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View Full Version : Chronicles Rising the Bar Article; What do u think?



Smiles
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:56 AM
http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/let’s-raise-bar


I'm all for raising the bar but how do you do this cost wise for the average rider which I think this article is leaving out? Also if people are comfortable at a certain level do they or should they move up? Because I got the impression from the writer that thats not acceptable since we are dumbing down the shows. The article also mentions that the pessoa medal we should do things a little different because some of the kids are not "there to win," really because why would you even go if you thought you didn't have a chance to win? Yep, there can only be one "winner" but everyone has a fair chance and should we take that way from them?

supershorty628
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:00 AM
In answer to your question about Medal finals, not everyone has a shot at winning. There are a lot of kids who qualify and go for the experience and to say they've gone. In your 200 or so people who show, you really have about 20% who have a decent shot at winning, 20% who will be in over their heads, and the rest are varying degrees of mediocrity.

MHM
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:16 AM
Some of the ones who are not at the Medal finals to win *this* year may go on to win it next year, or the year after that. Plenty of kids go a few times before they get a ribbon or win it.

If they don't go as non-contenders the first time, they don't get the chance to improve and win down the road. Or just improve, even if they never win. There is still plenty of merit in improvement, whether or not you win someday.

GoingUp...POP!
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:25 AM
I normally don't like this writer's articles but this one was pretty darn good!

I myself don't go to C, B, or A shows, only AA, and haven't seem much point in going just to be showing in the same classes only less prestige, but I LOVED how she wrote about making these shows appropriate "stepping stones" that ultimately point a rider towards the big ones. THIS should be the point! Instead of using them as glorified schooling shows, give C,B, and A shows a purpose.

I do think one thing we need to realize (oh people will try to kill me through their computers for this one) is that the ammy's with a few horses showing in a few classes in a few shows a year, the people holding good average jobs , and doing only what they can afford and showing and riding purely for the fun (which is great! I'm glad you are happy, good lifestyle to have, not downing anything about that) are NOT the bread and butter of the shows. We have to stop acting like we are indispensable and the shows will die without us grassroots. They won't. If all the grassroots disappeared into thin air, yes the shows would suffer a bit, but they would go on. If all the big barns with the money and the grooms and the 5 figure horses and the fancy tack rooms were to disappear and leave only us grassroots, the shows would suffer BADLY. I highly doubt they could go on, if they did it would only be a little "for fun" league, never the big prestigious industry it is today.
So yes, we grassroots ARE important, but we need to analyze our rank in the food chain a bit before we go around puffing out our chests and telling the big dogs how important we are (yes we are important, don't get me wrong we do matter, I'm not saying we are door mats for the big barns to wipe their feet on).
We can't let the grassroots disappear,I agree, but the grassroots are vulnerable and the shows could live without them if it came to that.

Well, I've made my point, and honestly, I don't care who gets their panties in a wad because of it!

Straight from zone 5, where we wear stock pins and tell it like it is.

Dinah-do
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:30 AM
I agree that this is a better than average article but I an curious as to why someone ( maybe in the USHJA office) has not chased down those that have left the hunter industry and asked them why they left. Not the people that are still hanging on - but those that have GONE. Gone for good. They often have a calm and clear view of the industry from a distance. What they liked and what they didn't like. I often wonder what happened to this person or that person - they were so involved, often with their kids - now gone and never come back even to watch. Seems odd to me. Once in a while I bump into someone and ask if they will ever show again (or even ride). Nine times out of ten i get a resounding NEVER. What is it about this world that can send people away never to return? What kills them off?

danceronice
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:59 AM
One thing on the first page jumped out at me--letting two judges sit together? Is that normal or even allowed? Seems like it's just making collusion easy. Isn't it better with more than one judge to place them apart, not just so they can't compare notes but so they can see different parts of the course?

mvp
Nov. 8, 2011, 12:30 PM
I normally don't like this writer's articles but this one was pretty darn good!

I myself don't go to C, B, or A shows, only AA, and haven't seem much point in going just to be showing in the same classes only less prestige, but I LOVED how she wrote about making these shows appropriate "stepping stones" that ultimately point a rider towards the big ones. THIS should be the point! Instead of using them as glorified schooling shows, give C,B, and A shows a purpose.

I do think one thing we need to realize (oh people will try to kill me through their computers for this one) is that the ammy's with a few horses showing in a few classes in a few shows a year, the people holding good average jobs , and doing only what they can afford and showing and riding purely for the fun (which is great! I'm glad you are happy, good lifestyle to have, not downing anything about that) are NOT the bread and butter of the shows. We have to stop acting like we are indispensable and the shows will die without us grassroots. They won't. If all the grassroots disappeared into thin air, yes the shows would suffer a bit, but they would go on. If all the big barns with the money and the grooms and the 5 figure horses and the fancy tack rooms were to disappear and leave only us grassroots, the shows would suffer BADLY. I highly doubt they could go on, if they did it would only be a little "for fun" league, never the big prestigious industry it is today.
So yes, we grassroots ARE important, but we need to analyze our rank in the food chain a bit before we go around puffing out our chests and telling the big dogs how important we are (yes we are important, don't get me wrong we do matter, I'm not saying we are door mats for the big barns to wipe their feet on).
We can't let the grassroots disappear,I agree, but the grassroots are vulnerable and the shows could live without them if it came to that.

Well, I've made my point, and honestly, I don't care who gets their panties in a wad because of it!

Straight from zone 5, where we wear stock pins and tell it like it is.

I think you make a really good point.... even if people don't like it, even if you write as someone in the tax bracket who IS supporting these shows that Schoellkopf is writing about. The AA showing industry *would* go one without your average W-2 A/O ammy riding and without kids who will ride until the end of high school or the family runs out of money.

But the discussion has limits that we always talk about here: By and large, folks publishing editorials in the Chronicle speak of "the other 99%" but don't actually address their needs or concerns at all. I mean that "the other 99%" isn't the people who are spending $1,200 a week to jump 2'6" in a HITS ring. That demographic is spending $120 to do that for one day at an unrated show.

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 12:36 PM
I agree that this is a better than average article but I an curious as to why someone ( maybe in the USHJA office) has not chased down those that have left the hunter industry and asked them why they left. Not the people that are still hanging on - but those that have GONE. Gone for good. They often have a calm and clear view of the industry from a distance. What they liked and what they didn't like. I often wonder what happened to this person or that person - they were so involved, often with their kids - now gone and never come back even to watch. Seems odd to me. Once in a while I bump into someone and ask if they will ever show again (or even ride). Nine times out of ten i get a resounding NEVER. What is it about this world that can send people away never to return? What kills them off?

The author of that article writes from the perspective of a big barn owner/BNT. Nothing wrong with that, but it's certainly one reason why they propose keeping the "top" shows somewhat exclusive.

That said, I'd certainly be in favor of bringing back the B and C shows if they offered quality competition and if they were patronized by quality trainers. The reason that a lot of those shows disappeared was that they started offering neither of those things. You don't have to be a top rider to know the difference between good footing and crappy footing, decent judges or somebody's brother in law... and frankly for what a lot of us pay to play, we don't want to be relegated to some second string assistant trainer who offers all of the expenses of their BNT boss but not much of the benefit.

I am a typical working adult amateur and I don't have any HOTY aspirations; I am the *perfect* candidate for smaller A and B shows, where I could compete on a weekend without having to take a ton of vacation time or abandon my family responsibilities to head off to some big circuit. But just because my time and resources are limited does not mean I am willing to take my nice horse to a show that doesn't provide decent amenities, nice jumps, good judges etc.

At one time, I showed a lot and was very involved in our sport. I participated on (then-AHSA) committees, volunteered on the Board of my state H/J Association, etc. I don't do any of that now, and I quit showing after last year because it just stopped being any fun. I was spending a fortune - both in time AND in money - and it got old feeling like I was routinely treated as a second class citizen. I put that money toward other things - like family vacations - and for now, find that is more satisfying. I bet there are lots of others out there like me.

findeight
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:00 PM
I've seen the judges sitting together. Because of the difference in perspective, I prefer them to be in different locations with a combined score, not both seeing it from the same point.

She is right on target here.
Don't have the answers to alot of this other then we certainly have seen the demise of many of the A and B shows in favor of the mega circuits with something for everybody in resort like locales. That has actually removed options from the budget challenged and allowed the mediocre to shine on what used to be the elite level of our sport.

Yeah trainers need to TELL THE TRUTH. In our effort to be sure I am OK, your are OK, everybody is OK, we have riders in some of these Finals that just do not belong there. How can you sit and watch those clearly overfaced turn the course into a lumberyard? Are we forgetting what is good for that HORSE in the name of giving everybody a chance?????

Like the idea of eliminating Regionals in light of the dropping numbers and putting a qualifying round on Saturday to let the cream rise and not kill the rest of them-or get those horses clobbered by one too many rails, bad distances and awkward landings.

Can still run 2 rounds and your flat on Sunday for those that get past Saturday.

For that matter, how about requiring a little more challenge in getting qualified and not bowing to lazy show managment that does not want to move any fences and/or is afraid people will not like actual, legal fence height/spread/step and shun their future shows in favor of one they can win at?

Not popular to bring it up but...it is not a cheap sport. There is a limit to what can be done on a budget. That used to be done by the A,B and local/C shows. IMO we need to help them increase their business, not dummy down what used to be the elite level AA shows.

I HATE the 2' Medal Finals, speed bump Hunter Classics and wannabe Derbies. What is there to dream of anymore? Work towards? Aspire to? Used to special to even show in, now, everybody gets to do one and parents brag about their Medal winner.

speculation07
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:03 PM
I also miss the good quality "B" Circuit that was still around even in the late 90's, Baltimore had a good one and Central florida used to not sure if it still does (CFHJA) and it actually meant something when you won a year end award. Not everyone is cut out for life on the road at the Big Shows, I have always done a few a year just because proximity allowed me to without heavy trailering costs but I also think that some places are complacent to just hold schooling shows at facilities that are plenty nice enough to be rated. Now I am not shelling out 30k to 50k a year to get show miles on a talented greenie because there would be NO profit margin I don't have the connections or talent to make that worthwhile.

And at this point after looking around at the rounds at schooling shows in my area I wouldn't buy a horse who hasn't been to some sort of the big leagues because if you get around without any major mishaps you win the class. I want to see it up against quality animals and when the highest hunter class is 3ft with 4 people in the class what can you do.

