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Portia
Jul. 19, 2001, 08:29 AM
I posted this question on the "Do you think Andrew Philbrick read this board" thread on the H/J forum, but I'm so interested in it, I'm giving it a separate thread over here on Off Course to get more responses. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Do you think that the sport will lose significant corporate sponsorship if the structure of presenting our international teams changes, meaning, if the Fed remains the NGB and for some reason the USET decides to curtail or end its activities?

(One thing to be clear on is that even if it not made the NGB, nothing prevents the USET from continuing to raise money and fund and field teams. It would not have ultimate responsibility for doing so, a responsibility and right which belongs to the NGB, but every qualified amateur sports org has the right to raise money and sponsor fund and field competitors.)

My personal feeling is that I doubt very much if our sports corporate sponsors care whether the org to which they are donating their money is the Fed or the USET, so long as they get the marketing recognition they are seeking. Corporations are oriented to the bottom line, and if the structure changes, my guess is the money will flip over to the new structure.

One reason I feel this way is what happened at the AHSA Annual Meeting in the International Forum. Dr. Leone said that one of the reasons the USET could not agree to merge with the AHSA was because it would lose sponsorship. However, when I asked whether any corporate sponsors had given any indication that they would withdraw or limit sponsorhip if the USET and AHSA merged, Dr. Leone said no, none of them had done so. (He did say that certain unnamed private contributors had made that threat.)

I can certianly understand the concern of the USET that the Fed's new marketing and fundraising efforts might impact the USET's ability to raise funds. A very substantial portion of what the USET lists as assets on its books are in fact only pledges of future donations, and the USET could be in serious trouble if a signficant amount of those pledged funds do not materialize. However, from what the gentleman from Helikon said at the recent board meeting, there are a lot of untapped sponsorship resources out there, and the Fed's efforts are going after those sources. They want to increase the size of the pie, not slice the same pie up smaller.

Portia
Jul. 19, 2001, 08:29 AM
I posted this question on the "Do you think Andrew Philbrick read this board" thread on the H/J forum, but I'm so interested in it, I'm giving it a separate thread over here on Off Course to get more responses. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Do you think that the sport will lose significant corporate sponsorship if the structure of presenting our international teams changes, meaning, if the Fed remains the NGB and for some reason the USET decides to curtail or end its activities?

(One thing to be clear on is that even if it not made the NGB, nothing prevents the USET from continuing to raise money and fund and field teams. It would not have ultimate responsibility for doing so, a responsibility and right which belongs to the NGB, but every qualified amateur sports org has the right to raise money and sponsor fund and field competitors.)

My personal feeling is that I doubt very much if our sports corporate sponsors care whether the org to which they are donating their money is the Fed or the USET, so long as they get the marketing recognition they are seeking. Corporations are oriented to the bottom line, and if the structure changes, my guess is the money will flip over to the new structure.

One reason I feel this way is what happened at the AHSA Annual Meeting in the International Forum. Dr. Leone said that one of the reasons the USET could not agree to merge with the AHSA was because it would lose sponsorship. However, when I asked whether any corporate sponsors had given any indication that they would withdraw or limit sponsorhip if the USET and AHSA merged, Dr. Leone said no, none of them had done so. (He did say that certain unnamed private contributors had made that threat.)

I can certianly understand the concern of the USET that the Fed's new marketing and fundraising efforts might impact the USET's ability to raise funds. A very substantial portion of what the USET lists as assets on its books are in fact only pledges of future donations, and the USET could be in serious trouble if a signficant amount of those pledged funds do not materialize. However, from what the gentleman from Helikon said at the recent board meeting, there are a lot of untapped sponsorship resources out there, and the Fed's efforts are going after those sources. They want to increase the size of the pie, not slice the same pie up smaller.

SGray
Jul. 19, 2001, 08:33 AM
boy - it's gonna gtake me a while to get used to this

I read the title of the topic and was wondering what Alan Greenspan was up to

tle
Jul. 19, 2001, 09:09 AM
Portia, didn't you or someone else once post that a VERY large portion of the USET income is from contributions made by its directors (or others intimately involved in the day-to-day running of the USET?). My guess is that should The Fed be named NGB, it is those people, who are most probably pro-USET for NGB, that will withdraw their support. IMHO, who needs 'em!! I'm tired of this whole d@mn ego-boosting fight and wish that EVERYONE on BOTH sides would drop their egos at the door and work something out for the betterment of the whole community. USET does and has done a fantastic job helping field our international teams and raising funds for such. But should The Fed be named NGB and those same people who started this mess in the first place (over egos and personality clashes) want to essentially "take their toys and go home"... let them.

(the previously stated post is IMHO from an AHSA/Fed member with no hopes of ever making "A Team" who simply thinks we should get back to funding HORSE stuff and not political backbiting... YMMV)

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

Snowbird
Jul. 19, 2001, 09:36 AM
I have read a great deal of the proposals that have been forthcoming from the Federation and I think they will not lose "corporate" sponsors but will gain many new and broader ones.

My sense is that is the reason for our dilemma. Those people with deep pockets who have been able to use their "donations" as both a tax sheltered charity and to buy influence and importance will probably move on. That is proably the reason for their beligerant perceptions of what is happening.

However, for the first time in many years I feel most optimistic that the new Federation and it's structure will make the major changes that are necessary to attract the major national sponsors. While it is true that the Fed will need at least a year to prepare the packages necessary for them to be interested and it will take another year to get on their calendars for appropriation of funds I think that it will eventually happen.

Most of the fund raising has been on a very individual basis i.e. someone who is CEO of a large company makes large donations while their particular favored horse and rider contenders are in contention. That will probably stop and there will be perhaps a dry period during the reorganization which will be more open and less political.

My hope is that we are on the threshold of an era where we can sort out the very best riders on one hand and the very best horses on the other hand and then permit the coaches to put together the best possible winning combinations. That would recreate the real spirit of a TEAM instead of contending individuals.

In my opinion that is the meaning and purpose of the Ted Stevens Athletic Act. As these changes come into play there will be many changes I think we will hate and many changes we will applaude. But, if we can make our American Equestrian Games into a "World Series" because it is broad based then it can work really well and we will join Skating and Golf as sports of general public interest that have gotten rid of the elitist image.

I hope I will live long enough to see one of our champion riders on that good old Wheaties box. The Marketing and Development Committee has made great strides in a very short time to change the whole image of the Federation from an association of show managers to an association of horse people of all kinds.

To me the joy of this sport has been it's ability to absorb people of kinds and all beliefs and allow them to excell regardless of personal conformation or distinction. Horses bring out the talents of the quiet and individual people who do not do well in contact sports but have the intuition and heart to become a pair with a horse.

Portia
Jul. 19, 2001, 09:49 AM
Lucassb posted this on the other thread on the H/J board, and I think it contains very good information and insight, so I'm copying it here. (Hopefully that's OK with Lucassb!)

Marketing and Development

Marketing is what I do for a living, so I have any number of biases about the subject...but one thing I am quite certain of is that any organization made up of close to 80,000 individuals, with demographics of:
85% female
38 years of age
52% married
58% college graduate or higher
$134,500 average household income
$955,400 average net worth

will have an audience which is attractive to a SUBSTANTIAL universe of potential advertisers.

We could do a lot more to package our sport to these firms, and I think that we will do so more successfully in the near future. In this regard, it is my personal opinion that the diversity of the Fed will create a very different target audience than the one identified as desirable by the USET.

In that sense, the USET should not be threatened by a loss of sponsorship if the Fed succeeds in developing enhanced sponsorship and advertising partnerships; ideally, they should feed off each other. Just as those who cite the penetration of showjumping into the general sports media awareness in Europe as an indication that it would be possible to pursue TV coverage on a wider scale here in the US, successful initiatives by any organization marketing the sport should be a boon to all others who aspire to do so.

Frankly, one of the strengths the Fed has from a marketing standpoint is its large base of NON H/J members, who are perceived (correctly or not) to be less "elitist" and more representative of the general buying public to potential marketing targets. There are a lot of non-luxury goods manufacturers out there, and the pool of available prospects is much larger when you look beyond the traditional Rolex or Cadillac type organization that has typically been the mainstay of our target audience. Think about the success that rodeo has had in selling to its sponsors.

OK, back off the soapbox now. At some point today I should probably go do some work, or soon I will be have to change my opening line to "marketing is what I USED to get paid for..."

Groundline
Jul. 19, 2001, 09:50 AM
This is probably the most important discussion for the future of the sport going on these boards.

To me, it's really, really simple. If the existing USET donors are TRULY for the advancement of the sport, and not merely self-interested, they will support the international effort wherever it is done, and by whatever organization does it.

I think that most of them probably are, but as Portia has said she heard with her own ears, a few apparently are not. Personally, I think those few individual donors will be immediately replaced by the MANY more who are or have been staying away from supporting the international effort as long as it has been controlled by so few, and has been perceived (whether rightly or not) as unfair, or conflicted, or controlled by too few insiders. We all know that there is very, very big wealth in this sport.

Add to that the corporate sponsors that ought to be interested in moving the sport forward if it is really organized professionally, and marketed, and to me it's pretty simple. At last some organization is finally approaching this the right way. I just hope the Olympic Committee can cut through all of the smoke and see what is really happening here. If they can, it will be great. If they don't, then it will be a long time before anything moves forward with true progress, and not just the same interest groups in charge which seem to control so much of it now.

poltroon
Jul. 19, 2001, 12:54 PM
I seem to recall seeing a USET "budget" a while back, but I can't find it again. I know they pay for expenses for Olympic and World teams, and salaries of some sort for the coaches, but I was surprised, for example, that though the USET is naming/selecting event riders for the Burghley CCI**** and the Blenheim CCI***, they are not providing financial support, and individual riders have to come up with $15k to go. Given that there are no other major international Events this year (especially because of FMD), I'm surprised that they don't have travel grants available for these 10 or so riders.

Bethe Mounce
Jul. 19, 2001, 01:29 PM
a line item detailed budget from both the "fed" and USET on their websites, not the pie graph, or the chart thing, but a real live honest to goodness budget. Having been a bean counter for 17 years (finally, it's coming in handy!), I love crunching numbers but I also know how to prepare a budget for federal, state and local contracts, which are detailed as all get out.

I don't want to see a budget that merely says:
Salaries: $100,000
Fringe Benefits: $20,000
Travel: $500,000
Other: $1,000,000

You know, I want details to back up the totals.....I send $$ to USET every 3 months, I would like to know how it is spent, or where it is deposited..............USET calls me every year asking me to up my annual contribution, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, but when I do talk to them, the poor woman on the other end gets an earful of my opinions!!!!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

poltroon
Jul. 19, 2001, 01:53 PM
I think some of this more detailed "This is what we would use your money for" information might be very useful for fundraising, too. There are the "big picture" sponsors, who can be lured with advertising kinds of benefits, but there are also a lot of small 'hobbyist' type sponsors, those of us who could (and can and do) spare $20, $50, $100 or so to help a rider meet a specific goal. Currently, the American Horse Trials Foundation does some of this, helping a rider to fundraise this way and using their tax-deductable umbrella. The USET already sends out letters allegedly from Famous Riders, but I think that there might be differently effective campaigns for very specific, earmarked activities, like "hey, we'd like to send these 10 riders to Europe for this and that major competition" (Hmm, rather like those NPR pledge drives...) as opposed to "Hey, we're for equestrian excellence from the US - so send us some money."

Snowbird
Jul. 19, 2001, 02:14 PM
I've been thinking about a way we could adopt an athlete. My thought was to put our athletes closer to their fans and supporters.

For example a 4H Club, or a Girl Scout Troop,or maybe even local associations and barns could pick an athlete to follow their successes and failures. To cheer them up when they don't do well, and the encourage them when it goes great. Each group could run fundraisers and the athlete could send signed T-Shirts and saddle pads to be raffled off at the fund raisers.

I would love some ideas from all of you how this could work and if you think it would work as a way to bring us spectators closer to our role models.

You see I think we need to find a way to bridge the abyss between the levels of riding and one thing sadly missing in our sport are the role models and the fan clubs.

Portia
Jul. 19, 2001, 02:43 PM
At least to my untrained-in-marketing mind. The USA Equestrian "Adopt-A-Rider/Driver" Campaign. Or even, "Adopt-A-Horse" for our favorite equine athletes.

