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VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 02:29 PM
Proposal

For a recap of why I think we need this organization and changes, please visit my thread, “An open letter to professionals”, which I think exhaustively states my reasoning.

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?q=Y&a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=7076024331&m=7626000571&p=1


To recap:

Many, many good trainers are feeling lost and alone, trying to teach horsemanship and good sportsmanship in a sea of people who don’t bother. This can foster feelings of aloneness, separation, and self doubt quite easily. We need to let these individuals know that they are NOT alone (which was my purpose in running the other thread), then empower them and encourage them to help make a difference in the sport, both individually and collectively.

To be blunt, I don’t think we can do much to change the current crop of trainers and instructors’ views and opinions. Most of them have a significant financial interest in maintaining the status quo, and I think this thread proves (at least to me, it does) that we’re outnumbered. So what can we do?

In my opinion, the answer lies with the next generation of trainers, all the talented juniors and amateurs who are being lost or ignored by the system. These kids and young adults are our future, and if we want to truly change things in the long term, we need to start there.

Do you have a kid in your barn that’s tough, dependable, always excited to learn, and never seems to catch a break because of money? Do you have riders so eager to learn that they’ll ride anything, anytime, at a moments notice? You probably do. Many, many professionals take these talented juniors and young adults and help them to succeed, by allowing them to work off lessons and show fees, by giving them project horses to ride, by unstintingly giving of their time and expertise to these enthusiastic young people. I know I have, and I know many of you have, as well.

But what about the kid whose trainer doesn’t happen to have a “spare” equitation horse sitting around twiddling his hooves? The kid who always gets to GO to the big shows, but often as a groom or assistant because they can’t afford it any other way? What about them? To me, these kids represent our best pool of potential trainers, those who will make the kind of trainers who will turn out the riders we all want to see. Do you REALLY want the child who has had everything passed to her via money or influence turning pro and teaching our next generation of riders these “values”. The kid that’s never cleaned a stall, or fed at 5am, or stayed up with a colic for 48 hours or so? Is that our future?

My feeling is that these tough “catch rider” types represent a pool of talent that’s often wasted by our current system. These young people need to feel that their skills matter, that all those hours learning the “grunt work” that goes into GOOD horsemanship were useful in and of themselves, and are recognized as such. How do we do this? We give them a division, for starters. Let me explain.


What I think we need to do as a Start

To form a group whose membership is specifically dedicated to fostering horsemanship, good sportsmanship, and consistent, workmanlike standards at our horse shows today.

I was thinking about calling this group the Standards in Horsemanship Coalition.

As to our problem

I don’t truly believe that there’s much that can be done about the state of the big equitation classes as they exist today. Too many people have too much money and time invested in these divisions for us to be able to get any kind of real reform accomplished. Want to see somebody fight: threaten their financial security. This is an understandable, human trait. So we come at it from another angle, one that doesn’t threaten these people’s bottom line, and so keep them from having motivation to oppose it.

We create a SIHC Medal class, with the idea of giving all these riders a “place to live” and a reason to show. I have a few ideas about what this division should be, which I’ll now share, if you’re still interested.

The division is judged on equitation, and is specifically designed to give a distinct advantage to these “tough” kids who can’t ever seem to catch a break elsewhere. We level the playing field in a number of ways:

1. NO ONE except the rider that’s going to show the horse in the class may ride the animal for ANY REASON until after the class is concluded. Afterwards, if the horse has other divisions to compete with another rider or the same one, no problem. This will accomplish two things: it will keep the kids who need their trainer to work their horse for 2 hours before they can get him around the course out of the division, and it will test the individual riders ability to prep the horse for the show ring. Trainers may of course guide all they like during schooling, but from the ground only.

2. We specify in course descriptions for the over fences phase that the course should be one that can be ridden “off the riders eye”, with few or no related distances. In my opinion, excessive use of related distances does more to separate out Horses than it does riders. I’d specifically like to eliminate combinations, although a line or two is ok, as long as we adhere to a rule the judge is specifically informed of, which mirrors the IHSA view. “Number of strides per se is not to be considered, but rather consistency of rhythm, boldness, and fluidity within the athletic limits of the particular animal”. I’d also like to allow well executed simple changes without penalty. This will allow the kids to show that they have more than just “the right horse”, and will keep the retired troopers right in there competitively. I want to separate Riders, not horses.

3. I’d also like, as a MANDATORY test, to require that the top 3 placers switch horses and reride a ride-off course, after a brief 5 minute school to get a feel for the animal. This will further discourage the ones who can only ride the packer from participating.

4. Lastly, I’d like there to be a couple of “horsemanship” questions, as well as riding questions, asked as part of the test. This could be written, or done as part of the class while mounted. They should be reasonable and accepted questions, compiled by experienced professionals. I’d like this to have some weight in determining placings. (not necessarily decisive, but not 5%, either)

We'll run it as a multi part class, with a flat phase and a jumping phase, somewhat like the USET classes in basic format.

My feeling is that we need a couple of big sponsorships (tack shops or companies, horse products, etc…) to help get this off the ground. I’d like to be able to give nice prizes, and make these kids feel like they have worth and a future. Know anybody?

So, what do you think? Would you support such a division? Do you have kids that would ride in it if we could get it off the ground on a national level? Do you have contacts or experience with local or national bodies in the sport that could be helpful? Please let me know.

Ok so I’m ambitious about the project. Think I’m full of it? Let me know. Agree? Have ideas, comments, etc? I’d love to hear them. I can’t do this alone. The vast majority of you have said that, in theory, we have a problem. How about helping me do something about it? Contact information is below, I’d love to hear from you!

Jason Laumbach
PMB 123, 133 Tutu Park Mall
Saint Thomas, VI 00802
laumbach@islands.vi
340-777-3013 (barn)

[This message was edited by VIRidingAcademy on Dec. 09, 2002 at 06:32 PM.]

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 02:29 PM
Proposal

For a recap of why I think we need this organization and changes, please visit my thread, “An open letter to professionals”, which I think exhaustively states my reasoning.

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?q=Y&a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=7076024331&m=7626000571&p=1


To recap:

Many, many good trainers are feeling lost and alone, trying to teach horsemanship and good sportsmanship in a sea of people who don’t bother. This can foster feelings of aloneness, separation, and self doubt quite easily. We need to let these individuals know that they are NOT alone (which was my purpose in running the other thread), then empower them and encourage them to help make a difference in the sport, both individually and collectively.

To be blunt, I don’t think we can do much to change the current crop of trainers and instructors’ views and opinions. Most of them have a significant financial interest in maintaining the status quo, and I think this thread proves (at least to me, it does) that we’re outnumbered. So what can we do?

In my opinion, the answer lies with the next generation of trainers, all the talented juniors and amateurs who are being lost or ignored by the system. These kids and young adults are our future, and if we want to truly change things in the long term, we need to start there.

Do you have a kid in your barn that’s tough, dependable, always excited to learn, and never seems to catch a break because of money? Do you have riders so eager to learn that they’ll ride anything, anytime, at a moments notice? You probably do. Many, many professionals take these talented juniors and young adults and help them to succeed, by allowing them to work off lessons and show fees, by giving them project horses to ride, by unstintingly giving of their time and expertise to these enthusiastic young people. I know I have, and I know many of you have, as well.

But what about the kid whose trainer doesn’t happen to have a “spare” equitation horse sitting around twiddling his hooves? The kid who always gets to GO to the big shows, but often as a groom or assistant because they can’t afford it any other way? What about them? To me, these kids represent our best pool of potential trainers, those who will make the kind of trainers who will turn out the riders we all want to see. Do you REALLY want the child who has had everything passed to her via money or influence turning pro and teaching our next generation of riders these “values”. The kid that’s never cleaned a stall, or fed at 5am, or stayed up with a colic for 48 hours or so? Is that our future?

My feeling is that these tough “catch rider” types represent a pool of talent that’s often wasted by our current system. These young people need to feel that their skills matter, that all those hours learning the “grunt work” that goes into GOOD horsemanship were useful in and of themselves, and are recognized as such. How do we do this? We give them a division, for starters. Let me explain.


What I think we need to do as a Start

To form a group whose membership is specifically dedicated to fostering horsemanship, good sportsmanship, and consistent, workmanlike standards at our horse shows today.

I was thinking about calling this group the Standards in Horsemanship Coalition.

As to our problem

I don’t truly believe that there’s much that can be done about the state of the big equitation classes as they exist today. Too many people have too much money and time invested in these divisions for us to be able to get any kind of real reform accomplished. Want to see somebody fight: threaten their financial security. This is an understandable, human trait. So we come at it from another angle, one that doesn’t threaten these people’s bottom line, and so keep them from having motivation to oppose it.

We create a SIHC Medal class, with the idea of giving all these riders a “place to live” and a reason to show. I have a few ideas about what this division should be, which I’ll now share, if you’re still interested.

The division is judged on equitation, and is specifically designed to give a distinct advantage to these “tough” kids who can’t ever seem to catch a break elsewhere. We level the playing field in a number of ways:

1. NO ONE except the rider that’s going to show the horse in the class may ride the animal for ANY REASON until after the class is concluded. Afterwards, if the horse has other divisions to compete with another rider or the same one, no problem. This will accomplish two things: it will keep the kids who need their trainer to work their horse for 2 hours before they can get him around the course out of the division, and it will test the individual riders ability to prep the horse for the show ring. Trainers may of course guide all they like during schooling, but from the ground only.

2. We specify in course descriptions for the over fences phase that the course should be one that can be ridden “off the riders eye”, with few or no related distances. In my opinion, excessive use of related distances does more to separate out Horses than it does riders. I’d specifically like to eliminate combinations, although a line or two is ok, as long as we adhere to a rule the judge is specifically informed of, which mirrors the IHSA view. “Number of strides per se is not to be considered, but rather consistency of rhythm, boldness, and fluidity within the athletic limits of the particular animal”. I’d also like to allow well executed simple changes without penalty. This will allow the kids to show that they have more than just “the right horse”, and will keep the retired troopers right in there competitively. I want to separate Riders, not horses.

3. I’d also like, as a MANDATORY test, to require that the top 3 placers switch horses and reride a ride-off course, after a brief 5 minute school to get a feel for the animal. This will further discourage the ones who can only ride the packer from participating.

4. Lastly, I’d like there to be a couple of “horsemanship” questions, as well as riding questions, asked as part of the test. This could be written, or done as part of the class while mounted. They should be reasonable and accepted questions, compiled by experienced professionals. I’d like this to have some weight in determining placings. (not necessarily decisive, but not 5%, either)

We'll run it as a multi part class, with a flat phase and a jumping phase, somewhat like the USET classes in basic format.

My feeling is that we need a couple of big sponsorships (tack shops or companies, horse products, etc…) to help get this off the ground. I’d like to be able to give nice prizes, and make these kids feel like they have worth and a future. Know anybody?

So, what do you think? Would you support such a division? Do you have kids that would ride in it if we could get it off the ground on a national level? Do you have contacts or experience with local or national bodies in the sport that could be helpful? Please let me know.

Ok so I’m ambitious about the project. Think I’m full of it? Let me know. Agree? Have ideas, comments, etc? I’d love to hear them. I can’t do this alone. The vast majority of you have said that, in theory, we have a problem. How about helping me do something about it? Contact information is below, I’d love to hear from you!

Jason Laumbach
PMB 123, 133 Tutu Park Mall
Saint Thomas, VI 00802
laumbach@islands.vi
340-777-3013 (barn)

[This message was edited by VIRidingAcademy on Dec. 09, 2002 at 06:32 PM.]

Weatherford
Dec. 9, 2002, 02:49 PM
Good idea, Jason, and you are acting! However, how about doing it within the system that already exists? (I know, horrors! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

How about getting on/forming such a committee and sponsoring your horsemanship class? How about re-writing the SPECS for the USA Eq horsemanship class to reflect HORSEMANSHIP? How about helping with the new VH-V Memorial Horsemanship class so that it does what needs to be done.

