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  1. #1
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    Dec. 18, 1999
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    I'd like to start a new thread. A couple of ground rules: 1)no personalities; 2)no stories; 3)no complaints; 4)no non-constructive criticism of ANYONE's 'crazy ideas'. Just throw out possible solutions that you feel might be realistically implemented to improve our sport over the next ten years (if you don't plan on being involved ten years from now, don't bother to post!)

    I personally believe that we need every organization that we've got and probably a couple of more -- we're a big sport in a big country these days and I don't believe we'd be well served without rules and regulation no matter how agravating, irritating, and occasionally expensive it is to deal with. I also believe that every segment of the industry needs an organization to focus on its own needs and interests -- every segment from the smallest local 'grass-roots' group to the USET for the elite international athletes. To my mind the problem (let's call it "challenge")is admitting that we're all working toward the same goal: making our sport even bigger, more enjoyable, better recognized, and more accessible to both aspiring participants and the public. Anything that helps any aspect of the sport, helps all the rest of it -- IF we get off of the "to get ahead, we have to beat someone else." Why can't each organization (and each individual)take the area that it (they)does (do) best and concentrate on that? Why can't we work together in an interdependant manner? We are ALL dependant on the survival and prosperity of every aspect of this sport, aren't we? And isn't the sport, and the organizations we've had for decades, more important than any personalities?

    Let's get thinking 'out of the box' and see what comes out. Just remember "the rules" for this thread....
    Linda



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 1999
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    Salinas, CA USA
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    Default

    I'd like to start a new thread. A couple of ground rules: 1)no personalities; 2)no stories; 3)no complaints; 4)no non-constructive criticism of ANYONE's 'crazy ideas'. Just throw out possible solutions that you feel might be realistically implemented to improve our sport over the next ten years (if you don't plan on being involved ten years from now, don't bother to post!)

    I personally believe that we need every organization that we've got and probably a couple of more -- we're a big sport in a big country these days and I don't believe we'd be well served without rules and regulation no matter how agravating, irritating, and occasionally expensive it is to deal with. I also believe that every segment of the industry needs an organization to focus on its own needs and interests -- every segment from the smallest local 'grass-roots' group to the USET for the elite international athletes. To my mind the problem (let's call it "challenge")is admitting that we're all working toward the same goal: making our sport even bigger, more enjoyable, better recognized, and more accessible to both aspiring participants and the public. Anything that helps any aspect of the sport, helps all the rest of it -- IF we get off of the "to get ahead, we have to beat someone else." Why can't each organization (and each individual)take the area that it (they)does (do) best and concentrate on that? Why can't we work together in an interdependant manner? We are ALL dependant on the survival and prosperity of every aspect of this sport, aren't we? And isn't the sport, and the organizations we've had for decades, more important than any personalities?

    Let's get thinking 'out of the box' and see what comes out. Just remember "the rules" for this thread....
    Linda



  3. #3
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    Mar. 28, 2000
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    CA
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    Hi!I think this is a great topic for a thread.
    My suggestion would be to have a way for people to get started in this sport with out having to spend a fortune.
    I am not the best writer so please keep reading and I will try not to confuse any one. Maybe a subordinate organization that had rules and standards set for the schooling and local shows. By this I mean rules that apply to the lower level of showing. Lately I have noticed at the smaller shows the rules are rather vague if any are used at all.
    Years ago if my memory serves me correctly even nonrated schooling shows were judged according to the AHSA rules, this was stated in the prize list. Is this not allowed any more? I am not thinking of the AHSA having the involvement at this level that they do at the AA shows, just maybe some give some guidence or support of the rule book.

    ALso some judging standards that are a little more objective. Some thing like they have in the reining classes x many points deducted if they do not change their lead at the right place and more off for the longer that it takes them.

    [This message has been edited by rusty (edited 08-22-2000).]



