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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Bill Moroney Article in this Week's Chronicle

    Did anyone read the article Bill Moroney (USHJA President) wrote in this week's Chronicle?

    Can anyone else read between the lines in this article?

    I don't like what I see on the horizon for us, with USHJA as our leadership!



  2. #2
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    Default

    For those of us who no longer recieve the chronicle can you elaborate?
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  3. #3
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    My copy will not get here until next week (Thanks USPS), so yes please elaborate.



  4. #4
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    Default Everyone needs to read it!

    I am posting this because I think it's important for everyone to read the article. I wish COTH would at least make the Between Rounds free for everyone to read. I suggest that if anyone wants to be heard, to write to the USHJA by using the e-mail giving at the end of the article. I put it in bold face so it will be easy to find.


    Planning The Future Of Our Sport
    September 19, 2008 Issue Email this Article | Print this articleOur columnist, the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association president, seeks your help in shaping the future of the hunter/jumper sport.

    It’s time for everyone to step up to the plate.

    At the U.S. Equestrian Federation mid-year Board of Directors meeting, President David O’Connor directed the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association to take a hard look at our sport from a global vantage point and to make recommendations to the Federation that will direct us into the future.

    First we must determine a philosophy for what and where we want our sport to be in the future. For too many years we’ve been asleep at the wheel, and it’s time for all of us to take responsibility.

    In achieving this goal, we must review all aspects of our industry, keeping the welfare of our horses and participants at the forefront.

    Our community has been hard at work these past four years developing individual parts of the ultimate plan; however, we have many other areas that need our attention.

    In December, the hunter and jumper community will be introduced to the first stage of the Trainers Certification Program. At long last, our community is establishing a pipeline for developing responsible and educated trainers.

    Some benefits of the TCP will be immediately available, such as reduced rates on insurance for professionals, highlighted listings on the USHJA Trainers Directory and a new level of credibility.

    The greatest benefit will come in a few short years, when most trainers will be licensed, and clients will have a database to help them find a trainer who will be best suited to their situation. This service to our clients and potential clients will build confidence and support a level of integrity not always present in our sport.

    Of Mileage And Standards

    The single greatest effort must be to assess, revise and create a new philosophy with regards to our competition calendar. Everyone must understand that being granted a competition license is a privilege, not an entitlement, and the granting of a license is at the sole discretion of the Federation.

    There’s no guarantee of the renewal of a license or to the mileage rule and standards remaining unchanged.

    As a community, I often wonder whether we are in a better position now than we were 20 years ago. Our industry has reached a crisis point due to the increased number of competitions, and this has created the immediate necessity for implementing definitive standards and requirements that go beyond the minimal ones that exist today.

    The mileage rule always seems to be the focal point of conversations in our sport, and the idea is often expressed that without the mileage rule, competitions would be forced to raise their standards due to marketplace competition.

    I believe that mileage is only one part of the much larger puzzle, and we are remiss if we don’t take the time necessary to fully explore all aspects of our sport.

    First, we must develop a philosophy about what we want our sport to be now and in five, 10 and 20 years. In order to reach a consensus on our goal, we must accurately assess our current world to see the trends over the past several years and their effects, both positive and negative.

    Concentration of horses, migration patterns, number of competitions, how the competitions are structured—one, two or several consecutive weeks—concentration of competitions under one licensee and/or managed by one entity/individual, facility maximum capacity and a myriad of other data will be studied.



    We must look at our competition calendar in a geographic sense in that one size will not fit all, and the variables change depending on the time of year. It’s likely that there may be requirements for different levels of competitions depending on where they are located and when they are held. We must make sure that the future calendar provides equestrians with increased opportunities at all levels, both economically and competitively.

    Management And Licensing

    In developing our future plan, we need to determine whether our sport warrants many different management organizations, or whether we want a smaller number of large management organizations, examining the pros and cons of both viewpoints.

    What tangibles will larger management organizations be able to provide our community that smaller managements cannot? And vice versa. We need to make some definitive changes to the process of transferring (selling) licenses.

    While the Federation isn’t involved in the pricing of these transfers, our current system doesn’t provide an avenue for outside application for those dates. Right now, these deals are relatively private transactions between licensee and potential transferee, and the Federation is in no way required to honor any contractual agreements between the parties.

    It may serve our sport better to have a public application system for the licenses that come available for transfer. This system would provide the Federation officials with the opportunity to choose the best applicant from their perspective for the license, ensuring that qualified management is in place.

    Now we need to establish the necessary qualifications to manage the different levels of our competitions. Just as licensed officials and now trainers are certified, perhaps it’s time to require the same of competition management and personnel.