I'm guessing it is not possible/practicable for the money to actually go to the specific athlete or horse "adopted" -- any more then the money sent to Save the Children or similar organizations goes directly to the single child "adopted"-- but it would be a dynamic way to get people on both sides of the transaction -- donors/sponsors and riders/drivers -- to feel directly involved in the process. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

ljo
Jul. 19, 2001, 03:43 PM
Could it be that the USET and AHSA have a very comfortable old boys fundraising network and their instincts are not to rock the boat and to not really want to share?
I'm sure they have a lifetime of "them" and "us" attitudes to dread adjusting to the "new" regime.

Weatherford
Jul. 19, 2001, 03:50 PM
Of course, change scares everyone!

However, please remember it is the USA Equestrian (formerly AHSA) this is now leading the way in seeking out new marketing incentives and working to increase the exposure to our sport at all levels.

This will only help ALL of us!

I watched the USET Reining Champs on TV yesterday - brought to the screen by the AQHA and its sponsors in its "America's Horse" program. We need that kind of exposure for more than simply Quarter Horses!


/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 19, 2001, 04:29 PM
In Weatherford's post she mentioned the TV broadcast of the Reining at the Festival of Champions sponsored by and through the AQHA.I might add that Budweiser (certainly a mainstream corporation as opposed to Rolex,etc.) sponsors several GP, all (or most) of which are televised on ESPN. Several of the GP in Palm Beach are televised as well. I believe the above mentioned air time is mostly due to the efforts of Stadium Jumping. HITS has gone the same way with Outdoor Life Network. The point is all of this exposure has been accomplished through private organizations.

I welcome the Fed joining in if the marketing gurus (of which I emphatically am not one) believe it will not spread the industry too thin.

My gut feeling is that the Fed with it's involvement in 26 breeds and disciplines will find it difficult, at best, to determine where to distribute the newly found sponsorship. Who decides what breed or discipline will reap the benefits?

Is it possible that the Fed's Marketing and Development Committee will, unknowingly, open Pandora's Box?

wtywmn4
Jul. 19, 2001, 05:11 PM
Good points Emmet. Lets hope that it won't happen. We don't need one more pandora's box to be opened. We have had too many recently.

The breakdown of the demographics is very interesting. How many of you know or have friends who fall within these guide lines? Do they have, want or own horses?

The AQHA has spent long,and expensive years bringing their breed to the forefront. The monies, prizes, trophies won at the World and the Congress mean alot! Interesting that the AQHA brought the USET Reining to TV. My question is why didn't the USET bring it? It's part of the Fed now, was at the Olympics.

Snowbird
Jul. 19, 2001, 05:44 PM
Since I am a member of the Marketing and Development Committee I am going to rely on all of you to warn me about the pitfalls ahead. And, I invite all of you with Marketing Experience to share with me your expertise.

I am looking forward to this new world that should open the doors for all our now unknown young talent. And, by now I trust you all know me well enough to know that I will be outspoken and honest in my opinions. So please feel free to email me and to discuss these items out here where we can find a consensus from minds that are not closed to what's new and dynamic and can make a difference.

Together we can help the Federation with it's intense new direction. So let me personally appoint you all as an advisory sub-committee of my seat as a member.

Portia
Jul. 19, 2001, 06:00 PM
Congratulations Snowbird! (Vikki!) I had no idea you were on the new Marketing Committee. Well, then, you're in a great position to make the Adopt-A-Rider/Driver and/or Adopt-A-Horse programs come to be. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Glimmerglass
Jul. 19, 2001, 06:04 PM
>> I might add that Budweiser (certainly a mainstream corporation as opposed to Rolex,etc.) sponsors several GP, all (or most) of which are televised on ESPN <<

Budweiser is the main corporate sponsor to the American GrandPrix Association (AGA) Series of which approx 9 of the 33 grandprixs are shown on ESPN/ESPN2. The Busch family, long connected to equestrian promotion and sport, and their company helped establish and promote the series.

wtywmn4
Jul. 19, 2001, 06:06 PM
Congratulations Snowbird!I'm sure you will be getting inundated with ideas....

Weatherford
Jul. 19, 2001, 07:13 PM
Budwiser is a GREAT sponsor - and, what happens to that sponsorship, and others similar to it, when the family behind it decides to get out of the horse business? Does it stop? Usually, unfortunately, yes!

This kind of sponsorship, I suspect, is tolerated by companies because the owners/bosses tell them to, rather than a sponsorship that is fully supported by the company. (As it SHOULD be!!)

And that, essentially, is the problem: we have for far too long looked within our industry for the support, and that is simply not what is needed for the future - that is NOT to undermine our WONDERFUL sponsors - that is just the we need to prove to their MANAGEMENT that we aren't just some whim of their owners'!!

We need to sell the potential to the marketing managers, who can sell to their companies, and keep the companies involved even when the manager leaves.

We have to share the passion for our four legged friends.

And we will /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif - I find it very exciting!

Snowbird
Jul. 19, 2001, 08:40 PM
I do believe that this job can get done. I can tell you that on our committee are very forward and open minded people looking at the bigger view of this sport.

Years ago I was involved with the skating people and belonged to the traditional skate club. I have watched with amazement the progress they have made to generate public interest. Not unlike our eventing people being asked to modernize they had to drop the figures in order to be more attractive to spectators. They didn't fall apart, they blossomed.

I think there are the glimmers of wonderful ideas to be implemented that will make everyone feel a part of what we do. Once we become mainstream and learn to be "crowd pleasers" we will have all the benefits that public appreciation earns.

How do we get our sportsmen to compromise their individual desires and needs for those of the over-all welfare? Like skaters and golfers our athletes are self-contained and do not require "teamwork". We are unique because we need a partner which has a mind and a heart and a will of it's own.

Can our athletes learn how to be crowd pleasers and how to share their victories with all those who can only have the dream?

Glimmerglass
Jul. 19, 2001, 08:45 PM
Showjumping for years enjoyed significant big money corporate sponsorship/involvement before liquor and tobacco brands were shunned. Budweiser is a rare exception and I wouldn't doubt as the Busch & Hagar families are less involved in the company it will be cut back.

We'll see how well Spruce Meadows does with their new masters partner, Nortel, going forward. However, their $18 billion loss reported last quarter (yes, larger than the GDP of many central american countries) isn't a positive sign.

I agree with Weatherford in that a wider net must be cast with sponsorship - far beyond the equestrian community of brands. Ariat and State Line might be household names to horse people. Yet Cadillac for example, spends more in print ads alone in one year than all the equestrian apparel and boot makers do combined.

One question to ask is everyone prepared to embrace corporate money and the concessions which go with it? Partnering with any company prepared to pump a few million into underwriting more television coverage will come at some expense. Does anyone want to see the day of riders helmets covered in sponsor's logos? Or hard earned red USET jacket wearers bearing the USA flag next to say ... a Lexus logo?

Weatherford
Jul. 20, 2001, 05:00 AM
Good question, Emmet, re attire.

Of course, we are rethinking attire in the Jumper ring, anyway - perhaps logos are the way to go (as skier wear logos). However, I will point out that ice skaters do NOT wear logos - so that is not necessarily going to happen.

Ice skaters do wear interesting costumes, and, as Snowbird pointed out, have gotten out of the school figures.

Which, brings me to my other comment, our Dressage riders HAVE to leave the confines of the Dressage ring for that to be a truely popular spectator sport! Part of the spectator enjoyment is having the horse and rider (as in skater) do a movement NEAR you - just imagine what a freestyle would be like using a WHOLE arena!

Just my belief! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 20, 2001, 06:43 AM
I can't take credit for the attire thing but the Europeans manage to promote their sponsors in an understated way. We can only hope, if we get into sponsorship European style, we Americans will follow suit.

Bear in mind that the FEI will be painfully slow (if ever) in accepting any change of attire in International competition.

Snowbird, I wish you luck with your appointment, however, as I stated, I do have my reservations.

As far as Budweiser's sponsorship goes, it's already second generation so I see no reason the next generation will not continue the family tradition. Aside, my understanding is the contributions to equestrian sports is a mere drop in the bucket.

I see nothing wrong with going within the industry for sponsorship. As a matter of fact, I would think it would be far easier to get one's foot in the door, especially when promoting a relatively obsure sport. I imagine it was a lot easier for the PGA to get sponsors from a corp. whose CEO knew how to use a nine iron.

There is great diversity within our industry and quite a bit of biz savvy. Why not attempt to open the tap?

wtywmn4
Jul. 20, 2001, 07:11 AM
Snowbird, I think your statement "How do we get our sportsmen to compromise their individual desires and needs for those of the over-all welfare? Like skaters and golfers our athletes are self-contained and do not require "teamwork". We are unique because we need a partner which has a mind and a heart and a will of it's own." has been the key to all changes within our organization. Let's hope this new committee has said key!! We certainly need it.

I guess like Emmett, I have my reservations. Sorry, not trying to be negative at all. Have seen many personal agendas, and they will not go "quietly into this good nite".

Portia
Jul. 20, 2001, 08:20 AM
Good point, Emmet. Having sponsors' logos doesn't mean a show/competition has to start looking like Talladega on NASCAR race day. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I don't mind at all seeing the discreet Audi logo on Ludger Beerbaum's or Rodrigo Pessoa's jacket. It is a perfectly acceptable (to me, at least) way to have a sponsor's logo displayed without compromising the integrity of the of attire, just like the Nike swoosh or Fila logo on tennis outfits at Wimbledon, or the Callaway or Maxfli logo on golf shirts and caps at the Masters.

I remember I was excited to see what I thought was a traditional women's fashion ad in a horse magazine (PH) a few months ago. It turned out to be for a new subsidiary of Millers that is expanding into the fashion area. Maybe this new marketing push will be able to get the word out to these non-traditionally equestrian industries about what a prime retail market participants in horse sports can be.

Snowbird
Jul. 20, 2001, 09:04 AM
I think you are all making such good suggestions and you have opened my ideas to some of the snags we should be able to eliminate.

I agree that we certainly don't want to copy from Nascar where the spectators are sitting around waiting for the crashes and the cars are rolling commercials. Yes! the skaters and golfers have accomplished the same purpose with much more discretion.

Weatherford I think as we grow up and all the pieces start to fit together we will have spectator appeal in all the disciplines. I have for 30 years been waiting patiently for the Kur to be an important level of competition in Dressage.
And, perhaps as we grow up and get more sophisticated we will do more with the aires above the ground.

I can see a Team headquarters which is a tourist attraction like that of the Spanish Riding School. And, I hope for American bred horses which they will come to watch being schooled.

For the cynics, I have been around at least as long if not much longer than all of you and I fully appreciate the skepticism that you feel. I think however that this is our hour to make the difference and the changes that need to be made and we need all of you to feed the committee the information and suggestions from all of your personal experiences.

I promise you that I will be your voice on the committee and will forward your ideas to the whole committee. If we can find the will and give the effort our hour in time will be a landmark for generations that follow us. It's not going to happen in a day or even a year whatever the NGB status is, the Federation is taking steps to open the doors for changes. I think they realize that it is time to end the influence of special interests and turn to the members.

Maybe 10 years from now it will be possible for a talented rider to be selected to represent USA Equestrian at the Olympics without needing to have rich friends. Just maybe we will be able to create a system where every little kid in every backyard will have a chance to test their total talent.

Our job is priority which comes first the spectators or the sponsors. I think we will try to work towards both issues. We have created a "brand recognition" program, we have our mission statement. That's the first step on the road to sponsors. The next step is to modernize our shows. We as horsemen need to start to think about how to make spectators feel welcome.

In Europe since they are more socialistic in their thinking than we are they have structures, where the seats in an arena are sold. Sort of like a time share, and these seats become a family asset.
The show manager is their employee and has the job so long as they are pleased with the show.

So we have to figure out how to motivate the show managers here to offer spectator friendly shows for additional income instead of expecting the exhibitors to pay everything. Then the cash awards will be legitimate and the exhibitor will not have to pay back to management to costs for the awards. That will happen when we as the exhibitors (don't forget please show managers are very often also exhibitors) learn to consider our responsibility to the audience and the fans.

SGray
Jul. 20, 2001, 09:37 AM
re: "I have for 30 years been waiting patiently for the Kur to be an important level of competition in Dressage.
And, perhaps as we grow up and get more sophisticated we will do more with the aires above the ground.

I can see a Team headquarters which is a tourist attraction like that of the Spanish Riding School. And, I hope for American bred horses which they will come to watch being schooled."

I would like to encourage a push for the USDF to join the Fed at KHP - as well as as many other national equine organizations - I believe that great synergy could come of having them together

Portia
Jul. 20, 2001, 10:06 AM
S, having been to the KHP and seen the headquarters, next to the Pony Club headquarters, it is a lovely environment and horses are everybody's primary focus.