  4. #4
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    Aug. 25, 1999
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    I think the milage rule has [like many similar "protective" ideas] "evolved" beyond its intended purpose. Fewer managers "owning" more and more dates...well, it doesn't take alot of forsight to see where this is heading. With professional show managers controlling the industry side of horse shows, loyalty and monopoly will be the new battle issue. We're already seeing the skirmishes beginning.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 15, 1999
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    Let's take it back a step. We have a structure that could work. The C-Rated Show should be better defined. I think that the ratings should be predicated on the courses being offered.

    For example in Ice Skating there were figures you had to master before you could compete. Then there were levels where you were judged as pass or fail. This level would be for the "Local Member".

    Our C Shows could be around and down the diagonal. This would be a place to start with fences that are inviting and attractive but not intimidating. A place to train the green young horse and school the new riders lacking perhaps in some ability to meet the pressures. A confidence builder to move up from or a comfortable place for the older rider who is satisfied to feel safe and not challenged.

    A B Level show would have to offer a more difficult and challenging course. This is where they gain ring poise and experience turning out the horse and themselves for competition. Some might never go beyond this level, and some may return after many years.

    The A Level Show should not be a catch-all for every body whether or not they know how to ride or what competition is all about. It shouldn't be based on "Cash Awarded" but on the difficulty of the challenges.

    The AA Show should only be a qualifying show with limited entries offering only the AHSA Rated Divisions evenly spaced to give both the horse and the rider the opportunity to compete under the best possible circumstances. These are the horses and riders who have already been skimmed off the top as our best.



  6. #6
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    Dec. 20, 1999
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    Phoenix, AZ USA
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    Hi Linda ... great topic!

    Among many things that I believe need to happen to improve this sport, one of the most important would be for the AHSA / NHJC to establish better lines of communication between themselves and the state / local organizations. It's these very groups that know everyone from the "A" circuit riders to the backyard schooling show types in their own states / areas, and they are the key to getting EVERYONE involved.

    Right now, the current system only serves a select few - many, many more people involved with hunter jumper horses don't have any clue what the letters "AHSA" or even "NHJC" stand for, let alone what they do.

    The AHSA / NHJC must become involved at all levels, but more importantly, it must offer a reason for these folks to want their involvement!

    In Zone 8, we recently created a new position on the Zone 8 Committee called "Communications Director". I volunteered for this spot (call me crazy!). But, one of my biggest goals is to open up a line of communication with the local organizations like Arizona Hunter Jumper Association, Colorado Hunter Jumper Association, New Mexico Hunter Jumper Association, Utah Hunter Jumper Association, Southern Arizona Training Association, etc. These are the groups that know the 90+% of hunter jumper enthusiasts that are out there. And these are the folks we need to get involved with the sport.

    How? What can the AHSA / NHJC offer to these folks? If I knew that, I'd run for President of something or other ... but let's see what other responses on this thread come up with!

    Chris



  7. #7
    gymnastic Guest

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    A good place to start would be Jacquiline Badger Mars letter in the Chronicle a week or so ago. I think she basically proposed a structure where the USET would do what it now does, the AHSA would do what it now does, and there would be some kind of unifying board above them both, to work out the various overlaps and possible conflicts. I can't really see anything wrong with that.

    In fact, it seems to be such a good idea that I don't even see anybody trashing it. So it must be good.

    Part of the problem might be that both the USET and AHSA boards have gotten so big (more than 50 each, I think), that there needs to be a small group of dedicated people to supervise the overall structure. It seems to me that might be the biggest situation to face -- how to pick those people, and who they would be. They probably need to be people with experience but not too much profile, and also willing to do some hard work.



  8. #8
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    Oct. 5, 1999
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    Great thread Linda! As you said, we do need all the organizations we have. Our sport is huge, not just h/j. Better and uncluttered communication, might help end some of the in house cat fighting. Getting locked into our own disciplines needs and not seeing the overall picture is easily done. Sitting down to a round table with others, and listening (key word) to some of their suggestions might start heading us in a positive direction. This is beginning to sound like the UN. However, we have become like many nations with similar problems.