So due to lack of smaller rated shows I have to shell out more than I want to send my greenie to WEF for a week or two have a professional show it in the pre-greens and pray that he pins or at least get a decent video of him going around and get a piece of the hack.

showidaho
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:48 PM
The author of that article writes from the perspective of a big barn owner/BNT. Nothing wrong with that, but it's certainly one reason why they propose keeping the "top" shows somewhat exclusive.

That said, I'd certainly be in favor of bringing back the B and C shows if they offered quality competition and if they were patronized by quality trainers. The reason that a lot of those shows disappeared was that they started offering neither of those things. You don't have to be a top rider to know the difference between good footing and crappy footing, decent judges or somebody's brother in law... and frankly for what a lot of us pay to play, we don't want to be relegated to some second string assistant trainer who offers all of the expenses of their BNT boss but not much of the benefit.

I am a typical working adult amateur and I don't have any HOTY aspirations; I am the *perfect* candidate for smaller A and B shows, where I could compete on a weekend without having to take a ton of vacation time or abandon my family responsibilities to head off to some big circuit. But just because my time and resources are limited does not mean I am willing to take my nice horse to a show that doesn't provide decent amenities, nice jumps, good judges etc.

At one time, I showed a lot and was very involved in our sport. I participated on (then-AHSA) committees, volunteered on the Board of my state H/J Association, etc. I don't do any of that now, and I quit showing after last year because it just stopped being any fun. I was spending a fortune - both in time AND in money - and it got old feeling like I was routinely treated as a second class citizen. I put that money toward other things - like family vacations - and for now, find that is more satisfying. I bet there are lots of others out there like me.

This is, perhaps, the most articulate and spot-on rebuttal to the article. As usual, well said!

meupatdoes
Nov. 8, 2011, 01:59 PM
Compare this article to the other one written by ...who was it?... who said that increased prize money is killing every one but the top dogs.

The top prizes are always going to go to the same 2%. They are the ones who will pay a $800 entry fee to the First Years and get decent prize money back (actual entry fee at Spring Gathering in April 2010 for I think it was a $16,000 class).

Other riders who know they are not going to take the tippy top prize will skip paying $800 to ride around the First Years and will wait for a $250 entry fee but no prize money (such as could be found for the First Years at the May show at Old Salem 2010).

Old Salem and Spring Gathering are both great, prestigious shows. Personally I would think Old Salem is the more prestigious show, despite low prize money and much lower entries.
So I would rather ride for a piece in good company there for $250 than try to ride for the prize money at Spring Gathering.

Then again, I am not Jen Alfano and I am not sitting on Miss Lucy or Jersey Boy to win it. I just want a decent record with decent ribbons in good company for my horse.

Nibs
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:08 PM
The way I see it, its nice to go to the A shows here in Canada because you get to see all the Big Riders there. Its nice to have your own classes in the morning then watch the big grand prix in the afternoon.

I think as long as the A shows offer these dumbed down classes they will never fail. Lets be realistic- money isnt really the problem when it comes to the majority of the horsey set. The difference between shelling out for an A show or for a B show is neligible. And if you want to watch the GP riders go, well if you are already on the grounds it saves you time to get there. And alot of the people riders want to train with will only go to the A shows.

Maybe if we can get the good trainers back to the B shows their clients will follow. I dont think the show management will " raise the bar" if it means less classes for them. Maybe we could create venues where it is a shorter ordeal with just GPs and big derbies, and try to attract the general public out to pay for tickets? What do the europeans do?

rugbygirl
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:11 PM
We seem to have this sort of problem in Canada, but obviously we have our own different challenges here.

Equine Canada is running into a brick wall in some Provinces because the recreational (aka: Not There to Win or NTW show-ers) are really sick of paying champagne prices to satisfy beer tastes, all in the name of "development of the sport."

Us NTW people are so far from any of the National programs that we wonder why EC insists on rating a show that will not be attended by A SINGLE NATIONAL TEAM CANDIDATE the same as a show at Spruce Meadows which will have international-level riders. (Those two hypothetical shows can both be called "Gold" in case anyone wondered.)

Then you get the confusion. Are we NTWers the "bread and butter?" Logic says no, we don't generally buy horses, train, board...do ANYTHING with the high-level athletes. Why should we be expected to pay the same office fees and premiums and membership charges as they do? Why would EC require that control over shows at the Silver and Bronze level (even "Discovery" level) where you can't even offer divisions above a certain height? What benefit does EC offer those exhibitors to provide value for the additional expense?

Unfortunately in Alberta, our Provincial governing body just broke away from EC. What that means is that our lower level shows have a choice...they can obey EC rules, and require all exhibitors to pay EC fees in exchange for access to EC carded judges for even the lowliest schooling show...or the lower level shows can just use the AEF membership, and use non-carded judges (EC threatened to revoke the cards of any judge who judged an unrated show.) See, AEF provides real value to all its members in the form of equine liability insurance. Even recreational horse owners get value from that, if they do anything off property.

I'd be perfectly happy if there was an organization who was committed to offering decent quality, totally unrated shows for the NTWers, and a separate one that you could go through for the high level competitions. The problem right now is that a Silver show is restricted in what they can offer...and Gold shows are significantly more expensive to enter and run. A black market unrated show can offer a 3'6" Jumper division no problem, in a no-frills kind of format that keeps costs low...and honestly, lots of NTWers like to compete at that height.

Right now the only real "break" in Canada is at the FEI level...but FEI competitors still attend Gold-level shows...so it isn't a distinct separation. I'd rather see more of a defined separation between "internationally competitive hopefuls willing to invest the money it takes on everything from horses to multi-day show fees" and "people who enjoy showing their horses on the weekends but want decent value for the show fees and will just not show if there's nothing reasonable scheduled."

mvp
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:19 PM
You people who want the B and C circuit back, exactly *what* do you want?

Lucassb, some of what you want makes sense to me: I need good footing and good course design. The courses should be fair and productive for the horses and riders.

But things that "make you feel less like a second-string citizen?" Really? Who gives a rat's a...? You check-writing ammies (who know enough to know good from bad horses, footing and courses), you don't really need a trainer's or show manager's affirmation of your worth, do you?

As a proud redneck, I think I'm the bomb for having a good time for a weekend and improving Good Ol' Boy Hunter for much, much less than my AA show-going colleagues.

LowerSaxony_Jumper
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:38 PM
I would like to correct some ideas......In Germany the big hows aka the CSI shows are the ones with many people coming to watch, all the other national shows have mostly the riders, their family and maybe some locals there to watch. We split our riders after points and after a level of ability. So you might show in the same class as a top rider but probably only if you have your fair share of sucess in the same section.
Prize Money which is after some rule changes not much is only paid to 1/3 of the class. But we have only to pay a small fee to our horse club (once a year), and the rest is everywhere the same for everybody. But normaly even if you win you won't make a lot money.

The most important thing is: There are only agencys involved for the big shows! Every other show is mostly run by volounteers. Prizes are sponsored by local buissness.......

Maybe you should start counting backwards like I want to pay 20 $ for a class, how much money must be paid to make the class possible

Why do you need so many classes in the teeny- tiny hight in so many groups like age, amateur or not and so on.......wouldn't it be easier to have like 1 Jumper class and split it in diffrent sections?

Annandale
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:44 PM
Straight from zone 5, where we wear stock pins and tell it like it is.

What part of zone 5 are you in? You "only" do the AA shows but you see people showing in stock pins...?

Nibs
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:48 PM
I think the big thing in North America is that our industry is competitor driven, NOT spectator driven. We dont have any spectators really, aside from familly and friends of riders. So shows need entry fees to run, they cant rely on ticket sales. I think this is why the shows offer such ridiculous classes; they need more competitors.

I also think the set up of our area doesnt help. Here in canada our shows are way out in the middle of nowhere, where as in europe the shows are more accessible to the General Public ( a bit of an assumption on my part, but as europe as a whole is more accessible because it is smaller and has a better train system). Here in Canada, you MUST have a car to get there, no public transport for spectators.

I really feel our industry needs to make a HUGE shift in order to thrive. It needs to be spectator driven, not just us riders watching each other and dumbing down the classes so everyone can tell each other how wonderful they are.

Give and Take
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:11 PM
Wrt the cream rising, why can't the judges cards be released for hunters? if dressage judges can stand behind their scoring, why can't hunter judges?

if we want to have clarity about the definition of a good round, how can that happen without transparency in the judging?

and i'd love to see more support for the C and B systems. i show my jumper in the A and AA but also enjoy bringing along a greenie at the B level.

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:18 PM
You people who want the B and C circuit back, exactly *what* do you want?

Lucassb, some of what you want makes sense to me: I need good footing and good course design. The courses should be fair and productive for the horses and riders.

Years ago when I lived in Atlanta, there was a thriving local circuit run by PSJ. They offered back to back one day horseshows that ran on Saturday and Sunday at the same venue used by the A shows, with the same footing, jumps, stabling and judges. A working ammy like me could ship up there on Friday after work, get a quick hack in, settle the horse in a stall for the night and have a pleasant experience over the weekend. The competition was decent and if you were just walking around, there would be nothing to distinguish the show from a big rated event - until you got to the show office and had a modest bill to pay for your fun. They did nice prizes, had vendors there if you wanted to shop, pleasant and helpful office staff, nice exhibitor parties etc. They ran these shows at a number of nice venues throughout the year and even had a "FL circuit" for a few weeks, culminating in a NICE set of year end awards. In my opinion they are a great model for B and C shows to follow.


But things that "make you feel less like a second-string citizen?" Really? Who gives a rat's a...? You check-writing ammies (who know enough to know good from bad horses, footing and courses), you don't really need a trainer's or show manager's affirmation of your worth, do you?

It has nothing to do with a trainer's or show manager's affirmation. I just refuse to pay A show rates and get less than the quality of an A show, whether that is due to crummy footing, poorly set courses, or lesser training.

Back in the day, a lot of trainers did have assistants who had come up through their system, and who taught the majority of the more novice lessons until the rider "moved up" to the first string/BNT. These days, it seems to me that most trainers simply take their whole barn to the A/AA shows because they offer something for everyone, and even an adult amateur like me can get training from a top professional at nice venues. Despite my limited talent, I am not interested in paying what it costs to show at lesser facilities or with trainers below that level, because I know the difference. It's not about ego, it's about value.


