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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 1999
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    San Ramon/Castro Valley/Brentwood, California
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    Default AA's---what are your top 10 requests you want USDF to know about???

    i would like some information......what are your top 10 requests? please be clear and concise. :-) i am going to gather the info, without names attached, to add to the AA Dressage Initiative laundry list already started on fb, if that is agreeable to you. we all need a voice, not just those on fb. the AA's sit at a round table---all are equally valuable to the sport of dressage. :-)



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2004
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    well, my "wants" are long term:

    educated trainers that are actually able to bring along average horses and riders.
    lower fees in general and for showing.
    more camaraderie - like the eventers have


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2010
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    We need symposiums like the CDS used to have. They would bring in great people for a few days, open to everyone and teach a method through the levels for two days. It was a great way to learn for everyone. You really could get what they were focusing on and how to accomplish it after watching it over and over. I remember Kyra Kyrkland was OFF the leg and GIVE to the hand--amazing, but it took two days to really ge that in your head. They had Klaus Balkenhal, Kyra Kyrklund, Anky Van Grunsven, Eric Lette Debbie MacDonald, Ingrid Klimke etc. They haven't had any like that in, what five years? I think Klimke was the last one. It was about $200 for two full days, plus usually some seminar and questions and answers type things in the evenings. It was worth flying in and paying for a hotel.

    My only change in what they did is they need to let more ordinary people and horses be the demo, not the who's who in favorites.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
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    5,512

    Default

    I wish there was more accreditation of trainers and instructors in the US. With anyone hanging out a shingle as they wish, it would be great if there was some way of validating someone's qualifications and whatever they might say they have done. Maybe a guideline of what to ask and verify and a form of some type would be a good start. Trainers or instructors without a "resume" or experience with good results at the appropriate level are without merit. Any other thoughts regarding this?
    PennyG


    4 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
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    595

    Default

    I only want one thing: Instructor (teacher of riders) certification/accreditation and trainer (teacher of horses) certification/accreditation, as two separate things or two categories within one umbrella. Or if that's going too far, then better educational opportunities for local, grassroots instructors. Trainers too, but I think there's already at least some educational opportunities for trainers, and most clinics I've been to are geared around how to ride/train a horse rather than train a rider. The current instructor program seems to be woefully underutilized, for what reason I do not know (cost? availability? perception that clients don't care?) so maybe scholarships and promotion for the instructor certification program would be helpful?

    I just really, really, really think that long-term, success at dressage will always be a mystery and kind of a crapshoot until more people know where to find instruction that meets or exceeds some baseline level, and that they can trust is correct. Just knowing that any fully-certified instructor you go to would be trained to follow specific, time-honored principles, and will have proven him or herself to be competent at following those principles, would be priceless to me. In other words, I want to KNOW that I can trust my instructor because somebody who knows way, way more than me (USDF) has given that instructor their seal of approval.

    Seriously, that's the only thing I want.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2006
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    Somewhere in the Southwest
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    1,259

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TKR View Post
    I wish there was more accreditation of trainers and instructors in the US. With anyone hanging out a shingle as they wish, it would be great if there was some way of validating someone's qualifications and whatever they might say they have done. Maybe a guideline of what to ask and verify and a form of some type would be a good start. Trainers or instructors without a "resume" or experience with good results at the appropriate level are without merit. Any other thoughts regarding this?
    PennyG
    Centerlinescores provides plenty of validation as to people's claims.

    Those of you suggesting more accreditation for trainers..do you realize how much that would cost us? This isn't exactly a business that's going to net you a big income. Most of us do it because we love it and happen to be good at it. Most of us also happen to live on a shoestring budget. We can't afford more programs that aren't going to actually affect or improve our skills.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
    Posts
    1,776

    Default

    USDF already has an Instructor Certification Program - instructors can be certified through 2nd or 4th level. There is one going on right now in Nor-Cal. Auditing is $50/weekend.

    Beenthere - I loved the old CDS Symposiums too! Conrad Schumacher was the last one, wasn't he? Yes, I think more educational events along that line, and rotate them so that people don't have to travel all over the country.

    Programs like the CDS Adult Amateur Clinic - good quality trainers providing instruction specifically to ammie riders, again, in multiple locations so people can afford to go.

    Open all educational events, and again, not just holding them in KY and FL. Don't forget the mid-west and western states.

