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  1. #41
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    Ah, okay... well, I certainly don't think watching on its own is enough to make someone a better rider. I do think taking lessons from your local pretty-good-but-not-international-caliber trainer AND watching Bruce, Karen, and David go around at Rolex makes for a better education than lessons alone.

    But we will have to agree to disagree. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]



  2. #42
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    Portia... I think those comments, from a VERY top international rider, are VERY on target to the discussion. and I completely agree with them.

    pt... I still don't see where you say no top to bottom support in some of the disciplines. I will fully admit that my experience at AHSA shows is limited to Eventing (which is what it's now called, not combined training... sorry, one of my personal peeves is all). If I could get an firm example, I think I'd more fully understand your point, but as it stands, I don't get it. What I see as a competitor for only the last 7 years is that events do have a great encouragement for the lower levels.

    Also, I have to politely (of course) completely disagree with you on the value of watching the best. Sorry, but I've picked up a lot of subtle ideas that I have incorporated into my riding by watching Jim Graham ride or teach, or by watching Karen O'Connor go. Can I do this in a vacuum without proper instruction? No, of course not, but do think it has it's place in the learning process.

    Erin... you are correct. Non AHSA/Non USCTA members can compete at recognized events at the BN level only. Riders must be USCTA members beginning at Novice and AHSA members at Prelim.

    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



  3. #43
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    Jul. 18, 2001
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    Erin has it right. It is NOT either/or. It's both. Watching and doing. Remember, watching the best can INSPIRE. Those inspired then go out and try to DO. And then watch, and then do some more. I bet David O'Connor still watches and learns a lot from watching Blythe Tait, and vice versa, or in Driving, I bet Chester Weber watches and learns a lot from Tucker Johnson, and the other way, too.

    This whole NGB thing is driven by the federal law that governs it. Portia is our expert. And I guess it says that there has to be one governing body, if I read her right. And if that is so, then it must be the one that can tie the top to the bottom, with everything in between, and actually get a big enough mass of horse people to be able to get the outside money, sponsors, tv, and all the rest, that the other sports have, so that these things will happen as they have NOT been happening. AND that there is room at the grass roots level for some introductory programs so that the beginning people -- like non-AHSA ADS events -- do not have to pay full tilt.

    The more people are involved, the less the fees per person or per horse have to be than they would be otherwise.



  4. #44
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    tle - if you mean that viewing the higher levels of Eventing (didn't know the name had been officially changed - don't care for it, but so be it) can thrill and inspire some people to try it, yes, I agree there can be that effect. But is there really any concrete support from top to bottom?



  5. #45
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    Well, I know David coaches the Area II Young Riders team...

    Maybe an agreement to provide some of this kind of grass-roots (if you consider NAYRC grass roots... I'm not sure if it is) support should be a prerequisite for receiving support to compete internationally?



  6. #46
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    Anyway, getting off discussions of who does what to or for whom,

    Suggestions:

    1. Support for "B" and "C" circuits, especially in areas having difficulty maintaining same.

    2. Support for clinics and educational opportunities.

    3. Publicity for upper-level personages as spokesmen and images for the sports.

    4. Equal respect for all disciplines including pleasure/trailriding. Equal time in national organization's publications. Equal support, both moral and financial.

    5. Assistance in local efforts to maintain open land, trails and equestrian venues.

    6. Development of trainer/teacher qualification levels and certification.

    7. Incorporation/support of Pony Clubs and 4-H Horse Programs into the national structure.

    I'm sure there are more ideas, but I have to get back to work or I won't be able to afford even my low horse budget!


    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]



  7. #47
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    Yes, that's what I mean. But also, if I am having problems with a certain type of fence, I can certainly get a thought process (for lack of a better word) on how to correctly ride said fence by sitting at said fence and watching Bruce, Buck, Karen, David, Kim, Linden, Kerry, Mara, Dorothy, Jim, Mark, and some others ride it. I know because I've done it! It isn't a substitute for competent hands-on training, but it DOES help.

