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View Full Version : AHSA/USET/NHJC/XYZA - Synergy anyone?



LindaAllen
Aug. 22, 2000, 01:21 AM
I'd like to start a new thread. A couple of ground rules: 1)no personalities; 2)no stories; 3)no complaints; 4)no non-constructive criticism of ANYONE's 'crazy ideas'. Just throw out possible solutions that you feel might be realistically implemented to improve our sport over the next ten years (if you don't plan on being involved ten years from now, don't bother to post!)

I personally believe that we need every organization that we've got and probably a couple of more -- we're a big sport in a big country these days and I don't believe we'd be well served without rules and regulation no matter how agravating, irritating, and occasionally expensive it is to deal with. I also believe that every segment of the industry needs an organization to focus on its own needs and interests -- every segment from the smallest local 'grass-roots' group to the USET for the elite international athletes. To my mind the problem (let's call it "challenge")is admitting that we're all working toward the same goal: making our sport even bigger, more enjoyable, better recognized, and more accessible to both aspiring participants and the public. Anything that helps any aspect of the sport, helps all the rest of it -- IF we get off of the "to get ahead, we have to beat someone else." Why can't each organization (and each individual)take the area that it (they)does (do) best and concentrate on that? Why can't we work together in an interdependant manner? We are ALL dependant on the survival and prosperity of every aspect of this sport, aren't we? And isn't the sport, and the organizations we've had for decades, more important than any personalities?

Let's get thinking 'out of the box' and see what comes out. Just remember "the rules" for this thread....
Linda

LindaAllen
Aug. 22, 2000, 01:21 AM
I'd like to start a new thread. A couple of ground rules: 1)no personalities; 2)no stories; 3)no complaints; 4)no non-constructive criticism of ANYONE's 'crazy ideas'. Just throw out possible solutions that you feel might be realistically implemented to improve our sport over the next ten years (if you don't plan on being involved ten years from now, don't bother to post!)

I personally believe that we need every organization that we've got and probably a couple of more -- we're a big sport in a big country these days and I don't believe we'd be well served without rules and regulation no matter how agravating, irritating, and occasionally expensive it is to deal with. I also believe that every segment of the industry needs an organization to focus on its own needs and interests -- every segment from the smallest local 'grass-roots' group to the USET for the elite international athletes. To my mind the problem (let's call it "challenge")is admitting that we're all working toward the same goal: making our sport even bigger, more enjoyable, better recognized, and more accessible to both aspiring participants and the public. Anything that helps any aspect of the sport, helps all the rest of it -- IF we get off of the "to get ahead, we have to beat someone else." Why can't each organization (and each individual)take the area that it (they)does (do) best and concentrate on that? Why can't we work together in an interdependant manner? We are ALL dependant on the survival and prosperity of every aspect of this sport, aren't we? And isn't the sport, and the organizations we've had for decades, more important than any personalities?

Let's get thinking 'out of the box' and see what comes out. Just remember "the rules" for this thread....
Linda

rusty
Aug. 22, 2000, 01:49 AM
Hi!I think this is a great topic for a thread.
My suggestion would be to have a way for people to get started in this sport with out having to spend a fortune.
I am not the best writer so please keep reading and I will try not to confuse any one. Maybe a subordinate organization that had rules and standards set for the schooling and local shows. By this I mean rules that apply to the lower level of showing. Lately I have noticed at the smaller shows the rules are rather vague if any are used at all.
Years ago if my memory serves me correctly even nonrated schooling shows were judged according to the AHSA rules, this was stated in the prize list. Is this not allowed any more? I am not thinking of the AHSA having the involvement at this level that they do at the AA shows, just maybe some give some guidence or support of the rule book.

ALso some judging standards that are a little more objective. Some thing like they have in the reining classes x many points deducted if they do not change their lead at the right place and more off for the longer that it takes them.

[This message has been edited by rusty (edited 08-22-2000).]

farmgate
Aug. 22, 2000, 02:11 AM
I think the milage rule has [like many similar "protective" ideas] "evolved" beyond its intended purpose. Fewer managers "owning" more and more dates...well, it doesn't take alot of forsight to see where this is heading. With professional show managers controlling the industry side of horse shows, loyalty and monopoly will be the new battle issue. We're already seeing the skirmishes beginning.

Snowbird
Aug. 22, 2000, 02:30 AM
Let's take it back a step. We have a structure that could work. The C-Rated Show should be better defined. I think that the ratings should be predicated on the courses being offered.

For example in Ice Skating there were figures you had to master before you could compete. Then there were levels where you were judged as pass or fail. This level would be for the "Local Member".

Our C Shows could be around and down the diagonal. This would be a place to start with fences that are inviting and attractive but not intimidating. A place to train the green young horse and school the new riders lacking perhaps in some ability to meet the pressures. A confidence builder to move up from or a comfortable place for the older rider who is satisfied to feel safe and not challenged.

A B Level show would have to offer a more difficult and challenging course. This is where they gain ring poise and experience turning out the horse and themselves for competition. Some might never go beyond this level, and some may return after many years.

The A Level Show should not be a catch-all for every body whether or not they know how to ride or what competition is all about. It shouldn't be based on "Cash Awarded" but on the difficulty of the challenges.

The AA Show should only be a qualifying show with limited entries offering only the AHSA Rated Divisions evenly spaced to give both the horse and the rider the opportunity to compete under the best possible circumstances. These are the horses and riders who have already been skimmed off the top as our best.

CCollman
Aug. 22, 2000, 02:48 AM
Hi Linda ... great topic!

Among many things that I believe need to happen to improve this sport, one of the most important would be for the AHSA / NHJC to establish better lines of communication between themselves and the state / local organizations. It's these very groups that know everyone from the "A" circuit riders to the backyard schooling show types in their own states / areas, and they are the key to getting EVERYONE involved.

Right now, the current system only serves a select few - many, many more people involved with hunter jumper horses don't have any clue what the letters "AHSA" or even "NHJC" stand for, let alone what they do.

The AHSA / NHJC must become involved at all levels, but more importantly, it must offer a reason for these folks to want their involvement!

In Zone 8, we recently created a new position on the Zone 8 Committee called "Communications Director". I volunteered for this spot (call me crazy!). But, one of my biggest goals is to open up a line of communication with the local organizations like Arizona Hunter Jumper Association, Colorado Hunter Jumper Association, New Mexico Hunter Jumper Association, Utah Hunter Jumper Association, Southern Arizona Training Association, etc. These are the groups that know the 90+% of hunter jumper enthusiasts that are out there. And these are the folks we need to get involved with the sport.

How? What can the AHSA / NHJC offer to these folks? If I knew that, I'd run for President of something or other ... but let's see what other responses on this thread come up with!

Chris

gymnastic
Aug. 22, 2000, 08:00 AM
A good place to start would be Jacquiline Badger Mars letter in the Chronicle a week or so ago. I think she basically proposed a structure where the USET would do what it now does, the AHSA would do what it now does, and there would be some kind of unifying board above them both, to work out the various overlaps and possible conflicts. I can't really see anything wrong with that.

In fact, it seems to be such a good idea that I don't even see anybody trashing it. So it must be good.

Part of the problem might be that both the USET and AHSA boards have gotten so big (more than 50 each, I think), that there needs to be a small group of dedicated people to supervise the overall structure. It seems to me that might be the biggest situation to face -- how to pick those people, and who they would be. They probably need to be people with experience but not too much profile, and also willing to do some hard work.

wtywmn4
Aug. 22, 2000, 09:12 AM
Great thread Linda! As you said, we do need all the organizations we have. Our sport is huge, not just h/j. Better and uncluttered communication, might help end some of the in house cat fighting. Getting locked into our own disciplines needs and not seeing the overall picture is easily done. Sitting down to a round table with others, and listening (key word) to some of their suggestions might start heading us in a positive direction. This is beginning to sound like the UN. However, we have become like many nations with similar problems.

DMK
Aug. 22, 2000, 10:23 AM
Ouch...I was not aware that the boards were that large... spend 5 minutes working on committees, and you will quickly learn that they function best at 5-8 members and become dysfunctional at around 12. That isn't a statement about any one personality, just the nature of large groups. I would suggest that serious restructuring be done if the goal is to provide governence and change (I don't mean that to sound flip, quite frankly that is not the purpose of some boards, but if it is the purpose of this board, the size could be problematic).

This would mean there would need to be more accountable committees reporting to the board, which is a challenge in and of itself. Those committees need well defined legislative authority and charters defining their scope. I also feel strongly that if the committee governing the specific discipline has not been elected by the group of people it represents (or appointed by an elected body) nor does it truly have decision making power, it might be a waste of good oxygen - OK, that was harsh, but without giving examples, those of us in business have all seen what happens when some other department tries to throw their people into a process that they have no true authority over. It really doesn't matter if that group of people have the greatest ideas in the world, they usually end up causing friction everywhere, and reducing the process to shambles.

Also, I think a board/committees would have to sit together through the course of at least 12 meetings - I'm not sure of the term and frequency, but the first 4 meetings of new boards generally consist of the storming-norming-forming-performing process (oh,yes, we can all tell who went to TQM courses, can't we? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ). You need to get through those before real progress is usually achieved. I also think that if possible, at least 33% of the board should rotate out every term (not saying they can never serve again, but perhaps sitting out for 2 terms would provide more of that out-of-the-box persepctive).

As for showing, I have to say I was very impressed with Susie Humes/Blake Aldrich's thoughts on changing horse shows, especially about only 10 shows counting to your indoor qualifications.

As usual, just my $0.08...

Portia
Aug. 22, 2000, 12:11 PM
Linda, a good, constructive topic. Here's my personal suggestion, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who's been around here awhile.

The AHSA rules (including very definately the rule governing the NHJC) need to be restructured and rewritten. The substance doesn't need to change -- except in those areas where the membership wants the change or the sport needs it to thrive -- but the rules as they now exist are vague, disorganized, and very poorly drafted. If a state or the federal government tried to enforce rules as poorly drafted and organized as the AHSA rules, they would be declared "void for vagueness."

Linda, I'm a lawyer, a Senior Counsel with one of the largest and most well respected corporate firms in this country and I do complex litigation and international arbitration. I work with complex regulatory schemes every day, and still it takes me hours to find answers to simple questions in the AHSA Rules. When I do find the answer, there is virtually always some issue remaining undefined, unanswered, and subject to debate regarding its meaning and effect.

I realize the AHSA has operated under these rules for a long time, but that does not mean they are untouchable. The system needs to be reformatted to make them user-friendly, so the members can find and understand a clear statement of the rules to which they are subject and by which they are expected to abide.

Restructuring and redrafting the AHSA rules will help define and facilitate the relationship between the AHSA and the other entities with which it must function, including the NHJC, USET, and the FEI.

I would be more than willing to volunteer to assist in any organized and sanctioned effort to accomplish the revision of the AHSA Rules.

Jennifer Price

[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 08-22-2000).]

LindaAllen
Aug. 22, 2000, 12:19 PM
This is GREAT (I keep sitting here nodding my head as I read...). Keep 'em coming.
Linda

Lisa Cook
Aug. 22, 2000, 12:32 PM
Snowbird wrote:

"The A Level Show should not be a catch-all for every body whether or not they know how to ride or what competition is all about. It shouldn't be based on "Cash Awarded" but on the difficulty of the challenges.

The AA Show should only be a qualifying show with limited entries offering only the AHSA Rated Divisions evenly spaced to give both the horse and the rider the opportunity to compete under the best possible circumstances. These are the horses and riders who have already been skimmed off the top as our best."

Here's an idea - if the A and AA shows are supposed to be for the very best horses and riders - how about a rule that only the person who shows the horse in the ring is allowed to ride the horse on the show grounds? No trainers warming up the horses for students to get on at the last minute, or trainers showing the horses in the higher divisions before the owner rides it in lower divisions. This way, you get the people who really can "ride" their own horses, from warm-up to the end.

Event riders have to abide by this rule, even brand new horses & riders at the Beginner Novice level(2'7" max height).

Just an idea.

Janet
Aug. 22, 2000, 12:35 PM
OK, I'll throw out a couple of examples of structures that work reasonably well (though by no means perfectly) in other disciplines.

The USDF (US Dressage Federation) is an organization of organizations (called "GMOs" - General Membership Organizations). The H/J analogy would be to have a organization bringing together representatives of the local hunter organizations, such as VHSA, MHSA, etc. The USDF does not make the rules- the AHSA does that- but the USDF has considerable input to the AHSA dressage rules. The USDF also administers the awards programs- many of which are based on needing a "qualifying score" to be eligible for various championship programs, and "Finals" shows. Most dressage shows, even if they are not AHSA recognized, use the USDF tests, and run under most of the USDF/AHSA rules.

