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  1. #1
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    Jan. 18, 2004
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    Western WA
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    Default I think I'm done

    I think I’m done. I’ve ridden Hunters and Dressage for the better part of 40 years. Although I stopped showing a while ago, I’ve volunteered, judged and generally had horses in the industry for a long, long time. I’ve seen the changes, both good and bad, and truly the Hunter Derbies are the best thing I’ve seen in many years. The interest, the spectacular horses, and the improved riding. Although I’m a confirmed TB person, the current WB hunters are absolutely stunning – both in looks and ability. It’s poetry to watch them gallop and jump in the derbies.

    That said, I’m done. I’m completely changing disciplines. (No, I’m not going to say what I’m going to do – needless to say there will be enough whine and popcorn over this post by the time I’m finished without adding that to the firestorm).

    I still attend a lot of the shows. And frankly, I’m not at all sure I want to be associated with them anymore. For several reasons, one of which is cost. For many years the costs were on par with my salary. I’m a professional, and made a good salary. Now, the costs for shows (and horses) have so far outstripped my salary that I’m completely priced out. There is no way I could participate if I wanted to. Between stabling and associated costs charged by the show, and all the fees, it’s a minimum of $400 before entering a single class. Trainer Fees, splits, Ready Room/Tack Room charge, tips, staffing hotel arrangements, braiding and the like (not to mention paying board/training to keep your stall at home) have gotten ridiculous.

    Then don’t get me started on the classes. Now there are the usual Hunter Classes, Plus all the divisions in between , to the point that every three inch increment has a division complete with champion and reserve. And now they add Cross Poles. At an “A” show? Really? So now Mom and Dad can spend an obscene amount of money on a pony so DD can show at an “A” Rated show and bring home lots of pretty ribbons. Seriously?

    There is also the fact that by the time we separate out by age, fence height, and horse or pony, none of the divisions have more than 7 people entered. So basically, everybody gets a trophy. A trainer can bring 20 horses to a show, and yet nobody has too big of a division so that everybody can go home happy and feeling good about how much they’ve won.

    I was volunteering at a show and was helping organize the championship ribbons and coolers. There are so many now that the ribbons are printed with a generic title like ‘Children’s Hunter’ so it can be used for different age groups, or ‘low’ or ‘high’, and if it isn’t used this year, it can be used next year. The coolers only have the shows name, not the division. We have cheapened the sense of achievement of winning, even while upping the cost to an astonishing degree.

    Even the whole saddle question is irritating. Please tell me why everybody and their uncle has to have a custom saddle? Do we really have so much money than somebody who rides twice a week, and weekends at shows really needs a custom saddle? I know people who have never spent that much money on a horse, yet still manage to do just fine.

    The problem may not be the industry; that is a question of business models and who will pay the price. Nor the fact that we have shut out so many people who would like to participate because of the cost.

    Instead it may just be me and my perspective. I’m involved with a non-profit working overseas, and I’m getting quite an education about the world outside the US. As such, it’s a bit unreal to go to the shows and see the vast amounts of money are being spent by people who truly don’t believe that they are wealthy. And more power to them. It that’s what they want to do, then go for it. But whining about the fact that you can’t afford the latest hunt coat is truly a first-world problem, and in the scheme of things it’s is pretty unimportant.

    I do realize that this will open a can of worms, but this is truly just my opinion, and offered up for neither agreement nor disagreement, but more as food for thought, and a chance to get it off my chest. But I’m already feeling refreshed by my new riding discipline, and the new people I’m meeting and the wonderful horses I’m getting to know, and have yet to meet. I have no doubt that there are much the same issues involved, but because it’s new and fresh, I’m not yet jaded by it.

    And ultimately, this is about horses, their loving nature, and the fact that they are patient enough with us to jump over color sticks of wood if we ask, or prance on cue in a white rectangle just to please us. They will always nicker at us when we come in the barn, and practically purr when you scratch just that right spot regardless of the disicline that we ride.

