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View Full Version : Kanavy v. Balch... Round 1



rileyt
Jul. 23, 2001, 12:19 PM
I know, I know... more NGB stuff. Please resist the urge to shoot me in the head for bringing it up again.

I'm as sick of it as anyone. But I just thought I'd share my dismayed feelings... maybe someone will make me feel better? To start, I have to say, I have been an AHSA supporter in all this NGB crap. Sadly, it comes mostly from a ferocious hatred of the elitist USET (who kicked several dedicated members off of their board), instead of a "love" for AHSA. I don't know Valerie Kanavy well,... but she has always seemed like a straight shooter to me. What is up with these costs? An FEI passport costs $75, but AHSA makes us pay $300? /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif I guess I found Alan Balch's reply, uh, less than satisfying. Maybe I'm too cranky to look at this honestly, but did anyone else get the sense that his reply was "Well, the USET wanted to charge $800, so be happy that we're charging $300." It's not that I don't believe that it is more expensive to do FEI events here in N. America. I do believe that. I was bothered by his "Well, we're better than USET, and that's all we need to be" attitude. After all, AHSA are the wonderful folks who gave us the mileage rule, and other pro-big-business crap. I know some posters here have given a lot of themselves to the organization, and I don't mean to seem ungrateful ... I guess I just feel like we're trading Nicholas Romanov for Josef Stalin. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

rileyt
Jul. 23, 2001, 12:19 PM
I know, I know... more NGB stuff. Please resist the urge to shoot me in the head for bringing it up again.

I'm as sick of it as anyone. But I just thought I'd share my dismayed feelings... maybe someone will make me feel better? To start, I have to say, I have been an AHSA supporter in all this NGB crap. Sadly, it comes mostly from a ferocious hatred of the elitist USET (who kicked several dedicated members off of their board), instead of a "love" for AHSA. I don't know Valerie Kanavy well,... but she has always seemed like a straight shooter to me. What is up with these costs? An FEI passport costs $75, but AHSA makes us pay $300? /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif I guess I found Alan Balch's reply, uh, less than satisfying. Maybe I'm too cranky to look at this honestly, but did anyone else get the sense that his reply was "Well, the USET wanted to charge $800, so be happy that we're charging $300." It's not that I don't believe that it is more expensive to do FEI events here in N. America. I do believe that. I was bothered by his "Well, we're better than USET, and that's all we need to be" attitude. After all, AHSA are the wonderful folks who gave us the mileage rule, and other pro-big-business crap. I know some posters here have given a lot of themselves to the organization, and I don't mean to seem ungrateful ... I guess I just feel like we're trading Nicholas Romanov for Josef Stalin. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Erin
Jul. 23, 2001, 01:03 PM
For those who are confused, this is in reference to the Horseman's Forum in the Chronicle this week -- articles by Valerie Kanavy and Alan Balch. Here are the links:

Why Are The AHSA's Fees So High? (Kanavy) (http://www.chronofhorse.com/features/01/forum_kanavy.html)

Thank You For Asking About Fees (Balch) (http://www.chronofhorse.com/features/01/forum_balch.html)

pt
Jul. 23, 2001, 02:40 PM
and I certainly hope I do

Is Mr. Balch justifying the high AHSA fees on the grounds that ALL competitors, even the occasional competitors who have no FEI aspirations, should subsidize the few who do compete internationally?

If so, WHY?????

As a small-time, potentially occasional competitor, increased fees to support the "elite" competitors in horse sports would be more than enough to keep me far, far away from any AHSA activity - and would cause me to be completely opposed to AHSA taking over supervision of all competitions.

The international competitors and wanna-be's have caused nothing but trouble for local participants in ADS competitions, and I would hate to see the same impact on others.

poltroon
Jul. 23, 2001, 04:36 PM
As I read it, Mr. Balch is arguing precisely the contrary, that grassroots competitors should minimally subsidize the costs of serving international competitors. The FEI may charge the AHSA $75 for the passport, but how many hours of labor must an AHSA staffer devote to processing it? There are likely some fixed costs involved.

I can understand the irritation with the horse recording fee. It is steep, and especially annoying when you know that you will not ever be in the running for points.

brilyntrip
Jul. 23, 2001, 04:45 PM
weatherford portia wher e are you?

Weatherford
Jul. 23, 2001, 06:31 PM
Fact, the AHSA (now Fed) fee structure was in place before AB took the helm (1996).

Valerie says, <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> In the United States, however, a major deterrent to international competition is the excessive cost of passports, and rider fees thought to be imposed by the FEI. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

(Opinion) I find this comment a little unusal - for ANY competitor at that level to consider a $300 passport fee a ?major? deterent for international competitions when the plane fare ALONE is easily $4,000 or more? Much less the rest of the expenses. /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

So, why are other organizations cheaper?

As AB points out, showing internationally is the norm in Europe. FEI passports are generally issued by the breed registries, and the breeders cover the costs. Breeds are registered and work with the national federations, generally costs picked up by the breeder.

When a horse is sold, the passport and other papers travel with it. The new owner pays a tranfer fee and membership in the Federation & breeding organization (if not already a member). You are not allowed to change a horse?s name once registered, or if you can, you incur a very high fee to do so.

AB also points out that other Federations are often subsidized by their governments (my example is Ireland - where the horse industry is a major one on all fronts.) The German Federation has 750,000 members! They can AFFORD to have lower fees; their overhead costs are absorbed by more people.


AS far as efficiencies within the Federation, I think anyone who has dealt with the staff in KY has found them to be gracious and about as efficient as they can be! I certainly know my own experiences dealing with KY have been a FAR cry from dealing with the NY office.

Not to mention KY is considerably cheaper, and with our tremendous growth, those savings have been put to hiring more staff members, etc.

I know nothing of the AERC, so I cannot comment on that.

Is the Federation a business? Certainly - and it always has been. Difference now is it is being run more efficiently and user friendly than ever before.

And there has been a serious push to finally recognize the problems created by conflicts of interest, lack of amateur involvement, and ignorance of the lowest levels of our sport.

It is even recognized now that there are almost as many members competing Arab/NSH OR Dressage as there are in (combined) H/J.

I hope this helps clarify some points.

Snowbird
Jul. 23, 2001, 07:17 PM
Anyone who is shipping to Europe to show is not exactly a figure of sympathy. Yes! the Federation needs to cover costs. Yes! the price was set during past administrations and has not increased.
Yes! in the USET plan they were going to use it as a fund raiser since all their buddies are the ones going to Europe on the USET tags. Yes! in Europe because they have a socialist approach the breed organizations participate in the costs.

Now, if we were talking about shipping American bred horses then perhaps there would be some sympathy. Come on guys a little Yankee ingenuity is what's needed right now!

Ghazzu
Jul. 23, 2001, 08:24 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> (Opinion) I find this comment a little unusal - for ANY competitor at that level to consider a $300 passport fee a ?major? deterent for international competitions when the plane fare ALONE is easily $4,000 or more? Much less the rest of the expenses. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I believe Ms. Kanavy is referring to the added cost for an American endurance rider who wishes to compete in an FEI-sanctioned endurance ride *within the US*--they get socked with an extra $300 fee for the passport in order to enter.

Linda Allen
Jul. 23, 2001, 09:19 PM
will always exist I think. NO ONE ever wants to feel that they are subsidizing anyone else's aspect of the sport.

Weatherford makes good points about comparing our situation with Europe. In their situation, anyone competing outside of their immediate hometown gets involved in the intracacies of the FEI's requirements.

The real cost of the passport has little to do with the price the FEI charges an NF for a blank one -- it is useless unless an NF "certifies" that the animal is who and what it is advertised to be, and thus eligible to participate in International Competition. It takes full time staff to lead neophites through the process, and to stand ready to accomplish the impossible on occasion for some competitors who 'forgot' this detail until the last moment.

The FEI has spent years now making the authority of a horse's passport worth something to international authorities for purposes of border crossing, veterinary regulations, and identification of the equine half of the equation -- it only works if the NF's are charged with the responsibility of certifying the information. If a passport is expensive, what about the cost of preparing and transporting a horse to a distant destination and then not being able to compete because officials there said "no validation, no participation!"

Virtually every other country active in equestrian sport internationally has requirements that ALL horses are positively identified with the NF prior to competing at ANY level (at birth in most countries thru a breed registry which isn't cheap, and then with a transfer to 'competition status' when the horse begins to compete), including annual renewals to keep an animal eligible. Here in the US, a competitor need only record and get passports for the horses that make it to the international level. Lower volume = higher (per individual) costs.

Any rider with a horse can ride 100 miles (or jump 1.60m fences) for fun - any where, any time - without paying anything to anyone. But, if they want the chance to win a Championship for their skills, there are requirements and costs involved. There are also benefits that come from successes: international winners are paid to do clinics and endorse products, quality horses come their way with more regularity, and their input is sought in the development of their sport. The $400 or so that it costs to make that potential Champion eligible also pales when you consider that today's sport of Endurance offers a $1,000,000 bonus should a competitor win 3 events of the calibre that Valerie has already proven herself capable of winning!

With all that a successful competitor like Valerie puts in to getting to this point, I doubt that their incremental cost to compete abroad (or internationally here at home) is out of line with what other athletes assume when they set out to become World Champion.

Those that only want to compete at the lower levels - the rank-and-file of the US Endurance community - are not all aware of the consequences of being a sport that has its roots at home, but its pinnacle on the international stage. But, properly handled, those with the ability and desire to become FEI Champions can be real assets to their sport as a whole; especially in the continual challenge to assure improved riding opportunities for the thousands that love to ride and compete but don't have international aspirations. If everyone could see a bigger picture for the sport -- and their own role in it -- we would waste far less energy on complaining about the realities of our modern world.

Linda Allen

[This message was edited by Linda Allen on Jul. 24, 2001 at 12:35 AM.]

Dana
Jul. 24, 2001, 04:48 AM
Linda Allen, maybe you can clarify this.

I know that the last few horses we've imported from Europe have come with passports. The way I understand it from someone who does the jumpers is that these passports are not acceptable by the AHSA, and you must apply for a new one thru them and pay the fee. Then, basically, you get a new copy of what you already have. Is this the case?

Not like it's ever going to affect me or my horses since we do hunters. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:19 AM
It is really quite a simple process to change ownership on a passport. A few signatures, the vac pages must be up to date and boom, registered with the new Federation. The last one I did was even a bit complicated as the owner was not a resident. A few e mails and permission from her NF for ours to stamp and a done deal. Still had to pay cashola, though.

But, since we are on the subject of increasing fees, what about the increase in drug testing fee? I know they SAY they haven't increased the fee in ten years but has anyone noticed how many more horses show (and consequently pay a drug fee) now compared to ten years ago? That alone should be enough to make up the difference, not the $2.00 increase.

I commented on a previous thread that I feared with the new name of our NF, fees would increase. And low and behold, not two days after the name change, they announce the drug fee is increasing! Bad timing?

Yes, I know they are now going to do split samples and MUST have their own lab, etc. but...

wtywmn4
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:41 AM
As Linda Allen pointed out, we can be greatful we are not paying the fees that are in place in Europe.

As for the fees, it would be hard for any organization/business to say there will be no increases! Good grief, our own government can't uphold those promises. When any business, and make no mistake this is a business, has changes, there will be costs involved. Who should shoulder those costs? Well, most times it is passed on to the consumer. And, we are the consumers.

I guess my point is, that in order for our sport to move forward, we need to start looking at it in a business manor. Something we have for years not done.

Portia
Jul. 24, 2001, 08:10 AM
About the importance of the FEI passports -- my trainer (an English woman) apprenticed for a couple of Swiss dressage riders who are perennial members of the Swiss Olympic team, and she spent a couple of years traveling all over Europe with their horses. She's said more than once that the border guards barely looked at her passport, but the horses' passports were inspected in detail. Every description had to match, every horse had to fit what was in its passport perfectly, or there could be major problems.

On the increase in drug fees, they issued the press release on it a couple of days later, but it was discussed and voted on it at the same board meeting (broadcast on the internet) as the name change, so they actually happened at the same time. Listening to Dr. Allen's explanation of what they do and why it was necessary, I thought it was a reasonable change.

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 08:12 AM
We will have to cover all the costs in some way. I think it is better if we all share a little then that we depend on vested interests with personal agendas to pick up the shortfall.

I hope that along with the boost in drug fees we will also see some substantial support to get the lower ranked shows back on course. The broader the base we have the less likely we are to have future price increases. All the shows whatever the rank of the show submit their fees in full to the Federation. Common sense says that if there are more horses showing there will be more money and the fee can be kept lower.

pt
Jul. 24, 2001, 09:08 AM
Linda says "But, properly handled, those with the ability and desire to become FEI Champions can be real assets to their sport as a whole; especially in the continual challenge to assure improved riding opportunities for the thousands that love to ride and compete but don't have international aspirations."

Really? How? When? Where?

As a lower-level competitor, when competing at all, I certainly haven't seen any great benefits to the sport(s) given by international competitors. More like take the fame/money and run!

Lower level competitions are struggling. Amateurs are pretty well being pushed out of serious competition in several aspects of equestrian sports. There is little to no support for english riding competitions off the coasts. These problems did not exist 20 years ago - I don't think it ALL can be laid at AHSA's door, but AHSA sure hasn't helped.

For example. AHSA decided it had to get involved with ADS activities. Now, drivers have to pay exorbitant AHSA fees for ADS competitions - and AHSA has no valid or valuable input to the sport of driving.

Maybe there's good and sufficient reason why AQHA holds its association separate from AHSA, and why so many people have quarter horses and join AQHA. It seems to be the only association that supports its members. All its members, not just pros and international competitors.

I can't feel sorry for someone who stands to benefit from being an international competitor and who has to make a sizeable financial outlay to do so. Nor do I consider it my responsibility or to my benefit to subsidize them at the cost of my ability to play on my own considerably less prestigious playing field.

JMHO, of course.

Linda Allen
Jul. 24, 2001, 11:54 AM
tho its title isn't very appropriate to the range of discussion!

Portia, your friend is right -- the easiest way to cross borders (for people that is) is with horses. They get all the attention!

pt brings up some good points. It is a complicated issue how the various levels can/do affect each other -- especially since the average individual doesn't normally feel it directly. But an example could be how many more children had the opportunity to be exposed to gymnastics, and access to equiped facilities and instructors in the years following Olga and Nadia? Their sport (long existing but not widely publicized) took off -- with far more kids having a chance to participate (albeit very few with Olympic talent or aspirations). Same for golf and Tiger...

I've learned that most every Federation for other sports in this country has "divisions" that are not competitive except in a recreational sense, along with "divisions" that concentrate on the sport's elite (elite in terms of the playing field and not social strata or bank account). Each aspect adds credence and support to the other. Without lots of new athletes getting "hooked" on a sport just where will the few that make headlines come from? And if only the elite participate or care about the sport, how will they get the opportunity to succeed and help put the sport "on the map" in a public sense?

Last point, I agree on the success of the AQHA. They've done a lot of things right. But the basis for their funding is their Breed Registry. Know what one of the Champions cost? or what the breeders spend to produce one? or the cost of registering (or heaven-forbid changing the name of one!)? For those that just enjoy the horse, and/or the lower levels of their competitions, there is a lot of value in what one pays for those that don't quite make it to the top levels -- largely subsidized by those that work and pay to aspire to have/be the best! A good example of the synergy that can result from a BIG organization that manages to somehow be "all things to all people," with the right kind of structure and implementation.

Linda Allen

poltroon
Jul. 24, 2001, 11:57 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pt:
As a lower-level competitor, when competing at all, I certainly haven't seen any great benefits to the sport(s) given by international competitors. More like take the fame/money and run!
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This may not be as true for your sport (driving?), but I've certainly noticed that in dressage and eventing in California, that the whole regional competitor base tends to get a benefit whenever a 'local' ventures out to the Big Bad World of Rolex, the USET championships, or Europe. When those riders come back, they usually have a new maturity, a new sense of the possible and the required, and in general the riding of the competitor and his/her students improves. Sometimes they come back with confidence, and sometimes they come back with humility. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Ideally, they've also had a chance to train with some of the best international coaches and watch the best international riders, which feeds new ideas back into our region. This in turn improves the standard locally, as other riders and trainers either learn from or step up to compete with the returned rider.

Lucassb
Jul. 24, 2001, 01:19 PM
Let me say right up front I know little to nothing about driving.

At these competitions, are there stewards to enforce rules? Is there drug testing to ensure a fair and level playing field? Are there licensed officials whose competence has been evaluated and certified? Are *any* of these services provided by the Fed?

As Linda said, <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> "But, properly handled, those with the ability and desire to become FEI Champions can be real assets to their sport as a whole; especially in the continual challenge to assure improved riding opportunities for the thousands that love to ride and compete but don't have international aspirations."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You disagreed.

But don't you think the greater the exposure for the sport, the more potential sponsors there are? Wouldn't that be a benefit? What about the knowledge that can be gained through exposure to competition in other countries, and to their training methods, breeding practices etc... would that make for better clinicians at home? More of a market for these horses?

The Fed also promotes the welfare of sporting horses across the board - they support and publicize relevant veterinary research, support the development of new and better testing procedures, and provide a forum for those who have complaints or problems at competitions. What about the performance horse registry database?

There is a cost associated with the services that the Fed provides. In my opinion, they are not likely to represent a major component of a competition budget, and especially in terms of those who compete internationally, it is surely miniscule.

pt
Jul. 24, 2001, 01:44 PM
Seem to focus on 3 points:
1. Benefits to students of international competitors who (ostensibly) return wiser.

How? If they go to an international competition, they are not taking lessons; they are competing. I doubt that much education transpires. Also, that benefit, if it exists, only applies to the few who are their students - far from a large percentage of lower to middle rank equestrians in this country.

Moreover, I'll just bet the "benefit" of their international experience is reflected in increased lessons fees - so why should the rank and file subsidize these folks for putting themselves in a position to make more money?

2. AQHA cost of champions? Have you priced top show jumpers or dressage horses lately? Or for that matter, mid-rank jumpers or dressage horses? Again, why should the rank and file subsidize the breeders' opportunity to charge more for their horses? Not a valid argument for increased FED (is that the term? Ugh! nasty connotations there!)

3. Drug testing, officials, etc. Well, in driving, ADS supplied and still supplies same. AHSA wasn't interested in carriage driving activities until it became a thriving sport. Then I guess it smelled money in the air, because it wouldn't quit until it got its claws into the game. Oh, dear, I mean, until out of totally disinterested, philanthropic motives, it offered its assistance to a sport that was already being very well run.

Again, several of the posts seem to emphasize the idea of paying for the cost of international competitors. Guess I just don't see the point to doing that.

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 03:43 PM
The subsidies would have to be based on need. That would not shut out the less affluent. Is it better to sell yourself with a bunch of sponsors? Is it better that those who have to work to pay the bills never have an opportunity?

You are assuming that the most talented will be the same ones who do it now and can cover their own costs. But what about giving that dream to some kids who might not ever be able to do that?

A ball player is worth $100 million because people fill the stands if the team wins. Tiger Woods wins big bucks not only because he hits straight but because he is a role model that says you can do this too.

We need to have a way to pay for all the planning and setup costs to get us all there. I know all you Baby Boomers are called the "me" generation but you do have to look past "what have you done for me today".

If you have loved horses as I have and you have benefited from our sport then why not put a little back. Now, if you don't think you have benefited well I'm sorry for that because I can't imagine any way that would be true.

If you want higher prizes and lower entry fees at better shows then give the rest of us a chance to see what we can do to get you there.

poltroon
Jul. 24, 2001, 03:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pt:
Seem to focus on 3 points:
1. Benefits to students of international competitors who (ostensibly) return wiser.

How? If they go to an international competition, they are not taking lessons; they are competing. I doubt that much education transpires. Also, that benefit, if it exists, only applies to the few who are their students - far from a large percentage of lower to middle rank equestrians in this country.

Moreover, I'll just bet the "benefit" of their international experience is reflected in increased lessons fees - so why should the rank and file subsidize these folks for putting themselves in a position to make more money?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Let me just start by saying that I'm just a random amateur. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif I love my sport and I ride as seriously as I can, but no one has ever heard of me, and at the moment I have only loose association with a professional.

The eventing community in California is pretty small, and one quickly gets to know the competitors. There was a certain electricity that came into the air when Jil Walton went to the Olympics, and I see a lesser version of that when a Californian ventures east to The Big Time like Rolex and does well. I am not a student of any of these people, and yet it inspires me to improve and continue and watch what they do that helps them succeed. And then, when our best go back east and get their butts kicked, we learn something too.

One of the most educational things I ever did for myself was to spring for a ticket to Rolex one year to spectate. I learned so much just from watching the best American horses in my sport - even though I did not ride, did not take a lesson, and did not talk to anyone who did. Mostly, it gave me a strong appreciation for how much there was to learn and how good those riders are.

I love watching GOOD dressage, too. I'll make an effort to attend competitions to spectate if I know international caliber riders are there. The knowledge does trickle down. When there are terrific riders/horses for the judges to pin, everyone else gets a better idea of the end goal.

I understand your skepticism about raised fees, but actually I can't say that I've seen that happen in this area. Fees go up because board, gas, cost of living goes up - but sadly, as much or more for the people who are only mediocre trainers. Of course, here, even an ordinary lesson from an ordinary trainer costs $50 - ugh!

wtywmn4
Jul. 24, 2001, 05:02 PM
Have to say, like poltroon am a random amateur. I love watching the best showing. I can only equate a good horse education to going to college. If you had the chance to go to a top college, learn under a professor that was tops, wouldn't you do it? Especially if it's in the field you love. The expense would be wayed by what you learned. College educations are very expensive.

You can always learn something from watching. Whether it's a training technic or riding, we can learn.


pt, you made a point about Drug testing for the ADS. Who does that testing? Isn't that done thru the federation, or what was the ASHA? ADS as many organizations did, found out the costs incurred to have this done. Coming under the "umbrella" allowed them to offer you a competive place without an inordinate expense.

Weatherford
Jul. 24, 2001, 05:16 PM
About watching the best

I recently watched a Pony Cub B rating - 2 of 13 (15?) passed. Most passed on their riding. One of the things I saw most obviously was their lack of polish and professionalism in both their flatwork and over fences. The kind of polish that you only get from WATCHING the best - they all rode like "locals"... Except the two who passed - one competes at Prelim level in 3-Day, the other show jumps and spends a lot of time grooming for barns that need help at bigger shows. It showed in BOTH their presentations.