The USCTA (United States Combine Training Association) plays a slightly different role. It is an individual membership organization (though local organizations may affiliate with USCTA). As with the USDF, the USCTA doesn't make the rules, but it has considerable input on the AHSA rules. And the USCTA membership has an opportubity to have significant input on this process.

The USCTA actually recognizes many of the lower level (Novice and Training) events, even though they may not be AHSA recognized. Only Prelim and above needs to be AHSA recognized. However, the lower level USCTA events are still run under AHSA rules, as are the majority of the unrecognized events.

Again, the USCTA administers the awards programs. Many of these are based on winning a certain number of events to qualify for a championship event, though others are based on total points over the year. The USCTA also establishes the competition schedule (as CT is exempt from the AHSA mileage rule).

It was my understanding that the NHJC was expected to assume a role somewhat analogous to the USDF and USCTA. From what I have observed so far, they ar focusing on the relationship with AHSA, and NOT addressing the needed relationship with the local organizations, or the indivdual competitors. (Many riders are USDF or USCTA members, but not AHSA members, becuase they derive some benefit form those organizations. So far, I have not seen much incentive for non AHSA members to join NHJC.) I do not know whether this is because of the way the NHJC is structured, or because of the particular people involved.

Anyway, I think that the structure of both the USDF and USCTA in relation to their disciplines provides possibilities which should be examined for the hunter/jumper discipline.

MsHunter
Aug. 22, 2000, 01:36 PM
I would like to see more education available in clinic form for trainers about keeping horses fit, sound, and healthy. Being a scientist at heart, and always waiting for the latest and greatest studies, I think there is a wealth of information out there, that is underutilized. I would like to see our horses stay sounder longer, I would like our horses to be in peak form for competition. Things like leg maintenance,
joint supplements, joint injections, a fitness program for the hunter horse, jumper horse etc. Turnout the good the bad etc.
So much is known, and so many people have next to no knowledge. The racetracks (the good trainers) have an edge on us here.
I continuously get tired of trying to educate my clients on my own about this, I would love to see farriers, vets, and trainers all get involved in sport horse
maintenance. Things as simple as a flatfooted horse with small feet benefiting from a pad and bar shoe (before he/she gets navicular). Why are we always treating AFTER the fact? What does it take per week to keep a horse in peak condition etc?
I think when these avenues are worked out, the pounding will become clear as when it is/is not pounding etc, or how much is too much etc. This is really missing. We need more educated horseman trained, not just nice horses and good riders who can find 8.

Weatherford
Aug. 22, 2000, 02:03 PM
Wonderful topic!

Change both the hunter and jumper "points" system to one based on quality of performance rather than horses beaten. For example, a rider on a 6 yr old horse goes clean, then goes slow clean in a jump-off. That double clear would count as 1 (or 2) grading points. Which would, in turn, determine the horse's level of competition and chances for qualifying for zone (region) and national championship shows.

In hunters, all hunters would be scored (open numerical - although, perhaps scores under 50 would not have to be tallied?), and the horse receives one point for each SCORE over 85 (or whatever figure is determined to be most appropriate - perhaps 90, perhaps 80.) THOSE points would be tallied and counted towards gradings/ championship shows, etc. (A 90 or 99 round should be a 90 round wherever the show!)

Hopefully, a system such as this would solve several problems, not the least of which is point chasing. The grading system would allow nice young horses to compete in Grade Championships without running their legs off.

Thanks, again, Linda!

[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 08-22-2000).]

Aug. 22, 2000, 02:35 PM
I am fascinated and frustrated with this thread--primarily because there's such a wealth of great ideas and experienced thoughts and a lack of coherent process to organize and orchestrate them. In my "other life"--the one that pays for the ponies, trainers, shows, and memberships--I am a management consultant who spends a ton of my time working with professional service organizations on strategic planning, processes and management issues/communications. Linda's opening point that the need for clear missions, mandates and strategies is essential is right on. Often, I've found that it's most helpful in complex situations like this to conduct opinion research (through surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc.) of each entity and then lay out the objective and subjective data in a way that responsible members of each entity can formulate their own recommendations and see where missions and actions intersect, diverge, etc. This process can deflect personality conflicts and allow people to focus on shared goals and innovative solutions. Wouldn't it be neat if the current conflicts could lead to this kind of opportunity for assessment, creative planning, and inclusive/interactive forums? If the endgame is the improvement of the sport then certainly such a process, if leadership (or management) supports it and disengages from one-upsmanship, could lay the foundation for a strong future. Is anything like this possible or probable?

gymnastic
Aug. 22, 2000, 03:25 PM
Sorry to be a broken record, but back to the Mars letter, it seems to me that PonyMom's opinion needs to be PUBLISHED. Isn't this just what Mars suggested, that equestrians speak up and get engaged? "Horse World -- Please React"

One of the downsides of these bulletin board things is that it is SO easy to express an opinion -- but in reality, to have an expressed opinion go somewhere,and mean something, it needs to be more formally expressed. I know I am going to print these ideas out -- all of them -- and forward them to AHSA and USET and Mars for a start. But I think some of us have to take the time to get engaged on the printed page, too.

Erin
Aug. 22, 2000, 03:40 PM
Well, we'd love to publish letters in reaction to the one from Jacqueline Mars. We can't publish Letters to the Editor that aren't specifically in reference to another article or letter, but in this case... that's exactly what they're there for!

Our letters policy is available at the bottom of this page:

http://www.chronofhorse.com/letters.html

If someone wants to write something more extensive, not in reference to an article or letter, that's what our Horseman's Forum is for.

These venues are set up for you guys, so please feel free to use them! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif If you have any questions, feel free to email me at webmaster@chronofhorse.com.

DMK
Aug. 22, 2000, 04:33 PM
Ponymom - great suggestions! I too have often wondered why we can't apply basic TQM business principles to our sport.

It is in some ways sad that the AHC was the one to conduct the research about the $$$ our industry generates. Even if the AHSA co-funded it (I haven't a clue if they did), there isn't one good reason why we shouldn't have already known that information (just read the average salary of the TCOH reader - marketing firms live for this kind of target audience).

On that note, it seems like our organization needs a more firm grasp of who the target audience is, and what their needs are, and this needs to be done through a formal, disciplined approach that all parties agree to abide by. Whether it is feasible to meet this group's needs is another issue, however, if you can't even define them, you are doomed before you even start.

I also have to agree with Portia - I have spent most of my working life in close contact with the federal regulations dealing with Medicare (yes, that is where that twitch came from), and I honestly didn't think ANYTHING could surpass that beast... I was wrong...

ccoronios
Aug. 22, 2000, 05:49 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisa Cook:
Here's an idea - if the A and AA shows are supposed to be for the very best horses and riders - how about a rule that only the person who shows the horse in the ring is allowed to ride the horse on the show grounds? No trainers warming up the horses for students to get on at the last minute, or trainers showing the horses in the higher divisions before the owner rides it in lower divisions. This way, you get the people who really can "ride" their own horses, from warm-up to the end.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And a red hot one at that!! Dressage operates under the same standard (oops, that "s" word... http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif - and, if I recall correctly, they have to use the same equipment as they show in..... For the A & AA shows, why not make the competitors prove they really know what they're doing?!

ccoronios
Aug. 22, 2000, 05:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I think that the ratings should be predicated on the courses being offered.
[/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Snowbird, given these parameters, would a C show be able to offer "Big Eq" classes? Or would these, too, be offered over graded courses?

How about requiring A & AA shows to include a handy or go-as-you-please class within each division - at least the rated ones? And require the course designer (if a handy class) to demand the skills of the "old" hunters? And to require placings to be made in terms not only of how pretty the critter got over the fence or cantered down the lines, but how truly adaptable, rateable and "handy" he really is?

Laura Reed
Aug. 22, 2000, 06:10 PM
About the "big eq" courses: I have to say, even at some "A" shows, I've seen far too many sub-standard courses for the Medal, Maclay and USET. I always check those courses (all courses, for that matter) to make sure all the required elements are in place, but I've seen far to many "big eq" classes where the fence height aren't up to snuff.

In most cases, the watered down courses are the result of trainer pressure. It's the old line "we need two or three of our 3' riders to fill the class, so please set the jumps on the low side." The Medal, Maclay, PHA, WIHS classes are to be over 3'6" courses. USET 3'6"-3'9". Lowering the standards in these qualifying classes helps no one and hurts the rider who qualified over sub-standard courses.

odilon
Aug. 22, 2000, 06:34 PM
Linda ,so nice to see that our best people take interest in the BB.I think that you are part of the change to come.I'm sure that others will follow your footsteps. http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/cool.gif
Being responsable horseman towards the futur is our greatest challenge,let the performance in the ring speak for it self.Regions should have more responsability, let the community have their own responsability over the national body.
Let the region govern their destiny.Give back to the regions their identity.open the national to only the best of each region,creating a goal to reach.Let the performance in the ring be the only factor. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Snowbird
Aug. 22, 2000, 08:04 PM
Equitation is not rated nor are the jumpers. They are not affected by the different ratings at any show, that wouldn't change.

I deal with a lot of entry level new exhibitors and horses. They do not understand that there is essentially no difference between an AA Show and a C Show. That's because the whole rating is determined exclusively on the Prize Money awarded in the AHSA Rated Divisions.

I think it would be more understandable and more competitive if the Rating was determined by the obstacles offered. Perhaps an A Show should be required certain elements and a larger number of fences. That would amount to also changing the time factors. If the more complicated course took three minutes to ride at an A Show and it had more varied elements it would deserve the extra points because it measure the skills more intensely. This could also help to correct some of the subjectivity of the judging.

At a C Show the course should only take about a minute to run, be uncomplicated and user friendly. This wouldn't change any of the amenities we appreciate, and the courses should still be well built and inviting no matter what the rating. Remember this too, is for the AHSA Rated divisions.

I would like you to consider whether it wouldn't then be more practical for all trainers to bring their less experienced riders and horses to show over the easier courses until they were ready for the challenge to move up. The B Rated counld be the step inbetween. And that instead of the AA or even A Show being a catch-all as described by Victor. Classes available for everyone with all levels of experience, whether they knew how to ride or not.

Saddlebag
Aug. 22, 2000, 11:40 PM
This topic is really wonderful Linda...Let's hope that some good stuff comes out of it.

It is obvious that there are many segments of the industry that need attention...and it seems to me that (as you pointed out in your original message) cooperation and constructive dialogue between the different levels of competition and between breeds and disciplines is essential...as well as cooperation between all of us who participate in horse shows..be we management/staff, licenced Officials or trainers or exhibitors. It is so easy to focus on that little piece of the pie that fuels your special interests, and forget that without the other "slices", there is no pie at all!

Another topic that needs to be examined are the amateur rules. Currently is is a "one size fits all" situation, and I don't think that this works very well in today's mind-set or economy. The amateur rules were created many years ago when lifestyles were different...and when showing purely "for the love of the sport" was the norm....and was financially feasible for most people. The rules have been "tweaked" a few times, but essentially, they have not been altered very much in the past 35 years.

I believe that the time has now come to revisit these rules. For one, I think that each breed/discipline under the AHSA umbrella should be permitted to write amateur rules and definitions that work for their sport, and that those rules/definitions might be different for each breed/discipline. And I believe that it should be possible for a person to be a professional in one discipline, and yet be considered eligible for amateur competition in another. For instance, a person who trained Cutting Horses exclusively, or a jockey, would be allowed to compete in HJ Amateur classes as long as they did not receive remuneration for any riding/training/instructing activities with hunters and jumpers.

Further...I think that an intermediate type of amateur status might be beneficial to the HJ situation...namely one which permitted people to give riding instruction at the riding school level and to receive some compensation for being a working student or assistant trainer, yet permitted a person to compete in amateur events AS LONG AS THEY DID NOT ride train or instruct at hunter/jumper shows. I think that such "NON-Pros" should be permitted to compete in amateur HJ classes, but NOT be eligible for any National or Zone HOTY awards.

I am quite sure that many will not agree with me that a relaxation of the current Amateur rules for the HJ discipline is a good idea, but let me explain that as our sport has gotten more popular, it has also become so expensive that many folks have been forced out entirely if they could not afford to compete as an amateur and they did not possess the skills or experience to be a professional. The others (read: fiscally challenged), cheat!...or try to pass themselves off as trainers and really wreak havoc with the horses and customers who pass through their hands. Wouldn't it be fairer to create an intermediate amateur "zone" for the dedicated person who lacked the funds to pay "full fare" and who wished to work off their board/training bill by giving some up/down lessons at the farm? Everybody complains about the expense of this sport...and about how only "rich people" can play, but yet we have continued to write rules that tend to make it impossible for anyone who is not wealthy to participate.