  9. #9
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    Ouch...I was not aware that the boards were that large... spend 5 minutes working on committees, and you will quickly learn that they function best at 5-8 members and become dysfunctional at around 12. That isn't a statement about any one personality, just the nature of large groups. I would suggest that serious restructuring be done if the goal is to provide governence and change (I don't mean that to sound flip, quite frankly that is not the purpose of some boards, but if it is the purpose of this board, the size could be problematic).

    This would mean there would need to be more accountable committees reporting to the board, which is a challenge in and of itself. Those committees need well defined legislative authority and charters defining their scope. I also feel strongly that if the committee governing the specific discipline has not been elected by the group of people it represents (or appointed by an elected body) nor does it truly have decision making power, it might be a waste of good oxygen - OK, that was harsh, but without giving examples, those of us in business have all seen what happens when some other department tries to throw their people into a process that they have no true authority over. It really doesn't matter if that group of people have the greatest ideas in the world, they usually end up causing friction everywhere, and reducing the process to shambles.

    Also, I think a board/committees would have to sit together through the course of at least 12 meetings - I'm not sure of the term and frequency, but the first 4 meetings of new boards generally consist of the storming-norming-forming-performing process (oh,yes, we can all tell who went to TQM courses, can't we? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] ). You need to get through those before real progress is usually achieved. I also think that if possible, at least 33% of the board should rotate out every term (not saying they can never serve again, but perhaps sitting out for 2 terms would provide more of that out-of-the-box persepctive).

    As for showing, I have to say I was very impressed with Susie Humes/Blake Aldrich's thoughts on changing horse shows, especially about only 10 shows counting to your indoor qualifications.

    As usual, just my $0.08...
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 1999
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    Houston, Texas
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    Linda, a good, constructive topic. Here's my personal suggestion, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who's been around here awhile.

    The AHSA rules (including very definately the rule governing the NHJC) need to be restructured and rewritten. The substance doesn't need to change -- except in those areas where the membership wants the change or the sport needs it to thrive -- but the rules as they now exist are vague, disorganized, and very poorly drafted. If a state or the federal government tried to enforce rules as poorly drafted and organized as the AHSA rules, they would be declared "void for vagueness."

    Linda, I'm a lawyer, a Senior Counsel with one of the largest and most well respected corporate firms in this country and I do complex litigation and international arbitration. I work with complex regulatory schemes every day, and still it takes me hours to find answers to simple questions in the AHSA Rules. When I do find the answer, there is virtually always some issue remaining undefined, unanswered, and subject to debate regarding its meaning and effect.

    I realize the AHSA has operated under these rules for a long time, but that does not mean they are untouchable. The system needs to be reformatted to make them user-friendly, so the members can find and understand a clear statement of the rules to which they are subject and by which they are expected to abide.

    Restructuring and redrafting the AHSA rules will help define and facilitate the relationship between the AHSA and the other entities with which it must function, including the NHJC, USET, and the FEI.

    I would be more than willing to volunteer to assist in any organized and sanctioned effort to accomplish the revision of the AHSA Rules.

    Jennifer Price

    [This message has been edited by Portia (edited 08-22-2000).]
    "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



  11. #11
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    Dec. 18, 1999
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    Salinas, CA USA
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    This is GREAT (I keep sitting here nodding my head as I read...). Keep 'em coming.
    Linda



  12. #12
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    Jul. 11, 2000
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    Brookline, NH, USA
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    Snowbird wrote:

    "The A Level Show should not be a catch-all for every body whether or not they know how to ride or what competition is all about. It shouldn't be based on "Cash Awarded" but on the difficulty of the challenges.

    The AA Show should only be a qualifying show with limited entries offering only the AHSA Rated Divisions evenly spaced to give both the horse and the rider the opportunity to compete under the best possible circumstances. These are the horses and riders who have already been skimmed off the top as our best."

    Here's an idea - if the A and AA shows are supposed to be for the very best horses and riders - how about a rule that only the person who shows the horse in the ring is allowed to ride the horse on the show grounds? No trainers warming up the horses for students to get on at the last minute, or trainers showing the horses in the higher divisions before the owner rides it in lower divisions. This way, you get the people who really can "ride" their own horses, from warm-up to the end.