    What kind of support are we talking about? The fact that more people are eventing at the upper levels, therefore more people are available around the country for lessons, clinics and such? Yes. That the muckidy mucks are trying (none of us are perfect) to improve the conditions and safety aspects of my sport? Yes. That I personally have witnessed the queen of US eventing take her lunch break at a hot and busy clinic to help a 12yo adjust the tack on her palomino pony? Yes.

    Perhaps that isn't the kind of top to bottom support that you're talking about... but that is what I am referring to.

    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



  8. #48
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    AnneFS posted this on the Marketing thread - just moving it over here for those who may have missed it.

    The important point, IMO, is that many people do not belong to AHSA for reasons I have amply expressed here. Perhaps the first big task of the new NGB needs to be to convince more people that there is benefit to joining.


    "Between this thread and the Kanavy v. Balch one I've been reply here to stuff I read there!

    pt wrote (on the other thread): <<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.>>

    pt's right. Thank God USPC is out there teaching horsemanship and riding, 'cuz Lord knows AHSA is all about winning at horse shows. AHSA has overlooked the average and/or grassroots of the sport, which is why pony club, 4-H, local circuits, breed clubs with their own local shows, etc. have sprung up to fill the gap. Unfortunately, it seems that some areas of the country are not as fortunate in having enough non-AHSA groups to fill the need. These grassroots people are producing the future horsemen who will be unobserved and unappreciated and yes, overlooked by the h/j circuit leaders. If these threads are an indication that the Fed is changing, great. But let's face it, people join AHSA because they have to (to avoid paying non-member fees), not because they feel AHSA does anything for them. And a zillion people choose not to join. I admit it riles me to read those COH Commentaries about no horsemanship when I am involved in Pony Club and see hundreds of children being taught horsemanship every day and then GM and DE write columns and act like it doesn't exist anymore. It doesn't exist at AHSA shows so therefore it doesn't exist period. Well, come on over here and we'll show you excellent horsemanship. Bring our good competitors to your barns to help show the way. Stop acting as though if it's not at Wellington it doesn't exist. Give the other kids a chance. Your horses and your barn and even your A-show hunter riders will be the better for it.

    There, now, someone who can write should put this in a Commentary for the COH."



  9. #49
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    tle - it sounds as though you as well as Erin can see a lot faster than I can, so maybe watching someone blast through a jump (or an obstacle) provides you with ideas on technique. I don't see that fast, so while watching a 4-in-hand gallop a hazard I would walk with my single creates a feeling of awe, it doesn't help in a material way. It is fun, though - no question.

    As for involvement top to bottom - it sounds as if Eventing, at least in your neck of the woods, is ahead of most other sports. Mazel tov!

    Yes, what you describe is what I'm asking about - sorry, don't see it. Must not frequent the same places you do.



  10. #50
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    Thanks, pt, for consolidating stuff.

    As for #7 on your list (Incorporation/support of Pony Clubs and 4-H Horse Programs into the national structure), Groundline pointed out to me that the new AHSA/Fed is onto this and I should check out the ahsa.org under Affiliates. So looks like people are listening.

    BTW, Victor Hugo-Vidal seems to get out and about away from the very narrow h/j world and then shares what he sees with the COH readers. It's appreciated.

    And go to www.ponyclub.org, click on Festival, then Clinicians, to see all the prominent AHSA/USET competitors willing to give time to some very excited kids, eager to learn.



  11. #51
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    I like a lot of the ideas you enumerated. We can certainly agree to disagree about the benefit of being a Fed member!

    I belong, and also volunteer, because I think that I have at least some small obligation to give back a little to the sport that has given me so much over the years. Note, I said the sport - not necessarily the Fed - but my view is that if things aren't the way you think they ought to be, you get involved and work to make them better.