There is also the AI (whatever) that certifies instructors - the organization that no one takes seriously - how about making that serious??

There are so many "organizations" out there - I would rather see this within the USAEq...

It's OUT! Linda Allen's 101 Exercises for Jumping co-authored by MOI!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

BenRidin
Dec. 9, 2002, 02:54 PM
Okay, while I mostly agree with what you said, you also mentioned something about the more wealthy kids who never feed at 5am or muck stalls or anything. I think that statement is a little too general. I know plenty of kids who don't have to work but do. Just because people have money doesn't mean they never lift a finger for themselves. Believe it or not there are kids out there that while they may get tons of fancy horses handed to them by their parents, they are still eager to ride those project horses and lend a hand mucking out a stall and what not. Okay just my two cents.. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

~BenRidin

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 03:18 PM
You misunderstand. It is my intention to get this done WITHIN the USAE, if at all possible, at least eventually. I just think we need to have a firm idea of what we want to do first. I'm talking more about a "lobbying group" kind of thing, made up of like minded professionals.

It was never my intention to create a new organization per se, but rather to get us all together to enact some changes.

Why a new division? Because restructuring existing classes will almost certainly meet opposition, while this may not. Just being practical. I don't care what they call it! But I stand behind the idea (which I certainly would be the first to admit is by no means a NEW thing, I just think this kind of class has fallen by the wayside).

Oh, and as an aside. I was talking more about riders who have NEVER, ever done the "dirty work". I don't have anything against money, believe me! If the wealthy kid has the skills to participate in the class, great! I just want a level playing field, where nobody can buy a ribbon. Too much to ask?

Sorry if my wording intimated otherwise. I'll have to rethink it, if so.

Jason

JustaLurker
Dec. 9, 2002, 03:41 PM
I'm not a pro, but...

I agree with Weatherford in that this is precisely what Victor would have wanted to see in an equitation/medal class that carried his name.

Perhaps we should be lobbying to set up his class with such specifications. This, of course, has to be done somewhat quickly and before the V H-V Memorial Horsemanship Class specs are finalized and it turns into yet another equitation/medal class run under the current rules of the game. I believe Victor would be sorely disappointed in that but would be proud to see his name on a class with specs similar to those described in Jason's proposal.

Cheers, Maggi

EventerAJ
Dec. 9, 2002, 03:49 PM
To form a group whose membership is specifically dedicated to fostering horsemanship, good sportsmanship, and consistent, workmanlike standards at our horse shows today.

Except for the horse shows part, this could be Pony Club. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Sounds like a great idea though! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

InWhyCee
Dec. 9, 2002, 04:11 PM
Really, is there ANY trainer, anywhere, who can afford to have a "spare" EQ horse standing around?

I do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your proposal for the EQ final. But please, please, please, not another All Rich Kids Are Posers; Only Poor People Can Be Horsemen thread.

Sorry, I'm not a pro!
____________

"It is by no means the privilege of the rider to part with his horse solely by his own will." -- Alois Podhajsky

"Go on, Bill... This is no place for a pony."

findeight
Dec. 9, 2002, 04:20 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by InWhyCee:

I do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your proposal for the EQ final. But please, please, please, not another All Rich Kids Are Posers; Only Poor People Can Be Horsemen thread.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Amen sister /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.

Drummerboy
Dec. 9, 2002, 04:45 PM
Jason
I think it sounds great and will be looking forward to hearing more about it. What specifically do ou need in terms of help to get this promoted etc.?
L.

poltroon
Dec. 9, 2002, 05:15 PM
I wouldn't do it as a division, just as a single medal class. You can set it up within USAE, within a regional/local association, or just by sponsoring it and getting show managers to offer it. I do like the idea of making it a USAE class.

I might consider picking the height as 3'3" rather than 3'6"... because it's easier for the horseless to get a ride on a 3'3" horse than a 3'6" horse. It's an interesting dilemma... do you decide to challenge the riders by making it a very appropriate 3'6" height, or do you lower the height to promote accessiblity?

I would've been very excited to ride in this class as a junior.

findeight
Dec. 9, 2002, 05:24 PM
Are you willing to put up some money to sponser this class?
If you are or can put it together and then offer it to show managers it could happen. If you are the sponser you can dictate the terms.

Any way you can involve those major barns you managed? I see you are only 30 so you must have been there recently, perhaps you could use your influence on your recent former clients to raise money and interest on this class proposal.

Sounds like a good idea, give it a shot and use your influence to get it started.

The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 05:46 PM
3'-3'3 for the fence heights, since those horses, as we all know, are easier to find. I'm really looking for testy courses (like perhaps a serpentine pattern, half turn in reverse, etc...). I'd rather see courses that separate skill rather than animal, whenever possible. I DO think that's possible to do.

I was further thinking that we could look at the possibliity of running a "junior" class and then another one that you had to class out of the junior by winning three blues to qualify for. But that, obviously, would be in the future. Tougher class for the ones that classed out, keep them challenged.

I"m encouraged by the response. I agree that the estimable Mr. Hugo-Vidal probably would've approved, although I didn't know him personally. Anyone know who sits on the committee that's finalizing the layout of the class? I think that's a GREAT idea, and would have a real shot if we could put the bug in the right ears.

hmmm.

This might be easier than I thought (uh-huh...).

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:04 PM
GREAT ideas, things I wouldn't have thought of (or in some cases, at least not right away, anyway /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ).

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I'm still waiting to hear from YOU, though /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

Jason

Sparky22
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:11 PM
I too am worried about our next generation of trainers..

I like what you have to say. Unfortunatley, a lot of trianers don't have a spare eq horse just laying around. As a junior I was taking whatever extra horses we had in there. I showed a lot of horses I was selling as green eq horses, or people's hunters and jumpers that needed to be schooled. Sometimes I got REALLY lucky and some other trainer had a client who was selling a horse, but said client was sick/had an emergency and wanted the horse shown.

Unfortunately not all trainers are in the position to help out - and others just won't

~~Kate~~

--------------------------
I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
-- John Keats

Sparky22
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:13 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by maggymay:


As someone who would have been in the target audience as a junior for this class I would like to see the fences higher b/c that makes it harder and gives better riders a chance to stand out.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When I was a junior my trainer and I always WISHED there was 4' equitation to weed out some of the posers /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

~~Kate~~

--------------------------
I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
-- John Keats

horselesswonder
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:14 PM
Some local shows in my area have a camp mount/lesson horse division. What about you can't own the horse you ride in this class? And if the fence height was 3'3", how cool would it be if ponies could show in the class, too? Any size pony. Plenty of the little guys can easily do that height.

Old Grey Mare
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:15 PM
Dear Jason,

I've read your open letter and your responses to others comments on this, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also appreciate your well-reasoned and positive approach. I believe some of the problem stems from equitation competition having evolved into an end in itself, instead of also being seen as a schooling ground to test fundamentals and to produce horsemen and women who could go on to compete in hunters, jumpers, or on to the USET. I believe this has led to an equitation style that in some cases has become so specialized and stylised as to be unfunctional for other kinds of jumping. I especially refer to long stirrups, excessively hollow backs, jumping ahead & lying up on the neck, and exaggerated crest releases, often with wrists rotated back. This goes along with (sometimes) excessive "preparation" of horses, students who drill on position details but can't school, switch horses, or ride a fence off their eye, and some who lack essential horsemanship knowledge & hands-on experience. I know that's not the whole picture in equitation, but there's far too much of it around and it too often results in ribbons. (Believe it or not, many of the same criticisms or similar were floating around back in the early 70's & long before, when some of us older types were juniors-- seems like there's nothing new under the sun!)

I don't think we're likely to see major changes just from just criticizing the status quo or the "powers that be," and I commend you on making a well thought-out effort to do something positive to encourage the development of real horsemanship in teaching young riders. I'd like to get behind your efforts, too.

I like both your idea of developing a specific competition, and also the proposal to incorporate your ideas in the USAEq Victor Hugo-Vidal Memorial Horsemanship class. I'd like to see the word "horsemanship" in the name of the class, and I think Victor would heartily approve.

One suggestion I'd make might be to designate a couple of sources from which questions might be drawn on horsemanship knowledge, so students can study & prepare themselves. I'd also like to see this type of class offered for various levels: pony riders, kids under 14, 14-18, and maybe even adult amateurs. Finally, might you publish a brief guide to the class for judges, trainers & exhibitors, containing its' principles & what it's to be judged on? That would also give you a place to emphasize horsemanship and sportsmanship & define what you mean by them, & describe some ways in which those qualities would be exhibited & evaluated. Because they're subjective qualities, this isn't always easy, but a guide to the class might help.

I know there are many, many trainers out there teaching real horsemanship, and thousands of students of the kind you describe--the ones you "couldn't beat away from the barn with a stick" and who will be real horsemen someday if only they get the chance. While true horsemanship doesn't depend on the rewards of competition, this is a good step to encourage and reward those who really believe in it. I also believe that our greatest chance to develop an appreciation of real horsemanship is with good education of our entry-level students and clients; if they're taught and guided well from the beginning, they will value horses and horsemanship all their lives. It's much harder to change entrenched attitudes later on.

Thanks for your proposal, and please let us know what we can do to help the concept along.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:40 PM
Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and support. You may be intersted to know that I just sent a copy of both threads and my two original proposals to the Hunter Seat Equitation Committee of USAE.

I'll be interested to hear if I get any responses back. Not all of them had email addresses, but I may just fax the others to keep things even!

Jason Laumbach

DreamBigEq37
Dec. 9, 2002, 06:57 PM
Wow. I've always hoped someone would do something like that.

About the height, what about adding a few divisions, like a 3', 3'6", and 4'0" division (maybe this one should go up to age 21 like USET??)

You might also want to consider advertising it to big trainers and starting it off at some bigger shows to get the name out. Have you considered presenting the class plan to someone like Marshall and Sterling, or ASPCA? Organizations that already sponsor eq classes?

People, Jason is not saying that rich kids who work hard can't still do well in this class. It just evens everything out, so everything depends on how well you ride, and care for horses, plain and simple. Rich people can win, "poor" people can win. This isn't a All Rich Kids are Posers thread.

*~*~Lauryn*~*~*~
&lt;3 Justice Served &lt;3
&lt;3 Nip N Tuck &lt;3
The entry deadline for the COTH Winter Equestrian Festival is December 11, 2002, at midnight! Send your entries!

Xanthoria
Dec. 9, 2002, 07:05 PM
Jason, your class idea sounds like an event I used to do as a kid in the Pony Club in the UK. It was called a hunt/cross country/country lore test (should have had a better name!) and it went like this:

Teams of 4 riders and their horses followed a course through local land, roads and tracks at a nice hacking pace, with steep hils and ditches, jumps to negotiate etc. No walking the course - you were given a map, and looked out for markers along the way.

Along the way you'd encounter various people and tests of your countryside awareness, and be scored - sometimes surreptitiously! For example - you see a loose sheep on a road. Do you report it to the next person you meet out walking in case they know the farmer, or just ignore it? Do you leave all gates as you found them? How do you deal with crossing fields of crops and livestock? Are you polite, aware and react correctly in all situations, as if out hunting or hacking?

About halfway though the course, you come to a farmyard where you stop and dismount, and are asked several questions each about horse care, land management, hunting etiqette and racing etc etc. There are also team questions and so on.

You remount and continue - more jumping, road riding and so on, to the end. You get a score based on the entire performance.

I was winning team captain several years in a row, I had a great time doing this and it tested horsemanship, awareness of surroundings, courtesy to other land users and general mental sure-footedness.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 07:25 PM
All these replies are supressing my instinctive pessimist. I'd dearly love it if we could bring some of this alive. Keep em coming, and all offers of help are welcome. Please email me for details.

