PDA

View Full Version : Why are we not number one?



gold2012
Jul. 2, 2012, 09:29 PM
Well, as the title says.....why are we not the top country for eventing?

Two of our top riders are from Australia....? Yes, they are Americans NOW....but they didnt come here to learn to ride...

Our best horses arent American as well?

Why?

Jealoushe
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:00 PM
Because the Europeans wanted to be competitive so they influenced the removal of the long format and thus their horses now seem unbeatable. I bet if there were roads and tracks, steeplechase.... North Americans and maybe Kiwis would be back on top.

flutie1
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:32 PM
Because we've stopped being all around horsemen (like Bruce and Jimmy) who tried all the disciplines and have become a nation of eventers who are specialists. The Brits have a long history of foxhunting. The Kiwis and Aussies gallop across the fields jumping whatever is in front of them, (wire even), while our guys opt to polish their skills in rings and highly controlled environments. Diffetent outlooks.

retreadeventer
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:37 PM
Money.

Robby Johnson
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:39 PM
Because no one wants to work for it.

lstevenson
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:46 PM
Because we've stopped being all around horsemen (like Bruce and Jimmy) who tried all the disciplines and have become a nation of eventers who are specialists. The Brits have a long history of foxhunting. The Kiwis and Aussies gallop across the fields jumping whatever is in front of them, (wire even), while our guys opt to polish their skills in rings and highly controlled environments. Different outlooks.


:yes: This.




http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/My.Virtual.Eventing.Coach)

deltawave
Jul. 2, 2012, 11:51 PM
Why would anyone assume we OUGHT to be number one in eventing? The sport didn't have its origins here, I believe we have fewer English riders, horse owners and horse lovers per capita than most of the nations that are "powers" in horse sports, and we have only one four star event on our home soil.

I'm guessing the Brits and Aussies and Kiwis who have moved here and set up barns have not come because their sole desire is to participate in the "America is #1!!" love fest, but because here we have a horse economy that will allow them to make a living and to pay for their competitive goals.

Carol Ames
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:27 AM
WE are number one in reining, aren't we?





Why would anyone assume we OUGHT to be number one in eventing? The sport didn't have its origins here, I believe we have fewer English riders, horse owners and horse lovers per capita than most of the nations that are "powers" in horse sports, and we have only one four star event on our home soil.

I'm guessing the Brits and Aussies and Kiwis who have moved here and set up barns have not come because their sole desire is to participate in the "America is #1!!" love fest, but because here we have a horse economy that will allow them to make a living and to pay for their competitive goals.

gorebels91
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:30 AM
No one wants to put any time into anything anymore. It's "I want my cake and I want to eat it. NOW." People want instant fame at the upper levels without having to endure the hard work. And the fox hunting thing is a good point. I learned how to ride xc while hunting in elementary and junior high. I learned how to get behind the motion and how to listen to my horse. I bet not many people in the younger generation do that now.... It's a shame.

Carol Ames
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:33 AM
I think there are plenty of people who work for it, but, that is not enough; there are too many other factors which, all must come together with perfect timing; it's the old "lightening in a jar" analogy
Because no one wants to work for it.

Divine Comedy
Jul. 3, 2012, 01:04 AM
Because everything cycles. No country can remain on top forever. The US has been on top before, and will win gold again some time.

Just give it time.

Also, who says this team won't pull out gold? I think we've got a damn good chance at being competitive, especially considering you never know what is going to happen at the Games.

Let's discuss this topic after the Games, not before.

vineyridge
Jul. 3, 2012, 01:14 AM
Deltawave, you forget that eventing was created for the cavalry; our cavalry was just as successful, if not more successful, than the Brits until WWII. Going to research and see when "Horse Trials" started as a civilian sport. Have done so, and cannot really find out when the Brits started Horse Trialing. The first civilian 3DE in the US was in 1949, and Badminton started in 1949. According to one website, it was the first Horse Trial.

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 04:45 AM
Because the Europeans wanted to be competitive so they influenced the removal of the long format and thus their horses now seem unbeatable. I bet if there were roads and tracks, steeplechase.... North Americans and maybe Kiwis would be back on top.



That is a very broad and sweeping statement and not all together accurate.

BaroquePony
Jul. 3, 2012, 07:42 AM
The United States Cavalry was used to "subdue" the Native American Tribes and secure the land from the Mississippi River to California, among other things.

deltawave
Jul. 3, 2012, 08:55 AM
Deltawave, you forget that eventing was created for the cavalry; our cavalry was just as successful, if not more successful, than the Brits until WWII

Yessss, we had a cavalry and a large one, but we had not, as "Americans" been fighting wars on horseback since the 11th century. :) The people in each generation of course were individuals, but the military tradition of using horses in battle was not precisely the same. I'm certainly no military historian and would lose the war, never mind the battle, immediately if this went to a level beyond the general observation, but seems to me that horses in the military here were a somewhat different critter than the "traditional" soldier's horse (and in fact Officer's horse, yes?) that the fathers of the sport had in mind.

Yes, reining is truly an "American" sport but I have no idea if we are the dominant world power any more. It also is such a long way from its (undeniably American) roots as to be unrecognizable. :sigh:

Eventer55
Jul. 3, 2012, 09:05 AM
So, what's the difference between now and when Tad Coffin, Bruce, Jimmy, Torrrance and the rest of them in that time were riding?

Riders, trainers, horses or what? We did pretty well back then it seems.

Jealoushe
Jul. 3, 2012, 09:25 AM
Long format back then...short format now...

vineyridge
Jul. 3, 2012, 09:31 AM
Long format back then...short format now...

In short format, the dressage coefficient overweights dressage.

voltaire51147
Jul. 3, 2012, 09:52 AM
The long format celebrated the military horse. The short, more so, the parade horse.

The long format showed true horsemanship in being able to rate your horse over changing terrain and still have something left for SJ which checked stamina. Dressage was to show tractability and was, rightly so, IMO, the least significant because you aren't going to be able to successfully tackle a tricky CC if you horse isn't adjustable.

Today, if you don't have a decent dressage score, you won't finish near the top. However, if you have an excellent dressage and a poor-to-mediocre CC horse, you will probably end in the hospital if you are lucky.

I loved the long format when dressage was somewhat important but CC was more the key. Back then you could have an average dressage score and a willing, strong, nimble, athletic and, sometimes, lucky horse and you could finish top five. Thoroughbreds were ideal for this format.

I wish they would adjust dressage scores down so that they are only useful in separating the Top Five.

JP60
Jul. 3, 2012, 10:12 AM
When you changes the rules of the game, you change the players as well. One set of rules helps a style of play versus another. The changes in Eventing have been been discussed for much longer then I've been in the game, but it seems a fundamental shift occurred when the sport altered its self to fit in the modern Olympics.

Sports for the Populous tend to be the dominate sport for a country. Look at football, basketball, baseball in our country in relation to the other world countries. It is expected that the US will win a gold in basketball (cough *professionals* cough). Compare the equestrian sports between Europe and the US and there is a vast difference in acceptance and interest. How do you field a top set of riders when the country pays more attention to multimillion dollar ball players who's greatest risk is bad press versus scrapping by riders who literally put their (and their horses) lives on the line every time they "play".

Personally I am not so concerned about USA gold (as a spectator, were I in the games?...), but I do ponder the future of not just Eventing, but of many equestrian sports. We are losing parks, open space, welcoming land owners while at the same time costs in training, horses, equipment, shows climbs to a point where the average participant has too choose to play or not. We could buy our way to a Gold, but lose everything because we lost focus on the base of our sport. The question is not "Why is the US not #1?", the question needs to be How do we grow Eventing in the US?

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 10:28 AM
I do not think eventing needs to grow in the USA. I think the sport at it's "training" levels.....preliminary and below....enjoys a huge subscription. What is in need of growth is the upper levels. The upper levels are just not accessible anymore. I do not buy into having to have a string of horses in order to get on winter training lists or access to the team coach. You can only ride one horse in a championships. The one horse wonder is just as valuable to success for the USA as is the rider who has 5 stabled on their yard.

We have turned Eventing into a business. Fine for those who want to make a living as a professional rider. There is plenty of talent out there and sometimes that comes in the form of the rider with a super star.

There could be many one horse wonders coming through the pipeline to field teams each year.

I do not see it as a requirement to have a team of horses.

I could give a stuff at how many horses a team rider has. What I do give a stuff about is the one horse that rider has that is representing that particular championship that summer.

We had a system when Jack was involved that he took a group of riders and trained this group of riders on an endless stream of horses donated to the USET or who had bottomless pockets. In effect, that system locked out a lot of talent.

We drifted about until Mark came on board. He basically carried forward Jack's system. A few chosen riders who had owners willing to supply the horses.

There seems to be a mind set that it is not worth the effort to give the one horse wonder the benefit of training and support because as we know....event horse break. Well, not all break and I think we have lost sight of some truly amazing riders and horses that were "of the moment". Each championship is, in fact, "of the moment". Why not embrace what we have at that moment, whether that be the rider with 5 horses or that rider with the one star horse? In the end, as I said, a rider can only ride one horse at a time. There is no value in over looking one for another on the basis of numbers.

OverandOnward
Jul. 3, 2012, 10:53 AM
Two of our top riders are from Australia....? Yes, they are Americans NOW....but they didnt come here to learn to ride...

Our best horses arent American as well?
Been thinking this as well. The American team isn't that American. Even though this country has a general population (non-discipline specific) of athletes and horses that may be double or triple that of our chief competitors. And we get a lot of instruction from the same root sources as our competitors.


Just from my background in other than horses, the pipeline development in this country is fatally crippled by the need to send riders & horses overseas for a season of development over the toughest courses in the world. That puts a stranglehold on how many will get that experience. And for those riders coming up the ranks who don't see that as realistic, it severely dampens motivation, redirects goals.

If you are coming up the levels in England or Germany, you have a slate of top-level events you can put in your plan, that will require about the same financial and other resources as the level you are at now. That same rider based in the U.S. or Canada is looking at a completely different future plan to ride at the 4* level. One that isn't realistic for all but the very very few. There is no way to send everyone that should get that experience. (Even 3* - even 2* - in many parts of the country. Doing several in a season will require trailer trips longer than a flight to Europe, and huge expenses.)

Other posters have mentioned some reasons why North America suffers the acute embarrassment of having only one 4* on these shores. And having very few 3*'s (even 2*'s) west of the Appalachians, where the majority population lives. For the broad masses that produce athletes in this country, people have to see it in front of them to catch the fever.




A few chosen riders who had owners willing to supply the horses.

... Why not embrace what we have at that moment, whether that be the rider with 5 horses or that rider with the one star horse? In the end, as I said, a rider can only ride one horse at a time. There is no value in over looking one for another on the basis of numbers.
Strictly from a cold management standpoint, I understand the system of focusing on the riders who can supply themselves with a string. At the UL's, one little thing can take a horse out of competition, no matter how many years and how much time and money were invested in getting the rider & horse there. Then a ready rider is on foot, the team is missing a piece. Right now there aren't enough team coaches to invest in a broader list of riders that may come up short on game day, through no fault of their own ... and no other rider ready to fill that spot. The coach's priority is that there will be a full team on the field. (Although that did not work out in Hong Kong at all. But we do seem to have more capable & ready rider-horse pairs for this Olympics than we have in a very long time.)

So, the strategy is to get to a particular game - the next Olympics, WEG, Pan American, etc. That is because our team management incentives and motivates our coach that way - regardless of the coache's name. As you say, it isn't a broad development strategy for the long-term future. As results to date clearly show. That's really not the coach alone, who is kind of an employee. The real accountability is with those in the background that manage all aspects of team direction. The coach is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

kerlin
Jul. 3, 2012, 10:59 AM
Okay, wow, I'm rather amazed at the number of people who immediately blame lack of hard work. Seriously? I'm 100% sure American top riders work just as hard as event riders anywhere else in the world. Hard work is not everything, especially not in something with as many moving parts as success in equestrian sport. There are a staggering number of factors that all have to work together to create a successful national program, and I'm sure there are some that most people here will never even know about, much less be able to analyze with any authority.