    I’ll still watch the derbies with admiration and joy of a beautifully jumping horses, but I’m just not willing to be part of that world anymore. There are bigger things in life. I'm not willing to support it any more, and 'agree that it's the RIGHT discipline'. As I said, I'm done.


    23 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2008
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    NC
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    922

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
    But whining about the fact that you can’t afford the latest hunt coat is truly a first-world problem, and in the scheme of things it’s is pretty unimportant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post

    And ultimately, this is about horses, their loving nature, and the fact that they are patient enough with us to jump over color sticks of wood if we ask, or prance on cue in a white rectangle just to please us. They will always nicker at us when we come in the barn, and practically purr when you scratch just that right spot regardless of the disicline that we ride.
    .
    I don't have anything to contribute, other than the fact that I absolutely love these statements.
    Quote Originally Posted by rustbreeches View Post
    [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis


    7 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
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    Default

    I've nothing to add, other than that I totally agree with you and think your post is awesome. Go out and enjoy your TBs (or whatever other horses you have or will have) in whatever way makes you happy.

    I briefly re-entered the h/j industrial machine a few years ago after kind of just dabbling on the edges for many years after my junior years were over. Had my horse in a big h/j "program" with a trainer that went to all the big shows, WEF, etc. (though, no, I did not go to WEF - I have a job, am not made of money, and can't get away that long even if I wanted to). It was an unpleasant experience for many reasons, and the one AA show I went to with that barn was an unmitigated disappointment on so many levels (and disaster, really, as my horse was badly injured within less than 12 hours of being on the grounds). I watched the trainer give Dex to every showing horse in the barn (How did I know? She annouced it!), and no, they did not all have allergies.

    So, now I have my little TB at an eventing barn, even though neither of us will probably ever event. I'm enjoying him more than I ever have before. Last night, we did a little bareback ride. It was a lot more fun, and a lot less expensive than taking him to shows where I won't have a good time.

    I hope you find happiness in whatever you end up doing!


    6 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2004
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    Western WA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    I've nothing to add, other than that I totally agree with you and think your post is awesome. Go out and enjoy your TBs (or whatever other horses you have or will have) in whatever way makes you happy.
    !
    Thanks so much. It sounds like you are having fun as well. I have to say, as the H/J world has deterioated, the Eventing riders are getting better and better. They have the most beautiful, effective positions in the air these days! I bet it's a fun place to be, even though you don't event.

    I'll always be around and involved with horses. I can't imagine not. What shape it will take? Well, who knows!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
    I bet it's a fun place to be, even though you don't event.
    It is! The horsemanship is fabulous both in the saddle and on the ground. It's a good and knowledgable group, and they all really seem to put their horses first.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2003
    Location
    Virginia
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    1,215

    Default

    I definitely enjoyed reading you post and agree with you. I grew up just learning to ride. We had someone give me lessons and take care of our horses in exchange for board and she taught me how to ride and our shows consisted of VERY local "fun shows" as they were called and I had a blast. As I grew up and onto college I was introduced to the h/j world and felt like an outside. I just wanted to have fun, I really didn't care what my horse looked like (brown spots or purple) or how he accomplished his job, I just wanted to enjoy my time and he be able to look forward to a ride versus getting barn sour, which I found many to do.

    Once I hit the real world I stayed in horses but was a bit bummed out. I have to say that I was actually lucky in finding a group of friends at college that did it for the pleasure and not for the shiny metal/trophy and we had our group and were separate from others.

    Today I no longer participate in the hunter ring....waaaaay to political for my taste and never knowing who the judge will pick today. I started the jumper ring where the timer judged who got the 1st place spot. I have loved it. I have again been lucky to find a great local, unrated, show to go to and LOVE it. I every once in a while have thought of going to the Hits, but its so expensive. $50 for just ONE class... that's like my whole division and then some at the local shows.

