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  1. #21
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    The subsidies would have to be based on need. That would not shut out the less affluent. Is it better to sell yourself with a bunch of sponsors? Is it better that those who have to work to pay the bills never have an opportunity?

    You are assuming that the most talented will be the same ones who do it now and can cover their own costs. But what about giving that dream to some kids who might not ever be able to do that?

    A ball player is worth $100 million because people fill the stands if the team wins. Tiger Woods wins big bucks not only because he hits straight but because he is a role model that says you can do this too.

    We need to have a way to pay for all the planning and setup costs to get us all there. I know all you Baby Boomers are called the "me" generation but you do have to look past "what have you done for me today".

    If you have loved horses as I have and you have benefited from our sport then why not put a little back. Now, if you don't think you have benefited well I'm sorry for that because I can't imagine any way that would be true.

    If you want higher prizes and lower entry fees at better shows then give the rest of us a chance to see what we can do to get you there.



  2. #22
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pt:
    Seem to focus on 3 points:
    1. Benefits to students of international competitors who (ostensibly) return wiser.

    How? If they go to an international competition, they are not taking lessons; they are competing. I doubt that much education transpires. Also, that benefit, if it exists, only applies to the few who are their students - far from a large percentage of lower to middle rank equestrians in this country.

    Moreover, I'll just bet the "benefit" of their international experience is reflected in increased lessons fees - so why should the rank and file subsidize these folks for putting themselves in a position to make more money?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Let me just start by saying that I'm just a random amateur. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] I love my sport and I ride as seriously as I can, but no one has ever heard of me, and at the moment I have only loose association with a professional.

    The eventing community in California is pretty small, and one quickly gets to know the competitors. There was a certain electricity that came into the air when Jil Walton went to the Olympics, and I see a lesser version of that when a Californian ventures east to The Big Time like Rolex and does well. I am not a student of any of these people, and yet it inspires me to improve and continue and watch what they do that helps them succeed. And then, when our best go back east and get their butts kicked, we learn something too.

    One of the most educational things I ever did for myself was to spring for a ticket to Rolex one year to spectate. I learned so much just from watching the best American horses in my sport - even though I did not ride, did not take a lesson, and did not talk to anyone who did. Mostly, it gave me a strong appreciation for how much there was to learn and how good those riders are.

    I love watching GOOD dressage, too. I'll make an effort to attend competitions to spectate if I know international caliber riders are there. The knowledge does trickle down. When there are terrific riders/horses for the judges to pin, everyone else gets a better idea of the end goal.

    I understand your skepticism about raised fees, but actually I can't say that I've seen that happen in this area. Fees go up because board, gas, cost of living goes up - but sadly, as much or more for the people who are only mediocre trainers. Of course, here, even an ordinary lesson from an ordinary trainer costs $50 - ugh!
    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



  3. #23
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    Have to say, like poltroon am a random amateur. I love watching the best showing. I can only equate a good horse education to going to college. If you had the chance to go to a top college, learn under a professor that was tops, wouldn't you do it? Especially if it's in the field you love. The expense would be wayed by what you learned. College educations are very expensive.

    You can always learn something from watching. Whether it's a training technic or riding, we can learn.


    pt, you made a point about Drug testing for the ADS. Who does that testing? Isn't that done thru the federation, or what was the ASHA? ADS as many organizations did, found out the costs incurred to have this done. Coming under the "umbrella" allowed them to offer you a competive place without an inordinate expense.



  4. #24
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    About watching the best

    I recently watched a Pony Cub B rating - 2 of 13 (15?) passed. Most passed on their riding. One of the things I saw most obviously was their lack of polish and professionalism in both their flatwork and over fences. The kind of polish that you only get from WATCHING the best - they all rode like "locals"... Except the two who passed - one competes at Prelim level in 3-Day, the other show jumps and spends a lot of time grooming for barns that need help at bigger shows. It showed in BOTH their presentations.