    Creating definitive standards and requirements that a facility, the licensee and its management must provide to obtain a license at any level competition must be developed and implemented. We can no longer continue allowing the lowest common denominator to be the norm. If a licensee wants a certain level of competition and its benefits, then he needs to meet a certain standard.

    There’s a base level of standards that all competitions must provide to be Federation licensed. As the level of a competition increases, so must the number and quality of the standards it must meet or exceed. We must establish a system to grade facilities and relate that to the level of competition that can be held. Again, in order to provide opportunity, this standard may vary depending on geography.

    Just last month I attended a competition with a computer list grand prix where the soundness jog was held on a rutted, muddy road through a grass field. To add to the poor conditions, the jog was interrupted when trucks needed to pass by on the road. Is this acceptable for this level of competition?

    In my opinion, absolutely not, and this is just one of the issues that can be addressed by creating competition standards in our rules.

    Point Chasers Beware

    Overhauling our system of recognition and awards is a critical piece of the puzzle.

    Competitions such as the Pony Finals, Quarter Horse Congress and Arabian Nationals are models that we need to consider in our future planning. These three competitions all have qualification criteria and bring together hundreds of competitors in head-to-head competition for the overall champion.

    None of them require a horse to show at 20, 30 or more competitions to qualify. In fact, the opposite is true. There’s room in our sport for head-to-head national championship competition and for high-point horse of the year competition, allowing people to make the choice best suited for their situation.

    We examine other breeds and disciplines to help us redefine our goals. The USHJA International Hunter Derby and other programs in the pipeline will provide equestrians with alternative avenues for competing and recognition.

    Under our current system, from year to year, we never know how many points or amount of prize money it will take to qualify for Devon (Pa.) and the fall indoor shows. All too often, we’re compelled to keep showing, long after we would already be qualified, if we knew up front what we needed. This needs to change. Our horses and our help are suffering the consequences of our current state of affairs.

    We Need You

    If you really want changes to our sport that will be best for all of us in our community, then get your thoughts and ideas down on paper and send them to us. We cannot read your minds.

    If you think that we were inundated with written complaints following the winter circuits last year, you are wrong. So here is your opportunity to give us your input. All I ask is that you do it responsibly. Identify the problems, take the time to really think about them and give us some ideas for solutions.

    In the process of developing our future plan, there will be pressures put on all of us from various groups within our sport. It will require the work of people who do not back down in the face of adversity and are not easily intimidated.

    It will require an incredible amount of hard work, determination, honesty, integrity, perseverance and true grit. It will require putting aside personal or special interests in the pursuit of excellence for all.

    In the end, what’s best for the equestrian community as a whole will be best for each individual part.
    The USHJA has set up a mailbox for member input: competitions@ushja.org. Submissions must include name, address and membership number.


    Here are the side bars or mini articles that were in the article.


    Standards vs. Amenities
    Standards are somewhat different than amenities in that you can create a minimum standard for something like number of or type of restrooms, but the cleanliness and convenience of them is more an amenity. The USHJA Show Standards Committee has been developing an amenities evaluation, which will create an Amenities Score for each competition. Exhibitors will be able to evaluate competitions they attend, and shows will be able to advertise their positive scores.We need to get to a point where exhibitors know by reading the rating of a competition on the prize list what minimum standards to expect at the competition. This is long overdue.


    Restructuring The Systems
    The effort to examine and restructure our hunter system has started, and, although this is a daunting task, professionals from all levels and areas of our sport are working together to develop a plan that will revolutionize our industry and revitalize our sport. This committee has already divided the duties among numerous task forces, each with a mission and obligation to return to the larger committee with a researched, defendable and innovative plan. The areas of interest include development of a USHJA World Championship hunter and jumper competition, prize money requirements and distribution, competition fees to exhibitors and to the Federation, competition standards, a menu of classes for competitions to select from, and our awards and recognition programs.I look forward to the first report to the general membership on the progress of this project during the USHJA Annual Meeting in December. On the jumper side of the sport, our athletes also need to meet and decide their future. At every competition complaints are heard about our current system; now is the time to change it.I’ve suggested that the USEF Show Jumping High Performance Committee hold a retreat in order to begin this process for the jumping discipline, which needs a long-range plan.