    I am a TB person as well and gotten heavily involved in TB only shows/classes and when I show that's what I do. I like to show off his breed and prove he can do anything...and we're just breaking into the eventing world..which I have found he enjoys...minus ditches...

    Good Luck to you in your new ventures and I hope you find the happiness and be content!
    Forrest Gump, 15, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 27, TB

    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2012
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    It is! The horsemanship is fabulous both in the saddle and on the ground. It's a good and knowledgable group, and they all really seem to put their horses first.
    I've found eventers to be some of the most knowledgable riders too- a lot of them seem more willing to work with "quirky" horses, and have amassed a lot of knowledge about how to work with different types of horses.
    Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2010
    Posts
    793

    Default

    It's 'rich people problems' for sure. I'm in what I call the 'use and enjoy' group. I have a horse solely for the purpose of using and enjoying him. I do feel that there is some kind of stigma on those people who choose to only jump their horse to say 2'3" (but your ruining his jump, he has the potential to do so much more, yadda yadda yadda).

    I hope whatever you are deciding to do with your horses that you get all the use and enjoyment out of them possible! Good luck on your new journey, wherever it takes you!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2004
    Location
    Western WA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PaintedHunter View Post
    I've found eventers to be some of the most knowledgable riders too- a lot of them seem more willing to work with "quirky" horses, and have amassed a lot of knowledge about how to work with different types of horses.
    Nowdays, absolutely. I remember the days that Cross Country was the end-all, and just running at fences was acceptable. However, with all the safety concerns of the last years, the quality of riding has improved exponetially. I'm more and more impressed with the quality of riding by eventers. I also applaud their bravery because personally, I think they're nuts to do what they do. I'd be scared to death!!!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Mar. 29, 2004
    Location
    Stevensville, MD, USA
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    Default

    I totally agree with you OP. I am so glad I am content to school at home, take the occasional lesson/clinic, and show infrequently. I know so many people that HAVE to show on the A circuit and their families make major sacrifices to make it happen.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    Default

    These are some of the reasons I switched to dressage, besides the fact that my horse wasn't a big winner in hunters. Didn't have that flat knee going for him. All is true to a degree. I've found with dressage as long as I stick to the schooling shows it's still fun and everyone is so nice. I will show usdf but the majority is schooling shows because of the people and the cost is soooo much less than hunter shows or usdf shows. The only thing I would say is I just received my first custom saddle, I've been riding over 15 years. Reason was for my horse and not me or to be cool. He needed it because of how he is built and he'd get very back sore.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Jan. 18, 2004
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    Western WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by HRF Second Chance View Post
    I'm in what I call the 'use and enjoy' group. I have a horse solely for the purpose of using and enjoying him.
    LOL, I love it. I've always been part of that group as well. and considering that I keep all my horses until they drop, I'd better enjoy them!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2007
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    zone 6
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    Thoroughbred1201, I agree fully with your post and personally, don't see how a can of worms could BE opened (even though someone will haha).

    What you said was well thought and logical. It wasn't whiney to me, it was truth. It IS what it is becoming.

    I showed more than I EVER have this summer because I went pro (on top of a cattle ranch and a couple real jobs) and had horses to show. Sure, it was fun not having to cover bills on a few of them, but wow did I learn to not really enjoy showing. My options in the jumper ring were pretty limited for my horse... I could do the 1.15m and the 1.20m ... done. And, only 3 days. I showed the others in hunters, where there were plenty of options... then had to find an ammy (awesome one by the way) to cover the weekend classes for me.

    I dunno, I liked it, had my moments of joy and fun (all the horses did extremely well, so it's not like I was losing!), but the checks I had to write, wow. Divisions didn't fill, one day's class was HUGE but empty the other 2 days, etc. It just wasn't something that allowed my boat to float.