It is situations such as this that call for cooperation between the AHSA and the discipline organizations...in the HJ scenario, it would be the NHJC. The NHJC should create and formulate the rules...and the AHSA (through it's Rules Compliance process) would be charged with the enforcing them.

As you know, Grass Roots are a pet project of mine, and I belive that revisiting the Amateur rules might encourage people to show at AHSA horse shows who now feel that there is "no place for them" in the current showing environment, and thus, choose to compete at non AHSA shows because they can't afford AHSA showing as true amateurs, they don't ride well enough to compete with professionals and there is no way for them to fund their horse show habit within the industry.

I welcome comments on these thoughts...it will take a lot of ideas and work to come up with such a sweeping change within the system...and to make it fair and workable.What do you think?

rusty
Aug. 23, 2000, 01:58 AM
Saddlebag, I agree!!!!!

Duffy
Aug. 23, 2000, 02:14 AM
I love the idea of coming up with a brand new rulebook, instead of this thing written in some other language at best, if you can find the answer at all. Thank goodness Portia has volunteered her assistance! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

The amateur rules definitely need a rehaul and I have no problem with making them discipline specific.

In my "younger" amateur days, I might have agreed with a couple posters here about the amateur being the only one "allowed" to ride/train/show his/her own horse at a given show. However, now being a single mother of two young children, I would have to disagree with that rule. I have had horses that do much better when hacked in the ring, if allowed, on show mornings. When I feel up to it and do not have the children with me, I'm still happy doing it. But, when I have the children with me, who are already exhausted from having a late dinner after schooling the night before, only to have to wait another 6-10 hours later in the day for Mom to actually show, after having gotten to the show pre-dawn, and then to try to have a pleasant evening again, only to do it again the following morning?? I don't think so! LOL /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Another reason to not have that rule, is the lack of horses available to the professionals to ride in their divisions. What would happen to those rated open divisions if professionals were not allowed to show horses shown by amateurs at the same shows? I know there are some owners out there who love to just watch their horses show. I love doing it myself! But, there are times in my life when actually showing myself is what I want to do as well. I would like to always have the option to have my cake and eat it too, if at all possible!

Sorry about getting off track here....It's late, I've been BB deprived and out of practice!!

MsHunter
Aug. 23, 2000, 08:03 AM
Duffy, you started to hit on one of my pet peeves in your previous post. OK,a professional by the rules, is one who accepts renumeration for services rendered
(and yadayadayada), But... here is what my concern is about a trainer/professional/rider
Shouldn't someone who is a professional put SOME money back into the sport? Thereby, forcing him/her to take at least SOME responsibility for their actions? Example:
A professional can be anyone who hangs their shingle on someone elses farm, they can go in and teach, accept money, train and accept money, horse show and accept money. (Wish this was me), but have NO EXPENSE and no risk. This professional has only paid their AHSA membership themselves. They don't own any horses, they don't own any property,
no trailer, no truck, no anything. We are creating more and more and more of these "professionals" many who barn hop on an average of 3 times or more a year. The owner of the farm loses each time it doens't work out, the clients have to once again shuffle their horses to a new unfamiliar placeetc, usually in the end (many years later) the customer base falls off, and a whole new set in a new zipcode emerge. On the other hand, a "professional" who is serious about making it work buys real estate, starts up, buys,trains, sells their own horses, starts some young ones etc, takes their job seriously as their shingle isn't moving, they are attached to the real estate they own,and destined to keep a stellar reputation. OK, I am rambling to nowhere. My point is can't we somehow get
stricter on what a "professional" really is
and have some kind of incentives for those building businesses with roots? Will our sport continue to grow, and will we continue to have new places to show if we continue to only have shingle hangers?

wtywmn4
Aug. 23, 2000, 08:07 AM
Okay here's a question, our rule book, as we have it now, is supposedly written with legal help, ie: lawyers? If this is true, we have boxed ourselves into a corner. Sorry Portia, please don't take this personally, I for one don't want more legal writting of this antiquated text. The rules in many instances, have choked us, not allowing for fair play. You might say, "but the intent is", well, one person's intent is anothers "no it means" thus and so. I don't believe you should need a degree in law to understand this book!

I do agree with Saddlebag, we need newer, and updated qualifications for our amateurs status. Every discipline needs to be heard on this.

And Jane, after reading your post I agree wholeheartedly! If there is some way of exorcising the "shingle hangers" our safety level and accountability as a sport might increase.

[This message has been edited by wtywmn4 (edited 08-23-2000).]

MsHunter
Aug. 23, 2000, 09:13 AM
THANK YOU wtywmn, I really don't want tosound negative,but, I get the increased feeling, we get new people into the sport,with a 50/50 chance of keeping them involved. I agree with Snowbird about "C" shows for getting people started showing,but, I still like that I can take my Junior Hunter to the same show that I take my adult beginner rider! I amnot sure I am up to having to be different places different days. Maybe more educational information with the AHSA membership on "C","B" and "A,AA" shows for NEW members?
Explanation of point structure, and so on?

Anne FS
Aug. 23, 2000, 09:47 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Duffy:

In my "younger" amateur days, I might have agreed with a couple posters here about the amateur being the only one "allowed" to ride/train/show his/her own horse at a given show. However, now being a single mother of two young children, I would have to disagree with that rule. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When your children are grown then would you support this rule? I have two children, too, yet we need to make rules for the sport, not for what best suits ourselves. Making the rules conform to what is best for each of us, and not what is best for the horses and the sport, is what got us into this mess.

We don't have enough people taking the long view; so many want the rules to suit themselves. I'm not picking on you, Duffy, I just thought your example was a good microcosm of what afflicts the horseshow industry,i.e., I wouldn't support that rule change on the basis of it's not good for me at this time, regardless of it's worth. I think we're seeing that with the drug rules, the NHS in NY, and the power struggles going on now.


[This message has been edited by Anne FS (edited 08-23-2000).]

MsHunter
Aug. 23, 2000, 10:07 AM
OK, lets keep brainstorming ideas and not get off track! How do we get our riders to learn how to ride before purchasing the horse that can do the job? Why do the younger professionals feel they need to
prep the horse, so the rider gets on and wins? Why can't we take the time, although it is a long road, to teach how to ride, and then win like we did in the old days? I have no issues with a client coming in my barn and having the money to buy a horse that does the job, but I still want them to spend some time at 2'6" and learn how to ride, before going to3ft and 3'6" etc. Why are we rushing them through the 2'6" in the hunterring to end their careers in childrenss hunter and jumper land? Am I missing something here? What incentives can we offer to keep a child/adult in one piece and the horse sound and say it is OK toshow 2'6"? I personally am insulted by the trainers calling it preretarded division.

MsHunter
Aug. 23, 2000, 10:10 AM
NOw this has me thinking. Maybe our horses could get to 3'6" if they spent some time at 2'6" and 3ft? maybe we rush to 3ft showing,and pound them, and have no 3'6"horse left? And the opposite is that we are taking the 3'6" horses back down the ladder to do the winning 3ft job. Maybe those horses would be best training riders in the 2'6" ring, if they were more affordable? I don't know.

Ash
Aug. 23, 2000, 10:56 AM
I have to agree with Duffy on this one. I work full time and most of the time my horse leaves Monday or Tuesday for a show. Is he supposed to stand in his stall all week until I arrive Friday evening? How about the days when I show in the afternoon and can't make it out to flat in the ring in the morning? Am I going to be penalized beacuse I have to work? What about the income loss to the professionals? How in the world would you monitor something like this?

I really like Weatherford's idea of a rating system based on clean rounds in the jumpers and based on scores in the hunters.

[This message has been edited by Ash (edited 08-23-2000).]

MsHunter
Aug. 23, 2000, 11:10 AM
BTW, I have no issues with pro rides, I do whatever the client wants. I think though that children should learn how to ride, so we have better horseman available later.

Trooper
Aug. 23, 2000, 11:18 AM
Let me preface my comments with the fact that I show maybe once a month, and am not familiar with all the infinite variations in classes and divisions that shows can have.

As one who shows only at local/schooling shows, typically on school horses, I would like to see classes for adults that don't require a fancy horse for success. So I like Snowbird's ideas about show classification. I would like to be able to go to a local show and not run the risk of being completely outclassed.

Echoing concerns about moving up too quickly from 2" to 3", I think part of the problem, at least for adults that don't have the big bucks ... I don't want to do hunters becuase I don't have the horse for it, but I am in no way prepared to do jumpers. I would like to see an equitation division for adults that catered to all levels. For example, and I know I'm dating myself, when I was a junior there were three levels of equitation classes, maiden, novice and limit, before you got to the "big eq" classes. So there were alternativest to the hunter ring, where I could be competitive and successful.

Also the idea about bringing the "handy" element back into the hunters. I ride a lot of terrific school horses that would truely be as bold, adjustable and handy as any daisy-cutter in a hunt field, but can not compete against them in the current hunter ring. I would love a class that would allow these guys to shine!

There is not an idea that has been posted on this thread that isn't thoughtful and worth consideration. Someone posted earlier, that one of the most important things we can do is to get our comments off the BB and into the board and committee rooms of our governing organizations, and into the minds of our fellow members. Wouldn't it be great if the COTH or PH had forums or articles in their issues where these ideas were published so that all those who don't frequent these boards could jump into the fray?! How can we make that happen?

Anne FS
Aug. 23, 2000, 11:57 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ash:
Am I going to be penalized beacuse I have to work? What about the income loss to the professionals?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, it depends on what the industry defines as 'amateur', doesn't it? And that's one of the arguments we hear about all the time. You can still show, your pro can still make money, but if a true amateur division is wanted, that is really a different thing than pro trains, rides, and schools all week and rider steps on Friday afternoon after the tune-ups. Hey, I'm not knocking it, but why not provide a place for the true amateur, and during the course of the show, only they can ride the horse? Why penalize THEM? See, everybody wants their own benefit.

Jane, your posts about teaching riding are right on.

It seems we have diametrically opposed interests in horse shows. AHSA seems geared to benefit first, show managers, and frankly doesn't give a fig about anything else; trainers want to keep the money flowing and the horses showing constantly, hence the drugs; lots of exhibitors want to show and win NOW, dammit, and do it the easiest way .....it's very discouraging.

I think every committee in AHSA and NHJC should have one mandatory seat filled by a horseman who doesn't show at rated shows. How's that? Someone who can be objective, someone who can speak for the horse. It could be a veterinarian, a pony club person...someone who doesn't own show dates, isn't chasing points, someone who isn't saying what's in it for me? I know these people exist; unfortunately there are too few on committees.

Portia
Aug. 23, 2000, 12:55 PM
Wty, believe me, I'm not offended! Lawyers can certainly mess things up with legalese, but I don't think that's the problem with the AHSA rule book. Instead, from analysing the structure and problems with the rule book, it seems to me that it is so horrible because it was put together in bits and pieces and no one has reviewed it as a whole. While AHSA's legal counsel may review each new rule change to make sure it won't result in ancillary legal complications for the AHSA, it appears to me that no one has done an overall review to ensure consistency and clarity,and to achieve and maintain a rational and usable format.

Here are some excerpts from a memo I prepared several months ago after I spent far more hours trying to track down a simple answer than should have been required, listing what I see as the major organization and formatting issues with the current AHSA Rules. I haven't done anything with the memo, but if anyone at the AHSA is interested, as I said, I'd be happy to volunteer:

The AHSA rules are currently formatted as “Part,” followed by “Rule,” followed by “Chapter,” followed by “Article.” This structure is inconsistent with conventional and widely accepted forms of regulatory and contractual organization.

Currently, each “Rule” covers extremely large sections of text and multiple issues, many of which are only marginally related. In conventional regulatory structure, a rule is a relatively small subdivision addressing discreet and closely-related matters.

In the current format, each Rule is subdivided into numerous “Chapters.” This structure is confusing and counter-intuitive to people conditioned to accept “chapters” of information as being far more inclusive than individual “rules.”

As anyone who has used any word processing program knows, there are plenty of different ways to format a list or outline, from "1. 2. 3. 4." to "A. B. C. D." to "I, A, 1., a., (1), (a), (i)" or even "1.1.1, 1.2.1, 2.1.1, 2.2.1, 2.3" etc. The AHSA rules however, don't follow any of these outlining conventions consistently, and use the same identifier form for different levels of the outline.

the AHSA Rules use Roman numerals to identify “Parts,” “Rules,” and “Chapters.” This makes it unnecessarily difficult to track each level of structure to the next level and identify each sub-division to its higher and lower levels. For example, under the current format, the rulemaking rule is: Part II, Rule III, Chapter XI, Article 341.

The rules also do not use consistent form in identification and numbering. For example, Rule IV, Article 401, uses the form: 1., 2., 3., a), b), c).... whereas Rule VIII, Chapter III, Article 810 uses the form: 1, 2.1,. 2.2, 2.3, 4....

