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Aussie08
Dec. 12, 2011, 03:09 PM
I wanted to let all of you out there that are involved with the FEH program or are thinking of participating in 2012 that there are some very interesting things happening.

Like many of you, I have been 'worried' that the judging of the FEH classes and the program in general was getting too close to the USDF program and that we were not getting judged as future Eventers.

I had written a letter to the FEH Chair of the USEA and also looked into who she was, Susan Graham-White. Now, on first seeing that, in her personal life, she is a Dressage Rider/Trainer, I was a little worried. But, I sent my letter voicing both my support and concerns for the program and hoped that she'd share the letter with her fellow committee members and discuss them in their closed door meetings. And I got a very nice response from her.

When I attended the USEA Convention this past weekend, I was very pleasantly surprised and happy to discover that Susan Graham-White is an avid supporter of Eventing (having Evented in the past) and is also a Sport Horse Judge and the presentation she gave, gave me full confidence in the leadership of the FEH program.

There are some changes that, on initially hearing them probably, will give people that were not in on the meetings a bit of a scare. They are trying to give the program more structure, give horses 'points' for their records and open it to a wider audience. They will NOT be taking it totally out of the hands of the USEA but they are considering tying it to the USEF and USDF programs. They will still be Future Event Horse Classes and judged by Sport Horse Judges.

Before you get all upset with the direction they are leaning, keep an open mind and keep supporting the program but be involved. Read everything they make available and help them as they moved forward.

They have added new people to the committee that have experience with young horses and showing (as well as experience with showing young horses in other countries) and since this is a young program that is working with no resources, it will take time.

Let's be patient and try and assist them where we can, offer constructive suggestions and input from those of us that are or want to participate with our young horses.

Tazzie
Dec. 12, 2011, 03:44 PM
Great post, thank you for sharing that.

SuZQuzie
Dec. 12, 2011, 04:52 PM
I fully support the FEH program, financially and competitively, and hope that it continues to modify itself into a workable and effective program.

What I would personally love to see is something like the BEF's Futurity program: a union of all three Olympic disciplines looking for tomorrow's top horses. The most interesting part about the program is that, if you breed for an event horse and get a dressage horse (excellent mover, but not bold to the fences), they will advise you of that.

I wrote a blog post on this the other day, actually, and I feel that it is very relevant to these changes.

http://ontrackforacci1star.blogspot.com/2011/12/be-futurity-program.html

TotB
Dec. 12, 2011, 05:40 PM
Thank you for the update, Aussie08. I kept looking on EN over the last few days hoping for a FEH video or blog post, so it is nice to hear from someone who was there. I worked for Susan Graham White for a year in 2008- 2009 and as an eventer I have full confidence in her ability to design a fantastic program for young event horses. I started one of her three year olds over fences who was eventually sold as a big stick jumper prospect. Susan also thought that he could be an FEI dressage horse, and I felt that he could be a super eventer. Her current top horse who is winning at fourth level right now could easily be an UL eventer. Susan doesn't just look through dressage lenses, she looks for a total sport horse package. Since she isn't mired in the current eventing hierarchy or married to a particular breed I think she is the perfect person to design a program that will unbiasedly find excellent young sport horses for eventing. I too hope everyone will be patient and supportive, and I have a great deal of faith in the current direction of the FEH program.

mythical84
Dec. 12, 2011, 06:03 PM
Ditto everything that TotB said. :-)

I've been riding with Susan since I was a teen, and currently organize monthly clinics with her. She always stresses to me that a sporthorse should be able to succeed in any discipline. And as TotB said, her current horse would probably succeed in any arena. Needless to say, I will be enlisting Susan's help whenever I start shopping for my next horse.

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 12, 2011, 07:20 PM
I fully support the FEH program, financially and competitively, and hope that it continues to modify itself into a workable and effective program.

What I would personally love to see is something like the BEF's Futurity program: a union of all three Olympic disciplines looking for tomorrow's top horses. The most interesting part about the program is that, if you breed for an event horse and get a dressage horse (excellent mover, but not bold to the fences), they will advise you of that.

I wrote a blog post on this the other day, actually, and I feel that it is very relevant to these changes.

http://ontrackforacci1star.blogspot.com/2011/12/be-futurity-program.html

If I remember correctly the reasons given for not including an at liberty portion were liability and fear of limiting venues.

JER
Dec. 12, 2011, 07:47 PM
Aussie08, thanks for the update.

However, I don't really understand what you're saying. You say that you were concerned about the judging being too close to USDF. Then you seem to say that it's a positive development that the FEH program will be 'tied in' to the USDF program.

Huh?

I don't know Susan Graham-White at all (other than by her judging in the FEH) but I'm not encouraged that she's staying on as chair of the program. FEH needs retooling to be a consistent, credible sport horse program.

When you describe Susan Graham-White as dressage rider/trainer but 'avid supporter of eventing', I find myself wishing it was the other way round. Eventing first, in other words.

There are people out there who have proven track records of breeding and/or selecting young UL event prospects. These are the people we can really learn from.

:)

SuZQuzie
Dec. 12, 2011, 09:23 PM
If I remember correctly the reasons given for not including an at liberty portion were liability and fear of limiting venues.

The warmblood inspections seem to have no such qualms. I know that both venues I went to with my young horse would have been able to accommodate an at liberty portion.

Aussie08
Dec. 12, 2011, 10:45 PM
Dear JER

I am not always able to make myself clear when trying to put things in writing and I can see where it would be easy to read that I contradicted myself. Let me try to make it clearer. And please understand that I am speaking for myself and perhaps my few friends that we have shared conversations regarding the FEH program as we have participated with our young horses.

I meant that we worried that our horses were being judged by straight dressage judges that were looking at them as though they were dressage prospects and not that they were Eventing prospects or even sport horse prospects. And most of us feel that Event Horses, overall, move differently and have, shall we say, a different attitude?

The USEF (as I understand it and based on the limited research I have done to date) also have Sport Horse in hand classes and this is where our classes would fall, but they may be held at USDF shows but judged by official Sport Horse Judges not straight Dressage judges. I do know that in Florida there is a new series that I learned of that goes much further than our FEH classes but they are geared to Sport Horse Types, not just Eventers but Jumpers and others as well.

There is no easy answer to suit all of us within the USEA that participate in the FEH but I do believe that it is still evolving and we can only try and support, encourage and work with the powers that be, to make it into a really great program.

Will it make all of us happy, NO, but just look at any thread within this forum (Eventing as a whole) and there are many different opinions and ideas.

I don't know if you were present in the FEH sessions this past weekend, and I can only speak for myself, but I was reassured and am willing and happy to continue to support the program.

And I can't disagree that there are a number of qualified straight Eventers that could head the program. My question is (and I have no idea) how many stepped up to the plate and offered to chair the committee?

Also, Susan Graham-White used to do some Eventing prior to deciding that Dressage is where she wished to be, but she does have many Eventer students etc...and the added bonus that she is also a Sport Horse Judge as opposed to strictly a Dressage judge helps.

Janet
Dec. 12, 2011, 11:49 PM
I have known Susan Graham White for many years, and she spends much more time judging at events (as PoGJ, Show Jumping Judge, as well as Dressage) than at straight dressage shows. She has been a "R" eventing judge, and an FEI eventing judge for many years- she only got her straight dessage "R" this year.

She is far more an Eventing judge than a Dressage judge. In fact, I apprenticed under her as a show jumping judge.

There are plenty of "Eventing only" people on the committee with her.

Aussie08
Dec. 13, 2011, 01:28 AM
Janet

That is very helpful, thank you!

Glenbaer
Dec. 13, 2011, 08:05 AM
With all due respect to everyone and every association (I need a better disclosure)....

In maintaining an objective perspective, as well as a relative sliding scale, I believe the results of the past years' FEH championships speak for themselves in deciding if the program (and therefore, its affiliates and authorities) has been "successful." Granted, myriad factors determine a horse's career path, but I am aware of many FEH winners/champions/high-placers that have been transitioned into pure dressage, jumper, and show-hunter careers. Other winners are having mixed or bad results at the low levels of eventing.

Now, let's look back to the judges; who is picking these horses as the "future event horses" ? I understand the process to become licensed with USEF is quite convoluted. However, being an "avid" eventing supporter, judging dressage, judging show jumping, and being the PoGJ is just not comparable to breeding, breaking, selecting, training, and thoroughly preparing young horses for great success in eventing. (Those who have "been in the trenches" and who have "fought the battles" can be the best guide for future survival, nay, success.)

If I'm completely mistaken in my understanding of the past five years of FEH results, I'd love to be corrected. Could someone please list horses that have been successful in FEH, and are currently on a career track to be solid, successful eventers? Links to USEA records would be appreciated. (I do know of one-- Muggle, the 2007 FEH 3yo champion, stayed in the eventing world and has done well.)

Individuals keep saying that the program is "a work in progress." Why is there an attempt to reinvent the wheel? With available US-based experts, assessments by the *true* proteges of LeGoff, de Nemethy, Steinkraus, Sederholm, Wright, etc, (e.g., Bruce Davidson, JMP, Michael Page, Kevin Freeman, etc) would be easily secured and indescribably valuable for the future generation of horsemen, horses, and riders, nevermind the sport as a whole. I'm willing to wager that with one or two phone calls, the program could essentially be saved.

goodmorning
Dec. 13, 2011, 08:50 AM
With available US-based experts, assessments by the *true* proteges of LeGoff, de Nemethy, Steinkraus, Sederholm, Wright, etc, (e.g., Michael Page, Kevin Freeman, JMP, etc) would be easily secured and indescribably valuable for the future generation of horseman, horses, and riders, nevermind the sport as a whole. I'm willing to wager that with one or two phone calls, the program could essentially be saved.

Do you think people could handle their criticism? They are Great, but, can you imagine the threads started when a true event-horse actually wins vs. My pretty-poopsie ;) Been around to witness someones newly imported, top-dollar-prospect, be told it probably won't work out & to move on. Could see the blood boiling...LOL, having worked with a couple of the aforementioned names, how lucky the FEH people would be, but let's face it, most of the line horses in any ring don't make it in the show world, let alone those a product of this newish program. Commonality exsists in this type of discussion across all disciplines. Besides the right horse-flesh, the right owner & trainer & soundness & health of the horse -- they must all align to have quantitative success eventing.

I also see very little incentive for breeders to breed true event horses. Eventers don't typically pay what everyone else will pay for their horses, and breeders need to breed horses that can move on to another ring to appeal to those that will pay, to have a profitable business. Tough to segment that market.

EventerAJ
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:02 AM
Forgive me...I have never really been to a FEH competition. I understand the overall objective: to select the best event prospects from a given group of unproven young horses.

My question is: how reliable is that, anyway? Can we really expect a set of judges (even HIGHLY qualified ones) to accurately predict an upper level eventer as a yearling? Sure, some slap you upside the head with talent...but you don't truly KNOW you have an upper level horse until you get there, many years down the road.

I've worked the TB sales at Keeneland for years, where purchase price is supposed to reflect apparent likelihood of success in a couple years. The best horsemen in the world at their sport are selecting yearlings or weanlings for a relatively simple sport (go fast and stay sound), out of many generations of purpose-bred bloodlines. They watch them walk, they have full vet reports, and a book filled with accurate pedigree info. And how many "failures" are there? How many flops? How many million-dollar yearlings actually turn out to make it to the top level? And you will still have a rare $5k yearling grow up to be a stakes winner (I know, I've raised one!).

My point is, it's very difficult to predict future success of a young animal. Especially in our sport, where there are so many necessary virtues, not readily apparent at the end of a shank: gallop, soundness, heart, desire to jump large fences that don't fall down. As breeders, at home, you may have a better feel for these qualities seen in your young horses every day. But how is a judge supposed to accurately evaluate it at a show? All they can really see is "good mover, good conformation, good attitude." How is that any different from a good hunter/dressage/sj prospect? At a young age, the world's (future) best eventer could look gawky, an unimpressive mover, and generally not a stand out at all. How is that to compete with a flashy, fancy, floaty mover on his toes because he's a little spooked by the flowers and atmosphere?


I plan to breed my upper level mare down the road (hopefully next year), so the subject interests me. If I ever competed in FEH, it would be as training mileage for the youngster, rather than as a statement on my future horse's potential. Sure, it'd be nice to hear "Lovely young horse, definitely top prospect!" but that statement really means little until the horse is able to prove itself under saddle.

LisaB
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:09 AM
As a recipient of Susan's judging, I will tell you she is a fair judge and not one to give points away to a posh fancy wb that is incorrect over a consistent and correct test. My horse is by no means fancy and I have been nailed by judges who mostly judge dressage and prefer pretty over correct.
I hope she isn't pressured by leaning towards a more dressage type of horse. That would be the only reason I see in the program shifting in that direction.

Janet
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:15 AM
The warmblood inspections seem to have no such qualms. I know that both venues I went to with my young horse would have been able to accommodate an at liberty portion.

Yes, but the locations that host inspections are often not suitable for, or willing to host, open shows. Nor are there enough of them.

sporthorsefilly
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:21 AM
I fully support the FEH program, financially and competitively, and hope that it continues to modify itself into a workable and effective program.

What I would personally love to see is something like the BEF's Futurity program: a union of all three Olympic disciplines looking for tomorrow's top horses. The most interesting part about the program is that, if you breed for an event horse and get a dressage horse (excellent mover, but not bold to the fences), they will advise you of that.

I wrote a blog post on this the other day, actually, and I feel that it is very relevant to these changes.

http://ontrackforacci1star.blogspot.com/2011/12/be-futurity-program.html

I have to totally agree with the blogspot! Judging FEH on the triangle leaves out three of the most important phases of a true event prospect: the canter; the gallop and the jump. To even consider that seeing the horse walk and trot is enough to judge its future, is ridiculous to say the least.

IF FEH judging becomes part of USDF Sport Horse Shows (which are sanctioned by USEF), kiss off on this lasting or being meaningful to the future Event Horse! The USDF Sport Horse Breed Shows reward the DRESSAGE BRED HORSE. I have been to many of these shows over a 5 year period. If the FEH class becomes part of a USDF Sport Horse Breed Show, it will be judged by the SAME judges selected to judge the entire Dressage show. Future Event horse may just end up like an Individual Breed Association class (IBC) and eventually dropped due to lack of participation. The PHR classes died this type of death.

Currently in the Maryland/Virginia/Pennsylvania/New Jersey area we are down from 5+ DSHB shows to just 3, all run by the person who also runs Dressage at Devon. So tell me how this will help showcase the future Event Horse?

There are Dressage Judges who can also judge a horse as a real sport horse (not just as a dressage horse) but they are few and far between. While it is super important to support the FEH program, I have to agree with Glenbaer that we need REAL Eventing people judging this program and not just someone who "used to event," but now is a dressage rider... There are many really top eventer riders out there, and while they may or may not have bred horses, they really know what they would want in an event horse...and seriously, it ain't the fancy, suspention of a dressage trot!!!!!!!!!!

Janet
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:25 AM
I hope she isn't pressured by leaning towards a more dressage type of horse. That would be the only reason I see in the program shifting in that direction.
During the session, there were several horses that she said would score well as a dressage prospects but not as an eventing prospect. And vice versa.

Janet
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:29 AM
Judging FEH on the triangle leaves out three of the most important phases of a true event prospect: the canter; the gallop and the jump. To even consider that seeing the horse walk and trot is enough to judge its future, is ridiculous to say the least.
Are you seriously proposing to jump yearlings? At the show?

JER
Dec. 13, 2011, 10:26 AM
There is no easy answer to suit all of us within the USEA that participate in the FEH but I do believe that it is still evolving and we can only try and support, encourage and work with the powers that be, to make it into a really great program.

Well, okay. But the program just wrapped up its fifth year. I hear those phrases -- 'still evolving', 'a work in progress', 'we must support the program' -- whenever FEH is discussed.

Could someone highlight the 'evolutions' for me? What has changed? How has it changed? How are we closer to our goal in 2011 than we were in 2007?


Why is there an attempt to reinvent the wheel? With available US-based experts, assessments by the *true* proteges of LeGoff, de Nemethy, Steinkraus, Sederholm, Wright, etc, (e.g., Bruce Davidson, JMP, Michael Page, Kevin Freeman, etc) would be easily secured and indescribably valuable for the future generation of horsemen, horses, and riders, never mind the sport as a whole. I'm willing to wager that with one or two phone calls, the program could essentially be saved.