    We are starved for educational events! There is an Instructor Cert program going on right now in Nor-Cal - 50 or 60 auditors showing up - vast majority are AAs! Not because they want to be instructors, but because it is education for a reasonable price!

    Make it easier to hold shows - especially smaller (level one) shows - get rid of requirements for TDS and EMTs at level one shows, provide TD services centrally by phone, so multiple shows can share the cost of a single TD. Make paperwork easier, so smaller GMOS and local chapters can actually run a show without hiring a professional show secretary (these are all ideas to make shows more affordable,at least the smaller level one shows).

    Work with USEF to move judging standards away from "big gaits first" - so that the big gaits still generate extra points in collectives, but aren't the driving factor for all other movements.

    If USDF put as much emphasis on AAs as they do on JR/YR, it would be pretty amazing - and reality, that is where their membership is!

    I have to say, I think the Opportunity classes was a wonderful move - they need to also think of other ways to invite people to "try it out" instead of scaring people away. More inclusive, more encouraging. Maybe a reminder to GMOs about some of the programs that are available - there are some great educational events (I wish the USDF L Program educational sessions were offered in every region every year or two!).


    3 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
    Posts
    3,505

    Default

    What Mysticoak said exactly.

    If more people were educated they could TELL if a trainer was good or not just by watching their program but unfortunately people have to rely on scores and word of mouth. Scores dont tell you if the trainer is good for a certain level of progression or not or if your young horse will be messed up by someone who had only ridden horses already going well in dressage... Things like that.

    The more people know how to shop and have knowledge themselves to know what to look for in a program the better!
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Posts
    595

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dressurpferd01 View Post
    Centerlinescores provides plenty of validation as to people's claims.

    Those of you suggesting more accreditation for trainers..do you realize how much that would cost us? This isn't exactly a business that's going to net you a big income. Most of us do it because we love it and happen to be good at it. Most of us also happen to live on a shoestring budget. We can't afford more programs that aren't going to actually affect or improve our skills.
    Centerlinescores tells you that somebody has shown at a specific level, not that they trained the horse to that level (unless you see progressive scores moving up the levels over the course of several years.) Also, doing well at shows doesn't mean a person is capable of teaching a rider.

    I understand it is expensive, which is why I think scholarships for the existing certification program would be a nice thing for the USDF to offer.

    I'm not really sure why an instructor program wouldn't affect or improve your skills..I'm not sure I follow on that point...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2008
    Posts
    1,341

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bethe Mounce View Post
    i would like some information......what are your top 10 requests? please be clear and concise. :-) i am going to gather the info, without names attached, to add to the AA Dressage Initiative laundry list already started on fb, if that is agreeable to you. we all need a voice, not just those on fb. the AA's sit at a round table---all are equally valuable to the sport of dressage. :-)
    Thanks for asking. I caution taking on "too much"....Focus on doing a few things well.

    A simple thing the USDF could do right now to show it is serious about AA's is to open up the FEI Trainer's Forum to all paying customers.

    Yes, I'm a broken record. But there's a reason for it. I would like the USDF to show it is willing to take action.

    The AADI is getting formed and organized.....that is a long way from lobbying USDF and producing results. People other than me are asking for access educational opportunities. Actually it is part of the AADI mission statement: "We are lobbying our national organizations for parity in educational programs."

    Well let the USDF step up right now and give AA's that "parity in educational access."
    Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
    Alfred A. Montapert



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
    Location
    Somewhere in the Midwest
    Posts
    2,142

    Default

    Along the lines of education, it would be nice if there was some way to eliminate the backyard quacks which in some remote areas of the US, have absolutely taken over the ranks. This HURTS the AA because they often trust the wrong people and have no idea about dressage or the USDF etc. A person new to dressage in our area has no chance. Our local GMO is a cult...it fosters this type of tight knit community of these yahoos. They only have enough member to actually be a GMO by signing up friends and family to get the 25 members. Not just one, the the OTHER closest GMO is the same. It is embarrassing to live here and and be a dressage person and have this going on. The only 1 or 2 quality dressage trainers here stay far away. So the Cult gets their wish. Complaints have been filed to the USDF about actions of the GMO that were unprofessional to no avail. Once in a while people who are looking for something better can find the good dressage people if they search online and stumble on someone's web site. I host quality private clinics and offer reduced fees to AA. I am NOT affiliated with the local GMO but have a nice regular group and a web site and invite people as much as I can. Maybe USDF Cert. is not a perfect program, it is prohibitive and expensive. But it would be nice to have a USDF Seal of Approval...but then it would be about money and the USDF would approve the yahoos if they pay for $$


    4 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by dressurpferd01 View Post
    Centerlinescores provides plenty of validation as to people's claims.

