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  1. #1
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    Default New USHJA young jumper taks force created

    After the last annual meeting, the USHJA has put together a panel to focus on the young jumper program here in NA.

    I am interested, as a member of this team, to hear what people have to say about our current options, what you want to see change and how you think we should change our current system?

    There are some points that are already noted:

    1- make it more affordable
    2- make it more educational for the horses
    3- create an environment that allows our young horses a better chance at bringing out the best in themselves


    Your input is important and no comment will go unnoticed.

    Thank you
    Hyperion Stud, LLC.
    Europe's Finest, Made in America
    WWW.HYPERIONSTUD.com
    Standing Elite and Approved Stallions



  2. #2
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    I started my youngster in the YJC stuff this year as a coming 5yo, and I had some thoughts:

    For starters, I did most of my young jumper classes up in Canada where they ran it in a MUCH more baby-friendly way. The courses were set up entirely separate from the same height range (meaning 1.10m was not run concurrent with a 1.10m open class). The oxers were mostly narrow and rampy and EVERYTHING was inviting about the course (long lines, welcoming fences, and nothing tricky). In addition, they allowed the babies in to hack in the ring for 30 minutes prior to the start of the classes (run at the end of the day in the GP field). We weren't allowed to jump anything, but it was a huge benefit to get to hack around a scary ring. Now with that being said, the classes were held in the GP ring where none of the younger baby groups would have been showing during the week, so I think the hacking was kind of a necessity to get everyone around. But still, it was obvious that a lot of thought had gone into it. All of the lines were 9 or 10 stride lines, and the in-and-out was set low, narrow, and with big boxes set in a way to usher the horses into the combination. The classes got stouter through the course of the summer with less of a "help the baby along" type set-up, but was still set much more easily than an open class.

    Contrast that to my first show of the year here in Seattle. I entered my boy in the Regional Young Jumper 5yo Class (run at 1.0m rather than the 1.10m of the YJC). My plan was to move him up to the YJC classes by the end of the week. This plan was quickly proven faulty, and we ended up in the little jumper ring instead. The course designer ran the course over the same track as the open 1.0m class. We had the follow baby-unfriendly options:
    --fences were max height and width
    --fence one was off of a funky rollback turn and on the rail in a very spooky indoor with 3 or 4 strides to the end of the ring (so it was basically like coming to the out of a long line with other fences in the way of making a normal turn).
    --fence two was positioned adjacent to fence one (standards touching) with about 7 strides from fence one, rollback, to fence 2.
    --after that we had a bending line set at 7 1/2 to a one stride away from home with max height/width oxer coming out.
    --a couple of additional awkward rollbacks
    --and the kicker: the last line was a combination, 4 stride to a one stride to a bending three stride. It was also in our 1.40m class and even my 1.40m horse was a bit thrown by that on day 1!
    Every young horse at the show scratched. To be fair, the course designer flew in from Wellington and didn't pay attention to the fact that it was our first show of the year, and the courses were far too difficult at the lower levels. But while it was a bit of an extreme, it was representative of what I've seen at every US show every year.

    Another thought: Most babies in NA are born in the spring/summer. Showing as the horse's *actual* age (rather than a Jan 1 birthdate) might increase the number of folks able and willing to show in the early classes. My young guy has a July birthday, and there was a huge difference between his maturity level and ability from March of 2012 to October 2012. We opted out of the YJC classes for the year in favor of the Canadian Young Horse classes because the levels followed a different pattern. Perhaps the horse should show the age they are on March 1 or June 1 of the year???

    I'm not overly concerned with age because my guy will catch up to his age group this year in the 6yo classes, but again he'll be 5 through the show season until the last few shows when he's actually 6. My thoughts here are more related to getting more people to the shows.

    Oh, another thought. The Canadian classes were unique in another way. You didn't have to pay the nominating fee for the GP field to show in the classes. You could literally haul in the morning of, show in the class, and haul out and owe nothing more than the class fee and whatever association fees you have to pay. They waived everything else. There were a handful of folks who did just that. I would love to see the US make the decision to start a young horse program that helped encourage trainers to bring their youngsters with them. A free or reduced fee stall for trainers with "x" number of clients at the shows slated for a young horse, or anything really to lessen the cost. I would have brought my guy with me to shows last year (2011) just to hang out and do a handful of the lowest jumper classes (where complexity of the course isn't an issue) if it hadn't been a $300 stall plus however many hundreds more to have him on site. I can see all sorts of loopholes people could take advantage of with a free stall, but my thinking is that I know a LOT of trainers with young horses who just couldn't afford to bring them out to show. It would be great if there was a way to help them make the decision to add one more to the trailer.