There is nothing like watching the best - one of the things I miss here in NJ that we had when I was a kid was a preponderance of TOP jumper riders showing locally all winter! Now, the only people who get to watch the top ride all the time are those who are already on the top curcuit. Too bad for all of us, I think.


That being said, it would be great if each area had at least one GP - and if people would GO WATCH!!

Or take their vacations in Calgary.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Erin
Jul. 24, 2001, 05:24 PM
I just have to ditto everything Weatherford and Poltroon said.

Growing up in Illinois, there were only a tiny handful of truly top-caliber riders competing at the same events I competed at. The difference between the level of competition there (granted, this is 10 years ago) and out here in the MD/VA area is enormous.

I think I've learned more about riding in the last five years living out East and covering top competitions for the Chronicle than I did in all my years of being a serious young rider, taking lessons, going to clinics, etc. I know for a fact that my equitation o/f and my dressage have improved immensely from covering the big hunter and dressage shows. Now I know what I should look like! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

The head honchos in every sport are always talking about the importance of getting overseas to compete against the best in the world. I don't see how having riders gain international experience could possibly NOT help the grass roots. Now, I'm not saying that top riders should expect a free ride for their overseas education... but I also don't think it's reasonable to expect them to foot the bill entirely. In eventing and dressage especially, I think that would shrink the talent pool considerably.

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:04 PM
You've hit it on the head. Yes, 10 years ago to be exact all of our top trainers and riders did attend the local shows with their young horses and green riders.

George Morris himself used to attend C Rated shows and bring his string of new students. He set a tone and an example for all the up and coming trainers to see how to properly turn out a horse and rider and how to properly prepare them for competition.

The advent of the new show structure has changed that for all of us. Frank Madden spoke to me about how they only took their best horses and riders to an A Show and they trained the others at the C/B Shows. Now, however in the era of the "catch-all" cookie cutter extravaganza he doesn't need to do that, now the whole barn can show at the same shows, that's what the 10 rings are all about.

Doesn't it make sense to look at the shows with so many entries they can't finish the show? Does it make sense to have a AA Show which is for all people of all riding ability on all horses? If we have a AA Rating what exactly does that mean? Tom Struzzeri told me that entries in the AHSA Rated divisions are down from last year. So, is a AA Show for people of any riding ability or even perhaps without any riding ability?

Then the rating is simply a price tag and it means nothing anymore. If you can afford over $18,000 in prize money you can have a AA Show and everyone who comes to your show gets bonus points.

wtywmn4
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:20 PM
Does this have a deja vue factor for you Snowbird? /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Things that have been said over and over again. Finally, people are listening...

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:51 PM
And it makes me so happy. That's all I ever wanted was for people to wake up and see reality. And, old as I am I have confidence that we can all do it together.

We just have to beat that sense of it all being inevitable and that nothing can be done. It can be done, and as a group we will be able to accomplish amazing things. We just have to send the culprits packing.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 25, 2001, 05:46 AM
In mentioning Frank not finding it necessary to go to the local shows because the divisions are offered at the larger ones...some people like it that way.
For those of us who start showing in Fl. and end at NY (or Toronto), it can be more efficient to take everyone to the same show. That way the trainers do get some "time off". There are other advantages also. Most of the lower level riders need more attention from the trainer than the upper level ones. If one leaves the lower level riders at home, unattended for weeks at a time, they advance at a slower rate. Yes, some stables have assistant trainers but...
Personally, I like taking everyone who wants to show to the bigger shows.

[This message was edited by Emmet on Jul. 25, 2001 at 08:55 AM.]

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 08:42 AM
Wtywmn4 says, "ADS as many organizations did, found out the costs incurred to have this done. Coming under the "umbrella" allowed them to offer you a competive place without an inordinate expense."

Oh, really? Then why is it costing approximately twice what it used to to play at ADS events - and nearly the entire increase is due to AHSA fees. We now pay drug fees, increased office fees - oh, and let us not forget penalty fees for not being members of AHSA. And why should we join AHSA if we only do one or two driving events a year? It's a monopoly and it's hurting the sport in terms of discouraging new members, and if you can't see it, so be it. Perhaps there could be a non-member fee relief for entries who are on their first 1 or 2 events - encourage people to give it a try.

As for comments about watching great riders - they don't come to small venues. So again, the benefits are limited, localized and available to only a few.

Erin, I agree with you about the difference between the number of competitors in Illinois and VA/MD. But don't you see that places where there are not large supportive horse communities are exactly where support needs to be given? Not everyone can live in VA/MD or California. I, too, grew up in northern Illinois and I'm very aware how much less in the way of horse activities is available there now, due to erosion of small circuits, loss of open land, and lack of interest resulting from lack of exposure and opportunity. Again, I don't think the cause of equestrianism in this country is well served by focusing on the small groups/regions where it is already thriving and letting the rest of the country - where there might well be very talented horsemen undiscovered - go by the boards.

YES, it comes to money - everything costs. I expect everything to cost. I resent paying large AHSA fees to support a small, yes elite, group of people. I would not resent paying fees if there were any clear benefit to the amateur rider or horselover who isn't going to ever be international, as well as to said small group. If you can't see how AHSA has failed to help the grassroots of the sport, then you need to come out of the rarified air of the big circuits and talk to those of us who aren't involved in those circuits. I'm one, and you don't want to hear what I'm telling you.

We need greater publicity for the sport. Tiger Woods is not helping golf just because he's a role model. He's helping golf because he's helping sell golf clubs, shirts, etc. We need to market those international equestrians as money makers for various industries - then we might see some room for barns and riding trails planned as part of the larger community.

I grew up in a time of forest preserve barns, school barns, public trails. Where have these gone, and why has AHSA or other organizations done nothing to prevent their loss? Maybe because the MONEY is in the international competitors and wannabes, and on the big circuits. What would-be Jil Walton cares about a kid on a pony? My point is, you'd better start caring IF you want the sport to become mainstream.

But if you can't see the point, and you can't see how AHSA has failed to support the sport at the grassroots level and you can't see how anyone (I) can possibly disagree that all is happening for the best in this the best of all possible worlds, well - there are none so blind as those who will not see.

If you want the plant to flourish, you must water the roots.

Groundline
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:01 AM
Isn't it really the case that AHSA has traditionally been the organizational bridge between the USET (super elite) and the grass roots (which for Driving is ADS, Eventing the USCTA, etc)?

This worked fairly well until the current situation, where the USET has opened up the whole can of NGB-worms. Unfortunately, now that the USOC is awake to the situation, and apparently requires ONE organization to pull it all together, it hasn't left the AHSA much choice but to try to pull all this together into one structure.

As you read the AHSA position, though, they are for interdependence among the organizations, and much more grass-roots oriented than USET is or ever was. So isn't the possible solution to try to work out special arrangements with ADS and USCTA and other organizations, like AERC, so the true grass roots people get a break for first time competition and so forth? That would seem to be logical, and since the ADS people appoint 2/3 of the Driving Committee in the AHSA, that would be where to start. I think there are probably a lot of ADS events which are not AHSA recognized, right?

But we need to give them these ideas so the sport can move forward at all levels. Until all this came up, nobody was apparently thinking about promoting and growing the sport as a whole, not USET and not AHSA either. At least now that is a bright side of all this information coming out. And we know the AHSA is at least listening to a lot of things on these boards. They have to if they want to make it work better.

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:11 AM
Yes, Groundline! Exactly the point - the old USET and AHSA folks need to break out of the box of thinking only in terms of large shows, international competitions, and considering anything else as cash cows to support the upper levels.

This, I believe, is why Snowbird is on this thread - to encourage input & ideas, as she seems very interested in expanding the old views.

Perhaps lost in my rant is the idea that there be some sort of AHSA fee relief for newbies - to encourage newcomers to try a competition. Obviously, this could only be for a very few times, perhaps even just the first, but it would be an enticement to those who might want to try a toe in the water without buying a boat. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I do take some issue with Emmet's comment that those who want to show should just go along to the big shows. Again, the B and C circuits have the advantage of being of less cost. Granted, there is cost involved with horses, but it can be controlled and those on limited budgets can still have a good time, even compete - I've done it for years. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

tle
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:21 AM
pt... the more I read your posts the more I get the impression that you aren't seeing ALL the disciplines the AHSA covers... only the few that you may be involved with. I do "see" your point and with little experience on other disciplines I CAN see where you have a point. But I also CAN see where many of your arguments (especially with reference to the top competitors not caring about the lower levels, how the rank & file amateurs get no benefit from the "backed" international competitors, etc.) do not necessarily apply to all the discplines that The Fed covers.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:44 AM
tle - the main "international" divisions are Dressage, Combined Training and Show Jumping. No great help from top to bottom there.

New international divisions are Combined Driving, Endurance and Reining. No great help from top to bottom on the first two. Some in Reining, but it hasn't been international long enough to have developed a star complex.

Erin
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:44 AM
PT, I'm not sure I entirely understand your argument... I understand the frustration with fees, and I think that's something the people in the eventing community have worried about a bit as well. Having heard of the "fee-ed to death" mentality in the H/J world, I'd hate to see that happen in eventing.

The USCTA does still, I think, allow non-USCTA-members to compete without paying a fee at BN... again, I think... I believe the rules just changed in regard to this, so I may be wrong. And you don't have to be an AHSA member until you compete at preliminary.

But it sounds like you do want the AHSA/Fed to do something -- just not send riders to compete internationally?

I agree that focus should definitely NOT be on the "elite" athletes exclusively. You're right in that those top caliber riders may not be teaching at Lamplight or Ledges back in Illinois... but I don't necessarily think direct interaction is even necessary for there to be a beneficial effect.

Take, as an example, the Wayne Horse Trials in Illinois. It added an advanced division (the first ever, I think, in IL, and one of very few that's not on the East Coast) in 1991. These days, a lot of the "elite" eventers from back East go there to run advanced. Don't you think that benefits the D Pony Clubbers who are jump judging, watching those great riders go around? Even if they never actually talk to them in person, much less take a lesson?

I think Poltroon's example of going to Rolex is a great one -- you can spend a weekend in Lexington and see some of the very best riders in the world negotiate those XC jumps. Who isn't going to go home from that having learned something and been inspired?

I do agree that it's mostly up to the individual to seek out these opportunities. I mean, if you live in Podunk, Idaho, what's going on at Rolex may not seem to have much to do with you. But if you've got the initiative and the money for a plane ticket to Lexington...

I guess what I would like to see is continued efforts to get American riders overseas experience, AND efforts to help spread that knowledge around. We want our best riders to be the best they can be, right? It won't help us if our "best" riders are working tirelessly with Pony Clubbers and 4Hers and local associations if the "best" really aren't that good... don't you think?

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:46 AM
Forgot to mention - the "trickle down" theory didn't work in Reaganomics, and I don't have any faith that it will work in AHSA/FUD/Whatever.

IMO, we need to start at the bottom and work up to develop equestrianism in this country - and we need to value all disciplines, not just the Olympic ones.


If you want a plant to flourish, you must water the roots.

Snowbird
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:58 AM
Yes, many disciplines are much more oriented to the grassroots and we can learn from them and adopt some of the better ideas.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>YES, it comes to money - everything costs. I expect everything to cost. I resent paying
large AHSA fees to support a small, yes elite, group of people. I would not resent paying
fees if there were any clear benefit to the amateur rider or horselover who isn't going to
ever be international, as well as to said small group. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
There we have it the crux of the changes that have caused so much animosity.

I agree and that's why I've tried to be active and raise the issues, these same issues. Yes, the old guard did a great job getting things started but it is "Time for a Change". We are not here for the benefit of the few but to benefit the many. The system needs to change and I think the input from all the associations will help us as hunter/jumpers to set a system that will work for us.

The NHJC was created as a well intentioned concept but it is seriously flawed and needs to either be dissolved and re-organized or they have to change their attitudes. We all agree that the "Members" are entitled to more for their buck.

As to the post about why these all in one shows are better, yes it is convenient and comfortable for "SOME" people but can we look at what it has cost us as a sport.

Portia
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:11 AM
I'm not sure how entirely on point this is -- I hope it is -- but the discussion reminds me of the comments from David O'Connor during the meeting of the USOC Membership and Credentials Committee in San Antonio last February.

A big issue then, and now, between the AHSA/Fed and the USET is that the USET contends that the NGB should focus only on the elite, international level of the sport and let other affiliate organizations take care of everything other than the "elite" level competitions and competitors for the international disciplines. The AHSA/Fed in contrast, contends that the NGB has to be concerned with the sport at all levels, from the grass roots to the elite.

David explained to the Committee how equestrian is different from most of the other sports at the Olympic level, and how that difference makes the grass roots of our sport, and lower-level competitions every bit as important as the international level competitions. No matter how many times a rider or driver has been in international competition, that "elite" athlete always has a partner -- the horse. Sometimes that partner is as "elite" as the human athlete, many times it is a young talent just developing. So, unlike other sports where an athlete reaches a certain level and never goes back down to lower level competition, our international level human athletes regularly compete in our grass roots level competitions.

Michael Johnson only competes in the top level track meets around the world. Venus Williams is only at the big international tennis tournaments. Michelle Kwan will only be at the most important skating competitions. In contrast, David and Karen O'Connor will be out next weekend at a novice horse trial with a new 4 year old, and Richard Spooner will be doing the schooling jumpers with a young greenie.

David's point was that the NGB of equestrian sports, perhaps more than any other sport, must focus on the grass roots as well as the elite, and must recognize and support the blend between the two. The levels of our sport cannot be segregated from one another.

(I have to note that David's comments were in direct contrast with those from Robert Dover at the same meeting, who said he always felt that the AHSA competitions were just something he had to get through on his way to the top levels.)

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:17 AM
Snowbird, I am sooo glad you're involved in this marketing etc.stuff. Not just 'cuz you agree with some of my points, either /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif but because you are really open and listening. No-one is going to be 100% delighted no matter how things work out but it sounds as though you're trying to improve the situation for everyone.

Erin - we have a very very basic disagreement as to the value of "watching the best." Yes, it's fun. Yes, it's exciting. No, I don't think it's a learning experience. You can't learn to ride by watching. You can't even learn to ride by watching the best - especially if you don't even get the chance to talk with them. I had the opportunity to scribe dressage for Tom Hilgenberg. What a gracious gentleman! He explained his placings and comments all day. Gave me lots of food for thought. But it didn't teach me to drive - or even improve my driving. Prof. Harold Hill to the contrary, the "think system" doesn't work. You learn to ride by riding and to drive by driving. Watching Jil Walton go around isn't going to turn me into a 3-Day Eventer.

HEY! Snowbird - there's an idea...Any way for the new organization to sponsor teaching clinics with upper level riders/drivers in areas that don't normally have access to same, and may not have enough participants at this time to foot the entire bill themselves?

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:19 AM
Dang! hit the post key by mistake.

So, my point to Erin (which should have come before the paragraph to Snowbird) is that IMO, the money spent on a ticket to Rolex (and motels, food, etc.) might make an enjoyable vacation, but as far as furthering one's equestrian education, the same money would be better spent on lessons, clinics, etc.

Erin
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:23 AM
Ah, okay... well, I certainly don't think watching on its own is enough to make someone a better rider. I do think taking lessons from your local pretty-good-but-not-international-caliber trainer AND watching Bruce, Karen, and David go around at Rolex makes for a better education than lessons alone.

But we will have to agree to disagree. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

tle
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:25 AM
Portia... I think those comments, from a VERY top international rider, are VERY on target to the discussion. and I completely agree with them.

pt... I still don't see where you say no top to bottom support in some of the disciplines. I will fully admit that my experience at AHSA shows is limited to Eventing (which is what it's now called, not combined training... sorry, one of my personal peeves is all). If I could get an firm example, I think I'd more fully understand your point, but as it stands, I don't get it. What I see as a competitor for only the last 7 years is that events do have a great encouragement for the lower levels.

Also, I have to politely (of course) completely disagree with you on the value of watching the best. Sorry, but I've picked up a lot of subtle ideas that I have incorporated into my riding by watching Jim Graham ride or teach, or by watching Karen O'Connor go. Can I do this in a vacuum without proper instruction? No, of course not, but do think it has it's place in the learning process.

Erin... you are correct. Non AHSA/Non USCTA members can compete at recognized events at the BN level only. Riders must be USCTA members beginning at Novice and AHSA members at Prelim.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Groundline
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:33 AM
Erin has it right. It is NOT either/or. It's both. Watching and doing. Remember, watching the best can INSPIRE. Those inspired then go out and try to DO. And then watch, and then do some more. I bet David O'Connor still watches and learns a lot from watching Blythe Tait, and vice versa, or in Driving, I bet Chester Weber watches and learns a lot from Tucker Johnson, and the other way, too.

This whole NGB thing is driven by the federal law that governs it. Portia is our expert. And I guess it says that there has to be one governing body, if I read her right. And if that is so, then it must be the one that can tie the top to the bottom, with everything in between, and actually get a big enough mass of horse people to be able to get the outside money, sponsors, tv, and all the rest, that the other sports have, so that these things will happen as they have NOT been happening. AND that there is room at the grass roots level for some introductory programs so that the beginning people -- like non-AHSA ADS events -- do not have to pay full tilt.

The more people are involved, the less the fees per person or per horse have to be than they would be otherwise.

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:35 AM
tle - if you mean that viewing the higher levels of Eventing (didn't know the name had been officially changed - don't care for it, but so be it) can thrill and inspire some people to try it, yes, I agree there can be that effect. But is there really any concrete support from top to bottom?

Erin
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:44 AM
Well, I know David coaches the Area II Young Riders team...

Maybe an agreement to provide some of this kind of grass-roots (if you consider NAYRC grass roots... I'm not sure if it is) support should be a prerequisite for receiving support to compete internationally?

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:46 AM
Anyway, getting off discussions of who does what to or for whom,

Suggestions:

1. Support for "B" and "C" circuits, especially in areas having difficulty maintaining same.

2. Support for clinics and educational opportunities.

3. Publicity for upper-level personages as spokesmen and images for the sports.

4. Equal respect for all disciplines including pleasure/trailriding. Equal time in national organization's publications. Equal support, both moral and financial.

5. Assistance in local efforts to maintain open land, trails and equestrian venues.

6. Development of trainer/teacher qualification levels and certification.

7. Incorporation/support of Pony Clubs and 4-H Horse Programs into the national structure.

I'm sure there are more ideas, but I have to get back to work or I won't be able to afford even my low horse budget!


/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

tle
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:49 AM
Yes, that's what I mean. But also, if I am having problems with a certain type of fence, I can certainly get a thought process (for lack of a better word) on how to correctly ride said fence by sitting at said fence and watching Bruce, Buck, Karen, David, Kim, Linden, Kerry, Mara, Dorothy, Jim, Mark, and some others ride it. I know because I've done it! It isn't a substitute for competent hands-on training, but it DOES help.

What kind of support are we talking about? The fact that more people are eventing at the upper levels, therefore more people are available around the country for lessons, clinics and such? Yes. That the muckidy mucks are trying (none of us are perfect) to improve the conditions and safety aspects of my sport? Yes. That I personally have witnessed the queen of US eventing take her lunch break at a hot and busy clinic to help a 12yo adjust the tack on her palomino pony? Yes.

Perhaps that isn't the kind of top to bottom support that you're talking about... but that is what I am referring to.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:08 AM
AnneFS posted this on the Marketing thread - just moving it over here for those who may have missed it.

The important point, IMO, is that many people do not belong to AHSA for reasons I have amply expressed here. Perhaps the first big task of the new NGB needs to be to convince more people that there is benefit to joining.


"Between this thread and the Kanavy v. Balch one I've been reply here to stuff I read there!

pt wrote (on the other thread): <<If you can't see how AHSA has failed to help the grassroots of the sport, then you need to come out of the rarified air of the big circuits and talk to those of us who aren't involved in those circuits. I'm one, and you don't want to hear what I'm telling you.>>

pt's right. Thank God USPC is out there teaching horsemanship and riding, 'cuz Lord knows AHSA is all about winning at horse shows. AHSA has overlooked the average and/or grassroots of the sport, which is why pony club, 4-H, local circuits, breed clubs with their own local shows, etc. have sprung up to fill the gap. Unfortunately, it seems that some areas of the country are not as fortunate in having enough non-AHSA groups to fill the need. These grassroots people are producing the future horsemen who will be unobserved and unappreciated and yes, overlooked by the h/j circuit leaders. If these threads are an indication that the Fed is changing, great. But let's face it, people join AHSA because they have to (to avoid paying non-member fees), not because they feel AHSA does anything for them. And a zillion people choose not to join. I admit it riles me to read those COH Commentaries about no horsemanship when I am involved in Pony Club and see hundreds of children being taught horsemanship every day and then GM and DE write columns and act like it doesn't exist anymore. It doesn't exist at AHSA shows so therefore it doesn't exist period. Well, come on over here and we'll show you excellent horsemanship. Bring our good competitors to your barns to help show the way. Stop acting as though if it's not at Wellington it doesn't exist. Give the other kids a chance. Your horses and your barn and even your A-show hunter riders will be the better for it.

There, now, someone who can write should put this in a Commentary for the COH."

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:12 AM
tle - it sounds as though you as well as Erin can see a lot faster than I can, so maybe watching someone blast through a jump (or an obstacle) provides you with ideas on technique. I don't see that fast, so while watching a 4-in-hand gallop a hazard I would walk with my single creates a feeling of awe, it doesn't help in a material way. It is fun, though - no question.

As for involvement top to bottom - it sounds as if Eventing, at least in your neck of the woods, is ahead of most other sports. Mazel tov!

Yes, what you describe is what I'm asking about - sorry, don't see it. Must not frequent the same places you do.

Anne FS
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:32 AM
Thanks, pt, for consolidating stuff.

As for #7 on your list (Incorporation/support of Pony Clubs and 4-H Horse Programs into the national structure), Groundline pointed out to me that the new AHSA/Fed is onto this and I should check out the ahsa.org under Affiliates. So looks like people are listening.

BTW, Victor Hugo-Vidal seems to get out and about away from the very narrow h/j world and then shares what he sees with the COH readers. It's appreciated.

And go to www.ponyclub.org (http://www.ponyclub.org), click on Festival, then Clinicians, to see all the prominent AHSA/USET competitors willing to give time to some very excited kids, eager to learn.

Lucassb
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:38 AM
I like a lot of the ideas you enumerated. We can certainly agree to disagree about the benefit of being a Fed member!