As a proud redneck, I think I'm the bomb for having a good time for a weekend and improving Good Ol' Boy Hunter for much, much less than my AA show-going colleagues.

There are places in the country that have really good local venues (see my description of PSJ above) and some that do not. If you have access to show facilities that offer a good time at a modest price, that's fantastic. I am all in favor of everyone having those options and I would like to see good trainers patronizing those shows. But in too many areas, those local options are not so appealing.

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:27 PM
I agree that we have way too many divisions being offered at the lower levels at these big AA shows. Although they bring in lots of entry $$, they also require extra rings, judges, jumps, jump crews, etc. Our shows are getting to the point where you cannot hold an AA show without a minimum of 3 or 4 show rings plus another 3-4 warmups, which means we have fewer and fewer options when it comes to facilities.

Plus, if we held fewer divisions at our rated shows, that would put the pressure on our local schooling type shows to take up the slack and raise their standards. When it comes to putting on really nice mid-level classes, few rated shows can really compare with well run schooling shows. Last year our local year end show offered cheaper classes, nicer venues, and better prizes than the equivalent rated show (at the same facility). Seems like that would be much better for "hard working, but non competitive" type Ammie.

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:15 PM
I agree that we have way too many divisions being offered at the lower levels at these big AA shows. Although they bring in lots of entry $$, they also require extra rings, judges, jumps, jump crews, etc. Our shows are getting to the point where you cannot hold an AA show without a minimum of 3 or 4 show rings plus another 3-4 warmups, which means we have fewer and fewer options when it comes to facilities.

Plus, if we held fewer divisions at our rated shows, that would put the pressure on our local schooling type shows to take up the slack and raise their standards. When it comes to putting on really nice mid-level classes, few rated shows can really compare with well run schooling shows. Heck, last year our local year end show offered cheaper classes, nicer venues, and better prizes than the equivalent rated show the following weekend (at the same facility). Seems like that would be much better for "hard working, but non competitive" type Ammie.

I agree that a well run local show can frequently out-service a big rated shows in many ways. Whether that means having free hot chocolate at the ingate on a blustery day or simply having rings that run on time and don't go into the wee hours... or simply good quality at a more affordable price, there is definitely an opportunity to attract exhibitors who have to fit their riding and showing around otherwise normal lives.

But for those shows to succeed, I think several things would have to happen:

1. The shows would have to offer quality (footing-jumps-courses-officials etc)
2. They have to be supported by good trainers.

Because some of us "hard working but non competitive" amateurs are not interested in paying "hard working but not very competitive trainers" to help us.

Put another way... just because I show at 3' does not mean I am willing to take lessons/training from someone who's never competed higher than 3' or 3'6" themselves. The reason I show at A shows is because that is where my trainers have gone; it's that simple. If there happened to be a similarly accomplished/talented trainer out there who focused on quality local shows instead... I'd be fine with that type of program. But that's not generally the way it works.

Dinah-do
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:20 PM
"why as an owner would you want to stay in it and support a horse in the High Performance Divisions if it is a losing proposition financially. Why would owners buy horses for professionals if they cannot compete for more money"?

A couple of years ago I was lent a book written by an Event Rider called "How Good Riders get Good" (or close to that ). I think Denny Emerson?. There is a chapter about sponsorship and a brief paragraph about a group of young girls and an older lady. If anyone has the book this would be a good place to copy it it out. There is often a lot more to this industry than $ ( although that is major these days ). My reason for leaving the big boys' sandbox was not so much $ but the way I was treated. This is first and foremost a sport and should be fun.

meupatdoes
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:23 PM
"why as an owner would you want to stay in it and support a horse in the High Performance Divisions if it is a losing proposition financially. Why would owners buy horses for professionals if they cannot compete for more money"?

A couple of years ago I was lent a book written by an Event Rider called "How Good Riders get Good" (or close to that ). I think Denny Emerson?. There is a chapter about sponsorship and a brief paragraph about a group of young girls and an older lady. If anyone has the book this would be a good place to copy it it out. There is often a lot more to this industry than $ ( although that is major these days ). My reason for leaving the big boys' sandbox was not so much $ but the way I was treated. This is first and foremost a sport and should be fun.

Maybe I am understanding something wrong here but wasn't that book published really recently? Like this Spring?

Maybe I have the date wrong or maybe you are thinking of something else?

LowerSaxony_Jumper
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:27 PM
one off.topic question: How bad are your footings????? I have to say that either everybody wants too have world cup quality footing for jumping tiny fences but don't want to pay for that or you have really, really bad footings over there?!:winkgrin:

and don't you have some rules for the course design over there?

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:34 PM
one off.topic question: How bad are your footings????? I have to say that either everybody wants too have world cup quality footing for jumping tiny fences but don't want to pay for that or you have really, really bad footings over there?!:winkgrin:

and don't you have some rules for the course design over there?

At rated shows there are standards that apply which provide some basic assurance of quality. There are basic specs in the rule book which speak to the kinds of fences that can be used in each type of class but no rules for course design per se. At unrated events the organizers are free to do whatever they like.

Remember also that we have to contend with the mileage rule, which limits competition among show managers. This rule assures the organizers that exhibitors will not have any (rated) alternatives to choose from within easy driving distance, and thus allows them to "get away with" lower quality to some extent.

LowerSaxony_Jumper
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:38 PM
but how bad can if be? A show is probably held at a riding facility so other horses seem to handle it also............

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:43 PM
but how bad can if be? A show is probably held at a riding facility so other horses seem to handle it also............

Some of the venues are fine. Others are terrible.

Personal Champ
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:47 PM
I agree with some points but not with others.

Our local circuit around here is decently competitive - there are horses showing who regularly go to A and AA shows. Our venues, courses and footings are nice (mostly - and the majority avoids the handful that aren't). Even our local shows are getting crazily dumbed-down - I remember as a kid, as another poster said - you worked up to the division you wanted to be at.

Now, there's something for everyone and progression is SLOW, if not non-existent. If I have to watch one more crossrail or 2' class, I might scream! And there are always those who want to add MORE classes like that - I do actively participate in the local association and some of the suggestions are mind boggling.

I just also have to say that this thread made me realize how incredibly lucky I am - I have a trainer who did the Maclay/Medals/Junior Hunters as a kid, who is supportive of whatever show we want to go to - local or smaller rated - and encourages us to advance as riders and horsemen.

Dinah-do
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:50 PM
I was completely mixed up with another book read years ago. Denny's book first published 2011. So I read it this spring and will have to borrow it again.

Lord Helpus
Nov. 8, 2011, 04:57 PM
I have not read the article by SS, but I am getting the gist from the other posters.

And it steams my vegetables that BNT's are complaining about the way the current show system is. THEY created it!

Trainers did not want to lose money by leaving customers at home, so they brought them to the AA shows ("Ethel The Unready" was thrilled that Mr. Trainer thought she was good enough to go to an AA show and hopped on the van before the door was open.)

She gets there and Ethel proves that she really WAS unready. But Mr. Trainer loved the day care and training $$, so shows were convined to hold classes for all of these "unreadies".

At first, these unreadies thought they were hot stuff because THEY were going to AA shows just like the big guys. "3'6" too big? OK, here comes the AA division. Oops -- horse not fancy enough for 3'? Then maybe he can do 2'6". 2'6" too high for you? OK, we'll give you a divison at 2'. You want 18"? Sure, we can do 18" as long as you pay the same day care and training fees as the REAL AA competitors."

Trainers LOVED it. Still do. Their motto became "No horse left at home"!

THAT's what has happened to all the B and A people. They are jumping around at 2' at AA shows.

Mr. Trainer makes his money off shows, not off horses at home. Simple economics -- He has to keep the van full and his whole barn on the road. Leaving the true B show people at home to do the local shows with an assistant is not economically beneficial.

(Aside to the poster who said that she did not want an assistant -- she only wanted Mr. BNT. Well, just perhaps you need to climb the ladder to be worthy of Mr BNT. Intermediate gymnasts do not get taught by Bella Karoly and his wife. The beginners and intermediates learn from the assistants and earn the right to train with the big guns.)

Maybe the 2' and 2'6" riders need to pay their dues before going to the AA shows! What a concept!! Except that the BNT's do not want this to happen. And neither do the shows.

SS needs to look in a mirror to see where the problem of exhibitors who are not ready to win lies. It lies with her ilk.

Dinah-do
Nov. 8, 2011, 05:20 PM
LH is so right but how do you get a newbie to load horsie up in a friend's trailer (for example) and head off to a small show for the day? People are scared shitless to do anything on their own anymore.

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 05:21 PM
(snip)
(Aside to the poster who said that she did not want an assistant -- she only wanted Mr. BNT. Well, just perhaps you need to climb the ladder to be worthy of Mr BNT. Intermediate gymnasts do not get taught by Bella Karoly and his wife. The beginners and intermediates learn from the assistants and earn the right to train with the big guns.)



Pam usually I agree with you but not on this one point. And it's not pure ego speaking, either. IF the trainer has an assistant that is truly capable of offering excellent instruction - that is fine and something I have no problem with. Kip Rosenthal sent me to Old Salem with her then assistant Karyn Foley and she was fantastic. I'd ride with Karyn again anytime and gladly pay the freight.

However, if I am paying the BNT rates, I am not interested in being "trained" by someone who has never actually jumped over 3' themselves, and who has the same or less knowledge than I do. Sorry, but I don't think I need to "earn" the right not to be taken advantage of.

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:12 PM
I agree that a well run local show can frequently out-service a big rated shows in many ways. Whether that means having free hot chocolate at the ingate on a blustery day or simply having rings that run on time and don't go into the wee hours... or simply good quality at a more affordable price, there is definitely an opportunity to attract exhibitors who have to fit their riding and showing around otherwise normal lives.

But for those shows to succeed, I think several things would have to happen:

1. The shows would have to offer quality (footing-jumps-courses-officials etc)
2. They have to be supported by good trainers.

Because some of us "hard working but non competitive" amateurs are not interested in paying "hard working but not very competitive trainers" to help us.

Put another way... just because I show at 3' does not mean I am willing to take lessons/training from someone who's never competed higher than 3' or 3'6" themselves. The reason I show at A shows is because that is where my trainers have gone; it's that simple. If there happened to be a similarly accomplished/talented trainer out there who focused on quality local shows instead... I'd be fine with that type of program. But that's not generally the way it works.