    Event riders have to abide by this rule, even brand new horses & riders at the Beginner Novice level(2'7" max height).

    Just an idea.



  13. #13
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    OK, I'll throw out a couple of examples of structures that work reasonably well (though by no means perfectly) in other disciplines.

    The USDF (US Dressage Federation) is an organization of organizations (called "GMOs" - General Membership Organizations). The H/J analogy would be to have a organization bringing together representatives of the local hunter organizations, such as VHSA, MHSA, etc. The USDF does not make the rules- the AHSA does that- but the USDF has considerable input to the AHSA dressage rules. The USDF also administers the awards programs- many of which are based on needing a "qualifying score" to be eligible for various championship programs, and "Finals" shows. Most dressage shows, even if they are not AHSA recognized, use the USDF tests, and run under most of the USDF/AHSA rules.

    The USCTA (United States Combine Training Association) plays a slightly different role. It is an individual membership organization (though local organizations may affiliate with USCTA). As with the USDF, the USCTA doesn't make the rules, but it has considerable input on the AHSA rules. And the USCTA membership has an opportubity to have significant input on this process.

    The USCTA actually recognizes many of the lower level (Novice and Training) events, even though they may not be AHSA recognized. Only Prelim and above needs to be AHSA recognized. However, the lower level USCTA events are still run under AHSA rules, as are the majority of the unrecognized events.

    Again, the USCTA administers the awards programs. Many of these are based on winning a certain number of events to qualify for a championship event, though others are based on total points over the year. The USCTA also establishes the competition schedule (as CT is exempt from the AHSA mileage rule).

    It was my understanding that the NHJC was expected to assume a role somewhat analogous to the USDF and USCTA. From what I have observed so far, they ar focusing on the relationship with AHSA, and NOT addressing the needed relationship with the local organizations, or the indivdual competitors. (Many riders are USDF or USCTA members, but not AHSA members, becuase they derive some benefit form those organizations. So far, I have not seen much incentive for non AHSA members to join NHJC.) I do not know whether this is because of the way the NHJC is structured, or because of the particular people involved.

    Anyway, I think that the structure of both the USDF and USCTA in relation to their disciplines provides possibilities which should be examined for the hunter/jumper discipline.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  14. #14
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    Sep. 10, 1999
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    I would like to see more education available in clinic form for trainers about keeping horses fit, sound, and healthy. Being a scientist at heart, and always waiting for the latest and greatest studies, I think there is a wealth of information out there, that is underutilized. I would like to see our horses stay sounder longer, I would like our horses to be in peak form for competition. Things like leg maintenance,
    joint supplements, joint injections, a fitness program for the hunter horse, jumper horse etc. Turnout the good the bad etc.
    So much is known, and so many people have next to no knowledge. The racetracks (the good trainers) have an edge on us here.
    I continuously get tired of trying to educate my clients on my own about this, I would love to see farriers, vets, and trainers all get involved in sport horse
    maintenance. Things as simple as a flatfooted horse with small feet benefiting from a pad and bar shoe (before he/she gets navicular). Why are we always treating AFTER the fact? What does it take per week to keep a horse in peak condition etc?
    I think when these avenues are worked out, the pounding will become clear as when it is/is not pounding etc, or how much is too much etc. This is really missing. We need more educated horseman trained, not just nice horses and good riders who can find 8.



  15. #15
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    Aug. 10, 1999
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    Wonderful topic!

    Change both the hunter and jumper "points" system to one based on quality of performance rather than horses beaten. For example, a rider on a 6 yr old horse goes clean, then goes slow clean in a jump-off. That double clear would count as 1 (or 2) grading points. Which would, in turn, determine the horse's level of competition and chances for qualifying for zone (region) and national championship shows.

    In hunters, all hunters would be scored (open numerical - although, perhaps scores under 50 would not have to be tallied?), and the horse receives one point for each SCORE over 85 (or whatever figure is determined to be most appropriate - perhaps 90, perhaps 80.) THOSE points would be tallied and counted towards gradings/ championship shows, etc. (A 90 or 99 round should be a 90 round wherever the show!)