I belong, and also volunteer, because I think that I have at least some small obligation to give back a little to the sport that has given me so much over the years. Note, I said the sport - not necessarily the Fed - but my view is that if things aren't the way you think they ought to be, you get involved and work to make them better.

The Fed is doing a lot more than they used to for a wider audience of members and horse lovers in general. I personally think the Performance Horse Registry database is a good thing - it will be nice to someday have the kind of performance data that other countries already have at their fingertips. The work that is done to support veterinary medicine benefits all horse owners.

There is certainly room to do more, improve more and make the membership more valuable to all horse enthusiasts, and everyone's input is welcome.

I don't feel that I am unduly burdened or that a large portion of my dues are spent on international superstars. There are substantial costs involved in administering any sport, and I feel that they are well spent on providing safe and fair competition venues, on the drugs and meds programs, and on licensed officials and the provisions of standard specs and rules that allow each competitor to rely on at least some minimum standard as far as a rated competition is concerned. I think in the coming months, you will see that the Fed will be providing more and better opportunities for ALL riders, across all disciplines. Will it replace the services provided by other associations, pony clubs, etc...? NO! And it shouldn't... but they can be complementary, and I think they will. Stay tuned! And stay involved -!

As an aside, I enjoy going to shows where the top riders compete and frequently spend HOURS sitting on the fence in the schooling area, watching how the most accomplished riders school and prepare their horses, give lessons etc... I've learned a TON by watching, even when I have not spoken to or ridden with the trainer/rider in question.

Many times, I have watched with great interest as a horse comes out exhibiting behavior that my own horse has presented me with... watching how someone else deals with it, what exercises they use, what their position and aids are, and what their results are, can be very educational for me. Not to mention, basically FREE!!

tle
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> pt's right. Thank God USPC is out there teaching horsemanship and riding, 'cuz Lord knows AHSA is all about winning at horse shows. AHSA has overlooked the average and/or grassroots of the sport, which is why pony club, 4-H, local circuits, breed clubs with their own local shows, etc. have sprung up to fill the gap. Unfortunately, it seems that some <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ah ha! I finally got the crust of your issue with AHSA. However, if you want AHSA to fill in ****ALL*** those gaps, exactly how much would you like your yearly membership to cost?? Cuz I will tell you that if they have to fill in ALL the grassroot levels taht the quoted posts seems to indicate a desire for, you're talking about adding quite a few people to the AHSA staff to field all those issues.... which in turn may be wonderful people but doubt they will consider working for free so their salary (and benefits) will be passed on to you. And yes, if AHSA is going to *really* support those types of shows, then you can bet they will require membership. IE: when the USCTA was considering making membership mandatory at the Novice level the argument was brought up (sucessfully I guess seeing as how the idea passed) that there are other sports in which you don't compete unless you're a member... and in some cases pass certain tests to advance). In my mind that is why we have the national organizations like USCTA to be more of a bridge between the grassroots rider and the AHSA.

I think the question then ends up coming down to how much are you willing to pay for that? Personally, as an eventer, I think the USCTA is doing a good job and no, I don't want my AHSA dues to increase because someone else's organization isn't doing a good job.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 25, 2001, 12:34 PM
I totallydisagree that one cannot learn by watching. In my experience, the more one knows, the more one can learn.

I also agree with David O'Conner's thoughts, to a point. Yes, David, his wife as well as nearly every international calibre show jumper spends more time in the lower levels, either educating a young horse or a young rider. Isn't that the grass roots? That is why, in show jumping, it is very useful to have shows that offer divisions for most horses and riders. These shows afford the opportunity for those elite riders to make their youngsters, train the novice riders and continue to hone their own skills at the International level.
The elite riders, for the most part, are more than willing to impart their knowledge upon the novice. However, the novice rider must realize that by doing so, the elite rider is sacrificing time and energy that could be spent further developing themselves or one of their promising horses.
Bear in mind the elite riders in Europe concentrate only on their string.
If I were a second tier rider, I would figure out how to get the most from whichever elite rider I thought I'd like to learn from, no matter what sacrifices I had to make.

Brookes
Jul. 25, 2001, 01:19 PM
I'm afraid I need to agree with pt on her trickle down theory. I ride dressage I support the international riders by my show fees etc. Then when I want their feedback I get charged an arm and a leg to go to their clinic! What exactly are these international competitors giving back to us? Specifically? I don't see anything coming my way for free or even at an affordable price. Also it is difficult to get into their clinics due to popularity, it's not like they go to podunk america and give them to the underprivledged riders to say thank you for all their support!

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 01:25 PM
tle - you still haven't quite gotten the crux of my argument - those of us whom AHSA does not really benefit are still paying fees to AHSA, which presumably go to support disciplines AHSA feels are more "worthy." I pay AHSA fees at ADS events - I don't really know of any which are not AHSA affiliated anymore, other than strictly local club events. If USCTA got novice riders exempted from AHSA fees, more power to them. Please, let us know how, so we can do the same.

Emmett -- I think you're still thinking in strictly "show" terms. I'm taking the new NGB outside AHSA limits, which certainly were shows and only shows, and saying IF it is truly a NGB for all horse activities, then it needs to recognize/support other disciplines/activities.

OH, and "support" isn't necessarily $$$$. It can be time, publicity, subsidies (OK, some $$$ /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ) to enable locations/clubs to invite whatever hotshots are willing to come do clinics, a fair share of magazine space and recognition - all sorts of support.

I guess you must all be a lot smarter than I am - I can learn by auditing a clinic in which others are being taught and explanations are given. I can't say I learn by watching courses jumped, tests ridden or marathons driven. I enjoy watching, it just isn't a good way of teaching for me.

But I appreciate all the ideas which have been expressed in this thread. I'll cogitate on them while doing my volunteering stint at CDE's, distance drives, pleasure shows and dirt-circuit horse shows the rest of the summer out here in the boonies where the big dogs don't bark. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Lucassb
Jul. 25, 2001, 01:41 PM
I don't ride dressage so I am somewhat unfamiliar with the way the fees work. Brookes, can you explain show fees go to the international riders in that discipline and what you think they ought to provide in return?

Would it be reasonable to make them give clinics in x number of states, for example? Should they have to do so for free? Or at a low cost? Should that cover their expenses or provide them with a small "profit?" Should they be able to schedule the clinic around their competitive schedule and clients' needs, or should they just be required to show up at certain places and times?

Riding is a tough way to earn a living. Most of the top riders I know of work hard with their clients and the training/sales part of their business in order to have the wherewithal to continue to compete. Very few have fancy houses, cars and the other non-horsey material things that most non-pros take for granted.

All the pros I know ride horses that I would refuse to - because that is what they get paid for. Yes, they are more competent than I am but they are still facing considerable risk. Most also train people that they might rather not (not everyone likes to teach people as well as they like to ride!)

Achievement at all levels involves considerable sacrifice - be it the willingness to stay on the road for months at a time, accept YEARS of poorly paid, physically tough work for other pros as they are coming up through the ranks, the hard work it takes to obtain and retain sponsors, owners and clients... not to mention the RISKS that are involved (both physical and financial) ... or the setbacks that can occur when a carefully prepared horse goes lame right before a key event, a falling out with an owner results in the ride going to someone else, or god knows what else. It is a life for the brave as well as the talented.

My (desk) job offers not only disability and health insurance but retirement benefits... most riders don't have that luxury. If they are willing to sacrifice most everything else to get to the top, I admire and respect them - and feel that they should get some support. It is a reward for all they have accomplished despite massive obstacles.

Maybe they receive more support than I am aware of, from the FED or elsewhere. But although I know there are a few grants to train or perhaps compete on a tour overseas, or to participate in a training session here...what else do they get at other competitors' expense??

Linda Allen
Jul. 25, 2001, 02:04 PM
on topic of value of "watching." As one who had very little opportunity to be formally "taught" as a young rider, I found tremendous value in "learning by watching," and "learning by volunteering to help." This is an active and not passive activity, but for me at least it worked -- and continues to work. My travel expenses to a European Championship event to watch other's work in course design is not just helpful but essential in terms of continuing education.

And I learned more from watching Rodney school horses on a Tuesday before a show began than I ever did from riding in any clinic.

Spending 4 years treking (with very few exceptions totally on my own nickle) to shows that Pamela Carruthers and others I admired were working at to work as a volunteer assistant was (and still is) the only "university education" available for a CD. Cheaper than Harvard but not cheap or easy by any means just essential, to me anyway, to becoming good enough to do the job the way competitors deserve to have it done.

Sorry about the soap-box, but I feel strongly that the desire to learn and improve is far more important than the easy availability of "teachers."

Linda Allen

Brookes
Jul. 25, 2001, 02:15 PM
Lucas, I can understand you are confused, I was in a hurry and didn't make myself clear, sorry about that. Yes there are scholarships and grants that the USDF and State societies provide. However on the very up side these are usually awarded to wonderful upcoming young riders that have talent and have worked their tiny butts off to receive these awards. I was reading into pt's comments about the trickle down effect. I know how hard these pros work to get where they are, how they have to hustle, I was lucky enough to work with two olympic dressage riders on a ad campaign years back. They got no money just product for all their time and trouble. The point I was trying to make is: for example look at Tiger Woods, granted he is now a gazillionaire, but he uses his popularity to support his foundation that directly helps kids that could never play golf on their own.

These folks are our heros, our stars of the sport. I believe they have a responsiblity to the sport and to those who have supported them. What David O'Connor is doing by training a young riders team is outstanding! I would love to see more of that happening. I'm not asking them to give a free clinic every weekend for the underfinanced rider, just make themselves available on occassion, say once or twice a year to a pony club group or 4H. Kids that would never in a million years get an opporunity like this otherwise.

Do keep in mind though, that a couple of our "Dressage Stars" have patrons (i.e. very very wealthy folks) that buy their competition horses for them! I know that their situations are very comfortable to say the least. They are not struggling at all! Yes they work hard, but then so do most of us! We all make sacrifices every day of our lives to support the choices that we have made for ourselves.

Lucas I hope that I have cleared up any confusion you may have had. Thanks for the insights I appreciate it.

wtywmn4
Jul. 25, 2001, 02:37 PM
Could not agree more Linda!!

pt, wish you had been around for the grassroots thread. No one, is happy about all these fees, no one. It has become exorbidant for all of us. I was trying to explain why ADS took up with the AHSA. Sorry, didn't mean to make it so negative. And I do understand your frustration, truly.

Snowbird has been hammering to try and have people support the C & B level shows. From several of the posts here, there are many who take the entire barn to a top level show. Mega shows seem to be taking over everywhere. I am not a believer that everyone needs to go to these. Too many times people loose interest, seeing horses that they can't begin to own winning. The C&B shows offer a great training ground. A place where they can be competitive and possibly win. How do we change this, how do we change the thinking process to recoup?

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 02:49 PM
Let me clarify - the desire to learn and improve, as Linda Allen states, is of course, paramount.

However....as one who yearns to improve, and who volunteers, and who attends clinics, and who reads, studies, watches tapes, etc. etc. - I am totally aware of how difficult it is without instruction. I seriously doubt that ANYone has learned to ride strictly from books or tapes. At least, not correctly.

As for "making any sacrifices" - hmmmm, easy to say IF there are no children, homes, spouses, jobs, parents, etc. etc.

I'm speaking NOT on behalf of the young, hopeful future professionals, but on behalf of the grassroots. The people who may never get near an A show, let alone FEI, but whom we must reach and stir enthusiasm if equestrian sports are ever to reach the standing of a truly nationally supported sport in the USA.

It won't be done without popular support and popular appeal. One of the best ways to build that popular support and appeal is to provide a healthy activity for children. That's where the Pony Club and the 4-H have been and are so very important. Another way is to provide weekend activities for adult amateurs - all us Walter Mitties /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif who know full well we'll never be big names, but who ARE important to the future of the sport.

It's a bigger issue than just who gets to go to the next Olympics.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 25, 2001, 04:47 PM
As Linda Allen pointed out in an earlier post, in most of the other sports, the NGB has "divisions", affiliates or whatever you wish to call it, for the different levels, down to the recreational level.
USA Equestrian cannot be the be all to end all for every one of it's 26 breeds and disciplines. So far in this discussion we have heard from what I understand to be eventers, driving enthusiasts, show jumpers and dressage.
Please try not to misunderstand what I say but...if USA Equestrian, in it's quest to take over all the NGB duties now done by the USET, and consequently the USET dissolves, USA Eq will be spending alot more time, effort and probably money on the International aspect of our sport. That of course includes all 7 Internaional disciplines.

In that event, those affiliate organizations will likely have more and more input, and meet less and less resistance from USA Eq.

As far as fees are concerned, it will take everything and probably more for USA Eq to perform it's duties in the abovementioned scenario.

Fundraising will become paramount as it takes money (and plenty of it) to fund International Teams. Without the assistance of the USET, they will, no doubt, have to start at ground zero.

I do not believe if USET disappears that USA Eq hierarchy will have the time to concentrate on much of anything but the International agenda.

I also do not believe USA Eq can legislate to International/elite riders...you must do so many pro bono clinics/year or else.

The scenario is going to change. Exactly how remains to be seen. However, you can bet the farm the International/elite riders will have what they need before anyone else.

Yes, the grassroots, the bottom of the pyramid or whatever you want to call it must be nourished, but if the elite rider's aren't out there jumping on TV and otherwise promoting the sport, there will be nowhere for the up and comers to go.

Maybe, in fairness to the 19 non international breeds and disciplines now under the umbrella of USA Eq it should back away and let USET become the NGB, working under their umbrella. That way USET would deal only with the elite and it's "divisions", including USA Eq, would have the time to water the roots.

Ghazzu
Jul. 25, 2001, 06:56 PM
I find it interesting that folks here are "defending" the exorbitant fees which the AHSA proposes to charge endurance riders by citing the benefits gained by watching dressage and event riders.

I find it even more interesting that Alan Balch's defense of the propsed robbery is to say, in essence, "Well, the USET would rob you just as badly".

Really, folks, what on earth do either of these organizations actually do for endurance?

I don't see much.

Distance riding in this country is one of the few areas of equine sport where there truly is a very narrow financial gap between the entry level and the top.
AERC has striven to keep costs down. Too bad AHSA and USET both seem to see rndurance riders more as a source of untapped revenue than as the best at what they do, and an asset to the US standing in international circles.

wtywmn4
Jul. 26, 2001, 08:04 AM
Donning flame suit. Okay, I have thrown this out before, do the grassroots people want anything to do with the AHSA/Fed at all? My take has been No, they don't. They don't see any benefit from joining. Don't want to be involved with the international groups, don't want the high fees, don't want anything but to enjoy their horses and their shows. From several people who are trainers/riders of this group, they told me they see no benefit to belong. They have seen the upheavel and fights, this is not what they want.

tle
Jul. 26, 2001, 08:40 AM
Which grassroots people are we now talking about? /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif And which organization will pick up the slack if they separate themselves from The Fed?

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

pt
Jul. 26, 2001, 08:42 AM
Emmet says, "Yes, the grassroots, the bottom of the pyramid or whatever you want to call it must be nourished, but if the elite rider's aren't out there jumping on TV and otherwise promoting the sport, there will be nowhere for the up and comers to go."

Maybe the USET/USAEq/NGB/whoever has their priorities backwards. A pyramid by definition is broader at the base than at the top. Without the base, there is no support for the top. With due respect, maybe focus on international activities is putting the cart before the horse in this time of reorganization.

Maybe this is the time to build equestrian sports, support and breeding programs - the whole enchilada - from the bottom up. Pay attention to where the base is shaky; drum up support; build the pathways to the top.

One reason a lot of us at the base of the pyramid aren't too excited about national organization OR the idea of supporting the internationalists is just what wytywmn4 says - we don't see much reciprocity.

The sport gets more elite and more limited. We're supposed to focus only on the few who compete internationally or at least on the big show circuits.

Wrong. This, I believe, is not how some of the European countries have built such a strong base of equestrian activities which has resulted in such a large pool of outstanding horses and equestrians for any level of activity.

I truly believe, as has been obvious in my posts, that we need to build and rebuild from the bottom up if we intend equestrianism to have a LONG-TERM viable future here.

Donning flame suit, grabbing fire extinguisher, and calling my insurance company and PI lawyer!

/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Weatherford
Jul. 26, 2001, 08:54 AM
THAT is EXACTLY what the USA Equestrian is SAYING - and that is exactly what the name change, bylaw changes, RE-PRIORITIZATION, and even the NGB fight is all about!

It is EXACTLY what the USET (and the people I've spoken to involved with the NHJC) are FIGHTING! They cannot not tolerate the idea of "amateurs telling me how to run my business, industry, sport, care for horses, etc etc." I have heard that entirely too many times from people in my discipline! /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

We have to nuture our elite disciplines from the bottom up - otherwise there won't be any on top. Or what will be on top will be medocre riders with lots of time and money - but not the DRIVE to really be the best. THOSE special ones seem to always come from the bottom.


There is room in the new org for a revolution - as a matter of fact, it is one! We just have to get involved!

Snowbird
Jul. 26, 2001, 09:37 AM
I can understand and sympathize with the disconnected cynicism of so many who have been ignored and left out of the system. Up until now it has been an impossible task. Like you I stopped going to conventions and caring a twit about what everyone else was doing. I too figured that no one cared about anyone else and it was a dog eat dog situation.

BUT WE HAVE A CHANCE IF WE GRAB THIS OPPORTUNITY. NOW CAN BE OUR MOMENT IN TIME.

Weatherford and I shared many an email in desperation and depression about the way things are and we both see a rainbow now.

I don't know how to get you as excited as I am to at least have an opportunity to help change those things. Yes, the new format which was forced on the AHSA by the attack of the USET has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The most important thing I think is not confuse the changes in the Federation which is inclusive with the NHJC which is still exclusive.

We now have to convince the NHJC that if they truly want to be the association which represents hunter and jumper people they have to change or we will have a new association and they will be unnecessary. We are really talking about a battle on two separate fronts.

I think we are in the process of writing a good treaty with the Federation but we have no cease fire with the NHJC. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

pt
Jul. 26, 2001, 09:39 AM
Sounds like I have my alphabet soup mixed up! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I'm all for reorganizing/reprioritizing - I think this may be the final moment for preserving equestrianism in many parts of the country, and developing it as a national sport.

Hey! a sport that has room for everyone from cute kids on cute ponies through the range of activities all the way to elders on easy-gaited horses or driving. There's a post on the Ultimate BB about an 84 year old lady just deceased who STARTED barrel racing at age 58. Horses are truly a lifetime activity/passion at many economic levels IF we can get things going in the right direction. And far more environmentally friendly than yet another NASCAR track! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

SO, other than voicing our input on this BB - and thanks again, Weatherford and Snowbird for listening - what, if anything, can the financially non-elite laity do to further the cause?

Up the long ladder and down the short rope --- oops, wrong revolution.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Snowbird
Jul. 26, 2001, 11:12 AM
Yes they do read these boards, just look at the difference in numbers between those who read it and those who post to it.

We have to encourage those who have made this big effort to reform the system by letting them know that we support their intentions. We have to tell them all what we think and what we agree with and which ideas are flawed.

Email to the involved committee members, email to the officials and just plain shout your support from the roof tops until it becomes a ground swell and a roar instead of a whine.

Just remember that with every thing you oppose have an affirmative alternate good idea. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Groundline
Jul. 26, 2001, 11:12 AM
I think we're getting away from what we learned from Portia.

The federal law is what dictates how any sport in the Olympic Games must be organized.

It says that the NGB must be autonomous in the governance of its sport, and must not delegate to any other organization matters central to its governance.

So the USET plan can't work, since it delegates anything but the most elite stuff to others. Unless we would all agree that the only thing that is "sport" is what the USET already does, and then they could claim they are governing the entire sport. To me, that doesn't make sense.

The AHSA plan tries to pull everything back together, including the USET, into one line of authority. Remember, the USET has always been under the oversight of the AHSA, going way back, until they opened up this can of worms.

The whole idea of the law, the way Portia explained it, is that for this sport, like the others, there should be a clear path from the grass roots to the Olympic Games. Just like Swimming, from little kids up. Just like Track and Field. Just like Gymnastics. In this case, the clear path is from Pony Club or anywhere else, to the top, with one organization bridging all the others together.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 26, 2001, 12:25 PM
I don't see a lack of talented youngsters, both equine and human coming up in the world of show jumping.

With a little luck, a bit of networking, promotion and attitude/work ethic any kid with enough talent can make it to the top, regardless of finances. Proof? Look at the USET Computer List for this week. Of the top fifteen, only two would be considered monied.

These riders got to where they are, because somewhere along the line a knowledgeable trainer recognized their talent not via an organization.

They did it without assistance from a NGB. In the glory days of the USET, that organization did provide World Class horses for riders of equal calibre but, unfortunately, those days are gone. They were pretty much gone by LA gold medals and all.

I guess someone needs to explain to me what the problem is at the grassroots level.

I see unrated shows in our area overflowing with entries. Yes some of the smaller rated shows are lacking entries. Possibly there is no longer a place for the local rated show? Certainly most of the ones I showed at as a kid have gone by the wayside. Possibly a show should be allowed to offer a Medal and Maclay without a full rating.

Portia
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:00 PM
Emmet, this is just my personal opinion, but my take is that the biggest problem for the grass roots is that this sport has been run for so many years without the grass roots folks feeling like they have any say in the decisions being made, or even any chance to give input at all. Goodness knows I felt that way for years. [Now it's time for the boring personal experience story] /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

As far as I was concerned, the AHSA was some big monolithic thing back East that could care less about me, first a kid riding saddleseat on lesson horses, and then an adult amateur doing jumpers and some eventing. Go back and check some of my posts from a year or more ago (if they're still out there somewhere), and you'll see I was just as cynical and depressed about the state of the sport as many others.

Then Snowbird bugged me into taking a look at the AHSA rules to try to find the answer to a question she had, and it took me 4 hours of searching to find an answer that should have been able to be answered in about 10 minutes. It should not take a Megafirm lawyer with 15 years' experience practicing commercial litigation involving some very complex regulatory schemes 4 hours to find an answer in a rulebook meant for a general membership to read and comply with. So then I was really pissed off.

Snowbird, Weatherford, and Wynn Norman [who, if you all haven't noticed, recently posted on the horse care forum -- hopefully she'll be back regularly again!] had beaten on us enough about people getting involved that I decided I couldn't very well keep bitching about it when I, with my training and experience, had the tools to try to fix it. So I started reorganizing the rulebook, on my own. I figured I would submit it to the AHSA, they would reject it, and I could bitch to my heart's content for years to come.