They also do not identify all of sections, subsections, paragraphs, and subparagraphs separately, and they frequently do not break down large paragraphs into subparagraphs consistent with each new provision, concept, or requirement.

Many of the provisions are also not grouped into logical and intuitive groupings by subject and relationship. For example, the mileage rule is currently found in Rule II titled Membership, under Chapter IV, titled "Competition Memberships". It should more logically be included in the Chapter and Rule on Conduct of Recognized Competitions.

Similarly, the rules amendment provisions are currently found as the last Chapter in Rule III, titled "Conduct of Recognized Competitions." It should more logically be included in the Chapter on Membership, or in a new and separate chapter on Governance.

These are organizational problems that someone used to looking at regulatory schemes can identify, but other folks will just notice that there's something that just doesn't seem right and makes it hard to figure the rules out.

Actually, I was sort of considering submitting the memo to the Chronicle for the Horseman's Forum. Erin, think they'd be interested?


[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 08-23-2000).]

AHC
Aug. 23, 2000, 01:40 PM
Going back to something trooper mentioned, what ever happened to the junior equitation divisions consisting of maiden, novice, limit, intermediate and open? Each level had successively higher fences going from 2'6" to 3'6" and riders qualified out by winning a certain number of blue ribbons. Courses started out pretty simple and got more complex as the rider moved up. This always seemed like such a logical way to move riders along until they were ready for the big eq.
The "children's equitation" divisions I see these days don't accomplish the same thing and can vary drastically in level of competition from show to show.

Did these levels disappear to make room for pre-green, pre-childrens, pre-adult, baby green, schooling, low, low-low, local, etc.? Or was there some other reason?

I would suggest revisiting maiden, novice, limit, etc. for equitation for juniors. I would even go further and say that it's not too much of a reach to see that a similar type of standardization could work with adult equitation as well as in the hunters and jumpers. In all areas, fence height, complexity of courses and previous winnings (either ribbons or money)would be factored into the system. The masters divisions discussed in previous threads would fit nicely into this framework.

As far as organizations go, the AHSA should stick to horse shows and serving its members, acting as an umbrella for US associations and competitions. The USET should focus on developing horses and riders who can be competitive nationally and internationally. I like the idea of a smaller group overseeing both organizations, but can't imagine how to pick that group without creating the same political problems and conflicts of interest that we have now.

[This message has been edited by AHC (edited 08-23-2000).]

LindaAllen
Aug. 23, 2000, 02:18 PM
I love the thoughts that are coming out here! Have been printing them out and forwarding many on. Portia, speaking as one who took on the re-organizing of the Jumper section of the rule book about 7-8 yrs.ago (and admittedly did a lousy job of it) and another who suffers through FINDING anything in our current book, I am ready to take you up on your (very generous)offer asap. It will be on the agenda for an Exec.Comm. meeting on Sept 6th, because I'll be sure it is.

While we're 'out of the box' here, I'd like to throw out something from the German system. They rank every rider (E - A), country-wide, based on their number of places/wins at what levels. People throw parties in honor of being promoted to a new level! Then many of their shows write their prize lists much like race tracks do here: the specs indicate who can enter a given class based on both their and their horses category, and often their address. For example a lower level rider, from the immediate area can enter a higher level class than a rider from further away. Their system is complicated (from the fact that no one can enter any show without passing a basic riding test and a written test on basic knowledge of the horse!), and it is also constantly changing. A lot of what they do is based on their system of data gathering and processing -- everyone knows exactly where they stand at any given time over there. The currently being developed American Horse Sports Database will do much toward being ABLE to implement many of the innovations that are being discussed here.

Keep the ideas flowing! there are so MANY good ones!

Linda

Portia
Aug. 23, 2000, 03:02 PM
Oh my Linda. Well, (stuttering here), that would be wonderful of you to do. /infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif If you don't mind, I'll finish up my draft "AHSA Rules Reorganization Suggestions" memo and e-mail it to you within the next couple of days. Then you would have something concrete to show them. I really do think it would be a great benefit to the membership. (And, if it doesn't sound like I'm sucking up too much, the Jumper division rules are among the easiest to read and understand in and of themselves. It's trying to put them together with the rest of the rules that makes things difficult)

[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 08-23-2000).]

Van Teal
Aug. 23, 2000, 03:07 PM
Portia, YOU GO GIRL!!! Standing and applauding, finally something may actually get done, Linda thank YOU for caring.

DMK
Aug. 23, 2000, 03:09 PM
Interesting thought on rating... in an earlier post I started to write about the possibility of using a rating level similar to the USTA (tennis), since I knew they competed on age/progiciency levels, however, after doing a little more research (with one of my tennis playing co-workers), I learned that the rating system was entirely subjective! You could declare yourself to be a 4.0 (higher level), and no one could stop you, you just probably faced a lot of defeats. So anyway, I dropped the thought... But, if there is a workable model out there for rating you against wins, I think that would tie in very nicely with the idea of special or qualifying shows, as well as putting shows back on track with equal competition.

I guess the one thing I would need clarification on, was if I, with my higher ranking, sold my established A/O horse, and bought a green, lower level horse, how would the ranking system take that into accord? I don't need an answer per se, just thinking this is a question which peope will ask...

Skipper
Aug. 23, 2000, 03:16 PM
What about having semi-pro divisions for the people who give the occasional lesson(i.e. don't earn their living teaching riding) but aren't "good/horse not fancy" enough to compete in the open divisions against the pros. I also like the idea of scoring out of the division like the maiden, novice, limit open scheme for the junior eq. Why not have an adult maiden eq. or hunter one win, move to novice etc. and again make the courses appropriate for the level. Also, I think that if you are offering classes in your prizelist whether it is a recognized show or not, if the prizelist says A/A to compete over 3' courses, then when you get to the show the fences should be 3'. If you want to give yourself some leeway(sp?) as a show manager publish 2'9" to 3'so as the competitor when I get to the show I won't be surprised to see some or all the fences 2'9". I don't like going to a show expecting to work my horse over 2'9" fences and end up showing over 2'3" fences. One might think well, if your able to show 2'9" then 2'3" should be easy wins for you. But some horses just go better over a bigger fence and if my horse can just step over the fence, I'm not able to show him (off) to the best of his ability. Thanks for listening.

Van Teal
Aug. 23, 2000, 03:25 PM
DMK, I believe the answer to your last question is in your statement above, if you sold your horse, and buy a new green one, you stay the same ranking, and get beat. Or you retain your ranking for one year, then either move green horse up to a/o div. or you drop your ranking down. Thats assuming the ranking is placed on the fence height being jumped. Something along those lines.

Snowbird
Aug. 23, 2000, 04:44 PM
Two small thoughts, but perhaps the concept of the "masters" which we have proposed could be reworked to accomplish some of the ideas being discussed. In our proposal it was the rider/horse combination that would be ranked as a master. This has the advantage of having been proposed and should be on the books for discussion. None of the ideas that Pwynn and I proposed are carved in stone. If there are glitches they can be discussed and ironed out. This might answer the question of the "semi-pro" which was why the idea was conceived. You can refer to http://www.nhja.com and click on the Cyber-Line if you are interested in reading the proposal.

My second thought was in skating for example there are certain elements to be tested at each level. While the elements are specific the way they are put together in the program is not.

My idea is perhaps, a course could be designed and sent to the shows with the rating approval. Then the exhibitors could choose to ride the course in the way they felt put together the elements most successfully. Options for level of difficulty
could be included in the design. Sort of a "Take your Own Line" Hunter class.

This would certainly be more appealing to the spectators and perhaps at the highest level the best way to sort out talent versus the lucky trip.

poltroon
Aug. 23, 2000, 05:38 PM
My issue with the amateur rule as it stands now for hunter-jumper is not that the semi-pros who teach the occasional up/down lesson or hack horses for money are forced to show against the professionals, but rather that they have no place to show at all.

The pro classes start at 3'6" for first year green horses. The 20 year old semi-pro with her nice eq horse or ex-junior hunter can't show in those classes, and probably doesn't have the horse for the Open classes. Thus, there is a lot of incentive to 'bend' the rules.

In dressage, there are amateur sections for ribbons, but anyone can still show any horse at Training Level test 1 in an open section. For eventing, the amateur-like sections are set up as "rider not to have competed above a certain level," but in any case, the open divisions are still available to all horses and riders regardless of their past or present income sources. I believe these strategies make these sports more accessible, particularly to the young adults who work around the barn to defray expenses.

wtywmn4
Aug. 23, 2000, 05:43 PM
Thank you Portia, and bless you! In your one post, you put into words, correctly I might add, what we are all floundering around in. Rule book fog-arama. There's no logic to follow when looking up many rules, you just keep looking.

Love the rating system, this in itself might alleviate several problems. The "shingle hangers" would have to be tested and able to go forward. It may even slow down the chasing for points, if you cannot show a horse, past a certain level, till they aquire points for the next step, well..... Like the celebration for moving up, talk about personal strokes...Why wouldn't someone who rides want to work towards this?

baymare
Aug. 23, 2000, 08:47 PM
Poltroon has an excellent point. The "semi-pro" group is not limited to youngsters just out of jrs., but includes plenty of old
f***s like me who teach a little to help pay the bills, but ride at home on homemade horses and (dis)grace the showring only rarely and mostly for the fun of it. We are neither fish nor fowl in the amateur status thing. Perhaps the maiden-novice-limit concept could apply to hunter classes as well, based on the horses' experience? That would be similar to the D/CT way of doing things.
Another thing the H/J world could adapt from the D/CT world is the mastery of SCHEDULING. I know that multiple rings and conflicts make it tougher, but wouldn't it be heaven to know that your ride was at 4:45 and be able to time yourself accordingly instead of suffering through agonies of boredom waiting for an endless pre-green class to end?

HSM
Aug. 23, 2000, 09:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AHC:
Going back to something trooper mentioned, what ever happened to the junior equitation divisions consisting of maiden, novice, limit, intermediate and open? Each level had successively higher fences going from 2'6" to 3'6" and riders qualified out by winning a certain number of blue ribbons. Courses started out pretty simple and got more complex as the rider moved up. This always seemed like such a logical way to move riders along until they were ready for the big eq.
The "children's equitation" divisions I see these days don't accomplish the same thing and can vary drastically in level of competition from show to show.

Did these levels disappear to make room for pre-green, pre-childrens, pre-adult, baby green, schooling, low, low-low, local, etc.? Or was there some other reason? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

True, true, true! Very rarely do you see the maiden novice, limit etc. except perhaps at the biggest shows. And you're right, the children's eq division is a disaster! Kids from 10 up to 18, all different levels of experience and ability, all together. Often huge classes - quite the conglomeration. Unless you own a pretty nice hunter or have reached the level of the big eq, that's where you end up. Even the "mini-medals", another good stepping stone for juniors, are very hard to find. It's quite frustrating.

It's one of the biggest pet peeves of my dtr's trainer. Her explanation for why these divisions "disappeared" is that it happened back when the economy wasn't so good, and there weren't so many people in the sport, and shows couldn't fill those divisions. Well, if that's the case, seems like now's the perfect time to re-visit them - and think about them for the grownups too!

[This message has been edited by HSM (edited 08-23-2000).]

J. Turner
Aug. 23, 2000, 09:41 PM
Older (I use that term liberally) horsemen lament the loss of the complete horseperson in today's developing ranks. I think there should be an added horsemanship facet to junior equitation, much like the Katie Battison Horsemanship Award at New England Equitation Finals. Kids don't always learn the stable management and trainers don't teach it, but if it meant winning or losing, they sure would.

Pony Club and figure skating both have a series of levels and to compete at each level, one has to pass a test. In Pony Club, written and ridden. Perhaps juniors need this so kids aren't just being thrown up on a made horse and stuffed into a division. There could be possibly three divisions initially based on fence height -- 2'6", 3', 3'6"+. So you would have to pass a test to be eligible for the Big Eq. Testing, like ratings in Pony Club, could be held several times a year. This could be for the B and A rated shows and have some other kind of system for locally and C rated shows. Surely this would produce a wealth of educated riders.

As for amateur status, I think the divisions should be based on ability -- not money accepted or earned, which do not necessarily have anything to do with ability.

AM
Aug. 23, 2000, 10:29 PM
I've never been able to figure out the hunter and jumper classes so this might not be applicable. The lower levels of eventing usually offer novice horse (can be experienced or pro rider on green horse), novice rider (horse can be the pro, green rider), limited novice (both horse and rider are less experienced) and open. These divisions are usually offered at novice and training and the limited division at preliminary.

Also dressage and eventing can assign ride times because they don't accept post entries unless they are to fill a time slot vacated by someone else. And there are rules about how many hours a dressage judge can judge and can be on the grounds of the show.