    There is nothing like watching the best - one of the things I miss here in NJ that we had when I was a kid was a preponderance of TOP jumper riders showing locally all winter! Now, the only people who get to watch the top ride all the time are those who are already on the top curcuit. Too bad for all of us, I think.


    That being said, it would be great if each area had at least one GP - and if people would GO WATCH!!

    Or take their vacations in Calgary.... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!



  5. #25
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    I just have to ditto everything Weatherford and Poltroon said.

    Growing up in Illinois, there were only a tiny handful of truly top-caliber riders competing at the same events I competed at. The difference between the level of competition there (granted, this is 10 years ago) and out here in the MD/VA area is enormous.

    I think I've learned more about riding in the last five years living out East and covering top competitions for the Chronicle than I did in all my years of being a serious young rider, taking lessons, going to clinics, etc. I know for a fact that my equitation o/f and my dressage have improved immensely from covering the big hunter and dressage shows. Now I know what I should look like! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    The head honchos in every sport are always talking about the importance of getting overseas to compete against the best in the world. I don't see how having riders gain international experience could possibly NOT help the grass roots. Now, I'm not saying that top riders should expect a free ride for their overseas education... but I also don't think it's reasonable to expect them to foot the bill entirely. In eventing and dressage especially, I think that would shrink the talent pool considerably.



  6. #26
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    You've hit it on the head. Yes, 10 years ago to be exact all of our top trainers and riders did attend the local shows with their young horses and green riders.

    George Morris himself used to attend C Rated shows and bring his string of new students. He set a tone and an example for all the up and coming trainers to see how to properly turn out a horse and rider and how to properly prepare them for competition.

    The advent of the new show structure has changed that for all of us. Frank Madden spoke to me about how they only took their best horses and riders to an A Show and they trained the others at the C/B Shows. Now, however in the era of the "catch-all" cookie cutter extravaganza he doesn't need to do that, now the whole barn can show at the same shows, that's what the 10 rings are all about.

    Doesn't it make sense to look at the shows with so many entries they can't finish the show? Does it make sense to have a AA Show which is for all people of all riding ability on all horses? If we have a AA Rating what exactly does that mean? Tom Struzzeri told me that entries in the AHSA Rated divisions are down from last year. So, is a AA Show for people of any riding ability or even perhaps without any riding ability?

    Then the rating is simply a price tag and it means nothing anymore. If you can afford over $18,000 in prize money you can have a AA Show and everyone who comes to your show gets bonus points.



  7. #27
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    Does this have a deja vue factor for you Snowbird? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Things that have been said over and over again. Finally, people are listening...



  8. #28
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    And it makes me so happy. That's all I ever wanted was for people to wake up and see reality. And, old as I am I have confidence that we can all do it together.

    We just have to beat that sense of it all being inevitable and that nothing can be done. It can be done, and as a group we will be able to accomplish amazing things. We just have to send the culprits packing.



  9. #29
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    In mentioning Frank not finding it necessary to go to the local shows because the divisions are offered at the larger ones...some people like it that way.
    For those of us who start showing in Fl. and end at NY (or Toronto), it can be more efficient to take everyone to the same show. That way the trainers do get some "time off". There are other advantages also. Most of the lower level riders need more attention from the trainer than the upper level ones. If one leaves the lower level riders at home, unattended for weeks at a time, they advance at a slower rate. Yes, some stables have assistant trainers but...
    Personally, I like taking everyone who wants to show to the bigger shows.

    [This message was edited by Emmet on Jul. 25, 2001 at 08:55 AM.]



  10. #30
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    Wtywmn4 says, "ADS as many organizations did, found out the costs incurred to have this done. Coming under the "umbrella" allowed them to offer you a competive place without an inordinate expense."