Well, as far as you first point about quality, at least where I am, many of the nicer schooling shows are held in the exact same arenas, on the exact same footing, and often over the exact same jumps as the rated shows. The biggest difference is that you aren't paying all the overhead that comes with rated shows plus stalls are cheaper because you are only doing 3 day rentals rather than a full week. So I don't think quality should be too big of an obstacle so long as you have a decent manager to put on the schooling shows.

And as for your second point. It is unlikely that our top BNT will ever spend much time on the schooling circuit. It is their job to focus on the bigger divisions. And I agree that even at the schooling shows you should have access to good instruction. But, I think the best solution is to work on promoting trainer education type programs if you want to have more good trainers at the lower levels. USEF needs to step up and do a better job at promoting those type of programs. For example, USDF has several good educational opportunities from symposiums, grants/scholarships to attend clinics or train over seas, certification at various levels, etc.

And at the end of the day, if you are still certain that you need to show at the AA level to receive the best instruction, facilities, footing, etc. then be ready to pay for it.

busylady
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:14 PM
"Pay their dues..." what dues? The entry fees? Those get paid. The boarding fees? Training? All paid up. So what dues do I have to pay so I deserve the right to show at an A or AA show? The purchase price of a horse that can perform in a rated division? Yah, that isn't happening anytime soon.

Believe it or not, some people show below 3 foot because they can't afford a 3 foot horse. Poor money management? Perhaps. All I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed the years spent competing in the long stirrup on my mare, the mare that competed at Indio in the pre-greens but didn't have much scope and after a stifle injury surely wasn't suitable for 3' so she was given to me, for free.

Regardless, what exactly is so wrong with a 2'9 or 2'6 division?

HGem
Nov. 8, 2011, 06:37 PM
I tend to agree with most of what Lucassb has said.

I think I am at a slight advantage living in SE PA though. Most of my showing has been done through 4-H, CCHSA series, and local series (even ones at Quentin Riding Club). All offered great venues for the most part. I even attended a few B and C shows in the area quite a few years ago.

My experience with "issues" were usually just crappy management (not running efficeintly), and sometimes bad judges (barn managers shouldn't judge their farms show!!). Sometimes I'd run into bad courses with messed up striding. But for the most part the local and lower rated shows around here are/were run fairly decently. Most offer decent year end awards, safe decent jumps, and good footing. Quality competition was also available as most of the big barns brought their students/horses for tune ups or the like. But I'd say in the past 4 years numbers have certainly dropped in our area. Especially at local shows.

I do like the idea of making horse shows more spectator friendly/appealing.

Lord Helpus
Nov. 8, 2011, 07:59 PM
Pam usually I agree with you but not on this one point. And it's not pure ego speaking, either. IF the trainer has an assistant that is truly capable of offering excellent instruction - that is fine and something I have no problem with. Kip Rosenthal sent me to Old Salem with her then assistant Karyn Foley and she was fantastic. I'd ride with Karyn again anytime and gladly pay the freight.

However, if I am paying the BNT rates, I am not interested in being "trained" by someone who has never actually jumped over 3' themselves, and who has the same or less knowledge than I do. Sorry, but I don't think I need to "earn" the right not to be taken advantage of.


I completely agree. I thought we were talking about BNT's here who take their full barns to the AA shows. IMO, true BNT's have very competent assistants -- people who will be moving on to start their own barns after an "assistantship".

An "assistant who has barely jumped 3'" is hardly the kind of person I was thinking of. -- How is such a person qualified to hack and school customers' horses? How can that person act as a knowledgable and competent groundman when the BNT is schooling the young horses?

It never occurred to me that a BNT would have a 3' rider as an assistant. :eek: My bad (I guess). Is this common???

And a PS: I have never been at a barn where you pay the same for a lesson from the BNT as from the assistant. At Sandron, the charge for the assistant is 50% - 60% the cost of a lesson with Joe. And Joe expects his customers to go to shows with his assistant.

Ronnie Mutch had Timmy Keys
Jimmy Williams had Susie Hutchinson
Butch and Lu Thomas had Carleton Brooks
Linda Hough had her step daughter, Cindy Hough, then Lise Quintero, et al.

All of these assistants were qualified to teach, ride and take customers to horse shows. THAT's who I was thinking of.

Lord Helpus
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:30 PM
"Pay their dues..." what dues? The entry fees? Those get paid. The boarding fees? Training? All paid up. So what dues do I have to pay so I deserve the right to show at an A or AA show? The purchase price of a horse that can perform in a rated division? Yah, that isn't happening anytime soon.

Believe it or not, some people show below 3 foot because they can't afford a 3 foot horse. Poor money management? Perhaps. All I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed the years spent competing in the long stirrup on my mare, the mare that competed at Indio in the pre-greens but didn't have much scope and after a stifle injury surely wasn't suitable for 3' so she was given to me, for free.

Regardless, what exactly is so wrong with a 2'9 or 2'6 division?


Wrong? Nothing is wrong with the 2' or 2'6" or 2'9" divisions. The issue though is that those divisions (plus 3' and even 3'3") historically have been the backbone of the B shows. Again, I haven't read SS's article. I am guessing, though, that she is saying that people shouldn't be at shows until they are ready to win -- and since she and I are about the same age, I am guessing that she means "ready to win [in the recognized divisions]".

Having divisions with such low jump heights at recognized shows (much less AA shows) is a new phenomenon. Historically, the divisions started at 3'6". If you wanted to show at the big shows, you had to be good enough to jump 3'6". -- I.e., you had to 'earn' your way to those shows. Merely writing a check was not enough to get there. Hours in the saddle and a certainl level of proficiency were a prerequisite to showing at Ox Ridge, Fairfield, Warrenton, Upperville, WEF, or any other A show.

Yes, a lot of people who wanted to show were not good enough to go. But they had a goal -- and, if they kept working hard and really learned to ride, then they would be good enough to show at a big show.

I remember my first year on the A circuit with my junior hunter. I was 14 and I was SO proud to be showing there with the big name juniors. No, I didn't win much that year, but I didn't expect to. I had to earn my way to a ribbon. They only gave out 6 and each one was a treasure.

Being an exhibitor at a big show used to really mean something. Now it only means that the person has enough money to cover expenses.

That is the issue over which the "old guard" and the newer exhibitors are seeing from different perspectives.

mroades
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:42 PM
as an aside..I judged a "walk medal final" a couple of years ago....it really can't get any more dumbed down than that, right???

akrogirl
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:44 PM
as an aside..I judged a "walk medal final" a couple of years ago....it really can't get any more dumbed down than that, right???

How about a "lead-line medal final"? ;-)

War Admiral
Nov. 8, 2011, 08:44 PM
as an aside..I judged a "walk medal final" a couple of years ago....it really can't get any more dumbed down than that, right???

:eek::lol::lol::lol:

infiniti898
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:02 PM
The author of that article writes from the perspective of a big barn owner/BNT. Nothing wrong with that, but it's certainly one reason why they propose keeping the "top" shows somewhat exclusive.

That said, I'd certainly be in favor of bringing back the B and C shows if they offered quality competition and if they were patronized by quality trainers. The reason that a lot of those shows disappeared was that they started offering neither of those things. You don't have to be a top rider to know the difference between good footing and crappy footing, decent judges or somebody's brother in law... and frankly for what a lot of us pay to play, we don't want to be relegated to some second string assistant trainer who offers all of the expenses of their BNT boss but not much of the benefit.

I am a typical working adult amateur and I don't have any HOTY aspirations; I am the *perfect* candidate for smaller A and B shows, where I could compete on a weekend without having to take a ton of vacation time or abandon my family responsibilities to head off to some big circuit. But just because my time and resources are limited does not mean I am willing to take my nice horse to a show that doesn't provide decent amenities, nice jumps, good judges etc.

At one time, I showed a lot and was very involved in our sport. I participated on (then-AHSA) committees, volunteered on the Board of my state H/J Association, etc. I don't do any of that now, and I quit showing after last year because it just stopped being any fun. I was spending a fortune - both in time AND in money - and it got old feeling like I was routinely treated as a second class citizen. I put that money toward other things - like family vacations - and for now, find that is more satisfying. I bet there are lots of others out there like me.

^My sentiments exactly

Dewey
Nov. 8, 2011, 09:07 PM
Having divisions with such low jump heights at recognized shows (much less AA shows) is a new phenomenon. Historically, the divisions started at 3'6". If you wanted to show at the big shows, you had to be good enough to jump 3'6". -- I.e., you had to 'earn' your way to those shows. Merely writing a check was not enough to get there. Hours in the saddle and a certainl level of proficiency were a prerequisite to showing at Ox Ridge, Fairfield, Warrenton, Upperville, WEF, or any other A show.

Very true. The only A shows I ever attended growing up in the 70s were as a spectator, but there were no crossrails or short stirrup divisions there. There was a good B or C show (I don't really know which) in my hometown that I and my fellow Pony Clubbers attended every year. That was a real event for us. Even that show had no crossrail or 2' divisions. Hunters had to compete over an outside course.

People who weren't strong riders or who didn't have fancy horses did little local schooling shows, worked through the ranks in Pony Club, or joined 4-H. That's what I did. My high point was competing at a PC Regional Rally. I never dreamed of riding at an A show. I sure loved watching them, though!

snaffle635
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:19 PM
The reason BNTs bring all their clients to AA shows: sometimes it comes down to time.

Say you have a barn full of clients - half show in rated divisions and half show in lower divisions. It's more convenient for the barn (and the clients) to send ALL the clients to the same show, rather than sending half to the AA show one week and the B/C show the following week. Many clients have horses that show in rated divisions with their pro, but unrated divisions with the owner, so it's more convenient for them to be at the same show.

I ride at a fairly small barn - 25-30 client/show/sale horses. The barn goes to 12-15 shows a year. If we had to split the clients into showing AA and B shows, we'd need to double the number of shows - which would put a huge burden on our trainers, grooms, and clients. It's more convenient and economical (and frankly more fun) for all of us to go to the same show.

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:30 PM
(snip)

And at the end of the day, if you are still certain that you need to show at the AA level to receive the best instruction, facilities, footing, etc. then be ready to pay for it.

You have it backwards.