HSM
Aug. 23, 2000, 10:35 PM
JTurner, I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of emphasizing horsemanship and requiring better demonstration of knowledge. My only hesitation is the written tests. The kids who excel at these things, and are comfortable with them, are already doing pony club. The kids who are NOT good at these things (like my kid) can still excel in the ring and in the hands-on stuff. One of the things my dtr likes the most about riding, I think, is that she doesn't have to *study* like she has to for school, yet she can still feel proud of her accomplishments. Surprisingly, the "tests" they do in the upper eq classes don't "feel" like tests to her - probably because she's doing them while sitting on her horse. ;-) Maybe some other sort of hands-on "testing"? I don't know.

Louise
Aug. 24, 2000, 07:43 AM
I've been waiting for devildog to post this, since it's her baby, but, she must be away for a while and I think that it is too important not to include.

The governing bodies of the horse industries should stand behind and publish the booklet "Ethics and Morals for the Professional Rider" by Festerling. Copies of this pamphlet should be distributed to all members of each organization. Though the title indicates professional riders, the philosophy in this material is applicable to all riders. One of the best ways we can improve our industry is to have a firm code of ethics in place. This booklet provides the basics for providing that code.

The URL for the booklet follows. For those who were not yet on the forum when we discussed it, this booklet is not copywrited and has the author's approval for distribution. The only thing that is asked is that nothing be changed in the text, in any way.
www.ultimatedressage.com/resources/Festerling.pdf (http://www.ultimatedressage.com/resources/Festerling.pdf)

wtywmn4
Aug. 24, 2000, 09:26 AM
This is excellent! Thank you Louise for the URL. People, don't let the word dressage in it keep you from reading this. It's only 12 pages and can be printed out. You will need Adobe to read it, but very worth while to do so.

Erin
Aug. 24, 2000, 10:28 AM
I don't want to disturb your brainstorming here, so I'll make this quick. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif If you had an opinion about the Jacqueline Mars letter that recently appeared in the Chronicle, please see the new topic about it I just posted.

gymnastic
Aug. 24, 2000, 11:20 AM
Thank you for the reminder about the Mars letter, which I think is important too.

A bunch of the ideas on this thread are great. BUT we have to have a STRUCTURE in place which will implement them into rules and administration. If the current organizational structure -- AHSA/USET/WHATEVER does not work or does not work well enough to surface these ideas and implement them (and that seems to be evident from the posts that is the perception anyway), then we have to FIX the structure.

Remember, if the rein is broken you don't throw away the whole bridle. At least I don't. I fix the rein or get a new one. If parts of our existing structure need to be fixed or replaced, let's fix them. But it isn't too smart to think that any of the structure which is now in place is just going to disappear. It needs to be transformed by people willing to work on it and in it. That's what we have representatives for and meetings for, and we need to make sure our voices are heard.

I think all this posting is great to brainstorm, but we need to make our ideas more formal and push them into the structure with letters and formal actions.

haligator
Aug. 24, 2000, 11:40 AM
Hi All,
Linda, once again, thanks for looking for solutions and ideas, not reveiwing what is wrong with the sport. I'm enjoying watching everyone put the emphasis on improving the sport (without whining).

Here's what I think:
1) Do away with the mileage rule. Let shows and managers sink or swim on their own. We live in a capitalistic society - let's make that happen in horse sports.

2) It would be nice to see people with no conflict of interest governing our horse sports. 'Nuff said on that issue.

3) We should rank our hunters on a sliding scale, so that semi-professionals, our true grassroots, don't get left out. A lot of people who teach a lesson or two a week to make ends meet don't have horses that can compete against the rest of the professionals, so they get left out.

If there were a different system in place, perhaps some of these horses might have an opportunity to work their way up through the ranks in an organized fashion....not pushed to jump too much, too soon. This would benefit everyone - the professionals, the amateurs, the semi-professionals, and most of all the horses.

4) Set up a judging system that is more universal for hunters and equitation - definite deductions for certain mistakes. As it stands now, some judges forgive some faults more than others, and it varies from horse to horse and round to round...very confusing for the competitors.

Also, a judging card should not be for life - licensed officials should have to totally re-apply every 5-10 years to keep their card - maybe not go through all the learner judging again, but perhaps be re-evaluated by people in the industry. Just a thought.

5) Set up some sort of rider evaluation system, similar to the German system. There are too many people riding at the grand prix jumping level who really shouldn't be there.....they need to spend more time on the basics at lower levels so that they can someday move up to grand prix and be safe and successful. Riding at the grand prix level should not be about who can buy the most talented horse and individual ego, the focus should be on who has earned the right to ride in that arena (of course a nice horse helps /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

6. Riders should spend far more time on public relations and reaching out to horse show fans - it only takes five minutes to ride over to a couple of families and ask them if they have any questions. This sort of action goes a long way.

7. As a nation, we need to spend more time developing our young riders and young horses - our future. Loosen up more funds for these programs.

If we supported our horse breeders in this country, we would not have to run to Europe every time we wanted a 'fancy' horse. There are great horses here - seek them out!

8) Get more sponsors involved in equestrian sports, and make it worth their while to become involved.

*None of these ideas are new - they've been kicking around for a several years now. Let's just take another look at them and see what can work.

Hallie McEvoy

pwynnnorman
Aug. 24, 2000, 12:56 PM
As someone else also implied, I really don't think this brainstorming kind of actvity works one bit. It just encourages the piecemeal attitudes and behaviors that have created the current system.

Linda Allen said in her original post: "I also
believe that every segment of the industry needs an organization to focus on its own needs..."

The problem is that it doesn't seem like anyone ever sits down and identifies WHO they are talking about in terms of "needs"! And then, once their constituency is defined, the next inevitable issue becomes to what extent should the system be accountable to those consituencies.

Lack of accountability is what permeates AHSA. That's why things are organized all chock-a-block and why such large factions are disgruntled. I repeat: it's part of the history of the organization to piecemeal issues and/or objectives instead of connecting them to each other and to larger goals.

That, too, would change is accountability were insisted upon because decisions would have to be defended, not just made.

gymnastic
Aug. 24, 2000, 01:12 PM
pwynn, I think you're right. But railing against the way things are does not change them. These organizations are not going away. It is a fact of life that the horse sports are all fragmented. Who knows why, but I think it's because of the horse culture, for lack of a better word. "Everyone for himself or herself." We see it every day, with our trainers and friends, barn-hopping and changing back and forth and horse-trading, to be polite. Which it is NOT. That kind of a culture if it exists and it does is really not likely to change either.

I think what Linda is asking, and what the Mars letter says, is, okay, things are fragmented, that's not good, how do we now put them together in a way which is more effective, so the parts can come together in a whole, which can create some synergy among all the parts. When you get a unifying force together, someway, then you can have better accountability than you have now, where it is lacking.

Just my latest 1 cents worth. I think we are on to something in this thread, but just what I cannot really see. That's why I keep mentioning the Mars thing, because that was at least a try at a blueprint for change. Something more concrete to make a way for these ideas to get into reality someway.

pwynnnorman
Aug. 24, 2000, 01:27 PM
I agree, gymnastic, but no one here is discussing how to put the pieces together. They are just talking about more pieces.

What I am saying is that one way to put the pieces together is through communication because it CAN force someone to "pull it all together." I am also saying that integrating policies that force accountability upon decisionmakers will also force them to address larger issues, instead of just those pieces that impact them or their interests.

You know, I just got an upset email from someone whose name I mentioned in a post. Someone in the leadership. Well, I sent the person back a not-so-nice reply because even the name-shyness of this thread and so many others is part of this same problem. If you are proud of what you are trying to accomplish and you have nothing to hide, then you should not be afraid--indeed you should welcome the opportunity--to defend yourself and your efforts BY NAME and IN PERSON. [I do apologize, however, for forgetting the criteria set up by the thread's originator--II truly did forget. I am now deleting that post.]

I will argue with my dying breath that that is what is needed, first and foremost. We can throw out idea after idea--and the leadership can, too--but if the PROCESS that seeks change is obscure, confusing and discouraging, well, then what, I ask you? Then what?

I'll tell you what: nothing happens, that's what. With all due respect to Linda Allen, that's why I'm saying this process--the one being exhibited in this thread--is not helpful.

[This message has been edited by pwynnnorman (edited 08-24-2000).]

[This message has been edited by pwynnnorman (edited 08-24-2000).]

gymnastic
Aug. 24, 2000, 02:06 PM
Some good points, pwynn. BUT remember one person whose name IS up here is Linda Allen herself, who is a high mucky muck, and who is out there in her own name generating this thinking. And another's is Mars. Both of them are people who can and do work and contribute to make things better.

My point is that something CAN happen from people like those, but they need our specific and concrete support and ideas. The rest of us nobodys have been asked by them for our ideas, and so that is good, I think, because it shows they are open and want change. That is something good and positive about the leaders we already have, and who can be added to.

So I think we should try to think of what can happen, instead of killing it off with negative thinking or being too pessamistic.

Reading a lot of your other ideas here over the months, I guess you just had a momentary fit. I know you must be a really positive thinker to have so many ideas.

Royce
Aug. 24, 2000, 02:15 PM
I understand pwynnnorman's frustration, because yes, it does seem like idea after idea gets thrown out but nothing changes. Also, none of the needed solutions are rocket science or particularly new. The problem is with the leadership itself. We should have real anger at the self-serving mismanagement by the leaders of the 'industry'.

HOWEVER, Linda Allen is in a position of leadership, and she is building consensus, working within the sport's existing structure. The community nature of the internet can empower the unempowered membership, and can give the sports leaders who DO want to improve things the coalition and sounding board to effect change.

I understand the frustration, but we should use the opportunity to show our support for positive change.

pwynnnorman
Aug. 24, 2000, 02:26 PM
Yeah, I agree and I am in a bad mood. Sorry.

Bethe Mounce
Aug. 24, 2000, 02:28 PM
I like the idea of rating the rider. I know in Italy I was only permitted to do certain things based on how well I rode, not the horse I was on.........worked very well, huge database to maintain. Worth it though.

Snowbird
Aug. 24, 2000, 04:26 PM
Just a comment, the maiden, novice, limit divisions did not disappear because of a lack of entries at the show. In equitation they disappeared along with all the interest in being judged for how well you could ride. The original reason was the fact that you could win your way out of the childrens hunter divisions and it was followed by juniors feeling that they required a special equitation horse. It used to be that a horse that wasn't a hunter type did the equitation or jumpers, and that is no more, now they have to be too special.

It disappeared for the hunters because of the problem that a good horse won out too quickly, and wasn't ready to move up. The "catch all" class descriptions are more convenient. The extreme extent of point chasing is another reason. You can have an annual award for pre-green because the horse will not win out of the division during the year. Obviously, that is not the case for a maiden. And, the horse who wins out of maiden at it's first show would not then obviously be able to acquire points. So that sort of award became a place for the losers, and certainly we wouldn't them to feel that they had a good year.(tongue in cheek) So, the evergreen horse became a popular purchase since it could go on for years being awarded championships and never getting over being "green".

These sections are just another victim of the changes in horse shows from a place to measure your personal best into a place where we can "BUY" ribbons and winning.

How do we change it back? As well stated above..change the system. The system is the skeleton on which we hang the rules. If the system doesn't work, if it is askew then there are no rules that can fix it. Back to the roots and modify the procedures so that we can all participate and can stop being the victims of those "in charge" who think they are smarter and wiser than we are and have created this awful mess.

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 08-24-2000).]

CS
Aug. 24, 2000, 06:38 PM
Here's an attempt at a redesign. This may be too much of a simplification.. I took into account some of the idea's already mentioned.

There should be rating /qualification for both Horse and Rider

FOR THE RIDER
Riders would have 6 levels of proficiency
Riders would start at level 1 and move up through the levels
Levels 1-3 would be basic walk trot canter and up to 2'6" showing. 6 Blue ribbons at any one level would qualify you to move up. No more then 2 blues would count for any ONE show. I.e.. you couldn't win 6 blues at 2 shows and move up a level.
Level 4-6 would be 2'6 and over showing and a written/oral test of comprehensive horsemanship.

I'm being vague at what the level requirements would be, but a level 6 rider would be able to jump a Grand Prix course with a strong level of comprehensive/competent horsemanship written and oral.

FOR THE HORSE
Horses would have 7 levels of proficiency. 6 blues would qualify them to move up a level. Again, no more then 2 blues would count for any ONE show.
Level A - 2'3" no changes
Level B - 2'6" w/changes
Level C - 3'0"
Level D - 3'6"
Level E - 3'6" to 4'0"
Level F - 4'0 to 4'9"
Level G - 4'9" to 6'0"
(of course pony levels would have to be defined as Level PA, PB, PC, PD, PE etc..)

