Opinions Please: "A" Show Riders at Small County Shows
The issue: "A" show riders/horses are moving down the levels and competing (not schooling)
at small, non USEF rated county shows. This puts them in the ring with much less experienced riders (kids and adult amateurs).
PRO: Show managers say it improves the competition, and brings in more money.
They speculate that it's the economy; the riders come because the small, non-rated shows are less expensive.
CON:Trainers who regularly go to the small shows say they want their riders to show against riders of similar skill and on a level playing field as they gain show experience. Their clients (and horse show parents) aren't happy;some trainers are not returning to those shows, and going elsewhere.
Personally, I don't have any problem with it, but perhaps they could add some classes or divisions to keep the playing field a bit more level like maiden jumping classes(never won a class or never placed) , same with equitation. Unfortunately when we show, there is always going to be someone better than us or with a nicer horse.
I dont have a problem with it as long as the rider/trainers are playing fair by putting their riders in the appropriate classes. I showed the last couple of years on the rated circuit in the adult amateurs, but this year I have a young horse so we go to some local shows and do the baby classes.
Show managers need to make enough money to cover the costs of the show itself, therefore I wuld think that they would welcome as many riders as possible.
One of the most memorable memories of my junior career was coming in second (by a fraction of a second) to Tony d'Ambrosio (who had already made a name for himself on the A circuit) in a jumper class at a little unrecognized show in Armonk.
Far more memorable than the year I won the class over other "small time" riders.
Most of the unrecognized shows have plenty of restricted classes (first year of competing at x', etc). If seen as needed, this could be expanded to "USEF Maiden"- "never won a blue ribbon at a USEF show" divisions
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
I show from the AA shows to the county fair if it fits in my plan for that year. I show in classes that are appropriate for me & my horses and that I meet the class criteria. I show at the shows I like (good footing, good management, good stabling) that fit in my schedule (only so much vacation time) that is within my budget so sometimes that is rated & sometimes it's not.
My personal feeling is the only people who seem to complain are the ones who want the classes so limited & so protected that everybody is the winner. Well that's not horse showing! Step it up, bring your best game & let the chips fall where they fall.
We hear that attitude in our area. We have local shows and "A" rated shows. Some trainers (including myself) have a mix of clients that show where their schedules and budgets will allow. Some of the "Local only" riders grumble about the expensive, "A" show horses attending "their" shows. The funny thing is- some of those "A" show horses cost less than the Local ones! The difference is in the program. Time and time again, we've taken inexpensive, but nice quality horses and developed them into horses that can be competitive at A and AA shows.
I was certainly a "Local" rider/trainer at one time. I welcomed the better competition so that I could learn and improve. I like to get beat by horses/riders that are better! You watch them prepare, school, show and you ask questions. When you beat them or even place amongst them, good for you! Now that's something to be proud of.
We've lately been doing many AA shows, so I've not been to as many locals. Several weeks ago, we took a group of younger horses and novice kids to a nearby local show. I was absolutely shocked at the dirty, manure stained horses and the grungy, ill fitting tack. Not surprisingly from the quality of the turnout, the performances were very poor. Unbalanced, bad jumping horses running through lead changes and running down lines to "get the numbers". That isn't about money, it's about standards.
So no, I have no problem with "A" show riders at Small County Shows. Make sure that everyone follows the rules and have a real horse race! Step it up!
If you wanted the "A" show riders to stay home, how exactly would that be accomplished? And to what end?
I had a competitive A/A horse and we dabbled in the A/O's. Now he is sold and I have two fancy young horses, for whom it is very appropriate to get affordable mileage at the local shows. They are absolutely eligible for the classes I take them in, and they do well because they are quality horses getting good training and I can usually find the jumps. My budget doesn't allow me to get this mileage exclusively at the "A" shows, and I love the convenience of one-day shipping in with post entries and more casual turnout. I'm not there to take anybody's points away but just to get good experience for my greenies. Is that bad?
"Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War Rainy Stash
Here in Virginia we are blessed to have excellent local circuits that are worth attending. Many, many riders show at both, and many trainers choose to attend both.
That being said, I'd never have a problem with so-called "A circuit riders" choosing to show locally. It's a competition, first of all. But secondly, you don't know what the situation is. Local shows are more economical - people who could afford the "A" circuit in previous years can't anymore. People who ride green horses that don't want to spend the money to do a 2'6" class at an "A" show. There are any number of completely valid reason to show at local shows when one primarily competes on the "A" circuit.
So, can you really tell a rider who still wants to show but can't afford $1000/show anymore that they can't play in an available sandbox?
Or are you going to tell the amateur rider who won in the AA's for ten years, had a fall, and now wants to compete exclusively over 2' to get their confidence back that they can't play either?
Are you going to tell a rider that they can't take their spazzing greenie to a local show because they've competed at "A" shows before, and that in order to get him exposure they must spend thousands to compete?
Where does it end? And how can you justify discriminating against some people because they've entered higher level competition in the past? Really, most riders that compete on the "A" circuit aren't attending local shows to take ribbons away from children.
Really, I think the only people that complain about this sort of thing are complaining because they're bitter.
Thats what I am doing this summer with a green bean while I showed the other horse at the rated A shows. I personally like showing against the best of the best, so if you beat the best you will feel great about it! When I was young and I had beat some top name A rider at a schooling show I was so proud even though I only ended up with a 4th or something it was better when I was champion against beginner kids.
Maybe the riders or horses need some confidence building, I don't see anything wrong with it. Especially since everyone is trying to save some money. I am the president of the Boise Saddle and Jump Club and this economy has actually been great for our little non rated shows, our attendance is better than it has been in years.
Besides... more competition is a good thing, I mean, who just wants to be the "best of the bad"... if they're good riders, they'll be good riders regardless of who they're competing against. Money doesn't buy talent and hard work.
I don't see a problem with it. People should show where they like. And remember, just because someone is/was showing at "A" shows, doesn't necessarily mean that they were winning or even that they are all that much better a rider than anyone else. All it takes to ride in an "A" show is a big enough check book.
Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
Just reminds me of a teenage moment in the UK. My aunt had organized a little neighborhood charity show - there seemed to be lots of these every weekend. My cousin and I spent hours polishing her fat little pony for the turnout and equitation classes and dusting off some mismatched old show clothes. Just as the show started up pulled a fancy horse trailer and out walked a five-star show pony and a rider dressed to the nines. Miles above the quality of the local kids! She, of course, took most of the first place ribbons, and my cousin sulked terribly. In retrospect funny, and certainly "fair" and the charity got her entry fees, too, so... but it put us in our place!!!