    Oh, really? Then why is it costing approximately twice what it used to to play at ADS events - and nearly the entire increase is due to AHSA fees. We now pay drug fees, increased office fees - oh, and let us not forget penalty fees for not being members of AHSA. And why should we join AHSA if we only do one or two driving events a year? It's a monopoly and it's hurting the sport in terms of discouraging new members, and if you can't see it, so be it. Perhaps there could be a non-member fee relief for entries who are on their first 1 or 2 events - encourage people to give it a try.

    As for comments about watching great riders - they don't come to small venues. So again, the benefits are limited, localized and available to only a few.

    Erin, I agree with you about the difference between the number of competitors in Illinois and VA/MD. But don't you see that places where there are not large supportive horse communities are exactly where support needs to be given? Not everyone can live in VA/MD or California. I, too, grew up in northern Illinois and I'm very aware how much less in the way of horse activities is available there now, due to erosion of small circuits, loss of open land, and lack of interest resulting from lack of exposure and opportunity. Again, I don't think the cause of equestrianism in this country is well served by focusing on the small groups/regions where it is already thriving and letting the rest of the country - where there might well be very talented horsemen undiscovered - go by the boards.

    YES, it comes to money - everything costs. I expect everything to cost. I resent paying large AHSA fees to support a small, yes elite, group of people. I would not resent paying fees if there were any clear benefit to the amateur rider or horselover who isn't going to ever be international, as well as to said small group. If you can't see how AHSA has failed to help the grassroots of the sport, then you need to come out of the rarified air of the big circuits and talk to those of us who aren't involved in those circuits. I'm one, and you don't want to hear what I'm telling you.

    We need greater publicity for the sport. Tiger Woods is not helping golf just because he's a role model. He's helping golf because he's helping sell golf clubs, shirts, etc. We need to market those international equestrians as money makers for various industries - then we might see some room for barns and riding trails planned as part of the larger community.

    I grew up in a time of forest preserve barns, school barns, public trails. Where have these gone, and why has AHSA or other organizations done nothing to prevent their loss? Maybe because the MONEY is in the international competitors and wannabes, and on the big circuits. What would-be Jil Walton cares about a kid on a pony? My point is, you'd better start caring IF you want the sport to become mainstream.

    But if you can't see the point, and you can't see how AHSA has failed to support the sport at the grassroots level and you can't see how anyone (I) can possibly disagree that all is happening for the best in this the best of all possible worlds, well - there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    If you want the plant to flourish, you must water the roots.



  11. #31
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    Isn't it really the case that AHSA has traditionally been the organizational bridge between the USET (super elite) and the grass roots (which for Driving is ADS, Eventing the USCTA, etc)?

    This worked fairly well until the current situation, where the USET has opened up the whole can of NGB-worms. Unfortunately, now that the USOC is awake to the situation, and apparently requires ONE organization to pull it all together, it hasn't left the AHSA much choice but to try to pull all this together into one structure.

    As you read the AHSA position, though, they are for interdependence among the organizations, and much more grass-roots oriented than USET is or ever was. So isn't the possible solution to try to work out special arrangements with ADS and USCTA and other organizations, like AERC, so the true grass roots people get a break for first time competition and so forth? That would seem to be logical, and since the ADS people appoint 2/3 of the Driving Committee in the AHSA, that would be where to start. I think there are probably a lot of ADS events which are not AHSA recognized, right?

    But we need to give them these ideas so the sport can move forward at all levels. Until all this came up, nobody was apparently thinking about promoting and growing the sport as a whole, not USET and not AHSA either. At least now that is a bright side of all this information coming out. And we know the AHSA is at least listening to a lot of things on these boards. They have to if they want to make it work better.



  12. #32
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    Yes, Groundline! Exactly the point - the old USET and AHSA folks need to break out of the box of thinking only in terms of large shows, international competitions, and considering anything else as cash cows to support the upper levels.

    This, I believe, is why Snowbird is on this thread - to encourage input & ideas, as she seems very interested in expanding the old views.