I don't care so much about showing at the AA level, but I *DO* want really excellent instruction. And that tends to be offered in barns that frequent the A/AA shows.

Once you've had the opportunity to experience really good teaching and training, it's hard to give up. The trainers who tend to frequent the local schooling shows, at least in my area, don't tend to offer that level of expertise. You don't have to be aiming at the GP ring to know the difference.

There are certainly exceptions. When I lived in GA, I kept my horses at a barn that catered to people (like me) who wanted top quality care and great instruction but who were not in a position to live on the A circuit. It was a great program and I loved it there. I learned a lot, my horses had impeccable care and I could do those local PSJ shows on the weekends without having to quit my day job. I do think there is a market for that sort of program elsewhere, and I think that those are the types of programs that it will take to make the B & C shows attractive to my demographic.

mroades
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:15 PM
You have it backwards.

I don't care so much about showing at the AA level, but I *DO* want really excellent instruction. And that tends to be offered in barns that frequent the A/AA shows.

Once you've had the opportunity to experience really good teaching and training, it's hard to give up. The trainers who tend to frequent the local schooling shows, at least in my area, don't tend to offer that level of expertise. You don't have to be aiming at the GP ring to know the difference.

There are certainly exceptions. When I lived in GA, I kept my horses at a barn that catered to people (like me) who wanted top quality care and great instruction but who were not in a position to live on the A circuit. It was a great program and I loved it there. I learned a lot, my horses had impeccable care and I could do those local PSJ shows on the weekends without having to quit my day job. I do think there is a market for that sort of program elsewhere, and I think that those are the types of programs that it will take to make the B & C shows attractive to my demographic.

And to throw another wrench in the works...that was my niche market, and I ended up NOT being able to afford to keep doing it. In order to not scrimp on those important things, I would have had to raise my rates to a level that then eliminates this group...SIGH

ynl063w
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:28 PM
Having divisions with such low jump heights at recognized shows (much less AA shows) is a new phenomenon. Historically, the divisions started at 3'6". If you wanted to show at the big shows, you had to be good enough to jump 3'6". -- I.e., you had to 'earn' your way to those shows. Merely writing a check was not enough to get there. Hours in the saddle and a certainl level of proficiency were a prerequisite to showing at Ox Ridge, Fairfield, Warrenton, Upperville, WEF, or any other A show.

Having grown up showing the A circuit in the late 70s/early-mid 80s, this is true. But back then (at least in Zone 2), most (MOST, not ALL) juniors stayed on ponies until they aged out (or just quit). And let's not fool ourselves, the 3'6" divisions could be pretty scary to watch back then. It seems to me that a lot of the old timers here are not good at recalling THAT factor.

I agree that there are certainly negative aspects to the changes that have gotten us to where we are today with regards to show hunters, but the ones who complain the most seem to be wearing rose colored glasses when it comes to reminiscing about the past.

Life is about change. So many who post on this board seem not to understand that. If those who really care about the way things are today would stop focusing so much on the past, and expend that energy on finding a positive path forward given the differences between then and now, we might actually get somewhere.

ALLIGORY
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:44 PM
How can you sit and watch those clearly overfaced turn the course into a lumberyard? Are we forgetting what is good for that HORSE in the name of giving everybody a chance?????

Like the idea of eliminating Regionals in light of the dropping numbers and putting a qualifying round on Saturday to let the cream rise and not kill the rest of them-or get those horses clobbered by one too many rails, bad distances and awkward landings.

Can still run 2 rounds and your flat on Sunday for those that get past Saturday.

For that matter, how about requiring a little more challenge in getting qualified and not bowing to lazy show managment that does not want to move any fences and/or is afraid people will not like actual, legal fence height/spread/step and shun their future shows in favor of one they can win at?

Maybe I am unclear about your point, if it is that the horribly underqualified in the medal rounds either, waste our time by entering the class or ruin the horse by leaving toothpicks for fences I can assure you that neither of those things happened in Harrisburg or Lexington. In fact the classes went along as they typically do, some had one stop and some had two for an elimination, others had spots that were a bit dicey but rode smoothly over the rest of the course and then there were those that had everything come up just right and excelled . Pretty much the same outcome of every finals since the class was instituted. I think that narrowing the field from the beginning does not allow for the certainty that horses being horses and humans being human will behave outside of the predictable expectation on any given day.
If the bar is to raised a notch to draw only the elite riders and horses then management would be compelled to sell seats to an audience as it has been done for the world cup finals and weg.
That is a business model that has yet to transpire here in the US.

Moesha
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:54 PM
Having grown up showing the A circuit in the late 70s/early-mid 80s, this is true. But back then (at least in Zone 2), most (MOST, not ALL) juniors stayed on ponies until they aged out (or just quit). And let's not fool ourselves, the 3'6" divisions could be pretty scary to watch back then. It seems to me that a lot of the old timers here are not good at recalling THAT factor.

I agree that there are certainly negative aspects to the changes that have gotten us to where we are today with regards to show hunters, but the ones who complain the most seem to be wearing rose colored glasses when it comes to reminiscing about the past.

Life is about change. So many who post on this board seem not to understand that. If those who really care about the way things are today would stop focusing so much on the past, and expend that energy on finding a positive path forward given the differences between then and now, we might actually get somewhere.

Great post, it is true about the ponies, many of my friends didn't continue if the outgrew their larges, some tried to find children's horses ( it was around in the 80's) but only 2 of us in my group went on to the junior hunters and I agree people seem to forget so much of what was wrong back then too. I dont think we can go back to the way things were, and I dont know if we want to, so many people showing, so many different circuits, so much diversity, I don't know what can change things, certainly for many of us taking 4 days off a few times a month not mentioning long distance circuits like Vermont, or Florida or Michigan for example, is not possible on a continous basis year after year with everything else we are responsible for, in our lives. Besides practicality for big barns, there is a whole lifestyle issue that goes with the bigger circuits many riders want that as well..they wont go to shows that seem lathargic in comaprision...

Peggy
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:15 AM
And to throw another wrench in the works...that was my niche market, and I ended up NOT being able to afford to keep doing it. In order to not scrimp on those important things, I would have had to raise my rates to a level that then eliminates this group...SIGHAnd to throw yet another wrench into it, this is a group that's likelier to be affected by the economy to the point of deciding not to show, or to only do shows where they can haul in for the day to save money, or just to get out of horses entirely. Based on my trips to AA shows (or whatever they're called now), the high-end group is doing just fine, floating along in their cloud above the monetary ups and downs that affect others. Some of the smaller one-day shows (local or very regional) seem not to have been affected as much as the two-day county-level shows that, IMHO, are better run with better footing.

I've been lucky enough, twice now, to end up with a trainer that is easily capable of doing the larger shows but doesn't want to for whatever reason.

Personal Champ
Nov. 9, 2011, 09:23 AM
A WALK Medal?! Holy Crap!

We had a suggestion for a ground pole division. A DIVISION. Not a class, not an unrecognized (to our local circuit association) class... a DIVISION. I almost died. Our crossrail division (yes!) is 18". If you can't handle that, stay home and spend $$ on lessons!

akrogirl
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:10 AM
A WALK Medal?! Holy Crap!

We had a suggestion for a ground pole division. A DIVISION. Not a class, not an unrecognized (to our local circuit association) class... a DIVISION. I almost died. Our crossrail division (yes!) is 18". If you can't handle that, stay home and spend $$ on lessons!

That is often the biggest division at our local shows, and recognized by our local association for year end awards!!! Walk, trot flat classes with walk, trot over poles for the "o/f" part. Half the kids can't even steer, and so many just walk that the classes take forever. Heck, I have seen some of the kids being led over the poles!

Dewey
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:56 AM
That is often the biggest division at our local shows, and recognized by our local association for year end awards!!! Walk, trot flat classes with walk, trot over poles for the "o/f" part. Half the kids can't even steer, and so many just walk that the classes take forever. Heck, I have seen some of the kids being led over the poles!

:eek: Now I know you are kidding me. This cannot be true.

akrogirl
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:18 AM
:eek: Now I know you are kidding me. This cannot be true.

The show results and points are available on-line ;-)

Dewey
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:22 AM
The show results and points are available on-line ;-0

Unreal! Susie Schoellkopf's request to "raise the bar" takes on a new meaning.

magnolia73
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:29 AM
It seems like now, you have to be perfect to win and be competitive and there is no room for error. It almost seems like "why bother" if you can't be perfect, while in the past, we'd move up and flounder around for a few shows.,.. or seasons, having stops, pulling rails, adding in the lines. It is not unreasonable to expect someone to go to the Maclay and be overfaced, and I don't think it is awful or mindblowing for a horse to have a few stops, some bad distances and a rail or two.

So we never let people struggle or have bad trips any more so we have umpteen divisions so everyone can succeed.

It used to be that "real shows" even just local shows did not have crossrails- in the 80's- our local divisions started at 2'3, A shows 3' (unless ponies). Crossrails and learning about shows were accomplished at in barn shows where you learned. You didn't haul to do crossrails. You didn't wear a show coat. You showed up one Saturday and jumped around on a schoolie. Then eventually you were allowed to go show the 2'3 locally and if you had two stops and fell off, you came back the next week or month and did the 2'3 again and again until you mastered it, then you moved up and so on.

findeight
Nov. 9, 2011, 12:19 PM
Having given this a little more thought...we have 2 issues here. OK, 3. Little long, bear with me.

#1...Offer everything to everybody so there is "No horse left behind". Take the KHP as an example, grown from 3 or 4 rings back when I moved here 16 years ago to 8. A AA show 2 or 3 weekends every month May to September and now several A's in the Winter with the Alltech Indoor. All the way down to 2'6" as a rule with even lower getting more common. Because that is what local trainers want and show support for-even though costs have quadrupled for their clients.

The mileage rule has forced many of the areas long running smaller single A and B rated shows to drop their ratings and many have just disappeared due to losing everybody from 2'6" up. If they want to stay in business, they are trapped into wannabe speed bump and pole classes, they can't fill anything else.
At least 3 of the nicer leased venues no longer host H/J shows, rated or unrated as entries do not support the lease fee. They continue booking almost every weekend with Western shows and events.