As a cavalry historian (master's thesis and everything), I'd just like to point out that the American cavalry was very good for really only about 50 years - say 1870-1920. Horses have only been in North America for about five hundred years, give or take a few decades. If you want to point to an experienced military horse culture as necessary grounds for success in eventing, why aren't there any Native Americans riding at the 4* level?

Similarly, European cavalry tactics are VERY different from American cavalry tactics. There is a world of difference between the type of cavalry training from which eventing evolved (European style short campaigns with active maneuvering between rival nations) and the kinds of cavalry tactics that had to be re-invented in order to succeed in the postwar American west (long haul campaigns across the desert, mostly diplomatic, focused more on subjugating a civilian native population than actively fighting other armed forces). The American cavalry before and during the Civil War? Not actually that good. Still very much on a very steep learning curve.

Does the difference in cavalry system really influence the state of modern eventing? I really don't know. No one was really fighting in a traditional cavalry model by the time eventing came about as a sport. It might make an interesting research project, but the cavalry culture of Europe v. America is vastly different.

Anyway. I don't have the depth of experience necessary to analyze the eventing program, but the cavalry stuff, that I know inside out, and you can't just say that there's a direct correlation there.

Gnep
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:01 AM
There is no long term plan to develop new talent, be it horses or riders.
In Europe there are programs that help new talent to develop.
The depth of talent that is in France, England and Germany is the result of those programs. It shows in their national teams, always new faces, horses or riders.

When was the last time a new face showed up in the US-team

vineyridge
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:04 AM
Sorry, but 4*s are few and far between. Until 1998, there were only two in the world. Then Rolex went 4*; the Aussies have a 4* and it has had very little influence on this year's Olympic Team. Pau and Luhmuhlen both started AFTER short format, so have only been running since 2006, and neither the Germans nor the French rely on 4*s for their Olympic Teams.

It is not an embarassment to have only one 4* on the North American continent. We need to focus more on upgrading our 3*s to the European level, if our 3* competitions are lacking.

I totally agree with Gnep about the complete lack of any system at all for bringing up new riders. We suffer from that in ALL of the Olympic disciplines because we are so against systematic interference with the freedom to screw up. To have such a system means accepting the system as a system and working within it.

Here, we can't even get the majority of young riders and their trainers to accept the Pony Club system.

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:05 AM
There is no long term plan to develop new talent, be it horses or riders.
In Europe there are programs that help new talent to develop.
The depth of talent that is in France, England and Germany is the result of those programs. It shows in their national teams, always new faces, horses or riders.

When was the last time a new face showed up in the US-team


Exactly. And to re-address my previous post, I should have not used "coach" but rather "management".

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:06 AM
It is not an embarassment to have only one 4* on the North American continent. We need to focus more on upgrading our 3*s to the European level, if our 3* competitions are lacking.


Absolutely agree....great post Viney.

JP60
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:09 AM
Snoopy, I agree in principle, but not completely on the growth part. The base is where those ULR ultimately come from. I wish we had more Peter Barrys down here in the states, more opportunities for young kids to push past the grass ceiling without having to "go pro", and do it with their one horse.

Putting it this way, if it was a kid from my training stables trying to make it to the Olympics and they needed financial help to get horse and rider there I'd be happy to contribute. A pro with 3 to 5 horses, not so much. However, seeing the ugly side of Olympic team selection, I'd question helping that kid, because the potential exists that no matter how good, he/she may not get a chance because of some unknown reason that has nothing to do with talent. Politics should not be a part of a selection, so then you need either numbers or specific qualifying moments that lead to selection by ability.

gold2012
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:13 AM
The one horse wonder thing.

I was thinking about that last night. Are we truly fielding the best team the U.S. has to offer, if we frown on the one horse wonders?

Many of whom have started and brought that horse up thru the levels hemselves? Truly having a partnership! I think not. I think many riders out there, are really really good, but never see the light of day.

This past winter, we were fortunate enough, blessed, to get some lessons with Linda Zang. It was costly, but, in the two lessons, she was taught a couple really nifty tools. Both that changed her dressage dramatically. By being lucky enough to get in those lessons, she improved dramatically. I use this, because, some of the one horse people, if they were given multiple lessons, help, to the quantity that Bm, Pd, KOC get, what would we have then?

I , too, agree, that with the loss of long format, and dressage co-efficients, it is now weighed in favor of European teams.

I would love the U.S. to bring home a medal. But I believe, in the long term, the ULs of our sport is going to become very elite, and only those with huge bankrolls will play. And that easily means, our best wont necessarily be our team.

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:17 AM
Snoopy, I agree in principle, but not completely on the growth part. The base is where those ULR ultimately come from. I wish we had more Peter Barrys down here in the states, more opportunities for young kids to push past the grass ceiling without having to "go pro", and do it with their one horse.

Putting it this way, if it was a kid from my training stables trying to make it to the Olympics and they needed financial help to get horse and rider there I'd be happy to contribute. A pro with 3 to 5 horses, not so much. However, seeing the ugly side of Olympic team selection, I'd question helping that kid, because the potential exists that no matter how good, he/she may not get a chance because of some unknown reason that has nothing to do with talent. Politics should not be a part of a selection, so then you need either numbers or specific qualifying moments that lead to selection by ability.


I think you and I actually agree on our points. I believe there to be plenty of grass root horse and rider combinations out there right this minute that "could" go on to represent the USA. The problem is that the door is quite often closed to them.....for a variety of reasons.

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:24 AM
The one horse wonder thing.

I was thinking about that last night. Are we truly fielding the best team the U.S. has to offer, if we frown on the one horse wonders?

Many of whom have started and brought that horse up thru the levels hemselves? Truly having a partnership! I think not. I think many riders out there, are really really good, but never see the light of day.

This past winter, we were fortunate enough, blessed, to get some lessons with Linda Zang. It was costly, but, in the two lessons, she was taught a couple really nifty tools. Both that changed her dressage dramatically. By being lucky enough to get in those lessons, she improved dramatically. I use this, because, some of the one horse people, if they were given multiple lessons, help, to the quantity that Bm, Pd, KOC get, what would we have then?

I , too, agree, that with the loss of long format, and dressage co-efficients, it is now weighed in favor of European teams.

I would love the U.S. to bring home a medal. But I believe, in the long term, the ULs of our sport is going to become very elite, and only those with huge bankrolls will play. And that easily means, our best wont necessarily be our team.


Without going into a laundry list, I will sight three examples:

Tad Coffin/ Bally Cor
Maryanne Tauskey/ Marcus
Kim Walnes/ The Gray Goose

These three riders were IN EFFECT one horse wonders. All three contributed greatly to the successes of the USA team in various championships. Baring BC, they were also rider owned.

I personally do not care if a super star horse and rider combo only competes for the USA one time....as long as they produce the desired result at that championship. As long as we can continue to foster and support every horse/rider combination capable of peak performance for a given championship then the pipeline would GROW.

As it is now...we put all our eggs in one basket.

JER
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:26 AM
When was the last time a new face showed up in the US-team

As a 'team' rider?

Boyd Martin -- who is a product of the Ryans'/Australia system, not the US system.

For US-made riders, we'd have to go back to Amy Tryon.

snoopy
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:32 AM
As a 'team' rider?

Boyd Martin -- who is a product of the Ryans'/Australia system, not the US system.

For US-made riders, we'd have to go back to Amy Tryon.


....and Boyd benefited greatly from the current USA system and the support given to him. He did not show up in america with a string of world class horses. They were developed through great support.

bambam
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:22 PM
I think there are a lot of reasons and I don't think it has to do with a lack of hard work on the part of US riders.
I don't think it is a coincidence that in the 2 top eventing countries right now (UK and Germany) eventers have substantial state support and good developing rider systems.
I also don't think it is a coincidence that these 2 countries tend to have a broader english discipline tradition (meaning their eventers tend to have a more multi-faceted education in riding and don't just event).
My understanding is that 2 of the other top countries (the Aussies and the Kiwis) have a tradition/culture of riding over hill and dale as kids on anything and over anything. You can't help but be a better xc rider with that as your background (adn the riding you did back when you thought you were invincible and did really stupid stuff as a result ;)) We just don't have that anymore in the US and to the extent that we do, I think it tends to be in Western riding country.
Just my 2 cents- probably is not worth even that :D

Willesdon
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:48 PM
Every nation goes up and down.

The UK has a tradition of hunting and crossing country fast, such as point to point and team chasing. It was because the British were so bad at eventing at the Olympics that Badminton was first established at the end of the 1940s. The UK is a small geographical area and has 200 BE-affiliated events each year. Nearly every well dressed stately home seems to have a cross country course! The standard of every competition is very high.

Germany has started breeding horses with more TB blood so they are more competitive cross country and employ a Brit as team trainer who has changed their riding style. The Germans have a lot of horses to choose from and a depth of riding skills that are probably unique in the world.

The NZ and Australian teams have good TBs and a do-or-die approach that translates well to cross country. Hard work and a strong mental attitude. Both nations seem to be on an up-swing again and I would not be surprised if they win Olympic medals this time.

The Brazilian team had several riders at Barbury Castle, there were Japanese riders, even an Austrian. The sport is growing.

How well a national team performs does not seem to relate to the 'old' or the 'new' format. I liked the old tracks and steeplechase, personally, but the horses do seem to be lasting longer - and that must be a good thing.

Willesdon
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:50 PM
bambam,

There is no state support for any UK horse sport. There is 'lottery funding' for an elite few in the lead up to the Olympics. What happens after than is open to question.

Sonoma City
Jul. 3, 2012, 12:58 PM
I don't know how it works in other countries, but it seems like the way our system works and what the top riders have to do to make a living in the US and sustain their programs makes it difficult to really focus and spend the time and attention they need on producing their top mounts. There was a good article on this a year or two ago in (I think) Practical Horseman. It's not uncommon to see the top riders with 6-8 of their own entries at a horse trial, plus a dozen students to coach. They have to walk courses at all levels with their students, warm them up, walk their own courses, and try to stay focused enough to put in good rounds with their own mounts plus the horses they have in training or are sale horses. Many of these people ride 10 horses a day minimum and probably don't have time to really focus on each one, but they need to ride all them to keep their personal rides fit and train up their training and sale horses so they can keep the checks coming in. Then add teaching on top of that and it just seems like a constant cycle of too much to do, and not enough time in the day, leading to inadequate training and tired riders. I don't know if this contributes in any way, shape, or form, but it does seem like it may contribute to not being as focussed as they could be. Any thoughts on if this is how the riders overseas operate their businesses?

bambam
Jul. 3, 2012, 01:02 PM
bambam,

There is no state support for any UK horse sport. There is 'lottery funding' for an elite few in the lead up to the Olympics. What happens after than is open to question.
its more than we have and it is not an insignificant amount :)- I still consider that state support- it goes to both developing and elite riders doesn't it?

JER
Jul. 3, 2012, 01:18 PM
GB also has the World Class Equine Pathway (http://www.britisheventing.com/page.asp?section=674&sectionTitle=World+Class+Equine+Pathway) program to identify and develop talented horses.

IFG
Jul. 3, 2012, 01:51 PM
Liability issues and lack of open space? This ties in with riders being too specialized. When I was a kid, we rode around bareback on ponies, running across fields, swimming with them, standing on them to pick apples, you get the idea. Karen O'Connor speaks of setting up picnic tables to jump.

Most kids coming up now are not allowed to run wild the way that we did. They are in established "programs." They go for XC schools rather than galloping through the woods jumping trees. They don't have the same kinesthetic sense that kids who are on their horses for hours at a time have. They ride in lessons only for the most part.

If they are in an eventing program, they often do not have time for hunter paces or jumper shows, they don't foxhunt because their expensive event horse might get hurt.

I have not been, but my impression of the UK, Australia, and NZ is that they have more kids who have more varied backgrounds, who have spent many more hours on horseback doing naughty things than we do here in the USA.

IMHO, Kids who are confident on horseback can have a lot more guts in competition situations going XC.

Jealoushe
Jul. 3, 2012, 02:15 PM
I would also have to say the courses now are so show jumping like, which also favour European horses and training systems.

Courses are so groomed and manufactured now... watching this video when the US would have been pretty strong, there is a noticeable difference in the horses and types of fences;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZdRaGC7HU0

Tough cookies and even tougher horses... where are the interesting combinations these days? Seems the only questions they now ask are skinnies and corners. Too many skinnies...not enough variety.

