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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 2008
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    Upstate NY
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    154

    Default ? from non-show person that used to show in pony h/j in the 70's

    I had a Welsh/Morgan large pony, showed him in h/j. When he behaved, he was great. One year we won Res. Champion of the year. (Not A circuit, however). I remember how many times I competed against these bratty girls who threw their ponies to the grooms right after their class and usually acted like they didn't even like their ponies!! (which were classic push-buttons) I recall feeling a strong sense of pride when we beat these little horses, most of which had "Farnley" at the beginning of their show names. Now for the question(s), after that long intro!I just today read the story about Humble, and some of the issues re. doping in the modern show world. I wonder what the young rider in that sort of situation learns from it all? I wonder if there is a sense of pride when your parents pay a large sum of money so you can cruise around the course on a cute little robot? What's the payoff for the rider? This is NOT a rhetorical question. I really am wondering. I mean, I know there is a "pay-off", if you will, for the trainer and or owner, but what about the kid? Seems as if a youngster would really want to become a better rider and continue in the sport they would have to eventually learn on a normal, non-drugged, non-pushbutton.



  2. #2
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    Sep. 12, 2006
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    Loudoun County, Virginia!
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    Well it's obviously all self serving, as it was for the kids of your youth who handed off their ponies to the grooms as soon as they were done. To be able to say, "I showed at Devon" or "my kid showed at Devon". That is why they do it. Now, whether or not they would ordinarily be able to buy, train and ride a pony to qualify them themselves seems to be unimportant. I personally hate the idea of leasing "qualified" ponies to less qualified riders for these big shows. It cheapens the sport in my opinion. As long as you have parents willing to foot the bill, you will have trainers ready and waiting to supply the ponies so this practice is not going anywhere, anytime soon.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    I'm a tad younger that you, but not a wee kid now.

    I can't answer your question entirely, but I do think the "have a groom" set doesn't know what they are missing, what your experience growing up was like.

    In the course of my lifetime, I have seen showing change such that it no longer makes financial sense to show at the rated shows with a DIY horse. When I was a kid, you could do that, hope to be competitive and not just be lighting your money on fire when you sent in your entries.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  4. #4
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    Nov. 28, 2012
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    New York
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    I'm not in the have-a-groom set, but I am good friends with lots in that set, and while I have more skills on them on the ground, I can say that they work really hard too, alibeit on very different things than I do. I think that for them riding has become much more of a "traditional" sport, than a sport where you also get to love the ponies. The drugging thing is totally seperate. 1) most people don't really get a choice in the matter 2) at the really big shows a win is hard to get drugs or no, so I bet these kids are still really proud of themselves (as they should be, but their trainers shouldn't be) 3) its really hard to stand up to a BNT on a thing like this
    on a side not MVP, I have a DIY horse in every sense of the word who I show and we consistently place and win when we're both 'on'. Its true that I show with a competitive barn, and that my horse sometimes goes around like a push button, but I installed them.



  5. #5
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    Mar. 24, 2012
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    Default

    A little unrelated to OP's question, but hold on to the hope of there being high-placing, non-drugged, DIY horses. I know a kid who could probably make a medium pony look big, and she rides a green 17h Paint. I've ridden this horse, and it's no easy ride, but she makes it look push-button, and is champion or reserve almost every show. There are quite a few others who show on my circuit or ride at my barn who are similar.

    Now to actually answer the OP's question: Yes, from several A and AA kids I've known, some do get a big sense of pride that comes from riding push-button ponies at the big shows. I think that they like the idea of telling their friends that they're going to a big time horse show, and they especially like the idea of telling their friends that they won at a big time horse show. Of course, not every kid's like this, but you asked what kind of payoff the kid gets, and most kids that aren't like this seem to be like the one that I described in the previous paragraph.