#2...The talent pool of quality assistants with actual experience jumping 3' and over who are willing to stay home and teach and/or go to some local shows is getting pretty shallow. The good ones want to go on the road and ride the big sticks, not teach. The ones that stay home and teach are questionable for the intermediate level rider trying to move up to 3' needing insightful instruction, not fund and provide a horse for on the job training at BNT barn prices. If that at home assistant does not get quality 3'+ rides provided and earn income teaching that 3'+ rider-they aren't moving up. Competent stay at home 3'6" teaching is just about non exsistent and local shows haven't been able to fill them for some time. most no longer offer them.

Vicious circle partially answered by dropping the 3' AA and kids Hunter from 3' to 3'3" as it was when I showed to 2'9" to 3' and even the 2'6" to a far more "friendly" course.

#3...and most pervasive is our society leaning more and more towards that everybody is OK, no winners or losers, everybody plays equal time and no score keeping sports theory.

Used to be you went to bigger shows and learned by watching the winners, you knew they were good because...they won. Used to be you lost and looked at the winner and what they did better then you did then you worked to improve that.

Not so much anymore, we just restrict the winner out of the class or create a new one with lower "fences" so everybody can "win". Don't believe it? Just think of some of the threads we get on here-especially the "that's no fair" ones.

Got no answers but it is getting to be there is no place else to show and alot are priced out with the demise of the good local circuits. There simply are no rungs on the mid level of that ladder any more, stepping up the way we used to is gone. Plus society does not value excellence as it once did.

Probably best to deal with things as they are, not as they once were.

showmom858
Nov. 9, 2011, 12:34 PM
findeight - "Used to be you lost and looked at the winner and what they did better then you did then you worked to improve that."

Just want to let you know that there are still people around that do this. My D is one of them. She did not make it to Maclay finals, but 2 of the top 10 kids (at Maclay finals) she competed against all last year in the medals and jr hunters. D spends her time at every horse show watching the rounds of her competitors so that she knows what the winning riders are doing well and she works to improve herself.

findeight
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:10 PM
Not saying everybody is like that, sure there are good people out there.

But lower and mid level trainers particularly are today much more likely to just find another class for the underprepared rider-and we keep creating more and more of them so that trainer never has to TELL THE TRUTH. If one does, they lose the client to one that is "nicer".

They fail to point out the idea is to improve and step up, and the steps are disappearing.

rugbygirl
Nov. 9, 2011, 02:09 PM
It is not unreasonable to expect someone to go to the Maclay and be overfaced, and I don't think it is awful or mindblowing for a horse to have a few stops, some bad distances and a rail or two.

I agree. If you want to develop a sport, you really need to kill the attitude of "you shouldn't even BE here if you can't WIN."

You can't achieve the top level of competition without top level competition. Very few sports are the type where you can just start winning at the top level, right out of the gate.

Look at other sports, worldwide. Take Rugby, where the recently finished World Cup was won by...well, it wasn't exactly an upset ;) You can guess in under five guesses who will win the World Cup and be right.

You know what though? There ARE upsets in some of the earlier pool matches. That didn't used to happen. For many, many years, countries that are not Rugby powers have been able to send teams to the World Cup with qualifications from their other leagues...though it is well understood that those leagues are not of equal caliber. That opportunity to play in the World Cup though, to know that you WILL get a chance to face the very best...that's what inspires athletes at all levels of the sport to exceed their current limits. It encourages high level coaches to move to non-power countries and spread knowledge (my local-level coach in High School was a New Zealander.)

It takes a long, long time to develop an entire sport. I mean, in New Zealand rugby is deeply ingrained in the CULTURE. In Canada, most people can't tell the difference between League, Union and Sevens! It takes a long time and a solid vision from the top levels to allow the sport to develop. If New Zealanders moaned about Canada being "allowed" in the World Cup because they are never going to win...that would effectively kill all of the positive strides Canadian rugby takes. And it has taken great strides! But the Canadian team does not enter the Tournament to win, not yet. They set goals for scores, individual games, turnover percentages. Attainable steps as part of a larger vision to EVENTUALLY having a World contender team.

On the other hand, New Zealand wants to develop THEIR game too. And they are on another level. The National Team plays annual tournaments in closed leagues, and invitational games...where their competitors are their equals.


The big issue I see in Canada with the sport of riding, and a major reason that I don't have any particular goals about my own, is that there is NO vision. Trainers want wins, and they want them right now. They seem to figure that ribbons will ensure continued business. My last trainer literally COULD NOT UNDERSTAND that I would rather place last in a 3' class than place first in the Novice 18" class. She had no problem with calling me a "Novice" when I'd been entering that class for THREE YEARS. She had riders entering Novice who had been doing the same class, on the same horse for FIVE YEARS. My horse was not a 3' winning Hunter. Never. Not even at our Gold shows. We COULD put together a clean course, in nice rhythm, with lead changes though. THAT was what I worked toward with him! Ribbons are nice, but challenging myself is nicer. I ride to ride, not because there is any real value in winning. I like to show, it's fun. I like to do my best. You kill a lot of opportunities for development when the experienced people in a sport consider my best "not good enough to be here." And then the ultimate in slaps to the face..."don't they care about their HORSES?" Yeah, we do...and you know what? Regardless of what you think you saw in the show ring, and were heartily disgusted with...it was still just a snapshot. Trying to make a judgment so sweeping from that one snapshot is pretty disgusting.


The elitist attitude is pretty well what has caused the chasm between "recreational" and FEI...and is a major reason there is VERY little development actually happening in the sport of showjumping. It seems to be how the top levels want it. That's fine, which is why I would be perfectly happy with having an "elite" show organization with entrance requirements...SEPARATE from the one that everyone can enter. Make trainers qualify to enter the elite show realm. Make them qualify EVERY YEAR. The way the sport exists currently, you're not ever going to get top-level candidates from us regular folk. Ever.

You want to raise the bar? For real? Then for a while it needs to be lowered. But continuing to drop it until it hits the ground just demonstrates that there is no respect for the lower level competitors. A WALK medal? That's all you expect out of those people? Gosh, a reasoned, balanced approach...that's so tricky. Much better to take everything to ridiculous, all-or-nothing extremes. That's ALWAYS effective :(

mroades
Nov. 9, 2011, 02:41 PM
Not saying everybody is like that, sure there are good people out there.

But lower and mid level trainers particularly are today much more likely to just find another class for the underprepared rider-and we keep creating more and more of them so that trainer never has to TELL THE TRUTH. If one does, they lose the client to one that is "nicer".

They fail to point out the idea is to improve and step up, and the steps are disappearing.


THIS!!!!!!

Linny
Nov. 9, 2011, 04:11 PM
The problem is that when the bigger outfits within any given region abandon the Bs and Cs, those circuits fall apart leaving the riders and trainers a tier below them with nothing appropriate to their level and budget. When the trainers that had some A clients and some C clients and some young horses coming along used the C's for their babies and youngsters and only went to A's with their elite those C's and B's usually were solid and competitive and forced riders and trainers to improve to win but did so without the costs in time and money.
I hear people complaining about showing because they have only A shows that involved huge shipping fees and day rates and stalls etc. (Please don't insist that every ammy go get a rig and ship in or learn to braid etc. It's not happenin';)) The alternative is often a poor quality locals hosted by the trainers that don't have any clients with A show wallets.

Some areas a blessed to have a very solid "2nd tier" and the ability to host good shows but other areas are seeing a huge divide between the over priced A's and the horrifying locals.

Pony+ an inch
Nov. 9, 2011, 04:56 PM
When I hear people complaining about showing because they have only A shows that involved huge shipping fees and day rates and stalls etc. (Please don't insist that every ammy go get a rig and ship in or learn to braid etc. It's not happenin';)) The alternative is often a poor quality locals hosted by the trainers that don't have any clients with A show wallets.

Some areas a blessed to have a very solid "2nd tier" and the ability to host good shows but other areas are seeing a huge divide between the over priced A's and the horrifying locals.

This. In Zone 4, GA particularly, the local state circuit is pretty gosh darn good. PSJ is a blessing. GIHP can and has been used for countless local shows, and it's great to show out there. However, in Zone 5? In Kentucky? The local shows can be traumatizing to any young horse and any timid young (or old like me) rider. There are a few in the area that are wonderful class acts like at Ballyhigh and a couple that Robert Murphy puts on at KHP, but otherwise you're left with Lakeside, which tries, but usually facilities and quality of competition hinders it greatly.

I honestly wonder what would happen if there was a height divide for the hunters--3' and under at B and C shows; 3' and up at the A's. Most people with a 3'6'' hunter don't do locals/B/C shows because the divisions don't fill normally--or they don't fill as much as they would at an A show. The Childrens and Ammies could have their pick between the B/C and A shows. There are CLEARLY some winning, six figure 3' hunters that can afford to do the A's. And then there are some marvelous 3' hunters who are either green, or perhaps win more in suitability than in the looks department but stand a chance at ribbons with a consistent trip at a B/C show. The pre-greens could stay at the A's while unrated 3' open classes could be at the B/C's. The childrens' ponies could stay at B/C shows while the greens/regulars did the A's.

Additionally, in this fantasy world of mine that I'm working on, I think it would be great for the states to step up and support the prestige in the lower divisions. Why not let the prestige of the 3' divisions and under just stay in state? I still get confused about the purpose of zones, apart from sorting out everybody for the eq qualifiers.

These, of course, are merely ideas I'm throwing out. I do think there needs to be entire restructuring of what classes go on at an A show and what classes go on a B/C show. Once that can be defined, then I think show managements can work out their price points.

And I do think good, reputable trainers will go to both B/C and A shows, because they will have both type of clients and will want to make money best they can. A show is a show, and they can charge whatever the heck they want for coaching, daycare, etc to both the B/C and A show folks. The difference will be in the entry fees/overall SHOW bill for the B/C show in comparison to an A show.

I don't know about other ammies, but personally? I don't mind if the Adult Ams don't pay. If there's an Adult Classic for x amount of money, that's usually good enough for me; I don't need more. Give me good prizes instead to go with my good memories! If there's less prize money offered, surely then a show can be more affordable to put on at the B/C level? Or is it more complicated than that?