Then a very weird thing happened. Linda Allen e-mailed me to give her support to the project. I was astounded. She put me in touch with the rulebook guru at the AHSA, who has become a friend. Then Alan Balch e-mailed me to thank me for my efforts and to ask that I serve on an AHSA committee. He said he wanted to get people involved who cared about horses and about the future of the sport. I was, once again, astounded.

Since then, I've gotten to know and to know of lots of people who share similar stories, and are now working with the AHSA/USA Eq. They are ostly adult amateurs in different disciplines, and the common factor is that they offered to help and the folks at the AHSA/USA Eq listened and said "YES, we want your help, we need your help. We're interested in your viewpoint. We want to listen to you and know what you want and you need. We want to improve our sport."

OK, now I'm just getting sappy. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif But it really has been a remarkable experience for me, one that has restored my faith in our power to be heard. Getting the message out that the Fed really does want to listen and want to improve, and getting people to believe that message, will do a lot to help that pathway from the grass roots to the elite, IMHO.

(By the way, the rulebook reorganization lives and is ongoing.) /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

pt
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:04 PM
Believe me, off the East Coast and away from the limited world of show jumping, it's a very different picture from the one you paint.

That's why some of us are trying to get more involved and get our voices heard, ourselves and our kids some opportunities, etc.

We need to look beyond the "Olympic" disciplines and give the entire equestrian community a voice.

Ghazzu
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:33 PM
As I said before, the AERC has, up until now, done a pretty fair job of running the whole shebang sofar as national governance of endurance riding is concerned, with minimal expense, while keeping track of mileage and point standings for the entire US, writing their own rules, dealing with protests and grievances, drug testing, etc., etc.


There is a great sense of camaraderie on the trail, where it is the norm for the more experienced to give advice and help to the novice, where adults will take juniors under their wing if their sponsor is pulled at a vet check.(they must ride with an adult sponsor until they've completed 500 miles).

Why on earth would distance riders be interested in shelling out more money to an organization that is providing *nothing* to them but a set of overpriced credentials to compete?

As I see it, the AHSA and the USET
ought to be looking hard and long at how the AERC does it, rather than trying to fit them into the Procrustean bed of the showring-oriented administration.

Groundline
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:33 PM
Emmett points to lots of top names who got there "without the assistance of the NGB."

I don't think so.

This is one of the biggest problems the AHSA has. The AHSA has been there for 80 years, but people don't know what it does, and all that it has contributed. It makes the rules, it enforces them, it started drug testing, it has developed the safety standards and enforced them, course design licensing, officials clinics, required insurance, and on and on. IT (the AHSA) is US (its members). And where the AHSA has been too slow, or not responsive, at all or enough, at least Portia's experience shows it has opened up a lot from what it used to be. Or from its old reputation if it really wasn't closed up that way. Complain if we want, but only if it has prevented our participating in its (our) business. And everything I read from them is asking for it, not trying to prevent it. Emails to all members, webcasts of meetings, website to all its people, etc.

My point is that nobody goes anywhere in any sport without fair rules, and rule enforcement, or it isn't really a sport.

Bottom line, nobody got to the top without this kind of "assistance," important assistance, of the NGB through all the things it does. And it could have done all those things much better, much better marketing, funding, and all the rest, if everyone had been welcome in it, which they seem to be trying to do much, much better than it was years and years ago.

Maybe that's one way the NGB stuff has actually been good, because it has made everyone think about this kind of thing, and serving members and the whole sport to the grass roots.

poltroon
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:45 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Emmet:
With a little luck, a bit of networking, promotion and attitude/work ethic any kid with enough talent can make it to the top, regardless of finances. Proof? Look at the USET Computer List for this week. Of the top fifteen, only two would be considered monied.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I couldn't find the current list, and I don't know each rider's story, so I could be completely off base, but from the amalgam of stories I've accumulated for show jumping stars, most of them are either the offspring of horse professionals (instant networking) or are still fairly well off (family income in the six figures). In my experience, kids of working class parents rarely get high enough into any trainer's attention to get the networking and promotion required to get catch rides and mileage they don't have to pay for themselves. Trainers hear "I want to ride for the Team someday" again and again - and I hear them say, "Well, honey, you're going to need a lot of money" not "Well, you'd better be prepared to work hard."

From what I can see, eventing is probably the 'cheapest' of the international sports to break into, because you don't have to show every weekend to be successful, and you don't have to start with a fancy 5-figure (or 6-figure!) horse. The strong eventing/Pony Club connection doesn't hurt, either.

I don't doubt that there are a lot of talented show jumping riders out there getting to the top - probably more than we truly 'require' /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif to be successful Winning Prizes For The Team. But I know there are a lot of hardworking, talented kids who never get a chance.

Can an NGB do anything about this? I don't know. I'm pleased to see Snowbird giving so much effort to this!

tle
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:50 PM
Portia... I think we have a friend in common (aka the rules guru and reorganizer head of the rule book). Wonderful lady who is currently helping me with a minor(?) time crunch issue. BTW, thanks for telling the story.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Groundline
Jul. 26, 2001, 01:52 PM
Well, Ghazzu, maybe most Endurance riders would rather not be inspired by seeing their top people in international competition representing their country.

In that case, maybe neither USET or AHSA would ever have become involved with Endurance.

But it is more likely that whoever was leading AERC way back when, helped to push and make Endurance an international discipline, recognized by the FEI, and that is what brought them into the NGB stuff. In that respect, Endurance is different from Combined Training and from Jumping and Dressage, which started with AHSA and branched out from there, not the other way around.

To me, it is just common sense that the more levels a sport has, from grass roots to international, the more complicated the structure will get to be. It isn't the choice of AHSA or USET to have the FEI or the USOC -- that is the way the Olympics and the IOC are, with each sport having an international federation, and then each sport within each country having a national federation.

The FEI has rules, and then each country has national rules for each discipline, and the USA seems to have national, regional and local organizations for each one, too. It's a big, free country, and that's what happens, not just in sports but in just about everything else I can think of.

I would bet that most Endurance people like having their sport competed at the international level, even if they don't have the talent or funding or interest to do it themselves. But it definitely makes it more complicated, for sure. It has to be organized, and it has to be organized according to the law. At least that is what Portia has said. And I don't see anyone disagreeing with her. It makes sense.

pt
Jul. 26, 2001, 02:06 PM
it's a slow day at work & I'm bored... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

But, (GASP/CHOKE/SHOCK!!) I don't give a flying fig about international competition UNTIL the sport is healthy within this country.

Now, don't try claiming that international competition is helping the sport. I'm too old and my memory is too good to buy that. I remember when there were equestrian facilities in a lot of places there aren't now, and small shows, and a lot of people enjoyed horses in one way or another.

Since the onset of International Fever, attention has gone to the big competitions, the big horses, the big talents and the big money.

At the loss of the little guys and the national or regional or state stuff.

Nope - I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE OLYMPICS. There, I've said it. Is there a 12-step program? /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

I want the infrastructure built and rebuilt before we start looking for international glory.

It isn't going to happen - the internationalists will continue to compete - but I will yell and shout and holler for attention to the roots.

Because most equestrians won't ever go international, but they can enjoy themselves a lot at home. OTOH, if we focus so much in international, we'll lose the foundation and eventually lose the international as well.

Ghazzu
Jul. 26, 2001, 02:08 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Well, Ghazzu, maybe most Endurance riders would rather not be inspired by seeing their top people in international competition representing their country.
In that case, maybe neither USET or AHSA would ever have become involved with Endurance.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Au contraire--distance riders love seeing our guys compete internationally. But they've been doing just that without any other affiliation until recently, when they were told they needed to be credentialled by organizations that have nothing to do with their sport other than issuing passports.

The AERC has pretty much set the standard for endurance worldwide, and now that it is getting lucrative on an international scale (eg, the UAE connection), it seems the FEI and its minions want a piece of the pie.

It was the AHSA's handling of the AERC NAtional Championship Ride which was the straw which led AERC to sever ties--AHSA, while doing little or nothing *for* the ride, informed AERC that all sponsorship $$$ raised for the event was to be given directly to AHSA.

Just how is that benefitting either the stay at home distance rider *or* the international competitor?


Trust me, as an AHSA member who shows at rated shows, I appreciate what AHSA does for the showring exhibitor.

That doesn't mean I don't think their approach to AERC hasn't been heavy-handed and inappropriate.

Groundline
Jul. 26, 2001, 02:30 PM
Being a newcomer to these boards, this is interesting, and not what I expected. Serious, good thinking. At least on this thread.

Well, as to not giving a fig about the Olympics, NEITHER DO I! But I think it's beside the point, because equestrian events are IN them, and if I understand it right, that is what triggers all the rest of this stuff. In other words, we can't just stop the world and get off, and then get back on when we have our grass roots act better together. So that tells me we should USE the current situation, since it seems to be fluid, to energize the total sport, to do it as right or even better than the other Olympic sports have, to make things better overall, because I do think most sports and kids are influenced and inspired by Olympic presence and stars. So that's that from me, anyway.

Now, on AHSA and the AERC, what I read in the Chronicle gave one side that AHSA was trying to screw AERC out of their national championship, and the other side was that AHSA was trying to help them GET sponsorship, not get it for them only to take it away at the same time. I mean, if AHSA did propose such a deal, which I can't imagine, then why wouldn't AERC say "this must be a mistake," and keep talking, instead of affiliating and then withdrawing. That's pretty childish, I think. Unless they just wanted to pick a fight right now. Anyway, probably both sides screwed up, each for stupid reasons. And the whole thing is made worse by the NGB stuff.

Usually, neither extreme is the truth. Somewhere in the middle in all probability.

Erin
Jul. 26, 2001, 02:35 PM
I don't know a ton about endurance riding, and have to admit I've only skimmed the articles about the AERC vs. AHSA... but the endurance riders as a whole are a very close-knit and self-sufficient group, and I could see that they'd easily be annoyed by the American HORSE SHOWS Association getting involved in their sport. Endurance riding is about as far on the other end of the spectrum from your typical H/J show as you can get.

Here's the In The Country piece about it, for some background:

http://www.chronofhorse.com/inc/01/jun8_inc.html

Just from the little I know about the sport, I would guess that the endurance folks probably had some pretty good reasons for doing what they did. But that is just my very uninformed and humble opinion. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

tle
Jul. 27, 2001, 06:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Now, don't try claiming that international competition is helping the sport. I'm too old and my memory is too good to buy that. I remember when there were equestrian facilities in a lot of places there aren't now, and small shows, and a lot of people enjoyed horses in one way or another.

Since the onset of International Fever, attention has gone to the big competitions, the big horses, the big talents and the big money.

At the loss of the little guys and the national or regional or state stuff.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ok, this may be the last time I chime in because I think I'm getting too far off track/discipline and thus too annoyed.

pt... your comments are heard, but do not apply to all the disciplines that AHSA covers (not even all the international disciplines). Eventing HAS been helped by the onset of so much international stuff. I know I got my start by watching Rolex... didn't even know the sport existed, went to spectate, bought a vest there and entered by first event 4 months later. And that was when Rolex was only a 3-star! You will never get me to believe that that hasn't happened since it became a 4-star (a friend of mine is competing in her first event this fall because she got so psyched at Rolex).

Plus as helper extraordinaire for a few events in my area, the attention isn't JUST on those big events. Yes, everyone likes the big events, the top horses, and winning riders. But since I fall into none of those categories, I can say this... that at no time since I started in Eventing 7 years ago have I felt "unimportant".

Again, this has to do with Eventing. Endurance, Driving, or whatever sport you are specifically talking about may be different, I don't know. But there are many times thoroughout this thread that which sport you have been talking about has been vague at best... so there you have a non-professional, adult amateur, never gonna make the Olympics, but happy with my sport, Eventer opinion. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Anne FS
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:06 AM
<<I see unrated shows in our area overflowing with entries. Yes some of the smaller rated shows are lacking entries. Possibly there is no longer a place for the local rated show?>>

You're probably right. Why are the unrated shows overflowing and the smaller rated shows disappearing? Because the unrated shows are often better, with better facilities and trophies and prizes (kids love to win trophies and prizes)and the rated shows cost MUCH more money to attend because of all the AHSA fees, with crappy prizes if you get anything besides a short little ribbon. That's what started people saying AHSA show? no thanks, I won't waste my money.

Weatherford
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:23 AM
The irony is, AnneFS, is many, many of those smaller "unrated" shows rely on the AHSA rulebook! Look at their prizelists - they often even state that this show is being run under the rules of the AHSA.

I agree that the smaller AHSA shows are too expensive. I agree they lack the prizes, etc. (Although, I have heard that Snowbird's year end awards are the absolute BEST anywhere! And her shows are both rated, and she offers an entry fee discount to people who pay a nominal fee to join the show series.)

The question is, is this the fault of the AHSA or is it a problem with the show organizers?

IF it is the former, is there some way the (now!) Fed can bring the shows under an umbrella to guarentee consistency and fairness for all. WITHOUT it costing an arm and a leg?

Ideas, anyone?

(Then, will the NHJC buy into it? Oh, no, this is amateurs and grassroots we are talking about. Probably not. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif )

Anne FS
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:27 AM
Now I'll play devil's advocate with myself. Why do I pay an AHSA membership for my teenage daughter even when she doesn't show AHSA shows?

I liked how AHSA dealt with the insurance horse killings. I was glad AHSA stuck to its guns about throwing out those convicted. I think that drug use on poor show horses is bad enough, but without AHSA I really believe it would be a nightmare.

Every sport needs a parent organization, and horse sports need AHSA. I realize these things cost money, but horses are so expensive that the financial line between non-AHSA shows and AHSA shows makes all the difference in whether or not many people can show at all.

I have friends whose children are very talented musicians. They pay more for a good violin and piano than many people pay for their horse, but my friend points out that while the violin may have initially cost more, and both groups continually pay for lessons and attend symposiums, if he had to pay $300 or more a month, every month, forever, to maintain his child's violin, well, then, his children would not be able to play.

Anne FS
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:33 AM
Weatherford, my last post crossed yours in cyberspace. Yes, I understand your point about we need AHSA for the rules. And organization is expensive. How expensive are swim meets and gymnastics? I hear gymnastic floor routines have to be purchased, even at the lower levels, and they're not cheap. And I guess swim meets and gymnastic require less land than horse shows, yet horse shows require less land development (land + rings + jumps vs. land + buildings + swimming pool with constant maintenance + gym equipment). Hmmmm.

wtywmn4
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:38 AM
You are so right AnneFS. People who are "grassroots" want to go to shows and have fun. They aren't there for points. The trophies and ribbons out-surpass what is being handed out at the rated shows. They can enjoy for less $$$ than at any rated one. Over and done with in a day. We need to make the B&C shows this type of quality if we want to lure them into the rated show world. Will that happen??? I don't know if it can. The expense to both the management and the exhibitor at rated shows, doesn't allow for alot of lea way. We may have priced ourselves out of what we truly want to do, which is broaden the base.

We're all crossing posts this morning. Okay Weatherford, now I will play devil's advocate. If the NGB can do this, allow for equality across the board. Hmmmmmm, sounding Dr. King here. At what cost? And who will end up paying for all of this?

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:39 AM
As tle stated, watching Rolex got her interested in her discipline.

Without the exposure the International disciplines receive via media coverage, many green riders would not be able to SEE what IS possible. Many a little girl "wants to be like Margie"!

If you think your kid has God given talent on the back of a horse, no matter where you live, send them to your chosen Bella Karoli (the famous gymnast coach). Sure, it's expensive. But if your kid is that good, chances are your expenses will be affordable. But understand that, just like the aspiring gymnasts, your kid will spend a lot of hours in the saddle and around horses and the other waking hours doing school work. If your kid doesn't have the necessary work ethic, no amount of money is going to allow them to reach their goal.

pt
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:48 AM
tle - sorry if you think I'm vague. I thought I was being quite direct about my thoughts. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif The reason I don't name just ONE discipline is that I have been involved in several disciplines, and my comments apply to all of them. I have not, however, been involved in eventing and unless my bifocals get a lot easier to live with, I probably won't. If AHSA has helped eventing, great! You have benefited. Other disciplines either haven't, or as AERC, NRHA, NCHA, NRCHA, and ADS pre-AHSA proved, have done quite well without AHSA.

I do think AHSA/Whatever is here to stay. The idea is to formulate it at the beginning so it is actually constructive and productive - we can't do that without the sort of open discussion we've had on this thread. I'm enjoying it, without getting annoyed, even when I don't agree.

Emmett, I can't even relate to your post because I cannot imagine turning a child of mine over to strangers to raise if I was still breathing. But that's another topic, and really nothing to do with the role of AHSA/FED/NGB/Whatever.

Anne FS
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:52 AM
Erin wrote: <<Well, I know David coaches the Area II Young Riders team...>>

Actually, to give credit where credit is due, Phillip Dutton is coaching Area II this year and David is Area X. The NAYRC are in IL next month:

U.S. COACHES:
Area I Kelli Temple
Area II Phillip Dutton
Area III Charles Plumb
Area IV Cathy Jones & William Hoos
Area V Karen O'Connor
Area VI Christine Scarlet
Area VII Jean Moyer
Area VIII Cathy Wieschhoff
Area IX Nina Fout
Area X David O'Connor

Gold stars and continuing support to all these folks!

pt
Jul. 27, 2001, 09:08 AM
I am really impressed by the amount of top to bottom support in eventing!

Maybe the simplest thing to tell NGB is, go look at what the eventers are doing and copy it in all other disciplines!

It's easy to see why the eventers are happy with the way their sport is being run.

Hmmmmm - any safe place in eventing for an overage adult ammy - like maybe, 1/4 mile marathons with 6" jumps and foam padding on landing? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Anne FS
Jul. 27, 2001, 09:38 AM
<<Hmmmmm - any safe place in eventing for an overage adult ammy - like maybe, 1/4 mile marathons with 6" jumps and foam padding on landing?>>

Yes, indeed! Beginner Novice. Come on in, the water's great (well, you won't have to do water jumps in BN) )

tle
Jul. 27, 2001, 09:38 AM
pt... we could always just wrap you in bubble wrap! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Seriously though, there are things that eventers complain about when it comes to the running of the sport... money and over-legislation are the 2 biggies (I mean, in what other sport do you have as many ways to get eliminated as in eventing?!). But I think as a group we feel that there IS support there... whether through AHSA or USCTA. Just this year (?), our Novice and Training levels became "AHSA Recognized" divisions... meaning that while they were held in accordance to the rules before, they are now SUBJECT to the rules (including fines, etc.). Makes a difference to a lot of people, not as much to others. But all in all, things have gone really well since the switch. Same with USCTA now requiring all Novice competitors to be USCTA members (previously it was mandatory only at Training and above)... some don't like it, but the transition has gone smoothly. Perhaps for H/J it's not AHSA that has to look at the eventing way of doing things, but NHJA (?) since they would be the equivalent of USCTA.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

pt
Jul. 27, 2001, 10:15 AM
Bubble wrap is good!

Ya' never know - I'm getting a little inspired by the post on "Old fogie jumps 3'6" on the h/j board.

Watch out world, here she comes -- CRASH/SLAM/BANG --

Snowbird
Jul. 27, 2001, 01:34 PM
I know that wasn't their plan but pandora's box is open. All these concepts have so much value and I don't think anyone wants to eliminate the "elite athlete" we just want them in our world and to share with us their knowledge.

It's true that Eventing seems to have done a better job making a sort of continuity from the beginning and in up the ladder.

As a Jumper Squad our Olympians don't seem to feel either responsible to us or to care very much about all the "us" who have made their climb to fame possible. This is our opportunity to change all that, now is the time to reorganize from scratch.

The first step is the giant re-organization that is taking place. The next is an attitude adjustment with regard to the importance of the rank and file members. One thing we all have to remeber is that there is a "Federation" which is trying and wants to hear from you all, but there is a Hunter/Jumper Council which seems quite separate despite it's relationship the the Fed.

Here I think our issues are generic and responsive to the need for inclusion and not only a safety net but a really good strong ladder that can be used by everyone.

In our other world which is the hunter/jumper discipline they have not yet accepted the concept of inclusion for anything but our dollars. I did hear that their new business plan includes a mandatory $75 per person (whether adult or junior) as a membership fee. There is also a suggestion that the Marshall Sterling been made a Zone Award. Since the Marshall Sterling is not offered anywhere but a A Shows, I personally object. So please let's not confuse the two separate issues. Our first step on this front is representation on the Zone Committees and to revise the By-Laws to limit terms as well as our tight to know what's going on before the fact instead of after it is carved in stone.

pt
Jul. 27, 2001, 01:55 PM
So far, most of the discussion has centered around the effect of the FED on Olympic disciplines.

Is there going to be any improvement in relationship with the other AHSA divisions?

Groundline
Jul. 27, 2001, 02:18 PM
Interesting point.

From listening to the webcast of the AHSA board meeting on the name change, I was struck by the solid endorsement of the overall reorganization and concept by the non-international people, like Arabs and Morgans and Saddlebreds. It sounded like most of them were worried by the original name change with FEDERATION in it. They seemed to feel more included with USA Equestrian. I think the Dressage guy also was relieved, since he was worried that USEF was too close to USDF.

In general, everyone but the Hunter/Jumper group seemed really into the reorg and name change, and some of the USET people were upset. But even they said they like the name and logo, but thought the timing was not great right now. They wanted the whole thing put off.

So the overall impression I got was that everyone liked the symbol and reality of more inclusion. The outside man who presented the concept and the market research made some really, really good points about what the Olympics stands for, that seemed real consistent with the direction the AHSA is headed. I was impressed, as you can tell. But then it is pretty hard to be against inclusion, I think. That's one of those words that people like, but we need to see if it is going to match up with reality.

brilyntrip
Jul. 28, 2001, 10:48 AM
but here goes,everything involving horses is very expensive as with all sports when on gets to the competitive and coaches etc are involved.What do you think that vera wang skating suit cost whats her name in the olympics??BUT this is a BIG BUT when there is a possibility that all members even kids will be paying upwards of $100 a year just to show it gets ridiculous.Apparently NHJC is proposing a $75 membership fee for all members please correct me if I'm wrong!
I am a professinal I judge a lot of shows and coach a small group of students at the zone level
I cannot afford to have my own daughter show evry week .By the time the drug fee nonmember fee etc etc fees in addition to $20 a class.I am writing a check for over $100 dollars.All this for short stirrup eq.If AHSA whatever is going to take on all interests related to horse sports they will have to attract not scare off the GRASROOTS!