  6. #6
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    Jun. 20, 2012
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    I think you're generalizing a very large population of A circuit riders with something they don't need to be generalized by. Groom, does not automatically mean unlearned. I have a friend on full care, with a grooms tacking up for her, that for years did ALL of the work herself. Mucking, riding 6 horses a day, grooming and tacking all of them up, however now it works better for her to have a groom in the program she's in. Groom does not mean, "Doesn't know how to do anything", it means, doesn't have time to do everything or it is beneficial not to do all the work. Often in big show barns, if you want to do all the work yourself and not use the grooms, it will slow the operation down and for trainers with 6+ clients with multiple horses in more than one ring, not having grooms make their work run inefficiently.
    Push button does not automatically signify drugged. While drugging is a MAJOR problem in the arena nowadays, there is a lot of throwing the word "drugged" around to refer simply to horses with a naturally calm disposition or that have been trained down. While this doesn't prove anything about the horses drugging nor not, push button is not an insult. Push button horses can be amazing teachers to the low confidence riders. And sometimes, push button means I have buttons, but you need to know which buttons to push.
    We should not mock riders that happen to have the financial ability to own nice well trained horses. Just because you weren't ask lucky doesn't mean that you are any less than them, or any better. While money is important to get to the top now, there are ways to do it without it, and with it. Money does not mean automatic success, but it can surely help you increase your skills. Getting to show at big venues is a privilege that they're lucky to have, but what I'm sensing in this question is a lot of jealously. Why do you care if they're becoming good riders? In fact many of the people that start out on so called "push button made" horses turn out good. Reed Kessler? Comes from money. Is she bad? No, but do you think she started on a $100 backyard pony? No. She was lucky to be able to start with good horses. Tori Colvin? The girl (no matter what you may think of her trainers) hardly EVER misses a distance and puts down flawless courses again and again. Does she have nice horses to ride? Of course. Lillie Keenan? She owns a lot of her hunters. Does she put down amazing rounds? Yes. Did she the wef George Morris clinic with success? Yes. Can she ride? Absolutely. Jessica Springsteen? Does she have the money to just ride nice "drugged perfect" hunters? Yes. Does that mean she does? No, she beats top riders in the jumpers, won a Maclay Finals, and has been one to watch in the jumper ring, despite her start on nice ponies.

    Starting off with nice ponies and horses means absolutely nothing, it's not what a rider was at a certain moment, it's who they become. I'm thinking you're making an accusation and generalizing a bunch of people you don't know. I'm sorry that the people you grew up with had bad sportsmanship, but that was one small sampling of people.
    .אני יכול לעשות הכל על ידי אלוהים


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2011
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    349

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hunterrider23 View Post
    I think you're generalizing a very large population of A circuit riders with something they don't need to be generalized by. Groom, does not automatically mean unlearned. I have a friend on full care, with a grooms tacking up for her, that for years did ALL of the work herself. Mucking, riding 6 horses a day, grooming and tacking all of them up, however now it works better for her to have a groom in the program she's in. Groom does not mean, "Doesn't know how to do anything", it means, doesn't have time to do everything or it is beneficial not to do all the work. Often in big show barns, if you want to do all the work yourself and not use the grooms, it will slow the operation down and for trainers with 6+ clients with multiple horses in more than one ring, not having grooms make their work run inefficiently.
    Push button does not automatically signify drugged. While drugging is a MAJOR problem in the arena nowadays, there is a lot of throwing the word "drugged" around to refer simply to horses with a naturally calm disposition or that have been trained down. While this doesn't prove anything about the horses drugging nor not, push button is not an insult. Push button horses can be amazing teachers to the low confidence riders. And sometimes, push button means I have buttons, but you need to know which buttons to push.
    We should not mock riders that happen to have the financial ability to own nice well trained horses. Just because you weren't ask lucky doesn't mean that you are any less than them, or any better. While money is important to get to the top now, there are ways to do it without it, and with it. Money does not mean automatic success, but it can surely help you increase your skills. Getting to show at big venues is a privilege that they're lucky to have, but what I'm sensing in this question is a lot of jealously. Why do you care if they're becoming good riders? In fact many of the people that start out on so called "push button made" horses turn out good. Reed Kessler? Comes from money. Is she bad? No, but do you think she started on a $100 backyard pony? No. She was lucky to be able to start with good horses. Tori Colvin? The girl (no matter what you may think of her trainers) hardly EVER misses a distance and puts down flawless courses again and again. Does she have nice horses to ride? Of course. Lillie Keenan? She owns a lot of her hunters. Does she put down amazing rounds? Yes. Did she the wef George Morris clinic with success? Yes. Can she ride? Absolutely. Jessica Springsteen? Does she have the money to just ride nice "drugged perfect" hunters? Yes. Does that mean she does? No, she beats top riders in the jumpers, won a Maclay Finals, and has been one to watch in the jumper ring, despite her start on nice ponies.