Also, watch Part 1 to show the difference in dressage with these horses :)

voltaire51147
Jul. 3, 2012, 02:30 PM
Yes, you have to have guts to succeed at the upper levels in eventing but you better have the skills, also. Kids who charge around on jumping ponies learn those skills pretty quickly or.. I wonder how many parents these days turn their kids loose on a pony without supervision and outside a schooling ring.

Hunting would be a great foundation but most hunting kids come from hunting parents. The hunter-jumper ring doesn't seem to be the best place to learn cross-country technique and watching equitation on the flat, not the best place for dressage. Extended trot does not mean going faster.

So what are we left with? How about Pony Club? A lot of the major riders today mention, at least some, PC experience. A family doesn't have to be rich nor connected to have a kid in PC.

How much is the USEF involved in Pony Club? I have been out of PC for almost half a century so I have no idea how strong an organization it still is but, in my day, lol, we used to do CC on a regular basis and at the lowest levels. We learned horsemanship and basic dressage and we learned it at an early age.

Some of our future eventing stars don't have the money nor the support to make it all the way. If USEF and USEA could volunteer some time and support and even money at re-energizing Pony Club, we might be able to develop some stars who have the ability and the drive.

The Developing Rider Program seems to include mostly young people who have the advantages. What about some of our owners who are willing to spend the money for the made and potential event horses. Could they be persuaded to back a program for the kids who don't have the money, the over-enthusiastic parents nor even a horse?

There are kids out there who would kill to have a chance to ride and work hard. I know, I was one.

Sorry about being long-winded but we need a program that identify and support these kids who live and breath horses but will never have the chane. I'll leave the logistics to the experts but I, for one, would be willing to donate my time and some of my limited pocketbook to get behind such a program.

clivers
Jul. 3, 2012, 02:32 PM
We suffer from that in ALL of the Olympic disciplines because we are so against systematic interference with the freedom to screw up.


I love this!!! IMO it's the same attitude that drives the paranoia about universal healthcare!!!

tuppysmom
Jul. 3, 2012, 02:45 PM
ponies and kids doing CCI** test, CCI* mixed with CCI** XC, and CCI** show jump. Max weight limit on ponies is 65kilos.

Kids on the radar at age 12, at age 17 they can apply to join the "riding team", and if they have the experience/talent/success, they get financial help. They are doing internships and applying for competition license.

All riders, even the trainer/**** riders arrive at the barn at 6am for barn chores, they tack up the horses and ride the am schedule which typically is a structured school of some sort, XC, SJ or D. Then all hands pitch in to feed/bring in/turn out etc, riders have lunch. Afternoon, all horses take a hack or a gallop. Hack can be several miles of trot and or canter. Gallop is a hill.

When they go to school XC they tack up 8 head and load the lorry, 8 riders go. 4 warm up as 4 school XC, then they switch and the warm up riders cool down the just schooled horses as the trainers take the second set of horses XC. Cool down, haul them home. Those same horses will hack, or something, later the same day.

8pm everyone tidies up and gets ready for the next day. Maybe home for dinner by 9pm.

Few days off. DD has had more days off than the trainer and she has had 3 since arriving there in March.

Lots of XC schooling on tough tracks. Lumps and bumps on all riders and horses, no cupcakes there.

If the German 13 yr old kids are riding a pony championship at CCI**level, and US kids are barely riding novice as a PC C-2, we maybe need to encourage US kids to do more.

gold2012
Jul. 3, 2012, 02:52 PM
Yes, you have to have guts to succeed at the upper levels in eventing but you better have the skills, also. Kids who charge around on jumping ponies learn those skills pretty quickly or.. I wonder how many parents these days turn their kids loose on a pony without supervision and outside a schooling ring.

Hunting would be a great foundation but most hunting kids come from hunting parents. The hunter-jumper ring doesn't seem to be the best place to learn cross-country technique and watching equitation on the flat, not the best place for dressage. Extended trot does not mean going faster.

So what are we left with? How about Pony Club? A lot of the major riders today mention, at least some, PC experience. A family doesn't have to be rich nor connected to have a kid in PC.

How much is the USEF involved in Pony Club? I have been out of PC for almost half a century so I have no idea how strong an organization it still is but, in my day, lol, we used to do CC on a regular basis and at the lowest levels. We learned horsemanship and basic dressage and we learned it at an early age.

Some of our future eventing stars don't have the money nor the support to make it all the way. If USEF and USEA could volunteer some time and support and even money at re-energizing Pony Club, we might be able to develop some stars who have the ability and the drive.

The Developing Rider Program seems to include mostly young people who have the advantages. What about some of our owners who are willing to spend the money for the made and potential event horses. Could they be persuaded to back a program for the kids who don't have the money, the over-enthusiastic parents nor even a horse?

There are kids out there who would kill to have a chance to ride and work hard. I know, I was one.

Sorry about being long-winded but we need a program that identify and support these kids who live and breath horses but will never have the chane. I'll leave the logistics to the experts but I, for one, would be willing to donate my time and some of my limited pocketbook to get behind such a program.

Its just not the kids. I know a LOT of 20 something riders, who work very very hard, and just are beating heads against stone walls. They have a hard time to make ends meet, never mind lessons, or trying to get a horse to a 3*, all to be called a one horse wonder, and looked over. It makes me wonder where the program will be in 10 years, the poolis small now,it will be finite by then.

Sonoma City
Jul. 3, 2012, 02:58 PM
Few days off. DD has had more days off than the trainer and she has had 3 since arriving there in March.


I guess I don't see how this sort of schedule makes top riders. We won't treat our horses like that and expect them to come out at the top of their game, so why does that recipe equal top riders? As in any sport, athletes need rest to recoup both mentally and physically. If you are an olympic level swimmer, runner, biker, etc., you get calculated rest days which are there so you can perform your best. Yet we expect our riders to work from 6am to 8pm with only a few days off over the course of months and perform at the highest levels? If someone worked a horse every single day for a month we'd be on this board screaming about how the horse would break down and how do we expect them to be sound and perform with a schedule like that. Yet it's ok for their human counterparts? I don't think these backbreaking schedules are even a part of the answer, in fact, quite the opposite.

JP60
Jul. 3, 2012, 03:15 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZdRaGC7HU0

Tough cookies and even tougher horses... where are the interesting combinations these days? Seems the only questions they now ask are skinnies and corners. Too many skinnies...not enough variety.

That was not stadium jumping, that was cross country in a box :lol:

voltaire51147
Jul. 3, 2012, 03:17 PM
Its just not the kids. I know a LOT of 20 something riders, who work very very hard, and just are beating heads against stone walls. They have a hard time to make ends meet, never mind lessons, or trying to get a horse to a 3*, all to be called a one horse wonder, and looked over. It makes me wonder where the program will be in 10 years, the poolis small now,it will be finite by then.

Good point but just because you work hard, and I commend it, doesn't necessarily mean you have the potential to be World Class. As much as it pains me to say it, there will always be limited money and time to go around and the riders who should get the support will have to have the potential as well as the work ethic.

The problem is, right now, in making the effort to identify those who have the ability, the work ethic and the will to become our next great generation. Oh, and I still believe in starting them young when riding devil-may-care on a crazy pony is still quite fun.

voltaire51147
Jul. 3, 2012, 03:31 PM
I guess I don't see how this sort of schedule makes top riders. We won't treat our horses like that and expect them to come out at the top of their game, so why does that recipe equal top riders? As in any sport, athletes need rest to recoup both mentally and physically. If you are an olympic level swimmer, runner, biker, etc., you get calculated rest days which are there so you can perform your best. Yet we expect our riders to work from 6am to 8pm with only a few days off over the course of months and perform at the highest levels? If someone worked a horse every single day for a month we'd be on this board screaming about how the horse would break down and how do we expect them to be sound and perform with a schedule like that. Yet it's ok for their human counterparts? I don't think these backbreaking schedules are even a part of the answer, in fact, quite the opposite.

First of all, a horse has no say in how it is treated. A person who works long hours CAN walk away. However, if you love and believe in what you are doing and, if there is nothing else you would rather do, you will stay.

People everywhere work long hours for a dream. Take a small business owner who works long hours and even invests his (Down feminists. I'm female) own money. These people can live precariously for years because they can see reward in the end.

I fear we are becoming a nation more and more who have forgotten what it means to get to the top or, even, get where you want. You can't wish for it. You have to make it happen.

At the end of this month, you will see a group of, mostly, young people who worked their butts off. Long hours and little or no vacations. They have realized their dream.

All of the Olympic equestrian riders will be there because they have lived and breathed horses their whole lives. And they all have a staff that does the same thing.

Sonoma City
Jul. 3, 2012, 03:52 PM
First of all, a horse has no say in how it is treated. A person who works long hours CAN walk away. However, if you love and believe in what you are doing and, if there is nothing else you would rather do, you will stay.

People everywhere work long hours for a dream. Take a small business owner who works long hours and even invests his (Down feminists. I'm female) own money. These people can live precariously for years because they can see reward in the end.

I fear we are becoming a nation more and more who have forgotten what it means to get to the top or, even, get where you want. You can't wish for it. You have to make it happen.

At the end of this month, you will see a group of, mostly, young people who worked their butts off. Long hours and little or no vacations. They have realized their dream.

All of the Olympic equestrian riders will be there because they have lived and breathed horses their whole lives. And they all have a staff that does the same thing.

I understand completely what you are saying, it takes long hours and hard work. I just don't think working in the barn/riding 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, is the answer to being on top. Other olympic disciplines see that, and those athletes make the decisions for themselves that we make for our horses...that is that they need rest days. What I see in many of our top level riders is that they are tired and worn down because they do work the type of schedule you are talking about. They get injured and can't afford the time off to let their injuries heal properly. I don't think that is the key for top performing athletes, nor does it promote an environment for up and comers to come out of the woodwork. I think you can still be a very hard worker, take a true day off a week, and be much more effective at what you do than if you didn't allow yourself some time to recoup mentally and physically.

ponysize
Jul. 3, 2012, 05:00 PM
There is no long term plan to develop new talent, be it horses or riders.
In Europe there are programs that help new talent to develop.
The depth of talent that is in France, England and Germany is the result of those programs. It shows in their national teams, always new faces, horses or riders.

When was the last time a new face showed up in the US-team

How much of that has to do with who is in charge of picking the teams?

IFG
Jul. 3, 2012, 05:08 PM
I understand completely what you are saying, it takes long hours and hard work. I just don't think working in the barn/riding 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, is the answer to being on top. Other olympic disciplines see that, and those athletes make the decisions for themselves that we make for our horses...that is that they need rest days. What I see in many of our top level riders is that they are tired and worn down because they do work the type of schedule you are talking about. They get injured and can't afford the time off to let their injuries heal properly. I don't think that is the key for top performing athletes, nor does it promote an environment for up and comers to come out of the woodwork. I think you can still be a very hard worker, take a true day off a week, and be much more effective at what you do than if you didn't allow yourself some time to recoup mentally and physically.

I assume it builds muscle memory. Under stress, you will ride well, because that is what your muscles remember. Also, if you can function and ride well with that level of fatigue, you are golden when well rested. You are not going to get to the olympics and ride as though it is second nature despite the electric surroundings if that is not what you do day-in and day-out.

Like I have a clue based on my own experience :lol:.

quietann
Jul. 3, 2012, 05:16 PM
I assume it builds muscle memory. Under stress, you will ride well, because that is what your muscles remember. Also, if you can function and ride well with that level of fatigue, you are golden when well rested. You are not going to get to the olympics and ride as though it is second nature despite the electric surroundings if that is not what you do day-in and day-out.

Like I have a clue based on my own experience :lol:.

Everything I've ever heard suggests that rest days are when a lot of that "muscle memory" gets laid down more permanently. Horses get them for the most part; why not humans?