    So to your OP, yes, I think all three things that you pointed out are needed here. Especially the "making it more educational for the horses." If I wanted to show over the 1.10m Jumper track, I would just enter the 1.10m Jumper class! I don't need to have a set aside class for babies over the exact same track. I think the baby classes should perhaps be reduced to one or two days and set at the end of the day or beginning of the day and then done. That way the course designers could set simplified versions of the real jumper classes for the younger horse groups. I don't object as much to the 6yo and 7yo classes being combined with open classes because by that point most young horses are caught up with the height.
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.


    9 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I don't have anything spectacular to add to PNWjumper's excellent post. I just wanted to say that I am about to start showing in Ocala and chances are my young horse won't be going because I don't want to pay a gajillion dollars to take her around. She may sneak on the showgrounds to experience life but that sure doesn't show off her breeding for the stallion owner. I don't know if there is a way to have something along the lines of the opportunity or academy classes where you can take your babies without ALL the fees. As an aside I think if there was a discount to register your horse with the breeding information included a lot more people would include it. It constantly amazes me what people will do for $5.



  4. #4
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    Default

    I would love to see 4 year old classes added as well, that are appropriate for 4 year-olds. In 2011 I did the 4 year old young jumper championship classes at the Sacramento International show with a couple young horses I had, and it was such a blast! But these were the only classes for 4 year olds that I found the whole year. (I am from the NW) And it was just a show series championship, not a regional championship, which would have been fun. As someone stated above, these classes should be cheaper to encourage participation, as well as appropriate for the age group/experience level of the horses showing.

    I attended a USEF-organized meeting about young jumpers at The Oaks horse show in San Juan Capistrano, Ca last year. David O'Connor was there, as well as Leopoldo Palacios, and many judges and exhibitors. Mr. Palacios stood up and told everyone point blank that our system in the U.S. for young jumpers is so flawed because it is incredibly cost prohibitive and he is very correct. I mean who can spend $1000/week at an A show to show a 4 or 5 year old jumper? And for me, in my area, schooling shows have crap footing and broken down jumps with dangerous tracks so they are not an option. He said we need a much more logical, affordable system and everyone there agreed.

    That was last spring and this is the first I have heard of any of our organizations proposing anything, hopefully they get it done!
    ******
    "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
    -H.M.E.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Points made noted, please keep them coming!

    A flawed system can be changed. All perspectives are needed to help create that change.

    Thank you for posting!
    Hyperion Stud, LLC.
    Europe's Finest, Made in America
    WWW.HYPERIONSTUD.com
    Standing Elite and Approved Stallions



  6. #6
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    Default

    Btw I meant TASK force in the thread title lol
    Hyperion Stud, LLC.
    Europe's Finest, Made in America
    WWW.HYPERIONSTUD.com
    Standing Elite and Approved Stallions



  7. #7
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    Default

    Horseymama - they did have a 4 year olds division in Canada (at least Ontario) up until a couple of years ago when it was discontinued. It was 50% on faults, 50% on subjectively judged style. This was good in that it rewarded the technique and rideability of the horse. But they had the challenge of finding people to judge, and then as with anything judged, having people agree with the judging.

    But in my mind one significant problem with the four year old offerings was that so many of them just weren't ready in time. The first shows to hold a class were in May. As PNW mentioned, many are not even actually 4 by then. The trainers that head south would only be back for a month or so, and since most can't afford to drag (then) three year olds to Florida, they might just go in the field all winter. Those that do stay in work are confined to indoor riding, so you take them out to their first show and it's in a big outdoor ring with scary jumps and flags and.....It's asking a lot of very young horses. For is reason I like the idea of the four year olds being an "optional" offering by individual shows and series so they can decide if it is worth having, depending on their timing, facilities, and schedule.


    For sure the biggest challenge for participation in the Young Horse programs is what has already been talked about - the cost just to have a young horse at a show period. Trainers are forced to take their young horses to shows where their regular clients are. Even if you offered some "young horse only" show that was cheaper to go to, they couldn't afford to take their time away from the clients.

    Things that do help are having no jumper nomination fees , and scheduling the classes to be"ship in friendly"



  8. #8
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    Default

    Agree about the 4yo classes. They did hold them up in Canada at Thunderbird Show Park this year (both 4yo & 5yo classes were judged 50% on style and 50% on time/faults), but not at any of the shows we went to in the states.
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.