    The Fed is doing a lot more than they used to for a wider audience of members and horse lovers in general. I personally think the Performance Horse Registry database is a good thing - it will be nice to someday have the kind of performance data that other countries already have at their fingertips. The work that is done to support veterinary medicine benefits all horse owners.

    There is certainly room to do more, improve more and make the membership more valuable to all horse enthusiasts, and everyone's input is welcome.

    I don't feel that I am unduly burdened or that a large portion of my dues are spent on international superstars. There are substantial costs involved in administering any sport, and I feel that they are well spent on providing safe and fair competition venues, on the drugs and meds programs, and on licensed officials and the provisions of standard specs and rules that allow each competitor to rely on at least some minimum standard as far as a rated competition is concerned. I think in the coming months, you will see that the Fed will be providing more and better opportunities for ALL riders, across all disciplines. Will it replace the services provided by other associations, pony clubs, etc...? NO! And it shouldn't... but they can be complementary, and I think they will. Stay tuned! And stay involved -!

    As an aside, I enjoy going to shows where the top riders compete and frequently spend HOURS sitting on the fence in the schooling area, watching how the most accomplished riders school and prepare their horses, give lessons etc... I've learned a TON by watching, even when I have not spoken to or ridden with the trainer/rider in question.

    Many times, I have watched with great interest as a horse comes out exhibiting behavior that my own horse has presented me with... watching how someone else deals with it, what exercises they use, what their position and aids are, and what their results are, can be very educational for me. Not to mention, basically FREE!!
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  12. #52
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    Sep. 16, 1999
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> pt's right. Thank God USPC is out there teaching horsemanship and riding, 'cuz Lord knows AHSA is all about winning at horse shows. AHSA has overlooked the average and/or grassroots of the sport, which is why pony club, 4-H, local circuits, breed clubs with their own local shows, etc. have sprung up to fill the gap. Unfortunately, it seems that some <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ah ha! I finally got the crust of your issue with AHSA. However, if you want AHSA to fill in ****ALL*** those gaps, exactly how much would you like your yearly membership to cost?? Cuz I will tell you that if they have to fill in ALL the grassroot levels taht the quoted posts seems to indicate a desire for, you're talking about adding quite a few people to the AHSA staff to field all those issues.... which in turn may be wonderful people but doubt they will consider working for free so their salary (and benefits) will be passed on to you. And yes, if AHSA is going to *really* support those types of shows, then you can bet they will require membership. IE: when the USCTA was considering making membership mandatory at the Novice level the argument was brought up (sucessfully I guess seeing as how the idea passed) that there are other sports in which you don't compete unless you're a member... and in some cases pass certain tests to advance). In my mind that is why we have the national organizations like USCTA to be more of a bridge between the grassroots rider and the AHSA.

    I think the question then ends up coming down to how much are you willing to pay for that? Personally, as an eventer, I think the USCTA is doing a good job and no, I don't want my AHSA dues to increase because someone else's organization isn't doing a good job.

    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



  13. #53
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    I totallydisagree that one cannot learn by watching. In my experience, the more one knows, the more one can learn.

    I also agree with David O'Conner's thoughts, to a point. Yes, David, his wife as well as nearly every international calibre show jumper spends more time in the lower levels, either educating a young horse or a young rider. Isn't that the grass roots? That is why, in show jumping, it is very useful to have shows that offer divisions for most horses and riders. These shows afford the opportunity for those elite riders to make their youngsters, train the novice riders and continue to hone their own skills at the International level.
    The elite riders, for the most part, are more than willing to impart their knowledge upon the novice. However, the novice rider must realize that by doing so, the elite rider is sacrificing time and energy that could be spent further developing themselves or one of their promising horses.
    Bear in mind the elite riders in Europe concentrate only on their string.
    If I were a second tier rider, I would figure out how to get the most from whichever elite rider I thought I'd like to learn from, no matter what sacrifices I had to make.