There can also be substantial savings from such a move -- the Fed is saving hundreds of thousands per year by moving out of NYC to Lexington. I don't know where the USDF is headquartered right now, or the USEA, but they couldn't ask for a nicer place than Lexington. Kentucky loves their horses and their horse businesses!

poltroon
Jul. 20, 2001, 10:36 AM
Believe it or not Portia, the USDF is located in that hotbed of Dressage competition - Lincoln, Nebraska! Office space is cheap, but I think they'd be better off at the KHP. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Snowbird - I love the idea of adopt-a-rider/adopt-a-horse. I'm not sure that the money COULDN'T go directly to them, but in any case I think the very deep and specific fan-club-style connection that could be made would be good for both contributions and overall interest in the sports. Just think how cool it would be to have gotten a quarterly newsletter to hear about (say) Jet Run's morning routine or Biko's latest competition? It would work well for up-and-comers as well as the current stars.

This could work thru the auspices of the Federation, or the fed could simply set up someone whose job it was to guide new riders through the process of setting up a fundraising group like this. (If the rider can't write well, perhaps she can give some free lessons to someone who can?)

I remember a friend of mine telling me that she had gotten a letter from Holly Fox asking for support to go to the Punchestown CCI*** a few years back. She sent Holly some small amount, like $20. She was surprised and pleased to get a thank-you note, along with some great commentary on the competition. Experiences like this will help get people to contribute - and not just to the already-stars.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 20, 2001, 10:46 AM
in most cases. However in this atmosphere of change we should remember some things will never change.

In order to field competitive International Teams in most disciplines, talented riders need good horses. Good horses cost a lot of money, if not to initially purchase then to develop. It is the rare owner today who will allow a coach or The Chef d' Equipe to match horse and rider. Even in the hay days of Bert deNemethy, many of the riders rode their owner (read sponsors) horses. Frank Chapot rode Carl Twitchell's horses, the Butler's bought horses for Kathy Kusner to ride, etc. Without having to remove too many cobwebs, I can recall Billy Haggard (Bold Minstral and Mainspring)as being one of the few who left the decision of who was to ride his horses completely up to Bert. Very few of the USET's string were "donated". Many more were "on loan."

I believe we must be very careful not to alienate the current and future owners of world class horses by dictating to them who, what and where.

Our elite horses encompass more entities than just horse and rider. That makes our sport quite different than a Tiger with a Titanium putter.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 20, 2001, 11:06 AM
Since you have 'fessed up, I assume you can answer my question.

Since USA Equestrian is non profit, I'm guessing one can make a donation to same. I know from experience that with the USET, one can earmark donated funds. Is that the case with USAE?

I'm also curious as to the identity of the other members of the M & D Committee.

Portia
Jul. 20, 2001, 12:14 PM
Here's the link to the USA Equestrian committee page that lists all the members and their contact information. I think it is up to date, since it's a new committee (they haven't updated the Legal Review Committee list yet, <sniff sniff, whine whine> ). /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

USA Equestrian Marketing Committee (http://www.ahsa.org/committee/13.html)

The members are:

Mr. Eugene R. Mische, Bradenton FL, Chair

Mr. Anthony F. Hitchcock, Bridgehampton, NY, Vice-Chair

Ms. Kathy Knill Meyer, Edwards, CO, Vice-Chair

Ms. Kathleen Cox, Greenwich

Ms. Diana De Rosa, Huntington, NY

Ms. Hellen Krieble, Parker, CO

Mr. Larry Langer, Burbank, CA

Ms. Susan Lucas, Roswell, GA

Mr. Ronald G. Olson, San Marcos, CA

Mr. Robert A. Ridland, Irvine, CA

Ms. Elizabeth A. Shorb, Camp Hill, PA

Mrs. Vikki K. Siegel, Long Valley, NJ

Mr. Wyatt A. Stewart III, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Ellie Trueman, Dickerson, MD

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

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 20, 2001, 02:45 PM
Interesting.

No one has done more for the sport of show jumping than Committee Chairperson Gene Mische.

The Hampton Classic is jammed with heavy hitters, sponsor wise, courtesy of Tony Hitchcock.

The others whose names are familiar have or are involved with major national events.

Kudos to whoever was responsible for these excellent committee members.

An aside: Does anyone know which members are not associated with the hunter/jumper discipline?

Coreene
Jul. 20, 2001, 02:55 PM
I sell advertising for a living to a very targeted, high end business reader. The demographics that this sport offers are so high end that people should be climbing over each other to sign up. The people going after sponsorships need to be aggressive, but also creative - go after the non traditional sponsor.

If we can get 14 big high end sponsors to an event which brings only an audience of 1,000 and has visibility to our pubication's readership, then it should not be difficult. I love selling sponsorships, it's a blast.

[This message was edited by coreene on Jul. 20, 2001 at 06:21 PM.]

Heidi
Jul. 20, 2001, 03:14 PM
I couldn't agree more coreene.

I'm Canadian and thus not familiar with the governing bodies of the sport in the U.S., but we do share the sponsorship challenge in Canada.

It's always baffled me that individual horse shows and the governing boards of the sport in Canada have so lacked imagination and a clear understanding of 'reciprocal value' when approaching companies for sponsorship $$ - signage isn't sufficient to compel many to fork over a $25,000 cheque to sponsor a class. Our frustrations in Canada are further compounded by the fact that volunteers not only oversee the marketing of the sport - they also execute the 'campaign'. Marketing is like burglary, better left in the hands of the pros.

Be creative and use what I consider to be the greatest asset of the sport - the high number of well-educated, successful, adult women. We women buy cars, insurance, health care and beauty products, we invest our money, we buy homes, make a weekly trek to the grocery store; we're also highly computer literate.

Rather than selecting a singular athlete or pro as the 'face of the sport', use the demographic that dominates the sport.

"Mommy, does it really matter?" - Sumo toddler, age 3

Portia
Jul. 20, 2001, 03:35 PM
Hmmmm, Emmet, I really don't know. I'm pretty sure Kathy Meyer is an Arab person, horse-wise, and a financial and accounting person professionally. Diana De Rosa is a journalist, but I don't know what her discipline or breed preferences are. Susan Lucas is a marketing person, but again I don't know her breed or discipline involvements. The only other one I know of is Wyatt Stewart, who is on the FEI Committee as well as a few others, but none that are breed or discipline specific.

Snowbird
Jul. 20, 2001, 03:57 PM
This committee is supposed to be generic in it's purpose and look at the broad picture. My feeling is we will study the things that attract the big national sponsors and then we will create the means for that to be accomplished.

It is sort of a think tank and is not breed or discipline oriented. I think that is the reason for the choices you mentioned. I wish all of you with marketing expertise who might be interested in this project would email me and I will forward your interest to the committee. I am certain there is a need for consultants to advise and recommend. Or feel free to email directly to Scott Carling at the Federation.

What is needed is people who do not follow the beaten track and have innovative new ideas for how the Federation goals may be accomplished the most efficiently.

Snowbird
Jul. 20, 2001, 04:17 PM
But in the best of all possible worlds the breeders might be a big help too. And, it does depend on what the reward is that is expected as a result.

In the past the idea was to send made and finished horses that were owned and I would guess from the perspective that an Olympic horse would sell for much more especially if it was a winner.

But, let's just speculate a little and change the scenario. Suppose that the breeders were willing to send their finest and best young stock to the Federation Team headquarters where they were trained under the direction of the "Riding Master". Those who did the training were our best athletes also in training with the "Riding Master".

Now the benefit would be not from just one sale of one horse but from the sale of young stock with an appropriate whole blood line. And, we could have elimination trials to find those best suited to be in training with the Riding Masters. They could be tested for courage, talent willingness to comply and that would also benefit the breeders even if the horses were turned down. They still could be certified as almost!

The Team Training Center would be the Tourist attraction I mentioned because everyone would want to watch and see what exercises and gymnastics were used for the Olympic caliber horses.

Anyway that would be my hope for the best of all worlds. I think you can all visualize the wonderful process that would eliminate and select the horses and the riders. Since the owners would benefit from a horse trained by the very best I think they would be willing to concede ownership with a lease to the Federation Team for lets say 4 years.

Snowbird
Jul. 21, 2001, 07:58 PM
I won't let you forget this thread it's too good. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Snowbird
Jul. 23, 2001, 07:40 PM
I'm not going to let you pass up this thread easily. This is a crossroads in this sport and we need to decide if this is the death rattle of a sport past it's time or one on the brink of a rebirth.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:25 AM
Although I think the formation of this new Marketing and Development Committee is a positive move, I don't share your fear of our sport dying a slow death if we don't do something NOW!

Several of the individuals on your committee have managed to promote the sport just fine without the aid of our Federation or under it's umbrella. I imagine they will continue to promote their OWN enterprizes thus continuing the sponsorship of the sport, on some level.

So, I can't help but think the sport WILL survive.

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:51 AM
But do we want to just survive?

There are so many interrelated things like open spaces and agriculture at stake. Remember that the economy of almost every state depends on our sport as an industry that balanced their gross profit and supports tons of subsidiary services.

So yes! perhaps it will survive but as the numbers start to drop there will be less momentum for support from anyone. Lets say there are 52 of the mega-extravanganza shows, will that draw enough when divided up over only four or even ten show grounds?

Yes, there will be people who will still have horses and there will be some who will ride but if we don't change and we lose our position as a major sport in the Olympics will there be new riders three generations from now?

My hope and the reason I put my time where my mouth is, is that we can create a modernization as they did with skating and golf to become more generally a main stream activity.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 24, 2001, 09:14 AM
I was brought up not to argue with my elders, so forgive me for having a difference of opinion.

On the contrary, the shows I have attended over the last ten years are not merely surviving, they are flourishing! Quite a few are sold old long before the entries close, others are so full, the day barely gets done by dusk. The one thing all those shows have in common? They are presented at above average facilities, they are run by top notch management, good jumps, good stabling, the list goes on. In other words, they draw exhibitors.

Sure some of them are at State facilities, (Va, Ky, NC.) but others are used once a year. (Upperville, the Hampton Classic.)

I agree that we want to keep our sport in the Olympic Games. I am pretty confident that, among others, the Germans will never let the IOC delete equestrian!

I would encourage anyone who trys to make Show Jumping on a public parallel with skating and golf. But isn't that what has been going on since the first ESPN broadcast?

It has taken close to thirty years to come this far, what makes anyone think those who got us this far would stop now?

Sure we should encourage those at the local and regional level to aspire. However, the publicity is generated by those at the top of their game.

Coreene
Jul. 24, 2001, 09:29 AM
HEY email me I have a FAB idea.

pt
Jul. 24, 2001, 09:55 AM
"Just maybe we will be able to create a system where every little kid in every backyard will have a chance to test their total talent."

I seem to be one of the voices for the less-than-internationally-talented-equipped here, but this quote seems to me to be the bedrock of what should be AHSA-or-whatever's mandate as well as support.

If the focus remains on the upper levels of the sport, the roots will die. They are already dying with the loss of readily available opportunities to enjoy horses, the loss of trails, the loss of small shows for spectators as well as competitors who can't/won't use their entire vacation to go to a horse show.

It would be nice to think that AHSA/FED/Whoever would focus on building the sport as a sport for the public, not just for the wealthy, but you'll pardon my cynicism in pointing out that has not been the case to date.

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

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 10:52 AM
You've got the point. Emmet I don't mind a disagreement about ideas ever. I can understand that everyone does not have the same sense of the health of this sport.

While it is true that some of the shows have an over abundance of entries that is not the whole picture. For example according to press releases there were about 12,000 horses showing on the winter circuits. But, there are almost 2 million horses that show according to the AHC.

And, it is a fact that although some shows are very healthy it only represents 2% of the membership in the Federation, so 98% are left out.

The mission and the little revolution we are part of is to include all these people so that every little child will have the hope that they can develop into a talented rider and have a way to get to the Olympics.

In skating for example for many years you could not be competitive unless you could afford to build your own skating rink at home or you shared one with a group such as a skating club. Then it was elitist and out of the mainstream.

When it became commonplace for every county to build an arena and make it and instructors available to everyone the doors opened and they became mainstream. The skating club was a part but not the whole program. Those arenas were shared with the Hockey playing public. Two sports on ice that grew from a small change of mind.

I think we with horses need to have a think tank where we can bounce new ideas around. If only one out of every 10 ideas proposed will work then we will be on our way. The old system works for us but it leaves out too many people.

How to make this sport inclusive for those who believe that children should go to school? and for those who like to sleep in their own bed at night? and those adults who are employed in the real world? and last but not least those who are not affluent? That is our mission.