    Perhaps lost in my rant is the idea that there be some sort of AHSA fee relief for newbies - to encourage newcomers to try a competition. Obviously, this could only be for a very few times, perhaps even just the first, but it would be an enticement to those who might want to try a toe in the water without buying a boat. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    I do take some issue with Emmet's comment that those who want to show should just go along to the big shows. Again, the B and C circuits have the advantage of being of less cost. Granted, there is cost involved with horses, but it can be controlled and those on limited budgets can still have a good time, even compete - I've done it for years. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]



  13. #33
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    pt... the more I read your posts the more I get the impression that you aren't seeing ALL the disciplines the AHSA covers... only the few that you may be involved with. I do "see" your point and with little experience on other disciplines I CAN see where you have a point. But I also CAN see where many of your arguments (especially with reference to the top competitors not caring about the lower levels, how the rank & file amateurs get no benefit from the "backed" international competitors, etc.) do not necessarily apply to all the discplines that The Fed covers.

    If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  14. #34
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    tle - the main "international" divisions are Dressage, Combined Training and Show Jumping. No great help from top to bottom there.

    New international divisions are Combined Driving, Endurance and Reining. No great help from top to bottom on the first two. Some in Reining, but it hasn't been international long enough to have developed a star complex.



  15. #35
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    PT, I'm not sure I entirely understand your argument... I understand the frustration with fees, and I think that's something the people in the eventing community have worried about a bit as well. Having heard of the "fee-ed to death" mentality in the H/J world, I'd hate to see that happen in eventing.

    The USCTA does still, I think, allow non-USCTA-members to compete without paying a fee at BN... again, I think... I believe the rules just changed in regard to this, so I may be wrong. And you don't have to be an AHSA member until you compete at preliminary.

    But it sounds like you do want the AHSA/Fed to do something -- just not send riders to compete internationally?

    I agree that focus should definitely NOT be on the "elite" athletes exclusively. You're right in that those top caliber riders may not be teaching at Lamplight or Ledges back in Illinois... but I don't necessarily think direct interaction is even necessary for there to be a beneficial effect.

    Take, as an example, the Wayne Horse Trials in Illinois. It added an advanced division (the first ever, I think, in IL, and one of very few that's not on the East Coast) in 1991. These days, a lot of the "elite" eventers from back East go there to run advanced. Don't you think that benefits the D Pony Clubbers who are jump judging, watching those great riders go around? Even if they never actually talk to them in person, much less take a lesson?

    I think Poltroon's example of going to Rolex is a great one -- you can spend a weekend in Lexington and see some of the very best riders in the world negotiate those XC jumps. Who isn't going to go home from that having learned something and been inspired?

    I do agree that it's mostly up to the individual to seek out these opportunities. I mean, if you live in Podunk, Idaho, what's going on at Rolex may not seem to have much to do with you. But if you've got the initiative and the money for a plane ticket to Lexington...

    I guess what I would like to see is continued efforts to get American riders overseas experience, AND efforts to help spread that knowledge around. We want our best riders to be the best they can be, right? It won't help us if our "best" riders are working tirelessly with Pony Clubbers and 4Hers and local associations if the "best" really aren't that good... don't you think?



  16. #36
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    Forgot to mention - the "trickle down" theory didn't work in Reaganomics, and I don't have any faith that it will work in AHSA/FUD/Whatever.

    IMO, we need to start at the bottom and work up to develop equestrianism in this country - and we need to value all disciplines, not just the Olympic ones.


    If you want a plant to flourish, you must water the roots.



  17. #37
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    Yes, many disciplines are much more oriented to the grassroots and we can learn from them and adopt some of the better ideas.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>YES, it comes to money - everything costs. I expect everything to cost. I resent paying
    large AHSA fees to support a small, yes elite, group of people. I would not resent paying
    fees if there were any clear benefit to the amateur rider or horselover who isn't going to
    ever be international, as well as to said small group. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    There we have it the crux of the changes that have caused so much animosity.