Now for the complicated part.
Horse Show Ratings/Design
Shows would be rated depending on the classes offered and number of days
There would be classes for all levels of riders; regardless of horses ranking.
Also, classes would be for all levels of horses, riders would have to be of a particular ranking to be in the class.
Example: An A level horse could not have a level 1 rider.
Classes could be restricted to particular combosÂ…
Sample show class list:
Show XYX offering the following divisions
Baby Green Hunters Division - fences 2'6" and under. Restricted to Horses of A or B rating. Rider must be level 4 or above.
Amateur Adult Hunter Division - fences 3'0" Restricted to Riders level 4 or 5, and Horses level B, C or D.

Show Ratings and Points.
Shows would be broken into 3 levels
Bronze - Shows 2 days or less offering under $20k in Jumper divisions (note - NO money limit for hunters)
Silver - Shows 2-3 days offering $20 - $50k in Jumper division prize money (note -NO money limit for hunters)
Gold - Shows 4+ days offering $50k + in Jumper division. (note - NO money limit for hunters)

Ribbons and Points would need to be worked out..

Just a though...
CS

jumpcrew
Aug. 24, 2000, 07:36 PM
Great ideas!!!My only input is that large, mostly volunteer organizations tend toward chaos.I believe each discipline should have its own governing body answerable to no one else.Why, for example, do the dressage folk need anything other than the USDF? Foxhunting folk, Steeplechasers' endurance riders, etc have, I believe, nothing to do with the AHSA and get along just fine with their own governing bodies. Same is true, I think, for vaulters, quarterhorse people, thoroughbred racers etc,, In brief, why do we need<and this isNOT a negative statement>the AHSA? Sorry, can't type

LindaAllen
Aug. 24, 2000, 09:27 PM
WOW! there have been 37 different responders to this thread, and more to the offshoot on Amateur status! I consider this the 'get lots of ideas out there stage.' Next would come 'which ones aren't as realistic as others, short-term at least?' Followed by 'how to we prioritize and categorize?' And the critical, 'where do we start (translated into who does the hard work of fleshing things out where everyone else can understand), and how do we implement?' These steps are all do-able (IMAHO at least!) I'm leaning toward the idea of the AHSA implementing some sort of 'formal' discussion/chat room(s) format - no aliases allowed at that level: real people doing real work, in areas they have particular interest and experience in, bringing ideas and concepts to fruition. This is a time consuming and often frustrating process but I'm seeing people out there more than able and willing(?) to tackle more than jumps....

Ideas on this "crazy" idea???
Linda
PS The AHSA now includes Endurance (very organized in it's own right including approximately 70% of its total membership attending its convention each year!!!), Vaulting (takes lots of the AHSA staff time but, as the National Federation, vaulting has to be part of the AHSA responsibility), reining (but not the AQHA - they do great with lots of $$ from breed registrations, and they contract for our D & M program), USDF and USCTA work closely with the AHSA every day (not always without some degree of disagreement on small issues but very cooperatively) -- the AHSA role is as an umbrella meant to help all groups accomplish more together than they can apart - especially in the areas of rule making and rule enforcement. We don't deal with foxhunting (not a competition sport, I don't believe) or any of the racing industry. They have plenty of their own regulatory bodies (and politics to go with it probably...) Anyway, on with the idea generation!

AM
Aug. 24, 2000, 10:22 PM
For Jumpcrew especially - the USDF and USCTA are primarily educational organizations. The rules and test for dressage and eventing come from AHSA as do the licensed officials, show dates, drug testing, etc. USCTA does have some kind of deal with AHSA that the Novice and Training levels are not recognized by AHSA but are recognized by USCTA. Therefore, folks who only compete at those levels do not have to belong to the AHSA. They do have to belong to USCTA or pay a nonmember fee. I've also heard that if you try a couple of events, decide you like it and want to do more, you can send in the receipts from each time you paid the nonmember fee and USCTA will deduct that amount from your membership for that year.

Weatherford
Aug. 24, 2000, 10:26 PM
I like the ratings idea presented above - but think it needs work.

My suggestion - and forgive me if I have already posted this - is that the Hunters and Eq work on a open numerical scoring system, with 100 being perfect. One score at any show at (arbitrarily) 85 and above equals one point. AND that is how points are collected. Your level of competition is dependant upon your cumulation of points - thus you are "GRADED" (as CT horse are graded). Once a horse moves to the next grade, it can compete at the lower grade with special permission, but it CANNOT collect more points.

Ditto Jumpers - they are GRADED (E-A each grade with a maximum fence heights) (1 point per double clear round - time not included) with the point accummulation during a year tallied towards Regional and National Championships.

Can you imagine going to look at a horse and finding out it has 100 points and is a Grade E (or A or whatever)? You would know what that means!

(This is based on the Irish system - which really really works for the young horses, especially.)

Lastly, I would like to suggest we rate our GP's - as three day events are rated. All GP's would have a "qualifying" class, making them more in line with how the Europeans run them - and they would be rated for difficulty - *, **, ***, ****. With only 2 or 3 four star classes in the US. (There are only 3 four star CT events in the World, I do believe!) Perhaps, the location of the event should have more to do with it's rating than the prize money. Who should have the 4 star events? Certainly this year's selection trials would have qualified!

Linda, would that be possible?

Thanks.

HSM
Aug. 24, 2000, 10:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CS:
Level 4-6 would be 2'6 and over showing and a written/oral test of comprehensive horsemanship.

I'm being vague at what the level requirements would be, but a level 6 rider would be able to jump a Grand Prix course with a strong level of comprehensive/competent horsemanship written and oral.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not to be a broken record, but the written/oral test part is the only thing in your scenario that bothers me - isn't there some other way to measure this? What about the sort of tests they use in the Medals?

HSM
Aug. 24, 2000, 11:02 PM
Snowbird:I think I get it - what you're saying is that the change in attitude caused the changes in these divisions, not the other way around, right? Either way, the current set-up definitely needs revision - I wish I had the knowledge to contribute more to this discussion!

Bertie
Aug. 24, 2000, 11:33 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LindaAllen:
WOW! I'm leaning toward the idea of the AHSA implementing some sort of 'formal' discussion/chat room(s) format - no aliases allowed at that level: real people doing real work, in areas they have particular interest and experience in, bringing ideas and concepts to fruition. This is a time consuming and often frustrating process but I'm seeing people out there more than able and willing(?) to tackle more than jumps....

Ideas on this "crazy" idea???<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not crazy at all! As shown by the responses to this thread, there's a wealth of enthusiasm and ideas just waiting to be tapped...BUT, an AHSA sponsored forum will only succeed if the creative juices are allowed to flow, even when the ideas aren't what they want to hear. The NHJC tried a forum that seemed too heavy-handed to allow the generation of new ideas.

Janet
Aug. 24, 2000, 11:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AM:
For Jumpcrew especially - the USDF and USCTA are primarily educational organizations. The rules and test for dressage and eventing come from AHSA as do the licensed officials, show dates, drug testing, etc. USCTA does have some kind of deal with AHSA that the Novice and Training levels are not recognized by AHSA but are recognized by USCTA. Therefore, folks who only compete at those levels do not have to belong to the AHSA. They do have to belong to USCTA or pay a nonmember fee. I've also heard that if you try a couple of events, decide you like it and want to do more, you can send in the receipts from each time you paid the nonmember fee and USCTA will deduct that amount from your membership for that year.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is not quite true.

CT events are exempt from the mileage rule, and the USCTA (NOT the AHSA) sets the dates.

Prelim and above has to be BOTH AHSA and USCTA sanctioned.

Novice and Training events can choose to be either just USCTA sanctioned, or both USCTA and AHSA sanctioed.

The USCTA (not the AHSA) administers the year end awards system.

The USCTA (not the AHSA) administers the horse grading system.

Horses competing at Prelim and abve must be registered with the USCTA (not AHSA).

The USCTA (independent of the AHSA) collects a starter fee for eahc entry.

The USCTA (not the AHSA) approved the choice of TD for first time events.

All rules changes are presented to the AHSA by the USCTA rules committees. The AHSA rarely makes additional changes, and usually approves the rules as presented by the USCTA.

USCTA insurance covers CT events, and CT clinics.

That is a lot more than just an educational organization.

Snowbird
Aug. 24, 2000, 11:48 PM
HSM you have it exactly,
As the inner core became interested in living the life style of their richest clients, it became necessary to please people too much. The need esculated into a situation where the richer people bought horses to win rather than learn to ride. This was accomplished through the use of excess medications in many cases and training tricks in others.

As a sport we lost our focus, instead of selling the benefits of a personal accomplishment we sold the right to be a winner. Those same people are in charge of all the committees and their persistent conviction that winning is not the only thing, but everything has started the spiral on all the other issues.

Since, we cannot convince them that they have the wrong values, then we need a system which will give us all a voice and an opportunity to say this is not the way we want to go. I agree that accountability and our right to know could correct the situation.

Ideas are wonderful, but with each idea there should be a way to impliment the idea. My suggestion is that we start with ammending the By-Laws of the NHJC. The latest news Letter was delivered here today. It is as useless as the last version but it cost less. So the NHJC learned part of the lesson but not the important part. I think accountability did play a part in the reduced cost of yet another News Letter.

But, it's main purpose was obviously to raise a personal cash fund for the NHJC since it is essentially a membership call for non-AHSA Members. This is an obvious fallacy since they don't have anything but AHSA Members on their lists. To me that makes it clear that rather than first try to please those of us who are captive members whether we agree or not they have chosen to solicit membership from those who do not support the AHSA.

If they can't learn from their mistakes, if they continue to pursue the same pointless waste of our time and our funds, then we need a way to change the management or the association. The choice to me is quite simple, either we can reform the NHJC to represent us, or we find another association that can represent us.

I wonder, if we put the same pressure on the NHJA if they wouldn't be better prepared to represent our opinions. At least they welcome votes and opinions, if it is not them then who? and how?

We have been rambling ideas, but how do we put them into practice, or even have them on the national agenda for discussion. If we went to the convention then why would we be there? Would we go to be preached at? Would we go to be told that the very people who have spoiled the purposes of our sport know more than we do?

So I ask you all to take it to the next step. There are some very good ideas and suggestions that have been made. They need discussion and analysis how will that happen?

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 08-24-2000).]

CCollman
Aug. 25, 2000, 03:10 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:
Lack of accountability is what permeates AHSA. That, too, would change is accountability were insisted upon because decisions would have to be defended, not just made.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Accountability ... being responsible for one's actions.

Very recently in my zone, a vote was taken during a zone committee meeting on a key issue that has a direct impact on Juniors in this zone. The results of the vote, after considerable thought on the part of a couple of members, will have a negative impact on the sport. Feeling like the only way to possibly correct this situation is to let the general membership in our zone have its say, the zone is publishing the results of this vote in local newsletters and state association web sites in hopes that those who voted against it will be contacted by the members and be convinced to change their mind.

It's a free society and anyone can vote any way they like, but they will be held accountable in this zone starting now and must justify their decisions. My hats off to our zone chairman for making this possible!

Janet
Aug. 25, 2000, 09:32 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:

But, it's main purpose was obviously to raise a personal cash fund for the NHJC since it is essentially a membership call for non-AHSA Members. This is an obvious fallacy since they don't have anything but AHSA Members on their lists.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
It would appear to be even norrower than that, going only to those who have paid the H/J discipline fee, and omitting those who have paid the CT discipline fee (who also may compete in H/J).

wtywmn4
Aug. 25, 2000, 09:47 AM
Wow Ccollman, hats off to you and Zone 8. That is a giant step! It's about time we are all held responsible, and that includes us as members.

I totally agree with having a qualifying class for our GP's. Having 25-30 horses in a GP is enough. The qualifyier will keep it at a reasonable level, and hopefully stimulate some spectators. Someone also suggested that we split hunter and jumper shows. We may have gotten to a point where this is feasible at a higher level, numbers wise. Using the lower rated shows as beignner or entry levels where both h/j show together.