    The Mileage Rule Is Flexible
    There already exists the ability for new competitions to be approved within the mileage of existing competitions, if they are deemed to be in the best interest of the sport.A very good example occurred in 2007, when a Saratoga (N.Y.) competition was granted permission to be held at the same time as Lake Placid (N.Y.) and Fairfield (Conn.). All three competitions prospered. This opportunity may not be advantageous to someone trying to build a new showgrounds, but if a facility exists and market conditions warrant, you can apply for approval.
    Last edited by Nikki^; Sep. 22, 2008 at 02:38 PM.
    "Common sense is so rare nowadays, it should be classified as a super power."-Craig Bear Laubscher



  5. #5

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    Great article!

    Mileage: I would love to see the mileage rule go out the window or at least be edited. Currently the choices for competitors are so limited as to where to go show each week. Often we are forced to stick with the shows close to home because of costs associated with traveling. That means we continually show at the same locations with the same poor judges/stewards/footing/venues because it's the only show that is close. It would be fabulous to have a choice to go to truly the best show. Or see shows compete with one another to get the best judges, etc.

    Point Chasers Beware: Yipee!!!! Finally! We definitely need to revise the way points are chased. It has become not a test of quality for the top spots but who can maintain the marathon pace from week to week (and who can afford it).

    Standards and Licensing: set standards as to what competitions but have in order to run. Using his example, jogs must be held on soft flat dirt. If area is not available, the long side of the arena may be used.
    Also, like to see judges have to continue to meet standards and licensing. Some of which comes from reviews from competitors. Make competitors be required to evaluate the competitions they participate in (or at least a certain percentage of). That would give us some quantifiable data to evaluate for each location and individual area of each competition.

    Good article!
    "are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn...I can yawn, because I ride better than you, Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn, you, not so much..." George Morris in Camden, SC



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 111 View Post
    Did anyone read the article Bill Moroney (USHJA President) wrote in this week's Chronicle?

    Can anyone else read between the lines in this article?

    I don't like what I see on the horizon for us, with USHJA as our leadership!

    What don't you like 111?
    It sounds fairly reasonable to me.
    "Half the failures in life result from pulling in one's horse when it is leaping."

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  7. #7
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    I also agree with a lot of what he said. When you look at the qualifying lists for Indoors, most of the people on it are the good riders who could AFFORD to show a whole lot, and a lot of the divisions even have multiple horses per rider in the A/Os. It's turned into more of a who can afford to rather than a who is the best of the best. More like an exclusive club. Not to put down the riders who make it, because they HAVE to be good to get the points for the most part, but still. You get what I'm saying.

    Plus, with a lot of the pro divisions at the prestigious shows, the divisions don't even fill. What's so special about being 4th out of a class of 7, for example, at the Hampton Classic? Last year the National at Wellington was a JOKE.

    Pony finals, though, does seem to let the real cream rise to the top. Even being able to say you were something like, 11th overall in a division at Pony Finals is a huge accomplishment. Maybe we can set up a system that has several semi finals throughout the season that then lead to a Finals situation? So that it wouldn't all come down to one show, but the semi's would give some leighway to a horse/rider that just had a bad show?

    In any case, I agree completely that the points chasing needs to STOP. Have you looked at the points needed for Washington this year?? Some of them were insane!

    Any other thoughts? What a fantastic article.



  8. #8
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    Default

    I, too, don't understand why they OP thought the article was negative in some way. I, personally, was glad to see issues like the mileage rule and the current cumulative point system get attention. They need to be revamped. At the end of the article, they give an e-mail address to send in your thoughts, etc. PLEASE, everyone who cares about these issues, write to them and let your voice be heard. I sent them a copy of a letter I wrote to the Chronicle last year about point chasing and the cumulative point system. The current system is awful and encourages too many shows where horses are pounded to death and only the wealthiest can afford. E.G. one of the top small ponies last year went to a show almost EVERY week. Now, that's ridiculous.

    Here's the info:
    In the end, what’s best for the equestrian community as a whole will be best for each individual part. The USHJA has set up a mailbox for member input: competitions@ushja.org. Submissions must include name, address and membership number.



  9. #9

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    First of all, let me say that I don't feel that Mr. Moroney should be using the Chronicle as a place to discuss his politial affiliation.

    Secondly, the article appears to state that the USHJA, our grass roots organization suddenly wants to control and monitor everything, right down to the portolets. At the surface, this seems warm and fuzzy. Watch out. With each and every thing our sanctioning bodies control, they also charge for. USHJA already appears to be somewhat of an old boy network, why would they not reward their inner circles at the expense of those who are on the outside?
    POYBGP, member in good standing.