It's a little weird to have a program in place that generates shrugs and eye rolls from knowledgeable people. And it's often followed by some language about 'supporting the program', in a tone that equates it with eating your vegetables or driving a hybrid car. Somehow, it's supposed to be a good thing to do.


Do you think people could handle their criticism? They are Great, but, can you imagine the threads started when a true event-horse actually wins vs. My pretty-poopsie.

I'd prefer relevant criticism to a scoresheet with mostly useless comments.


Forgive me...I have never really been to a FEH competition. I understand the overall objective: to select the best event prospects from a given group of unproven young horses.

My question is: how reliable is that, anyway? Can we really expect a set of judges (even HIGHLY qualified ones) to accurately predict an upper level eventer as a yearling? Sure, some slap you upside the head with talent...but you don't truly KNOW you have an upper level horse until you get there, many years down the road.

If eventing success can't be reliably predicted, why are we bothering with these competitions?

If we're going to have an FEH program, we should start with the idea that talented eventers can be identified at an early age. And they can be, because there are people out there who've done just that as part of their business for years.

Aussie08
Dec. 13, 2011, 11:24 AM
Not to add fuel to the fire but why haven't they stepped up and offered to take over this program. Yes, there are a few new faces on the committee that might fit but this is a program that has no financial support. How many of them are ready and willing to 'donate' their time to save a sinking ship. I urge those of you that know of any, to have them join the FEH program and help.

I am only going into my 3rd year in the FEH and yes it's been going since 2007, its "pilot" year. But look how long programs have been going on in non-US countries. How long did it take them to work out all the 'kinks' and have successful programs?

I'm not a breeder so for me it doesn't mean the same things as it would to those of you that are breeders. And honestly, yes, I do it more for my horses and my, education. To the sport, to the relationship and handling show stresses in a different way. And I find the input I have received very educational. Is my coming 3yr old TB a potentially UL Event Horse? Who knows? Some people think he has what it takes. He has changed so much in the time I've owned him. I'll be happy if he stays sound and is a Fun, Safe Event Horse! LOL

I do think that whoever the judge is on any given day, they can only judge what they see that day and some days are better than others. Just like in the dressage portion of HT's, some time you get gifts and other times...well, how many of us has ALWAYS agreed with our scores.

Thank goodness we Eventers are such different types of people. It makes life interesting, doesn't it?

secretariat
Dec. 13, 2011, 11:37 AM
OP - opening post, who is "they?" Not disagreeing, just trying to understand the statement.

Why are we doing FEH? To expand the eventing participation opportunity to more people, and to reward/attract breeders. When the horse you bred wins Intermediate at Kentucky Classique, does anyone know or recognize this achievement on your behalf?

While I'm an avid OPPONENT of halter classes (look at AQHA as an example of what HALTER has done to a breed), I think that FEH has a valid role in our sport - particularly in light of my second paragraph.

But EventerAJ has an excellent point - it must be performance based and the judging standards continually updated based on performance feedback. I requested, when the program was initiated, that annual statistics be kept and published on FEH results vs eventing performance. After 5 years, this is long past due. I would challenge the FEH committee (or whomever "they" are, in paragraph 1 above) to maintain, analyze, and publish these statistics on an annual basis. Would make a good paper, at a minimum.

BTW, my comments apply to YEH program as well.

Glenbaer
Dec. 13, 2011, 06:32 PM
Not to add fuel to the fire but why haven't they stepped up and offered to take over this program. Yes, there are a few new faces on the committee that might fit but this is a program that has no financial support.

Have they been asked? I know some who would readily give their input if it was sought. But, they also have full-time lives with training and breeding their own horses. If they take time to try to teach people, they expect to be listened to, and their advice followed. No one has time for playing 4H-model-class games.

To echo secretariat, who is "they" ? Who are the new faces? When was info sent out to USEA membership requesting names and individuals to join/apply for the FEH committeee? Who elected/chose the new people?

JER-- I completely understand why the program needs to be changed. ;) What I was trying to convey is that eventing isn't exactly a new sport; a young-horse program shouldn't have to "evolve" or be reinvented. Just as there are program guidelines in place in other countries, there are many experts worldwide who could beneficially contribute their assessments and opinions to the program. By soliciting input from eventing experts who intimately know the precise requirements and non-negotiables for top success, there's a chance USEA FEH could get on a more suitable, relevant progression.

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 13, 2011, 08:53 PM
I requested, when the program was initiated, that annual statistics be kept and published on FEH results vs eventing performance. After 5 years, this is long past due. I would challenge the FEH committee (or whomever "they" are, in paragraph 1 above) to maintain, analyze, and publish these statistics on an annual basis.

Because we want to make sure our own breeding program is on the right track, we run a lot of numbers on CCI**** winners to help us make good breeding choices. We were interested in seeing if our data supported the perception that many people have that the FEH picks large, warmbloody types. We analyzed the FEH year end Champion and Reserves from 2007 to 2011 and compared the average height and %TB to the average height and %TB of top 10 CCI**** finishers from 2006-2011 for Badminton, Burghley, Rolex, Pau, and Luhumulen.

Average FEH Height 16.3h (with an average age of 2.6yrs will likely mature 17h-17.1h)
Average CCI**** Height 16.2h

Average FEH %TB 59.6%
Average CCI**** %TB 76.1%

So you can see that the expected mature height of the FEH winners is 2"-3" taller and the %TB is 16.3% lower than the winning CCI**** horses. So, yes, the program is picking horses that are taller and have a lower percent TB than the top CCI**** horses.

For comparison we looked at data from the BEF program. They don't have "Champions" but we used any horse that had either the top or second highest score for at least 2 years.

BEF average mature height 16.2h (taken from horses that are full grown so no guessing)
BEF %TB 69.0%


What I would personally love to see is something like the BEF's Futurity program

We absolutely agree. An interesting note is the difference in the BEF and FEH score sheets. The BEF puts the most emphasis on Athleticism(Canter, Jump for 3yo) then Equally Walk/Trot/Confirmation/Attitude/Vet evaluation of correctness. The FEH puts the most emphasis on Conformation then Walk/Trot/Impression then Correctness of Gait.

We think the committee chair and committee members are trying to do the best they can with little funding. Our suggestion would be, rather than reinventing the wheel, using the BEF system as a guide.

JER
Dec. 13, 2011, 10:28 PM
Not to add fuel to the fire but why haven't they stepped up and offered to take over this program. Yes, there are a few new faces on the committee that might fit but this is a program that has no financial support. How many of them are ready and willing to 'donate' their time to save a sinking ship. I urge those of you that know of any, to have them join the FEH program and help.

Red Herring 101.

As Glenbaer points out -- who are these committee members, how did they get there, and has anyone bothered to ask the real experts to help with the program? And as I asked previously, what has changed or 'evolved' or -- how dare I expect this -- improved over the five years of FEH?

How would 'financial support' change anything about the judging standards or goals of the program? These are small classes run at competition venues at the expense of the organizer and exhibitors.

I used to email the USEA and offer to serve on committees in which I have real-world experience/expertise, which would include breeding and young horses. I got one email in response saying they'd keep my name in mind, but that was years ago and I never heard from them again. I may not be well-connected in the world of eventing politics but I do breed a nice eventer and I do have a good knowledge of breeding for eventing.

Wit's End, thanks so much for running those numbers. They really underscore the problems in the judging.

While I'm happy to support FEH/YEH/NEH and enter my youngsters in the classes, I also do so knowing they won't do well. If I bred for what the judges like, I'd have to totally revamp my program -- and then I'd be knowingly breeding horses that wouldn't be, IME, the best candidates for CCI***/**** eventing.

So I just have a bit of a laugh when my full TB gets dinged at FEH for having 'prominent withers' and needing 'more muscling'. What else can you do to comments like that?

PhoenixFarm
Dec. 13, 2011, 10:54 PM
Red Herring 101.

As Glenbaer points out -- who are these committee members, how did they get there, and has anyone bothered to ask the real experts to help with the program? And as I asked previously, what has changed or 'evolved' or -- how dare I expect this -- improved over the five years of FEH?

How would 'financial support' change anything about the judging standards or goals of the program? These are small classes run at competition venues at the expense of the organizer and exhibitors.

I used to email the USEA and offer to serve on committees in which I have real-world experience/expertise, which would include breeding and young horses. I got one email in response saying they'd keep my name in mind, but that was years ago and I never heard from them again. I may not be well-connected in the world of eventing politics but I do breed a nice eventer and I do have a good knowledge of breeding for eventing.

Wit's End, thanks so much for running those numbers. They really underscore the problems in the judging.

While I'm happy to support FEH/YEH/NEH and enter my youngsters in the classes, I also do so knowing they won't do well. If I bred for what the judges like, I'd have to totally revamp my program -- and then I'd be knowingly breeding horses that wouldn't be, IME, the best candidates for CCI***/**** eventing.

So I just have a bit of a laugh when my full TB gets dinged at FEH for having 'prominent withers' and needing 'more muscling'. What else can you do to comments like that?

In this area JER and Wits End, you and I are in complete agreement, and you've said pretty much everything I think. (And, lest it seem sour grapes, I've got the reserve champion 3yo from the west coast standing in my barn--but neither I, nor his owner, are particularly betting on him being a four star horse. Good eventer, yes, for sure, he jumps a house, and is dead brave, but an international 4 star horse? Prob not.)

I should also add that at championships, we had virtually no comments on our score sheet. Though his score placed him well against his peers, it was significantly lower than the score he'd received in the spring, so we were interested in seeing the comments. There were none. Oh wait, I think there were two words about his feet (I think they were "good" and "feet"). That's it.

Stupid comments are better than none!:winkgrin:

I want this to be a great program. An epic program. I'll keep entering it, and trying to support it. But I'll keep doing things the way I'm doing them--because I still don't think it, or the YEH, is selecting four star candidates.

(And BTW, I don't necessarily think that's what the programs HAVE to do. I think the size of our amateur market here could easily justify a different track or tracks for young horse stuff, BUT if you are going to say it's picking four star horses, then I kind of think it should, you know, do that.):confused:

SuZQuzie
Dec. 14, 2011, 12:52 AM
As for the success of the European programs only being achieved after years and years of hashing it out...

FEH began in 2008.
BEF began in 2007.

Somehow, I feel like we are behind the learning curve.

I, personally, would love to help even beyond just talking and competing. (Wit's End, do you have an in? You keep saying "we," which is why I'm asking...) I am also not opposed to joining forces with the SHB program and the YJ program to create a more unified approach to evaluating American young stock beyond foalhood in the USA.

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 14, 2011, 07:00 AM
As for the success of the European programs only being achieved after years and years of hashing it out...

FEH began in 2008.
BEF began in 2007.

Somehow, I feel like we are behind the learning curve.

I, personally, would love to help even beyond just talking and competing. (Wit's End, do you have an in? You keep saying "we," which is why I'm asking...) I am also not opposed to joining forces with the SHB program and the YJ program to create a more unified approach to evaluating American young stock beyond foalhood in the USA.

No "in" here. In fact, we are about as out as one can be. "We" refers to my wife and I who run our Wits End breeding program.

We, like others in this post, aren't going to change the type of horse we breed as we feel our research backs what we are doing. Our babies will continue to go to FEH shows for the show experience.

We, also, feel that the USEA allows for minimal dialogue.

secretariat
Dec. 14, 2011, 10:12 AM
Excellent, wits end! Exactly what the program should be doing, plus correlating to actual eventing performance as they age.

retreadeventer
Dec. 14, 2011, 09:37 PM
I wonder what FEH is really about.
Giving young horses an outing or two is very important to future success. Young horses that are shown are so much smarter about stuff when they are under saddle.
But our best breeders, and trainers, can't be so unhappy with this program. There is something really wrong here.

I'm an eventer (not upper level of course) but I have run 5 champions/best of breeds/reserve champions at Dressage at Devon in three breeds. What I can tell is this: head to head on the triangle at a big BIG show really does teach spectators and owners and breeders what horses are truly the best. But it took many years for the breeding show at DAD to become that important to breeding (correct me if I am wrong, breeders.) Prestige is built over time.

I think the PTB at the USEA long for that kind of showcase for young event horses and their intention to ride along on the dressage breeding coattails might get them closer to that showcase, economy version. But it might be the wrong way to improve the program. . . because the winners of theses classes continue to embarrass the event horse program. AS in they are NOT of event horse breeding...not event horse "conformation"....not event horse movers.

To fix the program the type of horse must be more clearly defined and more tightly judged. That requires education of the judges, or get those gold medal riders like Bruce Davidson, et al, in a room and don't let them out until they've got a working definition and a set of judging standards. The ones we have are not selecting event horses in all cases and they should be. Perhaps the question is this; tighten the judging standard, redraw the requirements, and go back to the drawing board to achieve true event horse prospects as the winners -- or just showcase what we have now by tying it to dressage breeding. If that happens, then we must stand our champion up in the Dixon Oval for all to see, and when the cameras are clicking and the spectators are cheering when that neck sash is placed --it needs to be clear to EVERYONE it's going to be an Event Horse.

Alianna
Dec. 14, 2011, 10:20 PM
I have two weanlings that I intend to take to a FEH this next year as yearlings.

I do not believe that any judge can reliably choose an event horse from a youngster, especially when (as stated previously) three important pieces of the "puzzle" can't be shown...canter, gallop and jump. All that can be seen on the day is conformation, movement and to some degree, bravery.

It is hard for anyone to decide who may "make" an event horse and who may not when so much of what makes an event horse is intangible...heart, courage, bravery, intelligence. All they can do is look at the youngsters and give an educated guess, thats all.

That said, I think it is a great program for those of us out here that just want to get our babies out and about a bit to get them seasoned more. AND if the judges are selected correctly, have them looked at by what is someone with knowledge of our sport and get feedback on their opinions.

elizabeth Callahan
Dec. 14, 2011, 10:46 PM
"I also see very little incentive for breeders to breed true event horses. Eventers don't typically pay what everyone else will pay for their horses, and breeders need to breed horses that can move on to another ring to appeal to those that will pay, to have a profitable business. Tough to segment that market."[/QUOTE]



Ain't that the truth!

I have supported the FEH classes and will continue to support them. Would love a venue ( ie indoor), where the canter could be judged. And I do think that the "best" looking ( ie, most mature) baby, is the one winning right now - b/c it is very hard to judge an athlete from 2 trips around a triangle usually with a person who can't run fast enough ( myself included)

sporthorsefilly
Dec. 15, 2011, 01:49 PM
I have supported the FEH classes and will continue to support them. Would love a venue ( ie indoor), where the canter could be judged. And I do think that the "best" looking ( ie, most mature) baby, is the one winning right now - b/c it is very hard to judge an athlete from 2 trips around a triangle usually with a person who can't run fast enough ( myself included)

I really agree that the canter (not jumping) should be added to the FEH judging and an indoor is an excellent idea. If that is NOT practical, or "at Liberty" is impossible, then why not on a lunge? These classes need to be very different from the USDF DSHB shows, or FEH will die off.

FEH Classes should be held in conjunction with other Combind Training Events and NOT dumped into USDF. Horses that eventually go on to compete in Eventing are often very different Breed and Style wise, from Dressage types. Many Eventers, have a good deal of TB in them, or may be Irish Sport Horses or just about any breed. It is really important to make your voice known and not just on COTH. Write to Susan Graham-White and tell her what you think!

Not all Sport Horses are Dressage Sport Horses, I am very opposed to the idea of event horses being judged by Dressage Judges. We need event people to step up and judge, even if they are not breeders!

NCRider
Dec. 15, 2011, 03:14 PM
JER,
I just noticed your comment that your TB got dinged for having prominent withers.

I forget which website it was but one of the eventing periodicals did a quick overview of conformation at one of the four stars and the #1 thing they noticed was how prominent the withers were on most of the horses, regardless of breed.

Yet more evidence that FEH/YEH isn't looking for eventers.

JER
Dec. 15, 2011, 03:31 PM
JER,
I just noticed your comment that your TB got dinged for having prominent withers.

Yeah, go to the trot-up at an CCI***/**** and check out the withers. Himalayan, in most cases.

This (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN02bQZn_Cc) is the aforementioned unloved-at-FEH TB, now aged 5, at her first Novice HT.