At the barns where I've boarded, the BO/trainer takes at least one day off each week. Yes, sometimes they're in the barn, or might ride a horse or two if there is some special reason to do so, but that day is for *doing other things* and it's certainly not "restful." Barn workers generally are the same and take one day off per week.

mugsgame
Jul. 3, 2012, 05:56 PM
Personally I think there are several problems as a complete outsider:

If you look at the team only 2 of those have been produced by their riders as babies. The rest have been bought in the last 2 years. Not very inspiring when riders of their calibre are buying their Olympic rides. Even Sinead bought Tate as an established 2* horse from France. In fact the only proper US horse in the team is Twizzel? Tiana's horse was bred in Ireland.

The main issue you will always have is distance. In Europe we can get to several countries in the same distance it takes you guys to get to another state. Driving 24 hours like they did to Bromont - that is unheard of!!

EventerAJ
Jul. 3, 2012, 06:36 PM
I do see money as a significant hurdle.

Tuppysmom's post about 12-year-olds doing CCI**s on ponies is just a completely different level than we have in this country.

It's the same problem with breeding/starting quality purpose-bred young horses... there is no economical way to bring them along. Horse shows (events) have become so expensive that many people can only afford a few per year; at that rate, it takes forever to gain experience and move up. You have to pile a lot of money into a young horse to get their experience.

When I started this sport back in the late 90s, a local novice event entry fee was under $100 (no stabling). Now, it costs $200! You expect a hefty entry fee for a week-long CCI three-day event...but your backyard BN/N horse trial?? Understandably, people are shifting towards the cheaper unrecognized events...but these are only lower levels, not even Training level offered in my area. There is a significant incentive NOT to move up, because it's getting so expensive. And face it, our young riders and young horses aren't getting much of an education from years competing (infrequently?) at Novice or below.

Yes, proper training and preparation at home goes a long way. But if you want to be competitive, at some point you've got to go out and compete. And, as we all know, you will sometimes fail in competition-- so you've got to go out and try again (and again, and again). It's called "experience," and it's invaluable. But it's also getting darn expensive, moreso than it used to be.

And I know event organizers aren't making money hand over fist-- I'm not blaming them; I know it costs a heck of a lot to host an event, and we have lost some great events over the years (decreasing our competition options even further). But I do think our situation-- needing a better, more experienced pool of riders and horses-- is limited by the increasing cost of the sport.

We DO have good riders (and good horses) in this country...but they can't move up as fast as their European counterparts, and it leaves us behind trying to catch up. It's a complex problem-- perhaps lack of education, perhaps lack of competition experience, perhaps lack of horseflesh... but over time, all those components have become priced out of reach from many people. And we also compete with the H/J discipline-- many of our "best" riders and horses end up there, not as eventers. (Or perhaps the riders become eventers later, but have to re-learn how to ride, especially dressage.)

deltawave
Jul. 3, 2012, 06:58 PM
It is expected that the US will win a gold in basketball (cough *professionals* cough


How do you field a top set of riders when the country pays more attention to multimillion dollar ball players who's greatest risk is bad press

Are German riders not *cough* professionals? :confused:

tuppysmom
Jul. 3, 2012, 07:27 PM
I didn't say that the EU horses work 7 days a week. I said that the riders are seldom away from the barn/sport. They are pretty much immersed in the sport. A day off can be a competition, which they do several times a week, or a travel day, or a "take your horse to vet hospital" day. The riders don't feel that they are fatigued. They live and breathe the sport all day every day. And they are focused on their goals, not the next hair appointment, or mani-pedi, or latte. They are eating it up.

And so Germany has 13 year olds who are competing in pony CCI*s and CCI**s. That gives them a large pool of riders to choose from when the kids reach age 17.

The horses are not that different than what we have here. They are not super horses, just regular horses who train hard and are well ridden and get lots of experience.

Easy to say, hard to do.

Equibrit
Jul. 3, 2012, 07:30 PM
Because the Europeans wanted to be competitive so they influenced the removal of the long format and thus their horses now seem unbeatable. I bet if there were roads and tracks, steeplechase.... North Americans and maybe Kiwis would be back on top.

Dream on.

Liebe-ist-Krieg
Jul. 3, 2012, 08:13 PM
I didn't say that the EU horses work 7 days a week. I said that the riders are seldom away from the barn/sport. They are pretty much immersed in the sport. A day off can be a competition, which they do several times a week, or a travel day, or a "take your horse to vet hospital" day. The riders don't feel that they are fatigued. They live and breathe the sport all day every day. And they are focused on their goals, not the next hair appointment, or mani-pedi, or latte. They are eating it up.

I've also worked for an Olympic/4* rider in Europe (although I don't think his barn was on the same scale as the one Tuppy's daughter is at!), and I agree with most of this. Nearly every morning began with all of us putting the horses on the walker and cleaning the stables, meaning myself, the trainer, his father (coach of the Dutch Eventing team), and a groom. Day off was driving to the vet or a free Sunday afternoon, we still did all the care/feeding of the horses AM and PM, horses had one day off from riding a week.

That said--

It wasn't so different from my life back in the US, but I don't think many other young riders operate in the same way. Most don't want to try to keep their food/personal budget down to $40/week so that they can afford to keep and show their own horses, or give up any possibility of vacation time because there is no one else to take care of said horse. I'm sure I'm not the only one however, I've just yet to meet anyone else similar! :)


The horses are not that different than what we have here. They are not super horses, just regular horses who train hard and are well ridden and get lots of experience.
.
IMO, their overall horse quality is much better. Duds may have showed up occasionally, but they were gotten rid of quickly. We certainly have some super sporthorses in the states, but much of the general population is not.
I do think they train much harder than most here do, and are really consistent about riding their horses over the back and forward, which makes for a strong supple horse.

barnworkbeatshousework
Jul. 3, 2012, 08:51 PM
Because we've stopped being all around horsemen (like Bruce and Jimmy) who tried all the disciplines and have become a nation of eventers who are specialists. The Brits have a long history of foxhunting. The Kiwis and Aussies gallop across the fields jumping whatever is in front of them, (wire even), while our guys opt to polish their skills in rings and highly controlled environments. Diffetent outlooks.

:yes:yep...

quietann
Jul. 3, 2012, 10:52 PM
Personally I think there are several problems as a complete outsider:

If you look at the team only 2 of those have been produced by their riders as babies. The rest have been bought in the last 2 years. Not very inspiring when riders of their calibre are buying their Olympic rides. Even Sinead bought Tate as an established 2* horse from France. In fact the only proper US horse in the team is Twizzel? Tiana's horse was bred in Ireland.

This one has been hashed out before here, but it seems that starting babies and/or bringing along young prospects makes no sense for an ULR who doesn't have a LOT of money behind them. It's not that these riders couldn't; it's that in order to make a living, they have to do a lot of teaching, clinics, self-promotion, etc. all while "making room" to train the horses that have the best chance at the ULs -- which are usually horses that already have a consistent record at least at Prelim. Too many of the LL horses, even promising prospects, will wash out.

Just an example: even KOC's most well-known horse -- Teddy O'Connor -- was going ADVANCED (not Prelim as I originally stated) before she started with him. She pushed Mandiba hard for the 2008 Olympics after Teddy died, and we all know the result of that. Mr. Mendicoot and Veronica (as a back-up) were wise buys, given that she had *nothing* else that had a remote chance of being an Olympic quality horse this year. (And she is an ULR who, as I understand it, does have serious money backing her...)

vineyridge
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:04 PM
Winsome Adante was going 2* or the National British equivalent when he was bought for KS, IIRC.

I don't have a problem with BNRs getting made or semi-made horses. I do have a bit of a problem with the fact that they aren't made or semi-made HERE.

Jealoushe
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:11 PM
The horses are not that different than what we have here. They are not super horses, just regular horses who train hard and are well ridden and get lots of experience.



I have to say that most of the horses I saw at competitions/worked with/and rode in the UK and Ireland were much nicer than the horses I see here. Plus the riders were unbelievable as young teens...quality all around.

Blugal
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:33 PM
Just an example: even KOC's most well-known horse -- Teddy O'Connor -- was going Prelim before she started with him.

Make that Advanced.

Carol Ames
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:47 PM
Do we need to send more riders to live and compete in the UK as David and Karen did:cool:?It seems much easier to "make" horses there:yes:

quietann
Jul. 4, 2012, 12:21 AM
Make that Advanced.

Oh my! That was a serious mistake on my part.... my previous comment is corrected. Serves me right for just saying what I remembered rather than doing a bit of research.

Equibrit
Jul. 4, 2012, 12:27 AM
European UL eventers have a staff who start and train the young horses. They also train and campaign horses belonging to their backers. If the horses show promise they are kept, if not they are sold on. Good employees are more readily available because there is a system in place to train them properly. Assistants to UL competitors often go on to run their own yards and competition careers.

It is a BUSINESS with a well established path through from initial education to successfully competing. Education and career path are ingredients missing in the US. In Europe there are established organizations involved with competitors, starting with very young kids, whose purpose is to advance the careers of these kids, which results in a depth of competitive talent.

Blugal
Jul. 4, 2012, 12:36 AM
In contrast, Pippa Funnell is well-known for making her own horses.

lstevenson
Jul. 4, 2012, 01:19 AM
I didn't say that the EU horses work 7 days a week. I said that the riders are seldom away from the barn/sport. They are pretty much immersed in the sport. A day off can be a competition, which they do several times a week, or a travel day, or a "take your horse to vet hospital" day. The riders don't feel that they are fatigued. They live and breathe the sport all day every day. And they are focused on their goals, not the next hair appointment, or mani-pedi, or latte. They are eating it up.

And so Germany has 13 year olds who are competing in pony CCI*s and CCI**s. That gives them a large pool of riders to choose from when the kids reach age 17.

The horses are not that different than what we have here. They are not super horses, just regular horses who train hard and are well ridden and get lots of experience.

Easy to say, hard to do.


Totally agree! Very few riders are willing to totally immerse themselves in the sport. And that's what it takes to get to the top.

Over the years I have taught many very talented young riders who could have gone as far as they wanted on talent alone. But they preferred to spend much of their free time doing things with their friends vs training. They made the choice that being the best rider was not their first priority. And that's fine. But we won't be getting future Olympic riders with that mentality.



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/My.Virtual.Eventing.Coach)

mainstream
Jul. 4, 2012, 09:20 AM
From an Australian perspective (and notwithstanding the fact that you have two Aussies on your team LOL!) it's been a difficult road for our Olympic hopefuls this time around. Only one of the five on the team has been selected from competition within Australia - the other four have been living/ competing in Europe for all or most of the selection process. It's really difficult to compare the best in Australia with those competing on the world stage! :confused:

The public jury is still out on the decision - I guess the Selection Committee will either be genius' or scoundrels come podium day! :)

JP60
Jul. 4, 2012, 09:31 AM
Are German riders not *cough* professionals? :confused:
:lol: It could be. THis is the age old issue of what constituted "professional". The Soviets and Eastern Block countries sure pushed the definition of amateur back in the day. So now its not even a wink and nod to the concept, it is just accepted that the Olympics are for professionals. Fine, but less interesting to watch.

I am as Walt Disney as they come, I believe in the one horse wonder, I believe in the scrappy underdog winning big, and I believe good triumphs over evil. As you can imagine, its not easy for me living in the reality around us :winkgrin:

It would be interesting to see the ratio of registered Pros to Registered Amateurs. I only know of one (Mr. Barry), but that questions is off topic.

deltawave
Jul. 4, 2012, 10:17 AM
Since gaining and maintaining the requisite skill level to qualify for the Olympics these days in just about any discipline is practically a full-time job, the "age old" question of amateur vs. professional really is aged and old. :)

Count me as the anti-Disney when it comes to the Olympics. They are interesting and fun to watch, but IMO they are in no way the "pinnacle" of our sport, not even close, and I sort of wish eventing wasn't even in the Olympics to be honest with you.

runnyjump
Jul. 4, 2012, 10:28 AM
Since gaining and maintaining the requisite skill level to qualify for the Olympics these days in just about any discipline is practically a full-time job, the "age old" question of amateur vs. professional really is aged and old. :)

Count me as the anti-Disney when it comes to the Olympics. They are interesting and fun to watch, but IMO they are in no way the "pinnacle" of our sport, not even close, and I sort of wish eventing wasn't even in the Olympics to be honest with you.

It is fairly well understood that the Olympics are not run at a true 4* level. I have heard they do this to make is safer for countries that don't have the ability to put up riders at that level.