When we solve those problems then as a mainstream sport we will achieve the large national sponsors with the really deep pockets. Then exhibitors will not have to pay huge entry fees because the cash is available and further if there are spectators there can be spectator fees for show management. Then it will pay to have improved grounds and facilities which will make it all much more comfortable.

Let's suppose somehow our American Equestrian Games are so well designed that they receive general support, perhaps it would be like the Superbowl and television rights would be so valuable that it alone could subsidize our teams and athletes not just with a part but for all of the expenses so that little kid could afford to be on the team from Hometown USA.

Can we get it done? I don't know but I'm willing to try. If we don't get it done the world will still spin on it's axis and life will go on. There is always probably going to be 2% of the horse owners who will be able to afford to compete. Will that be enough to save open green space in every community? Probably not. Will that generate enough activity in enough states for us to hold on to our seat in the Department of Agriculture? Possibly but I doubt it. Will we be able to have laws passed that benefit us? I don't think the Legislature of any state will be impressed enough to care if we are not an economic factor.

pt
Jul. 24, 2001, 10:57 AM
I thought I was gonna get slammed for my post...

If your reply post is truly your mission, count me in - Let me know what we can do to help from out here in grassroots country!

Louise
Jul. 24, 2001, 12:09 PM
Snowbird.

Please think very hard about sending that last comment of yours in to form of a letter to the Chronicle. I never saw a better summation of what is needed to both preserve and expand the presense of the horse and horse sports in America.

Lucassb
Jul. 24, 2001, 12:51 PM
We don't always agree but this kind of discussion is what fosters great ideas. She has certainly gone above and beyond the pale in donating her time, energy and talents to our sport! If more people did the same, we would be in great shape.

I agree wholeheartedly that making our sport more spectator friendly will result in better competition venues, lower fees, more value for sponsors and a whole host of other benefits.

Will it provide more opportunities for the local rider with limited resources? I am not convinced it will.

Those who make it in those circumstances are probably (still) going to be those who sacrifice and build careers through sweat equity... who become (poor) working students for the opportunity to train with the best, who figure out creative ways to participate in a sport competing against those for whom the money is not an issue... it is not a totally level playing field, and I seriously doubt it ever will be.

There are countries with federations that provide training and competitive opportunities for talented athletes of limited means. These also tend to be countries with state breeding facilities and a large industry which mutually support each other. We here in the US are not quite that fortunate. In Europe, it is also common for pros to have earned an academic degree (which includes practical exposure and demonstrated proficiency) who can come up through the ranks - it is viewed as a legitmate industry and has all the trappings of one. <end of rant>

There are success stories everywhere of local circuits that offer great competition in quality environments, pony clubs who foster education and provide opportunities for those of more limited means to ride and learn, breed associations who do a great job of obtaining support and sponsorship, and who knows what else.

Wouldn't it be great if all those super ideas could be identified to the Fed, who could publicize them and help make those ideas available to others in distant areas? Beats inventing (or reinventing) the wheel, don't you think?

I am also part of the marketing and development committee. It has been my pleasure and a privilege to work with so many talented and committed individuals who are willing to donate their time and energy to finding SOLUTIONS to the challenges that our sport faces. Anyone can b@tch and moan about all the things they don't like... it is much more valuable (and a lot more fun, actually) to put energy into figuring out how to fix and improve stuff!

Let's keep those ideas and success stories coming...

Susan

poltroon
Jul. 24, 2001, 12:57 PM
So, what can the industry and the Federation do to make horses more accessible to the nonhorsey public? I think in particular I would be interested in having the marketing committee consider what might be done to increase awareness/acceptability of equestrian sport amongst non-whites.

Figure skating is a terrific example. For years it was something rich white new englanders did. It was barely shown on TV. No one was interested. Then we had breakout stars, and suddenly figure skating was one of THE sports of the winter olympics. Even better, eventually we had Debi Thomas and Kristi Yamaguchi as national champions - and now look at all the young girls of all colors and backgrounds at the elite level.

Many people (even among those who can afford horses) never have an opening to participate. In this area, a classic entry point into riding is a class offered through the community college. Is this typical? Are there more effective ways? There are all kinds of gymnastic and swimming classes for little kids - what about promoting local urban riding camps? Maybe a booklet about getting your kids started with riding, with listings, is something that the Fed could undertake. I dunno.

Some of the ideas are out of scope of the old AHSA model, but perhaps some are appropriate to the whole-sport mission of the Fed. And any that aren't, but are valuable, can be disseminated so others within the equestrian community can pick them up and run with them.

Ruby G. Weber
Jul. 24, 2001, 01:05 PM
Snowbird...profound.
I must say, though, I live in an area where riding schools are full, local shows are huge and we have been fighting for the land for years.
For goodness sakes, we (with the assistance of the Piedmont Enviromental Council among others)sent Disney running away with it's tail between it's legs! We are represented by a strong Farm Bureau.
But here's an idea for you. Why not send talent scouts to some of the local or regional shows? Just like in football, roundball, etc.

SGray
Jul. 24, 2001, 01:09 PM
I just received a fund-raising letter from USET
it said that they needed 200,000 to 400,000 for each of the next three months

- it spoke of my past support and I cannot remember sending $s - though might have years ago

Louise
Jul. 24, 2001, 01:35 PM
Did they say what they needed it for?

SGray
Jul. 24, 2001, 01:56 PM
I'll go reread tonight (I kept as I had not decided how to respond - I'm leaning toward asking for a breakdown of money usage)

poltroon
Jul. 24, 2001, 03:19 PM
From the dressage forum:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
Something similar to Iron Chefs, except Iron DQ's where a panelist of a Chermin trainer, rider, and young actress comments are badly dubbed into English:

"Oh how surprising, she has chosen a jeweled browband and a pink saddle pad for her obviously chestnut draft/walking horse cross. The judges will find her taste amusing if not absurd."

"Tee, hee, hee, I would like to wear something similar in my new show North Sea Baywatch."

joliemom
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif I bet we could get Iron Dressage broadcast!

I think that most shows could be more specatator-friendly. At one local dressage venue they constantly chastise spectators for sitting too close to the arena because they are afraid the horses will be spooked. Every time I listen to that, I know why American horses are freaked out when asked to compete before Actual Crowds at the Olympics or in Europe.

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 03:19 PM
We can do it! Once we get out of the habit of being cynical and paranoid we can look farther.

One of the secrets of riding a good course is not to look where you are but always at the fence ahead, right?

So glad to have another member of the committee out here, I hope we can encourage the whole committee to join us and use the web for some really good brain storming between all of us.

Well now that almost every state has an equine immunity act we could start to lobby for horse back riding to be part of the gym programs in the schools just as they do skating, swimming and yes even golf.

We can sponsor "Parade Units" and exhibition teams. We can get involved more with the scouts who issue horse badges ans the 4H.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>But here's an idea for you. Why not send talent scouts to some of the local or regional
shows? Just like in football, roundball, etc.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's a great idea and offer a clinic with a member of the team to some of the High Score winners. Maybe we can have some system which would get us nominations for worthwhile riders who would benefit from the experience. This is a wonderful way to get the Members of the Fed closer to the elite riders.

You know Emmet, in reality old Bert DeNemethy did exactly that. He used to frequently bring young aspiring riders to all the local shows to try out new horses or test the riders on the available horses. While he was there he would watch the jumper classes for other potential talent.

The USET blew their opportunity bigtime. The USET Class should have been a showcase for blossoming riders. Instead of running it like just another medal class the Finals should have real tests of the riders ability to pull together and properly exercise a horse. If it were the "Search for Talent" class then they should have run all the sections and had the Team coaches making the picks they liked or a committee from the Team.

Well I think the program will be a failure unless we are able to get to all the local and regional shows and include them in some sort of qualifying procedure for the American Equestrian Games.

Riding Schools can set aside a day and offer tests as they do in skating at the arenas and offered by the Skating Clubs.

For a $5.00 fee the young rider can be certified with these tests as to their level of knowledge and ability. Those certificates might be the way to qualify for the first leg of eliminations.

Perhaps we can consider rating divisions by the level of difficulty instead of money, that would keep the entry fees down.

The hardest part is knowing where to start first. Should we start at the bottom and work up or because of the current pressures shoudl we start at the top and work down.

poltroon
Jul. 24, 2001, 03:26 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:
That's a great idea and offer a clinic with a member of the team to some of the High Score winners. Maybe we can have some system which would get us nominations for worthwhile riders who would benefit from the experience. This is a wonderful way to get the Members of the Fed closer to the
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've seen this kind of prize offered for some dressage and eventing competitions, especially things like young rider competitions. Way better than prize money for everyone involved, IMHO! You're right Snowbird, it would give a lot more meaning to winning a USET medal class - to not only be eligible for a final, but also to get to attend (say) a special clinic.

cortez
Jul. 24, 2001, 04:37 PM
No one does it better than the mighty Spruce Meadows! They do limit their expertise to Showjumping but wow, do they do it right. It's so exciting to see 45,000 people packing the stands on Saturday or Sunday to watch the big class. How many of those people are actual horse owners? Not the largest percentage that's for sure. Perhaps someone should study the Spruce Meadows model. Yes, it's pretty boring to listen to Mr. Southern give his long speal to the sponsors but look at what he has creatd.....he's allowed and the sponsors appreciate it. They have marketed showjumping to sponsors, fans and the community. Study how they did it and you may have some pretty good answers to your own marketing questions

Weatherford
Jul. 24, 2001, 05:00 PM
They have MADE show jumping into a household word in Calgary - the horse business is BOOMING up there, and people who would otherwise sit by the boob tube take their WHOLE FAMILIES to watch the horses!!

And because this is a family outing place - WHOLESOME entertainment, the one Canadien team member with the major drug problem is NOT invited to compete!

I think that is GREAT!

Snowbird
Jul. 24, 2001, 07:16 PM
Spruce Meadows has a deal that if you purchase a Spruce Meadow scarf it entitles you forever to a spot on the green knoll for free.

And YES! they have proved that on this continent it can be done. But then Canadians are wonderful at hospitality and making people feel important to them. We competed at Jimmie Elder's place near Toronto some years back for a Jumper Derby. There was a glorious side of a hill that was home to spectators. Plenty of room to spread out. They also were not in a hurry and had limited entries with one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon. In between was a lovely catered lunch with music and dancing.

We offer ring side tables but who has time to ever sit at one?

kaia
Jul. 24, 2001, 08:14 PM
Ok, this is not really what the rest of you are talking about - but I always wonder if there isn't some way to entice Sports Illustrated for Women, Sports and Fitness, or any of the magazines I read to interview equestrians? I mean - they interview participants of obscure sports all of the time - why not equestrians? Do we really have to wait for them to ask, or is there a way to get them to interview Anky or another young rider like they do the tennis stars?
You know that when I was a kid - not all that long ago - I didn't even KNOW that dressage and jumping were done in this country? I thought that they rode English in England. And, although I rode Western, I'd never really learned anything about reining - everything was cowboy western type stuff. If the top competitors had ever seemed like they were actually real people it would have made a huge difference in how I (and MY 'sponsors' - parents!) saw the sport. Most non-horsey parents would so much rather have little johnny and jane cheerlead or play football - at least they can get a scholorship for it, and the parents know what they're watching.
Ok, just my rambling thoughts.

Anne FS
Jul. 25, 2001, 06:54 AM
Lucassb wrote: <<There are success stories everywhere of local circuits that offer great competition in quality environments, pony clubs who foster education and provide opportunities for those of more limited means to ride and learn, breed associations who do a great job of obtaining support and sponsorship, and who knows what else.>>

Yes there are and I've often wondered why the top folks in riding don't look there for candidates to come train with them or be working students. Whenever George Morris or Denny Emerson write about the lack of horsemanship I think for God's sake go to a pony club rating or rally and LOOK.

Emmet wrote: <<But here's an idea for you. Why not send talent scouts to some of the local or regional shows? Just like in football, roundball, etc.>>

Exactly. Weatherford, I attended a C3 rating last weekend. 2 of 15 passed and let me tell you, most of the 15 could ride rings around competitors at AHSA shows. In addition to 4 hours of flat, grids, stadium, and cross country work, including switching horses on the flat and another switch over fences, there was bandaging (shipping and stable) and longeing. Plus, get this, 2 HOURS of oral exams.

For the 2 candidates who passed I thought now here are two horsemen with such a solid foundation you'd think top trainers like Mr. Morris and Mr. Emerson would be clamoring for them. These kids don't come from money, but they work hard and they're good horsemen. They'd be perfect for many of our top stables.