    Those of you suggesting more accreditation for trainers..do you realize how much that would cost us? This isn't exactly a business that's going to net you a big income. Most of us do it because we love it and happen to be good at it. Most of us also happen to live on a shoestring budget. We can't afford more programs that aren't going to actually affect or improve our skills.
    Centerline gives us an insight into showing - not training. Many good trainers (and riders) don't show.

    i am not sure what the answer is - i am not sure accreditation is - but there needs to be someway to ensure that folks who say they are "x" really are. i think a HUGE amount of $$$ gets wasted going into the pockets of those that have no business charging for lessons/training.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    maybe what really needs to happen is just more education of the everyday RIDER so they know when they are being fleeced.

    I personally wasted many years and $$ working with folks that did not have the ability to get me where I wanted to go.... and i would think the real trainers would not be happy about this because it takes $$ from their pockets.

    it also gives people false sense of what training is and how you go about it. I know my ever suffering trainer had to wait a couple *years* for me to process thru all the crap that i had learned over the years so that i could actually start to learn how to go about this in a more correct way.

    it tends to make me mad that i wasted so.much.time.and.money. and a good horse!

    now multiply me x how ever many AAs there are who got fleeced and that is a HUGE amount of money and "talent" going to waste.

    i would think the USDF would want to get all that capital going in a better direction?

    anyway, i think MysticOak has laid it out pretty clear. and i hope the era of the gigantic gaits will wane

    btw Merry Christmas to all my COTH friends and foes


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
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    1,776

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NJRider View Post
    Maybe USDF Cert. is not a perfect program, it is prohibitive and expensive.
    I'm kind of curious since a few (dressedup had the same issue with Instructor Cert) - what do trainers consider prohibitive and expensive? Compared to a semester of college credit, it is quite a bargain! I'm self employed, pay my own ongoing education, make less then many trainers I know, yet I continue to invest in my career education (not even counting the cost of going to college) because it is what I have to do - and many other AAs are in the same situation. I'm not sure USDF's program is the answer, but I DO think trainers should have some formal education before then can be a trainer. Otherwise you get the issues NJ brings up - anyone can hang out a shingle, and sometimes the most successful are not the good trainers, they are those who know how to manipulate people! This just further emphasizes how important education is - so students start to recognize when they are getting the correct training.

    Instructor Certification is not all that expensive - if your GMO will host it so you aren't spending a fortune on travel costs - probably around $2000 - $2800. L program is around $3000 to $3500. Both programs are significantly less expensive if you skip the "testing/certification". As an investment in professional education, I don't see that as a huge sacrifice - it is part of being in a profession. If you have to travel to do it, the price goes way up - again, a big benefit if your GMO will host, and again, something we can look to USDF for.

    Sorry, it is a bit off topic, but also ties in. BTW - USDF Faculty (most are L judges) are available in almost all regions - we've brought in a few from the Mid-West for clinics over the years. I have mentioned before, it doesn't have to be a "big name" - in fact, some of those big names are not as good teachers as some of the "mid-size names"! I've ridden with and audited several Olympic riders, and found some of the USDF Faculty to be better teachers - at 1/3 the price!

    Education. Education. Education. Beginning to feel like it is a theme.



  15. #15
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    the problem is: who gets to say a trainer passes or not? what criteria will be used?

    what really matters is the long term development of horse and rider - how exactly would that be evaluated?

    they can do it in germany because they have a system set up to analyze folks over time - but how would that be accomplished here and again who would be the people saying yeah or nay?

    and fwiw, most of the really good trainers i know are off the grid when it comes to USDF etc.