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 28, 2001, 11:09 AM
Do members of USCTA, USDF and other US Eq affiliates pay membership fees to their breed or discipline organization as well as to AHSA?

Do all dressage, eventers, etc. have to be a member of both organizations to compete? I realize that in order to compete in the USET equitation class as well as the Maclay, juniors must pay a fee to each of these organizations.

If the NHJC becomes an organization that truly represents the hunter/jumper industry, the way USDF and USCTA represent their constituents, I suppose it is fair to pay a membership fee.

Personally, I think alot of people within these various affiliates are laying low until after the USOC decides what it's going to do with AHSA/US E v. USET.

Ghazzu
Jul. 28, 2001, 11:50 AM
Yes. In order to show at ASHA rated Arab shows, I pay the basic AHSA senior membership fee, plus an Arab breed/discipline fee, plus a membership to IAHA (International Arabian Horse Assoc--which, despite the title, is essentially an American organization).

Then, if I have any $$ left over, I may enter a class. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Erin
Jul. 28, 2001, 02:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Emmet:
Do members of USCTA, USDF and other US Eq affiliates pay membership fees to their breed or discipline organization as well as to AHSA?

Do all dressage, eventers, etc. have to be a member of both organizations to compete? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You don't need to be an AHSA member in eventing until you get to preliminary. At novice and training, you're required to be a member of USCTA, but not AHSA. At beginner novice, you don't have to be a member of anything.

As far as the USDF and dressage go, I don't know off the top of my head, but I would assume it's somewhat similar.

Linda Allen
Jul. 28, 2001, 02:44 PM
I would hazard a guess that virtually everyone belongs to multiple organizations. The number would depend on one's level of interest and how widely they range in their competitive activities.

There are many regional and local organizations all around the country -- many that totally meet the needs of those who only compete in a small geographic region. Then you get all the regional, zone, or district aspects of the national organizations -- I think the average competitor nationwide feels "closest" to these groups and some level of membership is usually required to participate in competitions that have some sort of "sanctioning."

Only those that really have a consuming interest, compete or officiate at the national level, or have political leanings, (or a masochistic streak maybe?!) get actively involved in rule making and other stuff that is normally dealt with at the national or international level, but affects everyone in some ways.

Probably other sports are similar as to participants belonging to a number of different "clubs" or "organizations" for a number of different reasons. Can someone help us out on this.

I do know that one of the most difficult things a national or international organization has to deal with is getting good, valid input on how issues impact on the regional and local participant. By the time someone gets involved enough to want to devote time (and travel costs) to being involved in the governance process, they usually have lost much of their local perspective, sad to say but true...

Linda Allen

lauriep
Jul. 30, 2001, 10:18 AM
pt and a few others seem to think that everytime a rider sets foot on "international" soil for competition that there is some organization (USET or AHSA) paying for this privilage. That is FAR from true; for the events where a "team" is fielded, the Olympics, World Championships, WEG, yes, it is subsidized by the organizations. But what of all the riders who go, and take students, each year for the experience/exposure? No help there, they are on their own, and this involves many more people than the few chosen to compete in the above competitions. They recognize the need to compete internationally to improve their performances, and they get it done.

To the question of learning from watching: how can you not see the value of watching and listening to the best the sport has to offer? No, you may not be able to "learn" to ride from scratch, but as far as building on what you know and acquiring tips? Absolutely! Also problem solving!

And what, besides a love of horses we are born with, do you think inspires kids to want to take lessons and get better? Watching the Olympics! Just as watching the Olympics makes kids want to skate, swim, run, etc. It is called dreaming and is necessary for all of us to advance.

As I know him personally, I want to add Greg Best's name to the list of kids who came from nothing and made it to the top because his talent was recognized and rewarded (ok, he also had a pushy mom, whom I adored). Conrad would be another. It IS possible, and doesn't take unlimited amounts of money.

Small shows die out for many reasons other than lack of $$ and support. It is a natural ebb and flow of things. Sponsors die, facilities are sold, poor management, the horse population in the area dries up, etc. The same is true of barns closing. You can't blame it all on the NGB not handing out cash in the form of bailouts. You need to look at the real reasons for their demise.

Finally, as for feeling that your voice doesn't count or you are unimportant to the megalomaniac USAEquestrian - you are only as important as you make yourself. If you are going to wait for them to come to you, forget it, it ain't going to happen. But if you truly want to feel/be important, then contact them, offer your suggestions/services and become a cog in the wheel that makes these changes and rules. Make some noise when you get there, but don't just complain - make logical, useful suggestions for improvements.

Laurie

pt
Jul. 30, 2001, 11:00 AM
OK, LaurieP et al. - maybe I'm the only human being on the face of the planet who doesn't learn "problem-solving" or other skills from watching the best in the sport. I enjoy watching them, don't get me wrong, but the action is just too fast for me to think there is any real educational benefit in watching the competitions. Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

As for the inspirational value of the Olympics - well, maybe. I was a horse-crazy kid with NO knowledge that the Olympics even existed. We had no TV, and there was dam' little parental support; my folks thought an annual pony ride at the local amusement park should more than satisfy. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif So maybe I'm odd (wo)man out there, too. Although with the discussions on shrinking the Olympics, and the trend to locating them in countries that don't exactly support equestrian sports, maybe we shouldn't count on having them around much longer anyway.

Teachers and individuals who choose to go to international venues do so under their own steam and at their own expense. Just like you and I. So? We're still pouring a lot of money and time and focusing on supporting international activities when IMO we should be examining causes for loss of localized equestrian access. There have been times and places when support in the way of publicity and subsidies from the national org. could have helped.

Actually, there have been quite a few constructive suggestions in this thread - I've contributed several myself, as have others. I don't think acknowledging the failure, perceived or actual, of the national organization to make a meaningful contribution to the base of the sport is just griping when accompanied, as it has been, by offering suggestions to change/improve the situation.

Going back to my grassroots barn and circle of horse activities now. /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

poltroon
Jul. 30, 2001, 12:53 PM
To compete in dressage at a rated show, you must be a member of the AHSA (or pay the non-member fee) in either the dressage or eventing discipline. There is no requirement to join the USDF unless you want to participate in their awards program (which does a good job of giving meaningful awards/targets even to low-level competitors).

USDF has something called "Group Member Organizations" which are local clubs that collect dues, and send a portion to USDF to make their members 'affiliates'. These members get the magazine, and some limited access to certain rider awards. As local organizations, they are expected to do clinics/seminars/lectures etc or even just meetings. In southern California, there are two: California Dressage Society and Dressage Association of Southern California. Unfortunately, they both charge non-member fees at shows that they sanction, and a good percentage of shows are sanctioned by both. However, though the total fees annoy me, I must say that both do a great job at setting up educational activities. CDS has an annual convention that has clinicians like Klimke (sniff!) and this year did an adult amateur series with Debbie McDonald. I understand some CDS chapters (sub groups of the sub group) are very local, very grassroots and quite successful at getting new riders into the sport.

Portia
Jul. 30, 2001, 01:00 PM
Arrived in Geneva Saturday. Saturday night CNBC Europe of all things had a 2 hour show on this year's Rolex, and Sunday night showed the Nations Cup from Aachen followed by the Audi Championship from Munchen Rein. Horse sports figure prominently in their promo montage for their weekend sports coverage.

When we can get that kind of coverage at home, we'll know we're really starting to get somewhere.

Snowbird
Jul. 30, 2001, 01:39 PM
I agree that it is a waste of time and energy to memorialize what was as being good. And it is a waste of time to gripe and whine about what wasn't fair.

We have a new opportunity to look at what was good and should be kept and what should be ignored or changed. This is a dawn of a new era when the members need to be respected and not just tolerated.

Surely, there is a lot of work to do with OUR NHJC, but that doesn't cancel out what is being done right with the Federation.

I think the present emphasis is simply due to the challenge of the USET. It has taken a priority because it is a pending problem. I think when that problem has been resolved we will be able to equally address the problems close to my heart which are the grass roots exhibitor and the C/B Rated Shows.

subk
Jul. 30, 2001, 03:30 PM
I'm an honest to God (as oppose to in-name-only) adult amatuer who competes at the FEI levels of eventing, perhaps someone might be interested in the view from where I sit...

First of all to the original question concerning passports--perhaps I'm just feeling a bit flogged to death but my only reaction is that thank goodness they're not 800 bucks. (Not only do you pay the AHSA their $300, I still had to pay my vet another $100 to fill the thing out!) Competing at the upper levels is so expensive that believing anything the AHSA could do to make it more reasonable would be like believing in fairy tales. Perhaps I've just given up hope. Also about passports--the VAST majority of US horses who have passports for the purpose of competing, compete WITHIN the boarders of the US. Just because the Show Jumpers don't think they need US FEI competitions to be competitive with the rest of the world, the other FEI disiplines here have regular use of them.

Trickle Down--I am almost offended that there are those of you out there who are so blind as to not see the value of upper level competition to the lower levels. Among other things, the massive amount of research done for Eventing before the Atlanta Olympics has changed how we handle hot horses and cool down FOR EVERY SINGLE EQUINE DISCIPLINE AT EVERY LEVEL STARTING AT PONY CLUB! Wives tales and standard operating proceedures were blown out of the water at every turn.

My own personal tale is that I have volunteered every year at a minimum of one horse trial a year for the last 20 years. I have done every job between fence judge to organizer. I have sat for 2 terms on the local Pony Club board. While I may not be teaching now while I'm actively competing, I will continue to volunteer and certainly see myself as either a judge, TD or other certified official and/or as a trainer in the future. In Eventing you can only judge as high of a level as you have competed or trained. Even Technical Delegates are required to have competed or trained a student as high a Preliminary. Eventing REQUIRES trickle down. My personal tale is by no means unique or extraordinary, in fact it is quite the opposite.

As far as learning at FEI events--I have never learned more in 5 days than the 5 days of my first FEI 3-Day Event. Some of my Rolex (watching) experience has been extraordinary in terms of education. PT - if you can't see that fast just concentrate on ONE body part, don't look for the whole picture, then compare that body part to the next guy, then note the results. Watching is a learned skill too.

Organizations--Not only do I pay fees to both the AHSA and the USCTA but I must pay to have my horse recorded/registered with both as well.

I have never given money to the USET because the rudest treatment I ever recieved as a volunteer came from the mouth of a US Team member recently returned from the Olympics. Until/unless the USET or it's equivalant have some sportmanship requirements or oaths of sportsmanship to be taken by its Team members I will not give.

The horses going to compete for the US at Burghley (in England) next month are going at USET expense, EXCEPT the riders must still come up with $15,000 per horse of the expense themselves. Most seem to think it's not that bad of a deal. So those of you out there that think your money is going to give some professional a free ride (literally) you are WAY off base.

Horses are expensive and no organization has the power to change that. While I'm sure there is waste at the AHSA I'm equally sure they aren't sitting around dreaming of new things just for the sake of making it all more expensive. I believe those in charge are doing what they believe will make our sports better. (That doesn't mean we agree with what they believe, but their intentions are good.) As citizen of our respective horse communities we need to not just complain but step up to the plate and be willing to DO something if we want change.

sbk

Weatherford
Jul. 30, 2001, 05:17 PM
Thanks subk - great post!

Can you break down those expenses for competing at Burghley? I know plane fare is around $5,000 (max) (Dublin to Spruce Mdws RT is about $3,500) - but for the Team to be paying out a fair amount of money, then for individuals to also have to cough up an additional $15,000 seems exhorbinant.

Knowing people from other countries compete abroad with considerably less financial backing than we have, this makes me wonder. I mean, do Team coaches and chef's HAVE to fly first class??? /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Do we have to send one blacksmith and one vet (and their wives and kids) per horse??

I am not saying this is what we necessarily do, but I am saying that this is another area where a good audit is needed. And some belt tightening. Which can be done without risking the horses' safety!

Concerned.
/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

subk
Jul. 30, 2001, 06:15 PM
The $15,000 figure came from an article about the up and coming rider Alison Springer who is long listed. While it made me read the number twice, the more I think about it the more realistic it becomes. Consider airfare and accommidations for not only the Chef de Equip but a Team manager, vet, blacksmith, human doctor, selectors (of which there are 4) and grooms. I'm not sure, but I would image it may include an equine message therapist and/or chiropractor. Some of this group would also require a salary. I would be surprised if the support personnel didn't easily outnumber the 10-12 riders. I don't believe the support personnel travels First Class.

Considering that here it costs about $75 a day to keep my horse at an event away from home just in stabling fees, I would imagine it would be that and more in England. Also considering they can't transport food stuffs and purchasing similar over there is probably expensive because of availability. There is also horse transportation once they've arrived over there as it is doubtful stabling would have all the elements (specifically a gallop area) appropriate for the final preparation of horses for a 4 star.

This is not a simple week long trip. When I went to Europe ten years ago we budgeted $100 a day per person for a non luxurious vacation. I can't imagine the Team can even get anywhere close to that price.

Julie Burns who rode for the Team for the first time in Sydney was quoted after the Games as saying she never in her life troted down the center line feeling so completely prepared. There was absolutely nothing left to be done but compete. In the Eventing with its varied disiplines that's really saying something.

Please understand that most of this is conjecture on my part, as I have no hands on experience with overseas travel with horses. I too, would be facinated to see a line item accounting of a Team trip overseas. But again, I don't think there is any great mismanagement going on. Horses are expensive, traveling with horses in this country is outragously expensive, I can only imagine the expense of traveling overseas.

sbk

pt
Jul. 31, 2001, 08:08 AM
Learned something interesting last night - stuff learned on the way to looking up something else. There are 3 main kinds of learners (of physical activity) in the world: those who learn by hearing/reading; those who learn by watching; those who learn by doing. Apparently several of the people on this thread are in the second group. My brother is - he learned to ski by watching others ski, then went right out and did it. I learn by doing - step by step, training muscle memory. Any others out there like that? So, those who tell me they learn by watching probably do. I sat and watched the tapes of the '92 and '96 Olympics over the past 10 days as an exercise in learning by watching - saw riders riding the same tests & taking the same jumps. Gorgeous horses, great riders, thrills & spills; each rider was on a different horse, had different problems, handled them differently; can't say I learned anything to help my own riding. People are different. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

subk, you make a good point about contributing. I, too, as others no doubt, have volunteered many hours in club affairs, at shows, events, etc. etc. So? AHSA, until now the FED with Snowbird, hasn't cared about any comments, reports, suggestions our committees have submitted. This looks like the dawn of a new day (to coin a cliche) - let's hope it is. And certainly, let's all keep volunteering. I just hope the FED throws its weight behind the efforts of us all to maintain and develop horse sports from the bottom up in this country. Otherwise, the system will begin to look like a baobob tree, and those don't thrive in an organizational model.

Someone asked about double charging - we sure get hit many times. Show fees, ADS fees, breed organization fees, AHSA non-member fees, AHSA drug fees, office fees - and if there's any money left over, maybe a class or even two. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif
It would be nice to have organizations cooperate on sharing info so some of those fees might be consolidated/reduced. Might entice more people to participate in rated activities. I know many on this board already do, but many many equestrians don't. Again, loss of visible participants = loss of credibility as a popular activity.

poltroon
Jul. 31, 2001, 12:21 PM
My guess is that in general most of us aren't aware of volunteer opportunites outside our own sport. Certainly I never realized that eventing jump judges or dressage scribes were volunteer positions until I started competing in those sports.

At the very least a fine magazine article could be written about the volunteer opportunities in each sport, the qualifications, and how to sign up. What a great way to learn about other sports while helping out - especially for those of us who have a little time but are counting every $$ for our equestrian education.

Bethe Mounce
Jul. 31, 2001, 03:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by poltroon:
To compete in dressage at a rated show, you must be a member of the AHSA (or pay the non-member fee) in either the dressage or eventing discipline. There is no requirement to join the USDF unless you want to participate in their awards program (which does a good job of giving meaningful awards/targets even to low-level competitors).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And, if you want to compete in your regional championships you have to be a participating member of USDF, not a group member. Your local dressage club, a GMO if you will, gives you membership to USDF with restrictions.

I pay my dues annually to AHSA, USDF and USET (actually, they get, every 3 months, a pledge from me to pay "x" amount). And, now that I have one of my young horses hitting the hunter show ring next year, I must also join AHSA as a hunter competitor plus join the local hunter/jumper associations so I know about when and where shows are and ensure I get a prize list.

Showing in 2 different disciplines promises to be expensive. I knew that years ago. And as my horses climb up the ladders, I expect to shell out more----so long as I am made aware of fee changes before they happen, not a problem. Horse associations are a business. One thing I do expect and I have told USET so, is that if I come to them needing training $$$, then I expect them to help me----don't know if they will, but I have said so every time they call me to consider upping my pledge! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

When I lived in Europe, I belonged to a riding club. In the membership fee, riding insurance and membership in the national federation was included as well as a reduced entry fee at national shows because I was a "club" member. This was a one time big membership fee, with dues annually which were quite small. We paid a set amount per month for daily riding lessons no matter how many horses we rode or how many lessons we got. Our leased horses, we paid the board fee, vet care and farrier care. Feed and hay and groom were included in the board bill. Stables provided a shower and changing area for all of us (separated by gender of course), great parking, several rings to jump in......amenities were great. And it was a hop skip and a jump to the local hospital which made it that much better!

Both Alan B. and Valerie K. made great points in their letters---good to see them in print so we could all see the opinions and comments.

Snowbird
Jul. 31, 2001, 07:42 PM
We have enough information to have an intelligent discussion.

I think that the re-birth of the volunteer concept is another plus. If this is our sport and we want to have the industry we love then we have to be prepared to put up or shut up.

This biggest thing is focus and priority just as with any issues rambling abstractions won't help. But, if we can deal with each problem and then number them in the order of precedence we will be having a real start.

Perhaps, this is the time to start that list and then have each person take the list and put it in the order of importance. I'll bet we're not that far apart. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 5, 2001, 09:44 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:
Thanks subk - great post!

Can you break down those expenses for competing at Burghley? I know plane fare is around $5,000 (max) (Dublin to Spruce Mdws RT is about $3,500) - but for the Team to be paying out a fair amount of money, then for individuals to also have to cough up an additional $15,000 seems exhorbinant.

Knowing people from other countries compete abroad with considerably less financial backing than we have, this makes me wonder. I mean, do Team coaches and chef's HAVE to fly first class??? /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Do we have to send one blacksmith and one vet (and their wives and kids) per horse??

I am not saying this is what we necessarily do, but I am saying that this is another area where a good audit is needed. And some belt tightening. Which can be done without risking the horses' safety!

Concerned.
/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

90% of the Team's contributions come from three, or four benefactors, and YES those individuals enable their executives to: fly first-class; use frequent flyer miles earned on business trips for personal use; change their return flights from Sydney - despite being asked not to by the USOC - in order to go fishing on the Great Barrier Reef (+$16,000); fly to Europe to go hunting; maintain a country club membership in Atlanta; repeatedly charge bar-tabs in excess of $400 to their USET card; spend $40,000 on converting a three bedroom, rentable home on Hamilton Farm into a 1 bedroom house for an executive to live in rent-free; and reward these executives with salaries ranging from $125,000 to $200,000 (including perks). At the same time, the staff does an amazing job, while the executives take the credit, and rarely receive a significant raise, or bonus - because "we're facing a short-fall again this year."

The reality is that if these three, or four well-meaning and very generous benefactors are able to place horsemen and women with no professional experience or practical knowledge of marketing, management, or fund-raising in charge of what they wish to be NGB of equestrian sports in the United States because they perceive their executives to be valuable enough to justify these expenses, it's their money.

Now then, when the AHSA is forced to allocate 3.5 million dollars to defend the Team's challenge (Feb 23rd press release on ahsa.org) - then it becomes an issue for its 80,000 members.

What an NGB is, and should be responsible for (marketing/fundraising), well, that should really be up to the USOC to decide.

What I've been reading on all of these threads is very exciting. I am glad to see marketing and fundraising being brought into public discussion. This is exactly the same transition that those sports seen as "popular" today went through years ago - and it's about time!

Pool your energy and resources, come up with a plan, hire the RIGHT people and go for it!

Duffy
Aug. 5, 2001, 09:48 AM
Welcome, Bostonian and great first post! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 5, 2001, 10:00 AM
I should be hearing from Ed Williams any day, but the truth shall be my shield!

It's probably a post that should have been made to the fundraising and marketing topic... Hopefully the word will spread.

Thank you again. Just hope that those benefactors I spoke of will realize, if the Team becomes NGB, they need to clean house!

Snowbird
Aug. 5, 2001, 10:53 AM
I have been feeling like a lone voice in the winderness with no one to hear. It is that very concept which has drawn me into this debate over the past year.

I do agree so much and I've tried through our local Horse Council to stimulate the AHC, through my work with racing, and my tack shop and of course my farm and riding school to try and find a way for a merger of purpose.

We do have a association that was supposed to be in the avante gaarde but it seems stalemated. It was a combined association of horse people. Forget the intitals and name right now, just a senior moment.

While it was the show managers who first recognized the needs of this sport they succumbed to the easy path of patronage and elitism. I too believe it is time for the "members" to take back their association which should be our passport into the next millennium.

It is a pity that so many well intentioned sponsors and donors have seen their good intentions diverted and I do believe we can correct and equalize the situation. The "staff" of the USET has been truly remarkable and dedicated to a good purpose. I think under the mantel of USA Equestrian they will see a proper response to their efforts and find a better reward for their talent.

One of the first lessons in business I learned from very successful people was that it was better to get $100 from each of a 100,000 people than it was to have 10 people who contributed $1 million each. This is confirmed by your very statistics.

I feel optimistic for the first time in many years and I think that perhaps the USET has accomplished what needed to be done although that was clearly not their goal. There never was any anxiety to approach the real problems before this situation.

Now is the time when it can happen and we can with our trusted partner "the horse" bring our sport back into the forefront and join the other sports which have managed to go mainstream.

Sure, there might be things we don't like but in the final picture our children will be proud of us if we hold the line now.

There have been so many great promotional ideas coming from people, there has been such a ground swell of knowledge and talent been volunteered that it has to work this time.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 5, 2001, 11:04 AM
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!" Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Let's hope your enthusiasm is contageous!!!

