Oh my Linda. Well, (stuttering here), that would be wonderful of you to do. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif[/img] If you don't mind, I'll finish up my draft "AHSA Rules Reorganization Suggestions" memo and e-mail it to you within the next couple of days. Then you would have something concrete to show them. I really do think it would be a great benefit to the membership. (And, if it doesn't sound like I'm sucking up too much, the Jumper division rules are among the easiest to read and understand in and of themselves. It's trying to put them together with the rest of the rules that makes things difficult)
[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 08-23-2000).]
"I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
Interesting thought on rating... in an earlier post I started to write about the possibility of using a rating level similar to the USTA (tennis), since I knew they competed on age/progiciency levels, however, after doing a little more research (with one of my tennis playing co-workers), I learned that the rating system was entirely subjective! You could declare yourself to be a 4.0 (higher level), and no one could stop you, you just probably faced a lot of defeats. So anyway, I dropped the thought... But, if there is a workable model out there for rating you against wins, I think that would tie in very nicely with the idea of special or qualifying shows, as well as putting shows back on track with equal competition.
I guess the one thing I would need clarification on, was if I, with my higher ranking, sold my established A/O horse, and bought a green, lower level horse, how would the ranking system take that into accord? I don't need an answer per se, just thinking this is a question which peope will ask...
What about having semi-pro divisions for the people who give the occasional lesson(i.e. don't earn their living teaching riding) but aren't "good/horse not fancy" enough to compete in the open divisions against the pros. I also like the idea of scoring out of the division like the maiden, novice, limit open scheme for the junior eq. Why not have an adult maiden eq. or hunter one win, move to novice etc. and again make the courses appropriate for the level. Also, I think that if you are offering classes in your prizelist whether it is a recognized show or not, if the prizelist says A/A to compete over 3' courses, then when you get to the show the fences should be 3'. If you want to give yourself some leeway(sp?) as a show manager publish 2'9" to 3'so as the competitor when I get to the show I won't be surprised to see some or all the fences 2'9". I don't like going to a show expecting to work my horse over 2'9" fences and end up showing over 2'3" fences. One might think well, if your able to show 2'9" then 2'3" should be easy wins for you. But some horses just go better over a bigger fence and if my horse can just step over the fence, I'm not able to show him (off) to the best of his ability. Thanks for listening.
DMK, I believe the answer to your last question is in your statement above, if you sold your horse, and buy a new green one, you stay the same ranking, and get beat. Or you retain your ranking for one year, then either move green horse up to a/o div. or you drop your ranking down. Thats assuming the ranking is placed on the fence height being jumped. Something along those lines.
Two small thoughts, but perhaps the concept of the "masters" which we have proposed could be reworked to accomplish some of the ideas being discussed. In our proposal it was the rider/horse combination that would be ranked as a master. This has the advantage of having been proposed and should be on the books for discussion. None of the ideas that Pwynn and I proposed are carved in stone. If there are glitches they can be discussed and ironed out. This might answer the question of the "semi-pro" which was why the idea was conceived. You can refer to http://www.nhja.com and click on the Cyber-Line if you are interested in reading the proposal.
My second thought was in skating for example there are certain elements to be tested at each level. While the elements are specific the way they are put together in the program is not.
My idea is perhaps, a course could be designed and sent to the shows with the rating approval. Then the exhibitors could choose to ride the course in the way they felt put together the elements most successfully. Options for level of difficulty
could be included in the design. Sort of a "Take your Own Line" Hunter class.
This would certainly be more appealing to the spectators and perhaps at the highest level the best way to sort out talent versus the lucky trip.
My issue with the amateur rule as it stands now for hunter-jumper is not that the semi-pros who teach the occasional up/down lesson or hack horses for money are forced to show against the professionals, but rather that they have no place to show at all.
The pro classes start at 3'6" for first year green horses. The 20 year old semi-pro with her nice eq horse or ex-junior hunter can't show in those classes, and probably doesn't have the horse for the Open classes. Thus, there is a lot of incentive to 'bend' the rules.
In dressage, there are amateur sections for ribbons, but anyone can still show any horse at Training Level test 1 in an open section. For eventing, the amateur-like sections are set up as "rider not to have competed above a certain level," but in any case, the open divisions are still available to all horses and riders regardless of their past or present income sources. I believe these strategies make these sports more accessible, particularly to the young adults who work around the barn to defray expenses.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
\"in the wind, and rain, looking for the sun..................\"
Thank you Portia, and bless you! In your one post, you put into words, correctly I might add, what we are all floundering around in. Rule book fog-arama. There's no logic to follow when looking up many rules, you just keep looking.
Love the rating system, this in itself might alleviate several problems. The "shingle hangers" would have to be tested and able to go forward. It may even slow down the chasing for points, if you cannot show a horse, past a certain level, till they aquire points for the next step, well..... Like the celebration for moving up, talk about personal strokes...Why wouldn't someone who rides want to work towards this?