    Starting off with nice ponies and horses means absolutely nothing, it's not what a rider was at a certain moment, it's who they become. I'm thinking you're making an accusation and generalizing a bunch of people you don't know. I'm sorry that the people you grew up with had bad sportsmanship, but that was one small sampling of people.
    I think think hunterrider makes a really good point. I couldn't have said it better myself.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2003
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    MA
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    Default

    FIRST OFF.....MOSTof those "push button"ponies are NOT!!!! the really fancy ones are usually the hardest to ride. If you are talking about the "A" pony that qualifies for pony finals and does indoors...well, the majority of them are not easy rides. The kids that jockey those ponies are really good riders. Same with the fancy jr hunters and A/O and Pro hunters - NOT easy rides at all!!!

    That being said, many of these kids who :hand off: their ponies are doing so becasue they have multiple rides. Most of these kids work really hard behind the scenes...what you see is not always what is real.

    OK...vent over!!

    PS I got to ride a very fancy pony that was considered one of the nicer ponies aroundand let me tell you...that pony was no easy ride. I couldntmake it look like its pony rider could make it look - lol. Actually this happened twice...and to name drop, the two ponies were Shenandoah Annie's Song and woodlands Silver Creek (Happi). So, to the average eye, they look push button, but each had their quirks, likes and dislikes...and it took a sensitive rider to get a good performance out of them. Both amazing ponies who had amazing jockeys at the time. I knew two other fancy ponies who won all the time in any company but were also not easy. Newsworthy for one, and Rollingwoods "L" On Wheels. again, both the amazingly the best of the best, but not push botton rides. You actually had to RIDE to get the winning rounds out of them.

    Ps The ponies mentined above are all near and dear to my heart.....wonderful, talented and gorgeous ponies....but certainly not automotron robots!! Dont belittle the pony riders' talents!!!!!
    Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org


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  9. #9
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    Jun. 20, 2012
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    I've heard numerous remarks about For the Laughter being an INCREDIBLY testy and difficult mount, but talk about push button fancy ponies, and a lot of people will pull up that name.
    .אני יכול לעשות הכל על ידי אלוהים



  10. #10
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    Dec. 21, 2008
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    To the OP's question... Most of the kids probably don't know any other way of "being riders" or any other way of interacting with the ponies at the shows. That's how it's always been done for those kids. They probably get just as much a kick out of winning as you did. There are probably some kids out there who don't know that not every pony is like theirs (caveat, discussing young kids). For many this way of life and showing is their norm and means just as much to them as it did to you. Winning at those levels is hard no matter what horse you have. I know I could have a push button horse and I could still probably manage to bury him or take a leaper at at least one fence on course. Also, you don't really know what goes on at home or behind the scenes to determine if they do other stuff with those "fancy" ponies.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2011
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    I think the kids who are riding these drugged ponies don't know the difference.

    I am currently riding with a teenaged girl who switched to my trainer about a year and a half ago. When she came to my trainer she was doing the pre-childrens and had won grand champion for a local barn series for the year and was used to placing well in all her classes. Come to find out she was riding a drugged horse (always for lessons shows etc) and had never even done a gymnastic. She is a decent rider but has now purchased a very green horse about a year ago and she is always so upset that they have not placed well. Her horse is not doing anything bad he is just green.

    Point being....The drugging of horses for lessons and shows is what she thought was "normal" and so did her parents. I don't agree with drugging but if you have only been exposed to one type of show environment how do you know anything else. Thats why I think it is best to experience different barns and horse shows and different trainers.

    So these young girls who go in and win and hand off their ponies to the groom probably think that is how it is done. And I am sure in their minds they "Have" put in the hard work and effort to Win. So until they get out there and do it on their own or change barns or trainers they may never understand what it is like to really work for the Blue!
    The Love for a Horse is just as Complicated as the Love for another Human being, If you have never Loved a Horse you will Never Understand!!!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 2008
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    Upstate NY
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    Default

    Some interesting posts here, especially since I have been out of showing for sooo long. Thanks for all of the viewpoints. Hunterrider, you made some good points too, except the jealousy thing. Nope, I'm not, and wasn't back then, either. As a matter of fact showing with the type of young riders that I mentioned made me more determined and competetive.



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