Jason
laumbach@islands.vi

just for kicks
Dec. 9, 2002, 07:33 PM
O O me me, I am one of those kids. This is such a wonderful idea. But unfortunatly I will most likely age out before any of this goes into action. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif (But thats ok I am still on the search for a really nice working student position, I'm getting closer I know it.) I would love to see something like this, it would give us children with no connections a chance to be seen, meet and greet as they say. You know get our names out there, maybe be "discovered" by someone willing to mentor us, let us ride their horses, give us rides at shows, get us out there. So maybe someday we will have some hope of going pro and doing well (even if we do not have nice big trust funds /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ).

Honorary member of the Red Party

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 07:37 PM
That's the idea! I figure, not only will the class give these kids a chance to compete in a "field of their own", but it will also let the pros get a look at some of them. Maybe they see a future assistant, someone they'd like to groom and help bring along. I truly believe that many of these kids simply get passed over, because opportunities for them to compete, especially at the bigger show, are so few and far between.

Keep looking. It's out there for you.

Jason

Snowbird
Dec. 9, 2002, 07:40 PM
Wonderful, there used to be a rule that no one could ride a horse all day at a show except a junior. That's close to what you suggest. And there used to be a a Jumper Team where you didn't bring your horse that competed in International Junior Jumper Derby in Canada. It was wonderful. They also limited the number of jumps you could practice to 30 for the whole week. Jump Stewards kept track and all the horses were horses that had never been ridden by that person before.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>1. NO ONE except the rider that’s going to show the horse in the class may ride the animal for ANY REASON until after the class is concluded. Afterwards, if the horse has other divisions to compete with another rider or the same one, no problem. This will accomplish two things: it will keep the kids who need their trainer to work their horse for 2 hours before they can get him around the course out of the division, and it will test the individual riders ability to prep the horse for the show ring. Trainers may of course guide all they like during schooling, but from the ground only.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

A whole new concept is what we need, thinking out of the box but not taking anything away that is familiar. All we guys have is the opportunity to invent new conceeepts. Sure, they may get currupted later through the usual flaws but we can always come up with a new idea.


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>So, what do you think? Would you support such a division? Do you have kids that would ride in it if we could get it off the ground on a national level? Do you have contacts or experience with local or national bodies in the sport that could be helpful?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You bet our kids would love it. It's a real test of skill versus the horse's talent alone. It's what we all thought the USET Class would be and it never happened.

That's the tough part, sponsors want established winners and it's really tough but not impossible to get them interested in a new idea.

The stone wall is the fence heights. How many kids could find a sponsor who would let them use their horse for the class? Then you need more sponsors for the Awards part. Maybe start with a single state and get to the state associations. California comes to mind since it was the home of Victor Hugo Vidal, but then we out here in the east had him for a lot of years.

Personally, I think the person who most personified what you're looking for was Sullivan Davis. I think Sully won every award there was to win in almost all the breeds and disciplines. If it were not for him I might have never stayed in this business and he has a lot of students who loved him dearly that might be willing to sponsor with some hard cash if it was in his name. I think an outstanding person who would be memorialized would be the kicker to get started.

ASPCA used to have the Henry Bergh which has become extinct but was a 3'0" Class not dissimilar in character. Perhaps the ASPCA would be interested in reactivating the class.

I have a web site which we used in our last struggle for the "Right to Know". I'd be more than willing to help with the work to get this up. The site is
http://www.hunterjumper.org. If it will help you're welcome to use it.

email is members@hunterjumper.org.

If you like email me and we can work it out as a start for the dialog to get it off the ground.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 07:51 PM
I appreciate the offer of help, and fully plan to take advantage of it. I'm sure your experience "bucking the system" will be invaluable if we meet opposition along the way.

I'm starting to get a bit optimistic...

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jason

Snowbird
Dec. 9, 2002, 08:22 PM
But, nothing is impossible if you want it done badly enough. Certainly, there should be fertile ground for you to hoe when most of the shows are either not filling the equitation, or barely filling those classes. I would hope they would be responsive.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 9, 2002, 08:38 PM
that we're going to get fought at some point. I think it will help that what we're proposing won't affect anybody's bottom line. I think that those that are "against it" probably won't be too vehement about it, since it's not going to hurt them if it does become a reality.

I've got a few ideas for sponsorships. I'll email you tomorrow, and pick your brain, as well.

Jason

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 10, 2002, 06:41 AM
to hear your views, everyone. Although I particularly want to hear from pro's on this, amateurs and juniors are welcome to post also.

Please, tell me what you think.

Jason

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 10, 2002, 10:54 AM
of both statements of opinion, as well as the site of this thread, to the remaining USAE HS Eq committee members via fax.

Think they'll ignore me? Hang me? Hmmm.

Guess we'll see.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Liverpool
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:05 AM
Have you thought about contacting Joe Dotoli?

It seems to me that he runs a VERY similar competition, including a written test, in the northeast. The New England Medal Finals or something like that?

Also, I believe that WEF runs a Ronnie Mutch Memorial Equitation class that the kids must do without any assistance from their trainer - they walk the course(s), school themselves, (getting a score from a judge in the schooling area for how well they prepare) and then jump two rounds over a demanding course without any help. The second round has two course options - you are supposed to select the one that best suits your horse, and that choice is reflected in your score.

From the time the have the riders' briefing in the morning until the class is pinned, the only assistance they can have is from a groom, who may not "train" in any way - (ie, they can set a practice jump per the rider's instructions, hold the horse at the ingate while the rider walks... but nothing further.) No cell phones or leaving the area!

They had quite a few big sponsors for that class the last time I saw it - which was two years ago I believe. I have it on tape and would be happy to lend it to you if you'd like to see how it runs first hand.

I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)

Liverpool
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:11 AM
VI Riding, are you planning to attend the USA Eq convention to present these ideas?

If not, I would encourage you to consider it - it is a great venue to promote your idea, network, get feedback and meet some of the vendors who sponsor other equestrian events.

I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)

Release First
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:17 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DreamBigEq37:
You might also want to consider advertising it to big trainers and starting it off at some bigger shows to get the name out. Have you considered presenting the class plan to someone like Marshall and Sterling, or ASPCA? Organizations that already sponsor eq classes?_<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I certainly support all of your efforts to getting a class such as this started. It sounds like great fun and a class that Victor would have loved.

I would rather see it under the USA Equestrian umbrella because everyone who shows has to join this organization while no one has to join the other organizations. Marshall and Sterling is not offered at all shows and is not being offered at several of the big shows this winter and spring in California. ASPCA is only joined by the trainers and riders who are showing in that one class. I also support the idea of having finals in each part of the country. That will make it much more accessible to many more people.

When you are on your horse you can see forever. - Victor Hugo Vidal

caffeinated
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:17 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DreamBigEq37:
People, Jason is not saying that rich kids who work hard can't still do well in this class. It just evens everything out, so everything depends on how well you ride, and care for horses, plain and simple. Rich people can win, "poor" people can win. This isn't a All Rich Kids are Posers thread.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Exactly, and that's what I like about the idea. It promotes good riding and hard work, while taking out some of the distinct advantages of being rich. I would have died for classes like this when I was a junior. It may not have mattered anyway- my horse was psycho and I recognize that I am not a stellar rider. But I at least would have been competent...

I love it! And I'm ready to help in whatever way is feasible (read: I have no extra money! LOL)

**and people say gov't employees are useless... HA!**

HN73
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:27 AM
Would anyone consider this class for adults?


"Its not the years, its the mileage." -Indiana Jones

mst
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:56 AM
The idea is a great one and some of these different tests are carried out today just not all at once. Would this be an annual class or a regular weekly class? The only thing that worries me is the switching of horses. If someone else who switches on to your horse has an accident you could be out an eq horse come finals. this would really hurt the kids who can't afford to pick up a lease for the remainder of the year. just a thought.

You can ask horsemanship questions now in a medal class but it is rarely done. cynthia hankins used to do that all the time when i was a junior. i bet she had some chuckles at some of the responses.

Wouldn't it be cool if the kids had to draw from a hat what horse they had to ride in that class! i'd definetly want the front row seat! wishful thinking i guess.

good luck with your endeavors and let me know if i can help.

JRG
Dec. 10, 2002, 12:37 PM
I would like to help in this endevour. I don't have any fancy connections but another mouth might be helpful.

I might be able to help with some sort of perpetual trophy, I connections there, with something made out of crystal.

Nylar
Dec. 10, 2002, 12:41 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mst:
Wouldn't it be cool if the kids had to draw from a hat what horse they had to ride in that class! i'd definetly want the front row seat! wishful thinking i guess.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Our junior riders do this all winter in the NCEL League. Granted the fences are only 2'-2'6", but every single one of the kids (on our team they range from 9-17) can get on these random lesson horses/ponies and jump a course. And horsemanship questions are a required part of the last class at each show. I rode in the league for 2 years before I started college, and I aced my intro to management class simply because I'd had to learn all the basics before I got there.

I think the class is a fantastic idea, especially if it's made accessible to everyone. I would've killed for such an opportunity at that age. And as an upcoming pro (I start teaching hopefully as soon as I graduate), I'd love to be able to have something like that to one day aim my own students towards.

http://www.geocities.com/dunnbypicasso/

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 10, 2002, 01:01 PM
I worked for a barn that had an NCEL team. I alway thought it was an excellent program! My concern is that this sort of thing only seems to happen on a local level, and tends to be downplayed.

Wouldn't it be great to make these values of national importance! To make these kids feel special, and needed? I think so.

Jason Laumbach

Hopeful Hunter
Dec. 10, 2002, 07:06 PM
Jason --

THIS is a great idea! And how refreshing to see someone willing to put something out there, too.

Now....a few questions/comments from an adult amateur:

* I love the idea, but maybe consider either doing this in levels (novice, intermediate, advanced) with both fence heights and hosemanship questions being harder as you go? That might allow younger kids/older horses or even ponies to tackle the novice level (say, maybe at 2'9") and then ask a bit more at intermediate (say 3'3") and advanced (3'6" or up?). And you could ask progressively more difficult questions, too.

* Why just kids? We adults that didn't show as Jrs could use this, too -- maybe even more!

* I agree that it would be a good idea to have a "curriculum" from which oral questions/demonstrations would be drawn, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

* Isn't Lendon Grey doing something like this for young riders in Dressage? I thought she had some kind of show where they had to ride, demonstrate horse care (polo bandages, etc) and do a written test? You might want to ask the DQs about that.

And....keep us posted! I do PR in "real" life and would love to help with this!

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 10, 2002, 07:24 PM
I'm sure your PR skills will come in handy, as I have no pretentions of having any myself. Nobody ever called me "politically correct", I'm afraid. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Please drop me a line at:

laumbach@islands.vi

Thanks!

playing cards
Dec. 10, 2002, 11:15 PM
Hi I do not post very often, but because I was exactly the type of person that the OP wants to encourage I feel I can contribute with a different perspective.

I struggled for eight years as a working student/assistant trainer and finally had to admit I could not make it in this sport. I feel the class is a good idea also, but I feel there are so many other problems that the young non-famous pro must overcome that the one class alone would not resolve the issue. I should add here characteristics of the type of young pro I am talking about: middle class, perhaps from a non-horsey family, who is not supported by his/her parents. I'm assuming that the young pro has made it to point that they are under someone's wing (probably on the A circuit) with maybe a few horses to ride.

One major issue is that so many people go into this sport out of high school because they see grand prix riders who have made it without an education. Lack of education is never a good thing, but if the young pro is SUPER talented then it seems they can get away with it. The reality, however, is that few riders are that talented and the ones that aren't that talented need education to supplement their strong work ethic. Otherwise they do not know how to market themselves to get customers to support their teaching and riding. This was my problem. I did not have real world skills; I had no personality and no interests outside of horses that could help me court customers. I thought if I just worked hard enough I would ride well and horses and customers would fall into my lap. Not so. Much is required to change this trend. One problem is that the young pro (who supports herself/himself financially) does not have the time to further their education if they wanted to, nor are young pros encouraged to do that. In fact, an education is almost looked down upon. It is all about who you ride/rode with and who you've worked for. Making education available would require systemic changes. Perhpaps a college level tutoring system such as Carolyn Tribble's Palm Beach high school operation could be established. It would also require the trainers being supportive, though. They would have to understand that the assistant needs to go to class! As a general comment, education would help everyone learn to better market our sport, to retain customers, and just be all around better busniess people.