Linda, love the idea of a real chat with no pseudo names used. This group almost sounds like an ad hoc committee. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Aug. 25, 2000, 01:13 PM
So last night I thought, if I was Linda, how would I get my arms around all of this? This and other similar Chronicle threads are great examples of how the Internet is truly a spectacular resource for collecting ideas and communicating them. And this really does change the dynamics of a membership organization’s, like the AHSA’s, evolution. But it can also confuse things with sheer mass. Linda, I return to my reply earlier in the thread. I think that the AHSA (and the other entities) should: I. Organize and empower an inclusive planning process that involves a cross-section of constituencies who are all committed to the improvement of the sport. This committee’s agenda should be very clear: To take an unbiased look at goals, impediments, strategies, alternatives, and conclude with concrete proposals. II. The committee should gather empirical and subjective information that constitutes a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Risks) and creative brainstorming. Part of this could and should utilize the solicitation of specific ideas/examples, in response to specific questions/categories. [As an example, I printed out the this thread last night and had a family discussion about it with my daughter and husband. My daughter, 10, had a significant number of cogent, well-thought through, constructive ideas on how, if the AHSA wanted to, it could improve the pony hunter division. My husband, the lawyer, had some very fine thoughts as they pertained to rules. I was very interested in "raising the bar" on showjumping standards.] By soliciting input in critical, well-defined areas, data can be collected, organized, synthesized and communicated. The Internet is a great vehicle for this, but so are organized, local and/or Zone meetings where at least one or more committee members participate. Nothing should be "out of bounds" but rules of engagement need to be articulated upfront: In my practice, I define this as participants’ obligation to contribute "above the line." Any comments "below the line" are unacceptable and the participant is swiftly jettisoned from the process. III. Strategic and tactical recommendations are made (this will affect structure, composition, policies, rules, etc.) and presented for feedback and discussion (maybe even, as Snowbird suggests), a vote. In the end, however, final decisions and the commitment toward implementation has go be done by leadership. Then the final plans need to be broadcast and communicated. Please note, this process should be ongoing and not stagnant. Discussions, reviews, revisions need to occur on an ongoing basis. The old saying, "If it ain’t broke…" sure doesn’t apply here today. These boards, the insights of people like Mark Leone, Katie Prudent, you, Chronicle posters, Towerheads, etc. point to the need/mandate for change. In the end, I’m pretty selfish. My daughter, Sophie, has been riding several hours a day since she was six. She’ll catch ride just about anything. She’ll clean tack til the cows come home and she’ll do anything necessary to earn money to support her participation in this sport—no entitlements here. She dreams of being on the Olympic Team and she loves this sport with a passion that leaves those around her breathless. Our family has given up a lot to support her because we believe that big dreams deserve a chance. Do I want her to have the opportunity to ride in Europe when she’s ready? You bet. Do I want to send her to Europe because our U.S. standards are too low, or too political? Absolutely not. Please, please urge your fellow board members to consider how her future can be impacted by incremental, well-organized steps taken today.

Andi Benjamin (Sorry for hogging the board—I don’t do it often!)

LindaAllen
Aug. 25, 2000, 01:16 PM
Zone 8 is on track it seems.

Anyone out there with specific ideas on how to implement serious discussion groups through the AHSA website? I'll take the concept and present it to the BOD and/or Exec.Comm. - if we can come up with exactly HOW it could/should work.

Linda

DMK
Aug. 25, 2000, 01:49 PM
Ponymom has some great ideas about quantifying need and capabiliites through an overall SWOT analysis (tackling our industry). Then develop a SWOT analysis or similar document for several of the ideas discussed - flesh out the details through a working subgroup (i.e., let them more carefully define the feasibility of such an action).

At that point the document could be issued as a starting point of a BB discussion (if too large to put on the thread, then a summary with a link to an adobe doc would be helpful). Now it would be open for comment and discussion by people who must be registered. I like your idea of no aliases, and I would think maybe requiring a person's AHSA number to register would help prevent people from impersonating someone else - I mean really, what is stopping me from signing up on a BB as Laura Kraut, hypothetically?

I would suggest that topics be broken down into general, professional, amateur or discipline specific, as appropriate. Threads tend to go off base every now and then (practicing understatement today!), and if you start with a narrow topic, chances are you may stay with it.

I'm excited about this, and I can't believe the great ideas I have heard over the last few days!

Denice Klinger

farmgate
Aug. 25, 2000, 02:06 PM
At this point in time I have to wonder if what's good for a segment of the industry is good for the sport.
The industry being the average American rated competitions,trainers and other necessary fringe players and the sport being Americans and their riding ability as compared to the best in the world.

As it stands, shows are all things to all people with success seen as large entry numbers by management. Large entries mean tighter time schedules. This equates to simpler courses for quicker ring time and hardly ever a course change.

In 1980 a 15 year old on a large pony at any given A show [and most C's], assumed that to win, they had to possess the skill to ride a "simple" course [including in and outs] in the ring, go "outside" to hand gallop over a course set on varying terrain, come back in the ring and be brilliant for the Handy class, and then, if offered, change to Formal Attire for the Stake. All this done with no schooling in the show ring.

Today children attend the Pony Finals that are horrified to learn there is no schooling and clueless as to how to ride in a "big" open grass field with options.

But, in the time it took to run that Large Pony Division in 1980 [including awards presentations], a Short Stirrup, Children's Pony, and Large Pony Division is run today. Good for the industry but is it good for the sport?

Considering who some of the major players are in decision making places of the AHSA and other governing bodies, my yearning for a return to shows rewarding quality performances over challenging courses in the hunters is hopeless. Instead, a continued "American Fast Food" mentality will prevail. Serve as many people as possible as fast as possible with the same cheeseburger. These days most people don't know the difference anyway.

Somehow, someone must make the suggestion to split these shows into appropriate "like" divisions only. Or if nothing else, insist on courses which require a more thorough background in horsemanship. I hate to see skills once learned in the hunters and easily applied in the Grand Prix ring, traded for skills not seen outside our borders.

JMHO

Portia
Aug. 25, 2000, 04:03 PM
Yea PonyMom (Andi)!

Linda, I'll should be e-mailing you the proposed Rules Reorganization memo later today. Let me know if you don't receive it.

Jennifer Price

pwynnnorman
Aug. 25, 2000, 10:21 PM
Love this idea (via membership #s): "I'm leaning toward the idea of the AHSA implementing some sort of 'formal' discussion/chat room(s) format - no aliases allowed at that level." Talk about accountability (for your opinions--including criticism). Not only does our leadership need to be more accountable for their actions: we do, too--for our statements and opinions.

On a more pessimistic note, though, I must say that the email correspondance I've had with that person rather high up in the leadership has not been very encouraging when it comes to any one individuals ability to open up the system and discussions for improving it. I know that the person I have been corresponding with has been expressing similar views for quite a few years now, and getting nowhere. A forum were legitimate members can discuss issues and even "vote" would be great, but I think it would also be somewhat "threatening" to some (a la the demise of the NHJC BB).

Indeed, it bears asking, yet again: how many AHSA members have online access? Addressing that question could go a long, long way toward improving the representativeness and inclusiveness of the system.

[This message has been edited by pwynnnorman (edited 08-25-2000).]

Snowbird
Aug. 26, 2000, 03:04 PM
Well PWynn I just heard a statistic that 50% of the adults in America have access to the the Internet. I would guess that our percentage would be much higher.

Judging from the responses to from phone calls I've had, I would guess that 90% of the people interested in horses do have the Internet available.

However, there would be no reason in my opinion why "Horse Show" could not offer a similar poll or survey and be reserving one page each month for the same questions taken directly from the AHSA Web site.

I think the chat room idea is good for meetings of limited numbers, the BB and the poll system would be better to fit into everyone's schedule. There could be a block left open for personal opinions and perhaps recommendations.

This kind of electronic communication could take the place of an Annual Meeting. That procedure would be in place to officially approve what had been decided by votes as a result of the polls and surveys.

However, the fact is that the first two steps are to establish our "Right to Know" and our "Right to Vote". You and I have already Proposed these Rule Changes and what we need now is to get support for those two points in writing to all of the officials so that they hear a loud growl from the bottom of the pyramid.

When the foundation of any building starts to rumble, a collapse isn't too far away. Those with the big vested interests have to be even more concerned than we are of a collapse. They can't get much milk, if the cow goes out of the barn and hides in the brush.

oxer
Aug. 27, 2000, 01:23 PM
linda--this is such an incredible thread! and there are so many wonderful ideas everyone seems to be putting up--even the conflicting ones! makes me re-examine a lot of my "opinions" on certain rules (always a good thing!)
i certainly agree with portia about the "readablity" of the AHSA rules. i used to be a consultant in a big accounting firm and can tell you the tax code looks like the comic strips--much easier than our current rules.
ponymom had so many great ideas about focus groups and surveys. thinking back to days when i sat on boards of prep schools, colleges and corporations and non-profit organizations; when change was needed a committe was formed to work on a mission statement and from there the outdated rules that no longer represent the sport in this new century would be revamped.
as far as numbers and makeup of boards; usually they are comprised of the "doers" and the "givers". boards need both. the givers need to be rewarded by the prestige of sitting on the boards and the doers get the job done. perhaps we have gotten to the place in our sport where we have too many "givers" on these boards and need some action people who are immersed in the sport to revamp the rules.
but some of the posts seem to wind up with MORE rules--i can't imagine how you could police a show that only amateurs were allowed to ride their horses. that seems to me to be asking for more trouble and who's a professional and who is really an amateur. perhaps better clarification or overhauling rather than more more more.? (wish i knew..)

my question to all that post re: C up to B up to A shows, or ranking (E-A) like germany certainly has its points, but coming from a family where we all enjoy riding and showing and is the family's "thing" that always draws us together, this would simply put us all at different shows! and what would happen to WEF and the glorious warm winter in florida? when my daughter was competing she rode her hunters, jumpers and equitation at the very top A national level. that would qualify HER for WEF, and my stepson as well, but where would my husband and i go?
and i love to watch my kids compete. would that mean that i would have to give up my showing because i could never show at the level my kids do...maybe there are not many riding families out there. and now that she is in college, she comes to WEF occasionally and up to Lake Placid and i turn over my jumper and hunter for her to show in the higher divisions. how can we work that all out if we all need to qualify according to levels? that would've left me in cold new england showing at C shows with my 9 yr old down in florida at WEF? and what about horses bought for the professionals to ride in the GP? the incentive to buy them if you could only watch the videos....there must be some way families can all play together even if their abilities don't all match! and as jane ervin wrote about--good god what about the trainers? how could those of us at C shows ever get better to go to A's if all the good trainers were at the A shows?
sorry for such a long post, i just am looking for an answer for "family showing" and watching.
vanessa symmons

Snowbird
Aug. 27, 2000, 02:16 PM
Just as every sport grows this one has grown the upper levels. Plainly, we can no longer support shows that are all things for all people at all riding levels without paying a very high price for the development of riders and horses.

Yes, the horse show was a "family event". We all arrived at 7:00 AM and were prepared to spend the day. It was a wonderful time for a family away from the pressures of the real world to tailgate and make friends with people of similar interests.

Today in our society we no longer look at the "one day" vacation away from our responsibilities. It is sqeezed in between a lot of other responsibilities and is maybe a half day.

I have trainers who come to me and say, I have to be out of here by 1 PM so I can get back to the barn and teach. Or, my client has to be out of here by 3 PM or they'll have leave because their other child has a concert tonight. I've had kids picked up by limo to make to the airport on time.

So, as the life styles change so do our show plans.

Mikey
Aug. 27, 2000, 02:40 PM
Good points, Vanessa. Never got to see you this winter. We have some catching up to do.

farmgate
Aug. 27, 2000, 04:59 PM
Oxer, yes, very good points. You've also highlighted some of the varied interests and situations that exist, which make unanimous contentment within this org impossible.

But, maybe compromise and positive structure might come if a clear view of what's important to and good for the majority is brought by a person [or persons] with known sensitivity to and experience in, all segments and levels of competition. Is that possible given the size of this group?

The area itself of committees and their members is another that few seem to understand. Just because you have ideas doesn't make you the best person for a board seat. The skill required to have a positively "functioning" board was unknown to me before serving on one. I for one, don't want someone who I feel is unqualified, making rules or stating an opinion in an area they have limited knowledge or opposing interests. Neither do most folks. A board or committee member IMO must have no conflicts of interest or at least have the benevolence not to participate in an item of action which might infer that. They also should have the knack for listening and learning. This is a tall order.

I'm certainly no "professional" board member but I've found it is hard to keep a group on course without respect for fellow members and a named mission as a target. What now is the mission for dues paying members here and their board? "For the good of the sport and industry" seems awfully broad to me.

Portia
Aug. 27, 2000, 05:20 PM
I sent a draft of my suggestions for reorganizing the AHSA Rules to Linda Allen on Friday. This is an initial effort to reorganize and reformat so the rules are more usable and readable, not an attempt to change their substance (though I'm sure we all have our opinions on that). If anyone else would like to review the draft, I'd appreciate your input. E-mail me for a copy - jprice@fulbright.com

Snowbird
Aug. 28, 2000, 01:04 AM
With regard to the conflict of interest issue. I sit as a Commissioner on the Sire Stakes Commission which has to do with harness racing. I was apointed by the Governor and had to ask what kind of a commission this was because I have never been into racing, certainly not saddlebreds or harness racing.