Poltroon has an excellent point. The "semi-pro" group is not limited to youngsters just out of jrs., but includes plenty of old
f***s like me who teach a little to help pay the bills, but ride at home on homemade horses and (dis)grace the showring only rarely and mostly for the fun of it. We are neither fish nor fowl in the amateur status thing. Perhaps the maiden-novice-limit concept could apply to hunter classes as well, based on the horses' experience? That would be similar to the D/CT way of doing things.
Another thing the H/J world could adapt from the D/CT world is the mastery of SCHEDULING. I know that multiple rings and conflicts make it tougher, but wouldn't it be heaven to know that your ride was at 4:45 and be able to time yourself accordingly instead of suffering through agonies of boredom waiting for an endless pre-green class to end?
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AHC:
Going back to something trooper mentioned, what ever happened to the junior equitation divisions consisting of maiden, novice, limit, intermediate and open? Each level had successively higher fences going from 2'6" to 3'6" and riders qualified out by winning a certain number of blue ribbons. Courses started out pretty simple and got more complex as the rider moved up. This always seemed like such a logical way to move riders along until they were ready for the big eq.
The "children's equitation" divisions I see these days don't accomplish the same thing and can vary drastically in level of competition from show to show.
Did these levels disappear to make room for pre-green, pre-childrens, pre-adult, baby green, schooling, low, low-low, local, etc.? Or was there some other reason? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
True, true, true! Very rarely do you see the maiden novice, limit etc. except perhaps at the biggest shows. And you're right, the children's eq division is a disaster! Kids from 10 up to 18, all different levels of experience and ability, all together. Often huge classes - quite the conglomeration. Unless you own a pretty nice hunter or have reached the level of the big eq, that's where you end up. Even the "mini-medals", another good stepping stone for juniors, are very hard to find. It's quite frustrating.
It's one of the biggest pet peeves of my dtr's trainer. Her explanation for why these divisions "disappeared" is that it happened back when the economy wasn't so good, and there weren't so many people in the sport, and shows couldn't fill those divisions. Well, if that's the case, seems like now's the perfect time to re-visit them - and think about them for the grownups too!
[This message has been edited by HSM (edited 08-23-2000).]
Older (I use that term liberally) horsemen lament the loss of the complete horseperson in today's developing ranks. I think there should be an added horsemanship facet to junior equitation, much like the Katie Battison Horsemanship Award at New England Equitation Finals. Kids don't always learn the stable management and trainers don't teach it, but if it meant winning or losing, they sure would.
Pony Club and figure skating both have a series of levels and to compete at each level, one has to pass a test. In Pony Club, written and ridden. Perhaps juniors need this so kids aren't just being thrown up on a made horse and stuffed into a division. There could be possibly three divisions initially based on fence height -- 2'6", 3', 3'6"+. So you would have to pass a test to be eligible for the Big Eq. Testing, like ratings in Pony Club, could be held several times a year. This could be for the B and A rated shows and have some other kind of system for locally and C rated shows. Surely this would produce a wealth of educated riders.
As for amateur status, I think the divisions should be based on ability -- not money accepted or earned, which do not necessarily have anything to do with ability.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi
I've never been able to figure out the hunter and jumper classes so this might not be applicable. The lower levels of eventing usually offer novice horse (can be experienced or pro rider on green horse), novice rider (horse can be the pro, green rider), limited novice (both horse and rider are less experienced) and open. These divisions are usually offered at novice and training and the limited division at preliminary.
Also dressage and eventing can assign ride times because they don't accept post entries unless they are to fill a time slot vacated by someone else. And there are rules about how many hours a dressage judge can judge and can be on the grounds of the show.
JTurner, I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of emphasizing horsemanship and requiring better demonstration of knowledge. My only hesitation is the written tests. The kids who excel at these things, and are comfortable with them, are already doing pony club. The kids who are NOT good at these things (like my kid) can still excel in the ring and in the hands-on stuff. One of the things my dtr likes the most about riding, I think, is that she doesn't have to *study* like she has to for school, yet she can still feel proud of her accomplishments. Surprisingly, the "tests" they do in the upper eq classes don't "feel" like tests to her - probably because she's doing them while sitting on her horse. ;-) Maybe some other sort of hands-on "testing"? I don't know.
I've been waiting for devildog to post this, since it's her baby, but, she must be away for a while and I think that it is too important not to include.
The governing bodies of the horse industries should stand behind and publish the booklet "Ethics and Morals for the Professional Rider" by Festerling. Copies of this pamphlet should be distributed to all members of each organization. Though the title indicates professional riders, the philosophy in this material is applicable to all riders. One of the best ways we can improve our industry is to have a firm code of ethics in place. This booklet provides the basics for providing that code.
The URL for the booklet follows. For those who were not yet on the forum when we discussed it, this booklet is not copywrited and has the author's approval for distribution. The only thing that is asked is that nothing be changed in the text, in any way. www.ultimatedressage.com/resources/Festerling.pdf
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
\"in the wind, and rain, looking for the sun..................\"
This is excellent! Thank you Louise for the URL. People, don't let the word dressage in it keep you from reading this. It's only 12 pages and can be printed out. You will need Adobe to read it, but very worth while to do so.