For the others, many were so close, passing every section but maybe missing on parasites or wraps, for instance, and they are bound and determined to work and improve and pass next time. Again, more solid horsemen in the making.

This is just one example. There are local, good dressage organizations, specific breed shows (the POA people have a good one), etc. Solid grassroots organizations are out there but the top folks never come look at us. Hey, we're easily reachable!

Weatherford
Jul. 25, 2001, 07:06 AM
Anne -

I am glad you saw good riding - I saw GREAT horsemanship, and the potential for good riding - certainly better basics than I often see at the shows - but I didn't see the kind of riding I expect from "B" pony clubbers - and I honestly believe it is because they don't WATCH the top riders - they don't have the opportunity to WATCH the top riders, much less work with them!

And that is a terrible shame - here we have an incredible BASE of excellent horsekids who don't get the chance - except in Eventing & possibly in Dressage - to get to the top. Or even teach at the levels where their superior horsemanship NEEDS to be taught.

For those of you who are NOT familiar with Pony Club, by the time these kids pass their "B", they are incredibly well educated horsepeople with fantastic teaching skills.

And they can ride. I simply find that they only ride as well as what's around them, and what they see (and emulate).

Someone commented about GM & Denny's lack of horsemanship tirades - I don't know if GM takes (free) working students anymore. I do know that Denny does - and he is appalled at the lack of knowlege of the kids who do come to him. He says, some learn, and some don't - the latter attitude also upset him tremendously.

Which brings us back to the issues at hand -

How do we market our sport? (and its corollary - to whom do we market our sport?)

How do we support and increase the level of knowlege at the very bottom so that it rises up through the ranks?

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 08:18 AM
LucasB wrote "There are success stories everywhere of local circuits that offer great competition in quality environments, pony clubs who foster education and provide opportunities for those of more limited means to ride and learn, breed associations who do a great job of obtaining support and sponsorship, and who knows what else."

I'm willing to bet that those who agree with this statement live on either coast or in a very few locations inland. The vast majority of this country lacks such opportunities. We very much need to get the "word" about riding spread much wider, and support grassroots involvement in areas which are not currently horse-oriented or which are losing/have lost their small circuits, school barns, etc.

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

Anne FS
Jul. 25, 2001, 09:09 AM
Between this thread and the Kanavy v. Balch one I've been reply here to stuff I read there!

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

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

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

Snowbird
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:40 AM
I agree that our lower rated hunter jumper shows have been diminshed because of a lack of solid foundation for the new riders.

I agree there are programs out there that are a vast improvement over just two directions around the ring and get a ribbon.

So then this seems to be at the feet of two groups and how do we fix it?

Trainers who do not know the basics and therefore can't teach them but, they have bills to pay.

Riders who just want to win and not necessarily be horsemen, parents who don't care as long as their little rider is happy.

What about if the new Riding Establishment Membership could be a way to some how test trainers and issue a list of items for which they are approved?

What if as a means of being permitted to enter a show a some level it was required that they had passed some tests which ascertained their qualification to be competitive?

And, if you don't like either idea then what or how would you suggest we could remedy the problems.

If we can find solutions for the problems then we can move on to the other problems. That's the kind of feed back we need to be discussing. Right now we have an antagonistic situation where various levels seem to be pitted against each other instead of being related to each other in some way to measure accomplishment.

Groundline
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:49 AM
Anne, when you have a chance, take a look at the new AHSA (USA Equestrian) constitution. One of the things they discussed on the webcast of their board meeting, that has gotten little notice, is a new provision for affiliates to bring Pony Club, 4-H, and youth organizations into the federation. It's in the part about affiliates.

I agree, this has been long overdue, and it is one of the (few) silver linings in all the nonsense we are seeing. But at least the AHSA is seeing the big, non-elite picture, and grass roots picture, maybe for the first time. I think that David O'Connor coming up from Pony Club has probably taught everyone a lot, or should have. He wasn't the first, for sure, and of course the AHSA is now neighbors with the USPC in KY.

Anne FS
Jul. 25, 2001, 10:59 AM
Snowbird, sorry if I sounded antagonistic. I'm not, and would show at more A shows if we could afford it & weren't prioritizing eventing, but I don't begrudge those who have the money. After all, we fortunately have the money to do that and many people don't.

I was just requesting that when the Fed powers-that-be need to find quality horsemanship and riding, they look to other horse areas and encourage those people by helping them, and when they decry lack of horsemanship at A shows, they mention the groups who are actively promoting horsemanship, not simply act as though they don't exist.

In that vein, there are people who have 'made it' who give back. Since I got on the pony club topic, look at some of the clinicians coming to USPC's festival to teach mounted clinics to pony clubbers this year: Julie Black, Joe Carr, Mark Combs, Frank Conway, Robert Costello, Denny Emerson (hope to have a word with him!), Ralph Hill, Mike Huber, Carol Kozlowski, Richard Lamb, Nick Larkin, Francois Lemaire de Ruffieu, Kathleen Raine, John Williams....

Do you think our kids are excited or what?!! And you bet I'd be more willing to in future support those elite equestrians who show up in Lexington for these kids.

Anne FS
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:00 AM
Groundline, what wonderful news! I'll definitely check it out.

Louise
Jul. 25, 2001, 11:45 AM
Is this committee of yours devoted only to the promoting of strictly h/j activities, or is it a committee that is going to be looking at promoting all the disciplines?

I'm seeing a distinctly h/j slant here, and that may be as it should be, but, I somehow got the idea into my head that it was a "horse sport" committee.

I have started a thread on the dressage board, in which I am asking dressage people for their ideas for you. I am beginning to wonder if these suggestions are things that should be directed elsewhere - maybe within the USDF.

poltroon
Jul. 25, 2001, 01:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pt:
We very much need to get the "word" about riding spread much wider, and support grassroots involvement in areas which are not currently horse-oriented or which are losing/have lost their small circuits, school barns, etc.

If you want a plant to flourish, you must water the roots.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Absolutely! I totally agree that the AHSA has not been doing these things.

Here in the Los Angeles area, land costs are so high that owning horses is prohibitively expensive. So, very few barns have lesson horses and thus lesson programs any more. People won't start riding if they can't start with minimal expense and equipment.

pt
Jul. 25, 2001, 01:54 PM
Snowbird - I absolutely believe that an important part of redefining equestrian sport is to provide QUALIFIED instruction.

So yes, I think some form of certification of trainers and instructors would be a good thing.

I also think some form of skills qualification for entering certain levels at NBG affiliated activities would be a good thing.

At least, there would be some means of making sure your instructor or trainer, or the person to whom you are entrusting your child, has achieved a standard of expertise. And that the standards are the same nationwide, so if you move from NJ to CA, you still have a measuring stick.

And, by requiring skills achievement for competition levels, there might be more incentive to provide adequate instruction to novices whether adult or children.

It would seem these actions might also help the liability question.

Weatherford
Jul. 25, 2001, 05:55 PM
It appears the other disciplines are all for the grassroots approach, and many do it through their association (USDF, USEA, etc)

Looking at the NHJC "business plan" and knowing they are adamently against amateurs on their board (council), I find absolutely no consideration (in reality) for anything other than horse shows. I see the NHJC as the same old "AHSA" under a new name.

I find it disturbing - and I agree they need to be a separate entity. But NOT at the expense of all the changes we are making/have made.

So, we strive to market the sport and raise money, and find we are still treated like second class citizens in our own discipline. And we find they really don't give a hoot about the grassroots and local shows, etc etc.

Perhaps my question is, is it possible to go elsewhere? Is there a USEA for Show Jumping or Hunters (which IMHO,m should be separate - just as Reining is separate)?

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Snowbird
Jul. 25, 2001, 07:05 PM
You are waking up and smelling the fresh air. Yes, my interests in particular are very broad based. I want people on horses and I don't care much what discipline they choose. I am one who sees the merit in a multitude of ideas that have been put in operation by different groups of people. There is no one solution any more than there is one breed of horse that better at everything.

Yes, what I see is a generic approach, and don't bite my head off but I even want to see it include horse racing. As we have grown we've become splintered and each group operates in their own vacuum. Different strokes for differnt folks is fine with me. I think it is possible to link it all together. I see a relationship between free style in skating and free style in Dressage. And, horses like people have different characteristics and purposes, that's not wrong it's wonderful.

Louise you had me going gangbusters until you mentioned my old friend Francois LeMaire. He used to work for me and I might know him a little too well.

Thank you so much, I want to hear from all the different breeds and disciplines. I will if you tell me forward all their interests and concerns. And, I hope that we can put it all together. It's a huge job and I can't do it alone. But, if you all would glean what is pertinent and email me I will see to it that it's considered.

My mission is to see that our "grass roots" are not only welcomed but respected for the good ideas. This is not intended to demean any other aspect. As a conservative Republican I do not want people to be penalized because they have accumululated wealth nor do I want them to feel that all they are is a deep pocket to be picked. I have to admit some of my best friends have a lot of money and I respect them.

For the first time I feel as if you all understand what I've been trying to say. Sometimes not very well put but we are at a cross-roads and every one is welcome to help make the choices. You don't have to agree with me just keeping talking and thinking how the job can get done. One person can make a difference!

pt
Jul. 26, 2001, 07:38 AM
"Heck the Grand National used to be a great show with rodeo events alternating with horse show events, an Arab Division, Saddlebreds/Hackneys/ FineHarness/Roadsters, a Paint division, an Appy division, even a Mule day!"

I remember the Chicago Grand National Horseshow - it, too, had everything including a draft hitch class. And it was a sellout with spectators who never had and never would sit on a horse in their lives.

Berrien Springs used to (don't know if it still does) have a multi-discipline show - everything from jumpers to harness ponies. Also jammed with happy spectators - and lots of fun for exhibitors to check out disciplines not on their normal daily menu.

How about the new NGB working on eliminating the divisiveness and resultant ignorance between the various disciplines and encouraging multi-cultural (so to speak) horse shows? For the public, and even for the horse-crazy kid I once was, it's a lot more fun to watch a variety of horses doing lots of things than to watch an endless progression of the same old, same old.

Portia
Jul. 26, 2001, 08:13 AM
Is the NHJC business plan available on-line somewhere? I checked their web site and they have their bylaws, but no sign of the business plan proposal they made to the AHSA/Fed.

Snowbird, we have a grand old multi-discipline show here in Houston -- Pin Oak Charity. It is H/J in one set of rings, and saddle horses and roadsters in the other set of rings.

Snowbird
Jul. 26, 2001, 08:18 AM
I do not believe that any but the hierarchy have seen the plan. I have heard of a few who are friends of the hierarchy who have seen the plan but it's a big big secret surprise for us!

As members without a vote they don't feel we need to know what they plan for us.

Anne FS
Jul. 27, 2001, 05:46 AM
Sounds like good ideas are percolating....

So as not to re-invent the wheel, why not take advantage of groups already out there?

pt was asking about instructor certification. There's ARICP (American Riding Instructor Certification Program)-- you can get a link to their website through ahsa.org.

Snowbird was talking about including all horse people. Let the Fed get in the loop with AHC (American Horse Council) already working to bring the entire industry together on both a national and state level.

Practical Horseman had an interesting article recently on GMHA (Green Mtn. Horse Assn.). Those folks probably have tons of ideas.

Lucassb
Jul. 27, 2001, 07:57 AM
I would also be *very* interested to see the proposed business plan. After all, I am one of their constituents! But I have had *no* luck in getting information from them.

It seems to me to be very much a private club mentality, and their aim seems to be to secure as much power and influence for their small group of insiders as possible... the rest of us be damned.

I am open to being proven wrong, but I am a small fish, so I doubt they will bother. Still rubs me the wrong way, though.

On a brighter note, we have had some fantastic ideas generated here. I hope that more people become inspired to join in. I am a big believer in the value of local circuits (where local means accessible, affordable showing and learning opportunities - not poor footing, crummy jumps, and "under"educated officials!) I was fortunate to grow up on LI, where local shows were really first class. I am a graduate B pony clubber - a feat I was able to accomplish even though I didn't own a horse of my own until I was 15 or 16. I groomed (polo ponies and later racehorses) to make money for lessons and for the opportunities to ride; my club was hugely supportive and helped me find horses to beg or borrow (we stopped short of actually *stealing*) so I could clinic sometimes and to take my tests. I worked hard and loved every minute of it - and it was the best preparation I could have had to ultimately be able to compete at higher levels when I was finally able to afford it on my own.

I would like to see more standards applied to our industry - certification for instructors, etc - and hope that we can provide more encouragement and EDUCATION to our potential market of consumers.