  10. #10
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    I see the down side of this article as a way to award the A rated shows to the boys in the club. There are a small number of managers that control the vast majority of dates. In certain areas it borders on monopoly. Although I like the idea of shows living up to specific standards, it would appear that this could open the door for smaller show managers to get their date scrutinized if they ran out of toilet paper in the portojohn. Beware. I am concerned this would definately open the door for awarding the dates to management that have the deepest pockets and already have the most dates and the biggest facilities.
    I am finding that many people are tired of the big box horse show and long for the days of the smaller A show with no more than 3 rings, nice after show functions and an old small town feel. There are few left and I fear this evaluation policy might eliminate more. I hope I am wrong.
    On the upside I think it will be a good way for management to see what exhibitors liked and disliked about their shows and where to focus more time or money.
    I fear for the statements regarding who is qualified to manage a horse show. Its not rocket science. I fear that this could be taken to an extreme and young up and coming managers that can think out of the box and deliver a unique quality event may never get the chance. Because they aren't on the list they are deemed unqualified. Just a thought for ya'll.



  11. #11

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    Let us also look in the area of trainer certification. Now that is a huge responsibility. Let us say for an example, someone can pass the test, and is "approved". First off, he or she could be an excellent test taker, but have no horsemanship skills, may not be even a decent rider, may not necessarily have any teaching skills, yet would be listed as an approved trainer. And what will such an approval process cost the fledgeling trainer without a big checkbook? Where do we draw the line in the evaluation process? Are pedophiles going to be overlooked? If so, do we write into the rule book a clause stating that while these people have passed the wonderful scrutiny of the association, they still may be pedophiles, felons, or dog kickers?
    POYBGP, member in good standing.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikki^ View Post
    I am posting this because I think it's important for everyone to read the article. I wish COTH would at least make the Between Rounds free for everyone to read. I suggest that if anyone wants to be heard, to write to the USHJA by using the e-mail giving at the end of the article. I put it in bold face so it will be easy to find.


    Planning The Future Of Our Sport
    September 19, 2008 Issue Email this Article | Print this article[I]
    At the U.S. Equestrian Federation mid-year Board of Directors meeting, President David O’Connor directed the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association to take a hard look at our sport from a global vantage point and to make recommendations to the Federation that will direct us into the future.
    How in the world can this help the GRASS ROOTS if they are looking from the top down? Unless some of the extra money is going to be spent on an Electron Microscope... The first thing noticed from a global vantage point is the HIGH PERFORMANCE, then the multi ride AA show riders, then the single ride AA show riders, then the Sometimes AA show riders, then the multi ride 1A show riders, etc, etc, etc...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryjohnson Aefvue Senior Gardens View Post
    Let us also look in the area of trainer certification. Now that is a huge responsibility. Let us say for an example, someone can pass the test, and is "approved". First off, he or she could be an excellent test taker, but have no horsemanship skills, may not be even a decent rider, may not necessarily have any teaching skills, yet would be listed as an approved trainer. And what will such an approval process cost the fledgeling trainer without a big checkbook? Where do we draw the line in the evaluation process? Are pedophiles going to be overlooked? If so, do we write into the rule book a clause stating that while these people have passed the wonderful scrutiny of the association, they still may be pedophiles, felons, or dog kickers?

    As opposed to having nothing ? I"m not sure what your beef unless the TCP is mandatory which there is no way it can be 100% enforceable



  14. #14

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    My "beef" if you will, is that this trainer certification is simply another way for the association to make money. Of course it is not enforceable, thank goodness for that. This is an exercise in the absurd, before you can have a certification test, you need to have people qualified to write the test. In our sport, there are many ends to the same mean. All of them are used by most trainers at any given moment. There are many right ways to achieve something, and many not so right ways, that are also accepted ways of achieving the same result. This is just (a means to an end) to get in our checkbooks.
    POYBGP, member in good standing.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryjohnson Aefvue Senior Gardens View Post
    Let us also look in the area of trainer certification. Now that is a huge responsibility. Let us say for an example, someone can pass the test, and is "approved". First off, he or she could be an excellent test taker, but have no horsemanship skills, may not be even a decent rider, may not necessarily have any teaching skills, yet would be listed as an approved trainer. And what will such an approval process cost the fledgeling trainer without a big checkbook? Where do we draw the line in the evaluation process? Are pedophiles going to be overlooked? If so, do we write into the rule book a clause stating that while these people have passed the wonderful scrutiny of the association, they still may be pedophiles, felons, or dog kickers?
    I am really happy with the way the ICP program is working in the eventing discipline. It is not so much like a "test" and more like an educational process that includes instruction specifically on the theory of teaching and learning, something most horsemen are never exposed to. I also think it is a good opportunity to make sure young trainers get instruction on ethics and on sound business practices, instead of adopting whatever system their horseman mentor used. Eventing has the advantage of a much smaller community, so it will be challenging to implement the program in the same way, but I think it is worth doing.
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  16. #16
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    It's an interesting article, certainly. And I think it's a good thing that these issues are being addressed... I guess I just wish I had more confidence in the people who will ultimately be in charge of designing and implementing the new system.