As for eventing at the Games... heck, ya'. This gives our sport the exposure we need to continue to grow in the mainstream. Show jumping has always been the centerpiece for equestrian exposure, but I think eventing is catching on as a result of NBC's (limited) coverage of Rolex.

Of course, that said, I love anything Olympic. I even watch curling!

vineyridge
Jul. 4, 2012, 12:28 PM
Boyd Martin was an Australian A Level Pony Clubber. I'd venture to say that Pony Club was the primary source for most upper level event riders in the US in the past.

If Pony Club were stronger and more universally used in the US today, our pipeline would have a much larger diameter. :)

JP60
Jul. 4, 2012, 01:02 PM
Since gaining and maintaining the requisite skill level to qualify for the Olympics these days in just about any discipline is practically a full-time job, the "age old" question of amateur vs. professional really is aged and old. :)

Agreed. Everything changes, everything evolves and that includes the Olympics, the America's Cup, Eventing, and even dressage :eek: Perhaps at one time it was the test of amateur athletes, but money added to the evolution to what we have today. As to the future, it will evolve into a Corporate Games instead of Games amongst nations.


Count me as the anti-Disney when it comes to the Olympics. They are interesting and fun to watch, but IMO they are in no way the "pinnacle" of our sport, not even close, and I sort of wish eventing wasn't even in the Olympics to be honest with you.
I fully agree. Based on what I said above, were Eventing to stay in the Olympics it will be a forced evolution that will not be good for the sport as a whole. Eventing does not need the Olympics for attention, better Rolex coverage and another 4* in this country would be much better.

As to Anti-Disney? Delta, I can't help but envision you as a Disney Princess character who speaks to horses and plays with her favorite Unicorn, forest animals acting as jump judges as you run a course through Fantasy Forest :lol::lol:

deltawave
Jul. 4, 2012, 01:26 PM
Yeah, well, your antipsychotic meds dosage clearly needs adjusting if that's the case! :lol:

pony grandma
Jul. 4, 2012, 01:33 PM
I agree, I don't see the Olympics as being anywhere near the pinnacle of this sport. period.

happymom
Jul. 4, 2012, 01:58 PM
snoopy

Grand Prix
Join Date: May. 23, 2006

Posts: 4,82.

We have turned Eventing into a business. Fine for those who want to make a living as a professional rider. There is plenty of talent out there and sometimes that comes in the form of the rider with a super star.



I absolutely agree. Trainers use horses to promote themselves while demanding an open wallet and closed mouth from owners. Being an owner does not make you Mr. Deep pockets. We were priced out and a very talented horse was wasted.

Equibrit
Jul. 4, 2012, 03:13 PM
The International Olympic Committee eliminated the necessity of amateurism in 1971, allowing athletes to receive compensation for time away from work during training and competition. In addition, athletes were permitted to receive sponsorship from national organizations, sports organizations, and private businesses for the first time. In 1986, professional athletes were given permission by the International Federation to compete in each sport of the Olympic Games. For instance, in the 1992 Olympic Games, the United States was allowed to field a basketball team comprised of well-paid NBA stars, called "The Dream Team."

yellowbritches
Jul. 4, 2012, 03:33 PM
I think tuppysmom makes a very good case regarding the kids. I have said this before, too. In Europe, the kids starting riding at the FEI levels and on teams when they are basically tweens or young teenagers. They have EUROPEAN Pony Championships (so, they are competing against other countries! NOT other areas). Once you graduate from Ponies, you move on to Juniors and YRs. They even have "Young Adult" championships in conjunction with some of the 3 stars (23 and under? or is it 25 and under? Will Coleman actually did very well, maybe even won it at one of the B named 3 stars on Fox in Flight). The kids get could coaching from the time they are on ponies. And the big muckity mucks with the Senior teams are watching these kids progress through the ranks. A lot of our UK favorites (WFP, Pippa, Tina Cook, etc, etc, etc) came up through those very ranks. A lot of those kids end up with owners and supporters at an early age and are riding other peoples horses (not the ones mom and dad buy them).

We don't have that here. We think ponies can't jump bigger than 3ft, typically, and a pony at prelim is a wonder (though, we're seeing it more now). Kids don't see the FEI levels until they are well into their teens (usually). It's a different world over there.

I have also said in the past that there is a much different culture regarding OWNER in Europe. LOTS of people own horses that they don't ride, or may just hunt in the off season (there is actually an off season there). They enjoy owning horses and watching them go and having them well ridden and do well in events. Here, instead, we have a handful of generous owners who typically own a string for the rider of their choice, or maybe their BIG rider, and a protege or two of that rider. Finding owners is like finding leprechauns. Most people who own horses want to RIDE their horse (which, I don't necessarily blame them, but this is part of the problem), so, good horses don't get hooked up with good riders. Quality horses are often "wasted" (sorry. The horse doesn't know it's wasted and I hate saying that for many other reasons, too) at the LLs with their amateur, one horse owners. It's a different culture all together.

snoopy
Jul. 4, 2012, 03:55 PM
I think tuppysmom makes a very good case regarding the kids. I have said this before, too. In Europe, the kids starting riding at the FEI levels and on teams when they are basically tweens or young teenagers. They have EUROPEAN Pony Championships (so, they are competing against other countries! NOT other areas). Once you graduate from Ponies, you move on to Juniors and YRs. They even have "Young Adult" championships in conjunction with some of the 3 stars (23 and under? or is it 25 and under? Will Coleman actually did very well, maybe even won it at one of the B named 3 stars on Fox in Flight). The kids get could coaching from the time they are on ponies. And the big muckity mucks with the Senior teams are watching these kids progress through the ranks. A lot of our UK favorites (WFP, Pippa, Tina Cook, etc, etc, etc) came up through those very ranks. A lot of those kids end up with owners and supporters at an early age and are riding other peoples horses (not the ones mom and dad buy them).

We don't have that here. We think ponies can't jump bigger than 3ft, typically, and a pony at prelim is a wonder (though, we're seeing it more now). Kids don't see the FEI levels until they are well into their teens (usually). It's a different world over there.

I have also said in the past that there is a much different culture regarding OWNER in Europe. LOTS of people own horses that they don't ride, or may just hunt in the off season (there is actually an off season there). They enjoy owning horses and watching them go and having them well ridden and do well in events. Here, instead, we have a handful of generous owners who typically own a string for the rider of their choice, or maybe their BIG rider, and a protege or two of that rider. Finding owners is like finding leprechauns. Most people who own horses want to RIDE their horse (which, I don't necessarily blame them, but this is part of the problem), so, good horses don't get hooked up with good riders. Quality horses are often "wasted" (sorry. The horse doesn't know it's wasted and I hate saying that for many other reasons, too) at the LLs with their amateur, one horse owners. It's a different culture all together.



Yes, he did win the Bramham under 25's in (I think) 2004. And less one forgets....it is run over the exact same course as the over 25's. Very impressive indeed. Sue designed a tough course that year as it was a back up to badminton and therefore, a selection trials of sorts for Athens.

Xanthoria
Jul. 4, 2012, 04:01 PM
Because the Europeans wanted to be competitive so they influenced the removal of the long format and thus their horses now seem unbeatable. I bet if there were roads and tracks, steeplechase.... North Americans and maybe Kiwis would be back on top.

Ah, no. If you look at the eventing team results over time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Olympic_medalists_in_equestrian#Eventing.2 C_team) you'll see European nations did well long before roads and tracks disappeared. Add to that the stronger and longer tradition of hunting in Europe and you'll see European countries had more to lose when roads and tracks went away, since hunting leads to strength in those areas.

In fact, the USA has won a team medal 11 times in the last 22 Olympics, with an additional 12 individual medals in the same time frame.

OP your question is "why are we not the top country for eventing?" and the short reply is "The USA is one of the top countries for eventing based on medal stats - what more do you want? Gold every time out? How boring would that be."

The long answer relative to the Aussies etc on the team is as others have said: other countries are more "horsey" with better and more access to good horses and rider training from a young age.

I'll add that the show hunter tradition in the USA takes away from the pool of riders for eventing: unlike in the UK, Aus, NZ etc showing hunters is not something you do when you can't hunt. It's an end to itself.

vineyridge
Jul. 4, 2012, 05:17 PM
And show hunters has absolutely zero to do with the skills required for foxhunting, many of which are useful for eventing.

JP60
Jul. 4, 2012, 06:53 PM
...Quality horses are often "wasted" (sorry. The horse doesn't know it's wasted and I hate saying that for many other reasons, too) at the LLs with their amateur, one horse owners. It's a different culture all together.Ouch!!! Since DW figured out I'm off my meds I will tell you my reality...

I got this 4* Lippazaner that is sadly stuck with a guy who can't get his ass out of the way of a pole. Yet come the fall Sterling and I will be running FENCE or Jumping Branch BN...no, even better, Southern 8s BN long format. After completing an amazing xc round I get approached by BNT(R) who says "Wow. That guy is amazing given how you rode him". I of course say thank you, and the BNR(T) says, "You know, we've been looking for that wasted quality horse in the LL and it seems we found one. Would you be willing to let Becky/Sinead/Colleen/Will train Sterling to run WEG then the Olympics?"

Of course I am thrilled since I knew he was being wasted with me. "Yes, Yes Yes" I reply and add "can I get some pokey LL horse to haul my sorry ass around BN for few years?"

That is how your comment sounded. If there are quality horses packing LL riders around I don't see many eventing scouts checking them out and making that approach.

mugsgame
Jul. 4, 2012, 07:30 PM
I think you guys do pretty well considering the vast distances you have to cover which will always be a major hindrance.

I think long term a Pan Ams style games for Juniors and Young Riders would be a wonderful thing for long term development of riders as gets them into a proper team environment and into high pressure situations internationally. The reason Laura Collett was given a shot at teams so early was because all the trainers and coaches had 'known' her for so long while on the Junior and YR teams.

I also do not understand why YRs are not doing the guinea pig tests at 3* and 4* level as a wonderful chance for exposure and to test themselves. Instead it always seems to be experienced riders/horses out for a training session like Sinead at Rolex. Over here its the tradition to give the guinea pig slots to an up and comer.

But ultimately it comes down to money. GB has £9 million pounds (I think!) pumped into 3 teams (dressage/Sjing and eventing). Though this does not pay for horsepower it pays for everything else. WFP would get probably £20k a year through this scheme as well as all the back up and training. Those riders on the scheme who are seen as developing would also get money and the back up but to a lesser extent. Its not hard to go back a few years (Atlanta) and see the disaster that we had and it was after this that the whole system was changed. It took one man for the Germans to make massive strides as well as significant investment. The interesting one is the Aussies who get virtually no money yet always seem to be very hungry. They are not a united camp though at the moment so I would expect to see this have an impact.
New Zealand has made massive strides in recent years and its very interesting reading Mark Todds autobiog that he feels this is due to the team environment, that they all like each other and feel supported.

Gnep
Jul. 4, 2012, 11:53 PM
The Europeans have always been at the top of Eventing. It is a myth that the change from LF to SF just came about because the Euro needed it.
None of the Top Guns in the US stood up for the LF, opposit they were happy to get rid of it.
To much work and you could not use a horse enough.

On this BB everybody things that the German came suddenly along, with the SF.

That is wrong, they were always there. The differance is the organisational changes.
Hans Melzer the current Head Coach, has quiet a hirstory, as a rider and a coach.
He was already a National Coach, for the Ponies.
Him and Barthels have just taken the organisation to a next level and on top of it have built an enormes depth of new faces, horses and riders.
They actually travel to the events, all over Europe, 2 star, 3 star, were Germans compet. They are envolved, they watch, advice, judge and evaluate their talents long before the are team material.
That goes for horses and riders.
MJ, he suddenly burst on to the international scene, at least for US-Eventing.
I have known about him since he was 17, a friend of mine had him ride his jumpers. That kid was very carefully built and even when he was winning at 2 or 3 star and there was no question about his unusual talent. He was kept or held back, coached, so he would not get burned.
Or if one looks at the team desaster in Kentucky. No heads rolled, nobody got burned. The talents are obvious, they got built, coached, nutured and are doing very well.
DOC, like him or not has done something like this with the Canadian team. Found the talent, ankered it around some seasoned riders and let them do their thing.
Take the PanAm team, encourage the current second rank, let somebody else taste the NT and sit back and watch how they do.
The US needed to get a medal, gold naturally, so Same Ol Same Ol was sent, instead the once that need a little encouragement, to built and nuture a wider base, give talent the chance to shine, give a taste.