Weatherford
Aug. 5, 2001, 12:43 PM
Quote Bostonian:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> 90% of the Team's contributions come from three, or four benefactors, and YES those individuals enable their executives to: fly first-class; use frequent flyer miles earned on business trips for personal use; change their return flights from Sydney - despite being asked not to by the USOC - in order to go fishing on the Great Barrier Reef (+$16,000); fly to Europe to go hunting; maintain a country club membership in Atlanta; repeatedly charge bar-tabs in excess of $400 to their USET card; spend $40,000 on converting a three bedroom, rentable home on Hamilton Farm into a 1 bedroom house for an executive to live in rent-free; and reward these executives with salaries ranging from $125,000 to $200,000 (including perks). At the same time, the staff does an amazing job, while the executives take the credit, and rarely receive a significant raise, or bonus - because "we're facing a short-fall again this year."

The reality is that if these three, or four well-meaning and very generous benefactors are able to place horsemen and women with no professional experience or practical knowledge of marketing, management, or fund-raising in charge of what they wish to be NGB of equestrian sports in the United States because they perceive their executives to be valuable enough to justify these expenses, it's their money.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My question is, is it really "their money"?? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

If they are using the USET as a laundermat; if they are funnelling money to their "employees", horses, riders, trainers, administrators, whomever, and taking advantage of the USET's non-profit status to write off these donations; if ANY funds they donate are donated specifically for such purposes, then I wonder about the consequences of a true IRS audit.

Is it legal to earmark funds for specific purposes without accounting for them that way? I know that every other non-profit I have dealt with that accepts specific donations accounts for them as that in their annual reports - funds for a building, capital investments campaign, students with B averages from Mars, or whatever. Some organizations would rather refuse these "strings attached" donations than deal with the headaches they can create.

Perhaps it is not illegal to funnel money to your own hobbies/people/whatever through a non-profit organization and reap the rewards of tax writeoffs, but I certainly question it.

I also find what Bostonian describes above as ethically irresponsible, not to mention, morally reprehensible. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

[This message was edited by Weatherford on Aug. 05, 2001 at 03:58 PM.]

Ruby G. Weber
Aug. 5, 2001, 01:22 PM
It truly is a shame so many choose to bash the USET. Let us remember who has been sending teams to various international competitions for five decades with very little financial assistance outside of what the USET raised, no matter how or from whom.

Certainly today's donor's are not the same as the ones who helped finance the Team in years gone by. But thank goodness someone chooses to make donations so that USET, even in the middle of this NGB battle, can still send a Team to Calgary and Spain this Sept. And we qualified for Spain because our Developing Riders were sucessful on their tour, also funded by USET.

Personally, I'm no more interested in the financial statements of USET/USA Eq than I am in the local 7/11 or tack shop as long as I get what I pay for.

As far as USA Eq goes, I'm satisfied, although I fully expect my membership fee to increase within the next two years. I'm also quite happy with what the USET is doing and will continue to be a member of that organization as well.

And one final note. Most of you can say, in fact, that you have experienced what USA Eq does for you via rated horse shows. How many of you have experienced a trip funded by USET? Have any of you travelled with horses to a foreign country without an American vet? Blacksmith? It is reassuring, to say the least, to know the vet (USET funded) is on the plane with you and your horses, just in case.

Gnarly
Aug. 5, 2001, 02:41 PM
Only a handful of the people who have posted to this BB have placed that sacred flagged saddle cloth under a saddle, held back the tears in a team jacket while on the podium (or holding the horse), or stood at attention while our anthem played - knowing our efforts helped capture the prize. Let me tell you folks, all the picture books in the world can't begin to explain the thrill of legging-up a USET rider or sitting on a "team horse," or coaching on "the team."
The NGB battle makes me sad. I've experienced eons of bad AHSA service (and some good I admit), while dealing with the USET has always been a pleasant experience.

Weatherford
Aug. 5, 2001, 06:53 PM
I do believe one of those tours (Spain, I think) this summer was NOT funded by the USET, rather by the West Coast Riders - who found their own sponsors, ran their own qualifiers and set up and applied for the opportunity to go compete as a Team.

The USET supplied them with drapes and trunks.

I have never been privileged enough to wear the American flag, but I have PLENTY of good friends who have ridden for the US and other countries who have, and I have been to European shows. I know what it cost some of them.

I also know that this summer we have more Americans competing in Europe on their own than ever before. Ditto Calgary.

I believe the USET has done a wonderful job in the past. Some of the staffers who work there are very special and talented people, and the Team is lucky to have them.

I also believe the Team has problems that need to be examined. Probably, these have always been there to some degree. In today's world, that simply doesn't work.

MANY MANY other countries in the world tour and spend a LOT less money than we spend. Do we really need a FULL contingent of staff and support people for a five or six day show in Canada? But the money spent on tours is only the tip of the iceberg.

What about the perks Bostonian reported?

All of this is NOT to dimish the incredible accomplishments of our horses and riders - nor to eliminate the awe in being able to represent the US as rider, owner, or groom. Every person involved deserves a medal - it's a lot of work!

Once upon a time I won a large class with an International contingent, and while it wasn't as a "representative of the US", I will never forget the thrill - from listening to our National anthem sung acappella by a major star to jumping that second jumpoff in front of a FULL arena - 10 or 20,000 people. And TV cameras... I can only imagine what it would be like to hear the national anthem from the winner's podium.

That being said, the institution called the USET, IMHO, needs a house cleaning.

So did the former AHSA, and, from all I can see, that is being done.

Snowbird
Aug. 5, 2001, 08:45 PM
With the wealth of talent and courage that our riders have proved I think it is very sad that as you say very few have ever had the pleasure.

That is the whole point and that's what we want to change because there should be a way for a talented rider to be able to go to the Olympics without a wealthy patron. That kind of patronage expired during the Middle Ages and has no place in this millennium.

Yes, we need Sponsors and we need Donors and I am eternally grateful to all those who have done so without any strings and but if's. Yes, with what circumstances they had to operate our Team Managers and Coaches have been remarkable. No one says they didn't do a good job pulling it together from scratch but that doesn't mean that now there isn't a better way.

Why should it be implied that because it is time for a change that negates the work that went before to get us here. I for one am grateful and respectful of the those who have competed proudly and been courageous for the pride of this country.

And further there is no reason why they cannot continue to do so for another 50 years. I haven't read anything that bashed either our riders or our team. The current issue is whether this select group with their specialized experience and talent should be required to tend to the problems of every little kid who has the Olympic dream.

I think that would be expecting too much of them and that the team would suffer. I am in favor of all they have done for us, I would give them all my gratitude and applause and further will welcome them to join us all in USA Equestrian as was proposed at the last convention.

Certainly, that dedicated staff is not going to get bent out of shape if on the top of their pay check it says USA Equestrian instead of USET.

Ruby G. Weber
Aug. 6, 2001, 06:33 AM
The West Coast Riders are on their own tour however, Spain in Sept. is the site of the finals of the Samsung Nation's Cup. That trip is courtesy of USET.

PB...oh brother, do I hear you!

Anne FS
Aug. 6, 2001, 06:43 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:

That kind of patronage expired during the Middle Ages and has no place in this millennium.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think this statement is too strong. Sure, I want to see talented riders & horses searched for, supported and sent on to the team when they don't have deep pockets. But I don't see anything wrong with a rich person giving money to a rider to support them on their way. Why not? If Mrs. or Mr. X wants to give $100,000 to support several riders or to search for poor, talented riders, that would be wonderful. But if they want to give $100,000 and say "I want this to go towards Miss Y's training and expenses, and only to Miss Y" well then, I, as an American citizen with no money, say thank you for supporting one of our riders.

Now of course I'm not saying that Miss Y has to make the team when Miss Y is not a good rider.

Bostonian
Aug. 6, 2001, 07:26 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Emmet:
The West Coast Riders are on their own tour however, Spain in Sept. is the site of the finals of the Samsung Nation's Cup. That trip is courtesy of USET.

QUOTE]


Courtesy of? The Developing Rider Tours are mainly if not entirely supported by RESTRICTED Gifts for exactly the reasons described in my first post. The grants given to the riders do not cover everything and they have to reimburse USET with any prize money won.

It is a great program managed by (let me say again) a great STAFF yielding wonderful results for MANY, MANY, MANY individuals, but please do not confuse the point with accusations of Team bashing and your feelings of Nationalistic pride.

The West Coast Active Riders have raised as much money for themselves, if not more, without any staff: just one volunteer providing accounting services in her free time, supporting other volunteers raising money in their free time.

I suggest you take a look at the reasons this group of show jumpers seperated themselves from USET in the first place. Do your homework, call the Team's BRAND NEW west coast representative AND call the West Coast Active Riders and post their responses.

Portia
Aug. 6, 2001, 10:02 AM
Hello Bostonian, and welcome to the boards!

I'm not as up on the West Coast issues as I should be. Can you tell us who the new USET West Coast Representative is? And who was the old representative?

It's my understanding that the West Coast Active Riders are separate and independent from the USET, but I'm not sure what the exact relationship (if any) is between them or how the West Coast Active Riders are represented in the USET and in USA Eq. Can you explain the situation for us? Thanks!

Ruby G. Weber
Aug. 6, 2001, 12:33 PM
This business of who has/who hasn't is getting old.

Fact. In any sport, only a very small percentage of the total participants make it to the top flight. Some for lack of desire, most for lack of talent. (and the other necessary ingredients, not including economics.) Harsh but true.

An even smaller percentage of talented riders are overlooked because they do not allow themselves to be! Just like Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Gem Twist, riders with that kind of desire will, somehow get where they want to. These riders are born, not only with talent, but also with an insatiable desire to win. Once they prove that (with plenty of hard work, among other things), they will not be lacking of horsepower.

It is a noble idea to attempt to make it easier for talented young riders, through financial support, to reach lofty goals. However, if they do not learn, at any early age, to claw their way up the ladder, they will not have what it takes to fight for that clear round.

Weatherford
Aug. 6, 2001, 12:45 PM
Agree, Emmet.

And it is in the best interest of the Sport to have EVERYONE believe they HAVE a chance to claw their way to the top - money or no!

We all need dreams.

SGray
Aug. 6, 2001, 01:00 PM
There is nothing wrong with patronage per se - for example the Thomas' (Parry and Peggy of Haily, Idaho) have Debbie McDonald in their employment. They have supported her riding by purchasing very nice horses and she has worked her guts out to properly train and compete them. I as far as I have ever heard, the Thomas' have done this without fanfare (as far as any national organizations).

(as an example of what I've read on the subject, an excerpt from the Verden Auction two years ago states ". The real highlight was catalog number 43: Diamond Dream by Donnerhall - Consul/T. (breeder: Cornelia R�themeier, Warmsen), a true outstanding dressage prospect, who came third in the final of the Federal Championships for Young Sport Horses this year. It was a hard duel between purchasers from the USA and Sweden. At the end the hammer of auctioneer Friedrich-Wilhelm Isernhagen knocked down at the incredible price of 600.000 DM and Parry and Peggy Thomas from the River Grove Farm in Idaho/USA had acquired a new Hanoverian super horse. It was the highest price ever paid at an auction in Verden. The American couple Thomas are very wellknown guests in Verden and Diamond Dream is not the first Verden auction horse they bought: On the occasion of the autumn auction in 1994 the chestnut mare Brentina by Brentano II - Lungau (breeder: Wilhelm Rethorst, Badbergen) was sold at 105.000 DM to Peggy Thomas. Brentina now is trained and ridden by Debbie McDonald, with whom the only eight years old mare convincingly won the individual and team gold medal at the Panamerican Games this year."

But - this is different from what was being spoken of - this up upfront employer spending the money and employee delivery a great performance. No hidden agendas, no taking advantage of tax write-offs, .......

Weatherford
Aug. 6, 2001, 01:11 PM
Thank you, SGray.

There are specific funds outside the normal channels that are set up - in their bylaws and constitutions - to funnel money to SPECIFIC amateur atheletes. That is their purpose. I know a rider who got a fund to provide the money for her GP horse - money that had been donated to that fund for that specific purpose. Up front and in the open.

Quite different, IMHO.

Snowbird
Aug. 6, 2001, 01:41 PM
I am really bored with every dialog ending the same way. Personally, I don't have any objection to anyone just because they're rich. I've known lots of them and some are even good friends. I also resent the idea that we are bashing people for being rich, that would be discriminatory and I would not be a party to such biggotry.

This paranoid defense that patronage is the only way to "claw" your way up the ladder is blatantly corrupt in itself.

1. The fact that someone can claw their way up the ladder and kiss up to people to use their finances I find hardly a laudible attitude for a would be Olympian. This implies that being successful is a vicious self centered occupation and I for one do not believe that all affluent people have accumulated their funds that way or for that purpose. I am sure that all of our rich patrons would agree.

2. The route should be designed to eliminate that kind of submission for an outstanding athlete. We as intelligent members of the greatest society on earth have found a way to create a clear cut trail that leads to success if you want it. Nothing is impossible if you want to achieve it bad enough.

Why is the horse industry any different, to me it is rather like telling the young actress she needs to sleep her way to the top if she wants to be a movie star or be on Broadway. It might be one way but should it be the only way.

If this is the only way for an athlete to demonstrate their ability and to get valued horses then we indeed do not deserve to be a respected mainstream sports activity.

My point is that it is fine if there are generous people who wish to aid a talented rider for the pure generosity of their interest. It is not fine if these people use a tax benefit (which costs you and me higher taxes) to buy themselves a berth on the Olympic Team for their investment. It is undoubtedly a conflict of interest to be in the position to decide that the money donated has to be ear marked for horses and riders in which the "Director" has a vested personal interest.

I am grateful as a fine arts painter for the patronage of the past that inspired much in the arts world. But, in America our greatest artists were developed as a result of a WPA project during the depression years when they were compensated to paint and create for the merit of the work and not because of who they knew.

So perhaps, in our new plans there may be such a project. A method that can be created that retains the pride of accomplishment without the need to do more than to gratify the audience with a spectacular performance.

[This message was edited by Snowbird on Aug. 06, 2001 at 04:49 PM.]

Lucassb
Aug. 6, 2001, 01:47 PM
owners, or staffers who have worked hard to do our country proud with medals etc.

However, I do think that the USET leadership opened themselves up to criticism by their refusal to consider anything other than putting themselves at the top of the pyramid, the grass roots be d@mned. Their actions during the course of the talks between themselves and the AHSA, the refusal of a very generous offer of mediation, as well as the numerous instances of their changing the policies, processes and procedures (esp. bylaws) to suit themselves regardless of existing rules and regs... all of it really smacked of elitism and self interest to me.

I *still* do not understand the unwillingness to merge with the Fed and to put aside the personal differences and egos that are perpetuating this very expensive and wasteful conflict. That behavior, in my opinion, deserves bashing. It in no way furthers the sport or the success of anyone who participates at any level; in fact, it seriously detracts from efforts to go forward by wasting money on lawyers and other posturing that could be much better spent on training, equipment, education or even general promotion of the sport.

Just my $.02, of course, but it sure doesn't seem like the type of "leadership" I would feel comfortable entrusting the future of our sport to.

Ruby G. Weber
Aug. 6, 2001, 03:17 PM
for reading my post as literal, not with inuendos, as none were intended.

Charis
Aug. 6, 2001, 05:23 PM
"IN AMERICA OUR GREATEST ARTISTS WERE DEVELOPED AS A RESULT OF A WPA PROJECT"
So of course you are discounting those such as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer and George Caleb Bingham, etc,etc.

IMHO you either need to re-think your statement or attempt to divorce your political irrationality from this discussion.

(I'm donning my flame proof suit)

[This message was edited by Charis on Aug. 06, 2001 at 09:43 PM.]

Snowbird
Aug. 6, 2001, 07:05 PM
You're right of course in the long view. I was trying to make a bad comparison and I admit it didn't fly. But, we (America) was in a dry period of creativity with the modern movements and stuck in the traditional, it was a great opportunity for those in our avante gaarde to explore and debate the philosophy and future of the arts. They executed some amazing work.

My point was that even though all the patronage money had dried up do to the big depression there was a way to put them together in a camp no less but the proximity spurred their creative juices and the arts not only survived but excelled.

So in our format while there are many who will generously support an International effort I feel that those who genuinely do it to support programs that have no self reward are to be commended and the donations with strings are not those from benefactors. I guess I see patrons as being rather like the patroon of the old slave farms. Benefactors without issue are to be welcomed.

I admit I just lose it when every time we try to move forward the same old cliques come up to make us feel guilty as ungrateful children.

Anyway point well taken. No flames from here just a little humble pie.

Bostonian
Aug. 6, 2001, 09:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Portia:
Hello Bostonian, and welcome to the boards!

I'm not as up on the West Coast issues as I should be. Can you tell us who the new USET West Coast Representative is? And who was the old representative?

It's my understanding that the West Coast Active Riders are separate and independent from the USET, but I'm not sure what the exact relationship (if any) is between them or how the West Coast Active Riders are represented in the USET and in USA Eq. Can you explain the situation for us? Thanks!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


They are completely seperate (the U.S. drapes and tack boxes mentioned earlier was a nice gesture made by one of the Team's staff though) and from what I can tell, there has never been a West Coast representative on uset salary. The only clippings from the West Coast point to Guenter Seidel and the Browns really...

Anyway, according to uset.org:

Gladstone, New Jersey?July 16, 2001?The United States Equestrian Team (USET) has announced the appointment of Robert Kellerhouse as the West Coast Representative.
___________________________

You can find the rest of the news release on the Team's site. I'm sure Kellerhouse is a very nice and capable man who - like all of us - loves the United States and wants to put together the best teams for America.

Let us hope he is not simply the Team's attempt to react to the negative press the West Coast Active Riders have inadvertently generated for the Team (that was NOT their goal) - or an attempt to redirect West Coast contributions back East (their press release does say he will be attending West Coast fundraisers though, on behalf of the uset)...

Finally, let us hope he does not share the fate of Former Director of Development, Jeff Fuller; Former Director of Driving Activities, Paula Grounewoud; Former USET Director of Public Relations, James Hastie; Former Reining Directors, Shawn Carroll and Carla Wienberg; Former Assistant Coordinator of the Festival of Champions, Sue King; Former Merchandise Manager, Susan Garofalo; Former Assistant to the Directors of Development, Sian Griffith and Allison Smith-Hernandez; Former Director of Development, Patty Ogden; Former U.S. Olympic Committee Coordinators, Ingrid Carlson and Lisa Tatham (whom also served as Former Assistant Director of Eventing); Former Assistant Director of Dressage Kaki Schuyler; and Former Director of the Festival of Champions, Barbara Lang!

All truly wonderful people let go, or resigned within the last one to three years. They, like the present staff, doing a great job because they - like all of us - only wanted to see USA's equestrians stand on top of the podium!

Again, I do not mean to bash - the AHSA has had their share of turnover too - Shawn Carroll (mentioned above) even left the AHSA for the USET and the AHSA's Former Director of International Disciplines is the Current USET Director of Driving - just trying to put it all in perspective before we make any more contributions to either organization...

[This message was edited by Bostonian on Aug. 07, 2001 at 12:55 AM.]

Anne FS
Aug. 7, 2001, 06:20 AM
Snowbird, normally I enjoy your posts although sometimes I think when the discussion doesn't go your way you try to squash people by throwing heavy phrases.

Sorry you're "really bored." And you "resent the idea that we are bashing people for being rich." Who said you were doing that?

"This paranoid defense that patronage is the only way to "claw" your way up the ladder is blatantly corrupt in itself."

Who said THAT? Who expressed a paranoid defense of patronage? Is that in response to my post? I disagree that my post in favor of some patronage was either paranoid or indicative of blatant corruption. If not my post, then who's post are you referring to?

Portia
Aug. 7, 2001, 08:26 AM
Ok, Bostonian, I think I understand better now. While being in Texas I'm not really up on the East Coast/West Coast politics, I do understand that one of the criticisms of the USET management is that it is centered on the East Coast and does not/may not fully appreciate and give opportunities to the riders and drivers in the other 2/3's of the country.

To add to your list of good people who are no longer with the USET, let's not forget those who have been recently removed (one way or another) from the USET Board of Trustees over the NGB issues -- including David O'Connor, Dr. Bernard Salick, and James Wofford, and, a couple of years ago, Linda Allen. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Snowbird
Aug. 7, 2001, 12:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>It truly is a shame so many choose to bash the USET. Let us remember who has been
sending teams to various international competitions for five decades with very little
financial assistance outside of what the USET raised, no matter how or from whom.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I do not think we are bashing the wealthy for their genosity, and I do care about how and why these funds are raised and spent.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>It is a noble idea to attempt to make it easier for talented young riders, through
financial support, to reach lofty goals. However, if they do not learn, at any early age,
to claw their way up the ladder, they will not have what it takes to fight for that clear
round.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree that success at learning how to claw your way up the ladder is indicative of what it takes to be successful as an Olympian or even a competitor. And, even more important to me I don't think that is the criteria as a person in a civilized society.

Most of the really successful and rich people I have met (there are of course exceptions) are gentle, courteous and generally respectful of the efforts of those just beginning to be successful. I don't think they feel patronizing when they are being helpful.

I do agree that as a society we tend to want to punish those who have been excessively successful instead of applauding them and I find that a shame. I would take no part in that kind of attitude, but there are in every group and the successful are no exception some for whom I would have little respect.

I would point out that the generalization that being critical of the generosity of some donors is in some way critical of all for all time is not valid. That is where I become bored with the use of that same generalization whenever we attempt to explore the past so we can learn from it.

I think secrecy leads one to suppose a nefarious purpose for any activity. Since, this issue was drawn on the refusal of the USET to declare the information which should have been availble to all trustees I think it is a valid issue.

I for one believe that since the USET is a non-profit corporation which declares itself to be for the purpose of service to our Olympians it should be open to scrutiny. I don't believe that it has proved it's point that it is above and beyond the need to supply such information to those it pretends to serve.

Our issue as to who would better serve the needs of this sport as NGB was inspired by the challenge of the USET. That creates the need to explore the mechanics of their operation.

JustaLurker
Aug. 7, 2001, 02:25 PM
Bostonian posted a quote from uset.org that states:

Gladstone, New Jersey-July 16, 2001-The United States Equestrian Team (USET) has announced the appointment of Robert Kellerhouse as the West Coast Representative.