    Statements like:

    It may serve our sport better to have a public application system for the licenses that come available for transfer. This system would provide the Federation officials with the opportunity to choose the best applicant from their perspective for the license, ensuring that qualified management is in place.
    really, really concern me.

    (The recent COTH article about the selection of the Pony Finals venue illustrates some of the concerns raised with that approach, IMO.)

    I know that nothing has been decided and this is just a proposal - but to me it smacks of cronyism and the old boy's club approach; something we already have far too much of in our sport. A public application system would be better served, IMO, by an actual public bidding process. Let the Fed issue an RFP of sorts for dates if they become available; there could easily be minimum facility requirements, etc outlined to ensure the proper facilities and organization was in place. Then any group meeting the required standards could compete for the date(s). Think of the impact it would have if CUSTOMER (EXHIBITOR) SATISFACTION SCORES weighed into those decisions!!!
    **********
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by harryjohnson Aefvue Senior Gardens View Post
    My "beef" if you will, is that this trainer certification is simply another way for the association to make money. Of course it is not enforceable, thank goodness for that. This is an exercise in the absurd, before you can have a certification test, you need to have people qualified to write the test. In our sport, there are many ends to the same mean. All of them are used by most trainers at any given moment. There are many right ways to achieve something, and many not so right ways, that are also accepted ways of achieving the same result. This is just (a means to an end) to get in our checkbooks.

    I would that some up and coming trainers/professionals would like to be able to include something such as this program on their resume. Additionally, it is geared to help potential clients weed out those who claim to be professionals but are lacking in some skill sets. For example: I was running the ingate at a show - a trainer couldnt understand why her client didn't receive a ribbon and was d/q because they were wearing a running martingale in a hunter u/s class. When told - no martingales in u/s classes she claimed she didn't know of such a rule. And this person is taking people's money as a trainer. Another example: a "trainer" is coaching a young rider in a Mini-stirrup class - equitation. She is a lovely young rider and quite obvious she should be in the top ribbons except she happily posted on the wrong diagonal the entire time. When this was pointed out to trainer trainer's response was" we're not focusing on that today" um if you are not focusing on the aspects of equitation in an equitation class then what exactly would you be focusing on? Again, this person is claiming to be a trainer and taking people's money for training. Granted some type of trainer's certifcation program is not going to get rid of these type of trainer, however, it might help weed some out. And isn't it at this point a voluntary program, not mandatory? If it is voluntary and not mandatory then it is only getting into those checkbooks who are willing to write the checks? Now if it does become mandatory that would be a different story and quite frankly one that I would not support.
    Last edited by gottagrey; Sep. 23, 2008 at 12:26 AM.



  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by harryjohnson Aefvue Senior Gardens View Post
    First of all, let me say that I don't feel that Mr. Moroney should be using the Chronicle as a place to discuss his politial affiliation.

    Secondly, the article appears to state that the USHJA, our grass roots organization suddenly wants to control and monitor everything, right down to the portolets. At the surface, this seems warm and fuzzy. Watch out. With each and every thing our sanctioning bodies control, they also charge for. USHJA already appears to be somewhat of an old boy network, why would they not reward their inner circles at the expense of those who are on the outside?
    It is very disturbing indeed. I agree with some of Mr. Moroney's subtle "suggestions". I would also wager strongly that all these "suggestions" have been lobbied very intensely... and are very close to being a done deal.

    Trainer certification is a joke... leaves too much up to a group that already lacks... better yet...has no accountability in my opinion.

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  19. #19
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    Ditto everything Harry said.
    Didn't his last article suggest that before moving up we should have to take a test. That is wasn't our trainers responsiblity and they shouldn't be blamed (for any mishaps) since we pressure them I see trouble right here in river city.



  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by chunky munky View Post
    I see the down side of this article as a way to award the A rated shows to the boys in the club. There are a small number of managers that control the vast majority of dates. In certain areas it borders on monopoly.
    In the upside I think it will be a good way for management to see what exhibitors liked and disliked about their shows and where to focus more time or money.
    I fear for the statements regarding who is qualified to manage a horse show. Its not rocket science. I fear that this could be taken to an extreme and young up and coming managers that can think out of the box and deliver a unique quality event may never get the chance. Because they aren't on the list they are deemed unqualified. Just a thought for ya'll.
    Very true...
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