It is naturally easy to blame His Ex Royal Consort, but the top riders that are always on the short list, they are part of it, they will not give an inch and prevent any talent to even get close to the team.
They are not really world class, if they would ride in a 3 or 4 star open competition in Europe, all the Brits, Germans, French, Sweds, Aussi and Kiwi, they would be lucky to place 20th, very lucky.
The WEG or Olympics do not mean a thing, becausse the Euros, Aussies and Kiwis leave so much talent at home, 30 or 40 riders, that are as good or better than what the US has as standard team.

yellowbritches
Jul. 5, 2012, 12:17 AM
Ouch!!! Since DW figured out I'm off my meds I will tell you my reality...

I got this 4* Lippazaner that is sadly stuck with a guy who can't get his ass out of the way of a pole. Yet come the fall Sterling and I will be running FENCE or Jumping Branch BN...no, even better, Southern 8s BN long format. After completing an amazing xc round I get approached by BNT(R) who says "Wow. That guy is amazing given how you rode him". I of course say thank you, and the BNR(T) says, "You know, we've been looking for that wasted quality horse in the LL and it seems we found one. Would you be willing to let Becky/Sinead/Colleen/Will train Sterling to run WEG then the Olympics?"

Of course I am thrilled since I knew he was being wasted with me. "Yes, Yes Yes" I reply and add "can I get some pokey LL horse to haul my sorry ass around BN for few years?"

That is how your comment sounded. If there are quality horses packing LL riders around I don't see many eventing scouts checking them out and making that approach.
That's why I hate saying that and why "wasted" is in quotes. I think people have the right ride their own horses, whether they could be the next big thing or old Betsy from the back pasture. I hate, hate, HATE saying that. But their is a culture here, vs in Europe, that if you own a nice horse you sure as hell aren't going to let someone else ride it. In Europe, people seem to think "I have this nice horse! I should put a good jockey on it!" Here, it tends often to be "I have a nice horse! I sure as hell am not going to let someone else ride it and see just how nice it could be."

It's a tricky thing. And one I always hate bringing up, for this very reason. I don't think horses are really "wasted" because their ammy owners want to ride them, but because we don't have an "owner" culture here, a lot of quality horse flesh does not get matched up with riders who can develop them to their full potential.

Does that make sense without making me sound like a horrible person? :(

FitToBeTied
Jul. 5, 2012, 12:20 AM
I'd say one of the reasons we are not number 1 is that in the US eventing is a minor, minor sport. The only horse sport that garners any attention is racing and that is only during the triple crown and breeders cup.

Blugal
Jul. 5, 2012, 01:51 AM
yellowbritches,
I knew exactly what you meant! Anyone who is willing to pay for their horse "deserves" to ride their own horse. It is not a waste.

It's just that some (green with jealousy??) riders think they would do better with the horse - they are the ones who say it is "wasted."

Often these riders would also like someone else to foot the bill even if they did acquire this "wasted" horse.

But if the shoe were on the other foot... and someone said "Boyd Martin should be riding that horse instead of you, who got it up to 3* level" there would be hell to pay, wouldn't there? ;)

JER
Jul. 5, 2012, 01:52 AM
I'd say one of the reasons we are not number 1 is that in the US eventing is a minor, minor sport.

That's no excuse. The US does quite well on the world stage in other 'minor sports', but almost always when there's a good training program in place to bring talented, hard-working youngsters along in the sport.

Take archery, for example. The US men's team is world #1 going into the Olympics; the women are #9 but just won the World Cup final. These successes are no accident, they're due to a good national team program and effective leadership.

USA Archery on solid footing (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765585365/USA-Archery-on-solid-footing-with-Denise-Parker-at-helm.html?pg=all)

As for comparing riders to swimmers, it doesn't really hold water. A top rider needs to know horses, and to know horses, you really do have to live horses. Like tuppysmom says, it's spending your waking hours immersed in horses and the sport.

Gnep
Jul. 5, 2012, 01:57 AM
That's why I hate saying that and why "wasted" is in quotes. I think people have the right ride their own horses, whether they could be the next big thing or old Betsy from the back pasture. I hate, hate, HATE saying that. But their is a culture here, vs in Europe, that if you own a nice horse you sure as hell aren't going to let someone else ride it. In Europe, people seem to think "I have this nice horse! I should put a good jockey on it!" Here, it tends often to be "I have a nice horse! I sure as hell am not going to let someone else ride it and see just how nice it could be."

It's a tricky thing. And one I always hate bringing up, for this very reason. I don't think horses are really "wasted" because their ammy owners want to ride them, but because we don't have an "owner" culture here, a lot of quality horse flesh does not get matched up with riders who can develop them to their full potential.

Does that make sense without making me sound like a horrible person? :(

That makes you bad, bad, very bad. You should be banned from the BB and Eventing till hell freezes over, period and no adult beverage during that period.
Basta.
We have about 10 riders in the US that are or are hovering around the NT.
There are about 50 or 100 hundred that are equally good, who knows even better
Naturally most of them depend on owners to get good flesh under the saddle. I you have a willing owner and his/her horse makes the NT, even at a second class Event as PanAm, what ya think the owner feels, got deep pockets, NT, that is a taste, sounds good, my horse made the NT, something to pound the chest and to want more.
We have so many younger first class riders, just knocking on the door, depending on owners to make the next step. It is not just the riders that need that pat on the shoulders, the owners, too, so that they are willing to open their pockets for the next step.

Whats name of the young Lady that flipped and killed a horse at Rolex, she has done very well, why did she not go to the PanAm, AT went to the Olympics.
Or Tuppys DD, or any other of the great younger riders, promote them, let them wear the Coat, sponsors love that Coat.

Anybody think that James and Gustavo would tear the world apart, no.
You got a very talented rider, with a very good horse, the rider needs a boost, the owner needs a boost, future owners need a boost, wise choise to send him to the PanAm, they did the job, now lets see.
Thats what they do across the pond with the Nation Coups, have an anker and than give the talents a chance and give owners something to be proud of, a little taste.

Weatherford
Jul. 5, 2012, 06:40 AM
I have to say that most of the horses I saw at competitions/worked with/and rode in the UK and Ireland were much nicer than the horses I see here. Plus the riders were unbelievable as young teens...quality all around.


Agree!!

And it is MUCH less expensive to breed and start horses here - even sending them out to a pro to start right is less expensive. And with moderate weather year round, they can live out and be horses and gain all that crazy experience that Irish horses gain in farmers' fields! :lol:

So, you can buy prospects at the Irish sales for anywhere from 2-5K Euros (or even less in this market!). The better horses might run anywhere up to 15K or so - and the top of the line at the Irish Eventing Sale last year went for 27K, if I remember correctly. But, any way you look at it, a young horse is far cheaper here (even with shipping) than in the US.

And you can buy "greenies" that are going "Novice" that is really the equivalent to US PRELIMINARY (1.10 meters)! So, in many ways, it makes sense to come here to buy. A friend sold a nice horse that was going 1.10 eventing at a sale last year for e, 2,500 - less than she paid her it. She ran out of room in the barn, needed some cash, wanted to support a benefit auction, and this horse wasn't a world-beater - just a solid horse. (She originally bought a started that horse that should have won Gold - so she knows world beaters.) (Remember also, Kilrodan Abbott was not considered good enough to go ****....)

These horses are here waiting to be found.

There is no way you could breed and take a young horse to 1.1m eventing in the US, then turn around and sell it that little money. Just not fiscally possible.

But, of course, I've gone off track. We need more "one horse wonders" and we need more riders who take the time to develop a partnership with their horses.

By the way, Alison Springer bought Arthur as a 5 yr old and has brought him along (and done a great job.) ;)

JP60
Jul. 5, 2012, 08:50 AM
Does that make sense without making me sound like a horrible person? :(
Not at all and having the benefit of reading later posts (gnep drives it home) I do get what you are saying.

I've not lived this sport or the horse life for decades so it is hard to understand all of what you and gnep and others are saying. While my post was meant for some humor, the underlying question is, if there are horses out there, are there people also out there evaluating observing potential "one offs" that may be "wasted"?

I liken it to the scouts in baseball et al, that go into the streets, the LL ball parks or the dirt track and try looking for the next Jordan, A-Rod, or Gordon. From what I read in gnep's post, EU (Germany) does something like that and when they see it (horse or rider) then they work them into the system. If we are not doing that then I have to agree with gnep that any current US rider would place low in EU shows.

This owner, if approached with the previous comments, "Hey that is one super horse, can we train him for the top" would put a serious consideration to the idea. I'd love to support a ULR and it would thrill me to see Sterling run along side the greats (Comet and Goose in my book). However, he is my only horse and I don't have deep pockets. Do I give up my opportunity to ride, take one for the gipper so someone else gets the glory? We don't know till asked, and *that* question will not be asked in this country unless TPTB start going to shows and scouting whats there.

So, not a bad person :winkgrin: However, could we maybe use the term "under-utilized". Wasted is just...provincial :lol:

madamlb
Jul. 5, 2012, 09:07 AM
Well, I'm an Aussie and I think I have a pretty good idea why traditionally we have done well in eventing. Horse riding in Australia *traditionally* is not something that was just for the rich, it was for country people. You'd be given a thoroughbred off the track, maybe a few, they'd be old fashioned stayer types, uphill with good paces, and you'd work on them. You'd work cattle, you'd gallop around the bush and jump anything that stood still. Then maybe you'd head off to pony club and learn to ride 'properly' but pony club wasn't elitist, it was much more of a country kind of club with a canteen run by the mums and the kids falling off left right and centre, bouncing a bit then hopping back on again. It's how I grew up riding, though I'm a wimp and went to dressage instead.

This doesn't make for elegant riders. But it does make for tough riders. And it's this tradition that secured the Australian Olympic gold in the 50s, it's this tradition that saw a little station bred stock horse like Ringwauld Jaguar and a sheep farmer like Sonia Johnson take home a silver in Beijing.

Of course, it's changed now. The sport has been tightened up by the Europeans there is much less emphasis on roads and tracks and steeple chase and the Germans have improved tenfold, the horses have strayed from that old school thoroughbred type and there are more warmbloods, it's harder to get good thoroughbreds now, and Australian riders- for better or worse- have wizened up to European standards and discipline and on a grass roots level I think there has been a bit of a swing away from the country tradition to more of a formal riding and wealthier backgrounds. Not completely, but it is different.

Go to youtube and watch videos of the 1989 Melbourne 3DE and watch the lunatics of riders like Heath Ryan, Andrew Hoy and Gordon Bishop. That's where Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton cut their teeth, and I think that's the source of the Aussie/Kiwi grit.

The US has a phenomenal team for London, I think much better than the Australian team, the only Australian riders I'm excited about are Chris Burton and possibly Shane Rose. The Kiwi team looks good though.

yellowbritches
Jul. 5, 2012, 12:02 PM
I've not lived this sport or the horse life for decades so it is hard to understand all of what you and gnep and others are saying. While my post was meant for some humor, the underlying question is, if there are horses out there, are there people also out there evaluating observing potential "one offs" that may be "wasted"?
Not anymore. Way back in the day, if a nice horse was spotted, THE Team would approach the owner to use it or buy it. This was back in the days of the team all staying together at Gladstone, etc. It also meant that if an up and comer had a nice horse that was riding with the team, and another rider needed a horse, they got your horse. This was true, I believe, for both show jumping and eventing (if you go back and look at the history, there were a lot of horses on both teams that did very well with several team riders....and a few that served double duty. I believe Snowbound evented with the team, but also did VERY well internationally in show jumping).

That being said, I am sure their are owners out there who would love to hear how talented their horse is, but the question often would be, could they/would they fund it? And if not, how do we get THAT horse with a rider to develop it when neither the owner or the rider is capable? Also, I do know there are PLENTY of owners out there with fabulous horses- "under utilized" horses- who will say, outright, that they don't want to watch someone ride their horse.


