in the class.

There are more details, but that's the overview. :)

Limerick
May. 30, 2011, 07:36 AM
Good luck loves ponies!! We moved down to NC from Ottawa about 6 years ago and love it!!

This is a good place to ask this question, if ponies have shown in Canada, can they be considered green ponies their first year showing in the US?? I'm thinking not but have always wondered.

findeight
May. 30, 2011, 09:28 AM
...
On a different note, we will be looking for a farm, around 5-10 acres, with a house, preferably with a granny suite or a second residence of some sort on the property...but somewhere around 300-500k...Leominster,


Um, for that kind of property-5-10 acres with large or second residence anywhere close in to Groton or Leominister you are shooting a little low pricewise. If you want a finished barn and all the horse extras, maybe even add a zero.

Watch out on your real estate ads, they fudge on the distances and how long the work commute would be...like they clock it at 2am with no speed traps in dry weather to a train station where it's another 45 minutes in. The term EZ commute is subjective and you always have to ask "compared to what, a dog sled from central Vermont?".

There are some tax advantages to being in New Hampshire over Taxachussets, look into that. Our cities down here are pretty spread out compared to up there...you can draw a circle about 50 miles out around Boston and that is considered "Boston area". Anything within that is pricey...anything outside is pretty far out and not an easy drive at all. Even to the trains.

Allow me to help you out on something else here. Pronunciation of local towns so you don't sound too much like a durn fureigner.

Leominister= Lemon-stir

Haverhill = Averill or Hayverill, don't sound the "hill".

Worchester= Whusster. That's down south though.

wanderlust
May. 30, 2011, 09:58 AM
Um, for that kind of property-5-10 acres with large or second residence anywhere close in to Groton or Leominister you are shooting a little low pricewise. If you want a finished barn and all the horse extras, maybe even add a zero. This. My parents sold a 3 acre property just past the Groton border for $400k at the very bottom of the market. It only had about 2 usable acres (including the land the house was on), a small 3 bedroom house (no garage), 2 stall barn (hayloft, not finished or plumbed for anything but a spigot), no arena. For what you are looking for, you are going to be in the $750k+ range at a very, very minimum, and you won't find it in Groton.



There are some tax advantages to being in New Hampshire over Taxachussets, look into that. Our cities down here are pretty spread out compared to up there...you can draw a circle about 50 miles out around Boston and that is considered "Boston area". Anything within that is pricey...anything outside is pretty far out and not an easy drive at all. Even to the trains. There are tax advantages when it comes to income, however, NH has very, very high property taxes. We used to live in MA and shop in NH, however, to avoid sales tax.

If you tell us where you will be working, we can probably give you a better idea of where to look that will be a reasonable commute.




Leominister= Lemon-stir

Haverhill = Averill or Hayverill, don't sound the "hill".

Worchester= Whusster. That's down south though. Not quite, but close. The "er" is pronounced "ah". Leominster=Leminstah, and Worcester (no "h") is "Wisstah".

findeight
May. 30, 2011, 10:15 AM
Not quite, but close. The "er" is pronounced "ah". Leominster=Leminstah, and Worcester (no "h") is "Wisstah".

Eh, pretty good for not living there in West Peabody (let me try...pebudeh?) for 17 years;). Now I live where Versailles is pronounced ver-Sales.

Used to be, in Mass. if you could wear or eat it, you didn't pay sales tax on it. Anything else you went to NH.

lovesponies
May. 30, 2011, 10:21 AM
Ohhhh I don't know that I will be able to speak with that sort of accent! But thank you, at least I won't sound like a complete fool! Hmm prices seem very high in that area. Unfortunately we can't stray to far out...we might have to increase our budget a bit....yuck. Horses at home are an absolute 100% must,so somehow we have to make it work! Our ideal barn would be 4-6 stalls. We don't mind doing a little bit of work on the barn, but don't want to get into having to put fences up. At the moment only my horse ever really uses a stall, ponies are out most of the time. We need to have the option to bring them in though. We have 3 stalls right now, and just split them for the little squirts. It's essential to have some sort of grooming/cross tie area, otherwise the ponies turn into wild field ponies with horrible manners! My kids are very young, and not at all able to groom and tack up in a field etc, or at least not safely in my opinion.
I've been searching farms in the area like crazy! There are some beautiful ones!
Thank you to those who have outlined your A circuit for me...very helpful and narrows down my research a lot! I do know a few ponies from Ontario who have qualified for the pony finals, I just didn't realize it was so attainable! My daughter will think this is so great! Nice to have a goal.

lovesponies
May. 30, 2011, 10:26 AM
Good luck loves ponies!! We moved down to NC from Ottawa about 6 years ago and love it!!

This is a good place to ask this question, if ponies have shown in Canada, can they be considered green ponies their first year showing in the US?? I'm thinking not but have always wondered.