My seat is one that was specifically designed as a chair for someone not involved. I understand now why that is such a good idea. I have no vested interest, I have no reason to be particularly nice to anyone, and I do not know who are the important people who are supposed to have a louder voice.

I usually, find myself directly in the middle because of that and make my judgment based on the issues. I do therefore agree that those in charge can be 50% involved and understanding of the inner working of a sport or industry but, there must be an objective counter balance for the other 50% from a neutral position.

I think that we have over-looked those directors not in our discipline. They have an equal vote and there are more of them than our closed club of officials.

oxer
Aug. 28, 2000, 04:30 AM
snowbird--i guess we are talking about different levels of showing here. we spent the better part of ten years "on the circuit" all over the US and my daughter even got to represent the US in monterray as a young rider. we were on the road 30 weeks a year with 9 horses. no one day tailgating. two week committments and then pack it up and move to the next circuit location. one day "family" affairs would never have given my daughter the experience and training to have won the pony finals, qualified for the jr. olympics in harrisburg for zone 1 or won back to back maclay regionals or qualifying hunters at all the indoors. this was a huge family committment and sacrafice of a lot of things--school parties etc. i would have hated to have missed a minute of it! and too many kids are out there staying at hotels week after week unsupervised--not in my household. my jr. needed the same parental supervision as any teenager rider or not. and i'm sure glad i got to show along with her even tho i only do adult jumpers and hunters. those would have been very long days and weeks if i had also not been able to participate.

and as far as being all things to all people without sacraficing the development of higher level riders and horses--WEF seems to be able to have classes for us adults, and no one could say they are "sacraficing" the development of riders or horses! that's why they call it the 'wimbelton' of horse shows, yet i get to participate as well as my husband. wellington would surely miss all us "adult riders" building our barns and houses and feeding the economy. as would stadium jumping. we supply the largest group of entries for prize money in the higher divisions. as well as supplying a large number of grand prix horses for the professionals to ride. i don't know how else the circuit could possibly work.
there is a wonderful expression "if it works don't fix it" it appears to work at WEF--no one is forcing people to go there and it appears to be growing every year.
so to reiterate--my problem is not about 1 day shows and fitting them in. my life revolves around horses and "fitting in" the other parts. there must be a way to resolve some of these issues without depriving those of us who love the sport so enthusiastically yet are not national level riders. some of us just ride and show for the "fun of it" a unique idea i know, but it's nice to be able to do that at the same local our children are riding at national levels. i don't have any solutions, but again, i don't see any problems with the A circuits having adult divisions along with the higher level divisions. i think we have a lot of bigger, more important issues to resolve long before this one...just my opinion.
vanessa symmons

[This message has been edited by oxer (edited 08-28-2000).]

pwynnnorman
Aug. 28, 2000, 07:49 AM
I', glad you posted, VAnessa. Your experience and viewpoint isn't always well represented here, and is often the target of perhaps unwarranted criticism (including by me).

And I love the way you referred to WEF as the "Wimbledon" of the h-j world.

I suppose what we are struggling with is finding a way for all of the levels of showing to receive equal support and attention from the movers and shakers--perhaps that's what a new relationship between AHSA and USET could help to foster: AHSA represents the general membership, while USET attends to the needs of the highest level?

It's only natural that those in the business are more inclined to cater their efforts to those members/participants who can pay top dollar for them, but since those who can't are also paying membership dues, their concerns should also be seriously addressed.

I honestly don't see much more than lip service being paid to the lower levels of the sport in AHSA or NHJC.

Hmmmm. Maybe there needs to be an A-A3 and a local-C-B split somewhere in planning and decisionmaking process so that the needs of the different levels receive equal representation and attention?

Snowbird
Aug. 28, 2000, 05:13 PM
oxer we're not that different, just chose different goals and life style.

My daughter did also qualify to ride for the AHSA in Canada on an international team. One of four selected from the entire country. She did that at our one day shows. But, we have not accepted the Olympic Challenge. Nona Garson rode at the same shows with my daughter and the Olympics were her lifetime goal which she achieved.

I do not believe there is less excellence here in a world where we don't want to sleep in motels and pack and move from circuit to circuit. Those of us who choose to sleep in our own beds, have our children go to school and raise adults that work every day at a job in the real world are not less excellent just a different life style choice.

Without spending 10 years on the road and giving up our life in the real world, my youngest was in the top 30 at Harrisburg in the Medal Finals and ribboned twice out of six years that she qualified. So you see there is a way to still seek excellence and have a real life.

I can respect your decision as to what was in the best interests of your children and you, and I simply request that same respect back.

I never felt that I needed to participate, I was delighted to be the cheering squad for my children because there was still plenty of time for my interests.

I don't think any of the parents of the players get to play at Wimbleton so that seems a rather poor analogy. I don't think I've ever seen Tiger Wood's Dad competing at golf in any of the events that he had won.

Yes, I am sure that Wellington would miss all those classes.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> we supply the largest group of entries for prize money in the higher divisions. as well as supplying a large number of grand prix horses for the professionals to ride. i don't know how else the circuit could possibly work. there is a wonderful expression "if it works don't fix it" it appears to work at WEF--no one
is forcing people to go there and it appears to be growing every year. so to reiterate--my problem is not about 1 day shows and fitting them in. my life revolves around horses and "fitting in" the other parts. there must be a way to resolve some of these issues without depriving those of us who love the sport so enthusiastically yet are not national level riders.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't think there has been a single suggestion that would ever deprive those of you who have chosen your life style which revolves around horses. I for one simply would like an equal considereation for those of us whose lives revolve around horses and do not choose to make those sacrifices.

I don't think we really disagree, we just see it from a different perspective. I do not see anything wrong with adult amateur classes at a AA Show. I do however think that when they fill the schedule with divisions that were invented by the C Circuit for people just learning, and horses that were still learning it becomes a catchall that depreciates the value of the ribbons won.

For example, if you had to have a 3'6" horse in order to compate at a prestigious show, it is a motivation to try and move up to these wonderful special shows. If on the other hand a beginner can win a blue ribbon at one of these shows it cheapens the victory of the others. And, it cancells the motivation to become a better rider.
vanessa symmons

pwynnnorman
Aug. 28, 2000, 07:42 PM
Snowbird: "So you see there is a way to still seek excellence and have a real life."


Er, don't you mean there WAS a way? That's the problem now, isn't it? The only way today is the A3 route. What your daughters did is no longer possible, right? That's why we are seeking some changes: so you don't have to lose your shirt and/or "buy" your way into the higher levels and their associated recognition.

Snowbird
Aug. 29, 2000, 02:49 AM
Right Pwynn and if we don't learn from our mistakes we are doomed to keep making them.

The point is that what WAS worked, what IS doesn't. Now, we can have a Clintonesque debate about what is is.

I will say simply that the principles of the founding fathers were better and that was because more people were pleased with the opportunity.

What IS limits success to those who choose to pursue their personal excellence at the cost of the sport.

Nancy Jaffer made a comment in her column that perhaps the "supermarket" was inevitable as part of our scene. That producers offer what she called "cookie cutter" horse shows.

I cannot accept that this is inevitable. WHY? because this is a sport of personal best performance along with an overall best of show. That can only be maintained with individuals, and the collective mass production of horse shows will not in the inevitable produce either the best riders or the best horses.

What afterall is "BEST"? In whose opinion is there a "BEST"? Perhaps, if the 98% who do not participate in the "circuits" are willing to accept the opinion of a superior "THEM to make that decision then we will become the era of the cookie cutter shows.

But, if there are many who do not accept the value of the opinion of "THEM" then it can't happen. Why? because "WE" can recognize our our "BEST".

oxer
Aug. 29, 2000, 06:08 AM
WEF has always been referred to as the "wimbeldon" of horse shows even in PBP booklets. the reference is to the "prestige" of the event--world class. whatever does tiger woods' father not competing with him have to do with the reference of WEF as one of the world's premier shows?
vanessa

Snowbird
Aug. 29, 2000, 05:19 PM
Perhaps, that is so by those from your part of the show circuit. I simply find the parallel in appropriate because at Wimbleton it does not include the minor play sessions for the associates of those qualified. Parents are relegated to the bleechers.

I quess we can agree the WEF has the level to which you referred; as well as the level to which I referred.

My reference to Tiger Woods was just another analogy of a major sports event that is at the highest level of competition and doesn't invite the parents to participate except again as a spectator. As a matter of fact I don't know of any sport where the highest level of excellence competes, and the minor players also participate.

In my humble opinion this is a wise choice. It serves a twofold benefit. One, it gives a convenient schedule for those special high level events where the tests are between the best. Two, it provides the opportunity for the minor players to participate as spectators which I think does a great deal to support the efforts of those risking everything to excell.

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 08-29-2000).]

J. Turner
Aug. 29, 2000, 08:40 PM
Note that at Wimbledon, they do have a junior tournament, I believe.

I know at figure skating nationals, they have senior and junior levels. Not that your point isn't of value, Snowbird.

Also note that the junior and amateur, green and prelim sections are NOT the top level of the sport, whereas Wimbledon, the Masters, the World Series, the Superbowl, etc. all are. The Little League and Babe Ruth World Series is not held at the same event or venue as the World Series. I see the point in having elite shows (with the top level and one level down) ... just Grand Prix, Intermediate Jumpers, perhaps, and the occassional Jr/Ammie Prix -- perhaps like the American Gold Cup is run. Think like eventing. Some 4-stars have a 3-star run in conjunction, or a 3-star has a 2-star (like Radnor).

Elite Shows (Jumpers) -- Open, Int, maybe a futures/futurity class, maybe an elite jr/ammie prix. No hunters, except maybe an invitational classic (4' - 4'6" like the old workings) with big money offered (like the one supposed to have been at the National) and an exciting course encouraging brillance and a handiness. Perhaps adding natural obstacles (a table or bank, jumping in and out of the ring?) -- after all it's based on the hunting field, right?

AA shows -- top qualifying shows like Devon, indoors, etc. A-rated rated divisions only -- hunter and jumper. Equitation finals with a horsemanship component. Possible 3 foot (childrens/adults) finals/classics. No schooling, low, baby green, etc.

A shows -- non-qualifying, but A-rated divisions with possible classics for children's/adult hunter and jumpers and pre-green hunter. Top level equitation classes and an eq challenge that included written and practicum parts like NE Finals. Perhaps have a C-rated/Local day(s) like the Hampton Classic/Devon.

B shows -- include any B or C rated divisions. Classics for qualifying finals. No non-rated, schooling divisions, except maybe pre-green. Might have to create a rated young jumpers division. Mini-medal and 2'9"+ eq divisions, excepting ponies (2'3"+). Local association qualifiying medals and divisions.

C shows -- any C rated division. Schooling divisions. Maiden, Novice, Limit type equitation divisions. Local association divisions.

These are very rough ideas. Just brainstormed thoughts.


As for suggestions, again, I implore us to consider passing tests to move from level to level. Skating and gymnastics do it, among other sports.

Snowbird
Aug. 29, 2000, 10:33 PM
I am so happy to have someone who understands
the concept that I have tried to explain.

YES! YES! I like as a show manager being able to design classes and divisions that satisfy a need at the beginner level. To be able to develop that mysterious quality of a personal best. But, it only works if it is the doorway to doing better.

We teach, and our students and their parents know that what we teach is to do the best you can with what you have. Our sport had the magnificence to teach always reaching up for a little better. The Maiden, Novice and Limit system was pure genius. The riders learned to face a challenge. Win one blue, and we move you up to lose again. Then there was the three blues, and move up again to lose again until you could win three more.

And, the wonderful message of a Nona Garson is, if you never give up, if you keep on facing the next level and improving you can make the team. It doesn't matter who you know, how rich you are, it can be done. That is the dream and that is what we have lost.

I hope that the legacy of Nona will be to bring it back. Yes, the AA shows should be qualifying shows with limited entries and the pride of this industry. Their mission is to create the highest competition at the most difficult levels. They shouldn't tarnish that with a bunch of classes that belong and should be held at the C Rated Level. It cheapens the victory for those who do dare to be the best.

Snowbird
Sep. 1, 2000, 01:39 AM
Two points you all should know, first I have been invited by the NHJA to submit to their Steering Committee a version of an advertisement which I visualize as a
"Members Bill of Rights".

It states why we request support for our right to know.

I have also started a thread for analysis and suggestions regarding the proposed changes of the By-Laws of the NHJC. This is just the first section. I will add to it as I have time to type it up with their proposed revisions as well as those we have discussed.

Revising these seems to be the easiest and quickest way to accomplish our purposes.

Snowbird
Sep. 1, 2000, 01:49 PM
I hope that you will all put this same creative energy into studying the By-Laws and coming up with constructive changes that may accomplish some of these good ideas.