And she can jump (http://brantgamma.exposuremanager.com/p/221_nina_glenn_sm1/asm1p0551_3_100_46_3), too. And she jumps like that. I've been told I'm 'crazy' not to sell or campaign her as a show hunter. :)

But she's bred to event, out of two TB parents who have both produced Advanced eventers.

So eventing she will go, prominent withers and all.

:D

NCRider
Dec. 15, 2011, 03:46 PM
Wow,she's really beautiful. Her withers don't look that prominent, particularly for an eventer.

vineyridge
Dec. 15, 2011, 04:24 PM
If Niina got dinged for prominent withers, it seems pretty clear that the judges had never read General Chamberlin on what conformation makes a good sport horse. :)

retreadeventer
Dec. 15, 2011, 09:09 PM
If Niina got dinged for prominent withers, it seems pretty clear that the judges had never read General Chamberlin on what conformation makes a good sport horse. :)

Fit horses always have prominent withers.

JER
Dec. 16, 2011, 02:35 AM
Wow,she's really beautiful. Her withers don't look that prominent, particularly for an eventer.

Here she is at three, with withers on display, in the FEH demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YSSb-whMvM) at Rolex.

While she does not look very mature at that age, I think she's typical of a 3 year-old TB -- which is why we toted her all the way to KHP, to be the token purpose-bred TB in a group of crossbreds (some of which weren't being pointed to eventing). A 3 YO TB doesn't look like a 3 YO WB or a 3 YO TBx. If people don't know what a 3 YO TB looks like, how can they select one that's suitable for eventing?

PineTreeFarm
Dec. 16, 2011, 10:43 AM
I'd be interested in FEH classes as I often have young horses but there aren't any of these classes held near me.

But I'm with SportHorseFilly on this.
There is a pending USEF rule change to transfer this program to the Dressage section of the USEF rule book.

To me, that's like saying the USDF should set the rules for Hunter Breeding classes. Makes no sense.

If that rule were to pass USEA would effectively give up control of the program to USDF. Rule changes usually originate with the affiliate for the discipline. USHJA for hunter jumper, USEA for Eventing and USDF for Dressage.

Do you want USDF to set rules, make modifications to this program?

And in my area there are only 1-2 dressage shows a year and they don't do in hand classes so no improvement in opportunity to compete by moving the program to USDF.

NCRider
Dec. 16, 2011, 12:41 PM
Wow, JER those looked like four star withers for sure.

If they're going to try to reinvent the wheel, has anyone gathered as much 3-4 year old video footage and stills of current successful four star horses as possible and really analysed it to develop criteria based on that?

Where I think the FEH/YEH program goes awry is that that it seems to assume that all of the horses will be able to do the x-c clean and fast enough, and stay sound despite build, and given that, they place based on who would win the dressage and have the most scope/style over stadium fences.

I don't see any point in having these classes at all if they're moved to USDF. It's clear that the majority of the judges they have are already incapable of leaving behind their own breed/sport prejudices to look for what is actually successful in eventing. How would a closer affiliation with USDF be helpful.

lecoeurtriste
Dec. 16, 2011, 01:23 PM
There is a pending USEF rule change to transfer this program to the Dressage section of the USEF rule book.

To me, that's like saying the USDF should set the rules for Hunter Breeding classes. Makes no sense.

If that rule were to pass USEA would effectively give up control of the program to USDF. Rule changes usually originate with the affiliate for the discipline. USHJA for hunter jumper, USEA for Eventing and USDF for Dressage.

Do you want USDF to set rules, make modifications to this program?

As an organizer of FEH/NEH/YEH classes, I'm worried about the transfer of 'ownership' too. Right now, we're able to keep costs to competitors very low because we do not pay licensing and omnibus fees. If these classes are moved to USEF jurisdiction, we will likely have to apply for USEF licenses (currently $60 per USEA event) and USDF omnibus listings.

We've run two dates each year at the Ark since 2007, and very rarely break even (thank you to everyone on this thread who has supported us). Potentially adding more expenses to our plate (and more hoops through which to jump) is worrisome.

Having watched a (beautiful) 17.1 2yo filly win the East Coast Champs in 2010, I have to agree that something isn't quite right with the judging system that we already have. Let's keep the program in the USEA and improve/clarify the judging standards. The USEF/USEA seems ok with 'fast-tracking' new event judges who meet the 4*/represent the USA criteria...why not apply that same principle to rider/trainer/breeders who would make excellent "Event Sport Horse Breeding" judges??

vineyridge
Dec. 16, 2011, 02:53 PM
As I remember Chamberlin on withers, he more or less says that all the muscles that control the back and the front end tie into the withers. The higher the withers the longer the muscles can be for the front, and the longer the muscles the better because the pulley action is higher.

flutie1
Dec. 16, 2011, 03:32 PM
There are a number of horsemen around the country who have "the eye" for finding diamonds in the rough that turn out to be stellar performers. These IMHO are the individuals who should be tapped to judge the YEH/FEH classes. I've given the name of someone who has found two, maybe more, OTTB's who have successfully done advanced, one of which is slated for **** next spring if all goes right, to the YEH Committee. I hope that they pursue this person with the great eye!

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 16, 2011, 03:48 PM
Honestly....I've come to the conclusion that I don't really care about the judging. For me, they are just outings. I pick the outings for my youngsters based on time, location etc. I like being with other eventers since that is what I am....but I've shown my eventers at Devon (as have others I know) because that is near me, and is great atmosphere to get a young horse exposed too....I don't really care how they do (but of course it is nice if they win).


While I do know there are people with a nice eye for a horse....what makes a 4* event horse can NOT be seen in a 3 year old horse or younger in 10 minutes in a ring....even IF you let them loose to canter. There are many factors that go into what makes a 4* eventer....and many many different types of horses who make it to that level. An in hand show is still just a beauty contest for that day.

What makes a nice event prospect...a nice athlete with a good mind....and a good heart...and most of them would be successful at MORE than just eventing. Which athlete you like more will depend on your own personal preference to ride.

I guess I just can't get so worked up over this. I've had horses do well in FEH classes and YEH classes and others not do well. It doesn't change what I look for in a horse or how I think of my horse. And just as in the dressage, hunter ect. Classes for young stock (feed and lead) are not an end of themselves. They are just a place to get your horse out. If you think you have or were intending to breed an eventer...it is just fun to show them with others who had similar goals. But at the end of the day....these classes are just an opinion of one or two people of a group of young horses that day....and NOT something to take too seriously.

Besides....it is hard to get eventers to buy going 4 year olds....most will not even look at a 3 or under horse no matter how high quality (or how high their withers);) You're lucky if your average pro knows the basic breeding of their horse.


ETA: And FWIW....if I want the real opinion of horseman who I think has the eye to spot a 4* horse....I ask them when they have seen my horses in situations other that the few minutes they would get in a show ring. Judging at a show is different from what their opinion is of a horse. They are just ranking a group that particular moment. I had Bruce NOT place a nice young horse of mine well in a YEH class...because he twisted over a fence. But Bruce went out of his way to tell me that was why the horse didn't do well and what a lovely prospect he was. He knew it was a nice event horse (now doing 2* level--when the winner that day never went above BN) but had to judge what he saw that moment and place the horse accordingly. I didn't care what place he got...I was just happy he stayed in the dressage ring.

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 16, 2011, 04:43 PM
Judging at a show is different from what their opinion is of a horse. They are just ranking a group that particular moment. I had Bruce NOT place a nice young horse of mine well in a YEH class...because he twisted over a fence. But Bruce went out of his way to tell me that was why the horse didn't do well and what a lovely prospect he was. He knew it was a nice event horse (now doing 2* level--when the winner that day never went above BN) but had to judge what he saw that moment and place the horse accordingly.

This sums up quite nicely what is wrong with the current system. Perhaps they shouldn't be "shows" as that implies the best performance on the day. Really there need to be criteria in place that allow a knowledgeable person to use his/her expertise to choose the horse with the best potential for the sport.

Interesting side note, in the BEF, the vet section specifically says the vet should average the score of what they see that day with what they think it would be with proper management going forward. That is what you would do when purchasing a horse, that is what should be done with prospects.

JER
Dec. 16, 2011, 05:00 PM
While I do know there are people with a nice eye for a horse....what makes a 4* event horse can NOT be seen in a 3 year old horse or younger in 10 minutes in a ring....even IF you let them loose to canter. There are many factors that go into what makes a 4* eventer....and many many different types of horses who make it to that level. An in hand show is still just a beauty contest for that day.

So then -- why have an FEH program at all?

As I said before, if we are going to have this program and support it as breeders, we have to start from the POV that future stars can be identified in an in-hand class format. Otherwise, why bother?

One of the factors in predicting eventing success is -- no surprise here -- breeding. Specifically, does this young horse come from a family of successful eventers? As a buyer, if you knew the horse's dam and sire had produced successful eventers, would you be more likely to choose that horse, especially over a similarly nice horse that did not have that family history?

Of course you would. These are the questions we ask when we look at horses. So why is it not relevant to an FEH class? Does it make sense to judge a future event horse completely out of context? Does it make sense not to do everything we can to encourage breeders to breed for successful eventers?

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 16, 2011, 05:32 PM
So then -- why have an FEH program at all?




To me the only reason is to have a fun outing to do with my young prospect while I wait for them to grow up. So I place a higher value at keeping these "shows" low cost. It is just an in hand show...and one I don't...and no matter the format...ever would place a ton of value. It is a useful place to see breeders who are aiming to produce eventers and what they are producing....but as a "competition" I place very little value on it.

Just as many competitors at the higher level do not put a lot of weight in the "hunter" breeding and "dressage" breeding classes. True, at least with dressage you can see the movement...but you can not see the trainabililty and whether that horse is going to have the mind to do the GP movements with a rider at a show.

But it is still nice to have places to take youngsters and put them in a show atmosphere. But in the end...if I'm actually shopping for a prospect....placings or results at such competitions would factor very little if at all in my personal decision.


ETA: Personally....breeding to me is not as big of a factor in a top eventer as is perceved---it is a factor (you need the basic raw material) but there are others that I think are more important. I think a much more likely factor is in whose hands and how a young horse is developed that determines whether they will be a good eventer. I personally think a lot of the "top" eventing families became that way primarily because they were marketed more to eventers, more known to eventers so more offspring ended up in the hands of eventers.

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 16, 2011, 05:56 PM
So then -- why have an FEH program at all?


Personally we aspire for the program to become more than just a place to take babies for a day out. Wouldn't it be great if it became a way for US riders to have faith in US breeding. It needs to become a program that garners respect and interest from the general eventing community.


Besides....it is hard to get eventers to buy going 4 year olds....most will not even look at a 3 or under horse no matter how high quality (or how high their withers) You're lucky if your average pro knows the basic breeding of their horse.

This is so true. People in other disciplines and other countries buy young horses. As the type of event horse changes and the market for purpose bred horses expand, a well respected FEH/YEH program could help eventers shift toward purchasing younger horses.

JER
Dec. 16, 2011, 06:07 PM
Personally we aspire for the program to become more than just a place to take babies for a day out. Wouldn't it be great if it became a way for US riders to have faith in US breeding. It needs to become a program that garners respect and interest from the general eventing community.

Agreed.

If I want a fun day out, I'll go to dressage breeding or hunter breeding or all-comers local backyard shows. If a program bears the imprimatur of USEA, I expect more.

Janet
Dec. 16, 2011, 07:39 PM
I'd be interested in FEH classes as I often have young horses but there aren't any of these classes held near me.

But I'm with SportHorseFilly on this.
There is a pending USEF rule change to transfer this program to the Dressage section of the USEF rule book.
Related comments.

First, the rule change proposal
http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleChanges/146-11.pdf
has already been dissaproved by Dressage. They said at the FEH meeting that it will be dropped.

Second, the INTENTION is to allow USEA FEH classes to be held AT Dressage Beeding shows SPECIFICALLY to address the problem that "there aren't any of these classes held near me". There is no intention to have the criteria set by the USDF. Eventing judges would still be used.

They will have to come up with anothe set of rule change proposals (next year) to do that.

PineTreeFarm
Dec. 16, 2011, 08:28 PM
Related comments.

First, the rule change proposal
http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleChanges/146-11.pdf
has already been dissaproved by Dressage. They said at the FEH meeting that it will be dropped.

Second, the INTENTION is to allow USEA FEH classes to be held AT Dressage Beeding shows SPECIFICALLY to address the problem that "there aren't any of these classes held near me". There is no intention to have the criteria set by the USDF. Eventing judges would still be used.

They will have to come up with anothe set of rule change proposals (next year) to do that.


'Who' said it would be dropped? It's still on the active rule change list.
I hope it is dropped but that hasn't happened.

How would USEA control the rules for FEH it it's in the section of the rules that USDF votes on? The rule as proposed did not set any criteria for the judges. There is nothing to specifiy that an Eventing Judge would be used and as a practical matter to judge a division in the Dressage section of the rules you have to be a licensed Dressage Judge.
Whatever you claim the intent to be that's not the way the proposal was written.
And it certainly doesn't address the problem of not enough opportunity to compete.

The rules for this section need to be in the Eventing section of the rule book just as the YEH rules are. That way USEA retains control. Nothing wrong with allowing a show or event to run classes or divisions in multiple disciplines but that was not the proposal.

Nobody in the H/J world would agree to have the dressage folks set the rules for Hunter Breeding.

Janet
Dec. 16, 2011, 08:45 PM
'Who' said it would be dropped? It's still on the active rule change list.
I hope it is dropped but that hasn't happened.
All three panelists said it was being dropped.

Whether or not it is formally withdrawn, a Dressage rule that has been disapproved by the Dressage Committee is highly unlikely to be approved by the USEF BoD.

(I can only think of ONE case where the USEF BoD approved a rule that had been disapproved by the relevant Committee, and that was the H/J helmet rule.)

Any USEF member can submit comments, so take advantage of that to express you displeasure with the proposal.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 16, 2011, 11:49 PM
If I want a fun day out, I'll go to dressage breeding or hunter breeding or all-comers local backyard shows. If a program bears the imprimatur of USEA, I expect more.


I do those too. I look at all those and pick the one whose timing and cost fit my bill. If I'm going to an event and it is hosting a FEH class too...I might throw a youngster on the trailer. Only reason Muggle showed was one was held 15 minutes from me.....and the finals was an easy day trip.


I personally would rather see time and money going towards developing a YEH progam more like Le Lion....rather than stressing on the FEH classes or even the current 4/5 year old FEH classes.

NCRider
Dec. 17, 2011, 01:57 AM
They might as well transfer feh to the dressage section. I just finished listening to this week's eventing radio show in which cmp basically said they don't want to talk to anyone for london who is not breaking 40 and will have to take a chance on the xc to be competitive with the Germans bc they can't count on more than 2 germans having trouble on xc. Funny thing is looking at that training list I'm pretty sure I can count on more than 2 Americans having trouble on xc.
Call me crazy but the thought of 100 warmbloods who can come close to cracking 30 on day one running xc in a city park over one of sue's courses with the world looking on terrifies me for the sport.

JER
Dec. 17, 2011, 02:30 AM
cmp basically said they don't want to talk to anyone for london who is not breaking 40 and will have to take a chance on the xc to be competitive with the Germans bc they can't count on more than 2 germans having trouble on xc.

Anyone know the statistical basis for CMP's assertion that eventing team competitions are won in the dressage ring?

vineyridge
Dec. 17, 2011, 09:38 AM
There have only been two 4* level team competitions since short format--Athens and Hong Kong. If you want to go down to 3*s and the Pan Ams, that's another three or 4; and if you want to go to CIC 3*s, you have another few from the Aachen CHIO.

I've been slowly working on Athens, and will be doing Hong Kong when I get the energy.

I have the stats for individual 4*s, and the dressage coefficient does affect results dramatically.

From my research, it seems to me that a dressage score that results in penalty points of less than 55 after dressage will give good XC riders and SJers a decent chance at a top ten finish.

mugsgame
Dec. 17, 2011, 10:35 AM
It is common knowledge in the UK and being passed down to trainers in the UK that they are looking for combinations to be regularly scoring 70% minimum in advanced horse trials dressage to be even considered for the teams now.

The domination of the Germans at the Europeans has sent a very strong message to the UK as the whole German team averaged at about 70% it might have been higher. I think it was in this phase that the British were quite off the pace.

In Juniors and Young Riders now they have also raised the bar for the dressage scores required to be competitive.