  14. #54
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    I'm afraid I need to agree with pt on her trickle down theory. I ride dressage I support the international riders by my show fees etc. Then when I want their feedback I get charged an arm and a leg to go to their clinic! What exactly are these international competitors giving back to us? Specifically? I don't see anything coming my way for free or even at an affordable price. Also it is difficult to get into their clinics due to popularity, it's not like they go to podunk america and give them to the underprivledged riders to say thank you for all their support!
    Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!



  15. #55
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    tle - you still haven't quite gotten the crux of my argument - those of us whom AHSA does not really benefit are still paying fees to AHSA, which presumably go to support disciplines AHSA feels are more "worthy." I pay AHSA fees at ADS events - I don't really know of any which are not AHSA affiliated anymore, other than strictly local club events. If USCTA got novice riders exempted from AHSA fees, more power to them. Please, let us know how, so we can do the same.

    Emmett -- I think you're still thinking in strictly "show" terms. I'm taking the new NGB outside AHSA limits, which certainly were shows and only shows, and saying IF it is truly a NGB for all horse activities, then it needs to recognize/support other disciplines/activities.

    OH, and "support" isn't necessarily $$$$. It can be time, publicity, subsidies (OK, some $$$ [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] ) to enable locations/clubs to invite whatever hotshots are willing to come do clinics, a fair share of magazine space and recognition - all sorts of support.

    I guess you must all be a lot smarter than I am - I can learn by auditing a clinic in which others are being taught and explanations are given. I can't say I learn by watching courses jumped, tests ridden or marathons driven. I enjoy watching, it just isn't a good way of teaching for me.

    But I appreciate all the ideas which have been expressed in this thread. I'll cogitate on them while doing my volunteering stint at CDE's, distance drives, pleasure shows and dirt-circuit horse shows the rest of the summer out here in the boonies where the big dogs don't bark. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]



  16. #56
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    I don't ride dressage so I am somewhat unfamiliar with the way the fees work. Brookes, can you explain show fees go to the international riders in that discipline and what you think they ought to provide in return?

    Would it be reasonable to make them give clinics in x number of states, for example? Should they have to do so for free? Or at a low cost? Should that cover their expenses or provide them with a small "profit?" Should they be able to schedule the clinic around their competitive schedule and clients' needs, or should they just be required to show up at certain places and times?

    Riding is a tough way to earn a living. Most of the top riders I know of work hard with their clients and the training/sales part of their business in order to have the wherewithal to continue to compete. Very few have fancy houses, cars and the other non-horsey material things that most non-pros take for granted.

    All the pros I know ride horses that I would refuse to - because that is what they get paid for. Yes, they are more competent than I am but they are still facing considerable risk. Most also train people that they might rather not (not everyone likes to teach people as well as they like to ride!)

    Achievement at all levels involves considerable sacrifice - be it the willingness to stay on the road for months at a time, accept YEARS of poorly paid, physically tough work for other pros as they are coming up through the ranks, the hard work it takes to obtain and retain sponsors, owners and clients... not to mention the RISKS that are involved (both physical and financial) ... or the setbacks that can occur when a carefully prepared horse goes lame right before a key event, a falling out with an owner results in the ride going to someone else, or god knows what else. It is a life for the brave as well as the talented.

    My (desk) job offers not only disability and health insurance but retirement benefits... most riders don't have that luxury. If they are willing to sacrifice most everything else to get to the top, I admire and respect them - and feel that they should get some support. It is a reward for all they have accomplished despite massive obstacles.

    Maybe they receive more support than I am aware of, from the FED or elsewhere. But although I know there are a few grants to train or perhaps compete on a tour overseas, or to participate in a training session here...what else do they get at other competitors' expense??
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  17. #57
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    Mar. 6, 1999
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    on topic of value of "watching." As one who had very little opportunity to be formally "taught" as a young rider, I found tremendous value in "learning by watching," and "learning by volunteering to help." This is an active and not passive activity, but for me at least it worked -- and continues to work. My travel expenses to a European Championship event to watch other's work in course design is not just helpful but essential in terms of continuing education.