However, could we maybe use the term "under-utilized". Wasted is just...provincial
Noted. :D I do hate saying "wasted" but you know there are people out there thinking it ("That horse is going to waste!").

Napoles
Jul. 5, 2012, 12:30 PM
Go to youtube and watch videos of the 1989 Melbourne 3DE and watch the lunatics of riders like Heath Ryan, Andrew Hoy and Gordon Bishop. That's where Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton cut their teeth, and I think that's the source of the Aussie/Kiwi grit.

The US has a phenomenal team for London, I think much better than the Australian team, the only Australian riders I'm excited about are Chris Burton and possibly Shane Rose. The Kiwi team looks good though.

But Andrew Hoy IS on the Aussie Team? :confused: And Lucinda, Clayton AND Shane Rose managed to bring home silver from Beijing?

hey101
Jul. 6, 2012, 07:34 PM
Agree!!

And it is MUCH less expensive to breed and start horses here
...

So, you can buy prospects at the Irish sales for anywhere from 2-5K Euros (or even less in this market!).

People say this all the time, but I just do not see how it can be possible. I've been in Europe several times over the past year (UK, France, Italy), and EVERYTHING is more expensive than in the US- fuel, food, housing, horse gear. I didn't check out competition prices, boarding, or training, but I just don't see how raising a horse in Europe can be cheaper with gas at ~$6/gallon.

I don't doubt that the overall quality of horseflesh is superior in Europe (from long-standing breeding programs), or that the training programs for up-and-coming riders is better and more easily accessible (with the "closeness" of the continent), but I really fail to see how it can be cheaper.

merrygoround
Jul. 6, 2012, 09:31 PM
Because we've stopped being all around horsemen (like Bruce and Jimmy) who tried all the disciplines and have become a nation of eventers who are specialists. The Brits have a long history of foxhunting. The Kiwis and Aussies gallop across the fields jumping whatever is in front of them, (wire even), while our guys opt to polish their skills in rings and highly controlled environments. Diffetent outlooks.

Absolutely. I remember being out fox hunting years ago, and this absolute maniac in a hunt staff jacket was roaring through he wooded hillside across from us. At my question , a member turned looked, and said " Oh, that's just Ralph, he's whipping in today.
Better yet, Ralph (Hill) was on his beloved "Sarge" (Sergeant Gilbert), his top event horse.
And yes, both Ralph and Bruce timber raced.

tuppysmom
Jul. 6, 2012, 11:16 PM
FEI level entry fees are about $300 including stabling, national level events are under $40.

And you may only have to drive 3 1/2 hours to get to the best FEI events.

Compare to US entry fees at FEI at nearing $900, and national level events at $400.

And you may have to drive from 18 hours to 4 days to get to the best FEI events.

And,in EU, you can choose from multiple events per week.

hey101
Jul. 7, 2012, 01:12 PM
tuppysmom- Thanks for the examples on competition fees in EU. Frankly though, I do not see how those costs can be self-sustaining in the long run. I know your daughter is in Germany right now- has she commented on how generally much more expensive everything else is? It had been a number of years since I'd been in Europe before I started going back last fall, and I was genuinely shocked at how pricey everything was.

If fuel is 60-70% more expensive, that means higher costs for everything- grain, hay, land (to raise horses and hold competitions), transportation and on and on ad nauseum.

With unemployment and economic uncertainty as bad in the EU as it is here, and COL generally higher in Europe, it seems counter-intuitive to me that the costs to raise and compete luxury animals are somehow lower in Europe than here.

I do not know all the reasons why the Europeans are better than the Americans, but I definitely don't think that a lower total cost to raise horses is one of the factors... perhaps it would be more accurate to say on a cost-equivalent basis, the Europeans are raising MUCH BETTER horses than Americans, but the fact remains the costs are HIGH across the board and only getting higher.

Xanthoria
Jul. 7, 2012, 01:26 PM
hey101, if you don't have as far to go (to competition, get feed etc) then fuel costs aren't as much of a factor. In Europe everything's closer.

I found everything horse-related in the US to be more expensive when I moved here from the UK. Tack, good quality shoeing, feed, riding gear - all $$$ compared to the UK at least. In the UK you can even buy cheap horse gear at the supermarket - loads more people ride so there isn't think horse = $$$$ mentality as there is in the US, and if you're not wearing the "in" gear or riding on the "in" tack, nobody cares.

US horse shows are all about the fancy flowers, the paid grooms, paying for services like braiding that are mostly DIY in other countries, and who has the best this and that, it seems!

Conversely, horse shows at the lower levels are much more often run by volunteers in the UK, instead of as a profit making venture. People like to give back to the sport - it's more a way of life and social event than anything. This keeps costs down and makes it more accessible to all.

deltawave
Jul. 7, 2012, 01:51 PM
US horse shows are all about the fancy flowers, the paid grooms, paying for services like braiding that are mostly DIY in other countries, and who has the best this and that, it seems!

Disagree--not among eventers.

Ajierene
Jul. 7, 2012, 02:52 PM
That being said, I am sure their are owners out there who would love to hear how talented their horse is, but the question often would be, could they/would they fund it? And if not, how do we get THAT horse with a rider to develop it when neither the owner or the rider is capable? Also, I do know there are PLENTY of owners out there with fabulous horses- "under utilized" horses- who will say, outright, that they don't want to watch someone ride their horse.

This is a sticking point for me, and maybe it is part of something about being American. If someone approached me and said my horse is Olympic material and I was agreeable to whoever was selected to ride the horse, etc. I would say yes to having them ride and compete....but to fund it? No, I would not.

My opinion is that you came to me wanting to take my ride away from me and yes, I want to ride also. So, no, I am not going to give up my ride AND pay you money so you can get a name for yourself and hopefully get more clients and grow your business.

If I had a horse and I was specifically looking for someone to ride it, then, yes, I would fund the riding. If someone wanted to ride my horse, no.

A friend of my races spec Miatas and has sponsors. He had a whole powerpoint presentation on what you got for sponsoring him. Where your decal will be and how often it is expected to be seen in the winner's circle, how often he will be at your business location with the car, etc. He does not have private sponsors except a few friends of his dad.

That is similar to the Catherine Haddad clinic I went to. Stubben is a sponsor of hers so they were there with the saddle she designed, among others. A horse van company was there and as we were getting ready, she stepped over the salesman to extoll the virtues of a a horse van (and this horse van) over a truck and trailer. So, yes, those sponsors get something. Call me a consummate businesswoman - but what would my return of investment be to sponsor Boyd or Phillip or Karen and pay them to ride my horse in the Olympics?

Yep, for most people in my circle, unless you are friends with the person, we want a return on investment.

Xanthoria
Jul. 7, 2012, 04:45 PM
Disagree--not among eventers.

I haven't been to all the shows, but the ones I've seen have been that way when comparing UK to US. *shrug*

Willesdon
Jul. 7, 2012, 08:30 PM
Another thought: Mums. I regularly sit and watch 300 riders come past on a BE90 or BE100 course (as in 90 or 100 cm high) and most young competitors seem to walk the course with their mother - who has been there, done that and now expects her offspring to perform miracles on the TB purchased for £300 from the Ascot sales or a hairy pony that will teach all that which Mum can not. A land of amateurs. And try to find a Mother paying for something their child can do for themselves!

So, hairy ponies and skinflint mothers are simply missing in the USA?

vineyridge
Jul. 7, 2012, 09:56 PM
I seem to recall someone telling the story of how their hunt lent a hairy pony to a child--a very young child--to hunt and that the child was WFP. Now given the generations of horsiness in his family, I sort of question the story. But here most hunts don't have hairy ponies to lend, are god awful expensive to get involved with, and are scarce as hen's teeth except in a very few places.

I think Pony Club was built around the hairy pony/skinflint mum prototype. And here, most mums don't have a horse background. Where they do, the kids are likely to ride. In my family, I rode, my sister rode, her child rode, and now her granddaughter is riding. It's a family tradition. But it's expensive and a pure luxury over here, and the backyard hairy pony hasn't a snowball's chance in hell in most competitions, which are horse beauty contests.

JER
Jul. 7, 2012, 10:12 PM
So, hairy ponies and skinflint mothers are simply missing in the USA?

When I was at SoPi 1 this year with my mares, I inquired about the lack of ponies and kids.

The answer: 'This HT is too expensive for those kids.'

The parking areas were full of expensive, multi-horse trailers and new trucks, many of which seemed to be owned by adults who had one horse. While there's nothing at all wrong with this variety of rider, I feel very strongly that something is seriously wrong with the sport and its future if the kids on ponies are left out.

Drvmb1ggl3
Jul. 7, 2012, 11:54 PM
People say this all the time, but I just do not see how it can be possible. I've been in Europe several times over the past year (UK, France, Italy), and EVERYTHING is more expensive than in the US- fuel, food, housing, horse gear. I didn't check out competition prices, boarding, or training, but I just don't see how raising a horse in Europe can be cheaper with gas at ~$6/gallon.

I don't doubt that the overall quality of horseflesh is superior in Europe (from long-standing breeding programs), or that the training programs for up-and-coming riders is better and more easily accessible (with the "closeness" of the continent), but I really fail to see how it can be cheaper.

You can own and raise horses cheaper in the US. People always make the mistake of comparing "English" riding/breeding in the US to that in Europe. What you should compare it to is the QH/Western crowd, which is more "backyard". That is a more accurate comparison, esp with regards to the Irish/British way of doing things where lots of people have a horse or two in the field out back, maybe have a small stable they built. No $500-700/month for a barn with an indoor, two manicured outdoor rings, and a staff of Mexicans feeding and mucking out your horse twice a day.
Like I said, look at the Western stuff, while there is some of high end barn stuff, most people are doing it more DIY and cheaper. That's how the Europeans are doing it.

For breeding, well you put you mare in the horsebox and take her a county away and pay €250-500 to have her livecovered and then you feck her out in a field for 11 months and forget about her. Read the SH breeding forum and seems like you can't breed a horse in the US without having several vets, UPS and a $1500 stud fee involved, and that's for starters. You could have bred to Master Imp (the Storm Cat of eventing breeding) for €500. I see people standing stallions on the SH forum with stud fees of $1500+, that have neither produced anything nor performed to any great standard themselves. But someone gets it in their mind that that's the going rate, and worse still, people pay it. Like WTF? People saying they have $15k into a horse by the time it is a 3yo, and that's what they need to charge.... hey, not the buyer's fault you are over spending.

But the single biggest problem, to all the Olympic disciplines, is the show hunter stuff. If the sheer amount of resources, be it money, time wasted on teaching that kind of riding, and the sheer horseflesh wasted (I've seen imported horses that were probably good enough to go GP showjumping, have their nuts cut off and spend their life jumping 3'-3'6" courses), were devoted to the Olympic disciplines, the US would be a fairly formidable.

The foxhunting thing is very relevant, esp when it comes to eventing, for both horses and riders produced. But foxhunting in the US is often quite different that what you find on the other side of the pond. Look at some Youtube videos of Irish hunting, you'll see loads of kids on ponies, many wearing funky clothes and tack. American foxhunting seems to be a lot more formal, people getting all caught up on wearing the "proper" attire and the proper "etiquette". Often the people that are most hung up on all this formality are not even galloping and jumping, they doing something called "hilltopping". Like WTF? Who cares what you are wearing, the point is to go out and gallop after dogs and jump anything that gets in your way. That's what makes horsemen, and horses.

BaroquePony
Jul. 8, 2012, 12:42 AM
There are a number of reasons, but I think the biggest one is our "culture", if one could call it that.

Gnep
Jul. 8, 2012, 12:52 AM
Disagree--not among eventers.

My love I sadly have to disagree with you, even that it breakes my heart and I will have to cry my self to sleep to night.

But been on both sides, rider and builder, the demands of creating a suburban shopping mall satisfaction for the riders are very much part of the cost increas. And it grows and grows.

Spoiled, so spoiled

JER
Jul. 8, 2012, 01:20 AM
But the single biggest problem, to all the Olympic disciplines, is the show hunter stuff. If the sheer amount of resources, be it money, time wasted on teaching that kind of riding, and the sheer horseflesh wasted (I've seen imported horses that were probably good enough to go GP showjumping, have their nuts cut off and spend their life jumping 3'-3'6" courses), were devoted to the Olympic disciplines, the US would be a fairly formidable.