Not that I know everyone on the West Coast, but I have been around for quite some time and don't recognize this name. Who is he, what is his background, and what are his qualifications?

Cheers, Maggi

Groundline
Aug. 7, 2001, 02:33 PM
Also now gone from USET board are Jamie O'Roarke (Driving), Gene Mische (father of show jumping in US), Wyatt Stewart (Washington Int Horse Show and on USET Development and Executive Committee), Denny Emerson (Olympian and VP Eventing), Michael Page (Olympian and coach). And many more.

What did these people do?

Like Linda Allen, they thought for themselves, spoke up, asked questions, had independent experience. I heard from many people who were there how embarrassing it was when Finn Casperson wouldn't even let Mike Page ask a question at a board meeting and just adjourned the meeting instead of talk about something. I think it had to do with AHSA or the legal bills or something, from what I was told.

Should the sport be run by people in power who won't even talk in the open about new and different ideas, about change, who won't even answer questions?

Somebody needs to really get into where the USET money comes from in donations, and how many people on the board of USET, and working for it, are connected in business, like the Leones are or were with Andrew Philbrick. How many trustees of the USET work for the big donors, or do horse deals with them? How many of the big name riders and coaches?

Isn't the point of all this that we really need some way to have these things OPEN, so, like Linda Allen suggested, we have a place TO participate like she suggests. Otherwise, what difference can we make?

Peggy
Aug. 7, 2001, 04:59 PM
He's an event rider from California. Originally from the San Diego area? He and his mother Ann have both run combined training events on the west coast. I stabled next to him at an event years ago and managed to leave the show with his sponge (which, I think, he absentmindedly put in my trunk)

Bostonian
Aug. 7, 2001, 08:53 PM
Thank you for mentioning the former board members and trustees you've listed. I had no idea, but it all makes so much sense now...

Nothing more to add: simply shocked, speachless, sad, and clearly prepared for the next phone solicitation from USET.

Thank you again.

Duffy
Aug. 7, 2001, 09:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bostonian:
Thank you for mentioning the former board members and trustees you've listed. I had no idea, but it all makes so much sense now...

Nothing more to add: simply shocked, speachless, sad, and clearly prepared for the next phone solicitation from USET.

Thank you again.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You and me, both, Bostonian. I had heard of a few of those who are no longer there, but had no idea it was so far-reaching... /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I recently met Michael and Georgette Page and they are such incredible people, IMO.

poltroon
Aug. 8, 2001, 10:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Gladstone, New Jersey?July 16, 2001?The United States Equestrian Team (USET) has announced the appointment of Robert Kellerhouse as the West Coast Representative.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Robert Kellerhouse is an event rider based in the San Diego area. He is a very capable rider (I've seen him run Intermediate, and I think he's run Advanced) but is probably better known for putting together the Galway Downs facility, which went from a race training track to a top notch event facility in a matter of months after the Del Mar Horsepark facility was no longer available.

Galway is now being used for hunter and jumper shows as well, and is big enough to have run horse trials and hunter-jumper shows SIMULTANEOUSLY. wow. There is an advanced HT and CCI** course on the grounds. Robert has done a terrific job of finding money and getting sponsors (including title sponsor Ford) to build a beautiful course and put on fabulous events in a very short time. It is a wonderful event to ride in or spectate at all levels.

I am heartened to hear that the USET has tapped Robert for this position.

PDQBach
Aug. 14, 2001, 05:49 AM
Did anyone else read the Horse of Delaware Valley this month?

The article said the two parties were meeting for mediation sometime this month. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif IS THAT TRUE?

But the WIERD thing is that ONLY Mr. Leone is quoted on the mediation, and the article FINISHES by saying the decision will be made at the end of September by the USOC.

Wait, IF they are going to mediation this month, how can the reporter know for certain the hearings will happen? If the mediation is SUCCESSFUL, then, the hearing become unnescessary.

So, why does the reporter state with such certainty that the decision will be made at the end of September? What makes her so sure?

And Why has no one else mentioned the mediation?

Last, why does the HDV claim that USA Equestrian was the USET's idea and name? From what I read and heard of last Fall's events, the AHSA presented that name and A NEW (compromise/ combined) organization at the first NGB meeting, where it was dismissed out of hand before ANY discussion.


What is going on?? /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif
/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Portia
Aug. 14, 2001, 08:14 AM
PDQ, unless otherwise agreed by all parties and the mediator, mediation is always a confidential process -- that confidentiality is fundamental to the process. The only thing the participants are allowed to say about it is that it occurred, maybe who attended, and whether it was successful (the dispute was settled) or not (the dispute did not settle). That fact that a mediation is going to occur is not generally considered confidential, though the parties may well have agreed otherwise in this case.

The question is how the reporter from The Horse of Delaware Valley found out about it, and how much she was told. Are there any other details in the article?

As for the name "USA Equestrian," you are entirely correct. It is a name that the AHSA came up with, and (as I understand it) had reserved in some way years ago. It was the name suggested by the AHSA people at the beginning of the SPI process for the proposed merged organization -- the merger proposal that the USET rejected.

After the AHSA had used that name for the merged organization proposal, the USET used the same name in its chart (handed out at the AHSA Annual Meeting) for the USET's proposal that it become the new NGB and be the managing body over the AHSA and all other organizations. The USET did not invent and does not own or have any rights to the name USA Equestrian.

Weatherford
Aug. 14, 2001, 08:43 AM
Just found a copy of the HDV, and yes, Armand Leone is directly quoted.

Would anyone know if that is a breach of confidentiality in this case? This was published at the end of July.

Portia
Aug. 14, 2001, 08:50 AM
What is he quoted as saying? If it is something along the lines of "a mediation is planned and we hope it will succeed," then that is probably OK -- unless the parties expressly agreed that the fact the mediation was planned was confidential.

Though anyone who reads these boards knows I am strongly opposed to the USET's position in the NGB dispute, I find it hard to believe that Dr. Leone, who is a lawyer as well as a physician, would breach an explicit confidentiality agreement.

Weatherford
Aug. 14, 2001, 08:56 AM
What is quoted is a memorandum to the USET Trustees...

Portia
Aug. 14, 2001, 09:56 AM
I checked the Horse of the Delaware Valley web site and parts of the articles were posted there. Just scroll down on the first page.

Horse of Delaware Valley (http://www.horsedelval.com/news.htm)

Two comments. One, it seems to me that, while not identified as such, the comments on the name change is an editorial, not a news piece. The unidentified author makes absolutely no attempt at objectivity or at sourcing the supposed information underlying the author's opinions.

Two, it also appears to me that the HDV person did not try to get any information or comments from the USA Eq side, only from the USET side.

DMK
Aug. 14, 2001, 10:11 AM
Agreed Portia, although the article about mediation is authored by Sara Cavenagh.

As for her comments about the intransigence of Balch and the AHSA, and the inference that the USET would leave no stone unturned at their attempt for mediation... that was neat... I mean, it must have taken a real talent to type that one with a straight face... I'm in awe... really! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Snowbird
Aug. 14, 2001, 10:34 AM
The fact is that the HDV has never made any attempt to be journalistic and has made no attempt to hide their prejudice in favor of the USET.

They have in the past published every scrap of information favoring the USET and are totally opposed to Alan Balch as a person. That is sadly much more important to them than the welfare of the sport and industry.

Personally, I find it a waste of time to spend energy defending against such total opposition regardless of the facts, past and future. I agree with you Portia that there is little chance Dr.Leone would be so foolish as to violate any laws. While he certainly would want to assist any proponent of his cause he is an intelligent and educated person.

What I find so sad is that frequently well intentioned people can be so entrnched in their personal perspective that they cannot see the larger picture.

I am more interested in the "brainstorming" session being offered by the USA Equestrian to get us all the opportunity to participate in the larger plans that need to be made to add growth and depth to our sport.

There's little point to arguing the opinions of those totally opposed to any change. Certainly, whatever happens with NGB is not going to alter the course that the Federation has on it's drawing boards. Nor, will they be diminshed as a Federation if this issue goes on for years and years.

They are the NGB right now and if those plans are in place they will be the NGB simply because those in favor of the USET proposal have chosen not to make the equivalent depth of changes.

Point one is that they are not interested in anything but what they have done in the past with the AHSA. Point two is that even then they have admitted that there was a shortfall every year which was paid for by the Dirctors so endowed. Point three that is simply not the purpose of the Ted Stevens Act which is a Federal Law to protect the participants in every sport and give them a democratic format and an equal chance to achieve.
Point four is that they do not seem capable of accepting change and moving into the new millennium with new ideas.

The same old format and ideas just don't work and the USET it appears only is responsive to the east coast and has abdicated their position on the west coast. The NGB is supposed to be inclusive and the USET in every response has indicated their intention to stay exclusive. A laison person at this point doesn't seem to me to be a very viable new concept.

[This message was edited by Snowbird on Aug. 14, 2001 at 01:51 PM.]

Bostonian
Aug. 17, 2001, 12:04 PM
I read the most recent Chronicle Commentary and was pleasantly surprised to learn this thread was still alive.

In the end, since mediation apparently will not work (did anyone really think it would?), I believe the USOC will decide upon which organization they feel will do the best job for the UNITED STATES as NGB of equestrian sports. Afterall, beyond facilitating medal-winning teams, do any of us really know what people inside the USOC expect from their NGB's performance - if so - do tell.

Beyond that, we can all take comfort in knowing that the laundry will be aired in September and I for one cannot wait until the Chronicle makes us aware of the location. Better yet, anyone out there know anyone that works at Court TV - or Pay-per-view??!! Our entire barn would camp out around the big screen!

As to Sara Cavanaugh and the Horse of Delaware Valley, please. It's no secret Sara and Sally Ike, USET Director of Show Jumping and now Vaulting (gasp) are best friends. Need I say more?!

Thank goodness for the Chronicle's coverage of the "NGB Battle!"

Regarding name change, I typed USAequestrian.org into my browser and found a site that did not want to comment on the situation. Can anyone explain that??

After mentioning this to two friends of my Father's who were on the failed AHSA/USET Strategic planning Initiative task force - they admitted they had heard from the folks behind this web site during the first week of January!

Interesting coincidence that the AHSA issued its plans for USA Equestrian on January 14th; and the USET's press release announced its plans for USA Equestrian on January 26th. Sara C. wrote in HDV that USET "might" change its name to USA Equestrian when USET's Jan. 26th press release clearly stated USET "Would be renamed USA Equestrian."

Strange that the January 26th release is no longer on USET.ORG (I found it on a western site when I did a search for USA Equestrian).

The AHSA would be called U.S. Equestrian Federation right now, if USET's copyright lawyer at Fisch and Richardson (right down the street from my husband's office) hadn't warned Balch that USEF infringed on USET's intellectual property rights... Strange Sara C. didn't mention any of this...

Regarding Kellerhouse being named as USET's west coast rep: My family still keeps horses on the West Coast and USET's move is seen by those I speak with as a politically motivated act designed to help them gain favor with the USOC.

Too little too late for show jumping, but perhaps Kellerhouse can prevent any organizations like the West Coast Active Riders from emerging in the other six disciplines...

The real question is should he? It's tough to compete with an organization with little or no overhead, designed to directly alleviate the financial burden faced by athletes aspiring to represent the US in international competition (and not the expense accounts, perks, and six figure salaries enjoyed by Hamilton Farm's executives).

Like I said, looking forward to hearing where the evidentiary hearings will take place in September:^)

Portia
Aug. 17, 2001, 12:28 PM
Bostonian, I have some vague recollection of reading that the hearing will take place in New York City, but I can't swear to that one, nor do I have any idea where in NYC either

I do know the Sports Act and the USOC Bylaws provide for the proceedings, including hearing and the briefing, to be open to the public. I imagine that either the Fed or the USET, or both, will announce the location and other details of the hearing so that anyone who wants to attend can do so.

If it is not announced, well, when I decided to attend the meeting of the Membership and Credentials Committee with the USET and AHSA in San Antonio last February, I just called the USOC office in Colorado Springs and found out where and when the meeting was being held. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oh, and thanks for the heads-up about this week's COTH Commentary online. Here West of the Mississippi, it takes at least a week, usually 10 days, until I get my COTH in the mail. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

[This message was edited by Portia on Aug. 17, 2001 at 03:41 PM.]

Portia
Aug. 17, 2001, 12:38 PM
Here's a cut and paste from this week's online "In the Country" on the mediation and the upcoming hearing. (Apologies to the COTH if this is a faux pas!)

Mediation Fails In Last Attempt at AHSA/USET Settlement

It?s almost definite now that the leaders of the American Horse Shows Association and the U.S. Equestrian Team will face each other in a final, no-holds-barred showdown to decide which organization is the country?s national governing body.

AHSA President Alan Balch and USET President Armand Leone Jr. took their delegations to New York City to meet with a mediator on Friday, Aug. 10, but when it was over all they would say was that it hadn't worked.

The next step is a full evidentiary hearing in New York City before the U.S. Olympic Committee, starting on Sept. 24 and scheduled to last for three days. The hearing -- at which both groups will argue with documentation, sworn testimony and cross-examination that they are the rightful NGB and the other group is not capable of fulfilling the function -- is open to the public, but USOC officials have not identified the location yet.

The USOC will then take another month to announce its decision, when the full Board of Directors meets in Salt Lake city on Oct. 27-28. The USOC is expected to name one association as the NGB, not mandate a merger.

"We're disappointed that it didn't work, and we're still hopeful that at some point in the future -- as the mediator reminded us -- we may have a chance to engage in arbitration," said Balch, while thanking Leone for arranging this effort. "The AHSA stands ready at all times for another mediation session."

Staff

And here's another piece from In the Country:

USET And AHSA Make More Appointments

In their continuing efforts to demonstrate their oversight of equestrian sports, the officers of both the United States Equestrian Team and the American Horse Shows Association have spent the last few weeks making key personnel appointments.

The USET has hired Robert Kellerhouse of Del Mar, Calif., to be the organization's first West Coast representative, and the AHSA has hired Kevin Burns of Geneva, Ill., to be their new assistant executive director for development.

The USET has also just adopted vaulting as its seventh sport, meaning that its purview now covers all of the FEI-recognized sports. Sally Ike, the director of show jumping, is the director of vaulting.

As president of Del Mar Eventing, Inc., Kellerhouse is the organizer of the Galway Downs Three-Day Event near Del Mar. Galway Downs offers a one-star and a two-star three-day event in November and a CIC in April, along with horse trial divisions. Kellerhouse, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration from San Diego State University, has competed through the intermediate level.

Executive Director Bob Standish said that their goal is for Kellerhouse to improve communication between West Coast riders, owners and members and the USET staff and Board of Trustees. "Robert has the experience in the administrative aspect of the sport, as well as having the perspective of an athlete," said Standish.

From 1994 to 2000, Burns was the regional director of development in a 12-state area for the U.S. Olympic Committee. He managed the largest single fund-raising special event for the USOC in that period (the Allstate Healthy American Games) while working from Chicago. Since leaving the USOC, Burns has been executive director of the Rush-Copley Medical Center Foundation in Aurora, Ill.

Burns, who is the mayor of Geneva, will work with the AHSA staff in Lexington, Ky., from home. He is married and has three daughters.

"With this appointment, the professional component of this federation's new sport-marketing team is now just about completed," said AHSA President Alan Balch.

[This message was edited by Portia on Aug. 17, 2001 at 04:31 PM.]

Anne FS
Aug. 17, 2001, 01:14 PM
How well do members of the USOC know the people of AHSA?

I'm thinking that the USOC folks probably have long histories of working with USET individuals, and on that basis may be inclined to favor them going into this whole thing. Think about it. Let's say you worked with a small group of people for years. You like them, they do a good job, you don't know what goes on back at their home office, all you know is how you work together and that's been good.

Then their boss comes along and says, don't work with them anymore, work with us directly, they're not to be the ones in charge.

Excuse me, your friends say, we've been doing this for almost 50 years, if anyone knows how to do the job right it's us. They delegated this job to us, you know us, let us be the ones to continue doing it.

So, it seems that the individuals in USET are better known to USOC than those of AHSA, and I'm just wondering if that will have any effect on the outcome.

Glimmerglass
Aug. 17, 2001, 01:45 PM
>> So, it seems that the individuals in USET are better known to USOC than those of AHSA, and I'm just wondering if that will have any effect on the outcome. <<

As an aside to that point, Anne FS, last I knew Jane F Clark while resigned from USET and AHSA positions still is on the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Board of Directors.

Bostonian
Aug. 17, 2001, 02:16 PM
So much for wondering what's going to happen, thank you Ann FS and Glimmerglass...

No doubt Jane Clark expected the USOC's decision would be forced and recognized her participation on either board would create a clear conflict of interest...

Besides having Eric Strauss on the payroll, don't Robert Dover and Leslie Howard still ride horses for The Clark Foundation?

Seems the only question is, who would Dover and Howard choose to be NGB?

Portia
Aug. 17, 2001, 02:22 PM
That's a very good point Anne, and may be the best thing that the USET has going for it in front of the USOC. Anybody involved in business knows that personal relationships do matter.

However, I don't know what relationships the people at USA Equestrian may also have with the USOC people. The AHSA/USA Eq has always performed most of the duties of the NGB, including some in the international competition area that would have brought the AHSA people in contact with the USOC people. I guess on that point, it also goes back to the "They are Us" theory, since most of the athletes and athlete representatives who have contact with the USOC will have been members of both the AHSA and the USET.

Glimmer, as I understand it, each NGB gets one seat on the USOC Board. Jane Clark used to be on the USOC Board by virtue of her position as President of the AHSA and then with the USET, then under the Operating Agreement, the USET appointed Robert Dover (who rides and trains for Jane Clark) to the seat. As of this year, though, the equestrian NGB seat on the USOC Board went to the AHSA's choice ...

David O'Connor. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Here's the link to the USOC Annual Report that lists the officers and directors as of April 2001.

USOC Annual Report (http://www.usolympicteam.com/documents/2000annualreport/pg48_53.pdf)

BTW, two of the "Public Sector" board members: Senator Bill Bradley and Dr. Henry Kissinger. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 17, 2001, 02:29 PM
If there is one person involved that can help the USOC decide what's best for equestrian sports in the United States, it is David O'Connor.

His mother certainly raised very honest children with unquestionable integrity (and we all know they can ride).

Thank you for the information Portia.

See you all in New York this September:^)

SGray
Aug. 17, 2001, 02:31 PM
Bostonian

see

Robert Dover replies (http://chronofhorse.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?a=tpc&s=691099205&f=502099205&m=8440951391&r=4710911212#4710911212)

to answer how rd would vote

[Fixed link... Erin]

[This message was edited by Erin on Aug. 17, 2001 at 09:36 PM.]

SGray
Aug. 17, 2001, 02:33 PM
Portia

re: "The AHSA/USA Eq has always performed most of the duties of the NGB, including some in the international competition area that would have brought the AHSA people in contact with the USOC people"

more likely the contact was with members of the FEI rather than the USOC for most of that don't you think? USOC would only be for Olympics while FEI would be for numerous international compeitions here and abroad

Glimmerglass
Aug. 17, 2001, 02:34 PM
>> Besides having Eric Strauss on the payroll, don't Robert Dover and Leslie Howard still ride horses for The Clark Foundation? <<

True, Eric is Sr. VP of the Clark Estates and holds a position with The Clark Foundation. To the best of my knowledge neither Leslie nor Robert hold employment or position with The Clark Foundation.

I truly doubt that she had some master plan back when she resigned to use her USOC role as a means of determining NGB status. Goodness she is not a megalomaniac or grand 'puppet master'.

If her prior connections to BOTH the AHSA (she was the former president!) and USET poses that much of a conflict, then I'd assume she would be asked to recuse herself from a voting position.

Snowbird
Aug. 17, 2001, 04:33 PM
Isn't it really very sad that we sit here speculating about conflict of interest and who knows who better. It is a commentary of it's own that the real issues are not the debate.

In my humble opinion the issues of capability will have to be addressed. The issue of integrity regarding the following of the "LAW" will have to be addressed.

There is a court hearing still on the calendar regarding the breach of ethics at the USET Board to be solved by a New Jersey Judge. There is the Ted Stevens Act which is a law of our federal government to protect the athletes and give them a proper democratic structure. It is not and never should be simply an issue of who knows who. The USOC has some serious concerns to reckon with of it's own. All the law suits by athletes who claim their coaches forced them to use illegal drugs has to be in this mix.

The issues to be dealt with by the USOC are not who has managed a dozen or so athletes but who can provide the lader from the grass roots to the Olympics. It is the USET that has the burden of proof in my opinion. They brought the challenge even though they were an integral part of the AHSA for 47 of the years that they performed their responsibility. The very Operating agreement which they demanded created the violation of which they accuse the AHSA. So, then who is the worst, the one who knows the rules and creates the trap or the guy who trusts the one and goes along and then finds himself in the trap?

If I were on the USOC Board I would be very suspicious of sophisticated and intelligent people who recommend a course of action for the base association that is a violation. I would feel that was not done with honor or integrity. Therefore, how could they be better suited?

Add to that the member base of the AHSA, the basic structures all in place to provide the needed service. And, a 100 year performance record. The opposition says we're "gonna", we plan to, we think, we might be able to but it will take some time because nothing is in place.

I don't see how the USOC could possibly change NGB and take it away from the AHSA. What legal grounds if they must comply with the Ted Stevens Act can they possibly use?

I think all they can say is look we have no choice but to retain the AHSA as NGB for now. You have four years to go back and start your drug testing programs, start testing and licensing your judges, design a plan to include the road from the grassroots to the Olympics and please don't delegate that authority to anyone. Then we will be glad to give you a new hearing.

Bostonian
Aug. 18, 2001, 05:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Glimmerglass:

As an aside to that point, Anne FS, last I knew Jane F Clark while resigned from USET and AHSA positions still is on the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Board of Directors.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wasn't suggesting "master plan," only trying to make sense of Clark remaining on USOC board after Glimmerglass' post, before Portia cleared matters up.

Having visited http://www.oconnoreventteam.com/ahsauset.html
it's clear O'Connor has an open mind and is looking to do what is best for anyone dreaming of galloping before an Olympic crowd waving the American Flag.

Still looking forward to September - and 2004!

Weatherford
Aug. 18, 2001, 10:15 AM
I believe, Bostonian, that article by David was one of the reasons he was, uh, not "re-elected" to his USET Board position.