The top trainers don't generally "scout" for talent much because they are business people as well as horsemen... it is still a pay for play sport at that level. However, most if not all, are open to people who take the initiative to approach THEM, either with questions or for opportunities as working students and so forth. Waiting for someone to come find you, out of the masses, is not a high percentage path to success. Those who have worked hard, have the background and knowledge to benefit from participating at the next level, need to PROACTIVELY seek out opportunities to do so - not sit around waiting to be "discovered!"

poltroon
Jul. 27, 2001, 11:36 AM
Over on the H/J board there is a thread started by someone looking for good h/j posters of big stars. Kind of sad, I think, that they're not readily available.

SGray
Aug. 16, 2001, 01:14 PM
Dear -----

I have to ask you to make a special commitment to USET today.

Will you make three separate contributions of $40 over the next 90 days?

I've enclosed three envelopes marked July, August and September to deliver your contributions to USET headquarters at the appropriate time.

Let me explain why I'm counting on you to help USET in this unusual way right now.

2001 is an extremely important year for USET. We are training and sponsoring many equestrian athletes for both national and international competitions such as the Nation's Cup and World Championships not to mention preparation for the 2002 World Equestrian Games and much more. Our budget for 2001 is $3.64 million and our need for funding is as great as ever.

But the fact is, in a post-Olympic year we have often seen that some USET members and supporters don't lend the kind of support they normally do, especially during the summer months. It's been having an impact on our operations.

I've taken a hard look at our budget over the next 90 days. We're facing a potentially serious cash shortfall unless I can count on our most dedicated members like you to help out right now. Here's the bottom line:

Need to Raise $412,000 by July 31; $323,000 by August 31; $376,000 by September 30

If you run the numbers, you'll see that our annual budget of $3.64 million is not spread evenly throughout the year. We need the greater portion of that money during the summer months into early fall, when training and funding expenses are greatest.

If you and your fellow members will help by sending a contribution in each of the next three months, we'll be able to stay on budget, on target and in the winner's circle - this year and in the future. Because everything we do today has an impact long into the future of U.S. equestrian competition.

As you read my letter, we're identifying and training young athletes who are the future of our sport. This is not something that happens over night. It takes years, literally years of dedication and commitment, to reach the top ranks of equestrian athletes.

Consider the story of David O'Connor, who won the Gold Medal at the Summer Games in Sydney last year. David and USET have been working together since 1981. That's a twenty year partnership that ultimately led to that Gold Medal.

USET is working with young equestrians right now who may be the next David O'Connor, the next Debbie McDonald. We don't know which of them might one day carry the U.S. team to greater glory on behalf of our country. But we do know during the next three months, the work we do with them is crucial.

And the training and support we are giving our established equestrian athletes is something that must be maintained if we are to have any chance of winning the World Equestrian Games, the Pan American Games and, yes, even future Summer Games wherever they may be held.

I am very excited about the future of our sport, and especially about the leadership role Americans will play in it. The caliber of our athletes, our horses and our trainers has never been higher.

But they do need your financial support - absolutely! The need it today and over the next 90 days, or everything we're working for in 2001 will be in jeopardy.

You have been a generous supporter of USET and I am deeply grateful to you for that, as is everyone here. I just hope you understand how critical it is right now that we stay on budget over the next 90 days.

Thank you in advance.

Robert C. Standish - Executive Director

Lucassb
Aug. 16, 2001, 01:39 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I just hope you understand how critical it is right now that we stay on budget over the next 90 days.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wouldn't have anything to do with all the legal expenses lately, do you think???? Or the USOC scrutiny??

Of course, large late-in-the-year budgetary shortfalls have been quite common at the USET over the past few years. I wonder if all the people who they've "lost" from the Board recently will result in an inability to make up the shortfall from within the directors' inner circle anymore?

I am sure this post will sound mean spirited to some. However, it is a fact that huge deficits have been commonplace in the USET budget in years past and that they have been "remedied" by the Directors opening their personal checkbooks to make up the needed funds. The (potential) loss of this support is what Armand Leone obliquely referred to in one debate at the Convention last winter - that several "major sponsors" of the USET would withdraw their support if the USET was not named the NGB.

Maintaining two separate, dueling organizations is deleterious to the welfare of our sport. I have yet to hear a valid reason why the USET and the Fed should not merge (as the Fed has proposed numerous times) to create the strongest and most effective NGB possible.

Of course, that would require that personal agendas, ego and control issues would have to be put aside...

When I got that letter (and others like it) soliciting my support, I sent a letter back saying that if I received either:

A) a notice saying that for the good of the sport, the USET agreed to merge with and work with the Fed
or
B) a reasonable explanation of why that was a bad idea, and why it would be better for the sport as a whole for the USET to continue its efforts to become the NGB,

I would send another check.

However, I have never had even the courtesy of a response. Of course, I am one of the "little people" who will never wear the flag on my saddlepad, so I guess they felt it wasn't worth the bother!

Portia
Aug. 16, 2001, 03:21 PM
Interesting letter. I haven't received it, but then I haven't received any correspondence from the USET in the last few months -- not since I sent my proxy for the Annual Meeting with with Dr. Leone's name marked out and Alan Balch's name written in as the proxy holder.

I also must admit I am seriously delinquent on fulfilling my pledge for quarterly donations to the endowment fund. I keep intending to send them a letter explaining why. I think I'll copy Lucassb's langauge!

Snowbird
Aug. 16, 2001, 04:47 PM
that they are scurrying because they need to show the USOC that they have one the capacity to raise money and two they have a broad base that supports them.

I'm certain they can cover their shortfall the usual way but that wouldn't look very good if you claim to be broad based and have the support of an industry.

If you show 1000 people @ $40.00 x 3 that's $120,000 and even though any of the principles might be able to write the check it looks better if there are 1000 separate people.

They will need over 10,000 people to make that committment to cover what they need. I wonder how that compares with the average year. It seems to me that mostly it is the families of would be talent that has done that sort of thing and I don't think there are that many this year.

Don't you think by now the other athletes are feeling a little left out since they only mentioned as a success story, David O'Connor. Surely, they are equally proud of some of the others.

Portia
Aug. 16, 2001, 05:07 PM
Good points, Snowbird. I don't know what the underlying motivations may be, other than that they apparently need to increase their cashflow in the short-run.

I wonder that they use David O'Connor as a success poster boy (which he is, of course), so soon after they eliminated any space for him to remain on their Board of Trustees.

That's one of the really sad aspects of this situation, to me that is. Somehow it became "us" versus "them," when in fact, they are us, and vice-versa. David O'Connor supports the AHSA position in the NGB fight, and he continues to work with the USET as a Young Riders coach. To me, one reason why the merger idea seems to make such eminent sense, and why so many people are frustrated with this situation, is that so many not only have friends in both camps, but they are a part of both camps.

It's the old Pogo cartoon: "We have met the enemy and he is us." /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Snowbird
Aug. 16, 2001, 07:30 PM
This is only about one million and the earlier publicity talked about double that as annual shortfalls. They never went public with such a plea before. They never talked about deadlines when the cash was needed outside of the Board before. They started this whole campaign talking about how self sufficient they were and what a strong base they had of regular donors.

It seems to me I remember something in the presentation at the convention that it was the AHSA that would never be able to raise the money how they always had provided all the money.

And, you're right of course that David O'Connor is the symbol of a merger. So why use him of all people? Do you think this might be an olive branch? Or do they recognize that he has become the symbol that is most popular and they want a piece of him?

I just think that if they really had their ducks in a row and they were as confident as they try to appear neither the plea for funds nor the use of David O'Connor would have happened. So the approach you've all used sounds perfect to me. I think to reply and say that if they choose merger then you will donate is exactly right.

I have no objection to welcoming the prodigal child back home and going to work on the changes we need so this will never happen again. I'm not on their mailing list so I can't join you.

Portia, in your opinion since the Ted Stevens Act is Federal Law and supercedes the USOC do you see anyway under the present circumstances that the USOC can rule in anyway not in favor of USA Equestrian?

Anne FS
Aug. 17, 2001, 05:57 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SGray (quoting from the USET letter):

Consider the story of David O'Connor, .....

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yeah, like you considered him when you kicked him off the board. Yes, Mr. Standish, I considered his story very well when I decided not to send you any money. Thanks for reminding me.

Snowbird, I think that David O'Connor's name was specificially chosen by USET *because* he is a symbol of the merger. IOW, he is so popular that his name will bring in donations from the rank and file and from people who otherwise do not favor the USET, but do favor him.

SGray
Aug. 17, 2001, 06:41 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SGray:
I just received a fund-raising letter from USET
it said that they needed 200,000 to 400,000 for each of the next three months

- it spoke of my past support and I cannot remember sending $s - though might have years ago<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

please note that that post was from 7/24

the date on the fund raising letter is 7/11/01

please refresh my memory, what was the date of the board meeting wherein the uset kicked off (oh, sorry, downsized) so many folks?

Anne FS
Aug. 17, 2001, 08:12 AM
Snowbird, you mentioned an olive branch. No, I don't think that's what it was, but I will say that no matter how crabby I am about this issue, once the USOC decides, I will throw my whole-hearted support behind the chosen organization, whichever one it is. And at that time, I hope that whichever group is chosen does extend an olive branch to the other. We are, and always have been, on the same side as to wanting what's best for the country.

Portia
Aug. 17, 2001, 08:58 AM
S, I searched and found Weatherford's original thread on the USET annual meeting (remember, she attended the meeting and saw it all). Weatherford started the thread on May 25, 2001, so it wasn't more than a day or so before that.

They had definately removed from/eliminated the seat for David O'Connor on the USET board before they sent out this fund raising letter.

Here's the link to the thread:

Thread on USET Annual Meeting (The Second One) (http://chronofhorse.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?a=tpc&s=691099205&f=1970907951&m=7010953632)

SGray
Aug. 17, 2001, 09:28 AM
well I'm sure that there are all kinds of releases that these athletes have signed but I am curious as to whether they are ever asked/informed/given any input/etc when their name/accomplishments/likenesses are going to be used in such mailings

not that it matters - just idle curiousity

poltroon
Aug. 17, 2001, 09:30 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
Consider the story of David O'Connor, who won the Gold Medal at the Summer Games in Sydney last year. David and USET have been working together since 1981. That's a twenty year partnership that ultimately led to that Gold Medal.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What I find especially interesting about this quote is that David O'Connor was the last resident rider at Gladstone... so as they talk about nurturing young talent, they cite the last young talent that they nurtured... 20 years ago!

The letter would be a lot more convincing if they recognized that and mentioned how they were going to add similar opportunities for the current young riders.

DMK
Aug. 17, 2001, 09:39 AM
I wouldn't assume that using David O'Connor was an olive branch or anything like that.

He is simply the most recognizable name in the industry right now. Most people involved in our industry don't really know that he isn't on the USET board any more, actively supports the Fed's position, or anyof the other annoying details. They just know he won a gold medal while riding for the USET...

Snowbird
Aug. 17, 2001, 11:44 AM
Teleconference and webcast on Monday starting at 1:00 PM. Marketing and Development!

All members are invited and encouraged to participate. Hope you will all tune in with the good ideas that were floated on our old thread. If you can't be there then please email, snail mail your ideas to USA Equestrian attention: Marketing and Development

AM
Aug. 17, 2001, 11:57 AM
David wasn't a resident rider at Gladstone. He was at South Hamilton which was the eventing training center.

Bostonian
Aug. 19, 2001, 09:15 PM
Thank you so much for posting info on the marketing conference! I will miss it, but hope I can count on you to direct me to where I can find minutes.

"Many thanks in advance."

Speaking of which, the letter from Standish could clearly have been designed to be much more effective - for many reasons (and I too replied by writing Standish a letter borrowing Portia's message, loved it!).

Because of what I have heard about USET and its executives (no formal business management training, or any real management experience to speak of), and I may be up too late again, I'll bet this letter from Standish is partly directed at David and those that would not join the "united front" described on the Kanavy vs. Balch thread.

Before you say I'm bashing the organization again, think of the irony in what someone told me just today, if it's true: Jim Wolf, Special Asst. to the USET's Executive Dir., used to manage (ready for this) Karen and David O'Connor's Barn before he went to become a very big fish in the little pond.

I've also been told he was a surfer (not a bad quality in itself) - the best part - he was hired partly because he had been to Australia to surf and knew the lay of the land leading up to the 2000 Games??? He is said to have ridden in a few low-level events - which, as Standish expressed in Kellerhouse's announcement - also gives him an athlete's perspective... (I've also been told he signs his letters James Wolf, Esquire but has not been to Law School?)