    Hopefully, a system such as this would solve several problems, not the least of which is point chasing. The grading system would allow nice young horses to compete in Grade Championships without running their legs off.

    Thanks, again, Linda!

    [This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 08-22-2000).]
    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!



  16. #16
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    I am fascinated and frustrated with this thread--primarily because there's such a wealth of great ideas and experienced thoughts and a lack of coherent process to organize and orchestrate them. In my "other life"--the one that pays for the ponies, trainers, shows, and memberships--I am a management consultant who spends a ton of my time working with professional service organizations on strategic planning, processes and management issues/communications. Linda's opening point that the need for clear missions, mandates and strategies is essential is right on. Often, I've found that it's most helpful in complex situations like this to conduct opinion research (through surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc.) of each entity and then lay out the objective and subjective data in a way that responsible members of each entity can formulate their own recommendations and see where missions and actions intersect, diverge, etc. This process can deflect personality conflicts and allow people to focus on shared goals and innovative solutions. Wouldn't it be neat if the current conflicts could lead to this kind of opportunity for assessment, creative planning, and inclusive/interactive forums? If the endgame is the improvement of the sport then certainly such a process, if leadership (or management) supports it and disengages from one-upsmanship, could lay the foundation for a strong future. Is anything like this possible or probable?



  17. #17
    gymnastic Guest

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    Sorry to be a broken record, but back to the Mars letter, it seems to me that PonyMom's opinion needs to be PUBLISHED. Isn't this just what Mars suggested, that equestrians speak up and get engaged? "Horse World -- Please React"

    One of the downsides of these bulletin board things is that it is SO easy to express an opinion -- but in reality, to have an expressed opinion go somewhere,and mean something, it needs to be more formally expressed. I know I am going to print these ideas out -- all of them -- and forward them to AHSA and USET and Mars for a start. But I think some of us have to take the time to get engaged on the printed page, too.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 1999
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    Well, we'd love to publish letters in reaction to the one from Jacqueline Mars. We can't publish Letters to the Editor that aren't specifically in reference to another article or letter, but in this case... that's exactly what they're there for!

    Our letters policy is available at the bottom of this page:

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/letters.html

    If someone wants to write something more extensive, not in reference to an article or letter, that's what our Horseman's Forum is for.

    These venues are set up for you guys, so please feel free to use them! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] If you have any questions, feel free to email me at webmaster@chronofhorse.com.



  19. #19
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    Ponymom - great suggestions! I too have often wondered why we can't apply basic TQM business principles to our sport.

    It is in some ways sad that the AHC was the one to conduct the research about the $$$ our industry generates. Even if the AHSA co-funded it (I haven't a clue if they did), there isn't one good reason why we shouldn't have already known that information (just read the average salary of the TCOH reader - marketing firms live for this kind of target audience).

    On that note, it seems like our organization needs a more firm grasp of who the target audience is, and what their needs are, and this needs to be done through a formal, disciplined approach that all parties agree to abide by. Whether it is feasible to meet this group's needs is another issue, however, if you can't even define them, you are doomed before you even start.

    I also have to agree with Portia - I have spent most of my working life in close contact with the federal regulations dealing with Medicare (yes, that is where that twitch came from), and I honestly didn't think ANYTHING could surpass that beast... I was wrong...
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisa Cook:
    Here's an idea - if the A and AA shows are supposed to be for the very best horses and riders - how about a rule that only the person who shows the horse in the ring is allowed to ride the horse on the show grounds? No trainers warming up the horses for students to get on at the last minute, or trainers showing the horses in the higher divisions before the owner rides it in lower divisions. This way, you get the people who really can "ride" their own horses, from warm-up to the end.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    And a red hot one at that!! Dressage operates under the same standard (oops, that "s" word... http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif - and, if I recall correctly, they have to use the same equipment as they show in..... For the A & AA shows, why not make the competitors prove they really know what they're doing?!
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