I don't want to disturb your brainstorming here, so I'll make this quick. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] If you had an opinion about the Jacqueline Mars letter that recently appeared in the Chronicle, please see the new topic about it I just posted.
Thank you for the reminder about the Mars letter, which I think is important too.
A bunch of the ideas on this thread are great. BUT we have to have a STRUCTURE in place which will implement them into rules and administration. If the current organizational structure -- AHSA/USET/WHATEVER does not work or does not work well enough to surface these ideas and implement them (and that seems to be evident from the posts that is the perception anyway), then we have to FIX the structure.
Remember, if the rein is broken you don't throw away the whole bridle. At least I don't. I fix the rein or get a new one. If parts of our existing structure need to be fixed or replaced, let's fix them. But it isn't too smart to think that any of the structure which is now in place is just going to disappear. It needs to be transformed by people willing to work on it and in it. That's what we have representatives for and meetings for, and we need to make sure our voices are heard.
I think all this posting is great to brainstorm, but we need to make our ideas more formal and push them into the structure with letters and formal actions.
Linda, once again, thanks for looking for solutions and ideas, not reveiwing what is wrong with the sport. I'm enjoying watching everyone put the emphasis on improving the sport (without whining).
Here's what I think:
1) Do away with the mileage rule. Let shows and managers sink or swim on their own. We live in a capitalistic society - let's make that happen in horse sports.
2) It would be nice to see people with no conflict of interest governing our horse sports. 'Nuff said on that issue.
3) We should rank our hunters on a sliding scale, so that semi-professionals, our true grassroots, don't get left out. A lot of people who teach a lesson or two a week to make ends meet don't have horses that can compete against the rest of the professionals, so they get left out.
If there were a different system in place, perhaps some of these horses might have an opportunity to work their way up through the ranks in an organized fashion....not pushed to jump too much, too soon. This would benefit everyone - the professionals, the amateurs, the semi-professionals, and most of all the horses.
4) Set up a judging system that is more universal for hunters and equitation - definite deductions for certain mistakes. As it stands now, some judges forgive some faults more than others, and it varies from horse to horse and round to round...very confusing for the competitors.
Also, a judging card should not be for life - licensed officials should have to totally re-apply every 5-10 years to keep their card - maybe not go through all the learner judging again, but perhaps be re-evaluated by people in the industry. Just a thought.
5) Set up some sort of rider evaluation system, similar to the German system. There are too many people riding at the grand prix jumping level who really shouldn't be there.....they need to spend more time on the basics at lower levels so that they can someday move up to grand prix and be safe and successful. Riding at the grand prix level should not be about who can buy the most talented horse and individual ego, the focus should be on who has earned the right to ride in that arena (of course a nice horse helps [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
6. Riders should spend far more time on public relations and reaching out to horse show fans - it only takes five minutes to ride over to a couple of families and ask them if they have any questions. This sort of action goes a long way.
7. As a nation, we need to spend more time developing our young riders and young horses - our future. Loosen up more funds for these programs.
If we supported our horse breeders in this country, we would not have to run to Europe every time we wanted a 'fancy' horse. There are great horses here - seek them out!
8) Get more sponsors involved in equestrian sports, and make it worth their while to become involved.
*None of these ideas are new - they've been kicking around for a several years now. Let's just take another look at them and see what can work.
As someone else also implied, I really don't think this brainstorming kind of actvity works one bit. It just encourages the piecemeal attitudes and behaviors that have created the current system.
Linda Allen said in her original post: "I also
believe that every segment of the industry needs an organization to focus on its own needs..."
The problem is that it doesn't seem like anyone ever sits down and identifies WHO they are talking about in terms of "needs"! And then, once their constituency is defined, the next inevitable issue becomes to what extent should the system be accountable to those consituencies.
Lack of accountability is what permeates AHSA. That's why things are organized all chock-a-block and why such large factions are disgruntled. I repeat: it's part of the history of the organization to piecemeal issues and/or objectives instead of connecting them to each other and to larger goals.
That, too, would change is accountability were insisted upon because decisions would have to be defended, not just made.
pwynn, I think you're right. But railing against the way things are does not change them. These organizations are not going away. It is a fact of life that the horse sports are all fragmented. Who knows why, but I think it's because of the horse culture, for lack of a better word. "Everyone for himself or herself." We see it every day, with our trainers and friends, barn-hopping and changing back and forth and horse-trading, to be polite. Which it is NOT. That kind of a culture if it exists and it does is really not likely to change either.
I think what Linda is asking, and what the Mars letter says, is, okay, things are fragmented, that's not good, how do we now put them together in a way which is more effective, so the parts can come together in a whole, which can create some synergy among all the parts. When you get a unifying force together, someway, then you can have better accountability than you have now, where it is lacking.
Just my latest 1 cents worth. I think we are on to something in this thread, but just what I cannot really see. That's why I keep mentioning the Mars thing, because that was at least a try at a blueprint for change. Something more concrete to make a way for these ideas to get into reality someway.