Another problem I faced as a young pro was getting riding time. I did not have a junior career, so even though I was a good rider I had no ring time. One horse in the low hunters, the usual ration for a non-famous assistant, was not going to cut it. How could I possibly compete against the likes of the Jaynes and others who have been entrenched in the sport for so long? This sport is set up such that the next generation is bred into place, and few new people can break in. The horse business is not like real business - you can't just get a degree and sign up. The young pro would need to be extremely resourceful to understand their situation (no experience, no contacts) first of all, and even more resourceful and educated to surmount it! Realistically, customers do not want to ride with a no-name. I realize these problems now only after spending four years getting what I thought was a useless college degree.

Another problem: money. When I first started I worked for free. Either I was stupid for doing it or my parents were stupid for letting me, but this should not be the case. But I ws young and star gazed with rose colored glasses. I though I was so lucky that big name trainer would let me work for him. BS. Young pros need to start making money and saving early so that they have a healthy enough financial base to either strike out on their own or at least not be driven out of the business because they are broke. My second year I made $100 a week. This was because I had the "privilege" of riding. At the time, I thought it was a great deal because I got to hack a famous horse every once in a while, and jump a school horse. Really it is slave labor, and our industry thinks it is okay. I mostly do not fault the trainers; I don't know who or what I fault. Customers complain they already pay way too much, with trainers, well it seems some are extremely rich (the famous ones) and the others are well, broke. Again I think lack of education, this time financial, is at the heart of the problem. By my eighth year, I was making $400 a week, taxes not taken out. I had had a few accidents that made me mortal, and I started to wonder what the hell was I doing? I looked around and saw 50-60 year old (non-famous) trainers who had no way of retiring. Their bodies were so shot they could hardly walk. Most did not even own a home, had no family, and if they did they had hardly ever been around to get to know them. I myself felt like I was falling away from my very healthy, middle class, ethical, and moral family. I did not like the new morals and ethics that were beginning to become part of me. I would catch myself saying "you mean they can only spend $25,000?" as if I had anything in the bank. In short, I did not the like person I had become, and I did not see a future in the sport for me. On top of that, I was sick of tacking up horses for other people to ride, sick of having privileged kids take my rides because they were "the customer" (although I understood why this had to be), and sick of being poor. Trainers can only help non-famous young pros so much with the way the industry currently runs. When it comes down to it, customers want an Emily Williams type on their horse that they have spent a fortune for and spent even more to show. I can understand that, as I would want that, too. My point is, I don't see how to get the type of pro the OP seeks to encourage in the irons. To change the industry, at least some of these types of pros need to become leaders (also active participators) in the sport, and if they can never get the experience (as they are probably at least ten years behind already at age 18) nor remain financially solvent until they get there....? The hunter/jumper world is exclusive to the middle class until said person from the middle class reaches post college working age, i.e. after the age they would reasonable enter the sport as a pro. With the situation the way it is, how can we not leave and become amateurs?

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 11, 2002, 06:06 AM
and I agree that these kinds of things happen all the time in the business. Let me start by saying that I don't think my little idea is going to be a panacea. I'd just rather try to DO something than go on talking endlessly about it.

I do think that this would be a good first step. Yes, in many ways I think the industry needs to change, but I also think that you have to be careful about fighting only the fights you think you can win, or you can very quickly become marginalized. I think this is something we actually have a realistic chance of getting done.

No, it won't "fix" the industry, but I do think it's a start.

Jason

playing cards
Dec. 11, 2002, 07:41 AM
I think I was unclear in my post and communicated that I feel the whole industry needs to be overhauled before any positive things can be seen. I don't know if industry overhaul is necessary, but I do know industry overhaul is unrealistic.

I thought you meant in the original original post that you wanted to get our hypothetical young rider discovered and into business for his/her self so that the industry as a whole can improve. If this is so, I think your idea accomplishes the first part and not second. I agree your idea is a start, but in order for it to go all way (and we should want it to otherwise what's the point?) we need to push on the hard questions that hold your idea back. A path needs to be carved out for the non-rich to get into business. I have two ideas for this.

The first is that we could take better advantage of the collegiate riding system, but I must qualify and say having never been a part of IHSA I am only guessing. I feel the IHSA gets very little if any respect in the "real world" of show jumping. Perhaps if the riders that participated in the IHSA could get to and participate at "real" shows somehow, "A" show professionals would be encouraged instead of discouraged to hire people that graduate from these schools with IHSA programs. Perhaps the structure of these programs can be changed to better help those that want to go into hunters and jumpers.

Also, the powers that be could lobby harder for scholarships for collegiate riders. The horse industry generates huge amounts of money for the economy (enough to get us an immunity statute in most states!), but no sport scholarships, or very few, are available. People should be encouraged through scholarship money to go to school and enter the biz. And I don't mean $1000 drops in the bucket. Kids need half, full tuition scholarships. I don't think, with the billions of dollars we generate, that it would be a hard argument to make to the dollers of the cash.

My second idea would involve our national governing body if it could ever organize itself. A division could be made for up and coming professionals, not just young riders looking to represent our country. The AHSA used to ask me for money every year to help Allison Firestone types go to Europe (please!); GM has his young riders clinic after indoors to develop young riders. But these programs only help the wealthy, I'm sorry. Young pros who are going to do the grunt work of our sport, the teaching, need help, too. Young professionals should have somewhere they can go to for advice in getting their business started. They need information on how to earn enough to compensate them for the 6 1/2 days a week they work, on how to keep good credit so that they can get a loan if needed to start their business, on how to get said loan, and on how to stay financially afloat after the business opens. I don't think pamphlets would be enough. It would be great if the NGB could run workshops during the Palm Beach, Indio, Ocala, Gulfport, and Arizona winter circuits. I think young pros would absolutely go if they felt someone was there to help them for once. Perhaps I can do something like this myself once I am out of school and working. The internet also could be a big help in the education/networking idea. As it is right now, young pros, if they get into business at all, often do it by stealing some of the customers of the trainer they currently work for. This would not have to be the case if other financial options were available. The distrust and corruption of our industry is only perpetuated because stealing customers is one of the few ways to get into business.

Any thoughts?

Nylar
Dec. 11, 2002, 08:06 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by playing cards:
Young pros who are going to do the grunt work of our sport, the teaching, need help, too. Young professionals should have somewhere they can go to for advice in getting their business started. They need information on how to earn enough to compensate them for the 6 1/2 days a week they work, on how to keep good credit so that they can get a loan if needed to start their business, on how to get said loan, and on how to stay financially afloat after the business opens. I don't think pamphlets would be enough. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pamphlets AREN'T enough for that. That's why encouraging a college education is so important. I went ahead and majored in Equestrian Studies despite the fact that so many people told me it was a worthless thing to do and that if I really wanted to teach to get some 'real life' experience. I know how to get a loan (Small Business Management classes), I understand different learning types (both Teaching Horsemanship and Educational Psychology), AND I'm getting real experience. At my college at least, teaching majors are required to student teach lessons at the college's facility. And god forbid something happen to me and I have to give up teaching, I have a liberal arts education and a college degree.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As it is right now, young pros, if they get into business at all, often do it by stealing some of the customers of the trainer they currently work for. This would not have to be the case if other financial options were available. The distrust and corruption of our industry is only perpetuated because stealing customers is one of the few ways to get into business. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

To me this statement is just sad. I understand that it's probably true in a lot of cases, and I count myself lucky for having found my trainer. Over the past 3 years (I've been with her for 6) she has made a point of talking me through EVERYTHING that happens at the barn. Some of it just reinforces what I've learned in school, but I also know how to go look at horses for sale, how to ride a sale horse for someone else looking, and how to deal with not only the kids that come in for lessons but the parents as well. When the time comes for me to start gathering clients, I know that my trainer fully intends to help me. I don't feel the need to 'steal' clients away from her, frankly the thought never crossed my mind.

http://www.geocities.com/dunnbypicasso/

playing cards
Dec. 11, 2002, 08:17 AM
I agree stealing customers is a sick idea but it happens all the time. And, I would imagine the people that do it do not like doing it. Who wouldn't prefer to use a legitimate method and not burn bridges? I would never do it, and seeing no other way, I got out.

It seems you are on a good track, but what has your expereince been looking for jobs? When I was working, people who came by with resumes from equestrian colleges, sadly, were not taken seriously. Either it was felt that they really couldn't ride, or didn't have a realistic view of the business. Many pros that are out there now do not value an education. If a student starts spewing about a theory they learned in college, it was like, "oh god get this person away from me." In my mind this thought culture needs to be changed. We should take advantage of the few BNT's who have gone to an equestrian college, like Beezie Madden. Hopefully they would be willing to hire/ promote their alma mater's students.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 11, 2002, 08:51 AM
that I'd like to express, but unfortunately, time forbids. I'll see if I can get it up tonight. Good points, though, both of you! I can clearly understand where each of you is coming from.

I think I see a different solution set to the problems than you guys do, but that probably has more to do with my own background and experience than anything else.

Jason Laumbach

playing cards
Dec. 11, 2002, 09:23 AM
I may not be around to immediately respond either as I have a big final later today.

KatyDID
Dec. 11, 2002, 11:57 AM
I did not understand Jason's proposed class (which I think is a great idea) to have as a major objective the identification of aspiring young "pros" so that they can receive support. I understood it to be a concrete suggestion as to how, in a competition setting, standards of excellence can be encouraged. Aspiring to excellence in horsemanship (or anything else) is not confined to "pros".

Simple economics dictate that simply wanting it to be so will not ensure that a desired career path will provide a viable living (even desperately wanting it and trying your guts out) . My first career was in the world of classical music and lasted a pretty decent 11 years. But I formed the view during that time (and still hold it) that all the music departments in all the universities across the country were doing young musicians a great disservice by continuing to admit students to the programs, thereby creating the impression that a viable career playing in an orchestra could be had for all. This quickly becomes a self-perpetuating nightmare: oftentimes the faculty are teaching because they cannot get orchestra jobs but, if they have no students to teach in the program, they are on the dole once again. But the job market for classical musicians is too small to provide careers for all the graduates, and talented and well-trained musicians must, in most cases, do something additional or something completely different just to make ends meet. Does this sound a little bit familiar? Where did it go wrong?

Well, perhaps at that seminal moment when the high school student faced up to the prospect of going out into the larger, unfamiliar world of college or work-a-day world. Some of the postings sound just a little bit as though "the world owes me a living in this field because I happen to like it best". Not every person who rides (or plays a musical instrument) should make a career of it, however much they enjoy it. I made a career change in my thirties in large part to ensure that I will be able to fund myself in my sport. It was my responsibility and no one else's to make it so. My husband and I ride and teach and bring on young jumpers and dressage prospects at our farm, while I practice law full time. You may never see me riding on the team, but then again, don't count me out! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

The horse industry is no different from any other in the sense that economically, it cannot provide an adequate living for every single person who wants to be a part of it. This is why the "pro" of today, who originally selected that path because of a love of horses, is later seen pushing young horses too fast, drugging old horses so they can do "one more trip" and generally failing to respect the horses in their power: Those horses are now required to fund the mortgage payment, the car payment, etc., and now economics (and not love/respect of the animal/art/science) is the motivating factor. This cannot lead to excellence, and yet it is the example seen in the industry over and over again.

In my experience, most of one's leading must be done by example, and we have few in the current incarnation of the industry to emulate.