    As a good friend put it... there are show riders and there are training riders. I found I had way more fun restarting off track TBs and putting time on other people's horses, rather than showing (which I'll do occasionally cuz I can't help myself but am not in love with being at shows constantly like some people quite enjoy)


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Nov. 13, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintedHunter View Post
    I've found eventers to be some of the most knowledgable riders too- a lot of them seem more willing to work with "quirky" horses, and have amassed a lot of knowledge about how to work with different types of horses.
    I could not agree more. My horse freaking loves his training rides from the eventing trainer.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Jan. 9, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    I could not agree more. My horse freaking loves his training rides from the eventing trainer.
    I gave my really quirky, hard-to-ride gelding to an eventing trainer, and he is going around so happily for her. She knows just what buttons to push and which ones not to. No one has ever been able to ride him like she does.
    Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    Jan. 18, 2004
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    Western WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintedHunter View Post
    I gave my really quirky, hard-to-ride gelding to an eventing trainer, and he is going around so happily for her. She knows just what buttons to push and which ones not to. No one has ever been able to ride him like she does.
    My fancy TB Hunter was as quirky as they come. My trainer used to laugh that if I ever leased him out, we'd have to send his large rule book with him. He wasn't easy, but he taught me to ride and to think like a horse. My trainer put a lot of time into him (as did I) and we did very well, but it certainly was a ton more work that most people are willing to do today. But it's the quirky ones that often the best show horses once you find their key. Event trainers really are will to unlock that whereas few H/J trainers seem to be willing to take the time anymore.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintedHunter View Post
    I gave my really quirky, hard-to-ride gelding to an eventing trainer, and he is going around so happily for her. She knows just what buttons to push and which ones not to. No one has ever been able to ride him like she does.
    The "not to" part is trickier, lol! I am sometimes surprised to find out that my horse has more "eject" buttons that you might suspect, just looking at him.



  18. #18
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    Aug. 27, 2008
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    I don't know how this could open a can of worms. I couldn't agree with you more. I have finally accepted the fact that my trainer and barn, though 50 minutes away, is exactly what I want. She puts the horses first, doesn't drug and makes sure that we all know what we are doing. It's imperative that we know about our horse's health and care. She has helped me bring along a few young ones and I can't wait for mine to be old enough to start. We are lucky because we have a very competitive local circuit and are surrounded by great rated shows. A lot of the big trainers in the area school at our local circuit shows so it's pretty competitive. If I really want to go to an A show I can and have a trainer that is more than willing to take me. I love that my horse is turned out for 8-12 hours a day. I am so happy she isn't drugged. I am lucky to have a trainer that I trust implicity with her care. I couldn't ask for anything better. I hate the direction the discipline has gone in. When I was a kid getting to go to a big rated show was a huge deal. It meant you had learned to ride well enough to go and compete without embarassing yourself or killing yourself in the ring. I wish more people these days just enjoyed their horses instead of just showing.



  19. #19
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    Apr. 27, 2007
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    zone 6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack16 View Post
    When I was a kid getting to go to a big rated show was a huge deal. It meant you had learned to ride well enough to go and compete without embarassing yourself or killing yourself in the ring.
    SO TRUE! I forgot about this. I didn't do my first A rated show til 2008 when I was about 26 years old (on horses I started off track myself) and I've formally ridden h/j since I was 6... and my husband and I budgeted all year for that one week. It was SO COOL! I'd finally "made it". I felt so in awe to be there...

    As a kid, I was allowed to go along to a rated show and just help groom. I thought that was the coolest ever. And, the young kids who were showing were amazing riders. I was so impressed.

    Now, sad to say, anyone who can afford it, goes. In MY world, I have pride in being the best, so if my horse or I are not ready, we don't make a public appearance just to say we went. *but let me say, there still ARE the best riders at the rated shows, just lots more "not best" riders around than I remember.



  20. #20
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    Dec. 6, 2000
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    I am afraid that the big money influence is creeping into eventing...



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