You may be all depressed right now and say we are expecting everything to be dominated by warmbloods but the leading score was that of Butts Abraxas who is mainly TB and the statistics earlier mentioned by Wits End Eventing probably match up to what everyone in the UK is trying to breed with roughly 75% TB blood for eventing.

I think the panic for the UK is because they do well at 4* when the jumping is tougher but the Olympics are 3* level.

vineyridge
Dec. 17, 2011, 10:42 AM
This is all the result of the dressage coefficient. If the non-Germans would get together to get rid of the extra 50% penalty points in dressage, there would be much less emphasis on dressage and XC and SJ would once again determine who wins.

JER
Dec. 17, 2011, 01:10 PM
At the Euros this year, France came second with not-so-great (45, 37, 55) dressage scores because they added, in both jumping phases, a grand total of 12 pens, which were time faults on XC. They had three double-clears in SJ to pull ahead on GB on the final day. Each GB rider had one rail down.

GB can afford to make high demands on dressage scores because they've got a very impressive pool of horses and rides to choose from.

The US faces a far greater conundrum in simply getting horses around XC. This should be the focus -- decent dressage and dependable XC/SJ clears.

Snaffle81
Dec. 17, 2011, 01:28 PM
There have only been two 4* level team competitions since short format--Athens and Hong Kong. If you want to go down to 3*s and the Pan Ams, that's another three or 4; and if you want to go to CIC 3*s, you have another few from the Aachen CHIO. ....

What about the WEGs?


.... I think the panic for the UK is because they do well at 4* when the jumping is tougher but the Olympics are 3* level.

Sorry, for sidetracking - just curious where is it stated that the Olympics are a 3*? I've always read "officially" it is a 4*.

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 17, 2011, 01:39 PM
This should be the focus -- decent dressage and dependable XC/SJ clears.

YES!
And this is what the data shows (at least using 4*'s). We've run "mock" team events with Dressage scores vs. Jumping Scores. Take a team of the lowest 4 dressage scores and a team with the lowest 4 jump scores and see who wins (using the usual drop one score method). So far we've looked at Badminton 2008-2011, Burghley 2006-2011, Rolex 2009-2011. (13 total)

Jump Team: 9
Dressage Team: 4

Since these are mock competitions there can be overlap where both teams have the same person (i.e. if someone was 2nd after dressage and was in the 4 lowest jump scores). In 5 of the 13 cases the Dressage Team had 2 or more riders eliminated. While this analogy is by no means perfect, we do think it gives a good idea of the importance of the phases for picking a team.

vineyridge
Dec. 17, 2011, 02:43 PM
Forgot the WEGs, so add two more.

Wit's End's results are exactly where my numbers take me. Basically, dressage in the positive 63%+ range will make a team competitive. It does generally take 70s to win individually, but once again the dressage coefficient skews the results.

NCRider
Dec. 18, 2011, 09:41 AM
Sometimes I think the Germans are the source of all that's wrong with this sport. From the move to the short format to this recent selecton philosophy of " who cares if it has a less than 50% shot of going clear on xc, it can break 70% in the dressage" to riders spending all their times rk'ing their poor event horses in the hopes of turning them into hyper obedient dressage drones. Even the selection of the site for the London xc plays into the Germans hands.
This sport isn't evolving naturally, it's evolving to suit the needs of one particular country to the detriment of all the countries that built the sport.
That said, I won't be completely surprised when some team that brings 5 horses that don't make you cringe on xc jumps up and takes a medal away from the US because we implode again on xc.

I don't think we can beat the Germans just by buying a bunch of European horses who score very well on day 1

#1 part of their dressage dominance is the rider, who hasn't been imported and #2 some of those horses look pretty crappy by then end of xc even with their long time partners, I'm not sure we're going to do any better.

vineyridge
Dec. 18, 2011, 10:57 AM
I did a brief analysis of the Aachen WEG last night.
Remember that the teams consisted of four riders with one drop score. The following are ONLY dressage scores.

The Germans won. Their top team rider was Frank Ostholt, who had 46.9 penalty points after dressage--68.73%. Their second rider was Hinrich Romeike with 52.9 penalty points after dressage--65.07%. Their third rider was Bettina Hoy with 36.5 PP after dressage--75.67 %. Their drop score was Ingrid Klimke with 39.1 PP--74.94%.

The Brits were second, with Zara Phillips winning the individual. She had 41.7 PP--72.2%. Second Rider was Daisy Berkeley; 57.16 PP--64.3%. Third was WFP--45 PP, and 70%. Drop score was Mary King with 51.9 PP and 65.4 %

The Australians were third. They lost one team member to XC, and all of the other three had dressage PPs in the 44 range. Clayton Fredericks, who was second individually, had 44.4, Megan Jones with 44.1, and Andrew Hoy with 47.6.

US was 4th. Amy Tryon was Bronze medallist, and her dressage PPs were 50.7. Kim Severson had 40.9; Will Faudree had 63.3, for a percent score of 57.8. Heidi White was the drop score with 50.4 PP.

For team competition at the 2006 games with the drop score excluded, unless I've done some calculations wrong, the average German score was 45.27; the average Brit score was 50.33; the average Australian score was 45.36; and the average US score was 51.63.

In one sense I agree with NCRider since the FEI has twice since the onset of Short Format tried to abolish the extra .5 penalty points for dressage and has been stopped by at least one NF--which has not been identified. One can, however, speculate which countries benefit most from it.

Anyone who does statistics can get the mean and median of the group as a whole as well as of each team.

I've got the numbers for Athens and will do that one next.

Crazyabouteventing
Dec. 19, 2011, 11:18 PM
I did a brief analysis of the Aachen WEG last night.

I've got the numbers for Athens and will do that one next.

Does anyone think we have got a little off track from the original post...an "FEH update from the USEA Convention"?

JER
Dec. 20, 2011, 01:30 AM
Does anyone think we have got a little off track from the original post...an "FEH update from the USEA Convention"?

Not me. :)

How do we judge an FEH if we don't understand where the sport is going?

Janet
Dec. 20, 2011, 08:15 AM
Does anyone think we have got a little off track from the original post...an "FEH update from the USEA Convention"?
Nope. In order to determine "which young horse is most likely to be a **** horse" you need to identify the common characteristics of **** horses.

This is a continuation of the discussion at the meeting.

NCRider
Dec. 20, 2011, 12:58 PM
There's also the question of whether we are aiming for horses that have a high chance of successfully completing multiple 4 stars or are we aiming for the horse that has the best chance of winning an Olympic gold medal if it, against the odds, turns out to be able to complete a 4 star course. Those are two very different goals.

If you are breeding for the second and miss, you will have bred in so much movement that your resulting horse is unlikely to be an eventer at all. If you're breeding for the first, and you miss, your resulting horse will likely be an eventer but top out below 4 star.

That said, in spite of what CMP has said, it's not just about a lack of quality horses, I think we're lagging behind in training/riding as well.

Aussie08
Dec. 20, 2011, 11:20 PM
I didn't want to post the names that were listed at the USEA Convention until it was officially published on the USEA webite but they are now posted as a link on the FEH page. But I will include them here.

The 2012 IDHSNA/Future Event Horse Committee is:

Chair: Susan Graham White

Samantha Allen

Carter Bass

Faith Fessenden

Michelle Robbins

Cathy Slaterbeck

Robin Walker

Jo Whitehouse

JER
Dec. 21, 2011, 12:01 AM
So why is this list of names a good thing?

Susan Graham White has been involved with the program for a while. Earlier in this thread, I've asked how the FEH program has 'evolved' on her watch. No one has provided an answer to that. Yet we are told to be patient and how the program, now in its fifth year, is 'evolving'.

Samantha Allen is, who exactly? She is not, according to the USEA database, a member of that organization. She must be doing something right if they've asked her to serve on one of their committees. Anyone know?

Carter Bass is a dressage trainer and judge.

Faith Fessenden is 'chair' and 'jury' of KWPN-NA. An online bio says she has bred at least one CCI*** eventer, although she's not herself an eventer. But that's encouraging.

Michele Robbins breeds Irish horses and is part of IDHS-NA, sponsors of the series.

Cathy Slaterbeck is an AHS inspector/director and sport horse judge. She breeds, trains and competes in dressage.

Robin Walker is -- gasp! -- an eventer!

Jo Whitehouse is the USEA person. I assume this is a committee thing. Not sure if she breeds horses for eventing.

This list is too dressage- and WB-heavy for my taste -- and that mirrors the single most glaring problem in this program.

Janet
Dec. 21, 2011, 01:17 AM
Samantha Allen is, who exactly? She is not, according to the USEA database, a member of that organization. She must be doing something right if they've asked her to serve on one of their committees. Anyone know?

Sam is most definitely a member of USEA, an upper level competitor, and a TD candidate. You are not finding her because her name is spelled Allan, not Allen.
http://useventing.com/competitions.php?id=214&rider_id=48440

Janet
Dec. 21, 2011, 01:18 AM
Robin Walker is -- gasp! -- an eventer!
AND a breederr.

Janet
Dec. 21, 2011, 01:21 AM
Where did you find the updated committee lists?


I didn't want to post the names that were listed at the USEA Convention until it was officially published on the USEA webite but they are now posted as a link on the FEH page. But I will include them here.

The 2012 IDHSNA/Future Event Horse Committee is:

Chair: Susan Graham White

Samantha Allen

Carter Bass

Faith Fessenden

Michelle Robbins

Cathy Slaterbeck

Robin Walker

Jo Whitehouse

JER
Dec. 21, 2011, 01:25 AM
Sam is most definitely a member of USEA, an upper level competitor, and a TD candidate. You are not finding her because her name is spelled Allan, not Allen.

I wondered about that. The USEA FEH Committee page (http://useventing.com/competitions.php?section=feh&id=3101) has it wrong.

Also, it says on her website that she's 'currently working with Susan Graham White.' That narrows the diversity in this group just a bit more. IMO, of course, without knowing any of the individuals involved.

I can't see how this program is going to become what it's supposed to be under this regime. Maybe some of you think it's okay for this program to just be a 'fun day out' and a beauty contest but I don't agree. If we're going to have this program, I want it to make good on its promises.

Why shouldn't it be a great program?

Robby Johnson
Dec. 21, 2011, 07:35 AM
I wondered about that. The USEA FEH Committee page (http://useventing.com/competitions.php?section=feh&id=3101) has it wrong.

Also, it says on her website that she's 'currently working with Susan Graham White.' That narrows the diversity in this group just a bit more. IMO, of course, without knowing any of the individuals involved.

I can't see how this program is going to become what it's supposed to be under this regime. Maybe some of you think it's okay for this program to just be a 'fun day out' and a beauty contest but I don't agree. If we're going to have this program, I want it to make good on its promises.

Why shouldn't it be a great program?

I fully concur. And I think the "fun day out" element IS a barrier to the overall success of the program. If you have bred a contender, then put him/her on the correct path for achieving their full potential. It is possible to do this without a YEH/FEH program, of course. But since the program is in place, it should be executed in such a way as to become the mandatory first filter as the baby begins its growing up journey.

Glenbaer
Dec. 21, 2011, 07:40 AM
I can't see how this program is going to become what it's supposed to be under this regime.

Well, it looks like my barn full of diminutive, wiry, highly-opinionated, immensely-athletic Thoroughbreds won't be bringing home many FEH ribbons next year. :winkgrin:

Even if the FEH program is, um, "evolving," at least highly-credible individuals such as JMP, Bruce, et al, are still alive and willing to work with those who want to properly develop true upper-level horses.

Aussie08
Dec. 21, 2011, 10:36 AM
I had started the thread to share my thoughts after attending the FEH sessions at the USEA Convention. Is the program far from perfect? Obviously. Perhaps you had to actually be there, in the meetings, to actually get some sort of hope that they were finding or trying to find a way forward. Wits End might not agree, The Cadiers , who host FEH/YEH shows, may or may not agree. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but unless you were actually there and heard what was presented and how it was presented, it's pretty easy to criticize the program for what it has been. I, too, have had my concerns that's why I wrote an email letter (listing my concerns and thoughts) to Susan prior to their meetings and asked that it be shared with the committee and addressed. She kindly forwarded it to all the members and emailed me in return, at least acknowledging my efforts. And not to beat up on the USEA, but my FEH and NEH questions/inquiries have rarely been responded to. So getting a direct response and Thank You was wonderful.

There have been several comments about there being strong event people that have the knowledge and experience to make the program better, like this from Glenbaer:

"Even if the FEH program is, um, "evolving," at least highly-credible individuals such as JMP, Bruce, et al, are still alive and willing to work with those who want to properly develop true upper-level horses."

I totally agree that we have the people, members, etc...and I'd love to see more of them there, and I have tried in as nice a way to ask/say who are they and why aren't they involved...but they are not breaking down doors to get on the committee, and I don't see them volunteering to help or attending the meetings to offer their expertise. I'm not trying to be hateful, start explosive threads or beat people over the head.

I'm just an amateur adult with a coming 3yr old TB gelding that has enjoyed the program for his yearling and 2yr old FEH Classes and the Championships 2010 and looking forward to his 3rd and final year. I think he has been fairly judged based on what he showed on those days. I am actively keeping communication with the committee and the USEA to let them know what seems good and what doesn't. I am also actively trying to promote the FEH/NEH/YEH to Area III organizers so that we will have more venues to attend. Even if I have to do the organizing myself for them to host, it's worth it. And if there were venues and I could afford to do so, I would attend the USEF/USDF classes that they have proposed. After reading the wording of the proposal (even if it is shot down) I would not hesitate to enter.

So, we can beat this to death on this forum but what will really count is for every one of us to get out in our areas and get those expert event people, that a lot of you have mentioned, involved and encourage organizers to offer the classes and support the ones that do offer them. And, after every show, send a show evaluation to the FEH committee, as well as the organizer, telling them what was good and bad about that day or days. That is one of my New Years Resolutions! Anyone care to join in on it?

I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas 9or whatever you choose to celebrate) and the most wonderful of Eventing New Years!!

JER
Dec. 21, 2011, 01:13 PM
I had started the thread to share my thoughts after attending the FEH sessions at the USEA Convention.

And thank you for starting it, even if you somehow seem to think your 'good deed' (?) is being 'punished'(??). The closest thing to 'punishment' on this board is when everyone ignores your thread and declines to discuss a topic you feel is important. That hasn't happened here. :)


Perhaps you had to actually be there, in the meetings, to actually get some sort of hope that they were finding or trying to find a way forward.

As opposed to at the competitions, where hope is scarce?

Again, I've offered my time and efforts to the USEA in the past. I've found USEA to be a uniquely uncommunicative organization, and I know I'm not unique in this assessment.

And again -- maybe you can answer this question -- what is changing in this program except that the classes might be/will be/won't be (which is it?) run at USDF shows?


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but unless you were actually there and heard what was presented and how it was presented, it's pretty easy to criticize the program for what it has been.

Whatever was said at the program (which you or anyone connected with FEH hasn't shared with us yet) doesn't change what the program has been and for which it has been validly criticized.


And not to beat up on the USEA,but my FEH and NEH questions/inquiries have rarely been responded to. So getting a direct response and Thank You was wonderful.

Better communication with USEA members is an encouraging development. Let's hope it continues beyond one email.


I totally agree that we have the people, members, etc...and I'd love to see more of them there, and I have tried in as nice a way to ask/say who are they and why aren't they involved...but they are not breaking down doors to get on the committee, and I don't see them volunteering to help or attending the meetings to offer their expertise. I'm not trying to be hateful, start explosive threads or beat people over the head.

'Breaking down doors' should not be a requirement to serve on a committee. These folks should be invited to serve. USEA members who breed eventers and enter FEH/YEH should not be ignored when they volunteer their time.


So, we can beat this to death on this forum but what will really count is for every one of us to get out in our areas and get those expert event people, that a lot of you have mentioned, involved and encourage organizers to offer the classes and support the ones that do offer them.

This forum is about the only place where we can have a substantive discussion of the merits and goal of this program. We ARE supporting the program -- with our entries as well as with our concerns about FEH.


And, after every show, send a show evaluation to the FEH committee, as well as the organizer, telling them what was good and bad about that day or days.

I can't see this leading to any improvement. Some of these same people have been involved from the start and the plain truth is that we're not seeing this program develop into something valuable.