Question is, Jim Wolf, since joining USET have either you, or Standish made a practice of attending executive training, management, marketing, or sponsorship seminars? What professional associations do you belong to? FYI, I'm not talking about equestrian organizations.

Could Wolf have really been hired because Jackie Mars might recognize him at a Gold Medal Club dinner? Was Standish also given his prestigious position - only based on who he knew? With his western background, was he named as a honorary AQHA Vice President before or after he surprised the Team's board members at the 1997 annual meeting by adding Reining as the sixth discipline? Where is his athlete experience, if this is why Wolf and Kellerhouse are so valuable?

Are their "connections" why the USET Executive board deems the executives in Hamilton Farm valuable enough to justify salaries so much higher than the national average of executives at non profits of USET's size (www.salarysource.com)? (http://www.salarysource.com)?)

Purely as an aside, my web search turned up an executive whom donates his entire salary each year because he is so passionate about his org's cause; and most other executives earning over six figures are making significant donations each year - sadly, not the case in Gladstone).

Speaking of management issues, does anyone on this thread know how to explain the resignations of the 15+ former USET employees listed on the Kanavy vs. Balch thread?

BACK TO THE POINT - my guess, Standish, who I was told today used to manage a race-track and show horses in-hand before taking the Reins of USET - by the looks of it - might have written this letter himself.

Read between the lines, it almost appears as if they are taking credit for David's Gold medal - clearly they are suggesting David couldn't have done it without them.

Arrogant move considering their motivation to remove David from the board.

Moreover, with all that's being said, and written on these boards and within the equestrian press, they would have been wise to MENTION the NGB challenge, taken an opportunity to DEFEND their position - AND - categorically GUARENTEE their target audience, potential contributors, that none of the DONATIONS would be directed toward legal fees (hello???).

With all they have spent on lawyers, are prepared to spend, and are forcing the USA Equestrian to spend, WHY can't USET hire a decent public relations/crisis management consultant???

If they have, please accept my apology because they are obviously not listening to you.

Besides being WAY too long - like this reply -such a letter from USET really does not make ANY business or common sense...

Portia
Aug. 19, 2001, 10:02 PM
Thanks Bostonian, but I can't take credit where it's not due -- the language came from Lucassb!

Tomorrow will be interesting, and between those of us who can listen I hope we can take notes and post a play by play. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 20, 2001, 07:32 PM
Apparently I was up too late...

Well said Lucassb.

SGray
Aug. 21, 2001, 07:01 AM
am I reading your post correctly Bostonian? that if I was a buddy with one of the biggest donors then that would up my qualifications to run the corporation - whether or not I had any management skills?

gosh, need to get hold of those donation records so that I know who to get to be pals with, eh?

there have been mistakes made in the past but looking at the most recent hires it looks as though the Fed is trying to hire skills rather than connections now - at least to my outsider perceptions

Beans
Aug. 21, 2001, 11:53 AM
Actually Bostonian you really hit the nail on the head - several times. After serving as a volunteer for over a decade I was shocked at the inner workings at the USET. And the rumors of the salaries is shocking. Management??? No there really is no management. I don't even think anyone understands what corporate structure exists and job descriptions are whatever they want them to be for that individual. It's a Business School Case Study!!! Crisis management at it's supreme level. No long term planning or forcasting and every single "Development" person they hire - gets hired, lots of fanfare, good salary and then NOTHING!!!! The people leave so often up there you can't even remember names or what positions they have ...that week! Some volunteers do twice as much work as people pulling salaries. This recent ruling may blow the lid of the pot.

Snowbird
Aug. 21, 2001, 12:22 PM
God! works in mysterious ways and if they were not so corrupted in their goals then the challenge would be more serious. If they hadn't made the challenge would we all be discussing this stuff and would we be on the brink of properly re-organizing and getting our sport to be mainstreamed?

So I see this as a blessing, and would rather see the progress we have made, the opporttunity we have created, and the chance we have to leave our legacy to the children of a real sport where the dream "might" come true.

Yes, it was a shoddy attempt that they made to claim David O'Connor as their success and try to create the impression that it was their support for 20 years that made the Gold possible.

I can at least celebrate the New Jersey Court system which saw through the maize of deceptions and called it like it was for the benefit of our sport. And, perhaps the timing was just right for us now to be willing to speak out, to support the people who really want to open the door and let the winds of change clean the house with a brisk blow.

It means we all have our work cut out for us, and the USA Equestrian is going to need all of us. We have the opportunity to be heard and to vocalize our preferences and opinions but also to make constructive suggestions and help develop the right road and a strong ladder.

I have no doubt that the spokesmen of the USET egocentric movement will disappear from the stage and the little rats who were their tools will all coming swimming home. Will they find a welcome?

Portia
Aug. 21, 2001, 12:27 PM
You know, Bostonian and Ilona, I thought about just what you're talking about when I read the letter to the editor in the COTH from a couple of weeks ago responding to the Kanavy v. Balch commentaries.

The writer agreed with Ms. Kanavy, which was fine, but then proceeded to vilify the AHSA and attack Alan Balch personally. The underlying theme running through the letter, as I perceived it at least, was a complaint that since Mr. Balch became President, "the pursuit of money and 'business' has taken over the AHSA."

IMHO, it was long since time that someone turned the AHSA into a "business" -- as in professionally run, fiscally responsible, and accountable to the membership. In the last few years, the AHSA/USA Eq has gone a long way to acheiving that buisness model -- the move from New York to Kentucky and the resulting savings of several hundred thousand dollars each year being one of the most obvious gains from a "business" approach. Just because an organization is a non-profit doesn't mean it does not need to be run according to the same standards of financial competency and accountability to its members as does any publicly traded for-profit corporation.

My feeling is that the split between the USET and the AHSA/USA Eq began when the AHSA started the process of transforming itself from an old boys club into a modern business, while some at the highest levels of the USET continued to cling to the notion that a national organization can operate based upon personal wealth and privilege.

I personally do not want my sport's national governing body run like the membership committee at the local Country Club -- give me "the pursuit of money and business" any day.

OK, off the soapbox now.

SGray
Aug. 21, 2001, 12:45 PM
so we say to the "good ole boys"

a) if you want to support a rider, feel free to do so as folks such as the Thomas' have with McDonald - quite successfully - there are plenty of talented riders out there that could do you proud

b) if you think that "your" rider/horse should have a place on the Team, then "your" rider/horse should be the best qualified to represent the US

c) if you want to support the Team - please DO, just don't expect to control it too

agree? disagree? comment?

Snowbird
Aug. 21, 2001, 05:03 PM
I agree that when the dispute became a personality conflict it lost it's credibility. Certainly, we have no objection to people being paid because they are qualified and knowledgeable. I do object when they get paid to do work for someone who gains personal benefit or when it's an excuse to supplement personal annual income as in a wife.

If there are job descriptions and criteria and an acquaintance meets the criteria and does the job that's not offensive.

But, from what we've all heard there are no job descriptions in the USET and the criteria seems very nebulous. Seems to just be a way to pay someone a debt like political patronage for a job that doesn't really get done.

When a non-profit corporation which is supposed to offer a service is misused as a private club then it needs to be exposed. And, yes I do agree that if the crime of Alan Balch is that of opening the door to the members and requiring accountability then I am pleased to be on that side of the debate.

If this sport is to be mainstreamed and if we are all going to have an equal opportunity then there must be changes. I am sure there will be some that I feel are not to my benefit, but I hope I am mature enough to accpt that for the bigger benefit that the change will bring.

Surely, it is not our ultimate goal to have 52 weeks of AA extravaganzas that are all things to all people and really three shows in one.

Portia
Aug. 21, 2001, 05:05 PM
A. Agree.

B. Agree.

C. Agree.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Bostonian
Aug. 21, 2001, 08:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SGray:
am I reading your post correctly Bostonian? that if I was a buddy with one of the biggest donors then that would up my qualifications to run the corporation - whether or not I had any management skills?

gosh, need to get hold of those donation records so that I know who to get to be pals with, eh?

there have been mistakes made in the past but looking at the most recent hires it looks as though the Fed is trying to hire skills rather than connections now - at least to my outsider perceptions<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You read my post correctly SGray, though on behalf of our barn manager - they do have to have basic management skills (love you more Rick!).

Running USET should OBVIOUSLY demand much more dynamic skills, I don't have to tell any of you that.

AND YES, hats-off to USA Equestrian for hiring HOK Sport - actions speak louder than words!

HOK Sport (http://srd.yahoo.com/srst/51165136/HOK+Sport/1/1/*http://www.hoksport.com/)

(Edited to fix URL link]

[This message was edited by Portia on Aug. 22, 2001 at 11:26 AM.]

Bostonian
Aug. 21, 2001, 09:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by IlonaE:
After serving as a volunteer for over a decade I was shocked at the inner workings at the USET. No there really is no management. I don't even think anyone understands what corporate structure exists and job descriptions are whatever they want them to be for that individual. It's a Business School Case Study!!! Crisis management at it's supreme level. Some volunteers do twice as much work as people pulling salaries. This recent ruling may blow the lid of the pot.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

ElonaE, like so many I have heard from, you speak from experience. When someone does that case-study they will find that volunteers are the LIFE-BLOOD of nonprofit organizations!

It's interesting that you've mentioned crisis management, because that is where my perspective comes from. Without too much detail, because I'm already in trouble, my husband is one of the best in the field and this particular conflict has really caught my attention as both an equestrian and a reader of romance novels (I know I'm not alone ladies!).

I've made a lot of calls, searched the web to learn as much about both sides as possible, and even made a few direct connections with some of the 15+ former employees I discovered from both USAE and USET.

In short, it appears as though USET has an authoritarian mgt. style (asymmetrical communication supported by intimidation); weak leadership (lacks the ability to sell vision to their staff, members, and others (west coast active riders). The power of the organization rests not in the hands of the executive board, but with the executive director, his special assistant, and one or two others (all whom help each other stay in power); they are extremely resistant to change, rarely open to new ideas (hence no long-term plan other than to protect the status quo); offer no rewards or recognition programs for employees (empowering only those looking to gain favor with the dominant coalition); and volunteers LIKE YOU end up doing the work � in large part - because the employees are afraid to be blamed for any mistakes.

The type of job confusion you describe typically arises from an org chart created by someone that hasn't had business experience - only making sense to those with the biggest boxes (again, afraid to lose their power).

I�ve been trying not to take sides, but USA Equestrian�s president appears to be much more of a visionary. Moreover, the organization reportedly takes on a more collaborative approach to decision-making because of his style. Of course that feedback might not stand up to the one employee I found that was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement on the way out of Lexington - but that could be for a number of reasons (any clue out there - I couldn't probe that one?).

Still, I haven�t found anyone that really dislikes USA Equestrian�s mgt. (besides Sara Cavanaugh who uses the Horse of Delaware Valley to ever so tactfully pursuade her readers to support her friends at USET), whereas a number of individuals were happy to share strong disappointment of the executives at Hamilton Farm along with examples of strictly taboo corporate behavior...

Anyways, your feedback seems to be par for the course and it does appear the lid is coming off� I only hope you took some enjoyment from your time as a volunteer because it sounds like someone forgot to thank you for all your help.

Unforgivable.

Beans
Aug. 22, 2001, 04:50 AM
Bostonian the organization chart is a flat line chart..one person at the top and everyone reports to him. So they all have to gain favor to stay alive - it's a mess.

I was furious when after this year's Festival of Champions, Barbara Lang who served as the co-ordinator for over 10 years was told a week later "your services are no longer needed" - please leave. This woman (who was the secretary for Essex it's entire duration) and who worked with the GEA on various functions including the World Pairs is the best when it comes to pulling a show together and believe me.... I worked on the FOC from the beginning - it's a three ...no five ring circus to pull off.

She had more than a challenge this year with two weekends and the open golf course to contend with. There was no work out meeting - nothing. So now there are so many loose ends from the show and NO ONE knows how to run it. Oh - they hired someone - but I won't even go into who she is or her ability to handle this job.

I've been a Gold Medal club member and to date this year have refused to contribute and this week the USET is getting a certified letter from me as to why I am NOT making a contribution until the books are open and proven to be in order. I'm still wondering WHO'S transportation and expenses were paid for Sydney. I've heard rumors about this and it's stuck in my craw for a while. Also why an employee is living in one of the small houses next to the team headquarters (it was renovated - who paid for this???) and reportedly this free living expense is not being reported as income!