As I was told directly at the USET Board meeting, "We really have to have a united front in this", and as we have been shown, anyone who proposes compromise or common sense is considered to be against the powers that be at the USET.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Snowbird
Aug. 18, 2001, 12:21 PM
I just can't imagine how people who can be so successful as individuals can be collectively so behind the times.(Just wanted to be respectful and not call them stupid).

The very idea that they would even publicly state such a ridiculous idea that they have to have a solid front so they'll just get rid of the opposition just confirms what we all know that they have closed their minds against the truth.

It's like living in a closet and then believing the sun doesn't rise anymore.

This millennium will bring about changes because the "establishment" has to recognize the influence of the public. My Goodness! Even the Queen of England is no longer absolute. I hear she is going to accept Camilla, a fellow horseman, even if she does frown some.

Yesterday, is history and tomorrow is US. USA Equestrian is moving on with us.

Weatherford
Aug. 18, 2001, 12:59 PM
Privately stated, Snowbird, not publicly - therefore, not subject to any other scrutiny or admission it was even said...

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Weatherford
Aug. 18, 2001, 07:50 PM
and LOOK at the results! <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

U.S. RIDERS DOMINATE SPANISH SHOW JUMPING GRAND PRIX

USA Equestrian (formerly AHSA) announced today that U.S. riders dominated the CSI-A show in Vigo, Spain, August 10-16th 2001 after three West Coast riders took the top three places in the grand prix and the U.S. claimed seven out of 15 classes during the show.

Will Simpson from Thousand Oaks, CA riding El Campeon Farm�s seven year-old Irish mare El Campeon Ado Annie (Errigal Flight x Cool Rain Princess) won the Vigo Grand Prix with Hap Hansen from Encinitas, CA aboard Linda Smith�s 12 year-old Belgian bred gelding, Maloubet (Skippy II x Corba) finishing second and Francie Steinwedell-Carvin from La Canada, CA on Prentiss Partners eight year-old Dutch gelding, Laddidor ( Nimmerdor x Moeder II) came in third.

Five U.S. riders made it through the second round in the grand prix and the top three riders all jumped double clear rounds.

Chef d�Equipe, Dale Harvey, was delighted, � It was an incredible horse show, nothing like anything we have seen before. From the footing to the presentation and general production, it was remarkable.� <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It can be done, and done successfully, for less!

Snowbird
Aug. 18, 2001, 08:04 PM
But we all knew that a long time ago. It took the West Coast athletes to prove it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 19, 2001, 04:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:

As I was told directly at the USET Board meeting, "We really have to have a united front in this",

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I for one cannot imagine your response, but would
have suggested that the individual in question pick up Susskin and Field's book (1996) "Dealing With an Angry Public."

It reads, "Conflicts based on differences in values are particularly difficult to resolve because basic notions of self-worth are at stake."

Moreover, "Debates involving values are not only about what we want, but also about who we think we are and who we think they are in relation to us... Debates involving values upset our view of the World and of ourselves."

Weatherford, when you're right, you're right (see
previous posts for a complete list of board members and staff that have moved on).

Go West Coast Active Riders - Well Done!

Snowbird
Aug. 19, 2001, 04:47 PM
It's so easy to fall into a malaise when you see things that are not what they should be. Let's all take a leaf from the book of the western folks and focus on our target the best team possible with the best opportunities for everyone.

We don't need a Big Daddy or a Sugar Daddy, we don't want a Big Brother looking over our shoulder and we can do anything we want to do, because even one person can make a difference.

All we really want is honesty and integrity and the right to express our opinions in a way that someone will listen.

Bostonian
Aug. 19, 2001, 07:33 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:

As I was told directly at the USET Board meeting, "We really have to have a united front in this",

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I for one cannot imagine your response, but would
suggest that the individual in question picks up
Susskin and Field's book (1996) "Dealing With an Angry Public."

It reads, "Conflicts based on differences in values are particularly difficult to resolve because basic notions of self-worth are at stake."

Moreover, "Debates involving values are not only about what we want, but also about who we think we are and who we think they are in relation to us... Debates involving values upset our view of the World and of ourselves."

Weatherford, when you're right, you're right (see
previous posts for a complete list of board members and staff that have moved on).

Go West Coast Active Riders - Well Done!

Anne FS
Aug. 20, 2001, 06:41 AM
Snowbird, I agree with all your reasons why the USOC should choose USA Eq to remain as NGB. They simply *are* the NGB and have always been, for the reasons you state. It made sense to make a 'subset' to oversee international teams only, and the USET did a fine job, but the laws have changed, and that's that.

My observation was merely that, an observation. I, too, hope the USOC has enough sense to see the truth of the matter. If it does, the AHSA should have no problem. However, long-standing working relationships are also facts, and there were a few very confident statements made by USET people...it just made me think that they were relying a great deal on their previous good working relationship with the USOC to pull them through this. We'll find out soon enough.

Beans
Aug. 23, 2001, 06:54 AM
Well when you follow the conflict between the USET & AHSA (or whatever it's called), I can't help but fall back on my "B" School background and yell the Peter Principle exists. Both of these organizations need to "clean house". They need defined organizational charts, job descriptions and a leaner, meaner staff. Also IMHO they need SMALLER - not larger Boards that represent all members - oh yes what about those many, many little people out there who are the base of the pyramid for all those stars at the top. PLUS - they need a policy statement for Board members - that they sign upon appointment - clearly stating any business relationships, clearly stating that their actions within the horse world must take into consideration their impact on the corporation on who's Board they serve. I have repeatedly seen some of the "old wood" on these boards treat people in rude & condescending ways. If individuals want to sustain a reputation that they may or may not be great riders, trainers, owners or whatever BUT are absolutely snotty nasty people - well heave ho these people OFF THE BOARDS. What ever they have to contribute isn't worth the COST of their personalities and EGOS.

I had to laugh at Robert Dover's letter referenced above. O.K. he's ridden on 4 Olympic Teams - he deserves the credit BUT - wasn't he low score everytime and retiring after each time? Correct me if my facts are wrong. Any letter where a person spends the majority of time patting themselves on the back makes me wonder about their ego. Individuals have the right to takes sides & positions in this fiasco. UNFORTUNATELY, most people have stayed silent for fear of retaliation - doesn't that make everyone in this sport FURIOUS? What type of a structure exists in either organization (both non-profits that by law exist for the benefit of the members) that MEMBERS fear making their opinions and feelings heard. Somethings drastically wrong with this picture.

Have any of you who belong to the AHSA OR USET ever received a survey ASKING you how you feel about the organizations?? No! Well you know why? The leadership have distanced themselves so far from the members - they don't care and feel they know best and have all the answers. The AHSA has already hinted higher fees next year - Good God they are way too high now. We have two offices ....why??? Wasn't Kentucky supposed to eliminate NY? The USET was begging for $25,000 at the Festival of Champions to send the Reiners to Europe - but writes checks to the lawyers for this clash of the titans fight like money is water. It's nothing less than a disgrace to have a NJ Court tell the USET that their actions this year were null and void. WHO is giving them legal advice?? We, as members, are paying them...remember that!

I'm so tired of this back & forth - none of this helps our sport and sponsors cannot be pleased with the negative press. The impact of this conflict will be more far reaching than what we've seen to date.

PMJ
Aug. 23, 2001, 06:58 AM
And I don't like it!!!!!

Thank you for bringing this up.

I had noticed about RD also.

Beans
Aug. 23, 2001, 08:34 AM
It just doesn't seem to matter how the MEMBERS feel about this one either side. Yes we hear and read statements by some board members and people at the top of the sport but by and large - the majority of members are forced into silence. This is so wrong. I have to believe afters speaking with many other horse people that if a referendum were held with ALL members voting in both organizations - it would pass with a huge majority that we want this ended now - NO MORE LEGAL COSTS - NO MORE STREET FIGHTING BETWEEN EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS - AND NO MORE BAD PRESS

Portia
Aug. 23, 2001, 08:47 AM
Ilona, awhile back, some time during the Strategic Planning Intiative process or shortly after the USET filed the official NGB Challenge, the AHSA did send out an official request to the entire membership that they please let the organization know how they feel, what they wanted the organization to do, and what plan of action they supported with respect to the AHSA merged organization proposal versus the USET as NGB goverining all the other organizations beneath it.

As I understand it, the AHSA got several hundred e-mail responses to the request. That is, of course, only several hundred out of a membership of some 8000+.

USA Eq recognizes the need to communicate with the members and is trying to take advantage of new technology to do so -- that's why it had the mid-year board meeting broadcast over the internet, and had the Town Meeting on Marketing just this Monday also broadcast on the internet. That was just the start of a whole series of such Town Meetings, and they have a special e-mail address for input before, during, or after the meetings -- townmeeting@ahsa.org

Yes, they can always improve communication and feedback, and God knows they have needed to do so. I see USA Eq making a real effort in this regard, however, not just now for the sake of looking good to the USOC, but it started a couple of years ago and has grown. The NGB challenge may end up having a silver lining after all, since it has forced many needed changes to occur that would have taken a long time otherwise, just due to organizational inertia.

Weatherford
Aug. 23, 2001, 09:18 AM
The AHSA Equestrian does have an Organization chart now and pretty clealy defined roles and guidelines. All of which have been created and implemented in the past five years.

They also have a pretty comprehensive Conflict of Interest statement that must be filled out and signed by all employees, Committee members, and Trustees.

Problem is, SOME people don't seem to think this is very important, and do not even fill the forms out correctly. I was told by one of these people that the form is nothing but a way for someone else to "get him". HUH?? Conflict of interest statements MUST (by law) be filled out (correctly) by politicians, executives, as well as people volunteering for and working for non-profit organizations. Monetary conflicts are especially important to have in the open to prevent mis-use of power and bad publicity.

SGray
Aug. 23, 2001, 10:42 AM
re NHJC problem with Conflict of Interest signatory

Weatherford - how about writing to the leaders of the other disciplines (usdf, former uscta {can't recall current name off the top of my head}, the organizations for western, saddleseat, arabian, etc) to ask for a copy of their Conflict of Interest statements for comparison?

Snowbird
Aug. 23, 2001, 05:11 PM
The real problem is that the NHJC is a part of USA Equestrian, therefore the Federation is responsible for them. The other associations were established independently by members from the ground up. Since they are independent they are autonomous and responsible for their own actions.

The NHJC was started as a committee of the Federation because the hunter/jumper issues took up
almost the whole agenda. The idea was that this committee would be able to handle the issues and then make recommendations.

It was a well intentioned idea, but I think poorly formulated because they had not considered the incestuous business relationships of those on the committees. Add to that name recognition and a poor system for meetings, accountibility and membership it bears no relationship the the members they should represent.

The other big issue is that USA Equestrian asked that there be Amateurs on the Zone Committees, and the NHJC was horrifed. You may have read about the plans to revise the By-Laws of the NHJC so those things could be corrected. Those items are still on the agenda for the next convention.

You might want to read our proposals posted on http://www.hunterjumper.org.

It is evident that at least in Zone 2, everyone on the committee only is involved with the AA Shows either as an Officials, Manager or employee. There is no representation of the mass of members who compete at C/B/A Shows as amateurs, management, or officials.

SGray
Aug. 24, 2001, 06:44 AM
Snowbird

it truly sounds as if h/j needs a new, grass-roots organization - to become the h/j equivilant of the usea, the udsf, etc

bottom-up as opposed to top-down

Snowbird
Aug. 24, 2001, 10:37 AM
That's the reason we went to all the trouble of revising the By-Laws of the NHJC. The reconstruction of the Committees and the the limitation of terms as well as mandating more appropriate meeting places and times seemed the best first step.

While USA Equestrian had respect for our efforts and I did get to address the Board of the then AHSA on each issue the NHJC refused to consider or discuss almost all of them and then further when I attended the meeting of the Board of Governors of the NHJC my representative association I was denied any opportunity to answer on any of the issues. The meeting was essentially closed for any comment as the Board of Governors were manipulated to accept all of the decisions of Mr.Struzerri. In spite of the fact that there was a unanimous support for the one issue that of the New Jersey problem it was summarily dismissed by Mr.Struzerri. Later I received a letter saying that although the New Jersey show managers were in total agreement it wouldn't get done.

That is not a democracy in action, and that is not an association that represents any members in my personal opinion. And, I will not be silenced by fear of retaliation or retribution against me for my efforts.

Groundline
Aug. 24, 2001, 03:44 PM
Actually, Ilona, a while back I took a look at the AHSA/USAE website and saw the stuff from back in February which they sent to the USOC, apparently. It has a very clear org chart and plan.

And one of the other posters is right: they HAVE asked for member feedback, and they apparently have done research, too, if I heard right on the webcast of the Board meeting in July.

Beans
Aug. 24, 2001, 04:28 PM
perhaps my real concern is when this is resolved by the USOC - and we know it will be - there is a finality to this - how does the NGB go forward. Can we go forward with anyone at the helm who was involved in the battle?? I feel the wounds are too deep and too painful and at the point of resolution a new individual must be selected to lead the NGB forward to bring the fractured parties together. JMHO but that's how I see this.

Snowbird
Aug. 24, 2001, 07:15 PM
I have no doubt that those people who did the work and accomplished the tasks are so dedicated that they will do it equally well whether their check is sign USA Equestrian or USET. They are dedicated to their mission.

I have no doubt that the members of the Federation will be happy to welcome them back once the USOC resolves this dilemma. We might lose soem officials from the Board who will not be accountable to anyone. We might lose some who thought that their position on the USET was an entitlement. We will not lose the athletes.

It may have a new structure regarding candidates and their horses. That will be for the better, I still remeber reading an article awhile back by a potential Team Member who said that if he made it to the Team he would be riding for himself and not for the USA. That kind of attitude will have to go unrewarded.

Hastie
Sep. 8, 2001, 02:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:
I have no doubt that those people who did the work and accomplished the tasks are so dedicated that they will do it equally well whether their check is sign USA Equestrian or USET.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Does the AHSA's plan spell out what will happen to USET's staff, should the Team's challenge fail?

Specifically, what will happen to the discipline directors and assistant directors in Gladstone since the AHSA already has virtually the same titles in KY?

Thank you.

Snowbird
Sep. 8, 2001, 07:17 PM
The USA Equestrian and AHSA combined have bent over backwards to create a merger of the two so it could be done. My personal guess it that if it turns out the USET is just too stubborn to concede when they lose this challenge that any employees and staff members who want to continue with the Fed will have that opportunity.

WHY? Simply because it makes sense. There has been no indication that the current plans of the Fed include any vendetta or punishment for anyone. It is the USET doing the name calling and making the threats and nasty plans.

I'll bet if they sent up some trial balloons they would be very pleasntly surprised. At this point it's too bad people in this sport don't have the agent system because for sure their agents would have already made contact and have a deal.

Bostonian
Sep. 9, 2001, 10:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:

WHY? Simply because it makes sense. There has been no indication that the current plans of the Fed include any vendetta or punishment for anyone. It is the USET doing the name calling and making the threats and nasty plans.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Forgetting about HISTORY's "name calling, threats and nasty plans" for a moment - it's not a vendetta, or punishment when pink-slips are passed out after a merger; especially if there are duplications of job titles. In this case, people are definitely going to lose their jobs.

My guess nobody has brought this up before because it doesn't make any sense - for the two organizations to have people with the same titles - IF they're doing the same job...

Of course, it makes even less sense for either of these two organizations to be hiring additional staff (or independent contractors when announcing plans for another version of the Festival of Champions (see other thread)) - until they've heard from the USOC: that's just positioning and it's plain wrong.

Still, it's a good question, what does USA Equestrian propose to do with the staff "doing all the work" for those over-paid USET executives (is Balch on record anywhere)? I think we've all got a pretty good idea what's going to happen to the six figure a year bunch! They'll have a tough time staying now even if USET wins.

Linda Allen
Sep. 9, 2001, 12:04 PM
1) The American Equestrian Games concept differs from the Festival of Champions in that the KY facility is big enough (and growing as we 'speak') and it's ideally suited to host a full-on, spectator friendly multidisciple Games. Sadly, Gladstone is no longer

2) Understand that USA Equestrian is MANDATED by the Challenge process, that was initiated by the USET, to DEMONSTRATE the means by which it will handle fund-raising, sponsorship, and promotion of the sport, entirely INDEPENDANTLY of the USET if need be, since the Challenge (by definition) pits one organization's abilities AGAINST the other. The USOC beseeched both sides to find another way of going about reaching a single NGB state from October until the USET ended the SPI process.

BECAUSE the Team has been unwilling to discuss finding a means of consolidation of the two existing organizations that would allow the sport as a whole to benefit from the history and expertise from both, USA Equestrian has been left with only two choices: taking all necessary steps to successfully defend its existing NGB status; or, handing the reins of all aspects of governing Equestrian sport over to an organization that, with each passing day, looks less prepared to deal with what it's been doing, let alone take on all the other requirements such as licensed officials, date sanctioning, rule making and enforcement, and a D & M program.

Unnecessary duplication of services (and the costs involved) is never in the best interest of the membership paying for them - so some duplicate positions may no longer exist. But we all know how hard it is to find good staff who are earning their salaries. In the NF that emerges from all this strife, I will venture that there will be plenty of work for ANYONE who wants to take a part in seeing the sport they care about successfully enter the new century.

Linda Allen

[This message was edited by Linda Allen on Sep. 09, 2001 at 03:23 PM.]

Bostonian
Sep. 9, 2001, 12:56 PM
Regarding point #1: On "The NJ Court has ruled for USA Equestrian" thread, DMK and I mentioned that the Festival could be held at a number of other locations including CA, KY, Conyers, Wellington, etc.

So, no matter how you slice it, USA Equestrian appears to be trying to reinvent the concept, hang their name on it, and put the wheels in motion just before the hearings. Shrewd move really, but let's call it what it is and hope Doubleday isn't giving up his show manager job at the Pennsylvania National until AFTER the hearings.

Regarding point #2: Ok, plenty of room for "ANYONE who wants to take a part in seeing the sport they care about successfully enter the new century," unless you currently hold one of those duplicate positions: then your out of luck and better be talking to a recruiter right now (or for snowbird's benefit, let's call them agents).

It's a real shame that, from what you say, those over-paid execs insist on rolling the dice with their staff's livlihoods instead of seeking compromise.

I'll say this about your post, it really gets to the heart of the entire dispute, and what the USOC should be really be most concerned with:

Can USET "deal with what it's been doing" in addition to the other NGB functions; "such as licensed officials, date sanctioning, rule making and enforcement, and a D & M program."

I only wonder if this American Equestrian Games is USAE's attempt to show the USOC that it can do what USET's been doing... Wait, of course it is.

Portia
Sep. 9, 2001, 01:30 PM
Bostonian, to me, USA Eq is only doing what it has to do to meet the requirements of the Ted Stevens Sports Act and the USOC Constitution and By-laws.

The Sports Act and the USOC require that one organization perform all of the functions of the NGB, and cannot delegate responsibility for those functions to any other org. To be the NGB, that single organization has to be capable of performing all of those functions at the time the NGB review is conducted, or at least show that it will be able to do so in short order during an interim review period.

The USET has made a huge deal -- the very heart of its challenge, really -- out of the idea that it and only it is capable of fielding and funding US international equestrian teams. At the February meeting of the USOC Membership and Credentials Committee in San Antonio, Dr. Leone repeatedly argued that the AHSA's international programs were "all smoke and mirrors" without any real substance, while the USET was ready and able to proceed with training, funding, and fielding teams and therefore should be made the NGB (ignoring all of the other core functions of the NGB that the USET does not, has never, and is not now capable of performing, such as rules, D&M, licensing of officials, supporting the grass roots, etc.)

Since the USET refused any idea of a merger or consolidation of functions, the AHSA/USA Eq had no choice but to put its international programs in place and get them on their feet before the hearing on the Challenge. Unless it just wanted to give up and hand the entire sport over to the USET, the AHSA/USA Eq had to get ready to demonstrate that it can, right now or very shortly, do all the things the USET said was "all smoke and mirrors." It could not wait until after the USOC ruling.

Bostonian
Sep. 9, 2001, 03:09 PM
Like I said, shrewd move.

Just seems to be another example of USET getting outplayed, at least publicly.

Not that anyone is keeping score, but like Linda wrote above:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Linda Allen:
with each passing day, (USET) looks less prepared to deal with what it's been doing, let alone take on all the other requirements such as licensed officials, date sanctioning, rule making and enforcement, and a D & M program.

[This message was edited by Linda Allen on Sep. 09, 2001 at 03:23 PM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Seems to me, it's a lot easier to pick and promote teams than it is to do all that other stuff.

Let's just say I'm sitting on the USOC hearing committee with the same perception - anybody know what USET has done to ramp up its other skills - or are they just saying - sure we can do the other stuff (just like we can pass annual budgets that exceed expected revenue).

I know, I don't mean to bring that up again, but I still can't believe Leone put that in writing...

If I appear to be arguing, it only stems from the fact my son was layed off from an internet company (surprise) after the leading executives dumped their stock and I hate to think about the staff in Gladstone.

I'm sure the only ones that will receive meaningful severance packages will be Standish, Piwowar and McGrath and it makes me sick.

Portia
Sep. 10, 2001, 09:01 AM
Bostonian, the USET tried to do some things to make it look like it was prepared to assume the other NGB duties -- but the NJ court declared them all null and void.

To maintain an NGB challenge, the challenging org is supposed to already be performing or capable of performaing all of the core functions of the NGB. Since the USET focused only on the international stuff, it sort of forgot about those other things necessary to organizing and running the sport in this country -- like D&M, hearings, grievances, and discipline, date assignments, training and licensing officials, rulemaking, etc.

The USET had to set up some kind of structure for rulemaking, hearings, etc., so it made a bunch of changes to its bylaws to create a skeletal outline of such functions. They were designed to create a structure for the USET to perform the duties of the NGB that it does not perform and never has performed. (If the USET has done anything practical to make it actually capable of performing those functions beyond just changing its bylaws, I haven't heard about it.)

Anyway, as we now know, all those changes to the USET bylaws are now null and void. Thus the rush to have yet another annual meeting before the USOC hearing so the USET can re-adopt all those changes and tell the USOC that it has the proper structure and is ready to go.

However, as reported in last week's In the Country, after the NJ court ruled, USA Eq filed a renewed motion to dismiss the challenge on the basis that USET does not meet the facial requirements to maintain such a challenge (that is, even on the face of its bylaws, it is not set up to do all the things an NGB does). The USOC ordered full briefing and a possible oral argument on that motion, so we'll have to see what it rules.