Please understand, Aussie08, that I'm not in any way negative about the FEH program itself. I'm positive about it because I think it can and should be, as Robby says, the 'mandatory first filter' in getting a young horse in the pipeline for eventing success.

That's a far more positive, optimistic assessment than being willing to settle for FEH as a 'fun day out'.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 21, 2011, 01:49 PM
I'm positive about it because I think it can and should be, as Robby says, the 'mandatory first filter' in getting a young horse in the pipeline for eventing success.

That's a far more positive, optimistic assessment than being willing to settle for FEH as a 'fun day out'.


See this is what *I* am against.

There should be no "filter"....no requirement to show. I personally do NOT drag my youngsters around to shows to "compete". Honestly, I don't drag them out much at all....I let them be young horses. I might, if convenient and affordable, show them once...maybe twice as a two/three year old. But no show for a 2/3 year old is a goal for me....not even Devon...and I would not let a judge who only sees my foal one day for a short period of time dictate whether I think this horse has potential as an UL eventer.

I work with the "experts" that you folks are saying need to be in this program...(asking their advice on stallion/mare choices etc.)....but in the end, they ALL reserve their judgement on young stock until the horses are going under saddle. They really don't even want to see them until they are 4+.

Bruce isn't dragging his youngsters to these shows....he is letting them grow up on the hills in his back yard...and then evaluates them undersaddle....aside from the obvious culls.

Why should a "show" on the line ever be considered a "filter"? Some of the nicest event horses will NOT show on the line....it doesn't make them any less of an event prospect.

So while I will support something like the FEH...because I do think they can be a fun thing for people to do....I don't see why a ton of resources should be spent on these classes because I do not see why they should ever hold significant value. I prefer perfomance horse to be judged on performance....and think more value would be found in supporting older classes for eventing prospects who are undersaddle eventing.

I do not want to see a culture like "hunter" breeding develop for event horses.....but regardless...I don't see it happening because I just don't see Americans buying a lot of young horses. It is hard enough to sell a 3/4 year old in this country of instant gratification and high costs....and I don't think a program like the FEH will change that.

JER
Dec. 21, 2011, 02:11 PM
bfne, I didn't take Robby's 'mandatory' literally. I thought he was proposing the FEH as a program that the serious breeder would be excited about and aim for.

Bruce isn't taking his youngsters to FEH because he knows what constitutes a future UL eventer and he breeds for himself. But few breeders are as experienced, and the small hobby breeder can often use some education and feedback along the way, especially as it takes about 10 years from foal-planning to going horse to make an Advanced eventer.

We can debate the merits of judging prospective eventers in-hand. I believe top horses can be identified before starting U/S; maybe not everyone shares this opinion. At the very least, this program should be tracking data to see how it all pans out but secretariat noted that the program honchos have declined to do that, leaving breeders like Wits End to do the actual math for their own analysis.

What we have now is an FEH program that deems a 17+hh 2 year-olds with less than half TB blood as the most suitable for UL eventing. That's just disconnected from the reality of eventing.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 21, 2011, 03:11 PM
We can debate the merits of judging prospective eventers in-hand. I believe top horses can be identified before starting U/S; maybe not everyone shares this opinion. At the very least, this program should be tracking data to see how it all pans out but secretariat noted that the program honchos have declined to do that, leaving breeders like Wits End to do the actual math for their own analysis.

What we have now is an FEH program that deems a 17+hh 2 year-olds with less than half TB blood as the most suitable for UL eventing. That's just disconnected from the reality of eventing.


I guess I do fall in the you really can't tell until they are going....but you can rule one out (obvious conformational flaw).

I will say...I only know personally two past FEH champions...both on the east coast. My own horse...who is more than 50% blood and while on the tall side (I view that as a negative)--he is not heavy, has an outstanding gallop and does have potential (assuming he heals from his pasture injury) for the ULs. But I did stress while he was growing up whether he would be too WB....but was assured by UL riders that he would be fine (when they saw him as a 4+ year old). He is well thought of by the likes of Bruce, Phillip etc. Now his self distructive tendancy...and my bad luck...that might end his eventing career.

The other was Terri's mare that won grand champion in 2008...she was imported from Germany (she is more than 50% TB as well). I saw her at some events and at her MPT when she was 4/5. Terri took her time with her and didn't push her undersaddle. That is a damn nice mare. I don't know a single eventer who would kick her out of their barn. Fabulous gallop and jump. She screams class and UL eventer as much as any young horse can. Unfortunately, I don't know that she has stayed in the hands of eventers....but not because she didn't show potential to be a top eventer.

In other words....I've seen some of the FEH champs....at least from 2007 and 2008 and they grew into what a lot of people think of as a potential UL eventers. So my experiences have been a bit different than some of those on this board.

JER
Dec. 22, 2011, 06:59 PM
Just for kicks, I looked at the 2008 FEH classes of 2YOs and 3YOs.

The 3YOs are 2005 models and would have been 6YO this year. The 2YOs are 2006s and 5YO in 2011.

There were 12 unique 2YO entries.


horses with USEA results: 3

results in 2011: 2

highest level completed: T (but it's a '10 result and horse has no results for 2011), 2 others with N results

There were 16 unique 3YO entries.

horses with USEA results: 5

results in 2011: 3

highest level competed: T, the 2 others are BN and N


Of the older group, it should be noted that the horse who is competing at Training actually won the T3D at Waredaca this year. Not bad for a horse who was placed 5th of 8 in his FEH class.

Lots of attrition, however. 68% of the 2005s and 75% of the 2006s never competed at all in eventing.

I haven't done the numbers for the other years.

There's more food for thought in this COTH article: We Need To Stop Outsourcing Our Horse Supply (http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/future-us-show-jumping-part-3-we-need-stop-outsourcing-our-horse-supply). It's about show jumping but the ideas are just as relevant to eventing.

subk
Dec. 22, 2011, 08:01 PM
Bruce isn't taking his youngsters to FEH because he knows what constitutes a future UL eventer and he breeds for himself.
Now wouldn't Bruce taking his young horses to FEH events be a big kick in the pants?! I suspect what Bruce's youngsters look like doesn't jive well with either the current standards or the current look that does well. He's one of the top breeders of event horses probably ever and wouldn't it be interesting to see his youngsters stand up beside what seems to be winning.

This could be the single thing with the most positive effect on the program. I chuckle just thinking about it.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Dec. 22, 2011, 08:40 PM
Who's volunteering to assemble pictures, both conformation shots and movement shots, of recent international event horses as foals? Did Sam Barr keep such a collection of photos, I wonder?

Aside from that, how would you judge future event horses? Is it all conformation? Movement? Attitude? Look of eagles?

How do the FEH to actual competitor stats in eventing compare to those in dressage and show jumping?

JER
Dec. 22, 2011, 09:16 PM
Now wouldn't Bruce taking his young horses to FEH events be a big kick in the pants?!

This could be the single thing with the most positive effect on the program. I chuckle just thinking about it.

I had the same thought -- but that's what could happen if/when this program gets it together.

:)


Who's volunteering to assemble pictures, both conformation shots and movement shots, of recent international event horses as foals? Did Sam Barr keep such a collection of photos, I wonder?

I think the best way to do this is put up a general invitation to send in pics, on sites like this one and EN and H&H. A motivated person could also email studs in the UK as most of them keep foal/offspring books.

Although I'm not about to look at it, I do have a good photo history of my mare Dekorum from 2 days old to Advanced at age 9. You can see the ups and downs and uglies of the young eventer. She didn't do FEH as she was too old. She didn't do YEH because she wasn't ready, mentally or physically.


Aside from that, how would you judge future event horses? Is it all conformation? Movement? Attitude? Look of eagles?

I'd put balance in there. They have to be good with their legs and IMO, this is something that is usually quite obvious.

It might be one of those things that's difficult to quantify but an experienced person knows it when they see it. Which means, of course, that we should try to quantify it anyway.


How do the FEH to actual competitor stats in eventing compare to those in dressage and show jumping?

No idea. This is the sort of thing that should be tracked. Metrics are important. I don't know what the FEH committee members actually do outside of the annual meeting but this is the kind of thing I'd be inclined to do if I were ever to serve on such a committee.

The prognosis for that last thing is rather bleak, I'm afraid. Recently, my young mares and I were explicitly banned from a BNR/eventing insider's property because I am a 'loudmouth' in the eventing world. Never mind that I don't even know this person or where said individual resides. (I live thousands of miles away, in another country.)

:D

JER
Dec. 22, 2011, 10:40 PM
More stuff:

I looked at the 3YO FEHs in 2009 (born 2006). These horses were 5 in 2011.

34 total unique entries


3 returnees from 2YO FEH
4 entered 4YO YEH in '10
5 entered 5YO YEH in '11


number of horses with USEA results: 13 (12 in '11) or 38%

levels competed:

Training -- 3 (2 completions, one in '10 with no further results)
Novice -- 5 (4 completions)
BN -- 5 (4 completions)


The FEH 3YO Grand Champion of this year was also the 2011 5YO YEH Champion. This horse, Royal Tribute, who is ridden by Doug Payne, competed in 14 horse trials as well as two YEH competitions in 2011. A quick look at his record shows that while he gets very good dressage scores, he doesn't always leave the jumps up in SJ at Novice and Training.

Janet
Dec. 23, 2011, 06:45 PM
Just for kicks, I looked at the 2008 FEH classes of 2YOs and 3YOs.

The 3YOs are 2005 models and would have been 6YO this year. The 2YOs are 2006s and 5YO in 2011.

...

If you go back a year earlier, my now-6 year old was 4th place 2 yo in 2007.

The reasons he has only gone Novice so far have everything to do with me and little to do with him.

misita
Dec. 29, 2011, 04:04 PM
I was thinking the same thing. Of the horses who participate, how many never end up eventing at all do to no fault of their own. Or how many are held back due to their riders and not their own potential. I think if you look at the stats from the dressage breed shows you would see similar results.

Very few young potential ul horses, dressage or eventing, end up in the right hands to get them to the top of their game.

JER
Dec. 29, 2011, 06:08 PM
If you go back a year earlier, my now-6 year old was 4th place 2 yo in 2007.

I couldn't go back any earlier -- 2007 was considered a 'test' year and the results aren't on the USEA FEH site.


The reasons he has only gone Novice so far have everything to do with me and little to do with him.


I was thinking the same thing. Of the horses who participate, how many never end up eventing at all do to no fault of their own. Or how many are held back due to their riders and not their own potential. I think if you look at the stats from the dressage breed shows you would see similar results.

But both of your posts speak to a lack of seriousness in the FEH program.

While I understand that there are people who like to take their youngsters out for a fun day at the FEH, the program is supposed to be more than that.

From the FEH page at USEA:


The FEH program focuses on yearlings, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds, and judging the potential they have to become a successful event horse.


Another goal of the program is to bring more breeders into the world of eventing. While there are countless breeders who specialize in creating dressage and show jumping prospects, there are considerably fewer breeders who specialize in breeding specifically for eventing.

and:


Experience is one of the many perks the FEH program offers.

So there you have it: a 'fun day out' is not the goal but a by-product of the class.


Very few young potential ul horses, dressage or eventing, end up in the right hands to get them to the top of their game.

Well, fellow breeders, why is that?

How do you establish yourself and gain credibility as a breeder if you don't prove your horses in the sport?

I breed a small number of horses and support them through their eventing careers. I really don't know any other way to do it. I suppose I could just put up some ads, sell the youngsters, and call myself a breeder of event horses -- but why would anyone take me seriously if I haven't demonstrated that my horses can do the job?

Again, I don't want to be take as negative about the FEH program. I believe that some real quality horses are bred in the US and I believe that the US can rival any nation in the success of home-country-bred event horses. I want people to be excited about US breeding and young horses coming up through our young horse pipelines.

:)

subk
Dec. 29, 2011, 06:32 PM
Very few young potential ul horses, dressage or eventing, end up in the right hands to get them to the top of their game.
Don't you think this problem is greatly exaserbated by the breed profile (less TB blood than what consistently does well at the ULs) that is competing and doing well in the YEH series!?

Riders are not stupid, they spend too much time and money making UL horses to take the risk on a prospect who doesn't fit the profile of what's working. Plenty of UL riders and those that buy UL prospects wouldn't even look at half the horses in the YEH series because who want's to kick a WB without TB blood around a CCI XC course?

If someone want to do the research it would be interesting to see the post FEH results of the 75% and up TBs compared to the less than 75% Tbs. (I would probably put the Irish horses with the TB group since that is also a breed profile that is successful.)

mbj
Dec. 29, 2011, 07:15 PM
We showed in the FEH and had fun. The horse did well (a 1st and a 2nd his 2 times out),is 7/8 TB 1/8 RIDH) and did not event as he was sold as a fox-hunter when his vet student rider had no time to ride.

My mother bred an old style **** star/Olympic horse -- a sport bred TB out of a line of sport bred TBs. I do not have picture posting privileges, but he would not have won at FEH. Even as a foal he liked to gad about with head held high, is under 16hands,has terrific feet that are however mule-shaped,is a daisy clipper (that soft skimming stride kept him sound--he is now 24) rather than a dressage mover.....but a xc machine who adored that phase.This horse would probably not be competitive today due to his dressage limitations.

elizabeth Callahan
Dec. 29, 2011, 07:32 PM
JER,
I understand your point that if horses are bred to event, then they should event. I am good with that up to a point. I can compete my babies myself to a certain point, but if someone offers me more as a hunter/jumper prospect, etc, then I will sell. We all know that we are always one bad step from a pasture pet and I have a business after all .
I also don't have the funds to keep multiple horses in training with a pro, time to ride more than 1 or 2 myself, if I'm lucky, and still be able to afford to breed more.
I would like the FEH to be more of a competition instead of an outing, but unless we have judges who judge event horses, buyers who place credence in the results, and a way of promoting it more, I think it will just stay as it is - a fun day out ( unless you have a yearling, then it may be not as fun....)
I also think heart is so much of an event horse, that the best built, best moving horse may be a total flop , while the skinny, downhill odd looking horse may win Rolex - there is no way to measure that.

misita
Dec. 29, 2011, 07:49 PM
From the FEH page at USEA:
How do you establish yourself and gain credibility as a breeder if you don't prove your horses in the sport?

I breed a small number of horses and support them through their eventing careers. I really don't know any other way to do it. I suppose I could just put up some ads, sell the youngsters, and call myself a breeder of event horses -- but why would anyone take me seriously if I haven't demonstrated that my horses can do the job?

Nothing but time, money and hard work can accomplish this goal. Should young breeders give up on their goal of breeding that successful UL horse because they haven't done it yet? As someone stated earlier in this thread, it takes 10 years from making the breeding plans for them to even reach the UL's.




Again, I don't want to be take as negative about the FEH program. I believe that some real quality horses are bred in the US and I believe that the US can rival any nation in the success of home-country-bred event horses. I want people to be excited about US breeding and young horses coming up through our young horse pipelines.



We're breeding very good horses in the US. Just putting it all together is the problem.

JER
Dec. 29, 2011, 08:48 PM
JER,
I understand your point that if horses are bred to event, then they should event. I am good with that up to a point. I can compete my babies myself to a certain point, but if someone offers me more as a hunter/jumper prospect, etc, then I will sell. We all know that we are always one bad step from a pasture pet and I have a business after all .

But your horses have proven themselves in the sport. Maybe you sell to other disciplines and seek WB approvals for your foals but you have shown that your horses can succeed in eventing.

At some point, you've earned your reputation, and your horses should sell based on that track record. :)


I would like the FEH to be more of a competition instead of an outing, but unless we have judges who judge event horses, buyers who place credence in the results, and a way of promoting it more, I think it will just stay as it is - a fun day out

The judging again. Is anyone out there happy with it? Is Susan Graham White happy with it?


I also think heart is so much of an event horse, that the best built, best moving horse may be a total flop , while the skinny, downhill odd looking horse may win Rolex - there is no way to measure that.

Which 'skinny, downhill odd looking horse' won Rolex since it's been run as a CCI****?

Nick Larkin's Red was an OTTB, IIRC. Then we have Prince Panache, Welton Envoy, Giltedge, Winsome Adante, Primmore's Pride, Master Monarch, Ben Along Time, Connaught, Headley Brittania, Cool Mountain, and King's Temptress.

Winsome Adante and Headley Brittania are odd-looking in places, I'll give you that, but they were well-bred for the sport. The rest of that list is purpose-bred through and through.