Agreed.

Last year, there was a lawsuit involving an unhappy horse mom who paid 100K for a pony that allegedly didn't do clean lead changes. There were other shenanigans, like that the pony was a roan that had been dyed bay to try to score better with the judges, but the crux of the suit was that the pony didn't do clean lead changes with the owner's daughter. The showmom claimed in the court docs that you can't win ribbons if the pony doesn't do clean changes.

Sadly, that last part is true. I say 'sadly' because WTF does expecting miraculous clean auto changes on a pony cantering around teeny tiny hunter course have to do with learning how to ride? But US parents are willing to fork out 100K for this privilege.

In Ireland, the kids on small ponies are doing this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5JQYae9XYU). And so are the kids in the UK and Germany and France and Holland and NZ.

The hunter pageant doesn't cater to athletic, competitive, hands-on, I'll-fix-it-myself kids. Most kids start out in this discipline, and you wonder how many get turned off by it. The lucky ones might find their way to eventing or Pony Club but not every area of the US has these activities.

Gnep
Jul. 8, 2012, 01:51 AM
Another thought: Mums. I regularly sit and watch 300 riders come past on a BE90 or BE100 course (as in 90 or 100 cm high) and most young competitors seem to walk the course with their mother - who has been there, done that and now expects her offspring to perform miracles on the TB purchased for £300 from the Ascot sales or a hairy pony that will teach all that which Mum can not. A land of amateurs. And try to find a Mother paying for something their child can do for themselves!

So, hairy ponies and skinflint mothers are simply missing in the USA?

You could not be more right.
When I started giving riding lessons in the US, one of the mothers came to me and told me that it is very much the custom in the US that the instructor travels to the shows to coach.
I considered that as rather funny. I had never had a coach showing.
Well I did it, its beer money, but it was absolutely silly, dumbest thing I have ever done in my live and got even payed for.

Its baby sitting.

I still shake my head, watching coaches with their, what ever you call it, walk course and just read of the teleprompter, the 20. time to the same people at the same class, over and over again, each year, each show.

I have to admire them for this useless, boring excersise. I ran out of ideas of explaining the same jump over and over again after 1 year, tape recorder.

It is a ritual

hey101
Jul. 8, 2012, 02:06 AM
Drvmb1ggl3, I love your post - it resonates strongly with me and makes total sense. Thank you.

I identify with the skinflint mom thing too. A timely and personal example: my mare cut her knees up 10 days ago when she cast herself and it was ~just~ on the edge of what I'd take care of myself/ ie did it need stitches. But, I called my vet and she just so happened to be ON SITE at my barn, so what the hey. She came over and she also dithered on stitches, but ended up puting four stitches in, some dex, less than 1 hr of work. Yesterday I got a bill for $450!!!! Including a $100 vet call fee. I was :mad::mad::mad:. She told me she'd be by to take the stitches out, but I told her (nicely, I thought) no thanks, I'm more than capable of taking them out myself (four quick snips and done- hello, why do you need to come and do that?) and I didn't want to pay another vet call fee @ $100 a pop. She is now miffed at me.

hey101
Jul. 8, 2012, 02:14 AM
You could not be more right.
When I started giving riding lessons in the US, one of the mothers came to me and told me that it is very much the custom in the US that the instructor travels to the shows to coach.
I considered that as rather funny. I had never had a coach showing.
Well I did it, its beer money, but it was absolutely silly, dumbest thing I have ever done in my live and got even payed for.

Its baby sitting.

I still shake my head, watching coaches with their, what ever you call it, walk course and just read of the teleprompter, the 20. time to the same people at the same class, over and over again, each year, each show.

I have to admire them for this useless, boring excersise. I ran out of ideas of explaining the same jump over and over again after 1 year, tape recorder.

It is a ritual

:D
When I first moved to CA, I started riding with someone who then explained to me when I showed, that I'd be splitting her trailering/ hotel room/ fees amongst her clientele, and I looked at her and said, "why on earth would you come to the show with me and why on EARTH would I pay for YOUR showing expenses?" That didn't go down well :lol:.

I still took lessons from her but I showed (and organized/ trailered) to shows I wanted to go to on my own dime/ schedule. And didn't consult with her about it. Granted, only up to Novice , and maybe for prelim-and-above levels I'd approach it much differently, but ferchristsakes. If I cant ride a horse around a Novice level course by myself after years and years of lessons, WTF am I even doing out there?!!

lstevenson
Jul. 8, 2012, 02:22 AM
But the single biggest problem, to all the Olympic disciplines, is the show hunter stuff. If the sheer amount of resources, be it money, time wasted on teaching that kind of riding, and the sheer horseflesh wasted (I've seen imported horses that were probably good enough to go GP showjumping, have their nuts cut off and spend their life jumping 3'-3'6" courses), were devoted to the Olympic disciplines, the US would be a fairly formidable.


This probably won't be a popular theory on this board, but it's true....




Last year, there was a lawsuit involving an unhappy horse mom who paid 100K for a pony that allegedly didn't do clean lead changes. There were other shenanigans, like that the pony was a roan that had been dyed bay to try to score better with the judges, but the crux of the suit was that the pony didn't do clean lead changes with the owner's daughter. The showmom claimed in the court docs that you can't win ribbons if the pony doesn't do clean changes.

Sadly, that last part is true. I say 'sadly' because WTF does expecting miraculous clean auto changes on a pony cantering around teeny tiny hunter course have to do with learning how to ride? But US parents are willing to fork out 100K for this privilege.

In Ireland, the kids on small ponies are doing this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5JQYae9XYU). And so are the kids in the UK and Germany and France and Holland and NZ.

The hunter pageant doesn't cater to athletic, competitive, hands-on, I'll-fix-it-myself kids. Most kids start out in this discipline, and you wonder how many get turned off by it. The lucky ones might find their way to eventing or Pony Club but not every area of the US has these activities.


:yes:



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/My.Virtual.Eventing.Coach)

snoopy
Jul. 8, 2012, 03:53 AM
This probably won't be a popular theory on this board, but it's true....






:yes:



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/My.Virtual.Eventing.Coach)





I could not agree more!

Robby Johnson
Jul. 9, 2012, 11:12 AM
In Ireland, the kids on small ponies are doing this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5JQYae9XYU). And so are the kids in the UK and Germany and France and Holland and NZ.



Wow! Thanks for sharing!

Napoles
Jul. 9, 2012, 01:01 PM
Are there not any FEI pony Showjumping, Dressage and Eventing classes in the US?
It's big business over here and the standard is very, VERY high.

Jealoushe
Jul. 9, 2012, 01:27 PM
No there is not. I know that was a big surprise for me when I was working in UK...I was sooooo peeved I never got to do anything like that because I had such a super pony that would have excelled.

The young kids and ponies are just incredible in Europe.

JER
Jul. 9, 2012, 02:01 PM
Website for the upcoming FEI Pony Europeans: Europoney 2012 (http://www.europoney2012.com/gb/).

There's usually some good videos posted and I'd also be very interested in the 'Breeding Village' which has sales, in-hand classes and presentations.

Showjumping (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oen4cNfeXBE) from the 2011 champs.

Dressage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqIL0MG58G4)

FEI 2* pony eventing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdhA9L-S0vM)

US Pony Jumper Finals 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6-0ay5hbCY)

The US has some catching up to do.

Carried Away
Jul. 9, 2012, 02:42 PM
"Hunter pageant" is a great way to put it, complete with trainer screaming at kid from the rail. How about the kids who's hunters get ridden by the trainer 5x a week and the kids just show up to the horse show and get on for the class after the horses have been lunged to death? Kids have to figure out how to do it themselves without all the hand-holding going on.

Pony Club used to be a great example of this, the kids were responsible for learning the material for ratings and being able to talk about & explain the reasons things are done a certain way. No parents were allowed in the barns at rallies either, which us kids loved!

Xanthoria
Jul. 10, 2012, 06:22 PM
Well, as the title says.....why are we not the top country for eventing?

Two of our top riders are from Australia....? Yes, they are Americans NOW....but they didnt come here to learn to ride...

Our best horses arent American as well?

Why?

Looking at the dressage team and we have just one born/bred American:

Steffen Peters riding Ravel (German who moved to the US at age 20 riding an imported Dutch horse)

Tina Konyot riding Calecto V (American riding an imported Danish horse)

Jan Ebeling riding Rafalca (German who moved to the US at age 26 riding an imported Oldenburg)

Gnep
Jul. 10, 2012, 11:15 PM
Website for the upcoming FEI Pony Europeans: Europoney 2012 (http://www.europoney2012.com/gb/).

There's usually some good videos posted and I'd also be very interested in the 'Breeding Village' which has sales, in-hand classes and presentations.

Showjumping (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oen4cNfeXBE) from the 2011 champs.

Dressage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqIL0MG58G4)

FEI 2* pony eventing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdhA9L-S0vM)

US Pony Jumper Finals 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6-0ay5hbCY)

The US has some catching up to do.

And at what age are they doing that, as much as I remember they age out by 16 and than up grade to large horses, with all those skills, double corners, jumps in the water, turns and twists, the feeling for speed.
The dressage, superb, they allready know the discipline of dressage, the skills, how to ride and present it.
Same for stadium, they know strides and see strides.

They come with all the tools, honed to perfection and have a system that will allow them to succeed at the next level.
It is not the SF, or the money, it is the system and organisation and the moment they click, somebody understand it and puts it together, bingo.
That is what happened in Germany, 2 guys that understand how to put the system, the talent it breeds and the organisation together and bingo.
The opposition one can see in Dressage, stadium is par.

The US had its glory days when they had a very tight operation, which created some very good riders with very good horses. A lot of the riders spent time in Europe, getting measured.
Rolex has become one of many, one can be based in Europe and ride 4, against the best of the world. Rolex used to be one of 3, it lost its importance. US riders measured at their performance at the Rolex, are not measured against the cream of the world.
If Europeans show up US riders, well, are second, at best.

If you want to be best, you have to measure yourself against the best, on a very regular basis. You only improve if the competition kiks your sorry ass on a regular base.

JER
Jul. 12, 2012, 05:40 PM
This article presents -- unintentionally, it would seem -- a number of reasons why Americans fall short of top-tier.

How to survive a European horse shopping trip (http://chronofhorse.com/article/how-survive-european-horse-shopping-trip)

I realize it's supposed to be light-hearted but mostly I found it appalling, with statements like these:


But I am horrified. I am spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on horses and am lunching where I would not normally visit a restroom?


I see a horse under dim outdoor lights at 10 p.m. No one seems to find this unusual. The sellers line up cars and turn on the high beams but may as well pull out flashlights. I say, “Can’t we just do this tomorrow?” but am ignored. I am used to having my horses groomed and prepared in a beautiful indoor arena during normal business hours. Forget it.

and then also this:


Most barns are “backyard” types, yet the horses are of very high quality.

Xanthoria
Jul. 12, 2012, 05:53 PM
Clearly written by a person with a mint condition 2012 passport.

"I don’t think I have ever worked this hard, and then we have to make the decisions."

Really? Someone drives her around Europe to look at horses and that's the hardest she's ever "worked"?

I know it's meant to be humorous but oy vey... what a muppet!

ACMEeventing
Jul. 12, 2012, 08:21 PM
Thank goodness she could recover from the cucumber sandwiches in her chalet. Good heavens.

Sure am glad I'm not a 1%er. The horror.

JP60
Jul. 13, 2012, 11:38 AM
This article presents -- unintentionally, it would seem -- a number of reasons why Americans fall short of top-tier.

How to survive a European horse shopping trip (http://chronofhorse.com/article/how-survive-european-horse-shopping-trip)

I realize it's supposed to be light-hearted but mostly I found it appalling, with statements like ...


Appalling yes, but sad that this would be given a "humor" tag when "Pretentious", "Condescending" or "Ulgy American" would work better. Having been over to Europe a number of times on vacation I've enjoyed both the land and the people, seeing most times the better part of humanity.

Hard work? I am sorry, but I think her butt did more work the her brain.

I'd say more, but this article left a bad taste in my brain and I want to get it out.:mad: