I guess I'm a turd...
[QUOTE]I guess I think that you gotta dance with the one who brung ya.
....meaning, the Ammy Eventer that enables the ULR's with our lesson money, training dollars, we are the spectators, we are the volunteers, we are the lower level riders competing and paying entries keeping the events open and being held so that the courses can be built for the ULR's. So I guess I didn't hear where we fit in this grand scheme, or it wasn't clear to me. Am I out of step? Am I the turd in the punchbowl? [QUOTE]
I am an eventing LLR (lower level rider). At 57, I am certain I always will be, and that's great!
At the risk of becoming another turd in the punchbowl, I must say I think Retread made a good point - just where is the mention of ammy involvement? Aren't they a necessary part of holding a recognized horse trial? They are the volunteers, spectators, and fund the ULRs by spending hundreds of dollars for (often crowded) weekend clinics, as well as taking regular lessons, and buying books and video clips. I don't think recognizing the contributions and value of the LLRs will give us ideas above our station - we know our place, er, limitations, though we may aspire to overcome them.
I spent 40 years riding/training hunters, with a few years at the top levels. The h/j base - the 2'6 and 3 ft-ers - generally know that they are crucial to the existence and funding of the big horse shows, although omg do the h/j BNRs flame these folks for taking up time and space in the AA horse show rings. But the LLRs know that they are the people who make up the majority of the horse show competitors - the huge group from which a lucky few get to move UP to the big time.
Where do some people think all these spectators are going to come from, if not the people who are interested in the sport and want to watch and learn from the "best of the best?" And who bring their friends and family (who perhaps ride in other disciplines) to see what they love to do? And who show up at the couple of unrecog HTs at Fair Hill and Plantation each year - coz it's so cool to ride there? It's us. And even though my 6 yr old TB and I are just finishing a year at Beg. Novice it was a thrill to ride by those HUGE obstacles at Plantation, and it made me determined to actually attend the event to see riders jump those fences some day.
I appreciate your perspective.
We do need to be prioritized with anything new or different that promises to "fix" the sport. I do feel this is important. The folks that support all these new initiatives are going to come from the same old pool. We need to be recognized, appreciated, respected, prioritized and treated like the stakeholders we truly are. The spectators are us. The supporters are us. The sponsors are US. It all comes from what WE give the sport.
Hear, hear, A.Fox!
But Retread, they (spectators, supporters, sponsors) don't HAVE to be. I think that's MP's point and it certainly was mine. Supporters, absolutely - as riders and as volunteers - because you WANT to be, not because the event will cease to be if you don't. But spectators? With local advertising, building up excitement, a bit of education - NEW people. Maybe one or two who will watch and say "WOW - I want to do that!" - and become NEW owners. At some point, the revolving door through which the same old customers and horses go round and round will stop working and you'll need to find a new door. Advertising - making going to an event/horse trials FUN and INTERESTING and EDUCATIONAL - could show you several new doors. Sponsors? Advertising locally could get local businesses involved. The hotels that competitors stay at; the restaurants where they eat; the gas stations where they fill up those ever-thirsty tanks. Put together an attractive press kit, with numbers and 'what's in it for them' and have someone who can present and market confidently talk to the owners.
It's really NOT rocket science.
LOVE the idea of something ELSE to draw spectators. In the late 80s, Belmont Horse Fair was 'born' - as an effort to attract local (NYC and LI) residents who were NOT 'track people' to Belmont during the race meet. I participated two years and I can show you pictures of THOUSANDS of spectators over an 8 day meet - and I'd bet that more than one had horses in their lives in some way after their experience.
And I didn't read MP's blog as pinpointing only the BIG events - marketing outside our little world works for 1-2 day competitions, too - just on a smaller scale.
I'm not going to go back on the ideas I had posted earlier reflecting the same thought. But, it did get me to thinking a question, What's in it for the Organizer and how concerned are they about the future of Eventing.
Originally Posted by ccoronios
I love the idea of tying a show to a non-horse activity, I love the idea of reaching out to local schools, getting teachers involved (biology -the study of horse anatomy, sports - researching sports outside the "norm", science - Physics of horse riding jumping, I got more) for field studies, but all this takes effort and what motivates an organizer to make their show more "spectator friendly"?
Perhaps this is where NFs like USEA steps in with some way to assist Organizers in looking into these types of options. Help with the research leg work, provide expertise. I know the focus is on bigger shows, but the base is built on the smaller, more local shows. When they can draw in more people, those same people may then consider a travel to Rolex, Fair Hill, Jersey Fresh to experience the big top, even once.
I certainly don't want Eventing to be turned into a circus, but getting local people connected to local shows will take it beyond the show up for 30 minutes and leave syndrome we can get into.
More sponsorship is in it. Since organizing an event is not a money making proposition (at this point) and it is a mammoth task, I don't think any organizer does it other than for love of the sport and so they are likely concerned for its future.
Originally Posted by JP60
Red Hills is clearly doing something right in terms of expanding appeal. Non-horsepeople in that community know all about Red Hills and they attend to spectate (and were excited to tell me all about it). I think this has also led to increased sponsorship since the audience at the competition goes beyond the same riders and their families that attend all the other horse trials and are a limited market. Not everybody can be Rolex or even Fair Hill, but Red Hills from what I know of it is like a lot of other horse trials that run an advanced section.