Yes, it could happen that a odd type from nowhere wins a CCI**** but this would be a rare occurence.

Equine Reproduction
Dec. 30, 2011, 12:30 PM
But both of your posts speak to a lack of seriousness in the FEH program.

While I understand that there are people who like to take their youngsters out for a fun day at the FEH, the program is supposed to be more than that9

Mmm...I think to a certain degree, you've lost sight of WHY people compete their horses. Probably better than 95% of ALL competitors "are" amateurs. Their goal IS for a fun day out! Yeah, I think most dream of becoming upper level competitors, but just statistically speaking, most won't make it to that level. Same with the horses that are bred! It may very well be no lack of ability and talent in the horse, but just the lack of getting that horse into the right hands!


Well, fellow breeders, why is that?

Honestly? Money. Plain and simple. I think you will find most breeders in this country can't do both. In order to compete a horse affordably, you have to be the trainer and the rider. To be competitive in the show ring, that will mean you need to have someone that is exceptionally talented. Heck, look at Totillas as a PRIME example of the difference between riders. I don't think ANYONE questions the talent of Totillas, but he's not doing anywhere near as well now that Edward Gal is no longer riding him. It comes down to being able to find the right rider for the right horse and having the ability to pay the bill that goes with that! It is absolutely no reflection on what we are producing here. There's just so much more that goes into the equation of GETTING a horse to the top!


How do you establish yourself and gain credibility as a breeder if you don't prove your horses in the sport?

You're kidding, right? In the grand scheme of things, it's a TOUGH row to hoe to maintain the business. There are SO many things that influence the final outcome. But, truthfully? I think most breeders' goal "is" to produce the next international caliber horse. However, the problem is getting that horse to the right rider and THEN getting the money to pay the darn bills for competing that horse. Most breeders' goal is to produce marketable horses. That means you must breed for the 95% that ride for "fun" ;). So, what does that mean? LOTS of sacrifices. I can't tell you how many of the horses we have produced that were UBER talented, but ended up going into a nice, happy, "fun" (there's that word again :) ) home so that we can continue paying our bills and keep our doors open. If we had to actually try and pay the bills and continue competing, chances are we'd have to get a day job and give up breeding horses. So unless you are Hilltop Farm and the likes, chances are you just have to HOPE that someone comes along that has the ability and talent to purchase that horse you've produced that has the ability to take it up the ranks.

30 + years ago - <sigh>...where HAS the time gone - I had the dream of producing the next International contender. I KNOW I've produced several horses that had the ability, but I certainly didn't have the talent or the time or the drive to compete them myself and we definitely didn't have the finances to stick them with someone that "could" take them to the top. So, what does one do if you wish to remain competitive in the market? You make sure that what you produce is the absolute best, but you also make sure that it appeals to the vast majority of the market. It better darn well be rideable! It better darn well be attractive! It better darn well be competitive - especially at the levels that most of your market is going to be riding! And it better darn well be affordable for that market! Do we lack credibility because we don't have a horse competing internationally? Define credibility! After 30+ years, we're still in business :D! Go back through old magazines and see how many of breeding farms are still in business - and I'm not referring to those that have deep pockets. I'm referring to those that do this entirely for a living with no additional resources to draw upon. I think you will find, many have day jobs, as well to rely on when times are tough and the economy is struggling <cough - now>.


I breed a small number of horses and support them through their eventing careers. I really don't know any other way to do it. I suppose I could just put up some ads, sell the youngsters, and call myself a breeder of event horses -- but why would anyone take me seriously if I haven't demonstrated that my horses can do the job?

Hmmm....You're not comparing apples to apples. If I was hiring you as a trainer/rider, you darn well better be competitive and you DARN WELL better believe in MY horse. In other words, if I bring a horse to you with the idea that I wish to compete him to the upper levels, I better not hear that you don't think he has the talent or ability. Make sense? That's YOUR job and that's what I pay my trainers and riders for. I'll breed it, but if I believe it has talent and am paying you to ride, train and compete, then YOU had better prove yourself to me <smile>. If I have a horse that "I" think is uber talented and you don't, then it's not a good match, is it? You may be right, but if you're taking my money you better have the belief that you can take him/her up the ranks. If not, you better be honest with me, otherwise where's the credibility? Does this make sense? Breeding - Apples....Riding/Competing/Training - Oranges. Integral to each other, but one is not necessarily exclusive or inclusive to the other.

I think you will find most that purchase horses, regardless of discipline, are looking for something specific and they're buying potential. Most riders do NOT have $70,000 to drop on their next mount. So potential it is! If the horse is already competing, the price is going to go up. Buyers have a pre-determined idea of what they want to be competitive as well as a budget. While it's nice to look at a facility that "is" producing upper level horses, there are just so many things that come into play. I think you will find most people purchasing horses, recognize that if they are going to go to a facility that has horses that are competing upper level, they're going to pay for that! The idea is to BREED horses that have a certain look, ability and talent, and have ancestors that are known for producing that certain look, ability and talent. If I'm looking to purchase a full sibling to a horse that is competing at upper level, I know that horse is going to cost me more. It's also why OTTB's are so popular! They're CHEAP!!


Again, I don't want to be take as negative about the FEH program. I believe that some real quality horses are bred in the US and I believe that the US can rival any nation in the success of home-country-bred event horses. I want people to be excited about US breeding and young horses coming up through our young horse pipelines.

:)

And for 95% of the people out there competing, you need to recognize that it's NOT a business - it's a hobby. Consequently, those that are competing in those YEH classes, chances are it "is" for FUN! Most breeders see the classes as an opportunity to relatively inexpensively present what they have to offer in an appealing venue and hopefully get a bit of training/exposure on the youngster. If you apply the numbers and statistics, it doesn't mean that any of those horses just aren't fitting the bill, but more likely, they haven't been placed into the right hands, with the right talent and with the finances to continue up the ranks. It's no reflection on the horses being produced or the YEH classes. It's just simple attrition. I personally don't bother competing youngsters. I used to, but have found it's a matter of economics. The bottom line is paramount if I hope to remain in business. No reflection on the ability or talent of the youngster, just that the benefit versus the cost isn't sufficient to warrant it. Add to that, it requires that I either put the horse with a trainer (money) or that I have to take time off from my breeding business to go to a show (more money).

What I have found over all these years and what has kept us in business is multi-faceted. I used to do full page, full color ads in all of the major magazines. As part of that, I kept close track of where my customers came from. I competed my youngsters and got them out there and we were quite successful in competition! I offered good customer service and took good care of my customers. I made darn good and sure that I produced quality animals, with super bloodlines at an affordable price. I made sure to support my fellow North American Breeders. I buy American as much as is feasibly possible. If I expect North Americans to buy my horses, then I better be willing to reciprocate.

So, what has come of all of that? I no longer compete youngsters. Period. What competing youngsters will garner is some ribbons and some news in national magazines that I have managed to garner more points <shrug>. My dollars can be better spent elsewhere. All of our stallions are performance tested - I "do" believe that is paramount in a stallion that is going to be standing has either completed a stallion testing or has competed to the upper levels...or in a perfect world, both. Mannhattan did both. Colorado has done both. Edelweiss competed to Grand Prix and didn't start his breeding career until he retired. And, the youngest approved stallion that we are standing now is Belafonte d'Avalon - the German Riding Pony. He literally just got sent to the trainer to start his performance career in eventing. But, we didn't invest our money in competing him until he was old enough that it would "count". He did his performance test at three and got a year to grow up and mature. He'll come out as a 5 yo and yes, will probably do the YEH classes.

My mares come from the best bloodlines I can afford. Some have competed, some haven't. BUT...they MUST produce. Sometimes it takes several years before figuring out which works best with which mare. I'm fortunate as I get the opportunity to see how babies mature and figure out the best crosses!

So in answer to your question, "I" don't need to compete my horses to prove that I'm a credible, competent breeder. "I" need to produce horses that have the ABILITY to be competitive. I can only hope that the person that purchases them can fulfill a dream - hopefully both mine and their's <smile>. If manage to stay in business, then obviously we're doing something right.

JER
Dec. 30, 2011, 12:59 PM
Equine Reproduction, I understand the points that you're making but, in many ways, they only serve to underscore what I've been describing as a lack of seriousness in both the FEH program and, as a more generalized point, why American-bred event horses are not at the top of the international tables.

Please understand that the USEA set the goals of the FEH program to be something more than just a play day. If you read the mission statement of the program, you'll see that, along with YEH, it's part of a larger scheme to promote breeding and developing young horses specifically for top-level eventing.

Similar programs exists in Ireland, the UK, and France, and are considered successful. Indeed, if we look to the past winners of the Young Event Horse competition in England or the top tens of Le Lion d'Angers CCI* and CCI**, we're looking at eventing royalty -- well-bred horses that became CCI***/CCI**** stars.

US breeders are never going to achieve anything with a defeatist attitude toward breeding and training horses. It's not enough just to put foals on the ground and sell them ASAP, not if you're trying to build a breeding program that consistently turns out top event horses.

In my previous post, I listed the winners of the Rolex CCI****. Those are all purpose-bred horses. They're not failed dressage horses or not-good-enough showjumpers -- they were bred specifically for the sport of eventing. We need to stop dreaming of the $500 'downhill odd-looking horse' and look at what's actually winning.

:)

Equine Reproduction
Dec. 30, 2011, 01:32 PM
Equine Reproduction, I understand the points that you're making but, in many ways, they only serve to underscore what I've been describing as a lack of seriousness in both the FEH program and, as a more generalized point, why American-bred event horses are not at the top of the international tables.

Nope. We're not at the top of the game simply because we have issues matching up money, horses and riders. Been doing this a LONG time and I know from where I speak.


Please understand that the USEA set the goals of the FEH program to be something more than just a play day. If you read the mission statement of the program, you'll see that, along with YEH, it's part of a larger scheme to promote breeding and developing young horses specifically for top-level eventing.

<smile>...Setting goals and the reality of it all is directly influenced by those that are "playing the game". Why do you think in-hand classes are popular? If they put the goal down as "Fun play day for you to get exposure for your horses" how many opeople do you think would participate? Of course we all want to see our horses get out there and be proven to be the top horses! But, you are not being realistic in your expectations. It still comes down to dollars and "fun".


Similar programs exists in Ireland, the UK, and France, and are considered successful. Indeed, if we look to the past winners of the Young Event Horse competition in England or the top tens of Le Lion d'Angers CCI* and CCI**, we're looking at eventing royalty -- well-bred horses that became CCI***/CCI**** stars.

You are not comparing apples to apples again. The entire industry is completely different in Europe. One can drive to multiple events anywhere in a particular country. Additionally, equestrian sports are much more heavily supported over there. You need to look at specifically North America and not make comparisons with other countries. We have obstacles that are unique to us that just aren't experienced elsewhere in the world. And the equestrian culture over there is very different.


US breeders are never going to achieve anything with a defeatist attitude toward breeding and training horses. It's not enough just to put foals on the ground and sell them ASAP, not if you're trying to build a breeding program that consistently turns out top event horses.

Who's being defeatist? Do you truly believe that most European breeders are producing horses that are making it to the top of the game? The biggest issue is matching riders to horses - not how to produce them! Many riders go to Europe not because they are producing better horses, but simply logistics! They can go and look at a large number of sport horses in a very small geographical area! And the farms work together!


In my previous post, I listed the winners of the Rolex CCI****. Those are all purpose-bred horses. They're not failed dressage horses or not-good-enough showjumpers -- they were bred specifically for the sport of eventing. We need to stop dreaming of the $500 'downhill odd-looking horse' and look at what's actually winning.
:)

Nah...I don't think you'll find that most eventers think that they'll be the next Olympian on that $500 horse. But, you're casting dispersions on breeders here because you believe that their animals aren't "good" enough. Not the case. It all comes down to marketing and money. Truly!

Let's talk statistics. Take those top "purpose bred" horses and how many of them were produced by the same farm? How many were purchased as youngsters and brought up through the ranks by the rider that competed them to the upper levels? How many of them were purchased by sponsors for the rider that is competing them? How many are OWNED by the rider that is competing them? I honestly don't know the answer, but I "do" know that it is the rare rider that can afford the horse they are competing on at international levels :(. And it certainly is the rare breeder that can afford to breed and compete their homebred to the International upper level. And let's use Totillas again as an example of competition, dollars and the grand scheme of breeding. Paul Schockemöhle purchased the horse for MILLIONS. Do you truly believe that he will ever recoup his investment? And Edward Gal lost the ride. Do you think Totillas will regain his previous successes under his new rider?

I will give you that North America isn't viewed as being at the top of the game in what we are producing for international caliber horses. But, that's NOT because they are not being produced. It has more to do with money. Plain and simple. And, those YEH classes? They are a method for garnering MORE interest in the discipline. It's a way of enticing people to show and compete at something they have the potential of winning :). That's not a bad thing, but let's face it...I'm not going to bother to enter my 12 yo horse in an Advanced Event knowing FULL well I have absolutely the chance of a snowflake in a warm place of being successful. But, I can certainly enter my 4 yo purpose bred mare in a YEH or FEH class and have the potential of being a winner. It's all about enticing interest, generating support and keeping things moving forward. The goals are lofty and that's great! But, what is written and what occurs are two very different things! Hopefully as time goes by, the reality will match the goals, but it "is" a relatively new program and it will take time...and money :)

JER
Dec. 30, 2011, 02:13 PM
But, you're casting dispersions on breeders here because you believe that their animals aren't "good" enough. Not the case. It all comes down to marketing and money. Truly!

Most horses don't have what it takes to be a CCI***/CCI**** horse. I don't believe for a minute that the US has an abundance of homebred horses who, with the right 'marketing and money' could be successful at the CCI***/CCI**** levels. These horses are hard to find. Ask any top international rider.


Let's talk statistics. Take those top "purpose bred" horses and how many of them were produced by the same farm? How many were purchased as youngsters and brought up through the ranks by the rider that competed them to the upper levels? How many of them were purchased by sponsors for the rider that is competing them? How many are OWNED by the rider that is competing them? I honestly don't know the answer, but I "do" know that it is the rare rider that can afford the horse they are competing on at international levels :(.

You started by saying 'let's talk statistics' and then did not do so yourself. It's okay, I'll hold up my end of the conversation.

Going back to those Rolex winners: King's Temptress is bred, trained, ridden and owned by Mary King. Red was owned, produced and ridden by Nick Larkin. Welton Envoy was owned by his breeder Sam Barr. Cool Mountain was bred at Louella Stud, bought as a yearling by his current owner, sent to Antoinette McKeown to be produced, then, at 5, to his current rider William Fox-Pitt. Headley Brittania came to the Fredericks as a CCI** horse to be sold. However, her full brother was also a CCI**** horse and she was bred at Headley Stud. She is part-owned by the Fredericks and IIRC, her original owner. The Fredericks found Ben Along Time as a four year-old and have been his only riders. Primmore's Pride was bought as a foal by the Lincolns, who sent him to Pippa Funnell as a two year-old. Giltedge was owned/produced to CCI*** by Eric Smiley and then bought by Jackie Mars for David O'Connor.

That's the background for 8 of the 12 horses I listed. I don't know about the others.


I will give you that North America isn't viewed as being at the top of the game in what we are producing for international caliber horses. But, that's NOT because they are not being produced. It has more to do with money. Plain and simple.

I don't agree. Again, a quality CCI***/CCI**** horse is a rare animal. It's not your average WB stallion x TB mare product that's sitting around in someone's field or taking a kid around 2'6".


And, those YEH classes? They are a method for garnering MORE interest in the discipline. It's a way of enticing people to show and compete at something they have the potential of winning :).

Not according to the stated and published goals of the program.


That's not a bad thing, but let's face it...I'm not going to bother to enter my 12 yo horse in an Advanced Event knowing FULL well I have absolutely the chance of a snowflake in a warm place of being successful. But, I can certainly enter my 4 yo purpose bred mare in a YEH or FEH class and have the potential of being a winner.

I'm not sure you understand the basics of our sport. You can't just sign up your 12 year-old horse for an Advanced event. Both of you have to be qualified and it takes some time to do so. Years, actually, and chances are that one or both of you will not be capable.

Equine Reproduction
Dec. 30, 2011, 04:28 PM
Most horses don't have what it takes to be a CCI***/CCI**** horse. I don't believe for a minute that the US has an abundance of homebred horses who, with the right 'marketing and money' could be successful at the CCI***/CCI**** levels. These horses are hard to find. Ask any top international rider.