  9. #9
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    Default

    I don't understand the double nominating fee. A horse must be nominated with IJF in order to compete but must also pay an additional nominating fee at each show. Is there a way to consolidate these fees in a way that makes showing a young horse more affordable?


    I would like to see the horses able to compete according to their actual age. In order to be eligible, owners must submit proof of age with the horse any way. And it seems this Jan 1st rule is more often than not pushing younger horses into older divisions which is counterproductive.

    I would like to know more about the ideas discussed to make it more educational for the horses. Is this just in terms of course building, or are you looking into other opportunities to work with/demonstrate young horses as part of the YJC?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    I think Linda Allen got a LOT right with the program she started: http://www.thebenchmarkprogram.com

    As I am on the east coast, I did not get to attend any of these shows, but they sure sound like a great opportunity to develop a nice horse without having to take out a second mortgage.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pally View Post
    But in my mind one significant problem with the four year old offerings was that so many of them just weren't ready in time. The first shows to hold a class were in May. As PNW mentioned, many are not even actually 4 by then. The trainers that head south would only be back for a month or so, and since most can't afford to drag (then) three year olds to Florida, they might just go in the field all winter. Those that do stay in work are confined to indoor riding, so you take them out to their first show and it's in a big outdoor ring with scary jumps and flags and.....It's asking a lot of very young horses. For is reason I like the idea of the four year olds being an "optional" offering by individual shows and series so they can decide if it is worth having, depending on their timing, facilities, and schedule.


    Shows (notably the winter circuits) need to offer 4 year old classes. I think this is a problem, even with 5 and 6 year old classes, not enough are offered throughout the year. If the winter circuits, spring shows and then the summer shows all offer them the horses should have plenty of opportunities to participate in enough classes to get some decent experience. For example: for the 4 year olds to participate in a regional championship you could have the requirement of the horse having 2 clear rounds at separate prior shows in a 4 year old class before being able to compete in the regionals. When you get to the regional championship show, they have to have a clear round on the first day to then compete the next two days, for which the cumulative two days are then added together to award the championship. I really like the idea of 50% faults and 50% judged, this is what they did at the Sac International and it was fun! They also used to run a class like this at Spruce Meadows. I think the regular jumper judges did it and I never remember anyone complaining.

    This is what they did at the Sac International, but like I said it was just an inter-show deal.

    At the Sac International the jumps were at 1.05 for the 4 year old championships. I think prior to that, all the 4 year old classes should be at 1.0 tops, (which is what my 4 year olds showed at during the year) but for the regionals the jumps go up a little. Also, the horses would be on track for then moving up to the 1.10 the next year, which is what 5 year old classes usually start at.
    ******
    "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
    -H.M.E.



  12. #12
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    Yahbut, in the winter circuit 4 yos are really still 3 at the beginning of the year. That's pretty darned young for a show horse to be jumping 3' courses.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    Yahbut, in the winter circuit 4 yos are really still 3 at the beginning of the year. That's pretty darned young for a show horse to be jumping 3' courses.
    Not if the courses are simple with easy questions and not maxed out fences (mainly I'm referring to the oxers not being square and max width). The 4yo class at Thunderbird in BC this year had 4 or 5 horses in it....several of them were still 3.

    But this gets back to the point about knowing how to train a young horse, in addition to making the assumption that we're talking scopey young horses for whom 1.0m is literally a speed bump. My expectation would be that the classes at the shows would be one of the first times a horse has coursed (hence the need for super simple courses)....not a time to show off the "drilling" you've done to have a perfectly prepared horse.
    __________________________________
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  14. #14
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    this is all so really easy to fix IF those running the system want to fix it for N.A. breeders/owners, and not just keep it rigged for those importing 6 and 7 yr old horses from Europe where they have good shows to start young horses. I was just in Wellington, and virtually all the horses in the 6, 7 and 8 yr old classes are imports who have been started under the European system. In Europe, it seems to be about the HORSES--here in the States at least (won't speak for Canada) it is all about the MONEY. And the USHJA is run by the Hunter Crowd--the organization spun out from the USEF and might as well been just a continuation of the old Horse Show Manager Crowd who ran the AHSA. Need a revolution to get the top changed. Otherwise it is just noise at the bottom.
    Last edited by feather river; Jan. 21, 2013 at 04:40 PM. Reason: sp
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