    And I learned more from watching Rodney school horses on a Tuesday before a show began than I ever did from riding in any clinic.

    Spending 4 years treking (with very few exceptions totally on my own nickle) to shows that Pamela Carruthers and others I admired were working at to work as a volunteer assistant was (and still is) the only "university education" available for a CD. Cheaper than Harvard but not cheap or easy by any means just essential, to me anyway, to becoming good enough to do the job the way competitors deserve to have it done.

    Sorry about the soap-box, but I feel strongly that the desire to learn and improve is far more important than the easy availability of "teachers."

    Linda Allen
    Linda Allen



  18. #58
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    Lucas, I can understand you are confused, I was in a hurry and didn't make myself clear, sorry about that. Yes there are scholarships and grants that the USDF and State societies provide. However on the very up side these are usually awarded to wonderful upcoming young riders that have talent and have worked their tiny butts off to receive these awards. I was reading into pt's comments about the trickle down effect. I know how hard these pros work to get where they are, how they have to hustle, I was lucky enough to work with two olympic dressage riders on a ad campaign years back. They got no money just product for all their time and trouble. The point I was trying to make is: for example look at Tiger Woods, granted he is now a gazillionaire, but he uses his popularity to support his foundation that directly helps kids that could never play golf on their own.

    These folks are our heros, our stars of the sport. I believe they have a responsiblity to the sport and to those who have supported them. What David O'Connor is doing by training a young riders team is outstanding! I would love to see more of that happening. I'm not asking them to give a free clinic every weekend for the underfinanced rider, just make themselves available on occassion, say once or twice a year to a pony club group or 4H. Kids that would never in a million years get an opporunity like this otherwise.

    Do keep in mind though, that a couple of our "Dressage Stars" have patrons (i.e. very very wealthy folks) that buy their competition horses for them! I know that their situations are very comfortable to say the least. They are not struggling at all! Yes they work hard, but then so do most of us! We all make sacrifices every day of our lives to support the choices that we have made for ourselves.

    Lucas I hope that I have cleared up any confusion you may have had. Thanks for the insights I appreciate it.
    Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!



  19. #59
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    Could not agree more Linda!!

    pt, wish you had been around for the grassroots thread. No one, is happy about all these fees, no one. It has become exorbidant for all of us. I was trying to explain why ADS took up with the AHSA. Sorry, didn't mean to make it so negative. And I do understand your frustration, truly.

    Snowbird has been hammering to try and have people support the C & B level shows. From several of the posts here, there are many who take the entire barn to a top level show. Mega shows seem to be taking over everywhere. I am not a believer that everyone needs to go to these. Too many times people loose interest, seeing horses that they can't begin to own winning. The C&B shows offer a great training ground. A place where they can be competitive and possibly win. How do we change this, how do we change the thinking process to recoup?



  20. #60
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    Let me clarify - the desire to learn and improve, as Linda Allen states, is of course, paramount.

    However....as one who yearns to improve, and who volunteers, and who attends clinics, and who reads, studies, watches tapes, etc. etc. - I am totally aware of how difficult it is without instruction. I seriously doubt that ANYone has learned to ride strictly from books or tapes. At least, not correctly.

    As for "making any sacrifices" - hmmmm, easy to say IF there are no children, homes, spouses, jobs, parents, etc. etc.

    I'm speaking NOT on behalf of the young, hopeful future professionals, but on behalf of the grassroots. The people who may never get near an A show, let alone FEI, but whom we must reach and stir enthusiasm if equestrian sports are ever to reach the standing of a truly nationally supported sport in the USA.

    It won't be done without popular support and popular appeal. One of the best ways to build that popular support and appeal is to provide a healthy activity for children. That's where the Pony Club and the 4-H have been and are so very important. Another way is to provide weekend activities for adult amateurs - all us Walter Mitties [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] who know full well we'll never be big names, but who ARE important to the future of the sport.

    It's a bigger issue than just who gets to go to the next Olympics.



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