  16. #16
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    Jun. 9, 2003
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    Alabama
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    Default

    I'm not sure having accredidation is possible in a country as vast as ours. But maybe if the USDF would just give a guideline of what an instructor/trainer should know or be proficient in -- i.e. as in having brought a horse to that level and be willing to give references -- which could be a can of worms if the references are not really legitimate. But anything that would give some credibility to someone's skill level based on experience and training. Just because someone once rode in a clinic with a BNT does not mean they "trained" with them. Or if they rode or showed a horse at a level that surpasses their skill level does not mean they are capable of teaching or training to that level. Sometimes just the challenge of a written guideline might discourage some of the embelllishments and weed out somewhat the real thing from the rest. It might also help clarify for some that want to learn what they should expect and verify.
    PennyG



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,698

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    The problem is, people ride with different trainers for different reasons. Plenty of people don't really care how good a trainer is, or how they get their results. Some people want feel good trainers, others want trainers out winning, some want trainers that are their best friends, others want "tough" trainers. Some people just want to have fun with their horses, others just want to show and win. How do you regulate that?

    I know people that turn a blind eye to training techniques because they "like" their trainer, or like the results. Others that run from trainer to trainer because they cannot hear the truth about their riding, or their lame horse.

    What is one persons "perfect trainer" is another persons nightmare.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Ocala, FL
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    1,847

    Default

    So, why don't you form a GMO? I don't think there is a restriction re: mileage, etc. between GMOs. Give them a run for their money, so to speak. Show them how it should be done. It only takes 25 members......

    Quote Originally Posted by NJRider View Post
    Along the lines of education, it would be nice if there was some way to eliminate the backyard quacks which in some remote areas of the US, have absolutely taken over the ranks. This HURTS the AA because they often trust the wrong people and have no idea about dressage or the USDF etc. A person new to dressage in our area has no chance. Our local GMO is a cult...it fosters this type of tight knit community of these yahoos. They only have enough member to actually be a GMO by signing up friends and family to get the 25 members. Not just one, the the OTHER closest GMO is the same. It is embarrassing to live here and and be a dressage person and have this going on. The only 1 or 2 quality dressage trainers here stay far away. So the Cult gets their wish. Complaints have been filed to the USDF about actions of the GMO that were unprofessional to no avail. Once in a while people who are looking for something better can find the good dressage people if they search online and stumble on someone's web site. I host quality private clinics and offer reduced fees to AA. I am NOT affiliated with the local GMO but have a nice regular group and a web site and invite people as much as I can. Maybe USDF Cert. is not a perfect program, it is prohibitive and expensive. But it would be nice to have a USDF Seal of Approval...but then it would be about money and the USDF would approve the yahoos if they pay for $$



  19. #19
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    i agree there are many different types of trainers - however all trainers should be able to progress a horse and rider to the level they profess proficiency. and they should be able to do it repeatedly.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
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    Ocala, FL
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    To answer the OP question: as an active member of our GMO, I would like USDF to REALLY step up and help us do the job they want us to do - education and, in many ways, be the voice of the AA. Grants are hard to come by (you must plan FAR in advance), and are limited in scope.
    Have more opportunities for real clinics in each region - only one, every other year is not enough.
    Ask the BNTs or certified instrutors in a region to offer reduced fees for clinics hosted by GMOs, perhaps offer 30 min lessons rather than longer, to serve more riders.
    Reinstate the symposium at the convention- there was not one this year, and will not be one for the next two years. (I learned so much at the one in Jacksonville a few years ago, and the one in San Diego last year).
    Perhaps develop an educational flier: How to choose an instructor or trainer (that might help regarding the lack of certified folks - more comments on that later).
    Do something about show costs, especially since most of us ride horses without the big gaits that win the classes.
    Be sure the L program does not create/feed breed bias - I have PERSONALLY heard a faculty member speak of "exotic breeds" with quite a sharp tone to her voice. (This goes back to the reliance on huge gaits, not just correct gaits, as the foundation of all scores.)

    Regarding certification, I really feel that most AAs do not need a big name instructor - they need a competent instructor. (The AA's ego plays a part in this!) The addition of the TL-First level cert is a good step, but it is still $600 - plus travel fees, plus housing fees, plus loss of income the days the trainer is away - unreasonable for many.

    Finally, encourage non-GMO members who are PMs to join their local GMO. Many upper level riders in this area have NO use for us - they school at our shows (which are really nice, with real judges, at the FLHorse Park....), but, as non-members, they cannot offer their expertise as we make club decisions..... we may hire them as a clinician (altho we tend to stay away from locals), but that's not the same. I know they do not need us - but we need them!

    L



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