Hey Limerick! I love NC, we were there a couple of years ago for a vacation, we stayed near Hatteras...it was lovely! Wow that's quite a change in weather for you! I love Ottawa, but winters there are beyond words. Actually all except one of our ponies are from Ottawa! Lots of nice horses and ponies there..I'm still trying to keep that a secret from all the Torontonians though...

Guin
May. 30, 2011, 10:29 AM
For what you're looking for in a property near Groton, at least $750K up to $2.5 million. This is a good real estate site to get some ideas of property. You can plug in acreage as well as location and specifics for the house:

www.realtor.com

Good luck.

findeight
May. 30, 2011, 10:41 AM
lovesponies, where are you and or hubby, partner or SO going to be working??? Why Groton??? Can you go south?????

Not going to be cheap by a longshot BUT that whole Groton/Hamilton/Danvers area has been upper class horsey forever, USET used to have a facility there in Hamilton before they moved to Gladstone. It is very hilly, heavily forested, large tracts of privately owned land in pristine condition take up alot of it...and alot of it is unsuitable for building-actually kind of rough country. Lots of twisty 2 lane roads too, no easy Interstate access.

When you go south of the city, it is former farmland long since subdivided, much flatter, the roads are a bit better(but still old 2 laners). Much better horse property, not so many 4th generation estates. Probably be more available for you to look at.

West is a possibilty too but you have to go waaaay out that direction. South is within an hour-on a good day anyway.

lovesponies
May. 30, 2011, 10:54 AM
I hate to be cryptic, but I can't specifically say where new job is yet..long story...but I can't. BUT the towns that I know will work for us are about an hour from Groton. Doesn't need to be Groton specifically, I just chose that town as a point of reference...other towns we are looking at are Stow, Bolton, Westford, Acton....we can go up to NH, that sort of area. findeight I will send you a pm.
I've seen some ok places in some of those towns. We will be taking a trip out there this summer to do the real farm hunting. I just want to have an idea, so we aren't overwhelmed, or taken places by agents that just aren't going to work for us with the horses. Horsey board=good place to ask!!

wanderlust
May. 30, 2011, 11:55 AM
Eh, pretty good for not living there in West Peabody (let me try...pebudeh?) for 17 years;). Now I live where Versailles is pronounced ver-Sales.

Used to be, in Mass. if you could wear or eat it, you didn't pay sales tax on it. Anything else you went to NH. Hahaha, very close... "PEE-buh-dee" said really quickly, with not too much emphasis on the first syllable is the best I can come up with for that one. I just spent the past week up there and was re-indoctrinated. My parents are both from Lowell (pronounced "lowle"), so the accent is THICK! I still remember going to Pennsylvania for college and being mocked and teased mercilessly for the accent.

Tax structure is still the same, although I think they tax prepared food.

wanderlust
May. 30, 2011, 12:06 PM
Lovesponies, look in Pepperell or Dunstable. There are lots smaller horse properties in those towns that might suit your needs, and it is right next to Groton. The closer you get to Boston or a major freeway, the more expensive it is going to get.

I'm going to send you a PM.

lovesponies
May. 30, 2011, 12:23 PM
Lovesponies, look in Pepperell or Dunstable. There are lots smaller horse properties in those towns that might suit your needs, and it is right next to Groton. The closer you get to Boston or a major freeway, the more expensive it is going to get.

I'm going to send you a PM.

Ok yes Wanderlust thank you, those are both towns that looked feasable for us too.

Limerick
May. 30, 2011, 04:48 PM
I could never go back to those winters. Ever. And I don't think my horse could either. When we moved here, I was advised that he wouldn't need a heavy weight blanket. I bought him one last year and he now wears it quite a few days every winter. We are confirmed cold wimps now but managed to lesson today at almost ninety degrees. :winkgrin:

I'll bet I know of the barn you bought your ponies from-Ottawa is fairly small!


Hey Limerick! I love NC, we were there a couple of years ago for a vacation, we stayed near Hatteras...it was lovely! Wow that's quite a change in weather for you! I love Ottawa, but winters there are beyond words. Actually all except one of our ponies are from Ottawa! Lots of nice horses and ponies there..I'm still trying to keep that a secret from all the Torontonians though...

Silk
May. 30, 2011, 05:32 PM
Worchester= Whusster. That's down south though.

LOL...and I LIKED you!!! Its Worcester...but you did get the pronounciation correct!!!

Some refer to it as " Woostah"

In the Worcester/Charlton/Sturbridge area, you might find what yopu are looking for for 500K but it will need work. I do know of a 13 acre farm with a house and in law (add is in my car) for 400K. Have not seen it personally but I know the area and the schools, while not the top int he state, are safe.