Over the past 4 years the BEST volunteers any horse who would want have left the FOC - they only stayed as long as they did to work for Barbara. I handled the program and built it up to almost 200 pages and $27,000 in advertising. This year I told them I couldn't handle the advertising follow ups - they PAID someone (same person now hired to run the FOC) and with a complete data base, (this was a no brainer)- the advertising dropped to $6000. Many of my advertisers who were supporters for over a decade weren't even called. I was horrified. All my work down the drain.

I hope this shake up really does straighten what should be the most prestigious horse organization in the US out. Regarding the AHSA - I agree with the actions that Balch took BUT I have grave concerns that his personality won't run away with him if the AHSA takes the reins. We need both top men to be removed to get our NGB back on track IMHO.

Weatherford
Aug. 22, 2001, 06:10 AM
Thanks Bostonian & Ilona!

Ilona, regarding your concerns about Alan, you should remember that he is both a VOLUNTEER and has a TERM LIMIT! What I see him doing is creating the organizational structure and professional staff that can survive without a super strong president.

As has been pointed out the USET has never done that - nor does it have term limits.

More food for thought!

SGray
Aug. 22, 2001, 08:58 AM
geez - so cool to have insight from folks who have been directly involved in the dealings

so, do ya'll feel more like "Deep Throat" or like Jeffrey Wigand from "The Insider"?

Portia
Aug. 22, 2001, 09:02 AM
Ilona -- that is unforegiveable. Dedicated volunteers should be cherished and cultivated, not thrown aside.

Following up on Weatherford's explanation, as I understand it, Alan Balch can only serve a maximum of another 3 years as USA Eq President, and that's if he's re-elected in the meantime. The Board can get rid of him if they think he's doing a bad job or hurting the organization.

I guess the term limit thing isn't generally known -- I hadn't heard of it myself until a few weeks ago when somebody mentioned it. But the USET people certainly know that Alan Balch's tenure as USA Eq President is limited, and yet some in their leadership continue to focus intense hostility against him personally, as though he is the cause of all the problems and if he would just go away life would be hunky-dory again. They know for a fact he's not going to be around forever, but they make him the lightning rod.

The USET folks also know that Balch is not the final decision-maker on significant changes or commitments. The decisions all go through at least the Executive Committee and, for the really important things like the name change and changing the by-laws, the entire Board of Directors votes on them.

It's hard for me to imagine how the man could stand to keep the job for even as long as the term limits allow. He spends huge amounts of time, effort, and emotion working on it, and he doesn't get paid a cent. It's not like he owns horses or has riders/employees/relatives who are competing so he can use the post to get the prestige of trying to send them to the Olympics or such.

Honestly, I keep looking for the horns, tail, and cloven hooves some folks insist he has, and I just haven't seen them yet. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

SGray
Aug. 22, 2001, 09:10 AM
re "Honestly, I keep looking for the horns, tail, and cloven hooves some folks insist he has, and I just haven't seen them yet. "

maybe you're looking at the wrong gentleman - try some of the others involved in the dispute ;-}

Lucassb
Aug. 22, 2001, 09:22 AM
to the USET with a copy to the USOC if you feel as I do, that the time has come for them to put the personal attacks and expensive litigation aside.

I posted my suggestions for such a letter on another thread (the one discussing the NJ Court decision) and so won't repeat them here, but would just make the following observation(s):

There are INDIVIDUALS at the USET who have had a long association with the sport including substantial contributions (time, money, horses and connections.) My guess is that they feel that they are therefore ENTITLED to exercise some control over what goes on and who goes where - and frankly, they are accustomed to being allowed this privilege.

I suppose they might feel they have bought and paid for their "place," and they have surrounded themselves with people who "appreciate" all they have done. They likely feel that now those contributions are being minimized and that "no one understands or appreciates" the role they have played and this understandably might make them angry and bitter. No wonder there have been so many personal attacks.

People like this are not likely to view the situation rationally or in light of what is best for the sport.

However, I wonder if a deluge of letters which suggest that the USET staff might only grow more successful in a merged organization with pooled resources - might encourage them to find a face saving way out of this mess. If not, it might at least sway the USOC to recognize that the Fed's more business like approach to the governance of the sport is the appropriate choice.

PS. Bostonian, a belated thank you for your kind words ;>

Snowbird
Aug. 22, 2001, 09:40 AM
Thought you'd like it too.

I read Sarah Cavanaugh's version of things. Two points were very clear and pleasant "A ruling against the USET, which has already had to change it's by-laws three times to conform with USOC requirements of an NGB, could complicate things, perhaps swaying the USOC toward the AHSA if the hearing panel is divided on the matter".

Reminder that's direct from Sarah.

That's a concession if ever I read one. and a big IF which they've never conceded before, "Should the USOC, after its September meeting decide that the AHSA will continue as NGB, the association, under it's new name, will have to put into effect a crash program to raise the funds necessary to field teams, a sum which runs to over $7 million
annually." That's pretty close to a concession to me. They've always implied that since they always did the job there was no way the USOC wouldn't approve them. Judging from what you all have discovered it sounds like $3.5 million is being wasted doesn't it? And, how pledges don't happen?

On the other war front "that's because Sue Pickney, our Executive Director, has an office in the HITS headquarters in New York, and the HITS flies her out to Indio and gives her quarters there", quote from Struzzerri. (That's the point Mr. Struzzerri she's you're secretary not our Executive Director.)
"I'm too busy to deal with Council problems across the continent but if Sue's right there I can spend an hour or two with her," Struzzerri said.

Best line of all "If this sport takes a couple of steps back, it's on Alan's shoulders", said Struzzerri, "I will not serve
again. It's a preposterous waste of my time. I'm shackled by a man I don't respect. A lot of energy and volunteer time is being wasted...."

"Right now, we couldn't beg anyone on our board to be president", said Struzzerri."

Is that a promise? We don't need leaders who want to deal in personalities instead of issues.

Bostonian
Aug. 22, 2001, 07:21 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by IlonaE:
Bostonian the organization chart is a flat line chart..one person at the top and everyone reports to him. So they all have to gain favor to stay alive - it's a mess.

I was furious when after this year's Festival of Champions, Barbara Lang who served as the co-ordinator for over 10 years was told a week later "your services are no longer needed" - please leave.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

1. Thank you for confirming my suspicion regarding the org chart. In cases like this, the executive with the power will most always place someone blindly loyal to him between himself and that long flat line you speak of... Probably his "special assistant" in this case... Someone with just as much to hide, someone to POINT the finger at when the bow breaks...

2. If Lang's services were "no longer needed" and they hired someone else to assume her former duties - CLEARLY - they have opened themselves up to additional litigation. Given the current environment, Ms. Lang should file suit IMMEDIATELY. I would imagine this would force the board to TERMINATE the executive director and either write her a nice check, reinstate her, or BOTH: AND USET should hope the USOC never finds out about it!

Sadly, hard-working individuals like this never can allow themselves to turn on the organization they cared so deeply about - even if their terminations are as unjustifiable as this.

Incredible example of the management practices, thank you for your insight.

Helen

PS - I too have heard from several sources that the rennovations to the house next to the Dick and Jane Brown Dressage arena cost in excess of $40,000; and Jim Wolf lives there rent free when the staff spend their meager salaries on rent in/around Somerset County. That's got to be great for morale...

However, knowing what I know about accounting, because of the house's proximity to the Dick and Jane Brown Dressage Arena, I will bet the membership funds wasted on the house are probably hidden in a ledger containing "repair" expenses to this very arena.

With your accounting experience, you know this kind of "soft," "creative," or what some might call criminal journalization happens all the time within corporate cultures like this. Find out what balances are "supposed" to be on your income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash-flows and work backwards...

If USET's CFO has been covering his executive director's ass - in order to protect his own - USA Equestrian will need a TEAM of accountants to get to the truth.

Money well spent in a fight like the one USET has initiated.

Like you, Ms. Lang, and the former 15+ former employees and volunteer friends of yours; I hope you all find peace in knowing that it is, without question, USET's loss.

Beans
Aug. 23, 2001, 08:43 AM
Hey Bostonian - I told Barbara Lang the same thing. Wrongful termination is serious stuff. Taking actions that satisfy one or more individuals personal egos - at the expense of the entire corporation isn't management it's an idiot's concept of oversight. This action was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as my involvement with the USET. Finn & Armande will be getting letters from me and ....no check will be in the envelope!!

Snowbird
Aug. 23, 2001, 05:25 PM
One of the topics actually the first is Marketing, and item one on that list is the present membership of USA Equestrian and how to make them aware of the benefits they recive from all the expense of running sanctioned shows instead of unrecognized.

So my question is how would that best be done?

How can we get them to understand what their membership buys besides that it's mandatory if they want to compete at sanctioned shows.

So many today don't remember the pre-AHSA days when there was no Rule Book for the unrecognized shows to copy, and when there were no licensed judges and officials. Most shows were just Schooling Shows with no rules and not run very well.

How do we get that message out? Printed Copy where, how much and what will make it something that people want to read? A few ideas that are specific would be very helpful to me. I really would like to have the advantage of all the intellligent minds out here on this BB.

Aug. 23, 2001, 06:42 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by IlonaE:
"Barbara Lang who served as the co-ordinator for over 10 years ..." WRONG!!!! Pat Donning was Co-ordinator for the first 4 or 5 Years of the Festival!!!! Is this the same Lang who was asked to leave the Essex Horse Trials because she couldn't do the Job also!!!

And WRONG!!! again as you state... "I worked on the FOC from the beginning" NOT!!! The people that have been with the Festival for 11 Years don't even know you! You came to a meeting or two and then helped with the program! PERIOD!! Get over the trashing and the lies! /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

Snowbird
Aug. 23, 2001, 08:30 PM
Whatever was there, I wasn't but I don't think that your statements have any more validity. To say that no one knows her is a perception from the people you know. Any large group will not recognize everyone and that doesn't mean they weren't there.

I see no point in trashing the messenger because you don't like the message. There have been enough people who have particpated to make an army and if they feel misused they are entitled to their opinion. That doesn't make it trashing or lies, they are just discussing their personal perspective and if whoever only went to two meetings that was WHY.

You are cerainly welcome to defend the issue from your perspective without calling someone else names.

SGray
Aug. 24, 2001, 06:48 AM
Does anyone know of an actual LEGAL reason that the uset's financial statements are NOT public record?

Bostonian
Aug. 24, 2001, 09:43 AM
Please tell Bob Standish hello for us, next time the two of you go hunting.

Looking forward to your continued participation in this thread - no doubt you'll continue to make NYU proud.

Groundline
Aug. 24, 2001, 04:01 PM
Actually, the basic USET financials in their tax forms ARE public, and are available over the internet. So are every non-profit's, I think. And they must report other things beyond that to their board members, I think.

But here is the problem. My husband and I were once involved in a stockholder lawsuit. We found out, much to our shock, that the side we favored was doing things that don't show up in the public financials. I don't know much beyond first level accounting, like keeping a checkbook, but I now do know this -- that must be the reason that Balch in the lawsuit is asking for some special detailed reporting like the ledger things. It is amazing how much can be going on behind the financials that are shown publicly. That is what directors are supposed to know about, as the judge made clear, and entitled to find out about.

Beans
Aug. 24, 2001, 04:12 PM
I just never saw your name in the FOC Program. Guess the USET gave me a gold pin last year for my work on the Festival Program because they had too many pins. And I guess my name was listed in the programs as Souvenir Program Co-Chair becuase they needed to fill the space. But that's not important - I'm proud of the work I did - I enjoyed doing it to contribute to the USET.

It's a shame you feel inclined to make personal statements, anonymously, but unfortunately Barbara Lang's long standing involvement with Essex is highly respected by those who worked on the event and those who came yearly to compete. It stands on its own merit.

What we are faced with is a situation out of control and leadership isn't directing the talents and energies to the soluation and resolution that MUST occur. Sorry you can't see that - but it's reality. Sometimes it BITES - but denigrating individual's contributions to either the USET or AHSA isn't constructive to either the discussion or the outcome.

Snowbird
Aug. 25, 2001, 08:26 PM
It is obvious that the officials of the USET do not take that issue very seriously. It is apparent that their defenders do not realize that it is volunteers for better or worse that make it all work.

I think it is non-productive to discuss personalities of those who volunteer and those who do not appear to be grateful for the efforts on behalf of the USET.

I would like to take us back to the original purpose of this thread which is to formulate workable ideas and new methods that might be used to bring the needs of the international athletes to the average rank and file so they they will support and be willing to approve of funding.

Our problem is how to raise funds and to properly administer the funds to minimize waste.

Snowbird
Aug. 27, 2001, 09:05 PM
Well worth reading this one and helping with your ideas for the Marketing and Development of NF.