A bit of a rave, and a tiny bit off point (!), but well-intentioned!
Best to all.
Loretta

poltroon
Dec. 11, 2002, 12:15 PM
Lendon Gray has been working her tail off to add a Dressage Seat Medal class to the USA Eq roster. One of her goals was to set up the class in such a way that the competitors could compete on ordinary borrowed horses for the finals. (As opposed to the $$$$$ leases for the hunt seat finals.)

She's certainly been fighting the good fight, and would be a good person to talk to.

playing cards
Dec. 11, 2002, 12:54 PM
Loretta,

I agree with much of what you wrote, but I'm unclear about what you propose. Are you saying that people should only be professional horsepersons on the side? As a second interest? I think what you do is great, and would love to do that myself, but are you saying that horses should not be a business because when horses pay the bills people can't help but be unethical? If so, I'm not sure that is realistic. If that's not what you propose, then I guess I still disagree, respectfully.

People will inevitably go into the horse business. Customers have an interest in encouraging unorthodox pros because they need choices. If we don't open channels to viable careers, we are left with those whose families have been in the sport for generations. Customers will continue to be at the mercy of unethical horse and business practices (I realize I am generalizing here) because "that's how things are done." Classical music seems different from horses in a way. The market I would guess is much smaller there. Many people ride, which makes me think viable careers could be made. The top professionals can barely handle the customers loads that they have. Additionally, I think many customers would gladly change trainers if they only felt there were somewhere better to go.

playing cards
Dec. 11, 2002, 01:06 PM
Sorry, I just reread another part of your post. I agree that a living is not owed to one just because they happen to like horses. But, after 8 years of 80 hours weeks I think the young pro, who works hard, rides well, teaches well, and has good customer relations but is not rich and not famous should have some guidance and industry support to at least get a regional business started. The niche of the problem is that the unorthodox pro who has not had a junior career has very little experience starting out. The tradition of the industry is that they work an apprentice type job to get the experience, but how can they get beyond the fringes of the industry into the heart of the sport with no financial base? I guess I feel that at least some of the structure of scholarships which allow any talented kid (in theory) to go to a great college could be applied in some ways to the horse industry. As it is the honest, hard working types, who ride and teach better than the average have a very, very hard time making it.

Gold Dust
Dec. 11, 2002, 01:36 PM
3. I’d also like, as a MANDATORY test, to require that the top 3 placers switch horses and reride a ride-off course, after a brief 5 minute school to get a feel for the animal. This will further discourage the ones who can only ride the packer from participating.


Finally, had time to read your proposal and I love the idea.

#3. could be a problem. Years ago I loved to see the 'often' switch of horses. This truly did do some weeding in the garden. This is not seen often anymore and I did hear many say because the amount of money these horses are insured for it left open a possibility of law suits for many. I personally would like to see this make a comeback but will insurance companies get in the way of this test?

"Disaster is the only thing that I can depend on"-
Stevie Nicks

findeight
Dec. 11, 2002, 02:43 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by playing cards:
....... When I was working, people who came by with resumes from equestrian colleges, sadly, were not taken seriously. Either it was felt that they really couldn't ride, or didn't have a realistic view of the business. Many pros that are out there now do not value an education. If a student starts spewing about a theory they learned in college, it was like, "oh god get this person away from me." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Couldn't resist weighing in on this one. My trainer has bent over backwards trying to employ these graduates. Trouble is the college did absolutely nothing to prepare them for what their actual jobs would be. They were hired to teach the beginners, ride some-after demonstrating they could-and help with the general barn chores like everybody else does, even the pro show rider. One was an excellent worker and eventually did go into business on her own. The other five or six made no secret of the fact they went to such and such college and should be riding the Grand Prix horse, not schooling ponies or, heaven forbid, mucking. They wasted time arguing about the trainers techniques behind her back. They didn't last despite getting plenty of saddle time. Half of them were scared to death of the horses they rode.

The colleges need to develop some kind of work experience program to accompany the academic studies. This business is really based on old style apprenticeship, perhaps the colleges should realize this.

They do turn out many good and talented people, but too many spend the 4 years with illusions of walking into a job as a trainer and pro rider and it doesn't happen that way. Hands on experience and lots of it are what it takes...same as with horsemanship in general.

The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 11, 2002, 03:32 PM
I find myself agreeing with both of you.

I ran large facilities for years, and used to get NUMEROUS applicants from these "equestrian studies" programs coming to me looking for work. The problem is that these people had practically no REAL hands on experience in the way the industry ACTUALLY works.

Most of them could spout theory, in a very well-rehearsed way, but had no flexibility. They could teach, but only the way they themselves were taught. Their views were generally very narrow. I don't say this to disparage these kids, some of whom seemed to genuinely want to make it in the business.

I DO think, however, that universities are telling these kids that they're ready for a head-trainer position because of their "credit hours". They tend to feel that going to school was "putting in their time and paying their dues", and that they should be able to walk right into teaching and training. It doesn't work like that in the real world, nor should it.

There is a huge gap in the experience and practical know-how of the horseperson that has spent years actually running a barn and teaching, versus someone who has spent the SAME AMOUNT of time learning these things in a classroom setting. That's just the way it is.

Honestly, I think that just about the biggest problem with many of these university programs is this. Colleges don't value top pros, and so aren't really interested in having someone with real, practical experience and information to impart running their programs. They don't understand that this person with 20 years experience in the business holds the equivalent of a phd. They tend to want to pay them like a graduate assistant, and top pros are unlikely to stand for that for too long when they can go off on their own, be successful, and not have the school looming over their shoulder.

University programs also tend to group riding programs under Agriculture "read:cows, pigs, chickens, and oh yeah, horses". This leads to people who don't really understand the system making decisions about the curriculum and the emphasis that should be placed on aspects of the business.

I KNOW that there are well-run programs out there, I also think that there are a lot more that are just taking these kids' money to no effect.

Sorry, guys. You DO have to put in your time, and no, it doesn't always work out even when you DO. Honestly, I think that that's more about personality type than anything else.

Ever notice that reputable pros that have been in the industry tend to share certain personality traits? I've always found that people with certain personalities will NEVER last in the business, no matter how hard they try or how many breaks they're given. I think there's good reason for that. No matter how accessible we try to make the industry, it's still up to the individual to make it happen.

Oh, PS. I DO think a degree is a good idea for pros. I just think that a liberal arts degree, or better yet, a business degree, in the long run are probably a better bet for actual usefulness.

My usual oversized 2 cents.

Jason

Lucassb
Dec. 11, 2002, 07:26 PM
In terms of degree programs we might want to look to the BHS system which is pretty well regarded (and very hands on) for something to build on.

The degrees one earns through this progressive system from accredited facilities MEANS something in their market and if you page through Horse and Hound or similar pubs, you will see advertisements that specifiy BHSAI or whatever... and many offer continuing education in that system to qualified employees.

Now, I would not argue that the average compensation paid in the european system is something to emulate; working conditions for grooming and assistant positions are often far below what I would consider normal here. But the systematic educational approach there is something we would do well to take a look at.

**********
"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that
matters, in the end."
-Ursula K. Le Guin

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 11, 2002, 07:50 PM
I've met a few graduates of BHS and been...

unimpressed, generally.

I don't know thing one about their system, however, and I certainly wouldn't want myself evaluated according to some random trainer a British instructor happened to meet in the course of his life. So in all fairness, I'd have to know more about the system itself.

Jason

cookiesncream
Dec. 11, 2002, 08:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by VIRidingAcademy:


I DO think a degree is a good idea for pros. I just think that a liberal arts degree, or better yet, a business degree, in the long run are probably a better bet for actual usefulness.

My usual oversized 2 cents.

Jason<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I totally agree that a liberal arts degree is a wonderful idea for all professional horsepeople....actually, I think it is a wonderful idea for EVERYONE! I won't start with my theories on education (I could make this thread 10 pages long in no time /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif), but I will say that, besides making thier lives more fulfilling, it would also be a great asset in the trainers' professional lives, especially because trainers, essentially, make their living by working with their clients. These clients tend to be well educated (or in the process of becoming well educated while their already well educated parents pay the bills /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif). So, a shared education background puts the clients and trainers on a similar page, making it easier for the trainer and client to relate, and thus, easier for the trainer to retain a strong client base.
Of course, this is all in very general terms (read: almost as many exceptions as the rule), and I firmly believe the main value of education is as an ends in itself.

P.S. My former trainer attended the university I am currently attending, UC Berkeley!

Lucassb
Dec. 11, 2002, 08:05 PM
VI,

I have met both highly qualified and somewhat unimpressive BHS certified folks. Just like any professional certification, I suppose... there are good docs, lawyers etc and not so good ones. But regardless, there is an accepted training program, with pre-requisites, testing, and a recognized degree for those who graduate, and at least in parts of Europe, the degree seems to be worth something. The Germans have a system, too, and "Bereiter" is a title that means something there.

Heck, Pony Club offers many of the same types of qualifications and training, and it is a mystery why it is not more highly esteemed here, but maybe I am missing something.

By the way - I didn't see where you replied to my earlier question(s). Are you going to the USA Eq convention to discuss some of these ideas in January??

**********
"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that
matters, in the end."
-Ursula K. Le Guin

Snowbird
Dec. 11, 2002, 08:20 PM
and there are new ideas. Think out of the box and think new concepts. Let's not rain on anyone's parade until we can see that it won't fly.

There is a place and time to change and this is a great year to reform old ideas into new ones. The idea for the Equitation Class is not a new idea it a very old tested and true one. Degrees that measure skill is not a new idea, it's a very old idea that can be applied to what we do.

Can a degree balance against graduating from the school of hard knocks, who knows for sure? But, it's a start in the right direction. I like the idea of drawing a horse out of hat. I like holding a sort of SAT for horsemanship.

It can happen if we want it to happen, but if we just pick ideas apart we will always be victims of the system.

playing cards
Dec. 12, 2002, 12:08 AM
I just want to clarify I'm not touting the equestrian schools because of what they are, but merely because they are there waiting to be properly used. I'm not saying hire the graduates as they are now prepared, I'm just taking the advice of an earlier poster and trying to think of ways to use systems that are in place. If we could in some way get those students to have real world experience, it could be the best of both worlds. Perhaps summer "internships" with good trainers? I don't know. I agree alot of kids are getting scammed as it is and come out with unrealistic expectations.

I also think it is necessary to pick apart ideas before choosing one, so we know we are choosing the right one. I hope everyone else is also enjoying the discussion.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 12, 2002, 07:10 AM
I think they're ignoring me.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

we'll wait a week or so, then go from there, if I can count on a little support. Thanks very much to those of you who have already emailed me asking what you can do to help. Much appreciated.

Jason
laumbach@islands.v
340-777-3013

Arcadien
Dec. 12, 2002, 07:52 AM
I read all of this thread and I keep coming back to the thought of Pony Club. Having been a bit involved as a club founder and instructor with USPC, I know I would feel a lot more comfortable handing over my horses to a Pony Clubber of at least B or H-A status, than I would anyone who had won XX ribbons & trophies in Big Eq or Hunter over the years. Reason being, Pony Clubbers have to progress gradually through very specific tests of broad riding requirements as well as horsemanship. They have to both demonstrate abilities at progressive skills as well as take written tests. Every kid begins at D-1, progresses through approximately 12 levels to reach the top level "A". Each level is a coveted achievement to a pony clubber, and they become, step by step, well rounded REAL horseman. It's difficult to impossible to "buy" or "cheat" ones way up these grades, and the kids who don't really want it are quickly weeded out. But the ones that do, are not limited by funds, the USPC is great for finding and encouraging ways to be frugal yet still achieve the grades.

Those who brush up against USPC become so impressed, they have even started one for adult amateurs, called "OPPC" - Old People's Pony Club! It's new but gaining popularity quickly.

