Sannois: Let me try and explain WHY it *may* matter to some people. One of the things no one has really mentioned (although we've talked about the ribbons) is that PLACINGS translate into year-end points in most of our areas (not penalty scores). Let me give you a personal example that might help you understand. Please note--I am not "sour grapes" about this--but I think it will help to illustrate.
There is a local USEA HT that only offers "Open" divisions. The organizer determines the way the divisions are split. For some reason, the organizer put me in the division with quite a few local professionals this year. These are not "big names" but several of them have competed at advanced and have trained MANY horses novice to prelim. They (although their horses may be green) will be MUCH more effective at getting a green horse around than I can (and my horse IS green--I'm not riding a made horse). I had a nice dressage test and a clean stadium (except 1 time point) and clean x-c round. I ended on a score of 28.5. I was delighted with my horse and I felt I rode well. That ending score put me in 2nd place in that very competitive division. My friend was in another division at that level, consisting of a group of all amateurs. She did an average dressage test and pulled some rails on stadium. Her ending score was in the 50's. She TOO, ended up 2nd place. So, we both went home happy with our 2nd place ribbons. However, if I had been put in one of the other divisions, although my dressage score may have been slightly different (different judge) I still probably would've won the other division. Doesn't really matter, except that in our local eventing association, you get 5 points for a 1st place, and only 3 for a 2nd placing. For the Area VIII year-end award program I would've netted even MORE points for a win at that particular show. Being put in a different division at that one show *could* mean the difference between a year-end award for me and my horse. Not necessarily--but it IS tough to WIN a division at a large recognized horse trial.
So, although I was completely happy with my horse and myself at that show--maybe you could see why it would be a bit frustrating to see someone else WIN a division on a significantly higher score just because they were in a different division. And another reason why, if given the choice, we may choose to enter the rider division (if we are qualified) so that we can be competing with our peers. I'll admit--that it's rather shallow to think in terms of points and ribbons--but as someone else brought up earlier--then why don't we all just ride HC? Because we are there to compete, to see how our work at home translates to success at a show, and YES, hope to take home a ribbon, or earn some year points. All of those things are motivators for why *some* people show and always will be.
After wading though most of this discussion, I remembered why it is that I always enter the open divisions.
The open divisions always go before the rider division. This means you showjump at the beginning of the level and therefore, can pack up the trailer and hit the road sooner. Sunday afternoon traffic in CA is brutal and we often face very long drives. I'll take tougher competition in the HT if it means facing less competition on the freeways.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by canterlope:
Since I will be the first to admit that I am intimidated and feel like a fish out of water when I'm warming up for dressage surrounded by a sea of red coats, knowing that I will be riding against them, the difference has to be my personal feelings concerning our competitiveness in a division full of professionals. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
See, I believe this is where we (amateurs) sell ourselves short...we tend to stay in our comfort zone. As the consumate perfectionist, I completely understand the feeling of staying in a place where I know I can be successful instead of pushing myself and possibily facing "failure."
However, I find that when I ride with riders who I perceive as "better" I also ride better...to me there is nothing as inspiring as warming up with top notch riders. http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...milies/yes.gif While on one hand, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by their skills and expertise, on the other hand it makes me want to "ride up" to their level. Someone mentioned a few pages ago http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif that moving the very experienced Novice Riders into Open would "water down" the competition, I honestly believe that it would allow these riders to become even better riders and I'm pretty sure they'd give the "pros" a run for their money.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KellyS:
Someone mentioned a few pages ago http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif that moving the very experienced Novice Riders into Open would "water down" the competition, I honestly believe that it would allow these riders to become even better riders and I'm pretty sure they'd give the "pros" a run for their money.
Not sure if you are refering to my comments. If so, that's not what I meant. I think that the quality of the open novice divisions would remain high -- it's the quality and legitimacy of divisions for "inexperienced amateurs" that I would worry about.
I still think that having a division for which you become ineligible after meeting certain standards of proficiency (like accumulating a certain number of points) defeats the purpose. Winning such a division essentially means that you are the best of anyone who isn't better than you. And there is a self enforcing mechanism that guarantees that as soon as some people start to become really proficient, instead of raising the level of the whole division, they will just leave the division.
Someone described a scenario in which a rider who is second in a competitive, open division receives the same number of points towards a year end award as the person who is second in a less competitive, rider division (and, presumably, fewer points than the person who won the less competitive division). I think that is justification for changing the way year end points are calculated -- perhaps by awarding them separately by division (open, rider, horse) -- but not justification for creating "limit" divisions. Then, the disparity might be even greater between the winning (or second place) pairs in the open versus the limit division, but they'd again receive the same points. I don't see how the limit division solves the problem related to year end awards. --Jess
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JAGold:
I still think that having a division for which you become ineligible after meeting certain standards of proficiency (like accumulating a certain number of points) defeats the purpose. Winning such a division essentially means that you are the best of anyone who isn't better than you. And there is a self enforcing mechanism that guarantees that as soon as some people start to become really proficient, instead of raising the level of the whole division, they will just leave the division. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Ahhh...but I am thinking in terms of each individual rider's proficiency, not the proficiency of the division on a whole. That is very hard to control...it is very dependent on a lot of different factors including the Area, who is that division that weekend, etc.
However, I think of it this way...a new Novice rider is for the most part going to keep improving their performance as they gain experience - they may start as low man on the totem pole, but as they get the hang of eventing, their performance keeps improving. At some point, a rider may improve their performance to the point where they are consistently scoring well and often winning in the Rider division. A lot of riders choose to "move up" to Training at this point, but others choose to stay at Novice. However, by moving into the "Open" division they can continue improving their performance (and face new challenges) while leaving the "Rider" division for the up and coming riders.
This argument could go around and around for ages...there are very good points on both sides.