<smile>...Ahhhh now you understand a bit more the crux of the problem. Are they hard to find because you don't know where to look or because they aren't out there or because there just spread all over kingdom come and it becomes difficult to impossible to sift through them all? I maintain they're out there! But they're also difficult to find because we have a TERRIBLE system of getting riders and horses together. I am NOT saying that they are a dime a dozen. But, they most emphatically "are" out there. And just because a breeder hasn't ever had a horse make it to the top in a particular discipline, doesn't mean they aren't breeding good quality animals with international potential!


You started by saying 'let's talk statistics' and then did not do so yourself. It's okay, I'll hold up my end of the conversation.

Going back to those Rolex winners: King's Temptress is bred, trained, ridden and owned by Mary King.

And it also validates my point with regards to funding. From Wikipedia (I just don't have the time to sit for hours at 'puter and do everything else I need to do :) )

"Funding proved even more difficult in 1988 when she started competing professionally, requiring her to sell horses which had proven successful. This changed, when after being offered good money for Divers Rock, a horse on which she had achieved 7th place at Badminton, she turned the offer down commenting "I'd rather be famous than rich." It proved to be the right decision because she secured her first sponsorship deal on the back of her success."

Always comes back to money <smile>.


Red was owned, produced and ridden by Nick Larkin. Welton Envoy was owned by his breeder Sam Barr. Cool Mountain was bred at Louella Stud, bought as a yearling by his current owner, sent to Antoinette McKeown to be produced, then, at 5, to his current rider William Fox-Pitt. Headley Brittania came to the Fredericks as a CCI** horse to be sold. However, her full brother was also a CCI**** horse and she was bred at Headley Stud. She is part-owned by the Fredericks and IIRC, her original owner. The Fredericks found Ben Along Time as a four year-old and have been his only riders. Primmore's Pride was bought as a foal by the Lincolns, who sent him to Pippa Funnell as a two year-old. Giltedge was owned/produced to CCI*** by Eric Smiley and then bought by Jackie Mars for David O'Connor.

That's the background for 8 of the 12 horses I listed. I don't know about the others. [/quote]

But you just proved my point! You listed off the names and owners and breeders, but as I said, it's the rare individual that will breed, own and compete the horse to the upper level AND breeds professionally! Not saying it doesn't happen, but it "is" unusual. Most top level riders may dabble in breeding and will try and replicate something they want/have, but rarely do they actually breed as a profession. Ride and train? You bet. Breed? Not so much. We work with and talk and interview and discuss with some top level riders and trainers in a multitude of disciplines. Most want absolutely nothing to do with breeding. Just give them the horse to ride that has the talent...oh and of course, the funding to compete <smile>.


I don't agree. Again, a quality CCI***/CCI**** horse is a rare animal. It's not your average WB stallion x TB mare product that's sitting around in someone's field or taking a kid around 2'6".

Now you're just being silly. It's not like you take any ol' stallion and any ol' mare and voila! An international caliber horse! But, I definitely think you are selling short the horses that are being produced in this country and the breeders that are producing them.


I'm not sure you understand the basics of our sport. You can't just sign up your 12 year-old horse for an Advanced event. Both of you have to be qualified and it takes some time to do so. Years, actually, and chances are that one or both of you will not be capable.

<sigh>..Semantics. You're missing the point. It's a sport which means it isn't essential for living. I am NOT saying that there aren't individuals that make a living at it, I'm saying it is a luxury item. Like jewelry. It's for FUN. It's not necessary for anyone's survival. For most it's a hobby. It's like watching a professional football game on national television vs. watching a college game vs. watching a high school game. They are ALL games. It's ALL entertainment. Some get paid for their experience and skill, some don't. But if you go to a high school football game, there is the VERY REAL possibility that there is some kid on the team that has the ability and talent to go pro. All of the kids on the team? Of course not. Will any of them make it to a pro team? If someone recognizes the talent and manages to get him to the right place at the right time. And, of course, there will be only a limited number of spots on any team for athletes of that caliber. God help him if he gets hurt along the way, or isn't able to get seen, or just doesn't have the money to make it to a place where tryouts are going on. That's part of the equation. The other part is that there darn well better be people that WANT to watch and support and promote those sports. Without the money...it'll remain small potatoes regardless of the talents and/or abilities of the players. We're all trying promote the dream and it all rides on potential (literally and figuratively :D). But, as you go up the levels, you're going to find fewer and fewer that will get there and not necessarily through ANY fault of the horse. He/she could have all the potential in the world, but if all the stars don't line up, it just isn't going to happen.

FWIW, it's not unique to Eventing, or Dressage or Jumping. We do the reproductive work for some of the top breeders and horses in a variety of breeds and disciplines throughout the country. It "does" offer some interesting insight both on a breeding for potential and the bloodlines involved, to the difficulties of getting those top athletes to the riders/trainers with the ability to get them where they need to go.

I will offer one other observation with regards to getting "noticed" and trying to get the right horse to the right rider. How many of you followed my links to my web pages? ;). No need to answer, I already know. Suffice it to say, lots (most?) who read this thread probably clicked on at least one of the links. One of the reasons we set up the Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program was with a view of trying to help make some of those dreams happen for individuals who "do" have the ability and talent, but maybe not enough funding. Or who have had something go sideways and need a bit of help getting out of a mess :(. It's all about paying it forward and staying positive about what we (equestrians) do! Thankfully, most of you are supportive and positive thinkers willing to help out each other whenever possible! I LOFF that :D!

Hopefully I've explained myself better. But on that note, I really do need to go out and work some horses :D! It's been fun and interesting and hopefully has added some food for thought from an entirely different perspective. Don't usually post on this forum, but breeding season isn't here...yet <groan>. And now that the little black pony is going out to make a name for himself, I'll probably check in a bit more often.

Happy holidays everone!

JER
Dec. 30, 2011, 05:01 PM
<smile>...Ahhhh now you understand a bit more the crux of the problem.

Please don't patronize me. If you think I just finished reading My Friend Flicka and want a baby Olympic horsie for Christmas, you've got it wrong.


And just because a breeder hasn't ever had a horse make it to the top in a particular discipline, doesn't mean they aren't breeding good quality animals with international potential!

I disagree. Usually, it does mean they're not breeding animals of sufficient quality.

You hear those phrases all the time from stallion owners/breeders -- 'he could do anything' 'that one could definitely go all the way' 'he can jump the moon' -- and then, only if you ask, you'll hear the rest of the sentence, the part that begins with 'but' and ends in an excuse for why the horse is an apparent underachiever.


But you just proved my point!

You listed off the names and owners and breeders, but as I said, it's the rare individual that will breed, own and compete the horse to the upper level AND breeds professionally! Not saying it doesn't happen, but it "is" unusual. Most top level riders may dabble in breeding and will try and replicate something they want/have, but rarely do they actually breed as a profession. Ride and train? You bet. Breed? Not so much.

If you were familiar with the eventing world, you would have recognized some of the names I mentioned. Sam Barr, who founded the Welton Stud, bred, trained and rode his own stallions to CCI****. When Blyth Tait won Rolex on Welton Envoy, it was Sam's 80th birthday. The Lincolns, who bought Primmore's Pride as a foal, are well-known breeders and horse producers who are also well past the age of riding around CCI****s.

That list of horses shows a lot of long-time partnerships at work. Maybe a rider doesn't breed/ride/own but most of the pieces are there, and the horse was put on the pathway to success at a very early age by their breeder or first owner. No excuses, in other words. Their careers are not a happy accident.



<sigh>..Semantics.

I don't see how your misunderstanding of eventing can be put down to 'semantics'.


You're missing the point. It's a sport which means it isn't essential for living. I am NOT saying that there aren't individuals that make a living at it, I'm saying it is a luxury item. Like jewelry. It's for FUN. It's not necessary for anyone's survival. For most it's a hobby.

The issue is about breeding event horses seriously, not a debate about whether horses are a luxury.

If you want to follow your model, in which horses are like jewelry, that's fine. But the USEA programs are aimed at stimulating the US market for well-bred, sport-suitable eventers, just like the ones that are winning the big international events. This is a discussion of these programs and how to make them fulfill their ambitions. Which means horses ≠ jewelry.


I will offer one other observation with regards to getting "noticed" and trying to get the right horse to the right rider.

It's not that difficult. Riders have telephones and email. Again, I think this is just another excuse. If you want to get your horse to the right rider, then just do it.

Equine Reproduction
Dec. 30, 2011, 08:01 PM
Please don't patronize me. If you think I just finished reading My Friend Flicka and want a baby Olympic horsie for Christmas, you've got it wrong.

Definitely NOT patronizing. If that's all you got out of my post, then you definitely are misunderstanding what I wrote! And, I would request that you show me the same courtesy and not patronize.


I disagree. Usually, it does mean they're not breeding animals of sufficient quality.

You hear those phrases all the time from stallion owners/breeders -- 'he could do anything' 'that one could definitely go all the way' 'he can jump the moon' -- and then, only if you ask, you'll hear the rest of the sentence, the part that begins with 'but' and ends in an excuse for why the horse is an apparent underachiever.

And, there certainly is a good dose of barn blindness out there. That will ALWAYS be the case! But you aren't hearing what I'm saying! We're not talking about excuses of why specific horses aren't making it to the top. You made a statement that you feel that in order for a breeder to be credible, they must be competing the horses they are producing. I'm telling you WHY most breeders don't/can't! It's not an excuse, it's not an opinion! It's flat out facts! It's not because they can't or aren't producing sufficient quality. And no, I am NOT making the assertion that all the pretty ponies with rainbow manes and poopin' starshine being produced by all the breeders are international caliber. I "am" making the assertion that the international caliber horse is being produced here in North America. It's just not making it to the right people. I've explained WHY it's not making it to the right people. And it's not just me stating that! It's pretty darn common knowledge.


That list of horses shows a lot of long-time partnerships at work. Maybe a rider doesn't breed/ride/own but most of the pieces are there, and the horse was put on the pathway to success at a very early age by their breeder or first owner. No excuses, in other words. Their careers are not a happy accident.

<sigh> You seem to think that my statements are about serendipitous events that occur because of whimsy. That is NOT the case. It "is" about partnerships that are symbiotic. Your statement above basically validates what I have said all along! It's about developing partnerships! Where's the excuse in that? They WORK! I suspect we agree on more than we disagree.


I don't see how your misunderstanding of eventing can be put down to 'semantics'.

My "semantics" were in presenting an analogy that hopefully you would understand. It didn't work <shrug>. Hopefully others understood what I was attempting to say.


The issue is about breeding event horses seriously, not a debate about whether horses are a luxury.

If you want to follow your model, in which horses are like jewelry, that's fine.

My "model" is to produce horses that are competitive AND marketable. I am NOT breeding for myself. Again, apparently my analogy has been lost on you and again, you are being patronizing ;). You can argue it any way you wish, but horses "are" a luxury. You lose the ability to support your horses, they go bye bye. If they are your occupation e.g, you're a breeder, you cut back on the number you produce because no one buys luxury items during a poor economy. If you are a trainer, you see a down turn in the number of horses that come into you for training or the number of riders that come to you for lessons. That's basic economics. Not something I make up to fulfill some fantasy business profile. If you are a top level international competitor with an eye on the next Olympics, while you "may" have a few horses in for training, you can be pretty darn sure they have sponsors to help support that goal. You certainly aren't going to be able to afford all the costs associated with international competition by training a few horses and riders. Yeah, there are people that make their living in the horse industry, just like there are people that make their living in jewelry. It just is basic facts.


But the USEA programs are aimed at stimulating the US market for well-bred, sport-suitable eventers, just like the ones that are winning the big international events. This is a discussion of these programs and how to make them fulfill their ambitions. Which means horses ≠ jewelry.

So how do you "stimulate" the market if no one is interested in competing or buying those horses? If no one shows up, it obviously isn't effective at ANY level. And like it or not, it "is" the amateur competitor that finances the bigger events. I'm scratching my head at your thought process and I'm NOT being sarcastic. I truly am trying to understand it! It would seem that your thought is that the YEH and the FEH programs are useless and therefore not doing what the "stated" objective is. Am I correct in that? My argument is that they "are" useful, just not maybe to the level that you're thinking they "should" (I hate that word) be. I see them as encouraging young (and old) event riders who aspire to bigger things. A way to dip their toe in the water, as it were, and at something that the skill level required isn't the same as say, going to an upper level event that will require years of experience, training and probably competing to get to! You have to encourage new people into the sport in order to expand it or even just to keep it going.


It's not that difficult. Riders have telephones and email. Again, I think this is just another excuse. If you want to get your horse to the right rider, than just do it.

Obviously, you have missed the point of my entire post. I have no issues of getting the right horse to the right rider. It's a business, after all. My horses go to the person that can pay the price, regardless of the horse OR the rider's ability. Sometimes that means a compromise - I may sell (or in some cases give) a talented horse at a lower price if I believe the buyer has the ability and talent to take it up the ranks. But, I think you are confusing business with ego. I know of no breeder who aspires to producing mediocrity. I think in the grand scheme of things, we ALL would like to produce a horse that gets on the map through competition. But, that also comes back to the problem with keeping track of our horses and our breeding. It is one of the biggest problems associated with breeding horses in this country. Heck, just getting the breeders name and the correct breeding of the horse in the show programs is still not common and a continual bone of contention for breeders! It doesn't matter if you've produced the top horse in the country in ANY discipline if they've changed the name on it and don't bother to report what the breeding is when they compete. Good luck trying to keep track of that horse :(.

S A McKee
Dec. 30, 2011, 08:34 PM
is [/B]being produced here in North America. It's just not making it to the right people. I've explained WHY it's not making it to the right people. And it's not just me stating that! It's pretty darn common knowledge.

My "semantics" were in presenting an analogy that hopefully you would understand. It didn't work <shrug>. Hopefully others understood what I was attempting to say.

My "model" is to produce horses that are competitive AND marketable. I am NOT breeding for myself. Again, apparently my analogy has been lost on you and again, you are being patronizing ;). You can argue it any way you wish, but horses "are" a luxury. You lose the ability to support your horses, they go bye bye. If they are your occupation e.g, you're a breeder, you cut back on the number you produce because no one buys luxury items during a poor economy.

So how do you "stimulate" the market if no one is interested in competing or buying those horses? If no one shows up, it obviously isn't effective at ANY level. And like it or not, it "is" the amateur competitor that finances the bigger events. I'm scratching my head at your thought process and I'm NOT being sarcastic. I truly am trying to understand it! It would seem that your thought is that the YEH and the FEH programs are useless and therefore not doing what the "stated" objective is. Am I correct in that? My argument is that they "are" useful, just not maybe to the level that you're thinking they "should" (I hate that word) be. I see them as encouraging young (and old) event riders who aspire to bigger things. A way to dip their toe in the water, as it were, and at something that the skill level required isn't the same as say, going to an upper level event that will require years of experience, training and probably competing to get to! You have to encourage new people into the sport in order to expand it or even just to keep it going.



Obviously, you have missed the point of my entire post. I have no issues of getting the right horse to the right rider. It's a business, after all. My horses go to the person that can pay the price, regardless of the horse OR the rider's ability. Sometimes that means a compromise - I may sell (or in some cases give) a talented horse at a lower price if I believe the buyer has the ability and talent to take it up the ranks. But, I think you are confusing business with ego. I know of no breeder who aspires to producing mediocrity. I think in the grand scheme of things, we ALL would like to produce a horse that gets on the map through competition. But, that also comes back to the problem with keeping track of our horses and our breeding. It is one of the biggest problems associated with breeding horses in this country. Heck, just getting the breeders name and the correct breeding of the horse in the show programs is still not common and a continual bone of contention for breeders! It doesn't matter if you've produced the top horse in the country in ANY discipline if they've changed the name on it and don't bother to report what the breeding is when they compete. Good luck trying to keep track of that horse :(.

The problem is many of the breeders are not professionals.
They post again and again about their foal scores <barf> and how their foals show FEI potential at 6 months of age.
The recent thread on the Breeders forum which is a self congratulatory thread mostly yielded stuff like 'high score whatever at its inspection' <Frown>.

People want to buy horses that at least have been started under saddle and show some talent for the particular discipline they are interested in. Expecting people to buy based on a hobby breeders insisting that it's an FEI horse is a joke.

And don't use the changed the name excuse, it doesn't fly.
Way too many excuses from the <hobby> folks.
If you can't afford to get your young horses out into the spotlight then stop breeding.

There are some American breeders that do suceed. But they are professional breeders and have a <real> game plan. They know what is required in quality and finances to get their stock out there. And they are rewarded by selling for good prices.

I had hoped the FEH and YEH prograns would go down the same path as the IJY has. That program is supported by professional breeders and graduates of that program do go on to GP competition. It's not meant to be a fun day in the sun. It's serious. And it weeds out those horses that don't perform at a high level.

If a horse is produced here in the US that can compete at the same level as an import most riders would buy the US bred horse. Perhaps some of the hobby breeders need to look at those who suceed in IJY and use that for a model instead of whining non stop <snark>.

Oh yeah, professional ads help too. Anybody see warmbloods Today? <OMG> <LMAO>

NCRider
Dec. 30, 2011, 08:36 PM
JER,
I agree with you but I'm afraid that I don't see this program changing. What you are looking for is something that will reward and encourage british style event horse breeding and development.

American breeders are unlikely to be so forward thinking. What the program seems to have attracted and be satisfying is generic warmblood sporthorse breeders and young horse flippers who see it as another avenue for showcasing their stock in order to sell to the highest bidder whatever the intended discipline. If the judging is such that the program rewards the production of horses that would sell into jumper or dressage homes (yay more Money!), these breeders are certainly not going to complain, they'll be laughing all the way to the bank. If it gives them another market to sell their jumper or dressage castoffs that will never sniff the upper levels, they're certainly not going to turn it down.

Equine's attitude is what you are fighting against in trying to hold this program to its intended purpose. Unfortunately, I don't think you will succeed.

JER
Dec. 30, 2011, 10:02 PM
S A McKee, I agree with you about the foal/youngster brags and the excuses. Why would any serious horse person take this seriously?

Equine Reproduction, the USEA FEH and YEH programs weren't aimed at the generalist/hobbyist/luxury horse world. The programs were designed by the USEA to identify top-class youngsters early in their careers. This goals are specific to eventing rather than general to the world of sport horse breeding.

You seem to have found a business model that works for you. However, you are not breeding specifically for eventing. The FEH and YEH programs are of no use to you, in their current form or in any other incarnation.

For those of us who do breed for eventing, there is no good reason why these programs shouldn't be making progress toward their goal of identifying future international stars.



I had hoped the FEH and YEH prograns would go down the same path as the IJY has. That program is supported by professional breeders and graduates of that program do go on to GP competition. It's not meant to be a fun day in the sun. It's serious. And it weeds out those horses that don't perform at a high level.

If a horse is produced here in the US that can compete at the same level as an import most riders would buy the US bred horse.

Agree with you about the programs, and I think we'd all agree that the US riders would be looking first at the horses that are already here.


I'm afraid that I don't see this program changing. What you are looking for is something that will reward and encourage british style event horse breeding and development.

American breeders are unlikely to be so forward thinking.

I agree with all of what you said but I singled out this part because I think, within the subset of breeders who are focused on eventing (people like myself and Wit's End Eventing and others), we can improve these programs so that while they might never have the scale of the UK or French programs, they will turn out winners and reserves of a consistent international quality.

In the last 10-15 years, breeding technology (ET and other procedures) have improved to where there's really no reason why eventing-focused US breeders shouldn't be producing horses of equal quality to the foreign-bred eventers. The total number of horses will never be huge but educated choices and good mares -- often using the same stallions as the UK/Euros -- should make for a quality market for US-bred event hores.

The Boston Red Sox won a World Series by staring down 80+ years of ill-fated history, taking a look around, and asking 'Why not us?' I don't know why we've accepted that the Germans and the UK and Ireland and France and NZ and Australia will always be breeding better eventers.

Why not us? Why not US?

Equine Reproduction
Dec. 30, 2011, 10:02 PM
Oh yeah, professional ads help too. Anybody see warmbloods Today? <OMG> <LMAO>

You looked and you remembered the business. In advertising, it takes, on average, for a viewer to see an ad 7 times before they remember the product and/or the business. Apparently I accomplished that with one ad, one time with you. Boring just isn't my cup of tea. And, in case you missed it, the main photo is part of a future calendar that is a fund raiser for the Leg-Up Assistance Program ;). Fun and entertaining, which is always good, IMHO.




[quote] American breeders are unlikely to be so forward thinking. What the program seems to have attracted and be satisfying is generic warmblood sporthorse breeders and young horse flippers who see it as another avenue for showcasing their stock in order to sell to the highest bidder whatever the intended discipline.

I think you will find that most of the people that "are" showing in the YEH classes aren't your sporthorse or warmblood breeders. They are the competitors that I described in my previous posts. Good or bad, better or worse! Honestly, and this is NOT intended as a snark or an insult, most warmblood breeders aren't breeding for the event market. Lower level eventers will often tap the OTTB market. And, the age of the average eventer tends to be younger, which also means that they are probably not going to have the disposable income that say a middle aged dressage rider will have.


If the judging is such that the program rewards the production of horses that would sell into jumper or dressage homes (yay more Money!), these breeders are certainly not going to complain, they'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

See, I just don't get statements like this. If the problem is the judging, then make an effort to change that! But, from what is being stated here is that it would appear that the horses that are being competed in those classes are not the ones that are competing at the upper levels. Am I correct? How is that the fault of the breeder or the competitor? Seems to me that the flaw is in the judging and what is being rewarded! If the judging is rewarding those animals that "do" ultimately go on to compete at upper levels, you're spot on. If the animals being shown are those that are owned by individuals that see the classes as a way to dip their toe in and aren't the upper level prospects, then maybe the focus needs to be switched? Help me out here!


If it gives them another market to sell their jumper or dressage castoffs that will never sniff the upper levels, they're certainly not going to turn it down.

The vast majority of the market "is" for the low to mid level competitor, regardless of the discipline or breed. No fault in that. But, what I don't get is you're casting dispersions at individuals for putting their horses in these classes and being rewarded by those horses pinning in those classes. If the judges are rewarding the wrong animals, which is apparently the argument about the classes here, then the fault isn't with what is being produced but with what is being pinned and consequently the judging! <scratching head>. So start rapping your judges on the knuckles! If what someone is producing isn't going to win, they won't bother competing it.


Equine's attitude is what you are fighting against in trying to hold this program to its intended purpose. Unfortunately, I don't think you will succeed.

My attitude is to try and encourage a progressive thinking program and a productive discussion about how to accomplish that. Snarks, insults and dispersions aren't productive. I understand the goal of those classes, but I also understand just how difficult it is to get the appropriate support for them. I also see them as a great way to encourage people to show and to get their young stock out there! You can STILL accomplish all of that AND reward the appropriate horses, but that's a judging problem, not a problem with who is doing the showing necessarily.

There is an entire industry based solely on halter horses in the Arab and QH breeds. I always thought halter classes "should" promote the ideal of the breed, i.e., form following function. However, I think we can all agree that is not what we see in those two breeds. As long as those standards are rewarded, however, people will breed for that! And there is big money in it, as well :P

Years ago, the in-hand classes for dressage were abysmal and an absolute joke! Heck, I swear that some of the judges were QH western pleasure judges - okay maybe not "quite" that bad, but they weren't the same judges as were judging the undersaddle classes. Form was NOT following function. And while the argument can definitely be made about movement being faddish in dressage, I don't think anyone would argue that lack of suspension and toe dragging movement are what anyone wants to see in a dressage horse. A huge effort was made to educate the judges and while it certainly isn't perfect, I think it has definitely made progress! There's also support and encouragement for North American breeders and promoting those breeding programs. In other words, a carrot and a stick.

I truly am scratching my head at the lack of support for your fellow breeders here. I would think that it would be a HUGE source of pride to know that you were sending an American rider out to compete on an American bred horse! I also scratch my head why anyone would begrudge someone finding a niche market, so long as they are honest and ethical and filling a need.

So, the system isn't working towards the goals that you eventers wish to see. How do you fix that? I've already stated as a breeder, I don't bother showing in young horse classes. So truly, it's no skin off my nose one way or the other. But, how can you have a conversation about how to "fix" what's broke, if you don't invite discussion? Snark and insults just don't work and fwiw, you end up scaring the snot out of a lot of people that may wish to participate in your discussion but are afraid of being torn limb from limb.

Okay...that's it from this peanut gallery :). It's been fun and entertaining, but this truly is not my usual venue. So, I shall go back to my little corner of the world. I truly hope I haven't offended anyone as that definitely was NOT my intent. I just hope that I have offered some food for thought, even if you don't agree with me :D! My husband doesn't half the time either! I'll live...

Good luck and best wishes to all of you for a successful and prosperous New Year!

Wits End Eventing
Dec. 30, 2011, 10:14 PM
The difference between what the FEH currently is and the stated goals of the program seems to be the crux of the spirited debate here. The bulk of the sport is made up of amateurs, and, yes, they need a different horse than the professional aiming to win Burghley. Our understanding of and hopes for the FEH program are that it will help US breeders in breeding competitive 4* horses. An equally valid goal, and one with a larger market, is to help breeders with the purpose bred amateur horse. At the FEH open forum, we proposed that the FEH be split into two classes (like the YEH has been), one for horses bred to be top mounts for professionals and one for horses bred to be top amateur mounts. The suggestion was not taken seriously but neither were any of our other suggestions.......

JER
Dec. 31, 2011, 01:05 AM
Honestly, and this is NOT intended as a snark or an insult, most warmblood breeders aren't breeding for the event market.

And just as honestly, the FEH/YEH programs were designed to encourage and promote breeding for eventing. Specifically eventing. In other words, not to cater to WB breeders who think eventers might like their mediocre cast-offs who don't have the blood required by the upper levels of the sport.


See, I just don't get statements like this. If the problem is the judging, then make an effort to change that!

This has been discussed previously on this BB and in this thread. The judging is a problem. Those of us who'd like to see it align more with the realities of eventing have not been successful in our efforts. Again, this is all discussed on this thread.


But, from what is being stated here is that it would appear that the horses that are being competed in those classes are not the ones that are competing at the upper levels. Am I correct? How is that the fault of the breeder or the competitor? Seems to me that the flaw is in the judging and what is being rewarded! If the judging is rewarding those animals that "do" ultimately go on to compete at upper levels, you're spot on. If the animals being shown are those that are owned by individuals that see the classes as a way to dip their toe in and aren't the upper level prospects, then maybe the focus needs to be switched? Help me out here!

If you followed this thread from the beginning, you'd know that some of us feel (1) that the judging is a problem on a number of levels, from the judges themselves to what the horses are judged on; (2) that the program is promising to 'evolve' but without any evidence of doing so; and (3) the results in these classes often do not reflect the horses' suitability for eventing (a 17+hh 2YO with less than 50% TB blood is not going to make it as a UL eventer).

The program is still young (also previously discussed) so that the oldest participants are now coming 6. The highest level they could have competed at this age is Preliminary, which is not yet the ULs of Intermediate and Advanced. And again, if you've read the thread, you'd have seen the stats and info I posted on the participants and their early competitive years.


My attitude is to try and encourage a progressive thinking program and a productive discussion about how to accomplish that.

What 'program' are you talking about? We're talking about FEH/YEH, and we're talking about how to improve those programs. You're coming here with very little knowledge of either of those things, and you're telling me I don't get it?


I truly am scratching my head at the lack of support for your fellow breeders here. I would think that it would be a HUGE source of pride to know that you were sending an American rider out to compete on an American bred horse! I also scratch my head why anyone would begrudge someone finding a niche market, so long as they are honest and ethical and filling a need.

Where do you get these ideas? As you can see from this thread (if you read it, that is), that a number of us are breeding purpose-bred eventers and also that we're quite supportive of each other's efforts to breed eventers.


So, the system isn't working towards the goals that you eventers wish to see. How do you fix that? I've already stated as a breeder, I don't bother showing in young horse classes.

Wow. Just wow.

Don't you get that we want to improve these programs, not abandon them? Don't you get that we want to support the programs, as a way of supporting and developing US breeding of event horses?

We are USEA members. These programs are OUR programs. We want them to be good. We want them to achieve their goals.

You don't fix it by walking away.

subk
Dec. 31, 2011, 02:13 PM
And, there certainly is a good dose of barn blindness out there. That will ALWAYS be the case!...

... I "am" making the assertion that the international caliber horse is being produced here in North America. It's just not making it to the right people. I've explained WHY it's not making it to the right people.
If someone breeds quarter horses then says the reason they aren't making it to the ULs of eventing is because they aren't getting into the hands of the "right" riders that is not barn blindness, that is ignorance. If you are breeding WBs that are 50%-75% or less TB and saying the same thing then that's ignorance too.

And because it hasn't been said yet...not only was one of the original purposes of the YEH to promote the breeding of UL event horses it was also to help identify promising young prospects so they COULD get to the hands of the right people. Unfortunatley the "right people" are looking at 17 hand 2YOs w/o much TB blood, or 4YOs that jump 2 feet higher than the fence and saying, "Really? Your kidding, right?" Unfortunately not.

misita
Dec. 31, 2011, 02:29 PM
He's not 17h. He's 16h at 3 years old and just learning how to jump.

grayfox
Jan. 3, 2012, 03:36 PM
He's not 17h. He's 16h at 3 years old and just learning how to jump.

Is that jumping style really considered good in eventing?

Great posts JER. I'm learning a lot.

lecoeurtriste
Jan. 3, 2012, 04:18 PM
At the FEH open forum, we proposed that the FEH be split into two classes (like the YEH has been), one for horses bred to be top mounts for professionals and one for horses bred to be top amateur mounts. The suggestion was not taken seriously but neither were any of our other suggestions.......

Being an amateur myself, I agree completely that horses we (ammys) choose are often quite different from those a pro would take 4*--BUT, the way the YEH was split into YEH/NEH does not give us (ammys) a suitable challenge for horses we're bringing along to be prelim packers. The current NEH specifications for amateurs maxes the jumps at 2'3" and dressage test at BN for any age horse/rider. Really?!? While I've only brought two horses along through preliminary myself since coming back into riding in 2002, Davis (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151120795530131&set=a.69493155130.138685.605145130&type=3&theater) held his own in the 4yo and 5yo classes in 2007-2008 (and I plan to tackle the 4yo classes again this year with Glory (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150803446085131&set=a.10150803444785131.736880.605145130&type=3&theater)).

Perhaps the current FEH/YEH classes could be split into "pro" for 4* potential and "amateur" for 1* potential with the same tests/specifications. The NEH could remain as it is for horses/riders planning to max out at training or below.

Just a thought.

Wits End Eventing
Jan. 3, 2012, 05:54 PM
Perhaps the current FEH/YEH classes could be split into "pro" for 4* potential and "amateur" for 1* potential with the same tests/specifications. The NEH could remain as it is for horses/riders planning to max out at training or below.


:yes:

On another note. I'm curious to hear your opinion as an organizer of FEH events about having an at liberty phase and/or a free jumping chute. Would you still hold them if one or both of those were added?

lecoeurtriste
Jan. 3, 2012, 06:45 PM
:yes:

On another note. I'm curious to hear your opinion as an organizer of FEH events about having an at liberty phase and/or a free jumping chute. Would you still hold them if one or both of those were added?

Sure...I've participated in WB inspections where the babies were shown loose as well as on a triangle. Wits End Eventing knows our arenas, and we could do at liberty easily. I'm not a (personal) huge fan of free jumping, but if the FEH specifications called for it, and the USEA provided clear diagrams for the chute (heights, distances, etc.), we'd do it.

I will also add that many facilities may not have an arena with a 6' tall fence or fully enclosed indoor to safely do at liberty, and finding enough volunteers to work the chute would be difficult (it's hard enough to find two people to help me, let alone 4+). :winkgrin:

T-minus 3 months until our FEH, NEH, YEH spring classes (http://www.wnaaa.com/Spring2012-HT.htm). Brian Ross is judging, so I hope all of you on this thread come out to show off your babies!

Aussie08
Jan. 3, 2012, 11:16 PM
April 1st is already in my calendar with Red ink! Still hoping to get other FEH shows organized in Area III during 2012 but never to conflict with either The Ark or Cedar Ridge Farm.

We appreciate the efforts that both these events have put into having these shows for us. Many Thanks!