    I agree and that's why I've tried to be active and raise the issues, these same issues. Yes, the old guard did a great job getting things started but it is "Time for a Change". We are not here for the benefit of the few but to benefit the many. The system needs to change and I think the input from all the associations will help us as hunter/jumpers to set a system that will work for us.

    The NHJC was created as a well intentioned concept but it is seriously flawed and needs to either be dissolved and re-organized or they have to change their attitudes. We all agree that the "Members" are entitled to more for their buck.

    As to the post about why these all in one shows are better, yes it is convenient and comfortable for "SOME" people but can we look at what it has cost us as a sport.



  18. #38
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    I'm not sure how entirely on point this is -- I hope it is -- but the discussion reminds me of the comments from David O'Connor during the meeting of the USOC Membership and Credentials Committee in San Antonio last February.

    A big issue then, and now, between the AHSA/Fed and the USET is that the USET contends that the NGB should focus only on the elite, international level of the sport and let other affiliate organizations take care of everything other than the "elite" level competitions and competitors for the international disciplines. The AHSA/Fed in contrast, contends that the NGB has to be concerned with the sport at all levels, from the grass roots to the elite.

    David explained to the Committee how equestrian is different from most of the other sports at the Olympic level, and how that difference makes the grass roots of our sport, and lower-level competitions every bit as important as the international level competitions. No matter how many times a rider or driver has been in international competition, that "elite" athlete always has a partner -- the horse. Sometimes that partner is as "elite" as the human athlete, many times it is a young talent just developing. So, unlike other sports where an athlete reaches a certain level and never goes back down to lower level competition, our international level human athletes regularly compete in our grass roots level competitions.

    Michael Johnson only competes in the top level track meets around the world. Venus Williams is only at the big international tennis tournaments. Michelle Kwan will only be at the most important skating competitions. In contrast, David and Karen O'Connor will be out next weekend at a novice horse trial with a new 4 year old, and Richard Spooner will be doing the schooling jumpers with a young greenie.

    David's point was that the NGB of equestrian sports, perhaps more than any other sport, must focus on the grass roots as well as the elite, and must recognize and support the blend between the two. The levels of our sport cannot be segregated from one another.

    (I have to note that David's comments were in direct contrast with those from Robert Dover at the same meeting, who said he always felt that the AHSA competitions were just something he had to get through on his way to the top levels.)
    "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



  19. #39
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    Snowbird, I am sooo glad you're involved in this marketing etc.stuff. Not just 'cuz you agree with some of my points, either [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] but because you are really open and listening. No-one is going to be 100% delighted no matter how things work out but it sounds as though you're trying to improve the situation for everyone.

    Erin - we have a very very basic disagreement as to the value of "watching the best." Yes, it's fun. Yes, it's exciting. No, I don't think it's a learning experience. You can't learn to ride by watching. You can't even learn to ride by watching the best - especially if you don't even get the chance to talk with them. I had the opportunity to scribe dressage for Tom Hilgenberg. What a gracious gentleman! He explained his placings and comments all day. Gave me lots of food for thought. But it didn't teach me to drive - or even improve my driving. Prof. Harold Hill to the contrary, the "think system" doesn't work. You learn to ride by riding and to drive by driving. Watching Jil Walton go around isn't going to turn me into a 3-Day Eventer.

    HEY! Snowbird - there's an idea...Any way for the new organization to sponsor teaching clinics with upper level riders/drivers in areas that don't normally have access to same, and may not have enough participants at this time to foot the entire bill themselves?



  20. #40
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    Dang! hit the post key by mistake.

    So, my point to Erin (which should have come before the paragraph to Snowbird) is that IMO, the money spent on a ticket to Rolex (and motels, food, etc.) might make an enjoyable vacation, but as far as furthering one's equestrian education, the same money would be better spent on lessons, clinics, etc.



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