Anyway, I read all of this thread, thinking, what is needed is a progressive grading system something like Pony Clubs. All encompassing riding and horsemanship skills, from the H/J perspective, with labelled "grades" riders can achieve, and become respected once the meaning of the grades becomes apparent to the greater public.

I think most Pony Club officials would be willing to share information on their systems - in fact the website lists the requirements per level, so that is already public knowledge. But they might offer some ideas on how to get this off the ground for the H/J/Eq world, and pitfalls to avoid, etc. Might want to check out the website -

www.uspc.org (http://www.uspc.org)

Good idea, definitely worth pursuing!

Arcadien

findeight
Dec. 12, 2002, 09:30 AM
You know what Jason? The schools with the cows, pigs and chickens tend to have better programs then, say, a liberal arts type institution.

Farm=hard work and lots of it. That's what is missing in some of the grads I have run into. Plus they can't fix anything or drive a tractor. Schools with extensive Ag programs seem to know what it really takes. Students get more exposure to the grunt end of things. That pre vet course requires slogging around a sheep pen not just looking at a horse in a barn. Feeds and feeding lab can involve figuring pasture for cows as well as horses.

Some of these liberal arts schools have excellent programs as far as the horses and riding are concerned but still fall short of preparing grads for what they will really face. Some of these schools hire budget priced coaches that have no idea what is going on.

Getting a 4 year degree in Business Administration , learning to drive a tractor and getting a CDL would serve many far better then what too many of these programs serve up.

The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.

Ridin' Fool
Dec. 12, 2002, 09:49 AM
I didn't read all 4 pages of the thread but really liked what Arcadien had to say! Why can't we simply infuse "horsemanship" elements from Pony Club into the Medal and Maclay classes? Isn't the USA EQ annual meeting coming up? Changes can't be made unless the members speak up!

I would love for these divisions to judge participants on their horse care (stall cleaning), braiding, horse knowledge AND riding skill. Pony Club is really amazing - would it be that hard to make changes to the current Medal classes? I remember (in the 80's) being asked questions re: my tack and horse's conformation as part of my AHSA Medal test. Or, having to switch horses in the ride off, or (horrors) having to jump the entire course again without stirrups - and the fences really were a full 3'6". That's when the Medal & Maclay separated the men from the boys, so to speak.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 12, 2002, 10:03 AM
it Would be that hard. Let me explain...

What we are dealing with here is an established system made up of people who make their LIVING by working the system as it now exists. You don't attack people's livelihood unless you want to fight. I'd rather institute change by running what I'd LIKE to see, rather than confronting those that are currently doing the circuit with ideas that would be seen as threatening.

It would be much easier to do it as I've suggested, and run a new class or division (possibly divided by age, depending on what kind of response we get) that it would be to change existing classes into what we'd like. We have to live in the real world about this.

As an aside, I have an opinion about pony club that probably isn't going to be popular (but then again, I've NEVER been popular /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ).

In my experience, pony club is a wonderful idea that is often very poorly executed for two reasons. One, because of the emphasis on affordability, they often can't afford a full-time professional instructor, and try to make do with occasional clinics and somebody "doing a little teaching on the side".

Secondly, many of the local groups seem to be run or managed by the parents, which leads to all kinds of administrative and organizational problems. I've never yet run across a barn that was well-operated that was run democratically. Somebody with credentials has GOT to be the boss.

I'm sure there are well organized groups around, and I think that the CONCEPT is great. I've also met many graduates that didn't know what they should for their level, or didn't ride as well as they supposedly had been "tested" for. I've also met competent pony clubbers. This is just my personal experience.

At any rate, my point isn't really to "attack" anyone, but rather to try to do something positive. I hope some of you will join me in that.

Jason

Arcadien
Dec. 12, 2002, 12:09 PM
Well, obviously any group is what it's members make it, and there are of course different levels of competency among pony clubs as any other group.

That said, I believe USPC has a better shot at turning out what you originally claimed as the goal - overall competency in riding, animal husbandry, and horsemanship, to a degree where an individual could be trusted to pass along quality riding and horsemanship to future generations.

And be careful about evaluating the LEVELs of the pony clubbers you meet before passing judgement on the entire system - a D-3, for instance, is just beginning to jump courses at about 2'. In my post I mentioned a B or H-A as my "competent" horseman example - at those levels they have ridden 3'3" courses, taught younger pony clubbers under supervision, been tested in wrapping, grooming, feeding, copious veterinary care, loading, turning out, lunging, and a whole carload of other stuff.

Maybe they don't retain it all, but at least I know they have at one point read and studied, for example, what a colic looks like, how serious it is, and what should be done. Or they know that wrapping legs is not to be done carelessly, and have been tested in applying several types of wraps.

All this is something an H/J/Eq rider winning at 3'6" could still be clueless about, given the current system.

At Pony Club's top standard, an "A" pony clubber is competing at Prelim level eventing (FEI), 3'6" jumpers, and 2nd level dressage. No one is permitted to get on their horse or help them, during their tests. They have to have brought a young green horse along to a certain point, as well. And they have studied enough veterinary materials to enter vet school! They have a required reading list which includes many classic equestrian texts.

Kids at that level don't take lessons from the local-yokal next door, they ride with the likes of Debbie Adams, Stephen Bradley (A grad himself), Lucinda Green, I could go on.

But back to the point at hand, I wasn't suggesting changing the format of the "Big Eq"; as you point out that would be next to impossible, and also many of those in that division now wouldn't be the type to be interested in the new division/class we're discussing. I just brought up Pony Club as it seems to have done a lot of the homework already in laying the horsemanship basis for this new "overall horseman" division or class, and a format that has already proven succesfull. Plus I thought incorporating some kind of "grading" system into this new division might inspire kids/ammies, to give them something to pursue that they can be justifiably proud of, and which might help those of the group that seek job credentials for work in the horse world. Ie, have 3 progressive levels, with increasing heights, riding skill tests, and written or verbal horsemanship tests. No one is allowed to school their horses the day of the show for them, and a rider must achieve three instances of a "passing score" at each level, before moving up. By the end, they can say they have achieved top "A" ratings in the Classical Horsemanship (or whatever) division, and people would know what that meant. Then maybe there would be a "graduate" class so those who had achieved top rating could still test against each other and keep improving.

Well, I have to get back to my "real job", lol. Still very intrigued with your concept, and please don't think I'm trying to shove Pony club down anyone's throat (I know it has it's bad apples!) but I just wanted to be sure you understood the ratings, and that a potential source of assistance wasn't overlooked. I would love to see such a division or class come to fruition, and would support it with my kids and myself.

Cheers,
Arcadien

KatyDID
Dec. 12, 2002, 01:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> from playing cards <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Are you saying that people should only be professional horsepersons on the side? As a second interest? I think what you do is great, and would love to do that myself, but are you saying that horses should not be a business because when horses pay the bills people can't help but be unethical? If so, I'm not sure that is realistic. If that's not what you propose, then I guess I still disagree, respectfully.

My answer to all three questions above is a resounding "no". Having said that, the sad fact is that the overwhelming majority of "trainers", from racing to cutting to dressage to polo to H/J cut corners and compromise on a daily basis the health, welfare and future of the horses in their charge in order to survive in business. Is this unethical? We all make our own decisions, and I decided the answer is YES.

Quote from playing cards:
People will inevitably go into the horse business. Customers have an interest in encouraging unorthodox pros because they need choices.

Do I understand correctly from your second post in response to mine that by unorthodox pro, you mean someone who did not develop a competitive reputation as a junior? At any rate, while I agree that people need choices, they cannot recognize a GOOD choice when they themselves know nothing of the field. People should be able to purchase competent, consistent and fairly provided services from someone who is ethical and responsible. This industry, being utterly without responsibility to any type of oversight is as treacherous as the underworld --- the lunatics are running the asylum and they LIKE it that way. Being both a consumer and a provider of services in the industry<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>, I can tell you that whether someone had a successful competive career or not is not a factor in my choice-making --- I want someone who knows how to do it right and cares enough to deliver that knowledge to those who request it. Period. And I am only interested in taking students/clients who feel the same way.

Quote from playing cards:
If we don't open channels to viable careers, we are left with those whose families have been in the sport for generations.

I'm not prepared to make a blanket statement that that's not OK. Those who are in the business must be correct, competent and ethical --- THAT is the standard.

Quote from playing cards:
Customers will continue to be at the mercy of unethical horse and business practices (I realize I am generalizing here) because "that's how things are done."

Perhaps I misunderstand. I'm sure you do not mean that it's OK that things are done unethically!?

Quote from playing cards:
The niche of the problem is that the unorthodox pro who has not had a junior career has very little experience starting out. The tradition of the industry is that they work an apprentice type job to get the experience, but how can they get beyond the fringes of the industry into the heart of the sport with no financial base

I think we will probably disagree as to what, precisely, is the problem (if in fact it can be traced to any one factor!). But if we view scholarships as a financial grant or some other concrete assistance to get a start, the scholarship program does sort of exist in the industry in the form of people who buy horses and give them to others to ride. Having said that, scholarships are generally awarded so that the recipient can study the theory behind a particular field or career path, not start a business. I think you would agree with me if I said that one way to establish yourself in this business is to be successful in the show ring. But if you don't get a scholarship (i.e., a nice horse to ride) and you are not otherwise financially provided for, how can you do this? Well, if the unethical practices of the pros hadn't driven up the price of horses beyond all reason in this country, you might be able to buy at least a prospect and make your own, thus enjoying show ring success and in the process, gathering a clientele.

Is it convenient do you think, or merely ironic that the pros have so inflated prices in the market so that they cannot afford the horses themselves? And by convenient, I mean that I believe most pros cannot make horses any more and most are incapable of even preserving the status quo of a made horse, so perhaps it's just as well they have made them too expensive for themselves.

OK, another "no-holds-barred" post, but let's keep talking, all! Jason's idea and premises need and deserve the support of everyone who wants to see the industry do the right thing for both horses and people. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
Best.
Loretta

Snowbird
Dec. 12, 2002, 02:05 PM
The best way we all learned the arts was as an apprentice. Perhaps, that is the way to go. We need to change the definition or job description of working students to levels of apprenticeship.

I don't think a degree in Equine Studies has made very many employable on a working horse farm. The problem is that many of the colleges start with non-riders so the four years is spent on essentials of horsemanship.

Actually, I have a copy of the original manual given to the cavalry. A cadet got a book and a horse. It is the best do-it-yourself book on animal management I've ever seen.

I think we are talking in generalizations from our own perspective. There are so many shades of gray between. The sad part is those who have a little knowledge seem to think they are experts and do not realize how much they don't know.

But, the issue here is a new class which might measure levels and give a score. It could be our own version of the SAT rather perhaps than a simple class at a horse show. I think it is a wonderful raw idea.

Don't be depressed by the lack of response, this is a really busy time of year for everyone, but I would hope that you would attend the convention and try to win some converts for the idea.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 12, 2002, 03:08 PM
depressed, snowbird. That was more like a "keeping you all informed" snippet of information.

I have patience, and I even have a life too!

I also recognize that not everybody considers net access so indispensable that they take it everywhere on the road with them.

As to the convention, I'd like to, but there are a lot of factors in my way. First of all, travel to and from my location is EXPENSIVE, and I'm not really sure I can swing it financially at this point. Might have to contact a few "proxies" to present this in my stead. I'm not particularly interested in "credit" or "blame /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif", I'd just like to see the idea given a shot. I'd really love to be there, trust me.

Jason Laumbach

InWhyCee
Dec. 12, 2002, 04:11 PM
You just lost me here... are you saying that Pony Club should be charging exorbinant dues to their members because god forbid a child learns anything without a pro at their elbow? Isn't the point of this thread that there are many dedicated riders who simply can't afford regular lessons with BNTs? And that there just may be good some horsemen out there who, for whatever reason, can't afford to break into the ranks of the full-time professional pros?
_______________

"It is by no means the privilege of the rider to part with his horse solely by his own will." -- Alois Podhajsky

"Go on, Bill... This is no place for a pony."

playing cards
Dec. 12, 2002, 04:21 PM
First, I want to say this thread is really one of the most intelligent I have ever read on this board, and that I have thoroughly enjoyed following along.