On the whole "make it pay" thing: I agree with it. My husband's sport of choice gives him the opportunity to get a little extra spending cash to offset its stupidly ridiculous cost (golf), my sport? Nope. I just keep shelling out cash no matter what my score is or what color my ribbon is. I will spend just as much money with the same amount of return as the person who got DQ'd and the person who got a 28.
I've had non-horse people literally laugh at me due to the expense, sweat and tears I pour into my sport and the zero monetary return available. (excluding sponsorship, but you have to get to a certain level for that to even be in the realm of possibility and that takes loads of cash to get there)
I don't think it reduces horsemanship. Jumpers offers prize money for certain classes (even local shows offer this). And yeah you get some asshats in there from time to time, but they show up at every competition regardless if there is a chance to earn money. They rarely win.
On top of that, we have tack rules, bit rules, a dressage phase and much more — it keeps everything in check. Adding a bit of money means I might be able to do another clinic or go to another trial (disclaimer: I've yet to do my first trial, mostly because of expenses; I've done a CT and BN at that ... that won't be a paying level I'm sure lol).
It isn't always about the money until you look at your bank account and you realize you have to go without lessons for the next two months because you need to buy Adequan or want to take that clinic next month. It's an opportunity to help you succeed and get motivation and perhaps move up the levels because you could afford that lesson or clinic or whatever.
Of course getting paying spectators might be difficult. Folks are used to tail gating for things like the Charleston Cup and paying to watch that ... but are they going to pay to was a 3*? Also, your fan base is going to be super limited. All walks of life watch the Kentucky Derby — people who know nothing about horses included. But the audience for Rolex and other events is much more invested in horses, and therefore is smaller. This is likely because racing is easy to understand. Eventing ... the jumping phase is pretty straightforward, but everything else can get lost on someone who doesn't care.
I wish we were in Europe where sport horse events were televised and part of the culture, instead of being a subculture and hardly recognized.
Red Hills sounds interesting, bambam.
I certainly don't wish to leave out anyone in the sport, especially the AA segment who are indeed the biggest supporters. Far from exclusion, I hope to include more people. People who might see an event for the first time and fall in love...as we all did. I think that would create more opportunities for everyone. Thank you for joining in the debate:)
Far Hills races. That's what I was trying to remember. Held at Moorlands Farms. Lots of successful tailgaiting.
Anything with alcohol will be popular (includes tailgating I suppose lol). Have a wine tasting from a local vineyard. Beers from a local brewery, have to keep that small scale though, could get out of control (imagining college kids and solo cups...AKA Harpoon Fest)
Essex used to have terrier races and a very good trade fair. Devon Horse Show has a FABULOUS trade fair. Not just horsey stuff, but country living type vendors.
Prize money: I think the problem with prize money in H/J land is how its tied to the ratings of the shows. I would like to win money. That's why I like TIP. (one reason)
I live in VA. People pay $30 per carload to get dressed up, wear big hats and go to the spring/fall races, gold cup, etc. They pay hundreds of dollars for a tailgate spot along the edge of the course where they do a fair amount of eating and drinking and may or may not actually watch the 5 races. We do the same thing on grand prix day at the Upperville h/j horse show and for the Twilight Jumpers and Polo series. People who know nothing about horses come to all of them in large numbers.
I don't see why something like that couldn't be replicated for eventing. XC day tailgating? Awesome. And way more action than you'd see at any of the races, too, with a horse coming through every 2 minutes.
What can the USEA (or the powers that be) do that would accomplish this? How exactly do you want to be recognized? I'm not asking this to be smart, I'm actually curious what changes you want to see.
Originally Posted by retreadeventer
There is a symbiotic relationship between professionals and amateurs. In this sport we cannot exist without one another. The amateurs are the volunteers and their money does support eventing and professionals. And professional are experts in the sport and in turn teach the amateurs how to compete and enjoy the sport. Take one group away and the other group falls apart.
The big events (dressage, show jumping, and eventing) do have their fair share of non-"horsey" spectators in europe. I will say this, you average one day event and you are lucky to see a few people with their dogs. It is not all big crowds and trade tents all the time. Destination Events are just that...for both competitors and spectators. The rest....I would not expect to have a full car park nor does their infrastructure support it. Most of the peripheral events actually encourage those competing to move on after they have finished competing to make room for the next competitor.
Well I don't know, but to me he sounds like someone this sport needs in this country!
If I was in his area you can bet I would be supporting him!!:yes:
At first glance, I thought his blog was great. As a regular supporter of Red Hills in Tallahassee, I love seeing the crowds...........however, most are not knowledgable horsemen. In fact, my job has been to let the people and kids come pet my horse and talk.............however,I acknowlege ,,,,,, we've gotta start somewhere!
I'm all for the "buy America first"..........it's crazy how everyone thinks the horse overseas (and much more expensive) is worth more than the horse in your state.......or even your area! Give them a chance.............often, it's the rider and training who makes the difference.........not ONLY the breeding (although it's important too)......
Go Team USA!!