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Michael D'Ambrosio
Nov. 14, 2000, 12:01 AM
I READ WITH DISMAY THE VICIOUS ATTACK BY MS.MEAGHER UPON THE WINNER OF THE STATE LINE TACK NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDAL FINALS AT THE CAPITAL CHALLENGE.IT IS CLEAR THAT MS. MEAGER DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE CONCEPT OF THE CHILDREN'S EQUITATION DIVISION AS A DEVELOPING
PROGRAM-DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE YOUNGSTERS TO ASPIRE TO THE LEVEL OF THE INDUSTRIES '

MORE FINISHED PRODUCTS
SUCH AS JENNY JONES,SARA WYTRES,EVA GONDA
AND CATHLEEN CALVERT WHOSE PICTURES HAPPEN TO BE IN THE SAME ISSUE.I WOULD SUGGEST THAT MS.MEAGHER TURN TO PG.48 AND SHARE WITH US HER CRITIQUE OF BILL STEINKRAUS WHO ALONG WITH HIS OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL HAS BEEN HAILED AS THE CONSUMATE AMERICAN STYLIST--PERHAPS ONE COULD SAY THAT IN THIS PHOTO HIS KNEES ARE PINCHED AND HIS LEG HAS SLIPPED BACK.I HAD THE HONOR OF BEING PART OF THE WINNING TEAM OF THE MACLAY 2000 SO I CAN SPEAK FIRST HAND WITH EXPERIENCE AND CREDIBILITY OF THE EFFORT ,DESIRE AND DEDICATION ON THE PART OF THE RIDER ,TRAINER AND PARENTS .WHAT A SHAME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD AVERY DIMMIG BEEN DISCOURAGED AT A TENDER AGE BY A SIMILAR ATTACK IN A NATIONAL MAGAZINE.I SUGGEST MS.MEAGER REDIRECT HER ENERGIES TO
WHAT,IN MY OPINION IS REPREHINSIBLE AND IS FEATURED ON PAGE 90, THE FACT THAT THE AHSA/USET TASK FORCE FINDS IT NECESSARY TO HIRE A FACILITATOR AT THE COST OF $100,000.
TO QUELL THE BICKERING.
I AM HOPING TO BE THE FIRST OF MANY TO RESPOND TO THIS LETTER.

MICHAEL D'AMBROSIO

Michael D'Ambrosio
Nov. 14, 2000, 12:01 AM
I READ WITH DISMAY THE VICIOUS ATTACK BY MS.MEAGHER UPON THE WINNER OF THE STATE LINE TACK NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDAL FINALS AT THE CAPITAL CHALLENGE.IT IS CLEAR THAT MS. MEAGER DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE CONCEPT OF THE CHILDREN'S EQUITATION DIVISION AS A DEVELOPING
PROGRAM-DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE YOUNGSTERS TO ASPIRE TO THE LEVEL OF THE INDUSTRIES '

MORE FINISHED PRODUCTS
SUCH AS JENNY JONES,SARA WYTRES,EVA GONDA
AND CATHLEEN CALVERT WHOSE PICTURES HAPPEN TO BE IN THE SAME ISSUE.I WOULD SUGGEST THAT MS.MEAGHER TURN TO PG.48 AND SHARE WITH US HER CRITIQUE OF BILL STEINKRAUS WHO ALONG WITH HIS OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL HAS BEEN HAILED AS THE CONSUMATE AMERICAN STYLIST--PERHAPS ONE COULD SAY THAT IN THIS PHOTO HIS KNEES ARE PINCHED AND HIS LEG HAS SLIPPED BACK.I HAD THE HONOR OF BEING PART OF THE WINNING TEAM OF THE MACLAY 2000 SO I CAN SPEAK FIRST HAND WITH EXPERIENCE AND CREDIBILITY OF THE EFFORT ,DESIRE AND DEDICATION ON THE PART OF THE RIDER ,TRAINER AND PARENTS .WHAT A SHAME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD AVERY DIMMIG BEEN DISCOURAGED AT A TENDER AGE BY A SIMILAR ATTACK IN A NATIONAL MAGAZINE.I SUGGEST MS.MEAGER REDIRECT HER ENERGIES TO
WHAT,IN MY OPINION IS REPREHINSIBLE AND IS FEATURED ON PAGE 90, THE FACT THAT THE AHSA/USET TASK FORCE FINDS IT NECESSARY TO HIRE A FACILITATOR AT THE COST OF $100,000.
TO QUELL THE BICKERING.
I AM HOPING TO BE THE FIRST OF MANY TO RESPOND TO THIS LETTER.

MICHAEL D'AMBROSIO

Goodmudder
Nov. 14, 2000, 07:07 AM
I absolutely agree! However, there is another outrage as well. Clearly, there was NO NEED OR OBLIGATION for the Chronicle to PRINT such a mean-spirited and ill-conceived letter. Shame on them as well.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 14, 2000, 07:14 AM
You may need to give a little more information for those who may not subscribe to whatever magazine it is that you are referring to. I haven't gotten my COTH, so I'm not sure what you are referring to. However, I must say, to be fair, that I think everyone has a right to express their opinion and the "look" of riding (equitation) is really just a fad which comes and goes. What was acceptable 30 years ago is hardly favored now. In the end, does it really matter? ONLY if the form effects the function, IMO.

Wicky
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:01 AM
I agree with Michael - reading this letter last night made me feel for the youngster who was being identified as exemplifying what is "wrong" with today's teaching.

The topic of what is the best - most effective - style, and whether it is identical to the style that is "in" is certainly a worthwhile topic - but didn't, IMHO, need to be raised in this fashion. I do think it was thoughtless of the letter writer, and perhaps the Chronicle could have gently asked if she would consider rephrasing her letter, to get the point across without harm to a child.

I've seen lots of photos in the Chronicle that are significantly less than models of perfection - or even something that I can identify that I would aspire to emulate. I have wondered about it. Maybe it is just the rider's position at that instant in time, but I think we've all read columns lamenting the disappearance in the show ring of the "classic" American style.

If we really believe that the classic style is worth retaining, how can we do it?

(Gee - that's the only photo I've even seen of Steinkraus where his leg isn't perfect - makes me feel that there is hope for me!)

PS - Michael, you are new here - Uppercase signifies yelling. It actually becomes hard on the eyes!!

PPS - regards to Carmen and Bill.

Erin
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:25 AM
In general, the Chronicle publishes any letter that meets its guidelines -- i.e., refers to a previously published article or letter, is timely, and is signed with a full name and address. Letters are edited for length and clarity, but otherwise... if that's someone's opinion, we generally print it.

If you disagree, by all means, write another letter. That's what the Letters to the Editor column is there for. It doesn't do much good for the Chronicle only to publish the opinions they think are "right."

I haven't seen this particular letter yet, but in general, that's the Chronicle's policy.

See http://www.chronofhorse.com/submissions.html for our Letters to the Editor policy, and instructions on how to submit a letter.

TeriKessler
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:35 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael D'Ambrosio:
I READ WITH DISMAY THE VICIOUS ATTACK BY MS.MEAGHER UPON THE WINNER OF THE STATE LINE TACK NATIONAL CHILDREN'S MEDAL FINALS AT THE CAPITAL CHALLENGE.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Thank you, michael, for starting this thread. I can't imagine what that woman was thinking when she sent that letter to the COTH! I fell sorry for Ms Meagher. She must be a terribly frustrated individual.

Perhaps she might be kind enough to send us some photos of herself equitating in her latest National Championship win, so we could complete the critical process for her!!!

What's worse than publicly throwing stones at children (as if that's not enough to be ashamed of), is this currently popular mindset that winners have to pay for that distinction by becoming public targets for any and all criticism: of their performance (apparently now photo frame by photo frame), of the judges' performances, of the qualifying process (i.e. she bought her way in), or of their trainers' status (i.e. she only won because her trainer is important, knows the judge, bought a horse from the judge).

By the way, correct me if I'm wrong, you stewards who lurk/post, but slamming the judges' competency a la "rewarding this perversion... is reprehensible", "judges need to have some guts", and "throw them all out... and tell them to try again next year" if said publicly at a horse show would warrant a sanction by the show steward and a nice little write-up in the back of AHSA magazine.

If someone has a legitimate complaint about a classes' results, shouldn't they approach the steward and lodge a formal complaint? Isn't following the rules for criticism of judges part of the concept of "Sportsmanship"? Didn't they used to give awards for sportsmanship???

I hope whatever drove Kimberley Meagher to this attack on the StateLine winner and the judges goes away so she can rejoin us all here on planet earth.

Teri

PS to Mr Alan Balch: Perhaps now is a good time to run an article in AHSA magazine regarding appropriate treatment of Judges, and how to lodge a complaint. It seems like people have forgotten that there are rules to be followed!

Janet
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:39 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:
You may need to give a little more information for those who may not subscribe to whatever magazine it is that you are referring to. I haven't gotten my COTH, so I'm not sure what you are referring to. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
It is a letter to the editor in the newest (Nov 10) Chronicle. For some reason the on-line copy of letters to the editor has not been updated. The letter starts off "Please understand ... that I am not attacking Alison LaJoic or any other children who have had a similar riding style rewarded." She is really trying to slam the TRAINERS, not the kids.

But I agree that, if I were the child mentioned by name, I would find it hard NOT to take it personally.

As someone who, many years ago and under different management, had a Chronicle "letter to the editor" rejected, and was told, through a third party that it was considered a "crank letter" (it wasn't), I VERY MUCH SUPPORT the Chronicle's current policy on letters to the editor, even if it results in some hurt feelings. (Sorry for the long sentence.)

Glad to see a poster from Mt. Kisco, where I grew up.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:19 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with your suggestion that Horse Show reprint the course to follow when disagreeing with results, Keri, but what you refer to as the "current popular mindset" may have another interpretation: poor morale due to too many APPEARANCES of impropriety. Whether those problems actually exist is an entirely different matter, of course, but the fact remains that a great many participants in the sport BELIEVE that they do. If you want the littany of the "current popular mindset" to go away, then perhaps you should support efforts to drag horse sports out of the dark ages by opening up the judging system by standardizing and publicizing expectations.

Flash44
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:24 AM
Maybe someone could post the letter since it is not on the Internet yet?

barb
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flash44:
Maybe someone could post the letter since it is not on the Internet yet?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That would be great...I also agree...photos don't give the whole picture..who says the judge only looks at that ONE POINT OVER THE JUMP!! Isn't it the WHOLE course and how you ride it?? Evryone has their own style and I know I have seen som HORRIBLE pictures of myself jumping..but that's not how I look all the time..we all have "not so good" jumps!!

THESE KIDS ARE OUR FUTURE IN RIDING and NEED ALL THE ENCOURAGEMENT THEY CAN GET SO THEY CAN GET BETTER, not bashing their equitation over a STILL PHOTO which has no expression!!!!

[This message has been edited by barb (edited 11-14-2000).]

Erin
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:54 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flash44:
Maybe someone could post the letter since it is not on the Internet yet?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've asked the Chronicle's new webmaster (be patient with her, she's still learning) to post this week's letters. I guess that file got left out of the batch of stuff for the web this week.

We'll get it online soon, but if someone has time to kill and wants to type it in in the meantime, go for it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Spunky
Nov. 14, 2000, 12:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Goodmudder:
I absolutely agree! However, there is another outrage as well. Clearly, there was NO NEED OR OBLIGATION for the Chronicle to PRINT such a mean-spirited and ill-conceived letter. Shame on them as well.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Goodmudder, that is called journalism -- to print a letter to the editor that is in keeping with its policies which are clearly laid out for all to read.

I realize that many publications, especially online ones, do not have the same high standards of professional journalism as the COTH does.

There IS a clear obligation of the COTH to print the letter, and further, an obligation not to bias the letter in any way.

We should all be glad that the COTH recognizes, practices, and promotes unbiased and objective journalism -- and we should support that here on the BB as well. Thank you, Erin, for holding to that very high standard.

Canter
Nov. 14, 2000, 12:44 PM
I still don't understand why Mrs. Meager chose a letters to the editors forum in which to air what sounds like a cranky, argumentative beef. If she has a problem with the system should she not be airing her concerns with the AHSA rather than taking it out on the CMF at the CC??

Michael I don't blame you for being upset by this. Regards to Anthony.

[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-14-2000).]

ponyesq
Nov. 14, 2000, 01:47 PM
I too was struck by the hostility in the letter when I read it yesterday in my Chronicle. To name names like that, when children are involved, is unkind and unnecessary. But I also remember that what the writer was criticizing -- and why the letter was probably printed -- was the CAPTION written by Chronicle staff stating that the position in the picture was "classic." While the letter comes out as an indictment of the child, I think what it was meant to be was an indictment of COTH's characterization of her style. IMHO.

Snowbird
Nov. 14, 2000, 01:52 PM
We all sit around condemning and blaming when it is actually our fault. We all saw this coming we all have many times discussed the lack of consistency in the standards of judging.

The critic put in print what most likely a lot of others think! It's the total result of
permissively allowing there to be no objective standards. Without vaild and consistent standards this will always be a leaky roof, backyard brawling sport.

The child is not guilty, the judge is not guilty, the Chronicle is not guilty of anything. We as the 98% of the members who participate in this sport are the delinquent members who have permitted this child to be criticized at her most victorious moment. We are responsible by not taking a stand and letting the Licensed Officials Committee know that our perception of judging standards, the judge was not guilty the judge followed approved means.

Enough of the name calling and blaming and complaining. We have proposed a Rule Change for changing Judging Standards. Has anyone read it? It's posted on the AHSA site. Has anyone attempted to discuss the details of what and how these changes should occur? Have any of you "name callers" and complainers blaming everyone but yourselves given any five minutes of thought to the problem and how to solve it up until this very moment.

Will any of you be in Colorado at the Convention to express your ideas to the AHSA and it's Committees? Will you help those very few of us who are trying to make a difference and support change?

We have not dogmatically proposed rules carved in stone, we have however tried to open the dialog before it is too late. No child should be disparaged for what THEYare not responsible. No judge deserves to be abused by any exhibitor. No exhibitor should ever have to feel such a separation from the system that cannot be heard in any other way than in an inflamatory protest letter to the Editor.

We have made a start, will you join us in a constructive discussion of how to fix it? Check out the website, totally neutral territory belonging to the Members of the AHSA involved in the hunter jumper discipline.
http://www.hunterjumper.org

Retrophish
Nov. 14, 2000, 02:37 PM
Call me a whiner, but I really hate being yelled at. I doubt whoever did whatever is even listening, so press your cap lock release key and stop shouting.

Michael D'Ambrosio
Nov. 14, 2000, 05:09 PM
As this is the first time I have written in
online, I was unaware that writing in caps is considered yelling,I stand corrected.
My point remains the same-to single out a thirteen year old rider and hold her winning performance up in a national magazine as'' an absolute perversion of the classic hunter style ''is unnecessarily brutal and somewhat foolish.I feel it would be far more realistic to critique the job that our trainers and judges are doing by examining the mature and more finished riders that our system has produced and that the judges consistently reward. There is ,in our sport,as in any other, an elite group at the top----please don't try to convice me that this group has any less potential than any of the former equitation champions that have come through the American system.

AHC
Nov. 14, 2000, 05:14 PM
I must agree that regardless of whether the point being made was valid or not, using a young lady who had just won a significant victory as an example was a poor way to get that point across.

Goodmudder
Nov. 14, 2000, 07:05 PM
Well, Erin , here we go again: Could you or someone else clarify for me whether the Chronicle's letter policy includes an OBLIGATION on the part of the magazine to print each and every letter that meets those criteria? Where does judgment and discretion enter the picture? Or common sense?

Kelsy
Nov. 14, 2000, 07:14 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael D'Ambrosio:
[B]As this is the first time I have written in
online, I was unaware that writing in caps is considered yelling,I stand corrected.
My point remains the same-to single out a thirteen year old rider and hold her winning performance up in a national magazine as'' an absolute perversion of the classic hunter style ''is unnecessarily brutal and somewhat foolish.B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I couldn't agree with you more and I cannot believe they would put that in a magazine, poor Alison. Alison LaJoie is a fabulous rider and a great friend, and she doesn't deserve this and this lady should be ashamed. Alison wouldn't have won if she was bad, and she isn't bad at all. I cannot believe this lady would say anything.

Bertie
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:20 PM
I just read the letter. Terrible. I feel so badly for this child. She must have ridden well to win the class. She should be allowed to enjoy her victory. And, please, it was the Children's Medal. She should be encouraged to keep on learning, improving and building her confidence instead of being criticized based upon the "instant in time" captured by a photo.

There will always be insensitive people willing to disregard the feelings of individuals, under the guise that their words are "for the good of the sport". Shame on The Chronicle for printing that letter.

[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 11-14-2000).]

Bertie
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:35 PM
I wonder if this will start a trend...any photo the Chronicle chooses to publish is open to criticism by whoever feels the urge to tear it apart? Kind of like GM's critiques, except the rider doesn't choose the photo to send in, and any Tom, Dick or Harry can have their critique of the photo published.

[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 11-14-2000).]

Erin
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Goodmudder:
Well, Erin , here we go again: Could you or someone else clarify for me whether the Chronicle's letter policy includes an OBLIGATION on the part of the magazine to print each and every letter that meets those criteria? Where does judgment and discretion enter the picture? Or common sense?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The letters policy is:

"The Chronicle will accept letters that refer to a previously published article, photograph or letter. Letters must include a name, address and signature, and may be edited for publication."

As I said, in general, we publish every letter that we receive in a reasonable time frame and meets those guidelines. If we get a slew of letters about the same topic, we won't print ALL of them. But otherwise, to the best of my knowledge, we pretty much print everything we get. (Libelous letters are never published, of course.) The final decision is the editor's.

And since we haven't been able to get the letters on the website updated yet, I've included the infamous "outrageous" letter below:

Not Classic

Dear Sir:

Please understand, before I start my tirade, that I am not attacking Alison LaJoie or any other children who have had a similar riding style rewarded. This is a diatribe against the trainers and judges who promote and reward the absolute perversion of the classic hunter style.

I have refrained from expressing my very strong opinion on what is being rewarded in the medal classes, but labeling the picture of Miss LaJoie at the State Line Tack National Children's Medal Finals at the Capital Challenge (Oct. 20, p. 66) was over the top.

There is nothing classic about that style. The knees are pinched, the leg back, and she is lying on her horse's neck with her butt in the air. This is not classic. This is nuevo nonsense. She is not secure on her horse because she is not with her horse. She is perched on her horse.

What has happened to the standard? It is absolutely horrifying to think this was what was considered the best! Rewarding this perversion of the classic hunter seat is reprehensible.

The judges need to have some guts. Throw them all out if this is the best and tell them to try again next year.

Enough is enough. Trainers and judges, you have a professional duty to educate. Do not be sucked into this ridiculous fad. Teach these kids how to ride, not pose!

Kimberley E.S. Meagher
Lake Stevens, Wash.

DiamondMine
Nov. 14, 2000, 08:39 PM
sorry i know this has been asked a couple times, but can we have the aricle posted... Im soo lost!! I havent gotten my chronicle yet!!

HSM
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:30 PM
OK now that I've read the letter, I'll weigh in too.

While I am all in favor of encouraging the training of "good" riders rather than "posers", I have to agree that this letter will accomplish nothing of the kind. What it will accomplish is making a little girl, who probably just had one of THE greatest moments of her life, feel very bad, embarrased and humiliated. While this may not have been Ms. Meagher's intention, it certainly would be the result if the young rider were to read it. I have a daughter the same age, who has ridden in the Stateline classes - her ego would be CRUSHED to read something like this. Kids don't care what the intention is - they see their name, they figure it's their fault.

I mean, really:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> The judges need to have some guts. Throw them all out if this is the best and tell them to try again next year.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What part of this is constructive? We are, after all, talking about a young girl here, who has placed her trust in those who have taught her to ride (and I agree with those who said she must certainly be a decent rider to reach the national final, no matter what anyone says). Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.....

Maybe Ms. Meagher needs a lesson in effective letter writing, I don't know. But I agree, it was out of line the way it stands.


[This message has been edited by HSM (edited 11-14-2000).]

paco
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:31 PM
First of all, I would like to say that I agree with Michael 100%. I do not think that anything productive can come of Ms. Meager's atrocious letter. Let us not forget that this young lady has just won the State Line Medal, which is a stepping stone into "the big equitation finals." Obviously, she has worked very hard to achieve this win, and we should praise her, not punish her.

Goodmudder
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:31 PM
Erin, thanks for the input and the clarification. And please don't take my opinion personally - I know it wasn't your decision!

Moesha
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:36 PM
I am having so many problems in life right now, that I really shouldn't get into this but...I must.

I completely agree with the freedom of journalism and the letters to the editor section, because it does provide a voice outside of the reporting institution.

I do agree that people have the utmost right to their opinion, no matter how unpopular, and should not be afraid to voice their opinion.

I do feel that the styles in the show ring are all across the board, not in a bad or good way, but that riding has and will evolve and that different trainers will teach from their experience, judges will place the hunter and equitation classes according to their tastes within the accepted ideals, and riders will find their individual style to give their horses the best rides.

I do not feel that certain styles whether classical or not are not the only accepted ones. Just as one picture at a certain angle or maybe even from another class that day cannot tell the story of a medal riders win in a multi phase finals. (Not that I am attacking the photograph of the rider mentioned )

I also feel that we as a group of riders, trainers, owners, etc. have become hypocritical. We accept advice and try to mimick those we hold in esteem and turn a blind eye to bad,negligent,inappropriate behavior yet criticize others who are less known and have no standing relentlessly if we disagree or find fault with them.

The "top"levels have always made statements and added to the prevention of "outsiders" from moving up through the ranks, yet we see nothing wrong with that.

The 3ft. divisions and the lower level jumpers have been slammed repeatedly over and over again, why? These "top" Trainers have made comments that the money should be used to fund professionals instead! How dare anyone perfect a level they are comfortable with or have fun? When did just having fun and enjoying yourself become so unfashionable?

And finally, I cannot believe such a venemous and completely hateful and inappropriate letter was allowed published under any circumstances. This was not a critique or a criticisim of equitation styles today, this was a mean spirited attack. Who knows the motive, but anyone can read that this person was thoroughly immersed in this horrible outburst and was relieving their own frustration and inadequecies. Their letter was not one of eloquence and style it was disturbed and spiteful. It was written to affirm one's own deflated ego, not to enlighten or cause discussion.

Thanks

Flash44
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:37 PM
If Ms. Meagher wanted to critique the child's equitation, she should have watched the round instead of basing her opinion on one photo. Was that photo taken from the winning round, or was it just a photo of the girl showing her horse somewhere else? I'm sure you can find a bad photo of just about anyone.

Goodmudder
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:51 PM
By the way, since a lot of you have been involved in judging and judging standards discussions: this young rider qualified as one of 30 or so national finalists, out of what was probably over 1500 other riders, over the course of a year. She then won the finals with two rounds in front of multiple judges with open scoring. While I do not know about Allison, I would surmise that for the bulk of these evolving riders, this would have been the first-ever time at a national level competition, and for many of them may well have been the first time "indoors." I congratulate them all, and am happy to see that they have so much support here.

To all of you, expecially those who believe that freedom of the press excuses this publication, I can only hope for your sake that the public and the Chronicle treats your children better than they have treated this one. Same goes for Ms. Meagher, the author.

Thanks for letting me vent.

HSM
Nov. 14, 2000, 09:54 PM
Moesha - -

Your last paragraph said exactly what I was trying to say, only WAY better!!!

Mazzy
Nov. 14, 2000, 10:15 PM
To Michael D'Ambrosio: Here here that a trainer would take the time to denouce a nasty letter wounding a young child's moment...I can only hope and pray that my trainer would care equally as much to post on the internet and RAGE in defense of me (unfortunately the internet is not his forte /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif).

I also hope that out of the considerable volume of people that read this Board you gather a few more clients. A trainer's comments can have a profound affect on a child's confidence and emotional well-being and as such it is a position which should be handled a sincere depth of emotion and kindness. You have clearly exhibited these qualities!! Good luck to you and your students and lets hope the old adage "what goes around, comes around" holds true in your case.

Michael D'Ambrosio
Nov. 14, 2000, 11:23 PM
Erin
Your remark as to the Chronicles'policy of not publishing libelous letters is an interesting theory.Websters'dictionary defines libel as follows---''a spoken or written statement or a representation that
gives an unjustly unfavorable impression of a person or thing " "libelious:the action or crime of publishing a libel".I am not an attorney but the word "perversion" and the statement"absolutely horrifying" used by Ms. Meager to describe the photo surely gives an
unfavorable impression ,as to whether or not
it is unjust ,is the question.

I have read several letters preaching journalism and freedom of speech and some praising the magazine for the courage to print a letter that may be controversial,however I have reason to believe that many letters criticizing those who are either more politically correct or more powerful are certainly censored and never appear in print.I believe that the Chronicle has used ,at the least,very poor judgement in this case.

adhock
Nov. 14, 2000, 11:33 PM
Michael, thanks for bringing up the topic (most of us on the other coast don't get our Chronicles til late in the following week). Erin, thanks for printing the letter, clarifying the publication's policies, and for your continued support of open debate. As a young rider's mom, and as a true enthusiast of the sport (and an ex-eq rider), I was mortified by the letter. There were absolutely no grounds to "condemn with feint apology" this child, who has earned her honors. There is so much about this sport that is wonderful--and so much that just stinks. Subjectivity is, like it or not, a reality in judging. When you read through the classic equitation books, and look at the photos, do you agree with every caption the author writes? Could you possibly agree with the judging of every round at every show? But, on the whole, quality and consistency of riding (over the course of a year or several years) win out. At least, that's what I try to believe. Allison LaJoie won and deserved credit (not public criticism) for her accomplishment. I applaud the efforts and concerns of many on this board toward improving standards, openness and equity in judging, but I also understand that this process is evolutionary--not revolutionary. Taking potshots at a child, based on one photo, is horrible--and using it as an exemplar is deplorable. Go ahead, pick apart the photos of professional riders at eq. events like Del Mar if you must criticize: But leave the children alone. Last year, my then nine year old daughter was a victim of significant cruelties in this sport. It took a great team of trainers to put her back together afterward. Her love of horses and riding, and the support of her parents and friends, got her through and this year she is at the top of her game and more committed than ever. However, it wasn't an easy comeback and the emotional hurdles were huge and the toll on a talented child significant. The LaJoies are good people who are very committed to this sport and Allison will weather this, I'm sure, and come out ahead. But at what cost? Does the author of the letter plan on holding that child as she sobs at night? Must this sport constantly rely on criticism versus celebration? Do we need to issue legal releases before we allow photographs or the names of our children to be utilized in publications like The Chronicle in order to protect their right to privacy? To me, that flies in the face of the first amendment and doesn't sit well. I applaud The Chronicle for most of its policies, both on the website and in the publication. However, I think that the editors should be very careful about printing comments that could hurt children (both short and long-term). This is where we need editors, not order takers. Once a hurtful word is spoken, it can't be taken back. But a public (and private) apology, and a better scrutiny of content in the future, could be appropriate remedies.

Andi Benjamin (aka, the "old" PonyMom)

P.S. Michael--I think that your reaction, in caps lock, was more than appropriate.

Pony Fan
Nov. 14, 2000, 11:52 PM
I am VERY disappointed with the Chronicle on this one.

When a child shows, the "critique" comes solely from the judge or judges. They are NOT participating in a public forum where their talents and abilities should be open for public debate and discussion! They are not pro atheletes representing cities or nations. They ride only for themselves.

My daughter rides and is also a professional actress. When she does a play or movie, everyone and their brother is entitled to have an opinion of her performance. That's what she's paid for! And we prepared her for dealing emotionally with reviewers, the press, etc. That's part of the game.

But this is NOT the case with equitation riders. These are children working to improve their skills. They are not the finished product. They are at a show ONLY to "perform" for the judge. That is their audience.

By the way, the child who was the subject of the letter HAS read it and was upset by what she viewed as a personal attack.

Trindle99
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:04 AM
As a professional trainer I am appalled that our "national" magazine would ever print a letter, article or even a word about a defenseless child! Did this child, trainer or parent have warning that such a demeaning letter was to be printed or did the poor child come home from school, flip thru the COTH to see her name in such a way, as did all of her barn friends. Well if the COTH is going to publish any trash that happens to cross the editor's desk it should not ever be about a CHILD or any CHILDREN unless it is in a positive light. How dissapointing that this child to finally after years or working and riding (the NE medal finals are no walk in the park folks!)that the childs name is represented in this way.
So to the COTH print your letters, make your money on stirring up a controversy but please leave derogatory comments about poor innocent children out of your pages! Let the adults bash it out they are wise enough to defend themselves,(or hey even hire lawyers). It is my opinion that a statement of apology be printed to all parties involved, or course the COTH probably won't have the *****s to due it. they will just let it happen again, it's time for a policy change there Mr. Editor.

farmgate
Nov. 15, 2000, 01:41 AM
Ms. Meagher begins her "tirade" by saying "I am not attacking....".

Her unsolicited criticism of this child's riding style would be unwelcomed in any situation. The fact that she chooses to single out this winning rider as her example is clearly an attack. To suggest credibility by printing it is poor judgement at best.

I'm sure everyone would agree that if her letter had appeared on this board as a post, troll warnings would have been issued and the poster immediately warned. And rightly so.

We all know that controversy is always do-able without envolving the innocents.

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 07:24 AM
If parents would like to send a letter to the Chronicle concerning this issue, it must be mailed or faxed (no email).

COTH
P.O. Box 46
Middleburg, VA 20118

Fax: (540) 687-3937

pwynnnorman
Nov. 15, 2000, 07:42 AM
(Sigh...)

Oh, ugh. This reminds me sooo much of the Republican/Democrat "we will discuss only what we want to discuss and will ignore anything which we can't really answer well" style of "discussion."

OK, so the lady lacked tact. Are you people all saying that her point is not valid? That the system DOESN'T have some serious conceptual, of not actual, problems in the judging and training "trends"? Are you saying everything is just fine and rosy? And if you are, who are you? Probably a heck of a lot more of the people who show A-rated A LOT, rather than those who can only afford to show at that level on occasion.

Snowbird's point is that NINETY-EIGHT percent of us don't have confidence in the system. Ms. Meagher is clearly one of the 98%. I wonder if some of you who are ignoring the real point behind her letter--consciously or subconsciously--are the same complacent creatures who like any system as long as it works for THEM, makes THEM happy [a la earplugs and lenient drug restrictions, perhaps?].

Ms. Meagher is unhappy ABOUT THE SYSTEM. You are ignoring that. What is more important? Someone's inability to write with tact or a system which causes such controversy?

[This message has been edited by pwynnnorman (edited 11-15-2000).]

Bertie
Nov. 15, 2000, 08:27 AM
Changing the system does not warrant a public attack on a child.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 15, 2000, 08:39 AM
Get real, Bertie. If you showed that copy to anyone outside the hunter-jumper industry, I absolutely guarentee you that they would HARDLY call it "a public attack on a child." That is EXACTLY the kind of statements the politicians are using these days to distract people from the real issues. And it depresses me that not only do too many people like yourself fail to notice that you are being bamboozled by mere language, but that, apparently, you are starting to use the technique yourselves! Human beings are never going to find peace with themselves if they cannot even communicate with each other HONESTLY, without all the biased exaggerations.

SLW
Nov. 15, 2000, 08:46 AM
Pwynnorman- very good points and I agree with you and Spunky on this one. The letter was direct and clear and did not degrade the young rider as a person. The young rider didn't win the finals without proving herself along the way however, even the best of the best are looking for ways to improve their horsemanship and an outsiders critique of ones style is always interesting, maybe even helpful.

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 08:52 AM
Pwynn - I don't feel that posters are truly arguing that a reasonable discussion about judging standards cannot be constructive. I think it can. We could start another thread.

Clearly, the issue here is the propriety of the method of addressing that issue - with a rather tasteless and tactless letter attacking a child in a national publication. And I would again like to point out Ms. D'Ambrosia's point about the nature of the competition - it is a 3-foot children's division, primarily for competitors who are in the children's division, some of whom, but not all, are about to move up to the 3'6" bigeq level.

Since the letter's author said ". . . I have refrained from expressing my very strong opinion on what is being rewarded in the medal classes . . . " I suspect that perhaps she is/was not familiar with the Stateline competition, its purpose, and the demographics of its participants. It does not sound like she was present (I was), and perhaps she could have gathered more information before committing pen to paper.
I hope this is true, for if she did know then her letter would be an even more despicable attack. I will give her some benefit of the doubt.

The Chronicle, however, cannot plead ignorance and should apologize.

We are all entitled to our opinions on this -but I am going to say, straight out, that to justify this letter writer's approach to venting her frustration is absolutely beyond me.

SL Warrior: do you honestly believe that the child in question perceives this criticism as "interesting and helpful?"


[This message has been edited by Goodmudder (edited 11-15-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Goodmudder (edited 11-15-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Goodmudder (edited 11-15-2000).]

Anne FS
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:09 AM
Well, I must own that I am amazed at the vitriol thrown at the letter writer. She made VERY clear that her complaint was the COH choosing a certain photo, a bad photo (we all have them) and labeling that photo as classic hunter position. There were probably better photos of this child. The writer's point was that the COH chose a certain photo, printed it and labelled it as THIS is what we are striving for, this is classic. So folks, answer this: look at the photo and tell me, is this the classic position you want to see win?

So many of you are killing the messenger and don't want to hear the message.

SLW
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:13 AM
Goodmudder, unsolicited comments are interesting. I have "no dog in this fight" as I do not know the young rider, the letter writer or knowledge of any motive. If the letter writer has a personal vendetta against the child then that would change my point of view and comments 100%.

As far as helpful, you bet! If that young rider has been told by her instructor to correct some of the same weaknesses the letter writer identified in her letter than it renforces the instructors position.

Heck, maybe the second place rider in the SLT competiton can demand a reride.........we seems to be turning into a country of "Depends on what the meaning of "Fill in the blank" is?

Retrophish
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:21 AM
There are so many good points on this post and some by eloquent writers as well. However, I will attest to the simple fact that not everyone in this world is a MOESHA or Phyn with the English Language. I agree the letter is in poor taste, and I wonder if a more diplomatic approach might not have been more effective. However, who knows what that writers background is. Maybe she is only gifted with a 5th grade reading/writing level, or is a skilled engineer and has absolutely no command over writen and verbal communication. One thing the author is is proactive and for that she should be respected. Apathy is much worse.

I cant condemn the Chronicle for printing this article for the basic reason that this letter was signed. I cant think of anything to stop each inspired person to retaliate to this writers constitutional right either directly to her or via the same forum.

And Ms. D'Ambrosio [ref: to edit- oops], please dont take my CAP lock suggestion as any more then that. I wasnt trying to take away from the seriousness of the topic - I was actually feeling a little punchy from sitting in this darn office for too long. Interestingly, the respectful and articulate manor with which you responded certainly brought the rudeness of my post to my attention more so then a written verbal attack. The ol' catch more flies with honey then vinegar trick.

With that in mind, I say - launch a response to this letter in a similar fashion.

[This message has been edited by Retrophish (edited 11-15-2000).]

Robby Johnson
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:36 AM
Well, unfortunately I am going to have to agree with Ms. Meagher. I do think it's probably hard for a 13 year-old to read someone's harsh critique of her riding style ... up until this point it was a nationally winning style that she worked very hard to achieve! She cannot help what she is being groomed to do by a plethora of coaches, trainers, etc.

But if she were to go out hunting in this style - actually galloping across country and jumping substantially sized solid obstacles - she would likely be in danger of getting tipped over her horses head if he decided to stop.

I am an event rider who grew up riding in the hunter ring - with lots of natural outside trail riding/jumping thrown in. What I have learned is that one *has* to be with, but almost behind, the horse's movement to be efficient and safe over fences.

A rider who jumps ahead is also likely to be less than effective - riding the horse from behind - over fences. This is probably fine in the confines of an arena, jumping fences that fall down.

But it wouldn't work in the hunt field. And Ms. Meagher's point, I think, was that the hunter style we reward today is a far cry from the original style a field hunter demonstrated.

Robby

p.s. It's not just hunters ... lots of dressage horses are rewarded for being cranked and aesthetically "framed."

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:36 AM
Ahem, ahem that's Mrs. D'Ambroisio ... Michael is a she!

I'm so proud to see someone so involved in this industry stand up and defend another competitor. Way to go Michael.

[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-15-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-15-2000).]

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:41 AM
Robby while I do think that there might be a problem within the American equitation system, if you've ever seen Allison ride you'd realize that that one photo is the kind of picture that you or I would have ripped in half had it been of ourselves. Unfortunately Allison doesn't get to pick and choose between bad & good photos.

lauriep
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:43 AM
I have also had questions about our equitation system today and whether or not it is still doing what it was intended to do.

HOWEVER, the way in which Ms. Meagher went about her complaints is totally unacceptable by any standards. The same points could have been made through honest observations of the judging, with no child singled out (and despite her statement to the contrary, she DOES single this child out, not only by name, but by describing all of the faults in her form she finds in the picture). And the Chronicle should have recognized this and not printed the letter. No child should ever have to be subjected to this sort of treatment.

A discussion of the merits of our eq. system is certainly justified and could be constructive; this is neither.

By the way, Michael D'Ambrosio is Mrs., not Mr. Married to Anthony D'Ambrosio.

Erin
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:48 AM
All right, look out...

[rant mode on]

I am totally amazed at the ability of such a large group of normally-sensible people to so COMPLETELY miss the point.

The letter writer is complaining about the state of equitation today. This topic has come up on this board a dozen times. Can PWynn write a letter to the editor about it? No... because it doesn't have anything to do with a published article, photo or letter.

The letter writer saw a photo of an equitation championship winner displaying the "posed" style many people here have complained about. The photo caption mentioned her "classic style," referring to Karen Healey's comments (she trains the kid) in the accompanying article to the same effect.

Bingo... an opportunity to bring up the sad state of equitation in a national magazine. An opportunity to foster dialogue.

The point is not that the letter writer thinks this person is a bad rider. The point is not the quality of the photo. The point is that this girl is displaying a style that many people think is a perversion of the "classic style"... and SHE'S PROBABLY DOING THAT ON PURPOSE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT JUDGES REWARD!

Good grief, I'm not even a h/j person and I understand the point. The letter writer is NOT attacking the rider, she's using her as an example of why she thinks the system is broken. Her opinions are rather strongly worded... but I have yet to see anyone really answer the questions she's trying to pose:Is this girl displaying classic style? Is this what judges should be rewarding? Is this the way our next crop of top riders should ride?

Regarding the Chronicle's decision to publish the letter... our forums here are modeled after our letters column. The point of an open forum is to allow anyone to express an opinion, no matter how unpopular... and to allow everyone else the opportunity to DISAGREE. The point is not to only print opinions we think are right. Good God...

Michael: I have a communication law book at least 300 pages thick sitting on my desk at home that attempts to define "libel." Trust me, the Webster's definition doesn't even come close. And the letter is not, by any stretch of the imagination, libelous.

And to whoever thought that a post similar to that letter would have been removed from the forum for "trolling"... absolutely not. In fact, a very similar discussion evolved around a different equitation championship just a few weeks ago.

Last you'll hear from me on this topic... it's not doing my blood pressure any good. I'll leave it to the more rational minds of PWynn, SLWarrior, Robby and Spunky... Thank God not everyone posting on this thread has completely missed the boat while in the throes of misguided indignation.

[/rant mode off]

lauriep
Nov. 15, 2000, 09:58 AM
No, Erin, I have not missed the point, nor am I in the "throes of misguided indignation." As I stated earlier, the writer could have accomplished the same thing using strong language that did NOT leave the impression with the named child that she was at fault. All of the people on this topic are not "missing the boat" nor do they disagree with the writer - they disagree with her approach concerning a child.

If the child's name was your daughter's and she might read it, would you be so accepting of the letter?

[This message has been edited by lauriep (edited 11-15-2000).]

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:08 AM
Thank you, Lauriep! I have NOT missed the point, either. The point is that there are other ways to address the issue which could have been kinder and gentler. The disclaimer that the writer was ". . . not attacking Alison LaJoie. . . " is no more effective than a child's excuse that "I didn't mean for it to happen . . . therefore it's ok."

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:30 AM
Erin I am utterly disapointed by your "rant" and I resent the fact that you of all people point a finger saying that many of us have missed the point.

I think you have missed the so called point.

How on earth can you defend someone who uses and criticises a child to make her point about the state of equitation in your country?

She could have just as easily had made her point WITHOUT using Allison as EXHIBIT A.

Personally, I would be mortified if someone used a photo of me as a demonstration of what is wrong with the system today.

If you had bothered to do more than skim my post you would have seen that I agreed that there might be a problem with the state of the American equitation system being taught today.

But I still maintain that the use of that photo is the equivalent of the NATIONAL ENQUIRER publishing a photo of Harrison Ford and Laura Flynn Boyle chatting at a club to imply an affair, since the letterwriter choses to conduct in public, a critique of the photo.

Sorry you so strongly disagree but I think it very unfair that you should rant at such great length condemming those who raise an eyebrow as to the fairness of using a child to critique a system.

I also defend Michael who has years of experience in this business. IMHO she deserves to be upset that a child has been used in such a callous manner.

Delete this if you feel it appropriate but I was very disappointed by your rant. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Canter.

farmgate
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:44 AM
No Erin, I think perhaps YOU have missed the point. While I agree "equitation" and its American meaning needs addressing, to name the person in a photo then go on to specifically use HER position as an example is tasteless and just bad manners.

It saddens me that this type of approach to issues seems to be more and more acceptable in our society.

And, I did not say the post would be removed. I said the poster would be "warned".

Erin
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:50 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Canter:
She could have just as easily had made her point WITHOUT using Allison as EXHIBIT A.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How?

And I again quote the Chronicle's letters policy:

"The Chronicle will accept letters that refer to a previously published article, photograph or letter."

How, without referring to the photo in question, which SHOWS what she is talking about, is this woman supposed to make her point?

And again... does anyone think the style this girl is showing IS classic?

Anne FS
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:51 AM
Erin, thank you! You are exactly right. Rest assured that there are some of us out there who understand.

ponyjumper4
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:52 AM
This post is beginning to sound like my former high school---everyone bickering over "he said, she said" stuff and reading way too much into everything said (or rather printed).
Quote:"Dear Sir:

Please understand, before I start my tirade, that I am not attacking Alison LaJoie [the child] or any other children who have had a similar riding style rewarded. This is a diatribe against the trainers and judges who promote and reward the absolute perversion of the classic hunter style."

I think that clearly defines her intentions, but then again, that's my perception.

Quote:
"There is nothing classic about that style. The knees are pinched, the leg back, and she is lying on her horse's neck with her butt in the air. This is not classic. This is nuevo nonsense. She is not secure on her horse because she is not with her horse. She is perched on her horse."

Note the first sentence. "There is nothing classic about 'that' style."---notice she DIDN'T say "HER style". When using "she", she wasn't referring to Allison personally; she was just labeling the subject. It could have been "he" if the rider was a boy--or she could have just said "the rider"--I agree to that.

There was nothing wrong with her writing that letter. That is the whole point of "Letters to the Editor". The woman had to pick someone to use as an example. It couldn't be someone that didn't win an eq. final--then her complaint or argument would have no merit. I also agree that that was just one picture, but if you look closely and more attentively to others photos, not necessarily of her (I don't know her or have ever seen her ride), you can see what the author was stressing. I can see how it would be taken as an attack, but you've got to read it with an open mind.

farmgate
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:56 AM
If this person wanted so badly to address this issue she should have used The Chronicle's "Horseman's Forum" format.

THAT would have been more appropriate and, as you've pointed out before, acceptable.

Spunky
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:57 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Goodmudder:
Pwynn - I don't feel that posters are truly arguing that a reasonable discussion about judging standards cannot be constructive. I think it can. We could start another thread.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Goodmudder--not trying to pick on you here by quoting you again! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif but I'd like to point out that Snowbird and Pwynnorman have been TIRELESSLY hammering the problems with judging standards within threads, on separate threads, and on separate websites (http://www.hunterjumper.org) for a very long time.

No one is arguing that the singled-out child will need a lot of extra support to get through this ordeal. It's a lousy situation.

Yet, this very lousy situation has been created by the lack of judging standards that Snowbird and Pwynn, among others, have been decrying as tactfully, loudly, and as often as they can. Will it take a tactless, apolitical letter such as Ms. Meagher's until people sit up and listen??!! Or will something even worse have to happen?

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:03 AM
Hey Spunky, quote away, that's ok! Yes, I'm aware of those threads, and I don't disagree with most of them. But to think that this personal approach would (a) achieve the stated goal, and (b) that such an end would justify these means, I think is fuzzy thinking. As someone just said, what about the Horseman's Forum?

I'd love to hear from Ms. Meagher, too!

AM
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:09 AM
Most of what I know about hunters and jumpers I've learned from this BB and the COTH. When I read the letter(before it was mentioned on this thread), I thought that it reflected just what I had seen mentioned so many times on this BB.

Alida
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:10 AM
I am a.) a staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights and b.)yes, I too am worried that in today's society where everyone wants instant results, some of the older, slower, teaching methods that developed the fundamentals of independent seat, legs, and hands have fallen by the wayside.

That being said, I firmly believe that Ms. Meagher was way out of line in the method she chose to voice her opinion. While she states her intent was not to attack the winner, she proceeded to do just that. To use a child, competing in an intermediate children's divsion, as your lightening rod is thoughtless and mean spirited. No child should ever be subjected to this kind of treatment. Ms. Meagher could easily have offered her opinion without mentioning specific events or individuals. George Morris does it all the time. Secondly, if you are going offer up criticism, then you are obliged to know of what you speak. Basing opinions on a single photograph from an event you did not attend in person is rather self indulgent. As a parent and former teenage girl; I can't imagine how hurtful this is. If you believe that the current state of equitation is lacking, then get out there and watch the finals, refrain from using individual children as negative targets, and here's a novel idea... write a complimentary letter about a competitor who you thought did exemplify good riding skills.
I hope Ms. Meagher has the good character to apologize to the young lady who won, she simply does not deserve to have her victory tarnished in this manner. I for one, send her my congratulations on a job well done.

With regard to the Chronicle's policy, I believe that a serious error in judgement was made in printing this letter. The Chronicle has a history of publishing controversial letters that address issues with specific people or organizations, and I think that is good - but those involved are usually professionals and/or representatives of one of the umbrella organizations. When you hang out your shingle as a professional, accept an appointment to an organization, ride as member of a US team, (or when you write an unsolicted letter to editor like Ms. Meagher, BTW) you knowingly accept that you have stepped into the public arena for commentary. Junior riders, who are after all, children, should not be subject negative public commentary. And I say commentary, because that is different from fact. Would I have a problem with the Chronicle printing something that was negative if it was a fact - probably not. Negative commentary - yes I do have a problem with that. I believe that the Chronicle has a responsibility to show good judgement and journalistic integrity by refraining from printing negative opinions involving specific children who have neither asked nor deserve to be put in this position. Kids need encouragement; with all the editorial pieces I've seen in the COTH over the years encouraging riding and its benefits for youngsters, I'm surprised that I would see such an hurtful piece in its pages. I hope the Chronicle has the same good character to apologize as well.

ClemsonGraduateRider
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:13 AM
I don't have enough time to post a thorough response right now but i will be back to edit . . . I agree with Erin, Pwynn and that group. I'll be back to defend myself shortly!!

RodeoGirl
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:13 AM
Canter,

Erin has just as much right to rant, and express her opinion as you do! Its called freedom of speech, without it I shudder to think about where this country would be.

The first amendment guarantees freedome of speech to everyone, not just those people who are saying what YOU WANT to hear.

B.G.M. heidi
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:19 AM
Erin I do understand the COTH's policy for publication of letters to the editor and you're right the letter in question does fit the magazine's criteria. I really don't think, though, the debate is a constitutional one and the issue here isn't truly about the magazine's right to publish a letter.

While I do agree with many of the posters that the system suffers from poor judging, politics, favouritism, capricious trends in eq. and hunters (crest or automatic release, which is it this week), the fact that a 13-year old child has been arbitrarily selected as the poster child of all that is wrong with the system is unnecessarily cruel.
Furthermore, let's ourselves try to recall what it feels like to be 13 - nervous, self conscious, all too willing and ready to please those we admire and respect. At 13 she has not accumulated the experience to develop her own unique style or perhaps to question the instructions and examples of those who train, judge, and compete against her. She's also not developed the confidence to question judge's expectations. By citing her photo as representative of all that is wrong with the system faults her, albeit indirectly, for being 13.

The underlying issue may be a valid one but for god's sake, you CANNOT have a discussion on all that ails equitation/hunter classes by citing a 13-year old as the unwilling and representative culprit. That's perhaps the point you're missing Erin.

Anne FS
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:19 AM
All of you who are writing attack, attack, attack on a child:

Kimberley Meagher wrote in her letter: "There is nothing classic about that style. The knees are pinched, the leg back, and she is lying on her horse's neck with her butt in the air. This is not classic."

This is an attack? You gotta be kidding?!

Are the knees pinched? Is the leg back? Well, there you go. What changes a statement to an attack?

Now, I have thought 'what if that was my daughter?' If it was, I would be disappointed that my brilliantly-riding daughter /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gifwas portrayed in a crappy photo, and that would be too bad. But even my daughter would admit that if a still photo of her was chosen and that photo wasn't a good one, but showed all her faults, well, then, the faults are there and it's ok that someone points out, uh, look, folks, please don't call that knee and that leg classic hunter style if it ain't. You picked a poor photo to label classic hunter style.

Again, Ms. Meagher's complaint is that here is a national publication saying, here, reward this position, it's classic hunter. Someone on staff should've chosen a better picture if they wanted to run that caption.

This board has spent a lot of time ranting about how judges are indeed rewarding perched riders who'd never last outside a hunter ring. Now it looks as though the Chronicle is also doing this and Ms. Meagher just blew her top. As she said herself, "...but labeling the picture...was over the top." Please read what the woman actually wrote before you all pounce.

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:26 AM
[QUOTE]

Now, I have thought 'what if that was my daughter?' If it was, I would be disappointed that my brilliantly-riding daughter /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gifwas portrayed in a crappy photo, and that would be too bad. But even my daughter would admit that if a still photo of her was chosen and that photo wasn't a good one, but showed all her faults, well, then, the faults are there and it's ok

CLOSE QUOTE

I certainly envy you, that you would have such a wise and mature 13-year old who can react like that.

[This message has been edited by Goodmudder (edited 11-15-2000).]

lauriep
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:28 AM
RodeoGirl, Erin changed the tone by stating categorically that those questioning the letter and its form were "missing the boat" and "in the throes of misguided indignation." No one holding these views had attacked anyone else, just the taste used by the writer of the letter. THOSE people, me included, are certainly entitled to OUR opinion as well, without being told we are missing the point. I DID NOT MISS ANY POINT AND RESENT BEING TOLD THAT I DID. THAT IS NOT THE MODERATOR'S JOB. AND CAPS LOCK IS ON FOR A REASON.

Let's also remember that the PERCEPTION of something is often more important than the original intent. If this letter is PERCEIVED by so many to be inappropriate, then the author's intentions, however honorable, are going by the wayside because of presentation.

lauriep
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:38 AM
Anne FS, if the author had stopped at just critiquing the style, while still a bit harsh, may have been ok. But she didn't; she went on to say that if the judges had any guts, and this was the "best" they had, they should tell them all to try again next year. This is where I PERCEIVE it to get personal to the winner of the class, the "best" that the author alludes to. I would take it personally, and at 47, I think I have a pretty thick skin. A 13 y.o. does not.

Robby Johnson
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:54 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Anne FS:
All of you who are writing attack, attack, attack on a child:

Kimberley Meagher wrote in her letter: "There is nothing classic about that style. The knees are pinched, the leg back, and she is lying on her horse's neck with her butt in the air. This is not classic."

This is an attack? You gotta be kidding?!

Are the knees pinched? Is the leg back? Well, there you go. What changes a statement to an attack?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Anne FS:

Thank you! I totally agree with your post.

Here are a few comments I'd like to make.

1.) With victory comes scrutiny. In addition to training children to become successful riders, we need to be training them to become successful winners and, hopefully, young adults. I don't think the letter-writer was attacking this woman at all. And so what if she was? Stick and stones break bones, IIRC. Not words. For some reason the Internet has fostered not only really acerbic, viper-tongued individuals, but also lily-livered, hyper-sensitive souls who cannot take the slightest infraction upon their already weak ego.

Toughen up everyone!

2.) I haven't seen the photo and if it *is* just a sucky photo, then I'm sure the rider can look at it and go, "LOL! The others were SO much better!" But if the photo was snapped during her winning round - even if it was over just one fence - it was still rewarded.

I don't buy into the thought that this division is "just 3' and designed to move kids along." Is it just me, or should a kid be really effective and good over 3' before they move up? Bad position is bad position. A fall resulting from bad position doesn't discriminate between "one bad fence out of 8 or 9."

I think what we're going to see in the eq. divisions, particularly as the questions become more and more technical and difficult (like what was apparently asked this year at the Indoors) *are* better, more traditional and effective riders. The "praying mantis" style is going to go away by necessity. There's no way you can maintain that position on a bending line set at a broken distance without wiping out! Enough wipe outs and you learn to ride defensively!

I also think if people weren't allowed to ride veteran eq. horses through the ranks that they would be MUCH more likely to quit perching.

Robby

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:11 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
How?

And I again quote the Chronicle's letters policy:

"The Chronicle will accept letters that refer to a previously published article, photograph or letter."

How, without referring to the photo in question, which SHOWS what she is talking about, is this woman supposed to make her point?

And again... does anyone think the style this girl is showing IS classic?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


ERIN,

How?

1. She could have directed her criticism about the caption and what it implied to where it belonged: towards COTH for subheading that photograph with the words "classic position."

I don't think that photo should have been captioned that way either BTW. But it was.

But is that some how Allison's fault? She isn't quoted as patting herself on the back for her "classic position" and that's why I don't think she should be used as EXHIBIT A.

2. She also didn't need to continue criticising Allison's right to be a Medal winner. To single out Allison is not fair or accurate. Single em all out or don't do it at all.


[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-15-2000).]

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:17 PM
Robby: acerbic? acid tongued? lilly-livered? hello?

Sticks and stones etc went out with the dark ages: words hurt far more, and far more permanently.

We all have our rights to an opinion, yourself included. And mine, at this moment, is to hope that neither you nor AnneFS are parents of teenagers, trainers or teachers of young children. Your insensitivity is incomprehensible.

upperco
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:24 PM
Does anyone know Mrs. Meagher and/or her level of knowledge?Is she a current owner trainer,judge,or parent of a kid who wins at the top level competitions? Was the photo from the event or from the chronicle file?
Are the any photos of those who placed below her in the ribbons? Consider this----- maybe she just outrode the other kids.

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:29 PM
Upperco, I don't know the answers. But, again, the point here isn't whether her issue is valid, whether the picture was good or bad, whether anyone else was good or bad, or what the correct standards are.
The point of this thread, when begun,is about the propriety of the METHOD of broaching an opinion by embarrassing a young child in a national publication. Despite disclaimers to the contrary, that's the result.

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:34 PM
To those of you who understand where I'm coming from thank you. Many of you in particular have posted very thoughful, intellegent responses.

This is not to demean those who feel that I and my ilk are unnecessarily upset by this letter, for your responses for the most part, are equally intellegent and present a (lively) discussion for another point of view.

However, I take issue with anyone who would dismiss a different point of view as Erin has.

IMHO, that is arrogant.

I have to refer back to a few comments picked up through the threads. As heidi points out we are not discussing constitutional rights here. Merely the bad taste and poor judgement shown (IMHO and a few others) by using a child as an example of what is wrong with the American equitation system of today.

As lauriep has said, when the author of the letter goes on to use Allison's win as an example of inadequecy on the part of trainers and judges, I have to take issue with that as well.

Alida's post summed up my feelings in a far more eloquent way than I could ever express. Thank you.

What I find wrong with the tone Erin has set (and why I'm upset by this) is that it has people like ClemsonRider, a BBer whom I have the greatest regard for, using words like "defending myself" which is very aggressive, and unnecessary IMO, for a discussion, but perfectably acceptable language for a war.

While I'm sure that was never Erin's intent, she has divided the board into us vs. them which does not lend itself to debate ... only disagreement. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:43 PM
Heidi and Canter: I have gained a newfound respect and admiration for my northern neighbors. Thank you!

I'm tired - break time.

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by RodeoGirl:
Canter,

Erin has just as much right to rant, and express her opinion as you do! Its called freedom of speech, without it I shudder to think about where this country would be.

The first amendment guarantees freedome of speech to everyone, not just those people who are saying what YOU WANT to hear.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I have no issue with freedom of speech. I would encourage discussion on this topic...just because I see the world through my eyes doesn't mean that mine is the only or ultimate vision. Quite the contrary, and what I find to be so wonderful about these BB's.

But I do have issue with being dismissed as having missed the boat. It's bad manners, tunnel visioned and dismissive.

Feel free to disagree with me /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-15-2000).]

adhock
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:46 PM
I really want to make my position clear: I am totally in favor of any and all efforts to improve the quality of equitation, riding in general (remember I live in a zone where few kids even warm-up their own ponies!), and judging. However, I am adament that a 13 year old should not be used as a poster child for what's wrong with the state of the sport. Yes, Ms. Meagher's comments were aimed at the judging and, indirectly, at the trainers (I think). But the child was the unintended victim and that's where editorial responsibility comes into play. Erin, I understand your policy. But I have seen enough alternative illustrations of "perching and posing" in photos in COTH to fill another magazine. Pick an example from a professional or from an adult, but protect the child. Now, if the LaJoies had submitted the photo to the publication or to Ms. Meagher for a critique (ala Practical Horseman and Mr. Morris' column), the situation would be different. But they didn't. I return to Snowbird's post for constructive ideas and avenues for action. And I stick by my earlier suggestion that the COTH owes it to this young rider to provide a public apology. Okay, I gotta get back to work!

RodeoGirl
Nov. 15, 2000, 12:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Canter:

I have no issue with freedom of speech. I would encourage discussion on this topic...just because I see the world through my eyes doesn't mean that mine is the only or ultimate vision. Quite the contrary, and what I find to be so wonderful about these BB's.

But I do have issue with being dismissed as having missed the boat. It's bad manners, tunnel visioned and dismissive.

Feel free to disagree with me /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-15-2000).]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That was my only point, we all have a right to our opinion! Seems that we can agree to disagree on this one.

Coreene
Nov. 15, 2000, 01:14 PM
I work for a newspaper. We get letters to the editor, too. There's no rule that says we have to print all of them.

I have found that on occasion COTH does print a few that are best left as just that: a letter to the editor. He could just leave it as purely what it is - correspondence to the editor. Doesn't mean the he has to print every letter received.

B.G.M. heidi
Nov. 15, 2000, 01:36 PM
Perhaps to illustrate the stance of those who are offended by the letter, let's contemplate this for a second. An equally young rider has won a prestigious class, let's use 14 year-old Kelsy purely as an example; someone else decides to post a picture of Kelsy on this board as an illustration of 'classic' position.

How appropriate would it be for me, for example, to find the picture personally offensive and the very embodiment all that is wrong with the current mode of riding/judging/instructing equitation riders? How conducive would it be, in the noble pursuit of advancing discussion, to denigrate not only Kelsy's accomplishments but denounce her 'posed' position in that singular picture as an illustration of a perceived and rampant 'preversion' in the sport?

Somehow, I think many, if not all, posters on this board would dismiss my 'critique' as cruel and unfair flaming. Why can't we extend that vehement 'compassion' to Allison, whose only 'crime' is perhaps her absence on this board?

Anne FS
Nov. 15, 2000, 01:59 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Goodmudder:
And mine, at this moment, is to hope that neither you nor AnneFS are parents of teenagers, trainers or teachers of young children. Your insensitivity is incomprehensible.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Watch it, Goodmudder, because I am going to let you have it but good if you keep it up.

I am indeed the proud parent of two teenagers. And they know how proud I am of them. Because I am a good parent, my children also know how to read and comprehend. FYI, they read the letter and understand it and didn't think it was personal to the rider in the photo AT ALL. Their reaction?: They didn't see the round in person, so the photo was probably a bad moment in time that was a poor choice for that caption. If, however, the whole round looked like that, well, then, that's another story.

My son is 14 and doesn't ride much. However, our old barn where we boarded has a photo wall and one of the photos is of him on a pony when he was 10. He hates the photo even though his position is excellent. My daughter is 16 and rides every day. She has been photographed a lot. She loves the photos where everything looks gorgeous but she knows that sometimes the camera catches you doing everything wrong. For kids who grew up with GM photo critiques every month in PH they don't think anything of comments on people in photos, themselves or others. They understand a critique of position is not a critique of them personally, and they try to improve all the time.

Anne FS
Nov. 15, 2000, 02:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Canter:

ERIN,

How?

1. She could have directed her criticism about the caption and what it implied to where it belonged: towards COTH for subheading that photograph with the words "classic position."

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Canter, that's EXACTLY what she did!

Quote: "Please understand...that I am not attacking AL or any other children who have had a similar riding style rewarded...I have refrained from expressing my very strong opinion...but labeling the picture of Miss L....was over the top."

How much clearer could it possibly be?

brilyntrip
Nov. 15, 2000, 02:12 PM
Interesting that the very letter that I read and then stopped reading after I became aware of the tone etc is now the topic of such heated debate.I too find the letter insensitive and on a totally different rant than the earlier comments concerning the Medal Finals.If my daughter had read that without being forewarned she would have been hurt too.Personally I dont think that the letter was necessary.Most parents would agree I think .

Spunky
Nov. 15, 2000, 02:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by heidi:
Somehow, I think many, if not all, posters on this board would dismiss my 'critique' as cruel and unfair flaming. Why can't we extend that vehement 'compassion'. . . ?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Heidi there are several "points" flying about on this board.

1. The point of the letter: Ms. Meagher was criticizing the teaching of of a perched pose and the labeling of such as "classic".
2. The point of using a picture of a child riding as an example: Controversial ground! But you know what? We do it all the time in a positive fashion.
3. The point of journalism & free speech: COTH's printing of the letter written.

I understand and empathize with your compassion! But let's not ALLOW point 1 to be SWALLOWED by point 2! And point 3 will be supported until our democracy crumbles.

Canter, I don't think this board is divided. There are a lot of "boats" floating around here and we each need to be sure that we don't misunderstand each other's posts for being on the wrong boat. Some of us are simply standing on a different boat, and a good percentage of us are usually on YOUR boat on so many other topics, so it may feel more divided than it is. Please don't be bitter /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Note: Ms. Meagher is also not here to defend or speak for herself, nor do I pretend to speak for her or the COTH. However, should she choose to make a public apology, I am reasonably sure that the COTH would print it.

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 02:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Anne FS:
Canter, that's EXACTLY what she did!

Quote: "Please understand...that I am not attacking AL or any other children who have had a similar riding style rewarded...I have refrained from expressing my very strong opinion...but labeling the picture of Miss L....was over the top."

How much clearer could it possibly be?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Anne, in fairness to the discussion and to my quote, continue quoting the letter until you get to the "pinching of the knee, laying on the horse's neck" etc criticisms of Allison in the photograph.

I don't think she needed to pick on Allison to make her point.

Canter
Nov. 15, 2000, 03:02 PM
Hey Spunky

Bitter is pretty far removed from my reality... a thong-induced calmness brought about by a visit to one of the many underware threads. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Thank goodness for panty lines in times like these. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif



[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-15-2000).]

Goodmudder
Nov. 15, 2000, 03:06 PM
This is an open letter to Alison:

Alison, I have no doubt that this ordeal has been difficult for you. I hope you are reading this thread, just to know that the vast majority of posters believe you were treated, perhaps inadvertently, very terribly. You did nothing to warrant these thoughtless actions by people who are, presumably, adults. But adults make mistakes, and I think this was a big one.

Please, hold your head high and chalk it up to experience - because there's basically not much else you can do. I have no doubt that you will conduct yourself better than some others have.

You fairly and squarely won a national level competition - as I said earlier, you did that with 2 rounds in front of multiple judges with open scoring. I was there. Be proud of it, because you should be. It is a measure of your ability and experience at this point in your riding career, and indicates a tremendous future. Prior winners have gone on to great success in both equitation and hunters. I, and presumably many others, offer our heartfelt congratulations.

Good luck - I expect that we will be reading about you often. And above all, have fun!

Spunky
Nov. 15, 2000, 03:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>original posted by Canter:
Actually, bitter is pretty far removed from my reality... a thong-induced calmness brought about by a visit to one of the many underware threads.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I noticed you were over there! Not to change the subject, but I'm glad to hear it /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

B.G.M. heidi
Nov. 15, 2000, 03:12 PM
I am volunteering my services as character witness for Canter - she is indeed all sweetness and a beacon of saintly thoughts, behaviour, and intentions /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Canter, glad you too have recognized that a little thong goes a long way /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Anne FS
Nov. 15, 2000, 03:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Canter:
... a thong-induced calmness brought about by a visit to one of the many underware threads. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Thank goodness for panty lines in times like these. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is soooo funny. Maybe thongs work like those 3 Chinese balls.....oh, well, that's *definitely* another thread. Thanks for the humor, Canter!

SLW
Nov. 15, 2000, 03:56 PM
Folks, the letter to the editor was from a STRANGER. Please, give the young rider and her parents some credit for having riding skills and enough smarts to know what really matters, and a negitive observation from a total stranger must be taken in complete CONTEXT. That child was perhaps exhausted after days of showing, riding and hotel sleeping by the time she rode that fence- the child knows what was going on in her mind. The child is not the issue /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Kelsy
Nov. 15, 2000, 05:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Goodmudder:
[QUOTE]

I certainly envy you, that you would have such a wise and mature 13-year old who can react like that.

[This message has been edited by Goodmudder (edited 11-15-2000).]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree... I'm 14 so I'm close to the age and if that was published in a NATIONAL MAGAZINE about me, then I would be humiliated and ashamed. I know Allison and she's such a fabulous rider and I haven't asked her about this (nor do I plan to because I don't want to embarass her) but I can only imagine how she feels. I know she was proud to win such a competition and for someone to write a letter insulting her style and making her sound like a bad rider is so terrible.

Oh, and also since I'm close to the age, I can't imagine ever being okay with this and totally accepting it if it were me and I don't know many other people who would.

Pony Fan
Nov. 15, 2000, 06:31 PM
IMHO - All that really needed to happen to have taken the letter out of the realm of personal attack on an individual child and made it into a discussion of the direction of equitation in this country would have been for the author to have simply stated, "A recent photo in the Chronicle of the winner of a national equitation final was captioned as exemplifying Classic style..." If someone had cared enough they could have gone back through their old issues to find such a photo. But since the writer goes on to describe it, frankly, that would have been rather unnecessary!

And as I've stated before, I do not believe that "with victory comes scrutiny" as someone else suggested on this thread. The victory is a result of scrutiny - by the judge or judges! Just because an individual child OR adult wins something does NOT make them a public persona. They are not running for political office. They just rode in a class at a horse show! Why encourage our children to set and achieve goals if that means they become fodder for anyone who wants to take a potshot?

Finally, Erin, just because the letter met the Chronicle's guidelines doesn't mean it should have been published. Whatever important discussion the letter might have engendered was lost by the presentation of the topic.



[This message has been edited by Pony Fan (edited 11-15-2000).]

Palisades
Nov. 15, 2000, 06:42 PM
Canter, heidi, lauriep, I won't even try to match the eloquence with which you defended your position (I just don't have it in me!) but I agree with you guys 100%.

As for Erin, why is it alright for this woman to criticize a photograph of a child in a national magazine, but not alright for us to criticize this letter in an "open forum"? We have as much right to voice our opinions as Mrs. Meagher did, so why are you defending her and criticizing Canter? I think that your posts were the ones that moved this discussion towards the argument it has become.

As for the COTH's policy on letters to the editor, I think I'm missing something... you're saying that you will print all letters recieved as long as they include a name, are not libelous, and refer to something in the magazine, correct? If that is true, I shudder to think of how many pages of letters you print each issue. I imagine you receive far more mail than you could ever print. Who decides what does go in and what does not? I fear that they are the ones who truly "missed the boat" on this one.

I do recognize that Mrs. Meagher raised some excellent points on the "classic" hunter position and how it is judged. However, these points were raised tactlessly and through a personal attack. I'm 16, and I know that I would not see this letter as a peice of constructive criticism designed to help me improve. Perhaps the Chronicle could have asked Mrs. Meagher to write a short article about the subject without naming names. Perhaps they could have asked her to reword her letter without attacking one girl. Perhaps Chronicle just needs to get some common sense!

Jumphigh83
Nov. 15, 2000, 06:50 PM
Since I STILL don't have that Chronicle I can't comment on the letter. It does, by the sound of the commentary, seem to have been wholey inappropriate to single out one child to criticize a system that is not working, regardless of the "disclaimer".

pwynnnorman
Nov. 15, 2000, 07:38 PM
At what age does a child become more able to handle such criticism? 16? 18? 21? Who makes that decision, and on what basis?

If COTH wants to end this "don't criticize hunter or equitation riders (jumper riders are OK, I gather), especially juniors--hey, BTW, have you never heard teenage gymnasts or tennis players criticized on NATIONAL TV? And what if you don't know how old the person is?--anyway, all COTH needs to do is amend its letters to the editor and BB policies to indicate that individuals under the age of whatever should not be named in any negative commentary. I'd abide by that.

[But I'd be curious to know what age cut-off would be used.]

Maybe the result of Ms. M's letter will be a petition signed by all the top trainers demanding that COTH amend their policies to reflect junior riders only in those ways that won't hurt their feelings.

BTW, I forget who said this: "THOSE people, me included, are certainly entitled to OUR opinion as well, without being told we are missing the point. I DID NOT MISS ANY POINT AND RESENT BEING TOLD THAT I DID."

Yes, you have a right to express your opinion on any matter. And others have a right to express their opinions of your opinions, including those opinions which state you are missing the point. If you resent that, you were probably a teenager who, perhaps due to too much mollycoddling, was unable to recognize when she was NOT the target of an "attack" and instead grew up taking everything personally.

That child may be only thirteen, but I'm willing to be that she's cringing in embarassment about the picture, not about the letter.

And if she ISN'T cringing because she and her parents--and, heaven forbid, Karen Healy?--don't know how bad it looks, then Ms. M. has perhaps done the industry a favor by finally having the guts to be the boy in the crowd who shouts that the Emperor has no clothes on.

TeriKessler
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:06 PM
Interesting posts by interesting people on this thread.

God help the "well meaning" individual who "inadvertently" does that to my child "for the betterment of the sport"! With my maternal instincts, she'd have to change her name and address, or better yet, join the witness protection program!!

I just can't see needlessly sacrificing ONE SINGLE child's self-esteem just to make a point that could be made 50 painless ways in far more productive forums than the COTH's letter to the editor page. Duh!

Guess I just love kids, and value them above horses, riding sports, the future of the equitation division and pretty much everything else. Call me a sucker. That's just my twisted value system.

Trindle99
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:28 PM
After reading this entire thread and voicing my own opinion on the subject I truly belive that the COTH should not print any editorial letter which involves a child who is under 18, without obtaining permission from their parent or gaurdian. It is so obvious that printing this letter was mearly a way in which not only to provide interest in this board but, also to make everyone read the COTH to see all of the 'backlash' letters that are bound to be printed in the next few issues. It is ashame and and downright distasteful that the COTH tries to stir up controversy this way and of course the moderator of this board is on the payroll... is she going to say anything about the huge mistake the COTH made in printing this letter to the editor!! Anyone is entitled to their own opinion but let's leave the children out of it, todays kid's face enough challanges why should one be over a picture in a magazine in which she did not even see before it was printed.As for the author who wrote this letter into the COTH I have one suggestion get a new hobby.

Jumphigh83
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:31 PM
To coin a much abused phrase...It's the SYSTEM stupid!..Not the kid. She was the unfortunate recipient of this critique. She is only doing what she sees and what she has been taught, and very well, from what I see. Oh yes, and my congratulations to Avery Dimming for being one of the FEW eq rides who seem to have their helmet on correctly, not with the chin strap dangling around their collarbone.

RedHotMama
Nov. 15, 2000, 10:44 PM
Did anyone ever stop and think that the way this child is riding is unsafe and she might get hurt. Better some hurt feelings now than
a broken body later. Perching and this type of position can only result in problems in the future. The fact that this type of equitation is being rewarded is unfortunate at best. I bet she was on a great horse though!

Trindle99
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:06 PM
Unless you are this child's parent or trainer or herself if she is of legal age you do not have the right to now critique the style in which she wears her helmet! She is a minor and if her parent lets her wear it that way then the responsibility is on them. The AHSA is the one who needs to step up to the plate, define and enforce the helmet rule until then, you will not see a change. As a trainer, my students, (youngest 3--oldest 76) all wear approved helmets and they are fitted and fastened correctly. This is because I care about them, not the latest style. If more trainers of children were like this and their insurance companies, the horse shows and the AHSA would enforce a strict helmet rule, we would not have this problem.

Bertie
Nov. 15, 2000, 11:28 PM
We can argue about the system all day long without hurting children in the process. And before condemning the system, please, Pwynnnorman, Erin, the Ms. Meaghers out there, et. al., spend time watching the effectiveness of its products such as Emily Williams, Sarah Willeman, Avery Dimmig, Jenny Jones, etc. etc. etc. Then come back with concrete ideas for improvement.

I'd be happy to discuss improving the judging system, but the importance of that discussion pales in comparison to the callous treatment of a child.

Winning a finals and having her picture published in the Chronicle should be among the happiest events of a young rider's life. A lifetime memory. How anyone can justify robbing the happiness from that experience is beyond me. Alison, if you read this, Congratulations on a huge win. Be proud of yourself. You deserve it!

Trindle99
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:25 AM
Bertie I agree 100% with your post.

1baymom
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:59 AM
I am dismayed that Ms. "M." choose this child and photo to vent her saved up anger over "Classic Style,"judging and the like. Boy, if my child ever qualifies and wins such a prestigious national award, I'll be praying for a perfect photo... not to mention the "kindness of strangers." By the way, Allison also won the Large Pony Medal at Devon this year. The Stateline win was not a fluke, just the one of many wins for this VERY talented young lady. I suggest that her mother wishes she had not submitted that photo and I hope that the COTH will be more careful as to photos printed and letters critical of the same.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 16, 2000, 08:07 AM
OK, Trindle, I really think your solution is best and painless: no comment on minors without permission from the parents. That's practical and fair.

Bertie said: "Emily Williams, Sarah Willeman, Avery Dimmig, Jenny Jones, etc. etc. etc. Then come back with concrete ideas for improvement."

First, why do you assume we HAVEN'T? I lived 45 minutes south of Harrisburg. Do you think I didn't go there?

As for concrete ideas, we've talked about them considerably already: stop with the tight curb reins (recall I pointed out picture after picture of that fact--can't "point out" real rounds since they don't exist in a form that can be commented on concretely, as Erin indicated about The Child's Picture); give credit for riding round jumpers, not flat machines; design courses (as is the positive trend, IMO) that rest riding ability, not posing ability; expect more pace in a round; test rider's knowledge as well as their riding by asking them questions or making them analyze and ride without trainers' input (another positive trend already in the making, I think).

I think everyone who has ever commented on the subject has had very, very concrete suggestions for improvement and EVERYONE has watched the rounds at some point of another. Why are you so inclined to assume that just because you don't know someone's name that they must be ignorant or something?

hobson
Nov. 16, 2000, 08:53 AM
Why do we try so hard to keep kids in a protective bubble until they are 21, and shield them from anything remotely negative? (Preparing to be flamed) Self-esteem is not built on consantly hearing that everything you do is wonderful and good (even when it's not). If the girl in question has made it to the top of a prestigous national competition, then she's probably tough enough to handle a negative critique - even from a stranger. Likewise, at this level of competition, she can reasonably expect for her picture to appear in magazines...it seems unreasonable to expect universal approval.

Policy of Truth
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:15 AM
Forgive me if this is a repeat of what has already been said, but I want to respond directly to the original post, and I haven't had the time to read all 3 pages.
As someone who is *EXTREMELY* sensitive to criticism, I felt I could maybe throw a curve ball on this: I do not believe the letter intended to harm the child. I do believe the letter explained that the intention was to argue whether the style was classic or not. I agree that maybe the letter MIGHT have been a bit harsher than I would like, but I do not believe the child would be hurt, especially if she read the entire letter for herself.
She has to be a decent rider to go over 3' fences! So, even if someone wants to argue style, this really ought not to be damaging to her self-esteem. Sure, it sucks to have your picture in a National magazine to congratulate you on your win, and then someone write a letter like this, but it's the CONTENT of the letter that I believe is being missed.
Maybe I've missed something, but it's only my opinion. And by the way, it is the system that causes people to ride like this...i.e. our trainers, judges, etc. I do not like the riding style that is awarded these days, but who am I to complain? I am merely one person...

J. Turner
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:19 AM
As an English teacher, I must label this letter "Rewrite and hand in again for grade."

Here's an appropriate rewrite:

Surely the COTH could find a better picture to display "classic style" on p.? of ?? issue. Allison LaJoie won a hard fought victory of the State Line blah blah, and yet the COTH chose to publish a picture of her caught in an awkward moment in time that does displays the poor equitation that we often see today in the show ring. I have range of photos that portray me as everything from a skilled user of the automatic release to a perching, pinching fool.

Publishing such a picture only reinforces the current trend ... blah blah blah (where she criticizes the trend in training and judging) ... you get the picture.

Not perfect, but better perhaps?

[This message has been edited by J. Turner (edited 11-16-2000).]

Bertie
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:23 AM
Pwynnnorman, several times now you have put your own interpretations onto my words. Not just the above comment but earlier in this thread too, where you indicated that I am simple-minded enough to be "bamboozled by mere words".

Yes, I would like anyone who's going to condemn the equitation system to study those wonderful riders listed above and their peers. I think they exemplify a lot of good things. I ask anyone, including the most experienced, intelligent horseman around, to do that before condemning the system.

Each time your assumptions about me have been wrong. Very wrong. And I suspect you know that. Please refrain in the future. I don't want to waste space on this thread defending/explaining myself unless there's a really good reason.

[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 11-16-2000).]

brilyntrip
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:27 AM
J Turner!! Way to go Rewrite and hand in for a grade!!!! Very funny and appropriate!!I think this thread has been done for a long time .We need to move on. Hopefully the girl that was the subject of so much debate has figured out that many of us don't have enough to occupy our time.

Canter
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:38 AM
Ha ha J. Turner - I was just working on my own version of the same thing ... having edited 12 pages of copy this morning, heck, what's a letter?

Dear Sir:

Please understand, before I start my tirade, that I am not attacking any of the young riders who have placed or won at any regional or national Medal finals or any other children who have had a similar riding style to the style illustrated in the photograph. This is a diatribe against the trainers and judges who
promote and reward the absolute perversion of the classic hunter style.

I have refrained from expressing my very strong opinion on what is being rewarded in the medal classes, but I feel that I must take issue with the labeling of a recent picture from the Capital Challenge which appeared in COTH (Oct. 20, p. 66) and was, in my opinion, over the top.

I found the caption, "Classic Style" to be incorrect. We are losing our sense of what is classic style; pinched kness, incorrect leg position, and incorrect releases resulting in poor upper body postion over fences, this is not classic style.

This is not what I, or many of my brethern would consider classic. This is nuevo nonsense. Classic style is taught to make riders secure on their horses, because so caleed "perching" is both unattractive and dangerous.

What has happened to the standard? It is absolutely horrifying to think that the Classic style has evolved into a bastardization of good form and function. Rewarding this perversion of the classic hunter seat causes me great concern.

The judges need to unify their perspective. Throw them all out if this dangerous, ineffective style is being promoted over the Classic form and tell them to try again next
year.

Enough is enough. Trainers and judges, you have a professional duty to educate. Do not be sucked into this ridiculous fad. Teach these kids how to ride, not pose!

Kimberley E.S. Meagher
Lake Stevens, Wash.

Strictly IMHO, this letter writer is suffering more from a need to rewrite and tempering of her phrases.

It is entirely possible that her intention was not to humiliate or embarrass Allison, however I do not feel that misguided intentions or ignorance of the written language excuses the end result here...

...a child flamed to justify an adult's point of view.

I happen to AGREE with much of what she's saying. But I wouldn't have been offended had she not hurt an innocent bystander, in this case a child in the process.

I am moving on to the underware thread, never to return to this subject again.

I'm quite disapointed that people find this kind of bad judgement justified. Simply my opinion.

[This message has been edited by Canter (edited 11-16-2000).]

Jumphigh83
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Trindle99:
Unless you are this child's parent or trainer or herself if she is of legal age you do not have the right to now critique the style in which she wears her helmet! She is a minor and if her parent lets her wear it that way then the responsibility is on them. The AHSA is the one who needs to step up to the plate, define and enforce the helmet rule until then, you will not see a change. As a trainer, my students, (youngest 3--oldest 76) all wear approved helmets and they are fitted and fastened correctly. This is because I care about them, not the latest style. If more trainers of children were like this and their insurance companies, the horse shows and the AHSA would enforce a strict helmet rule, we would not have this problem.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I wholey disagree. If I see a child jeopardizing their safety then I will speak up and if then they choose to ignore me, then "oh well". If outsiders don't speak up, and the trainer /parents obviously choose to ignore the situation, then I am part of the problem by not speaking up. I have said this before that IF the Chronicle would NOT publish pictures of kids with their helmets improperly adjusted, you would see a VAST increase in the helmet rule compliance. If they KNEW they wouldn't be published even if they won the king of the world eq classic or hunter whatever, they would think twice about HOW they wear their helmets.

Erin
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Trindle99:
It is ashame and and downright distasteful that the COTH tries to stir up controversy this way and of course the moderator of this board is on the payroll... is she going to say anything about the huge mistake the COTH made in printing this letter to the editor.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually, I'm not on the payroll. I'm doing this totally gratis to help out the new webmaster, and have been since the Olympics. My previous employment with the Chronicle has nothing to do with the fact that I think the vast majority of you are missing the forest for the trees. But, JMHO...

Of course, I suppose PWynn and Snowbird must also be on the Chronicle's payroll, since they've been bashing away at this EXACT same subject for the last year or so. It must all be to drum up traffic for the website and readers for the magazine, right?

Give me a freakin' break. http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

barb
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:48 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kelsy:
I agree... I'm 14 so I'm close to the age and if that was published in a NATIONAL MAGAZINE about me, then I would be humiliated and ashamed. I know Allison and she's such a fabulous rider and I haven't asked her about this (nor do I plan to because I don't want to embarass her) but I can only imagine how she feels. I know she was proud to win such a competition and for someone to write a letter insulting her style and making her sound like a bad rider is so terrible.

Oh, and also since I'm close to the age, I can't imagine ever being okay with this and totally accepting it if it were me and I don't know many other people who would.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Kelsy I agree with you...criticism is good from a trainer to improve yourself but not words like this..i am 26 and it would bother me too!! If I had a bad picture of me jumping my trainer could say ANYTHING about it..but one jump at one split second in tieme does not determine how well you ride..I have seen some of the top eq riders not look PERFECT over some jumps..but that does NOT MAKE THEM bad equitation riders!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

upperco
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:51 AM
Oh where Oh where is Mrs M hiding? Speak up-If you want to complain about the terrible trainers,riders competitions and all that is wrong with the system don't take one picture and base your letter on that- I still haven't seen any info about who she is and what she has accomplished in the horse show sport.

Electric Chair
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
Of course, I suppose PWynn and Snowbird must also be on the Chronicle's payroll, since they've been bashing away at this EXACT same subject for the last year or so.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Have to jump in here and take exception - PWynn and Snowbird have NOT "been bashing away at this EXACT same subject for the last year or so". The point of this thread is NOT whether anyone thinks the riding style depicted in that photo is poor, which is what they've been talking about. The point IS whether the writer addressed her concern in an inappropriate manner and whether the COTH exercised poor judgment in printing her letter.

upperco
Nov. 16, 2000, 10:16 AM
Homer,I think the catalyst for Mr D'Ambrios letter is the person who labled the photo as "classic" Mrs Meaghers letter is nonsense stating that "throw them all out and tell them to try again next year"Will she pay for the judges attorneys fees when they have to appear before the AHSA hearing committee and loose their licenses?

Erin
Nov. 16, 2000, 10:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Homer:
Have to jump in here and take exception - PWynn and Snowbird have NOT "been bashing away at this EXACT same subject for the last year or so". The point of this thread is NOT whether anyone thinks the riding style depicted in that photo is poor, which is what they've been talking about.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Fine... but honestly, why do you think the Chronicle published the letter? As someone said, maybe the lady lacked tact, but she's making a valid point. And one that many, many people here have echoed.

I'm not sure how many people here have actually read the article about the class... but in it Karen Healy is quoted as saying the girl's style is classic. That's why that word was picked up for the caption.

We do publish every letter we receive that meets the criteria and isn't libelous. We only receive about three to five letters per week unless there's an especially interesting debate going on. And sometimes we don't receive any at all. The only time we don't use letters that meet the criteria is when we receive several that have the exact same opinion on a subject--such as when we did the magazine redesign and we received many letters, both pro and con.

We would certainly like to receive more letters to the editor, but people these days seldom take the time to actually put pen to paper.

Say what you want about Ms. Meagher, but at least she took the time to write and lent her name to the effort of improving the system.

I'll bet every letter we get about the subject will slam her and the Chronicle for "attacking" a 14-year-old, so even those who DIDN'T perceive it as an attack then will. And it'll all be for naught because everyone will write off Ms. Meagher's comments as a mean-spirited diatribe, instead of taking them in the context which they seemed to be intended.

Oh well... at least we tried.

[This message has been edited by Erin (edited 11-16-2000).]

lauriep
Nov. 16, 2000, 10:59 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:

BTW, I forget who said this: "THOSE people, me included, are certainly entitled to OUR opinion as well, without being told we are missing the point. I DID NOT MISS ANY POINT AND RESENT BEING TOLD THAT I DID."

Yes, you have a right to express your opinion on any matter. And others have a right to express their opinions of your opinions, including those opinions which state you are missing the point. If you resent that, you were probably a teenager who, perhaps due to too much mollycoddling, was unable to recognize when she was NOT the target of an "attack" and instead grew up taking everything personally.


<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

pwyn, as usual you are way off base. I wrote this, and it was intended to tell Erin, who is simply the moderator here, that it is not her purview to be telling respondants that they are "missing the boat" etc. I knew exactly the point the author was trying to make, and Pony Fan tells exactly how it SHOULD have been done to not offend anyone.

And you better not presume to know anything about my teenage years; you don't and never will, and again, as usual, are totally wrong.

Erin
Nov. 16, 2000, 11:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jumphigh83:
I have said this before that IF the Chronicle would NOT publish pictures of kids with their helmets improperly adjusted, you would see a VAST increase in the helmet rule compliance. If they KNEW they wouldn't be published even if they won the king of the world eq classic or hunter whatever, they would think twice about HOW they wear their helmets.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Call me crazy, but I don't think it's a bad thing that we'll publish as many photos of winners as we have room for, as long as it's a decent shot. (And even sometimes when it's not, because that's all we've got.)

If you win, if we've got a picture of you, and if we have room... you get in. Doesn't matter who you are, how much your horse cost, what kind of helmet you're wearing, or whether your breeches are the right color. I don't see how that can possibly be a bad thing.

News is news. You may like it, you may not. But it's our job to portray the news and people's opinions about that news as-is, not as others want it to be.

lauriep
Nov. 16, 2000, 11:03 AM
Pony Fan, your ideas for how the letter SHOULD have been written are right on target. Point made, no one singled out by name as an illustration of all things wrong with the system. Good job!

VTrider
Nov. 16, 2000, 11:10 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
Say what you want about Ms. Meagher, but at least she took the time to write and lent her name to the effort of improving the system. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, at the cost of hurting some poor girl's feelings...real cool there!!!

RodeoGirl
Nov. 16, 2000, 11:25 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jumphigh83:
I wholey disagree. If I see a child jeopardizing their safety then I will speak up and if then they choose to ignore me, then "oh well". If outsiders don't speak up, and the trainer /parents obviously choose to ignore the situation, then I am part of the problem by not speaking up. I have said this before that IF the Chronicle would NOT publish pictures of kids with their helmets improperly adjusted, you would see a VAST increase in the helmet rule compliance. If they KNEW they wouldn't be published even if they won the king of the world eq classic or hunter whatever, they would think twice about HOW they wear their helmets.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ha ha ha!!!! I don't think the Chronicle would have any pictures to print if that was the policy! Imagine trying to find a good shot of a horse and rider that WON, where the horse is jumping well AND the helmet is "Properly adjusted." Good luck!

Erin
Nov. 16, 2000, 11:29 AM
BTW, if we were never to publish letters criticizing those under the age of 18, we would not have been able to publish the letter (or perhaps letters... I don't remember how many there were) from a few years ago that sharply criticized a photo of the winning show jumping team at the North American Young Riders Championships.

The letter writer berated those kids for wearing helmets with chin straps dangling several inches below their chins.

Just a thought...

Robby Johnson
Nov. 16, 2000, 11:54 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by VTrider:
Yes, at the cost of hurting some poor girl's feelings...real cool there!!!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh please. No one is that weak and insecure.

You are all making this such a big deal, and it's totally NOT. I've had my feelings hurt countless times - even as a small child, a young adult, an adult. I still get up every morning.

Robby

Glimmerglass
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:05 PM
I think it is time for everyone to just back off attacking Erin.

If everyone who is so outraged is truly that motivated then take the time to write a letter to TCOH. Yes, I know it takes effort - certanly more than some bb posting. Discussion is great and some of this thread has been constructive but its getting negative without an end benefit.

One observation I have to make is that a lot of brand new folks are really pushing this topic. I have to wonder if these aren't users with multiple names just trying to stir up the subject.

[This message has been edited by Glimmerglass (edited 11-16-2000).]

VTrider
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robby Johnson:
Oh please. No one is that weak and insecure.

You are all making this such a big deal, and it's totally NOT. I've had my feelings hurt countless times - even as a small child, a young adult, an adult. I still get up every morning.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Did you get your feelings hurt in front of a national audience...such as that of the Chronicle's subscribers?

Spunky
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:10 PM
Thanks Glimmer. Thought I'd repost this asd well:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:
We all sit around condemning and blaming when it is actually our fault. We all saw this coming we all have many times discussed the lack of consistency in the standards of judging.

The critic put in print what most likely a lot of others think! It's the total result of
permissively allowing there to be no objective standards. Without vaild and consistent standards this will always be a leaky roof, backyard brawling sport.

The child is not guilty, the judge is not guilty, the Chronicle is not guilty of anything. We as the 98% of the members who participate in this sport are the delinquent members who have permitted this child to be criticized at her most victorious moment. We are responsible by not taking a stand and letting the Licensed Officials Committee know that our perception of judging standards, the judge was not guilty the judge followed approved means.

Enough of the name calling and blaming and complaining. We have proposed a Rule Change for changing Judging Standards. Has anyone read it? It's posted on the AHSA site. Has anyone attempted to discuss the details of what and how these changes should occur? Have any of you "name callers" and complainers blaming everyone but yourselves given any five minutes of thought to the problem and how to solve it up until this very moment.

Will any of you be in Colorado at the Convention to express your ideas to the AHSA and it's Committees? Will you help those very few of us who are trying to make a difference and support change?

We have not dogmatically proposed rules carved in stone, we have however tried to open the dialog before it is too late. No child should be disparaged for what THEYare not responsible. No judge deserves to be abused by any exhibitor. No exhibitor should ever have to feel such a separation from the system that cannot be heard in any other way than in an inflamatory protest letter to the Editor.

We have made a start, will you join us in a constructive discussion of how to fix it? Check out the website, totally neutral territory belonging to the Members of the AHSA involved in the hunter jumper discipline.
http://www.hunterjumper.org <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Louise
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:18 PM
I've been going back and forth on this issue for the past two days. I'm having trouble coming to a decision, because, though I think that the issues of both proper training and news source responsibility are of vital importance, I do think it is a pity that this child's feelings had to be hurt.

However, going back to my own shy and insecure childhood, I think that I could have managed, in time, to deal with the picture issue, probably would have shed a few tears and then moved on.

What would have hurt me more (and I emphasise that I am looking at this from a "me" perspective, because I am really the only person whose thinking patterns I know) would be to have this discussed in great depth on a forum that is widely read by many, many people, and for this discussion to run on and on. Each time I read something new, it would hurt all over again. And, I bet that this child reads this forum, being a horse loving youngster of the computer generation.

I really hate to say, let's drop this discussion, for the child's sake, because I realize that many of you have valid points to make, and, saying that, in effect advocates censorship. But, please, keep in mind that this is what may be happening. Maybe we should start another, more general thread, in which these issues could be discussed without names being named.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:22 PM
I've said this before, but I'll say it again: OTHER SPORTS publish less than flattering pictures and information about junior athletes.

How do those of you who want to protect the child feel about comments to the effect that exposure to such criticism might actually help the child become a stronger individual (if she isn't strong already--I suspect she is, though, especially if she's as good a competitor as her victory implies). Do you really think she would give up riding or give up competiting out of sheer embarassment?

I can appreciate how a mother might feel about this, now that one has explained those motherly feelings to me in a way I could understand, but I'd really like to know from the child's perspective. I think one young person commented here on it, but I'm not sure about others. Are there other children here? Would you weigh in on this? (Sorry, but I don't know who is or isn't a younger person on this BB.)

pwynnnorman
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:24 PM
Hey, BTW, all: While it would be nice to from Ms. M, wouldn't it be also nice to hear from Ms. Healy? Maybe she'll write a response to the letter in the netxt COTH. I'm tempted to do so myself.

Jumphigh83
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
Call me crazy, but I don't think it's a bad thing that we'll publish as many photos of winners as we have room for, as long as it's a decent shot. (And even sometimes when it's not, because that's all we've got.)

If you win, if we've got a picture of you, and if we have room... you get in. Doesn't matter who you are, how much your horse cost, what kind of helmet you're wearing, or whether your breeches are the right color. I don't see how that can possibly be a bad thing.

News is news. You may like it, you may not. But it's our job to portray the news and people's opinions about that news as-is, not as others want it to be.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You also have a responsibility to the community that supports you. The press is WAY too powerful in this country and a modicum of responsibilty in reporting isnt too much to ask when you could affect such a drastic and necessary change in attitude re: helmets.

To excuse your position on the basis of "news is news" is a cop out.

Ghazzu
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:
Get real, Bertie. If you showed that copy to anyone outside the hunter-jumper industry, I absolutely guarentee you that they would HARDLY call it "a public attack on a child." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'll cover your back in this fight,pwynnorman.
I have to say, after reading a lot of the hysteria concerning the letter before I actually saw the letter, I was expecting some horrible vitriolic attack.I was undrwhelmed when I finally read the original.

Most of the vitriol seems to be here on the board. From my perspective, the commentary was aimed at the caption. If it was my kid, would I be upset? Quite likely. But that's life in the real world. The opinion of a spectator (or a viewer of a photo) doesn't
count for anything. It's the opinion of the person in the judge's booth that counts.

1baymom
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:34 PM
It has come to my attention that the parents of Miss La Joie did not even submit the photograph in question to the COTH. They checked the few photos taken at the Stateline and felt none of them were indicative of Allison's riding and not worthy of publication or purchase! What I want to know is, did the COTH order the photo? If so, why the "Classic Style" captioned on a photo that was far from it? Perhaps the author of the article saw Allison's rounds and was reporting on what she saw, not the photo. Both the LaJoies and Allison's trainer, Karen Healy, were not made aware of the inclusion of any photo in what was otherwise a wonderful article. Also, when the letter to the editor from Ms. M. arrived, why publish it under those circumstances? Perhaps you might have asked her, as someone mentioned here, to write for the Horseman's Forum on the subject. Further, did anyone at the COTH take the time to explain to Miss M. that the COTH was entirely responsible for the photo and caption? Please move to correct this issue and apologize to Miss LaJoie at once!

Jumphigh83
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
BTW, if we were never to publish letters criticizing those under the age of 18, we would not have been able to publish the letter (or perhaps letters... I don't remember how many there were) from a few years ago that sharply criticized a photo of the winning show jumping team at the North American Young Riders Championships.

The letter writer berated those kids for wearing helmets with chin straps dangling several inches below their chins.

Just a thought...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not one single name was mentioned re the chin strap issue. Pointing out the obvious, when it IS already a RULE (AHSA) is a far cry from berating anyone. It IS a wake up call to all the trainers, parents, and yes publications that if this ever becomes a litigious issue, you could find yourselves involved due to the fact that you KNEW the rule and you choose NOT to enforce compliance. You always backing off issues as liablous and slanderous yet this issue is minimalized and I am the ogre for bringing it up.

[This message has been edited by Jumphigh83 (edited 11-16-2000).]

B.G.M. heidi
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:

How do those of you who want to protect the child feel about comments to the effect that exposure to such criticism might actually help the child become a stronger individual <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


So are you suggesting that Ms. Meagher performed this child a favour by subjecting her to this random act of cruelty and arrogance by citing a less than flattering photograph as an indictment against the current standards of judging and coaching in equitation classes? I would bet her parents disagree.

CAH
Nov. 16, 2000, 12:38 PM
I have tried to stay out of this discussion but feel that I must put my two cents in, after reading some of the posts...

I too agree that the writer could have penned her letter in a tone that was not as inflamatory. Could of, would of, should of...water under of the bridge.

WHAT does concern me is the attack on the COTH regarding the decision to print the letter. Do we not applaud the COTH for allowing this BB to operate without censorship of certain topics? Do we gripe about other BB's that delete topics that are controversial? Did we not have a discussion a few weeks ago about a junior rider and the judges final decision? Do we have a right to respond to the Editor if we disagree with ANY letter?

Get out your pen and paper, and write to the Editor if you disagree with the opinion of the original letter writer.

I agree LOUISE, it's time to put this topic to rest.

Heather
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:14 PM
Whew!

I've been reading this with interst, and thought hard about refraining from posting.

But couldn't.

I think an interesting/excellent point has been raised late in the disucssion, that I would like to be discussed.

Without necessarily stating that the child in question should have been singled out in the letter, my question is at what point do we teach our kids to take criticism?

I'm not a mother, but I have worked with children extensively, and one of the many reasosn I stopped was because I saw the emergence of an alarming parenting trend in whcih any tiny bit of criticism--even (and sometimes it seemed especially) when it was done for the child's own safety and well-being--was deemed criminally damaging to a the child's psyche.

In my situation, it got to the point where parents would be angry that I wouldn't let little Suzy ride Pony A, who was much too difficult for Suzy, because her Riding Pony B, who was known to be "easy" was stigmatizing Suzy as a bad rider. Similarly, in my summer camps we had to give performances to music, rather that hold schooling shows, because too many parents complained that giving out ribbons for different places was too damaging to self-esteem.

And without judging the letter in question as being too dmamging or not, my question for all those who have responded in the child's defense, when IS it OK to offer ciriticism? And I'm not talking about an age so much--but rather that the grown up world is full of tough, striaght-talking people, who don't give a damn about your feelings. I personally feel it is a great disservice to children to sheild them from everyhting, because at a certain point you do have to go out into the world and it can be a NASTY shock.

Obvioulsy there are limits and guidelines--you don't put an Algebra book in front of a 3 year old and then call them stupid for not knowing how to do the problems. However, the sociology of this country has become so-child focused that I fear we are producing a generation of people unable to deal with dissapointment or negativity--something real life has in spades.

To me its kind of like the old cliche about kids who have it too easy in high school--little misspopular prom queen often gets a big schock when high school ends and she discovers no one gives a damn who she went to the dance with and that her crown doesn't do a thing but collect dust. The kids who were not the most popular in high school usually thrive in the adult environment, because they've learned how to deal with setbacks, pain, and criticism.

Realted to this, is the idea of who it is OK to recieve criticism from? Many people have said things like "Well what has Ms. Meagher done and where can we see her ride, etc." However, what if the letter writer had been someone like George Morris, Michael Matz, or even someone like the aformentioned Karen Healy? These people would clearly be qualified to judge the correctness of the photo--but I imagine there would still be a lot of anger regarding the percieved attack on the child.

I can't comment on whether someone has good or classic hunter style, etc. I event, and have never done the equitation or h/j sutff. However my reaction to 99% of the pictures I see from those circuits, is that if they tried to go cross-country riding like that, they would die awful quick. I am not qualified to say one style is right and the other wrong--but it is very different, and I think those differences are a topic worthy of exploring (as it wasn't so long ago, that hunters actually hunted, and people routinely rode oon both the show jumping and eventing teams at the same time).

Finally, as to whether or not this child has/will be damaged, I can only relate the following. My best friend growing up had an extremely succesful junior career in eventing--national title wins,medals at YR, etc--with a very difficult horse (she had bought it for next to nothing out of the jumper ring where it was a famous and confirmed stopper). And she was, as such, the butt of many angry, jealous, and back-stabbing comments. Some of them were laughable ("her mother rides her horse at home"--her Mom had never ridden a horse a day in her life and was, um, somewhat large to do so), others down right mean (she sucks, anybody could ride that horse if they had that much money). And you know what? It never got to her. She knew what she had accomplished and was proud. The only opinions she cared about was her coaches and the judges'. Kids are much stronger than you think, and my friend has become an amazing adult becaus of what she had learned as a kid.

This has been a real rambler, I know, but to sum up:

I can't/won't judge the effect or intention of the letter, however, I think that we do our children a great disservice when we pretend that: (a) nothing bad will ever happen to them, everyobody will always like and admire them, and the world is full of great people who want to give you good things, and (b)don't give them credit for being the stable, smart sentient beings that can learn and stand on their own.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:26 PM
I went to one of my peers here at WVU, a media ethics expert, and asked his opinion on this matter.

To illustrate his conclusion, which supported COTH and the letter writer, he cited an Alabama case in which the parent of a child whose photograph was taken during an accident sued the photographer and the publication. The parent lost the case because the court noted that it had been a newsworthy event, which took precidence over the invasion of privacy claimed by the parent.

Meanwhile, my peer also noted that when involved in a competition open to the public as participants and spectators, athletes waive their rights to privacy while participating. He also asked me if entry forms include publicity waivers such that a show, for example, could use a competitor's photo without permission to publicize the event. I didn't admit that that is rare to unheard of in our sport--that kinda embarassed me.

He also strongly argued that the child's feelings about the matter should be addressed in the home, not by the media. Of course, he, again, was focused on the public aspect of the competition. He, the father of three in that same age range, felt that it was the parent's responsibility to protect the child or advise/comfort the child under those circumstances. As long as the event was newsworthy, and especially if it was a public event, apparently the photographer and publication have every right to publish the photo and to decide on an appropriate caption, especially if the caption abdicates responsibility for any statements it makes by quoting an involved party (the trainer) from within the article. In fact, he feels the fault lies with the trainer, not the publication!

Meanwhile, the original Alabama case had a twist to it. A few months later, the same photographer sold the picture to another magazine which used it in conjunction with a piece on child safety. The parent sued again and this time, she won because the photo no longer depicted a newsworthy event and thus was IN THAT INSTANCE an invasion of privacy.

I realize that invasion of privacy doesn't really apply here--it's more like defamation or something. But truth IS the best defense (along with newsworthiness, I guess).

Meanwhile, someone said that the parents couldn't find ANY "good" photos of all the photos that were taken of the child? What are the implications there, I wonder?

Erin
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:48 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by 1baymom:
It has come to my attention that the parents of Miss La Joie did not even submit the photograph in question to the COTH.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

We generally get photos in several ways: photographers pick some to send us, we request some, and sometimes competitors send us some. We consider any photos that are sent within our deadline for publication, usually with preference given to big winners and other riders who are mentioned in the accompanying article.

It's the decision of the editors whether or not to include any particular photo, not the riders. We OF COURSE try to choose the best photo. But we cannot use photos that are not from that particular competition. And as everyone knows, sometimes the photographers don't catch you at your best. Oh well... every succesful rider has probably had a clunker of a picture published every now and again. We have to work with what we get.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>What I want to know is, did the COTH order the photo? If so, why the "Classic Style" captioned on a photo that was far from it? Perhaps the author of the article saw Allison's rounds and was reporting on what she saw, not the photo.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

As I have mentioned TWICE before now, Karen Healy was quoted in the article saying the rider's style was "classic." I don't have the magazine in front of me, but I'll be happy to provide the direct quotes later. The caption read, quite simply, something along the lines of "Alison LaJoie displayed her classic style on the way to winning..."

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Both the LaJoies and Allison's trainer, Karen Healy, were not made aware of the inclusion of any photo in what was otherwise a wonderful article.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No rider or trainer is ever "made aware" of whether or not we will publish a photo.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Also, when the letter to the editor from Ms. M. arrived, why publish it under those circumstances? Perhaps you might have asked her, as someone mentioned here, to write for the Horseman's Forum on the subject.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Because, as I've said TWICE now, the Chronicle will publish any letters that meet our guidelines. Ms. Meagher sent us the letter with the intention that it be published. Why should we deny her the right to make her opinion heard?

Forums are generally reserved for issues that CANNOT be addressed in a letter. As I've mentioned, our policy is to only accept letters that refer to a previously published letter, article or photo. A Forum can be pretty much about anything. If Ms. Meagher wanted to write a forum, she could have done that. She chose to write a letter.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Further, did anyone at the COTH take the time to explain to Miss M. that the COTH was entirely responsible for the photo and caption? Please move to correct this issue and apologize to Miss LaJoie at once!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ms. Meagher obviously didn't like the fact that we labeled the photo "classic," and told everyone so. However, she also took issue with the rider's position, which we had no control over. She was urging judges and trainers not to reward the kind of riding that was displayed in that photo. Which, as is obvious from the lengthy discussions that have occurred in the previous months on this board, many judges and trainers DO.

If Ms. Meagher wanted to apologize to the rider, she could certainly write a letter to do so.

marianne
Nov. 16, 2000, 01:48 PM
Thank heavens for two sensible posts!!

Robby Johnson
Nov. 16, 2000, 02:45 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by VTrider:
Did you get your feelings hurt in front of a national audience...such as that of the Chronicle's subscribers?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nope, on one of the many occassions in which my feelings were hurt my seventh grade science teacher - keep in mind I was 12 - said, in front of the entire class (we were studying evolution), "Robby is a homo." He waited until the entire class had quit with their diabolical laughing and then added, "sapiens. And so are all of you."

I am actually gay and lots of the taunting and stigma that a gay child endures growing up makes the alleged suffering the photo in the Chronicle has caused look like a cake walk.

Yes, a supposedly mature teacher used my 12 year-old self to make a big funny joke and, honestly, that affected me.

But I'm OK. And I think you're overreacting.

Robby

ClemsonGraduateRider
Nov. 16, 2000, 02:58 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Canter:
What I find wrong with the tone Erin has set (and why I'm upset by this) is that it has people like ClemsonRider, a BBer whom I have the greatest regard for, using words like "defending myself" which is very aggressive, and unnecessary IMO, for a discussion, but perfectably acceptable language for a war.

While I'm sure that was never Erin's intent, she has divided the board into us vs. them which does not lend itself to debate ... only disagreement. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Im sorry i wasn't trying to get into a war Canter . . . what i meant by defending myself was simply that I was going to post a reason for my agreement with their opinions. I didn't mean that I was going to defend myself because I am right and everyone else is wrong.

I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I just wanted to state mine . . . that I understand where people can get upset over the use of a child for criticism, although if you want to write a letter to the chron don't you have to write in regards to something specific that was printed?

I also agree with the opinion that Ms. Meagher was really trying to state that she was dissapointed with the equitation system overall and that the choice of quote to go under the picture was innappropriate on behalf of the chronicle. I don't think that Ms. Meagher feels that Alison is not a good rider, I think that she was just frustrated with the fact that the quote stated her style (in that ONE particular picture) should not be labeled classic for the reasons she mentioned.

And like many people have mentioned I'm sure there are plenty of better pictures of Alison . .. .it just happened that the one that was printed was not suitable to go with the caption or vice versa, and Ms. Meagher was frustrated that people thought this was a classic style.

Also I have seen many pictures of myself, headless (due to ducking) legs swung back (due to getting jumped out of tack ) and other faults and I, because I have been riding for a good time now, KNOW that these are faults that do not occur EVERY SINGLE TIME I RIDE. So even if someone were to criticize my photo, for the obvious flaws, in that photo, if would only make me work harder in the future to improve.

I beleive that everyone is entitled to their first amendment rights and I imagine that if any of us that post here had that right taken away from us we would definitely be upset. And as unpleasant to us sometimes as that may be, people expressing free speech is a right.

[This message has been edited by ClemsonRider (edited 11-16-2000).]

Alida
Nov. 16, 2000, 03:30 PM
Heather,

You raise some interesting points. As a "doing the best I can" parent, I'd like to respond.

I am not someone who believes that children should be shielded from criticism or unfairness in the world. Constructive criticism and learning how to handle it is an important part of the maturation process. We've all met people who've never learned to take any citicism at all, they're impossible to deal with.

My children receive lots of constructive criticism, - from their parents, from their teachers, from coaches, from other adults, and from their peers. (why just this morning I must have doled out six or seven constructive criticisms trying to get them dressed and on the school bus!) And I'm not opposed to public criticism either. Yes, it can be embarrassing to be corrected in public. But if your teacher makes a point of telling you this is the last time you can be late with an assignment before he calls your parents in front of the whole class, or your instructor pulls you off your pony for tearing its teeth out at a horse show - you learn not to do those things.

But I would prefer that the criticism be the result of an action (or lack therof) that was knowingly and conciously taken by the child. I don't think that the child's position over one jump in one competition falls within that realm. My guess is that she wasn't riding around thinking "gee, I think I'll pinch with my knee over this jump just to see if I can get away with it..." This is where I see the unfairness; the child did not ask to have her picture published nor did she write the caption. I am sure she went into the ring with the intention of doing the very best she could. To later find yourself held up as an example of a "horesemanship don't" in a national publication, singled out as an example everything that's wrong with the current style in equitation when you are thirteen years old and competing in what is fundamentally intermediate division..... is, in my mind, unwarranted and overly harsh.

I will probably correct my kids about another hundred times before they go to bed tonight. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif But I hope my sternest criticism is for those things that they know better than doing; and that when they give their best effort, any constructive advice I have is given with encouragement and a smile.

Palisades
Nov. 16, 2000, 03:55 PM
Pwynn, the point you are making is a strange one to me. Yes, certainly children need to be taught to deal with criticism and hurt feelings. But are you suggesting that every stranger they meet is entitled to teach them these life lessons? I think that parents should be the ones to decide what and how they want their children taught on the subject. I know that if I had children, I would not appreciate people telling me "well, I think that we should all gang up on him/her so that they learn to deal with it". Leave it to this child's parents to teach her about this issue.

Janet
Nov. 16, 2000, 04:13 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robby Johnson:
"Robby is a homo." He waited until the entire class had quit with their diabolical laughing and then added, "sapiens. And so are all of you."

I am actually gay and lots of the taunting and stigma that a gay child endures growing up makes the alleged suffering the photo in the Chronicle has caused look like a cake walk.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Robby,

As someone who endured a lot of teasing from both students and teachers for being "different" I can certainly empathize with you (even though I am not gay).

And I agree that nothing that is said in print is as painful as that which is said to, or in front of, you.

Pony Fan
Nov. 16, 2000, 04:27 PM
PWynn et al.... See here's the problem I have with the letter as it relates to the whole subject of public criticism of a child riding in an equitation division. Wynn, you mentioned young athletes like tennis players getting publicly criticized. Those youngsters are professionals. They are playing in the big leagues with the adults and getting paid the big bucks. The little waiflike gymnasts, same thing (and before anyone tells me they aren't pro, consider what those kids make doing tours, personal appearances, endorsements etc.). As far as I'm concerned if you are playing with the adults, then you play by the grown-up rules. You are fair game for public discussion.

I don't shield my daughter from criticism. Heck, she trains with George Morris! As a professional actress, she's had to deal with reviews good or bad since she was four. But if tomorrow, she was chosen to ride for the USET (her dream), then anyone could comment on her skills, abilities and readiness anywhere they wanted. She would be doing an adult's job and should be judged by those standards. I might even be inclined to say that the Medal/Maclay/USET riders could be considered fair game - after all, it isn't called the "Big Eq" for nothing. But the Stateline is a developing rider medal. It's scary enough having to face your coach/parents/ friends when you come out of the ring, what if all of the ringside felt free to come up and critic your round as well!

What worries this most is the effect that it is having on the kids. My daughter spends her evenings "IMing" the immediate world. Young riders are very upset by all of this. They feel hurt and confused.

Finally, my problem has never been with the essence of the letter. The equitation division is where we develop our riders and while I think there are some real problems in the system as in currently exists, it won't be fixed by publicly humiliating the kids. Think about what happens on a sunny day when you put a growing flower under a magnifying glass! Let the adults take the heat on this one.

MintJulep
Nov. 16, 2000, 05:10 PM
I have been reading all the posts on this one and I have to say I think this issue is very divided, although it really does not have to be. I honestly do not think that the writer had any intention of hurting anyone's feelings. She sounded to me like an old school instructor who is used to telling it like it is. I think the majority of us have had those instructors, and yes they made us cry, but they also made us think. Should she have named names in a national magazine? Perhaps not. However, I don't think that we can hold the Chronicle accountable for any of the blame, number one for putting a picture in with a caption of someone else's quote, or number two for following their normal procedure and printing an unedited letter. All this person did was voice her own opinion regarding the style of the rider. I am sure the child's parents did not have a problem with an article being printed stating her positive qualities as a rider, so I am not sure what the problem is with printing the other end of the spectrum. I have a hard time believing that a 13 year old would take anyone's criticism that hard - especially after just having an article printed detailing her latest wins.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 16, 2000, 06:52 PM
No, Jody, I'm not saying that any stranger on the street SHOULD walk up to a child and treat them in that manner. The point I'm trying to make is that they WILL (or might). There's nothing to stop them from doing so. Sometimes what they say may be valid, as in Ms. M's case, IMO, and sometimes what they say may be way offbase. But the fact is that parents can't shield there children from such treatment forever, if at all. This child's parent couldn't. The lady who owns the pony LR tries out some day may turn out to be a *itch who barks out all the faults she percieves. It happens, right? No matter how much you dislike it, it happens. Isn't it best to prepare the child in advance or comfort the child afterward? What point is there in preventing it from happening here, when it is just as likely to happen over there? Or there? Or there?

Magnolia
Nov. 16, 2000, 07:06 PM
With regards to the letter, it was pretty crappy to single out some poor kid to put down. She did not ask to be critiqued when her picture appeared in the magazine.
That said, hunters are getting such an odd style- on towerheads, there are some pic of top hunter riders jumping horses that look great, but the riders look like hell- leg slipped back, laying on the horses neck... and they are pros getting good jumps out of their horses. There is also a picture of Katie Prudent jumping a huge oxer - she looks like a picture of perfection (I have seen similar of other jumpers like Alison Firestone and Molly Ashe.)
OK, my point, does the way that these top hunter riders ride come as a result of a round jumper? Or, does leaning on their necks make the horse jump in a different style or what? I have seen a ton of pictures of these top hunter riders, and they all duck. They look as bad as the ones that George Morris loves to critique. Yet they are obviously good riders?

Palisades
Nov. 16, 2000, 07:27 PM
First of all Pwynn, my name is Joanna, not Jody. You can just call me Palisades /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I agree that there is no way to protect a child from ever receiving criticism...it will happen. But that doesn't mean that you should give up trying. There is no way that we will be able to stop murder from being committed, but we still don't encourage it. There is absolutely no way that one day every hunter will be judged fairly and without bias- but I notice that you keep trying to make it happen. My point is simply that if the girl's parents want her to be subjected to such criticism, they should hire a coach who will do just that. We cannot condone this letter as teaching the girl a lesson, because that lesson was unsolicited, and as I understand it, unwelcome.

My problem with this letter stems from the fact that it was printed in a national publication, and therefore seemed to have the approval of that publication. I certainly hope that Chronicle at least has some kind of disclaimer "the opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine". I believe that ANYTHING printed mentioning the name of a minor should require parental permission, whether it be positive or negative in nature. I know that I had to sign about 3 waivers in September in case my school wanted to put my name in its newsletter or website. Why could Chronicle not employ the same policy?

Erin, I agree that people are missing the point of the letter because of the controversy surrounding the way it was written. But that is not the fault of the readers. It is the fault of the author. If she wants to be taken seriously, she must find a way to express her opinions without getting half the readers up in arms about the way she chose to do so. I agree that this letter will probably be dismissed as rantings, and it is a shame that the real purpose has been lost. But again, that is no one's fault but the author's. Maybe next time she tries to make a point, she will realise that half the battle is catching their attention and the other half (the more important half) is gettting them to listen to the REAL message.

Pony Fan
Nov. 16, 2000, 07:38 PM
Pwynn...the *itchy lady who owns the pony would have a RIGHT to bark out faults...she has a vested interest in the situation!

Look, I can't speak for every parent but I've tried to prepare my kid for the fact that she may get criticized unjustly or unfairly. Life can be fairly nasty. But you always need to weigh and evaluate the source before you take comments to heart. What bothered me in this instance was that one child was made to stand for all that is wrong with an entire division in a national publication. It seemed unfair, a low blow. I fault the magazine for publishing it in the first place. Believe me, I would love to see an intelligent evaluation done on the equitation division but that letter was not an appropriate way to begin a constructive dialogue.

My kid is tough. She has a great sense of self-esteem (ever see an actor who didn't!). So when she read the letter and said, "Wow, that's mean.", I have to think to the adolescent mind it was pretty harsh.

Pony Fan
Nov. 16, 2000, 07:44 PM
Palisades - Sorry, I'm Jody. PWynn and I are friends and I think she was directing her post to me and getting more familiar /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif But I did like the point you made that just because things do happen, does that mean they should!

Bertie
Nov. 16, 2000, 08:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pony Fan:
My kid is tough. She has a great sense of self-esteem (ever see an actor who didn't!). So when she read the letter and said, "Wow, that's mean.", I have to think to the adolescent mind it was pretty harsh.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My 19 year old daughter said the same thing.

TeriKessler
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:16 PM
Thanks, J Turner. REWRITE! REWRITE! and when you're done, clean the erasers and write the following 100 times on the chalkboard:

I will use my head for more than a hat rack.

Is any of that still PC in school anymore? It's been so long all I can remember is this fat girl who stole my lunch money all the time.

Flash44
Nov. 16, 2000, 09:23 PM
Has everyone forgotten that most of these kids ride because they love horse and riding, and think the sun rises and sets at the barn? They aren't trying to change the style of all riders in the world, they're just trying to get around the course!

Snowbird
Nov. 16, 2000, 10:45 PM
Intimidating people so they will never make another comment in public is also not an answer. Let's assume this lady is well intentioned and making use of free press. No one has said that her judgment of style was wrong...no one has told her where her analysis is wrong. You're jumping all over her for the fact that she used a personal identity of a child as an example.

So my question is "would she be equally wrong if it was a picture of a blurred unidentifiable face?"

Is all this debate over the fact it was a child? or because her judgment was wrong in the way she analyzed the picture.

I find it equally offensive to terrorrize some poor lady who may not be knowledgeable or may be an expert, does anyone know what her credentials are?

Having been at the butt end of an opinion which was not politically correct I can tell you that freedom of the press comes at a price. Do we really want that price to be censorship so that only those opinions and attitudes socially acceptable may be defended. Do you seriously want the chastise the Chronicle because they permitted an opinion to be expressed publicly which was not socially acceptable?

I personally would rather live with those unacceptable articles than take the chance that there would be no forum. I agree that it can be a learning experience even for the child. My children received the hard knocks of this industry and it made them grow up strong and capable.

Not, every child will fall apart at the first taste of disapproval. Perhaps, the ones that do are too sheltered and too protected from a potentially nasty mean and unscrupulous world.

We all wailed because a few threads were deleted do to the "fear" of litigation in this very litigious society.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 17, 2000, 06:20 AM
Palisades, Pony Fan (sorry for forgetting your username--you know how it is: it's like one is actually talking to the person sometimes--again, sorry): I don't really disagree with you, but rather with whom you are blaming.

IF enough readers support what you are expressing, then I think COTH should amend its policies. I think the issue lies with COTH, not Ms. M.

As Snowbird stated, it's a freedom of the press thing. I doubt the New Republic would print a letter from Al Gore. The press has a right to print whatever it wants within certain guidelines. As a result, no ONE individual (Ms. M. or anyone else) really can KNOW what is or isn't suitable for that medium and its readers unless the medium makes its policies clear (which in this case, as Erin has stated, it HAS--not that it can't change those policies and make the changes clear as well).

So if Ms. M. is one of those brutally frank people (although I don't think she is, given the way she began her letter), do they think of your perspective before writing? No, of course not. They think only of their own.

Who DOES (or SHOULD) think of your perspective then? The publication which you support through your subscription and advertising dollars, IMO. I don't know if I'm getting my point across, but what I mean is that Ms. M., as any one of those strangers here and there, isn't obligated to think about your perspective--or the child's either, for that matter.

Indeed, selfish as we tend to be, too many of us think about ourselves first and foremost, rarely giving a thought to the other guy. So how are standards established that force some accountability upon members of a community, such as the horse community we are a part of?

I'd argue that it is those outlets which represent and/or are dependent upon our collective will. The gatekeepers who gather up our individuality and group it into that form which we find acceptable. And when an individual doesn't conform to the acceptable? Well, beyond our industry we must acknowledge that the individual still has rights, including those of non-conformity, self-centeredness and even mean-spiritedness. You can't stop the individual, but you can bottle up their impact through the gatekeepers who represent your collective will.

And, BTW, IMO, the same SHOULD apply to the judges and judging!

Sannois
Nov. 17, 2000, 07:38 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
All right, look out...

[rant mode on]

I am totally amazed at the ability of such a large group of normally-sensible people to so COMPLETELY miss the point.

The letter writer is complaining about the state of equitation today. This topic has come up on this board a dozen times. Can PWynn write a letter to the editor about it? No... because it doesn't have anything to do with a published article, photo or letter.

The letter writer saw a photo of an equitation championship winner displaying the "posed" style many people here have complained about. The photo caption mentioned her "classic style," referring to Karen Healey's comments (she trains the kid) in the accompanying article to the same effect.

Bingo... an opportunity to bring up the sad state of equitation in a national magazine. An opportunity to foster dialogue.

The point is not that the letter writer thinks this person is a bad rider. The point is not the quality of the photo. The point is that this girl is displaying a style that many people think is a perversion of the "classic style"... and SHE'S PROBABLY DOING THAT ON PURPOSE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT JUDGES REWARD!

Good grief, I'm not even a h/j person and I understand the point. The letter writer is NOT attacking the rider, she's using her as an example of why she thinks the system is broken. Her opinions are rather strongly worded... but I have yet to see anyone really answer the questions she's trying to pose:Is this girl displaying classic style? Is this what judges should be rewarding? Is this the way our next crop of top riders should ride?

Regarding the Chronicle's decision to publish the letter... our forums here are modeled after our letters column. The point of an open forum is to allow anyone to express an opinion, no matter how unpopular... and to allow everyone else the opportunity to DISAGREE. The point is not to only print opinions we think are right. Good God...

Michael: I have a communication law book at least 300 pages thick sitting on my desk at home that attempts to define "libel." Trust me, the Webster's definition doesn't even come close. And the letter is not, by any stretch of the imagination, libelous.

And to whoever thought that a post similar to that letter would have been removed from the forum for "trolling"... absolutely not. In fact, a very similar discussion evolved around a different equitation championship just a few weeks ago.

Last you'll hear from me on this topic... it's not doing my blood pressure any good. I'll leave it to the more rational minds of PWynn, SLWarrior, Robby and Spunky... Thank God not everyone posting on this thread has completely missed the boat while in the throes of misguided indignation.

[/rant mode off]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Amen Erin, and Pwynn and the others who are the voice of reason and common sense. Wake up people, no one is slamming the child!

Goodmudder
Nov. 17, 2000, 08:46 AM
My last post, to repeat: I can only hope, for those of you who think it was ok and not hurtful, that the world will treat your children and those you love better than Alison was treated.

I'm with Teri Kessler: dumb dumb dumb.

Anne FS
Nov. 17, 2000, 09:07 AM
Oh, wait, Teri & goodmudder. Please tell me Ms. Meagher's age because I need to know the cut-off.

Hmmmm, so it's ok to slam, name-call, accuse of drunken-ness, repeatedly call stupid Ms. Kimberley Meagher on a world-wide bulletin board? Where are all the people crying attack, attack now? Tell me what you would say if it turned out Ms. Meagher was a junior? You don't even know and there you go, slamming and name-calling because you have a point to make. Why is it ok for you to attack her?

But it's not ok for Ms. Meagher to write a letter to the COH disagreeing with the caption chosen for a picture, even when she made perfectly clear her complaint was with the COH for choosing that particular photo to caption 'classic'?

[This message has been edited by Anne FS (edited 11-17-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Erin (edited 11-17-2000).]

Erin
Nov. 17, 2000, 09:40 AM
Teri, that post was totally out of line. If you want to disagree with someone's ideas, fine. But insulting their intelligence reflects quite poorly on yours.

Although I'd like to leave your post up there just as an example of the hypocrisy Anne FS has touched on, I'm deleting it. Think before you open your mouth next time, please.

Erin
Nov. 17, 2000, 09:47 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Darden:
I feel that if the photo was taken at an unfortunate moment in time, it should not have been published. Given the trainer's quote and the fact that this is a national championship, I assume it was.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You know, it seems that most of those who are making the assertion that the photo was taken at a "bad moment" haven't actually seen it.

Palisades
Nov. 17, 2000, 09:54 AM
Pwynn, I agree with you. Ms. M has absolutely no obligation to consider our perspectives or how we will react to what she is saying.

HOWEVER

if she (or anyone else) wants us to respect or listen to her opinions, then she BETTER consider it.

I still find the letter tasteless. But what I find worse is that people are being blamed for ignoring the message when the author worded it in such a way as to completely obscure the message. If you guys want us to listen to what she has to say, then tell her to reword it so that we will be able to focus on the MESSAGE instead of defending the child she attacked. She is certainly free to write such letters (although I still have issues with them being published) but we are also free to respond to whatever part of the letter catches our attention the most. I certainly think the author needs to learn effective communication.

Spunky
Nov. 17, 2000, 10:02 AM
Palisades:

By choosing to ignore Ms. M's message, obscured though it may have been to some people, you too are at fault in the miscommunication.

No doubt it is a two-way street. As listeners, we must accept our part of the responsibility as well. Her point was clear and deserves to be acknowledged.

Black Market Radio
Nov. 17, 2000, 10:15 AM
Pwynn, once again, I totally agree with you. That is all I have to say about this topic, don't want to give the new moderator a heart attack already /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

And Erin, I agree with you too, and good for you for sticking to your guns on this one!

[This message has been edited by devildog20 (edited 11-17-2000).]

Policy of Truth
Nov. 17, 2000, 10:47 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by marianne:
Thank heavens for two sensible posts!! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Just wondering...which two?

Canter
Nov. 17, 2000, 10:57 AM
A question...

Does COTH ever edit their letters to the Editor?

I know that major newspapers will for both content, accuracy and space issues.

If not for COTH, why are magazines different than newspapers?

I'm genuinely curious, and apologise for prolonging a discussion that should have ended days ago.

Apologies Erin if you've touched on this before, after days of discussion my alzheimer's kicks in.

Erin
Nov. 17, 2000, 11:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Canter:
A question...

Does COTH ever edit their letters to the Editor?

I know that major newspapers will for both content, accuracy and space issues.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yup, for exactly those reasons. Mostly for length and clarity, I believe. People don't like it much when the content of their letter is messed with. As they shouldn't... it's their name that goes at the end, not ours.

Palisades
Nov. 17, 2000, 12:05 PM
Spunky, it is not my responsibility to wade through all the other issues surrounding her letter to get to the real message. If people want to be listened to, they need to get the MESSAGE across. There is a lot of garbage on tv, in newspapers, that I could probably find a message in if I waded through all the other crap they present. I happen to agree with her point of view. I happen to think that the more prevaolant part of her letter was not the message, but the example she used. When someone writes a PERSUASIVE letter on the topic, I will discuss it. Until then, I still feel that it is the AUTHOR'S responsibility to get the message across, the reader should not have to look for it.

Goodmudder
Nov. 17, 2000, 12:30 PM
Hey, AnneFS: I was not calling Ms. Meagher stupid. There is ONE issue I have been concerned about. ONE. ONLY ONE. Did a child have to hurt to make a point. NOTHING will make me think there was not a better way. NOTHING. I don't care, right now, about judging standards, equitation, quality of photo, whatever. It didn't have to be this way.

And for those who choose to hide behind any number of excuses, such as constitional rights, freedom of the press, criteria, media law, I say you have ignored one very important issue. The difference between right and wrong.

As for ages, I don't know the age of Ms. Meagher. She asked for it by writing a letter for publication. But I assume that the editors of the Chronicle are adults and could have chosen, if they wanted, to not publish the letter. No where does it say they have an "obligation."

I assume that most posters here are good people, albeit with differing opinions. Fine. But can ANYBODY disagree that the letter writers point could have been made in a different and gentler way?

[This message has been edited by Goodmudder (edited 11-17-2000).]

Darden
Nov. 17, 2000, 12:53 PM
Erin: I have seen the photo.

[This message has been edited by Darden (edited 11-17-2000).]

ProzacPuppy
Nov. 17, 2000, 01:50 PM
I read the letter online (tho I haven't seen the photo- where the hell are my COTH? Must KILL the mailperson. Need a Prozac....).

Taken alone, sans referenced photo, the letter didn't stir any great emotion in me. The writer acknowledges that she is expressing a strongly held opinion and does just that. And, while I do not know a damn thing about eq, I have seen that posed, perched look she is talking about and have asked the same sort of questions ("What are they gonna do if that horse stops?")
But reading this thread a comment made by HSM regarding ruining one of the greatest momemnts in that child's life hit a nerve. (Sorry to mangle your words HSM-you said it well). And as the parent of a young rider I would be outraged by the way the entire thing "appears" even if no insult were intended to the child. Why ruin a child's big moment because you don't agree with the judge or the style or the photo? There is time enough for the world to beat up her ego. She is a little kid- let it go or make your point some other way. If it were my kid I would hunt the world for the letter writer and cut her heart out with a rusty hoofpick for belittling my child's moment of victory.But, hey, that's just me. And now I need a vodka chaser for that Prozac cocktail....

Erin
Nov. 17, 2000, 02:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Goodmudder:
And for those who choose to hide behind any number of excuses, such as constitional rights, freedom of the press, criteria, media law, I say you have ignored one very important issue. The difference between right and wrong.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Goodmudder, I think YOU'RE ignoring something very important. It's NOT up to the media to decide right or wrong.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>But I assume that the editors of the Chronicle are adults and could have chosen, if they wanted, to not publish the letter. No where does it say they have an "obligation."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Editors and reporters try their best to be impartial, but we're human. When you ask editors to start picking whose opinions get to be heard, the potential for conscious or unconscious bias creeps in.

Everyone at the Chronicle is involved in the horse world, and counts some prominent horse people among their close friends. What if a letter comes in criticizing one of them? Or a member of the staff? Well, guess what... we have an OBLIGATION to publish it anyway. THAT is why that policy exists... so that there's never any question about what we should do.

If you think the letter writer came across as cruel and condemn her for that, fine. If you think the caption should not have said the rider's position was "classic," fine. If you think the Chronicle should consider a change in letters policy, fine (although I'd argue vehemently against it, as I'm sure people could guess).

In other words, it's up to YOU to decide if this letter was wrong, not the Chronicle.

To chastise a news magazine for following a policy that is designed to allow everyone to have a fair say is extremely short-sighted, in my opinion. And to accuse the Chronicle of "hiding" behind free speech... don't you think the editors' lives would be a heck of a lot EASIER if they didn't publish such letters???

Trust me, it would be. But instead, they put themselves in the line of fire... I'd hardly call that hiding.

CAH
Nov. 17, 2000, 02:58 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
When you ask editors to start picking whose opinions get to be heard, the potential for conscious or unconscious bias creeps in.

Everyone at the Chronicle is involved in the horse world, and counts some prominent horse people among their close friends. What if a letter comes in criticizing one of them? Or a member of the staff? Well, guess what... we have an OBLIGATION to publish it anyway. THAT is why that policy exists... so that there's never any question about what we should do.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

EXACTLY!!

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

In other words, it's up to YOU to decide if this letter was wrong, not the Chronicle.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

To repeat myself from my earlier post, if you disagree with the OPINION of the original letter writer, then pick up a pen and paper and respond to the Editor!

Sometimes we jsut can't see the forest because the trees get in the way.

JumpJockey
Nov. 17, 2000, 03:28 PM
I am curious what the reaction/outcry would have been if this letter had been signed by someone such as George Morris, rather than the woman who originally submitted it?

Would that have made a difference to the responses here?

TeriKessler
Nov. 17, 2000, 05:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Erin:
Teri, that post was totally out of line. If you want to disagree with someone's ideas, fine. But insulting their intelligence reflects quite poorly on yours.

Although I'd like to leave your post up there just as an example of the hypocrisy Anne FS has touched on, I'm deleting it. Think before you open your mouth next time, please.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hey, Erin. Not sure I follow your reasoning. Insulting someone's intelligence reflects quite poorly on MINE? Um... so any person who deems anyone else intellectually deficient is himself intellectually deficient for having done so? The people who hand out IQ tests would have something to say about that! Maybe one of my intellectual superiors can explain your logic to me.

I would dissagree less should you have said it reflects poorly on my breeding, manners,social standing or good taste-- all those personal qualities fine people value. Or called me a big-mouth, or an intolerant jerk. Know-it-all comes to mind. Pot-stirrer, confused little housewife. But to suggest I put no thought behind my post just because YOU don't personally like it is presumptuous.

I called Ms Meagher dumb for writing a thoughtless letter. You deleted my post, impugned my intelligence and suggested I did not think while composing my post. Then called me a standard of hypocracy for good measure. Looks like according to your rules, you, too, are out of line. And a hypocrite.

Of course, it is you, not I, who pushes the delete button and exists on a higher plane-- that place where The Last Word comes from. Is it very nice up there? Do they at least give you a comfy chair?

Erin
Nov. 17, 2000, 05:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TeriKessler:

Of course, it is you, not I, who pushes the delete button and exists on a higher plane-- that place where The Last Word comes from.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yup, exactly.

Your post was needlessly insulting. Rule #1 of the BB: "Be nice, be polite, be respectful."

Name-calling is never welcome here, and I have no problems with deleting posts that resort to that.

As I said, if you disagreed with the ideas in the letter, you could have done so without insulting the author.

If you want to argue this with me further, email me personally at erin@crosslink.net.

Spunky
Nov. 17, 2000, 05:26 PM
Jesus Christ, Teri. Now THAT is really not playing nice. Opinions are one thing. You seem to have gone out of your way to say the ugliest things you could think of. Just because someone disagrees with you, and tells you so, isn't a reason to insult them. You may sign your posts with your own full name, but I for one don't find it a justification for being mean--unless you truly are.

Erin has been our moderator for a long time, and you are new to the board, so you probably haven't seen how fair she is.

I know you must be stressed out & feeling low because your horse is sick. You have all of our sympathies. Why don't you go beat up a pillow, or take up jogging?

TeriKessler
Nov. 17, 2000, 06:07 PM
Spunky, in what way was my post to Erin any "meaner" than hers was to me? I'm not being arguementative, I just don't see my honest appraisal of our exchange as "mean".


I am a pointed person. When the situation warrants it, I am sometimes very pointed. I defend myself because I am not part of the doormat culture that likes being trod upon so they can say, "Poor me". I don't see that as mean.

Thanks for thinking of Omar. He is unimproved, but the treatment isn't over.

Black Market Radio
Nov. 17, 2000, 06:15 PM
Please give Erin a break, she puts up with A LOT and does not deserve to be flamed. She is an awesome moderator and no, she does not sit in a big comfy chair, I imagine her running around screaming and pulling her hair out (LOL!)

And she never claims to be "higher up" and uppity and "I'm bigger than you, I am higher on the food chain" but she does have authority, and she can excersize it. I think Erin is the best moderator and she has put up with a lot. Probably took a good 25 years off her life with Colin and I alone!

What I am trying to get at is, respect the moderator. If you don't like her, there are other BB's out there, however, none are as good as this in my opinion!

heelsdown
Nov. 17, 2000, 06:21 PM
I've read the letter (Louise check the typos on that page), and looked at the picture. Alison is totally perched, looks like she could be blown off that horse by a good breeze, IN THAT PHOTO she most certainly does not personify the ideals of horsemanship via correct equitation. That is my personal opinion. So perhaps this photo was at a bad fence, we all have them. But this was a fence at a big championship class, if she was able to win with that, what did the other competitors look like?

Karen Healey is a highly regarded famous trainer. Was she whooping?

I hope that Alison is a better rider than that photo shows. I don't know if Ms. Meagher was wrong to have said what she did in a letter to a national publication. These things do need to be said if much needed changes will ever come about. I think she probably could have conveyed the same message without pointing directly to Alison.

My two cents.

Mazzy
Nov. 17, 2000, 06:32 PM
A lot of interesting, well-thought out opinions have been posted here.....but at 5 pages and a Friday, I think its a good time to direct folks to the post "Friday Funny". Of course based on the temper level here, even posting this may earn me a flaming.

Spunky
Nov. 17, 2000, 06:46 PM
Teri, there is an important difference between attacking an issue and attacking a person. And if a moderator tells you why your post was deleted -- in this case because you (apparently unknowingly) attacked another's person, doesn't mean that you are a doormat. It means that you need to learn something from the experience.

Shall I draw another parallel between you and the Ms. M whose letter started this thread? I'm sure she thought before writing too!

Finally, there are better ways of defending yourself than trying to rip someone else apart. It doesn't make you look any better when you attempt to make someone else look worse. If this is your modus operandi, then I do think "Poor you." It reminds me of a young woman who worked for us once. She spent half her time trying to make everyone hate her in order to validate her own low self-esteem . Backwards approach? You bet! Especially when she was so super to have around the barn!

Goodmudder
Nov. 17, 2000, 07:28 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Spunky:
there is an important difference between attacking an issue and attacking a person.


Spunky, that IS my point and has been all along.

Kryswyn
Nov. 17, 2000, 11:19 PM
So, ignoring the name calling of the letter-writer, and the feelings of the bright, hard working child whose photo was used....

Who on this board thought that the photo represented "classic" position? Do I see any hands up?

Who thought this photo represented "good riding"? Any younger hands up there?

Who amongst you (including your children) trys to look like this? Do you (or your child) ever say, "I want to look like THIS person?"

None of you? You all agree you don't ride, don't want to ride like that picture? Well then *news flash* you agree with the letter writer. You obviously don't like her delivery, but you must acknowledge her point. Children are being taught to 'pose' and 'perch' because that is what's winning. That is the problem, the letter although capable (clearly) of being misconstrued is merely the method through which the author makes her point.

If any of you responded in the positive - Yes I do want to ride like this picture - well, you need a lesson in the theory of position and a ride on a green horse to show you why that position is not "classic" desireable, or even rewardable outside a class where it's the horse's trip that counts not the rider's eq.

To save suiting up in my brand new asbestos lined flame suit, I will stipulate to the following:

Yes, I can imagine the rider's feelings were terribly hurt.

Yes, I personally, could've worded that letter differently but that's my ability and maybe the author's not that talented.

Outrage? Depends on whether you're child oriented or a childless bystander. If you don't consider the feelings of the photo subject the letter is a pretty straight forward condemnation of what is being taught and pinned in today's world.

Bertie
Nov. 17, 2000, 11:47 PM
Personally, I think way too much weight is being placed on a single photo. We probably all have had good pictures from not so good rounds and vice versa. At least I know I have. And we've all seen photos of awesome riders that can be picked apart.

If you want to base your opinion of the equitation system on a single photo, it would be much more relevant to ask the winner of the USET, Medal or Maclay to submit their favorite photo, instead of basing it on a random photo over a 3 foot fence. Still, there is much more to a good ride than the millisecond at the top of the jump.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 18, 2000, 07:22 PM
Hey, Bertie, guess what? I think I agree with you (for once, huh). I haven't seen the photo (forgot to renew my subscription on time--I'll probably miss the stallion issue, too, by the time it gets reinstated, boo hoo), but I'm now wondering what THE HORSE was doing. Was he very round and thrusty? Event the best pros get to ducking with their lower legs slipped way far back on horses which really crack their backs. Anyone who has seen the photo: how would you describe the horse's topline?

snickers
Nov. 18, 2000, 08:34 PM
I did not originally intend to become involved in this discussion and will admit to not reading all the posts (my eyes started to blur).

Like many, I feel that the letter could have been written in a better way to express the authors feelings on the subject of today's equitation.

An an educator, we were always taught NOT to link a child's name with a negative remark, even if the child had done something wrong.

Not matter what the statement, if you link a name to a negative comment that name will ALWAYS come to mind when you discuss the comment.

That said, I find it curious that a person wrote a letter based on ONE fence of ONE competitor in ONE class. That picture was a brief moment in time of the entire trip.

Did the author see the class? She could have cited the article and picture and never named a name and we would probably not even have had one post on the subject. Her choice to include the child's name, is IMO tastless and lacking of class.

I do not know the author, but question why she choose to phrase her concerns in that manner.

Regarding the publication of the letter, the Chronicle DID NOT have to publish it. I am sure that they have not printed EVERY letter that comes in and meets the criteria for publication.

And Erin, I do question the editing of the letters, I have had the misfortune of reading what was sent and what was actually printed in the magazine on many occasions. The printed version was NOTHING like the orginal letter and was in fact edited to mean different things.

I have also seen letters printed that I know for a FACT did not have an actual person's name attached to them.

As jokes, many people of the years have sent in letters with fake names and they HAVE been printed.

I only hope that when the letters arrive questioning the choice of including this letter, that those letters will be included in future editions.

It is a magazine that says it has specific requirements for letters, maybe someone should have questioned the use of a child's name when that was NOT the topic of her letter.

Again this is my opinion.

Snowbird
Nov. 18, 2000, 09:28 PM
Erin I'm 100% with you, I do not think the press should be blamed. I don't want any restrictions or censorship for our rights to a free press. I think they are already endangered from doing their job by all the letigious people who want to sue at the drop of a hat, when they don't like the news.

Certainly, this BB has proved that we are all capable of separating opinion from a postive statement. There is a responsibility of the readers to be able to comprehend and respond to any article or letter that they find offensive. There can be lots of responses in defense of the junior and opposed to the analysis based on one photo which was probably selected by the photographer and the angle can make all the difference in the world. It was not I am sure submitted by either the trainer or the rider who may be equally unhappy with the choice of photo.

creseida
Nov. 18, 2000, 11:54 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pony Fan:
When a child shows, the "critique" comes solely from the judge or judges. They are NOT participating in a public forum where their talents and abilities should be open for public debate and discussion! They are not pro atheletes representing cities or nations. They ride only for themselves.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually, IMO, when one goes to a show, one IS, in fact participating in a public forum. You have a judge, you have spectators, you have the media. You are showcasing yourself, saying, "Look at Me!". When one presents themselves in a show, the only person whose opinion counts is the judges; however, you are putting yourself up to be judged in some capacity by every spectator viewing the event, and anyone viewing any form of media coverage (video, photographic, journalistic, etc.) of the event. To think otherwise is naive.

If you don't want a critique or criticism, and want to ride only for yourself, then do not show. Ride in your ring at home, or on trails. Many people are very happy doing just that, because they either don't want to deal with the hassles of showing or they don't care what anyone else's opinion of their riding is, so long as they enjoy themselves.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>My daughter rides and is also a professional actress. When she does a play or movie, everyone and their brother is entitled to have an opinion of her performance. That's what she's paid for! And we prepared her for dealing emotionally with reviewers, the press, etc. That's part of the game.

But this is NOT the case with equitation riders. These are children working to improve their skills. They are not the finished product. They are at a show ONLY to "perform" for the judge. That is their audience.

By the way, the child who was the subject of the letter HAS read it and was upset by what she viewed as a personal attack.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

In the case of this letter, the author CLEARLY stated that she was NOT attacking the person photographed; however, people only reading into the letter what they want to, chose to overlook this. The author was criticising the training and judging standards today which are saying that it is acceptable, nee commendable to have a pinched knee, a slipped back leg, and to lay on your horse's neck (because you cannot support your upper body without lower leg support) and call it " Classic Equitation." Obviously, the girl photographed has learned this standard very well, since she won the class. The question is why are trainers teaching this position and why are judges rewarding it????

mwalshe
Nov. 19, 2000, 06:54 AM
Having read this whole thread (although I swore I wouldn't) I would just like to respectfully submit the viewpoint that there is no way to criticize the current mannered eq. style without criticizing the people who ride that way, be it juniors or adults (and there are plenty of people out there who do). SO even had MS Meagher said "certain recent medal winners" instead of a specific name it really would have ended up being a discussion of the same people. Maybe WE wouldn't have really noticed the letter as much but it would have had the same effect on the involved parties who are by definition juniors. Sorry.

And I have NOT seen the photo but from the letter writer's strong feelings I would imagine she did not see one photo that suddenly stirred her to write to the Chronicle. I would imagine that an unfortunate bad photo was simply an easy example of her point so she used it.

Also she was careful to make the point that she was criticising the coaching and judging, I believe the winner's name was mentioned as an example of whom she was not pointing the finger at for current standards and not as an example of those whom she was.

As for not criticizing juniors, quite frankly if you compete or appear prominently on a national level anywhere you will be the topic of conversations. Period. It is a side-effect of fame. If you do not wish to be exposed to possible criticism you shouldn't be there. I'm sure all prominent competitiors understand this- it's an unfortunate fact of life. I'm also sure the outstanding acheivement of having won such a prestigious event overshadows everything for this rider and will be what she remembers. I hope so.

I do understand people's desire to protect juniors and I do think Ms Meagher's letter was strongly worded, but not as strongly worded as some of the posts on this board. It got as far as calling constitutional rights and the freedom of the press "excuses to hide behind" , I mean, come on?? Also the extensive discussion of the recent Maclay (I think?) finals in my opinion made far more personal negative comments about specific individuals and their winning rides than an overall condemnaton of the prevailing style. I don't remember a lot of complaints from concerned adults, although I quit reading pretty early. I would have been far more affected by some of those comments than by this letter. Remember a lot of people read this board too.

I wonder if any of the people posting so vehemently here contacted the Chronicle with a letter of their own or offered statements of support to the kid in question. If I felt that strongly I certainly would.

Flame away, I'm going out of town so I won't be able to defend myself!!

Erin
Nov. 19, 2000, 07:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TinyTot:
Regarding the publication of the letter, the Chronicle DID NOT have to publish it. I am sure that they have not printed EVERY letter that comes in and meets the criteria for publication.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, we did, under our current criteria. And yes, we have, perhaps barring a few letters that fell behind someone's desk in 1983 and were re-discovered 10 years later. To the best of my knowledge, the current editors have never CHOSEN not to print a letter because they didn't like what it said. Unless it was libelous, of course.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>And Erin, I do question the editing of the letters, I have had the misfortune of reading what was sent and what was actually printed in the magazine on many occasions. The printed version was NOTHING like the orginal letter and was in fact edited to mean different things.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What's your point?

We don't intentionally change the meaning of letters. If anything, this shows that the less involvement editors have in the letters process, the better. Of course, some of the letters we get are so poorly written they'd be incomprehnsible if they were printed as-is. But yes, I have heard that complaint from people before. However, to me, that has zilch to do with the current discussion. Unless this has just become a general "rant at the Chronicle" thread. http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I have also seen letters printed that I know for a FACT did not have an actual person's name attached to them.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

We don't call each letter writer to verify their name. We trust that the name signed on the letter is real.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As jokes, many people of the years have sent in letters with fake names and they HAVE been printed.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yup. As I said... every letter that meets our criteria. BTW, I think your friends need a new hobby if that's their entertainment... /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I only hope that when the letters arrive questioning the choice of including this letter, that those letters will be included in future editions.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Of course. Just make sure to give your full name and address.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>It is a magazine that says it has specific requirements for letters, maybe someone should have questioned the use of a child's name when that was NOT the topic of her letter.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, you just criticized the Chronicle for editing the meaning out of other letters. Which way do you want it?

Ms. Meagher was obviously pissed off. It's not a magazine's job to sanitize every letter so it won't offend people.

In a nutshell--quit shooting at the messenger.


[This message has been edited by Erin (edited 11-19-2000).]

upperco
Nov. 19, 2000, 11:37 AM
Maybe I missed it,but what is Ms.Meaghers involvement in our sport and why has she not answered any of these posts-does she actually exist-or is Ms. M a pen name

Snowbird
Nov. 19, 2000, 04:48 PM
I think it is equally wrong for the author to be publicly mauled by a mob, and for the magazine to be chastized for publishing what is a statement on the quality of equitation.

Any time we use the weakness of any individual as a target we are perpetuating a closed society afraid to express an opinion.

There is an obligation and responsibility to all and not just to the "ALL" that agree with us, or with whom we may agree.

Dialog is only valuable when there are multiple sides being represented. Do you seriously believe that it is an effective way to improve conditions by humiliating or embarrassing anyone?

There is nothing for the junior to be humiliated or embarrased about. By her win she has embodied what is being judged today in Equitation. It is perfectly valid to debate whether that is what should be the best that we can do.

I do not know the author, I do not know the child but I have had experience with ringside judges who TOO frequently by complaining about the judging have equally demolished and diminished other peoples children.

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 11-19-2000).]

Canter
Nov. 19, 2000, 06:37 PM
All I've got to say is that I don't suppose many of these letter writers have seen Alison ride. http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/eek.gif

I have. She is both an effective and stylish rider. She is a "classic" equitation rider all the way.

That photo does not do her justice and while I don't mind the fact that Mrs. Meager chose to complain about the use of the classic form caption on the photo, I can't help but feel that Alison has been wrongly held up as an example of what is wrong with the equitation system when she is very much a product of what is RIGHT within the same system. The shame of it is that photos don't tell the whole truth.

I agree with all of you who say great ... finally someone is telling it like it is. Sadly, by using Alison of all people as an example, she's telling it like it isn't.

Bertie
Nov. 19, 2000, 06:47 PM
It seems to me that anyone who submits a controversial letter to an editor for publication opens themselves up to, and must expect some backlash.

But does any kid expect a photo of them to be held up in a national publication as the embodiment of what's wrong with an established system? Of course not. No one should be subjected to that. There are numerous other ways that the letter writer could have made their point.


To Pwynnnorman -- 1 out of 483 (posts) isn't bad, eh

[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 11-19-2000).]

Goodmudder
Nov. 20, 2000, 09:04 PM
While this is undoubtedly best put to rest, for those of you who did not think that this would be hurtful and that it was "OK," I draw your attention to Allison's post on the Junior board at Towerheads. She has very eloquently expressed her feelings.

Michael D'Ambrosio
Nov. 20, 2000, 09:06 PM
When I wrote the response to Ms. Meagers'
letter I started what I now realize is called a thread. For the last several days
I've watched the thread unravel.Bitter in fighting and name calling seems to be the theme....
I don't know who any of the writers are or what their place in the horse world is...
but the concern for the future of the equitation division appears to be genuine.
I am working on a report called MACLAY 2000.
and following the completion of that article
I am considering writing something called
EQUITATION 2000, about the evolution of the of our sport and how it is affecting the horsemanship division.It seems to me that todays' professional trainers and judges are
subject to critiques' from Monday morning arm chair quarter backs with mysterious screen names.I intend to give my colleagues
a format to respond. If my letter has encouraged the Chronicle to be more sensitive
where our youngsters are concerned,that was my intent.

Goodmudder
Nov. 20, 2000, 09:32 PM
I posted at about 8:50, but somehow it never made it here, or at least isn't coming up on my computer, or else it was deleted.

Here's what I said: For any of those who did not or could not acknowledge the needless hurt, I draw your attention to Allison LaJoie's post on the Towerheads BB, in the Junior section. She has written an eloquent and heartfelt reply to her critics.

carla
Nov. 20, 2000, 10:16 PM
Good grief...anytime someone's picture is posted in a public venu, it is subject to criticism and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I don't consider the article an attack on the rider, but a comment on the style of riding that so many of the top equitation riders are exhibiting. I have seen Alison ride, and you know what? she does "perch." Actually, she just sits there, because she has a wonderful horse who just needs to be pointed in the direction and he goes. No one has a perfect position....it's all about having a good eye, meeting the fences and getting the job done, in my opinion..look at Sarah Willeman, she won the AHSA Medal Final shrugging her shoulders, no heel and all!!

Kryswyn
Nov. 20, 2000, 10:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael D'Ambrosio:
When I wrote the response to Ms. Meagers'
letter I started what I now realize is called a thread.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gifWelcome to the wonderful, wacky world of computer Bulletin Boards (aka the "BB") Michael. My, you did make an entrance! <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
For the last several days I've watched the thread unravel. Bitter in fighting and name calling seems to be the theme....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, actually, this is pretty normal stuff and you'll find that anonymity gives you the power to be...umm, tactless might be a good word. Ignorant also might work! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif. It also doesn't help that some people don't indicate their emotional intent w/ smilies or <description> when their words can be taken two or more ways. I think if you put most of us in a room we'd get along fine as long as we didn't discuss tack nosebands, ear bunnies, and no one stood up and said "I wear an unapproved helmet and I'm proud of it!" /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
I don't know who any of the writers are or what their place in the horse world is...
but the concern for the future of the equitation division appears to be genuine.
....It seems to me that todays' professional trainers and judges are subject to critiques' from Monday morning arm chair quarter backs with mysterious screen names.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
In prior years, we'd've hung around the water cooler. Now we hang out here. Many of us ARE PROFESSIONAL TRAINERS AND JUDGES. We'd love the chance to contribute to your 'State of the Sport' paper. Many of us are older than your husband, (on whom I had a mild crush as a teen) and we remember the 'good ole' days' when you learned theory from your instructors, not just "it's a holding 5 to forward 6"; when we routinely jumped outside courses on the same horses we rode bareback and practiced for pairs classes, not like now when if you don't have an imported warmblood for each division: Jr Hunter (Small and Large), Eq, and Jr Jumper you can pretty much be written off!
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
I intend to give my colleagues
a format to respond.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Cool, just let us know where to send our responses.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If my letter has encouraged the Chronicle to be more sensitive
where our youngsters are concerned,that was my intent.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

<kryswyn shrugs and says> I wouldn't count on it. But thanks for posting. You've made the last few days interesting. Stick around - you have a unique viewpoint that we'd love to see more of. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Kryswyn (edited 11-20-2000).]

Jumphigh83
Nov. 20, 2000, 10:37 PM
Some of us are NOT anonomous. I know that some of you think I have too many opinions about too many subjects but we need to speak out for what we believe in. I am open to email and am certainly not hiding behind my "mysterious" screen name. Betsy Worthington. (in case you don't already know)

NinaL aka Chrissy
Nov. 21, 2000, 08:05 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Michael D'Ambrosio:
When I wrote the response to Ms. Meagers'
letter I started what I now realize is called a thread. For the last several days
I've watched the thread unravel.Bitter in fighting and name calling seems to be the theme....

Learn how to use a newsreader and take a trip to rec.equestrian - now that's bitter infighting and name calling. Rank amateurs over here, to be frank about it (VERY BIG EVIL GRIN, hereafter abbreviated as VBEG).

I don't know who any of the writers are or what their place in the horse world is...but the concern for the future of the equitation division appears to be genuine. I am working on a report called MACLAY 2000. and following the completion of that article I am considering writing something called EQUITATION 2000, about the evolution of the of our sport and how it is affecting the horsemanship division.

I think this is a great idea and sorely needed.

It seems to me that todays' professional trainers and judges are
subject to critiques' from Monday morning arm chair quarter backs with mysterious screen names..

<shrug> IMO this reeks of the professional football player telling the sportswriter or fan that they can't possibly make an intelligent comment on the game because they've never played the game on a pro level. Pro football or riding ain't rocket science or brain surgery. Any observant person with a knowledge of the sport should be able to give a valid critique of a horse and/or rider.

You know, if the hardware and software developers out there had the same exclusionary attitude towards computers and the internet (and, believe me, some of them do) they wouldn't have to put up with newbies cluttering up their bandwidth with bulletin boards about horses fer cryin' out loud(VBEG). Of course, Bill Gates and company would be a heck of a lot poorer, too. <sigh>

Although I defend the letter writer's right to have her letter published I truly believe that she weakened her argument by writing what could be (and has been) perceived as an ad homminen attack on the subject. It is a shame that the young person in question has had to suffer because she was the subject of a letter that, ultimately, failed to convey what I believe was the author's reason for writing the letter.

Nina


[This message has been edited by Chrissy (edited 11-21-2000).]