Jason, I'm sure you will get things done. Many people raise ideas and then drop out of sight, but you seem to be in this for the long haul, and I really admire your perserverance.

Loretta, I agree with everything you wrote. No, I did not mean that it is okay for people to be unethical because "that's they way things are done." As an aside, you write so well the NY Times should hire you! If only my Torts exam last night had been so lucid and logical...sigh.

Nylar
Dec. 12, 2002, 04:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The niche of the problem is that the unorthodox pro who has not had a junior career has very little experience starting out.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes and no. I love the concept of this class because it gives these juniors a place to really show what they're made of BEYOND how they sit on a horse. Which of course is what people are looking for when they find a professional to either ride or train for them. It may also help some top-notch young riders who wouldn't otherwise be seen at this level of competition.

On the other hand, I don't think that having a junior career is mandatory for becoming a good pro. It may take more time to prove yourself to others if you don't have an impressive show record, but there's no written law that you have to have shown extensively as a junior in order to have a career in horses. There are plenty of us who probably will remain at the local/small rated level our entire lives, and for whom it will not matter whether or not they ever won a class at an 'A' show.

http://www.geocities.com/dunnbypicasso/

JenEM
Dec. 12, 2002, 04:42 PM
I didn't have a "junior career," and as someone who's getting ready to leave (a liberal arts) college come May, I doubt as a young careerwoman I'll have much disposable income to start an amateur one now! But looking at this as something that would be possible down the road, I would love to see this set up as a class open to both juniors and amateurs!

Someone several pages ago made the suggestion about setting it up as a novice/intermediate/advanced class, with gradations by fence height, maybe starting at something like 2'9, moving to 3'3, then finally 4'? That seems like something that would work well and make it open to more people. I also like the idea of a course to be ridden off one's eye, with bending lines and things. One of my favorite lessons this semester was working on moving forwards through an "s" shaped line! Something like that would be great to incorporate.

I'll be looking forward to this class in about ten years when I've got a horse /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 12, 2002, 04:56 PM
I have no intention of engaging in a debate on the merits of pony club. I only shared my own experiences to state why I hold the opinion I do. Others are of course free to hold their own /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

The purpose of this thread is the proposal at the beginning, as a START to a remedy of our long-term problems as an industry. I think it's a good idea, worth pursuing, and I refuse to be distracted.
I think my own viewpoint on teaching and riding is stated rather exhaustively in the original thread(link at top of this one), and I have no intention of rehashing it here.

A bit of a one-track mind (or a stubborn streak, depending on your point of view /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ).

Ah well, such is life.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jason

KatyDID
Dec. 13, 2002, 03:51 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by playing cards:

Loretta, I agree with everything you wrote. No, I did not mean that it is okay for people to be unethical because "that's they way things are done." As an aside, you write so well the NY Times should hire you! If only my Torts exam last night had been so lucid and logical...sigh.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hang in there. Your exams will soon be over (at least for the time being /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)! And thank you very much for your too-kind words. However, if I worked for the NY Times, I wouldn't have time to be part of Jason's effort to RAISE THE BAR!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 13, 2002, 07:21 AM
Still hoping to hear from a few more trainers on this. I seem to have the perspective of a lot of amateurs and juniors, which is great, but I'd like some more viewpoints. Even if they don't agree!

Jason

Sparky22
Dec. 13, 2002, 07:51 AM
I think the class is a great idea -

I would really like to see people drawing horses and/or switching horses. I hate seeing riders (especially kids) on the same horse ALL the time. It's one thing to show your own horse, but I wish more kids could get the variety that they need to make them a better rider.

In fact, I had a lesson with a kid on her green, but extremely super horse. My mother happened to stop out to see if she could con her way into getting a horse to hack. She watched parts of the kid's lesson and later commented to me on how well the kid is riding, and how much she improved. I agreed that she looked great on HER horse, but I also commented that if I happened to have a spare to throw her on she would not be looking so hot! The kid is fortunate enough to have two horses to take care of, but that leaves her little time for a lot of extra riding when it isn't the summer.

I think this is one of the problems a lot of kids have: not enough exposure to different horses. I think a lot of that has to do with a ,many kids either having their own horse or leasing. I consider myself fortunate that I came from a family without the means to lease/buy me a horse - I rode more different horses when I was a kid than I can count. It makes kids looking to be pros much better if they have all of those different rides under their belt (whether that makes them a better intructor or a better rider). A class like this would encourage riders to get on more horses, and trainers are going to want THEIR kids to win, so they will see to it that the kids get on as many as possible.

~~Kate~~

--------------------------
I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
-- John Keats

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 13, 2002, 10:00 AM
I couldn't agree more. My riders ride Everything in my barn (level appropriate, of course, there's a difference between challenging a rider and rattling them, although sometimes a bit of a Push is necessary). I've always felt that sticking a rider either on one horse or on one Type of horse (that's another story...) and never introducing them to other animals with their commensurate problems and quirks is the quickest way to ruin a rider.

They end up stale and mechanical, and are nearly always more attractive but less functional than those that have done a significant amount of "catch riding". The most educational rides are usually the toughest, although the students may not see it that way at the time!

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jason

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 13, 2002, 04:04 PM
I have a feeling that I'll get them over the weekend /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I got an acknowledgement today from the magazine I sent these to that they received them and they are in the hands of the editors "for consideration".

Think they'll get published?

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jason

Hopeful Hunter
Dec. 13, 2002, 08:50 PM
fwiw......

I love the Pony Club concept, but I can tell you that around here, at least, if you don't own a truck and trailer or stable at a Pony Club barn, it's hard to get into. In fact.....I wouldn't even know how to contact them!

So, while I do love their levels concepts (heck, their handbooks are great) I think the accessability is different in different areas.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 14, 2002, 07:36 AM
nursing this thread along until Monday, then see what I can do about getting in touch with everyone that's expressed willingness to help.

Please, if you think this cause is worth your time and effort, email me so I can put you on my contact list. More hands and minds will certainly be useful, no matter your skill or experience level.

Jason Laumbach
laumbach@islands.vi

Snowbird
Dec. 14, 2002, 09:47 AM
Upward mobility and a visible path to follow are critical to the future of this sport.

It is a fact that at each level only 10% will move on and up. Therefore the base must be very much larger than it is. We have lost a large percentage of our market share of youngsters. We never had many boys because they had so many athletic opportunities. Since, they passed the law mandating there be a girls team equal to any boys teams we have lost a healthy share of the girls which were ours alone.

Only, 2% of the horse people participate in the advanced levels because of cost and time. That needs to be increased and any new idea that will increase either our market share of potential riders or give those who do have the fianancial resources an opportunity should be welcomed.

Right now the so-called double AA show is in reality three shows in one. While we have not expanded our base they have sucked up most of the industry.

The Equitation Classes which were the backbone of this sport because you had to know how to ride have vanished in favor of extravagantly prices horses which can carry a passenger.

I think that your ideas are new and refreshing and should be supported.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 14, 2002, 10:12 AM
Once again, I appreciate the support from someone as obviously experienced and well-read as yourself.

I'll be interested to hear if we ever get any "official word" back from the HS Eq committee. Either they're ignoring me, or they're talking it out among themselves, or (probably more likely), they just didn't see it in the veritable floor of paperwork that passes all their desks. Most of them are busy pros, after all, and I completely understand this.

But it'll be interesting...

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jason

Snowbird
Dec. 14, 2002, 03:08 PM
since the convention is only a month away they are submerged in paperwork and probably only read your opening paragraph. That's not a dispissal of the idea.

I find that horse people are not really good at paperwork including myself. And, if it's not their idea!!!!

Repetition, persistence, tenacity and just plain stubborness can work. At my horse shows I find that I can put in a new division and the first year they notice it, the second year they might read it, the third year they think about it and by the fourth year they might enter. After the first 1/2 dozen haave tried it, they all start thinking it was their own idea to start with and it becomes popular. Then it gets recognized and as soon as everyone loves it they sstart tinkering and skrew it all up.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 15, 2002, 09:41 AM
I think we're too late to propose a new division for This year (according to the USAE website, anyway), but we Might be able to propose changes to the class routine for the Victor Hugo-Vidal class.

I hope to actually get a new division going by next year, however, IF we can get sponsorship.

Jason

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 16, 2002, 05:54 AM
Please drop me an email at your convenience.

To everyone that has emailed offering support or assistance, thanks! I'll hopefully have something for us all to DO fairly soon.

Jason

Alagirl
Dec. 16, 2002, 08:52 AM
Tippey-toeing through uncharted territory....

I am bored enough to wander into the H/J territory( I don't jump or so...so please have merci!)

I read VIridingacademy's posts, and found them very interesting, from an uninvolved point of view.
But reading this one, I was wondering:

Can a class be held on borrowed horses - you know, like the disabled riders and in Pentathlon, they are assigned to their mounts for the competition (an oportunity for a sales barn to get the horses out other than under the resident pro?!)

And second, the German FN has broadened their offer to award horseman ship, so you are not any longer restricted to just the riding badge in bronce and silver, but can also earn the little and big horseshoe, after performing a set of tasks, in theory and practice...and are rewarded with a pin to stick on their lapelle...
Just a thought

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 16, 2002, 12:05 PM
But thanks for you interest.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Lucassb
Dec. 16, 2002, 07:25 PM
VI, if you want attention from those committees, I do think you have to basically have it wrapped up and delivered to them on a silver platter.

By that I mean, have the sponsors lined up or at least have something from them in writing that demonstrates that they are interested in supporting it at X level should the competition be adopted, have some support from the venue where you propose to introduce it etc.

If you expect these folks to do the legwork for you in terms of putting that kind of event together, frankly I think you will be disappointed. They have a hard enough time dealing with what is already on their plate, and I think they are unlikely to have the time/inclination to do what it will take to make this vision a reality.

I do think that what you have proposed is worthwhile, and don't mean to discourage you. Just trying to add a dose of reality here. Have you thought about trying this at a special event such as the Legacy Cup? Did you ever get in touch with the folks who run the New England Medal to see if they could help you or if they were interested in expanding their program elsewhere in the country? Something along those lines could help you build some momentum and help get you some notice from the people you want to support the idea.

**********
"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that
matters, in the end."
-Ursula K. Le Guin

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 16, 2002, 08:54 PM
I was never under the impression that the committee was going to actually DO anything about the proposal. It was more of an informational undertaking (bug in the ear, or advance front, if you will)

I am perfectly capable of handling the administrative end of it, at this point I'm just trying for a bit more exposure. The more public, the better. Will make talking to companies and/or individuals about sponsorships much easier. I'm still hoping to get published in one of the "big 3" magazines, which I think would help enormously, on all fronts.

I appreciate the advice, believe me, I do know how the system works. It's never been my intention to just carp and let others do the work. Not my style, I'm afraid. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jason

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 19, 2002, 11:57 AM
Below is a copy of the email I received back from the USAE 12/18/02. For those of you that are wondering "what is he waiting for", here's my rationale. First of all, pushing too hard immediately just makes us look impulsive and disorganized. It is my intent to give this time and due consideration, which does not translate to "sit on our butts".

I'm hoping to hear back from the committee after the convention. I'm also waiting to see if we get a little publicity from one of the magazines I sent these documents to. I think it will make things, especially sponsorships and advertising, MUCH easier if we get a little national blurb. Cross your fingers, everyone /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

While we wait, I'm currently looking at the Eq specs to see about actually wording the proposed class. Anyone out there have experience writing this sort of thing? I'd value your input.

I'll keep you informed, and those of you that have sent me emails will get updates for as long as you're interested (interspersed with calls for help, I'm sure!).