Linny
Nov. 9, 2011, 05:33 PM
Unless the B's and C's are good, they are not going to do much to help a young horse or green rider up the ranks. How is my green horse helped by going to a show where every fence is a plain brown rail suspended on plain brown simple standards. He gets to HITS and even a 2'6 baby class looks like a massive step up.
Riders don't get much help cantering twice around in a tiny ring that only allows for 5 strides down the lines. They get to the rusty stirrup at HITS and are dazzled by all the space and fancy fences.
It's the riders/horses/trainers who are a notch or two below the best that have lost out by losing the mid levels. For some they were stepping stones but for many constrained by both financial and opportunity costs, the B's and C's were the levels you aspired to. Those riders are now the "filler" at the A's, paying entries and day rates knowing full well that their very very best will very likely not get them any award. The same people could be getting some satisfaction at lesser shows and be thus in the running for affiliate year end awards, with the same performances if they had mid level circuits.

I work in racing where there are many levels between the modest maiden claimer and the Breeders' Cup. Horses can go up and down the levels. In the showing environment there really are not alot of steps (in many areas) between the weakest and the strongest competitions.

Pony+ an inch
Nov. 9, 2011, 05:50 PM
Unless the B's and C's are good, they are not going to do much to help a young horse or green rider up the ranks. How is my green horse helped by going to a show where every fence is a plain brown rail suspended on plain brown simple standards. He gets to HITS and even a 2'6 baby class looks like a massive step up.
Riders don't get much help cantering twice around in a tiny ring that only allows for 5 strides down the lines. They get to the rusty stirrup at HITS and are dazzled by all the space and fancy fences.
It's the riders/horses/trainers who are a notch or two below the best that have lost out by losing the mid levels. For some they were stepping stones but for many constrained by both financial and opportunity costs, the B's and C's were the lBevels you aspired to. Those riders are now the "filler" at the A's, paying entries and day rates knowing full well that their very very best will very likely not get them any award. The same people could be getting some satisfaction at lesser shows and be thus in the running for affiliate year end awards, with the same performances if they had mid level circuits.

I work in racing where there are many levels between the modest maiden claimer and the Breeders' Cup. Horses can go up and down the levels. In the showing environment there really are not alot of steps (in many areas) between the weakest and the strongest competitions.

Well then can regulations be set to keep decent caliber of the B/C shows? The B/C shows I have attended in the last six years have been good ones but with less prize money offered. Like you and a few others have mentioned previously, depending on where you live truly seems to determine the quality of the local and b/c shows.

And your point about the fillers trying their very best but most likely not getting any reward is why I would want to see a new format and better regulations on quality control (in regards to show management) if at all possible. Pouring out 1k+ for a weekend of showing on a nice hunter but not the ribbon winner in 30+ company is not what I want to be partaking in, nor can I really afford to.

Dewey
Nov. 9, 2011, 05:56 PM
Unless the B's and C's are good, they are not going to do much to help a young horse or green rider up the ranks. How is my green horse helped by going to a show where every fence is a plain brown rail suspended on plain brown simple standards. He gets to HITS and even a 2'6 baby class looks like a massive step up.
Riders don't get much help cantering twice around in a tiny ring that only allows for 5 strides down the lines. They get to the rusty stirrup at HITS and are dazzled by all the space and fancy fences.
It's the riders/horses/trainers who are a notch or two below the best that have lost out by losing the mid levels. For some they were stepping stones but for many constrained by both financial and opportunity costs, the B's and C's were the levels you aspired to. Those riders are now the "filler" at the A's, paying entries and day rates knowing full well that their very very best will very likely not get them any award. The same people could be getting some satisfaction at lesser shows and be thus in the running for affiliate year end awards, with the same performances if they had mid level circuits.

I work in racing where there are many levels between the modest maiden claimer and the Breeders' Cup. Horses can go up and down the levels. In the showing environment there really are not alot of steps (in many areas) between the weakest and the strongest competitions.
Wow, where are you located? The PSJ shows referenced earlier have beautiful jumps and facilities. Even our little unrated circuit here in south Georgia has much nicer jumps and facilities than what you're describing.

S A McKee
Nov. 9, 2011, 06:02 PM
Well then can regulations be set to keep decent caliber of the B/C shows? The B/C shows I have attended in the last six years have been good ones but with less prize money offered. Like you and a few others have mentioned previously, depending on where you live truly seems to determine the quality of the local and b/c shows.

.

Starting on 12/1 all H/J shows will need to comply with a new set of regulations implemented by USEF (based on USHJA input) that regulate standards for Local C, B ,A and AA shows.

http://www.ushja.org/images/show_standards_LR.pdf

Going forward shows won't be able to renew their USEF license unless they meet the new standards.

As a point of fact in Zone 2 MOST of the shows ARE C and B rated.
http://www.ushja.org/content/committees/zones/zone2about.aspx

While this mix isn't true in every zone the majority of shows in Zone 2 are quite nice and with the new rules they will have to be at least at the standards or risk losing their license.

Giddy-up
Nov. 9, 2011, 06:13 PM
The problem is that when the bigger outfits within any given region abandon the Bs and Cs, those circuits fall apart leaving the riders and trainers a tier below them with nothing appropriate to their level and budget.

This is what has happened in the area I show in (Chicago). Everything is A or AA rated shows that come with the hefty price tag or you can go show on a local unrated circuit (actually a few of those to pick from now). The few (like 1 or 2) USEF B or C rated shows that are still around don't always end up running. I imagine they will eventually lose their dates & be replaced with more A or AA shows.

I personally would love for the B or C rated shows in our area to happen. I hear about so many 1 day or weekend shows on the east coast that I am envious of. Maybe they aren't perfect, but it's something being offered that I would like the choice of rather than always AA shows & that price tag.

2bayboys
Nov. 9, 2011, 08:02 PM
But all of these suggestions require that the A shows give up their money making divisions to make up the competitors at the B and C level. Why would a big show give up their cash cow divisions? And are there enough exhibitors to support all of these levels?

Jumphigh83
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:25 PM
Linny...."...horrifying locals...." LOL! Tragically true.

Pony+ an inch
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:37 PM
But all of these suggestions require that the A shows give up their money making divisions to make up the competitors at the B and C level. Why would a big show give up their cash cow divisions? And are there enough exhibitors to support all of these levels?

Surely the same managements can host B and C shows, too? They will still make money. In fact they can probably draw in more exhibitors (like from the local state crowd) with lower entry fees and better incentives. Make the A divisions pay more for their classes if they're going to offer as much prize money as they do. As I've said before, those with a 3'6'' + horse typically have the finances to pay it forward, OR they have a talented enough horse to help make money back (I was one of the latter when I did the 3'6'' stuff). And the reason the big shows would give up their cash cow divisions would be due to regulation by USEF (who probably doesn't want to deal with this crap) and USHJA (who should be doing a better job dealing with this crap, albeit it's not easy to sort through).

Also, does anyone know how much more expensive it is to run an A show than a B/C show? Or is it about the same? Obviously putting up the prize money is a factor--but does management have to pay forward extra fees, higher fee to judges?

mroades
Nov. 9, 2011, 11:49 PM
PSJ (one of the aforementioned circuits) runs both AA and local shows. They tried for 2 years to run B rated shows...nobody came.

Linny
Nov. 10, 2011, 10:56 AM
It's cold (or rainy) here much of the year and there is only one nice venue that is not at one of the local barns.

There are a couple of barns that offer great opportunities to show over really nice courses but without a big and nice indoor it's hard to put on a winter show. We are close enough to HITS and Vermont that those shows suck alot of the air out of the local stuff and other shows have to be planned around them or it's just not worth it for barns to host the shows.
Also, when shows are at private barns, not a third party showgrounds, personalities get involved. You get the old "I'm not going to support their show!" attitude which is biting off one's nose to spite their face.
Fact is that if HITS had to give up all it's sub-3' divisions to B's and C's all H<ll would break loose. Tom cannot afford to part with all the income those riders provide.

Another negative about the monster shows is that for riders of modest skill, the only path to improvement is time in the saddle, preferably with good instruction. If everythime you show, Ol' Dobbin is away from Tuesday to Sunday and you cannot take time off from work and family to stay where he is, you are at home horseless and not riding.

As far as the EQ, it seems to me that the qualifying for national competition should be harder. There shouldn't be rails flying and kids falling and such. Sure mistakes will be made and I feel for some of the kids in areas with little BIG EQ action who qualify easily then realize that at home they were big fish in little ponds. Suddenly they get to PA and they are swimming with sharks, not minnows. I think that regionals give the kids/horses "road experience" and a chance to ride against the strongest kids in their zone before going to PA and being a mess.

Neely
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:33 PM
I agree that a well run local show can frequently out-service a big rated shows in many ways. Whether that means having free hot chocolate at the ingate on a blustery day or simply having rings that run on time and don't go into the wee hours... or simply good quality at a more affordable price, there is definitely an opportunity to attract exhibitors who have to fit their riding and showing around otherwise normal lives.

But for those shows to succeed, I think several things would have to happen:

1. The shows would have to offer quality (footing-jumps-courses-officials etc)
2. They have to be supported by good trainers.

Because some of us "hard working but non competitive" amateurs are not interested in paying "hard working but not very competitive trainers" to help us.

Put another way... just because I show at 3' does not mean I am willing to take lessons/training from someone who's never competed higher than 3' or 3'6" themselves. The reason I show at A shows is because that is where my trainers have gone; it's that simple. If there happened to be a similarly accomplished/talented trainer out there who focused on quality local shows instead... I'd be fine with that type of program. But that's not generally the way it works.


If you ride with BNT at home, you should be fairly well prepared to go to the local horse show with Assistant Trainer. A truly good trainer will not send a customer to a horse show with someone unqualified, it's not in their better interests as a professional. Many assistants with BNTs are very experienced individuals themselves, they just might not offer the prestige of the big name. Also, the horse show is not where you are lessoning and getting ground breaking new instruction. You need a competent trainer with good insight who can safely guide you through your day. If you trust BNT, you should trust his judgement and staff. If there are specific compalints against specific trainer, that should be dealt with. But it sounds like part of the issue here is feeling like you are too good to take advice from an assistant. That will not help the cause of these horse shows. Many BNTs can't drop the big shows to focus on the local shows. It would hurt their business. Bad trainers and assistant trainers are not necessarily synonomous!

Dinah-do
Nov. 10, 2011, 12:56 PM
Some of this thread just leaves me wondering. Why is it so hard to take your own horse to a small show to hang out, hack or trot a little course on your own? So much money for board and lessons and you cannot go somewhere on your own? Do you apron string holders ever hope to leave the barn for a trail ride or a clinic or a little show? Is a coach a life long addiction? Just curious.

findeight
Nov. 10, 2011, 02:25 PM
Some of this thread just leaves me wondering. Why is it so hard to take your own horse to a small show to hang out, hack or trot a little course on your own? So much money for board and lessons and you cannot go somewhere on your own? Do you apron string holders ever hope to leave the barn for a trail ride or a clinic or a little show? Is a coach a life long addiction? Just curious.

Lets not change what has been a good discussion of current realities in our industry into trainer bashing.

The reality is very simple- most owners do NOT keep horses at home any more and most owners do NOT own a rig to haul their own horse. They are not going to go buy a farm with barn and arena or borrow low to mid 5 figures to obtain tow vehicle and trailer, insure and gas it up. Oh, if they win the lottery, maybe. The apron strings remark is snarkey and uncalled for when so many have to depend on trainer for horse care and transport whether they want to or not.

It is also hard to go to small shows if they do not exsist in your area. many do not even want to go if they are sketchy and attract sketchier clientele and it still costs several hundred with haul costs. It is real hard to go trail riding if you are urban based and 100 miles from any suitable, public trails.

In all honesty there are plenty of places to "trot little courses'. But how does a rider get from there to 3'6" Medal competence???

IMO this discussion is pointing to a lack of opportunity to step up from around 2'6" to 3'6"+-we are losing or have lost the middle, that goes for riders and emerging trainers as well. That leaves no place for riders to perfect their skills. Either 2'6" on down or 3'6" up...so how to bridge that gap?

I don't think more rules on rated show managers is going to do a thing for unrated shows...and there is no way to force unrated mangers to do anything. And the cost to host even unrated shows is thru the roof with liability and such....it's almost impossible to break even unless they own the facility.

Linny
Nov. 10, 2011, 03:03 PM
In my area the local shows schedule classes at 3' but many times they don't go. Not enough entrants. The 3' hunters are off at HITS or Vermont. There is no reason on earth to own a 3'6 hunter around here unless you plan on getting one good enough to be competitive in Zone 2 as an A/O horse since there hasn't been an A/O division in my local affiliate association in a decade.

Thus no trainers of 2nd tier horses are pressing to get them above 2'9. When I was a kid, lesson horses (not all of them obviosly) carried riders up to the "recognized" level, 3'6. They were usually not "fancy" 3'6ers but they could do it and riders could learn it. Now a student gets to about 2'6 and unless they buy something they stop progressing. This means that today's "3'6 horse" by definition a very fancy horse. The more common horses with some jump are either jumpers or field hunters.

The jumpers are not much more promising and I suspect that kids outside of the best known hotbeds of EQ have a hard time as well. There is a huge gaping hole in the program from 2'6 to 3'6. Vital B and C level shows used to provide a venue for those riders and a reason for trainers to advance them.

Dinah-do
Nov. 10, 2011, 04:09 PM
Sorry if I stepped on someone's toes but I grew up long before the board and supervision days. I never lived on a farm until much later in life. Never owned a trailer or truck until 2001 and knew vets and blacksmiths phone numbers by heart. My parents could never have afforded the show horse industry as it today and yet I rode and showed with some success. Did stalls to work for trailer rides etc. Had never seen a trainer at ringside until after university. I cannot imagine not wanting more independence and wanting to prove to myself that "it can be done". Different times. Different mindset

I have a very old friend that grew up with me - she trains a bit but mostly retired now. She thinks everyone else but trainers are charging too much money and should cut costs ( braiders, show managers, boarding, etc). Funny how that works.

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 10, 2011, 04:51 PM
IMO this discussion is pointing to a lack of opportunity to step up from around 2'6" to 3'6"+-we are losing or have lost the middle, that goes for riders and emerging trainers as well. That leaves no place for riders to perfect their skills. Either 2'6" on down or 3'6" up...so how to bridge that gap?

I don't think more rules on rated show managers is going to do a thing for unrated shows...and there is no way to force unrated mangers to do anything. And the cost to host even unrated shows is thru the roof with liability and such....it's almost impossible to break even unless they own the facility.

Perhaps limiting the number of rated shows might help. In my area, we only have 6 "AA" shows per year within a 150 mile radius. Because of this, our local show circuit is booming. It is fiercely competitive and has proven to bring along very competitive riders. For those who are dedicated rated show competitors, they simply travel. We have about 20+ "AA" shows within 250 miles. Close enough for those rated competitors to easily travel to but far enough that the local circuit can really thrive.

Could you reproduce this in other locations? It would be difficult. Not saying this is necessarily a solution, but it is an interesting observation.

salymandar
Nov. 10, 2011, 04:52 PM
This is a very interesting discussion, with each side having merit and there really aren’t any easy answers, but I will add my experiences to the discussion.

Personally, I like being able to have a choice about what type of shows I attend and I feel fortunate to have grown up and live in an area with abundant A, B, C, and schooling shows that is fairly convenient to major AA shows. As a junior more than 20 years ago, I was able to start out in short stirrup x rails at the local shows and move on up to the pony divisions. I showed for fun and usually found an A, B, or C show within an hour every weekend and I never stabled. Showing was fairly affordable. Even though entry fees have increased since then, I am still able to show fairly affordably compared to other areas in the country since I don’t have to travel huge distances and pay big shipping bills/stalls/splits, etc.

Now, due to increasing development in my area eating up the horse farms and changes in the H/J industry, many of the A, B and C venues of my youth do not exist. Those that are still around, pale in comparison to today’s modern shows and are losing entries to them, particularly in the over 3’ classes. I hope this is just due to the economic down turn and they bounce back soon. Most of these shows are fairly well-run, with good footing, courses, and jumps that provide great opportunities for people testing out showing, moving up, or bring along greenies. But they just don’t have the flash or the facilities to host week or multi-week-long mega shows. I think once people experience the mega shows, the smaller ones, no matter how nice they are, pale in comparison.

I find myself taking a position similar to Lucassb. I am an amateur who likes developing young horses. The likelihood of me ever showing 3’6”, is pretty slim (maybe I am chicken or maybe I just don’t have the $$ by the time my horse is ready). You will most likely find me in the 2’6” to 3’ divisions, but I would hope that if you saw me at a big show, you wouldn’t consider me an Unprepared Ethel with an untrained steed. The B and C circuit would meet my showing goals (local shows are a little too scary for greenies – and me); however, I find it necessary to do a few of the AA shows a year because my trainer goes to them and these venues are just one more step in the education and promotion of my greenie.

I think way back in post 10 of this thread speculation said something very similar to my situation: if your goal is to make up and sell a talented greenie, there is no profit margin in sending it to all the big shows and there are plenty of nicer cheap venues to show those greenies; however, the quality of horses at these shows doesn’t tell buyers much about them. Being able to say it ribboned at HITS in the baby or pre greens out of 20+ does more for the horse than saying it was champion every week at XYZ Schooling show out of 3. So for me, the offering of a 2’6” or 2’9” division or two at these shows is extremely helpful. Until the B and C circuit becomes an acceptable place to develop a young, talented horse, these horses do need to develop a record and be seen at the bigger shows.

I also agree with Lucassb, in that when you know what good training is, you do not want to be training with an assistant who has less experience than you do (and it is not because I am super dependent on my trainer, but I value the depth of their experience to help me prevent or get through problems).

Since I work primarily with young horses with the goal of resale, I find that it is important to have a good trainer to work with and to get them the right kind of exposure. These two requirements often necessitate trips to the larger shows. If, however, I was less experienced or had no aspirations beyond 2’6” with a packer or less talented horse, you would not see me at an AA. If my child was showing pre-childrens or was less competitive in the childrens and under you would not see them at an AA, either. In my opinion, you can get much better value at the B and C shows for that level of showing. And yes, I might have to rethink my choice of trainer, if that were the case.

MHM
Nov. 10, 2011, 05:38 PM
I think way back in post 10 of this thread speculation said something very similar to my situation: if your goal is to make up and sell a talented greenie, there is no profit margin in sending it to all the big shows and there are plenty of nicer cheap venues to show those greenies; however, the quality of horses at these shows doesn’t tell buyers much about them. Being able to say it ribboned at HITS in the baby or pre greens out of 20+ does more for the horse than saying it was champion every week at XYZ Schooling show out of 3. So for me, the offering of a 2’6” or 2’9” division or two at these shows is extremely helpful. Until the B and C circuit becomes an acceptable place to develop a young, talented horse, these horses do need to develop a record and be seen at the bigger shows.

In a more perfect world, the green horse could get some early show miles at the nice unrecognized shows, or the B or C shows, so that it can learn the ropes of life as a show horse for a somewhat reasonable financial investment. ("OMG, I have to go in the ring and jump the course by myself?!? Without the other horses?!? And is that a golf cart over there?? And a plastic bag blowing past the ring?!?" :lol:)

Then once the green horse is ready to be competitive, it could go to the bigger A or AA shows to get a record that will be meaningful to prospective buyers.

That's only possible if you have access to some decent smaller shows in your area.

foursocks
Nov. 10, 2011, 07:45 PM
I really think that it is about where you live and what you have access to there. Someone asked about bad footing- the last show I went to had such bad footing (hard and super-dusty) I am amazed any of the horses at that farm are sound. I went there to take my greenie to a show and see what he thought of it. It worked in that sense, but the level of competition was so low as to be non-existent. We only went in a couple of classes and then went home because it began thundering but I got Reserve Champion in the Adult Eq. on a horse who, in one class, picked up the wrong lead *in front of the judge.* :lol:

This is very common around here- the local circuits have not much above 2'6", no jumper classes, and the competition is extremely fierce in such divisions as trot poles. Some of the venues are wonderful, with well-designed courses, decent judging, and good footing, and some are the opposite.

Many of the jumper schooling shows are fairly terrible- and there really aren't very many of them. So for those of us with green jumpers we have very few good choices outside of A-level shows to get any mileage that would be preparation for higher level competition. I have a truck and trailer, which means I can ship to farther-off destinations, but I am lucky and a rarity among those of us who are ammies boarding their horses.

I know why the B and C shows have fallen by the wayside, and I am not sure how to get them back, but I am another who remembers the days when the B circuit was a viable place to live for a while until you were able to move up to 3'6", or to stay in forever. Great venues, great prizes, prestige, and solid competition. Of course there were lots of bad things about the days before HITS, etc., but the variety of shows and levels available was certainly not one of them.