Thanks all,

Jason
340-777-3013
laumbach@islands.vi



***EMAIL***
----- Original Message -----
From: Susan Dotson
To: 'VI Riding Academy'
Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 2:35 PM
Subject: RE: Hunter Seat Equitation committee proposed rule change


No problem Jason. I will keep you informed and direct any questions to you.

Have a happy holiday,

Susan



Susan Simcoe Dotson

Director of Hunter/Jumper Activities

USA Equestrian

sdotson@equestrian.org

859-225-6942



-----Original Message-----
From: VI Riding Academy [mailto:laumbach@islands.vi]
Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 11:57 AM
To: Susan Dotson
Subject: Re: Hunter Seat Equitation committee proposed rule change



Susan,



Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I appreciate your candor, and will look at class specs and try to write up something a bit more concrete for consideration. I was honestly just looking for a bit of feedback from the members as to whether they would even consider such a proposal, or think I'm proverbially "barking up the wrong tree". I'd really like to see this happen, since I truly believe that this class and/or subdivisions (more on that at a later time) is in the best interests of the sport as a whole.



I've never been much of a "sit around and talk" type. Please keep me informed, and encourage any members who want to discuss the idea with me to contact me at their convenience. I'd love to hear what they have to say, even if they don't agree with me.



Jason Laumbach

340-777-3013 (barn)

340-473-7733 (cell)

laumbach@islands.vi



----- Original Message -----

From: Susan Dotson

To: 'VI Riding Academy'

Sent: Thursday, December 19, 2002 9:55 AM

Subject: RE: Hunter Seat Equitation committee proposed rule change



Hi Jason,

Thank you for taking the time to bring this to the Committee's attention. The next Hunter Seat Equitation meeting will be at our annual convention in July. I will pass this onto the committee members that have email now so that they can digest it a little before convention.

The rule change process is simple. Anyone can propose a rule change. We have an annual rule change process. The cut off for each year is: Individuals June 15, Committee Members and Staff 9/15. I would suggest looking through the Equitation part of the Rule Book which is the 2200's and get a feel of where you would like to add the specifications for the new class and I will work on getting the feedback from the Committee. Even if the Committee is not entirely in favor of this you can submit it anyway and it has to be considered. Best case scenario the Committee likes the idea and offers suggestions and ultimately approves it as it will be referred to them for comments. Let me know if you have any questions and I will be back in touch with you after convention in January. Have a great holiday and let me know if you have any questions at this point.

Sincerely,



Susan Simcoe Dotson

Director of Hunter/Jumper Activities

USA Equestrian

sdotson@equestrian.org

859-225-6942



-----Original Message-----
From: VI Riding Academy [mailto:laumbach@islands.vi]
Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2002 10:36 PM
To: Susan Dotson
Subject: Hunter Seat Equitation committee proposed rule change



Mz. Dotson,



I'd like to ask that you please bring these two documents, as well as the accompanying links, to the attention of the HS Eq committee at your convenience. I apologize for not understanding the proper procedure, first time I"ve ever proposed anything! Any help or advice you can give would be much appreciated. I've already emailed or faxed copies to the committee members myself, but wanted to copy to you in case somebody lost or forgot their own. (I served in an administrative capacity to a regional president team in the IHSA for many years, so I know how these things happen...)



Here are two links to exhaustive commentary on the subject posted on the Chronicle BBS.



http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?q=Y&a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=7076024331&m=7626000571&p=1



http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?q=Y&a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=7076024331&m=6876096971&p=1





The first document and associated links are more of a "why I think we need these classes or divisions", the second is a concrete proposal. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.



Sincerely,



Jason Laumbach

340-777-3013

laumbach@islands.vi




***EMAIL***

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 22, 2002, 08:07 AM
I was both surprised and pleased that he took the time (while away giving a clinic in California, no less!) to call and discuss my original letter and current proposal with me.

He's behind it 100%. We seem to share many of the same views and take on the current state of the sport, and he liked the ideas, and offered his assistance. Our conversation was both animated, germane, and congenial.

Things seem to be coming together. Shall I feel encouraged? Do you?

Jason

Snowbird
Dec. 22, 2002, 08:30 AM
can make a difference anywhere at any time.

The era of the elitist buying their pieces of rayon will eventually collapse when there is no one left for them to impress. It's time we put horsemanship first. Good for George Morris!

The reason he is superior at his craft is because he has an open mind.

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 22, 2002, 10:46 AM
He did indeed have an open mind, and was a pleasure to talk to. I really appreciate that a national and international figure such as himself would take the time to contact me personally about our little effort.

I'm still waiting to see if we get "published". Keep your fingers crossed! And thanks to everyone that has been following this thread and its predecessor. There's strength in numbers, and even more strength in ethical conviction!

Jason Laumbach

Bethe Mounce
Dec. 22, 2002, 05:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by VIRidingAcademy:
Things seem to be coming together. Shall I feel encouraged? Do you?
Jason<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When "The George" calls, be VERY encouraged! He is a wonderful man--I correspond with him 2-3 times a year. Good Luck and for what it's worth, I LOFF your idea!

VIRidingAcademy
Dec. 22, 2002, 05:33 PM
Actually, I am. Now if we can just get a little national exposure, we'll really be ready to roll!

I appreciate the encouragement.

Jason

horsebroke
Mar. 11, 2003, 05:45 AM
Jason - very interesting thread. You already have my reply to your open letter - I'm the one who sees the parents as much to blame as the trainers because many will spend whatever it takes for their kids to win ribbons.

I think the elements of the new Eq class you suggest are very good.

Some comments:

The fence height issue will continue to be a problem - finding 'reasonably priced' horses who can handle 3'6" fence heights and course designs that test a rider's ability will not be easy without being dangerous. At least not where my daughter competes in Zone 2. It is nearly impossible to find any 3'6" horse - hunter or eq - for under $50,000. So the playing field will never be completely level. Less distorted maybe, but never level. In a recent PH article on the USAE Medal finals, it was said that the course was designed so that a $6500 green horse or a $250,000 seasoned champion should be equally capable of getting around. All I can say - is in Zone 2 - $6500 is not much more that what you pay at the auction for horses on its way to its maker. I think this statement ignores the financial reality of the situation.

The most important element of your proposal, I think, is having the riders prep their own horses. This is where money definitely gets in the way. One problem is that those with the means to own 6, 8, 10 horses typically have professionals prep their horses at shows simply for lack of time. Other kids, I've noticed, have no interest in flat work and are bored by it. Consider it work that can be delegated to the 'help'. And don't think that isn't exactly how they see it. Many of these juniors, who pin frequently at 'A' shows - have never prepped their own horses. Never. Wouldn't know how and don't care. Many consider it the job of the trainer to get the horse and the kid in the ring to win. Doesn't matter how and no cost is spared. In my view, this attitude comes from many of the parents and the trainers are simply serving their clients. Not a defense - just an observation.

Also, as happens at the national finals - many trainers will do the prep work the day and night before which will be very difficult to police and prevent.

In any case - keep at it. If Equatation sports in the U.S. are to rise adequately to compete more successfully at the international level, the talent pool must be expanded beyond the kids of the richest 1% of Americans.

canyonoak
Mar. 11, 2003, 07:16 AM
Wow...just found this thread...

I truly believe this class/medal/division/direction is going to happen.

And I truly believe this thread will eventually be immortalized as "the place and time it all started'...

Good luck with the project and please include me on your mailing list ,if you like.

rider11
Mar. 11, 2003, 08:25 AM
This class does not solve the problem of the kids not being able to afford the show. They still have to pay all the show expenses to get the horse there and stable it.

MIKES MCS
Mar. 11, 2003, 08:57 AM
[QUOTE]
Some comments:

The fence height issue will continue to be a problem - finding 'reasonably priced' horses who can handle 3'6" fence heights and course designs that test a rider's ability will not be easy without being dangerous. At least not where my daughter competes in Zone 2. It is nearly impossible to find any 3'6" horse - hunter or eq - for under $50,000. So the playing field will never be completely level. ]

I my humble opinion a child who is ready to jump a 3'6" course, should also have the knowledge to train a green horse to that level. If they don't have that abilty, your right, they're passengers, in need of a push button baby sitter but they are not riders and never will be on horse like that. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a divison called Equitation Prospect, at 2'6" to 3'.6" with a 1st and 2nd year split, no pre-strided lines, at least 50% of the course offering optional approaches to elements which have point values making up 30% of the overall score. No time limit, Amateur Jr riders only,( there-by eliminating past Pro's) The horse can not have shown before over fences, or field hunted ever in any Country. It would be an eye opening experience I believe. This gives a rider a chance over a 2 year period to develope a "$50,000.00 " Equitation horse of there own. Whata ya think?????

sylvan farm
Mar. 11, 2003, 08:59 AM
To VIRIding Academy:

One possible source for horses you overlooked is the breeding community. We sometimes have trained competitive horses, hanging around (they should be pregnant, but aren't...). Or, perhaps have a talented younger horse they would be willing to loan to a needy young rider (in the right circumstances of course). I have 'loaned' young horses several times to talented young riders without money. One went on to train in Europe, we were very proud of her.

EqChick
Mar. 11, 2003, 09:50 AM
Wow! I just found this thread as well and am very encouraged! Are there any updates? I think I will email VI to see if he's heard anything.

One thought I would like to introduce is that all those juniors who worked their way through high school riding everything they can get their hands on will at some point go to college and/or start working, and have even LESS money once on their own than they had in HS! I am a proud member of the newly inaugurated Starving for my Horse at 24 Clique, and would still LOVE to enter a class like this. I'm now competing against a lot of other amateurs that have weathly husbands, good jobs, possibly just by virtue of being older than me, and I feel even more disadvantaged than when I was a kid!

I love the idea of Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced divisions/cuts. People can actually see/fell **progress** that way, and it will help with the fence height issue. I agree that not every horse can do the 3'6", be they green, old, or just not good jumpers. While I do think anything should be able to do 3', it's also not the most challenging height. Perhaps doing 2'6"-3' for Novice, 3'-3'6" for Intermediate, and 3'6"-4' for Advanced. I love that idea!

As for the juniors not being able to afford to bring a horse to the show in the first place, I think this class will be an excellent way to breech that gap! I have gone to many a show and shown a borrowed horse in only my Eq class (upon many appreciated favors!!). Some times I would do it on some other kid's horse that needed a "warm up" and I convinced my trainer to just let me do it in a class - better for the horse! I would be more than happy to loan a horse for one class to a well-deserving person (in a lot of cases, they'd probably be riding it as good or better than I can by essence of them wanting to borrow a horse to do the class in the first place).

I think this is a wonderful idea, and I would be more than happy to send emails, make phone call, or talk to people about the idea. What are the current proposals for the VHV class? I would love to see this realized in his memorial classes. (Hopefully they'll be offered at local shows and not just A's, though. I like the idea of this growing into a recognized division/medal and becoming a regular at all types of shows.)

Lastly, I have to say that I know a lot of trainers that would like this class, and judges that would get a kick out of it, too. I'm sure, given some publicity, this could become a reality in a few years. Let me know if I can help!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

~~Jingle~~Jingle~~Jingle~~Jingle~~Jingle~~Jingle~~

VIRidingAcademy
Mar. 11, 2003, 04:19 PM
Wow!

I go away for a few days (and spend my time answering about 150 or so letters re: the Practical Horseman publication) and come back to find my thread active again.

I do have some updated information as well as an official answer from the HS Eq committee, which I'll post here tomorrow, if anyone's interested, along with a few ideas of things we can all do now to help get this under way.

I've just now been able to come up for breath from anwering the PH letters (remember, I promised to answer them all, and answer them I did!), so I should have some more time to give you guys the scoop, if you want to hear it.

Thanks for the support, people. Feel free to contact me.

Jason Laumbach
340-777-3013
laumbach@islands.vi