So if you get to the 1.10m and decide to sit there that's your choice driven by your circumstances. There's certainly nothing wrong with it if it makes you happy. If you're only willing to make time 3 days a week to ride then that's your choice. I have no problem with all of that, but why should a show strive to get more money increasingly to the people who are unwilling or unable to make the horses and the sport a top priority?
So, are you seriously suggesting that the folks who are jumping 1.10 meters are unwilling or unable to make horses and the sport a top priority? I can think of many valid reasons for stopping at 1.10 meters; 1) your horse isn't capable of safely competing at higher levels 2) the rider doesn't have the talent to compete at higher levels, 3) the horse isn't sound enough to compete at higher levels 4) the horse is too green to compete at higher levels
All of these reasons are legitimate reasons for not moving up and none of these reasons support your half-assed theory that if you're not showing at higher levels you "aren't willing to make the horses or the sport a top priority".
Perhaps if you're showing at lower levels, you are not at a point to be winning money. If entry fees were lower, or if money had never been given at those levels, or both, this discussion wouldn't even be happening...
As an example, let's say that I am a fabulous canoe dancing prodigy. If I were to start competing in canoe dancing at the beginner and even intermediate levels, I would not have an expectation to be winning back money. Rather, should I choose to compete in canoe dancing at a lower level, I would be aiming to improve my skills and further my passion and ability for more difficult moves while competing against my peers. Perhaps when I was at the point of doing high level canoe dancing (whatever that may be), I would be looking into winning money, but certainly not at the beginner and intermediate levels. Granted, I would hope that the entry fees for beginner canoe dancing were lower than those of Prix St. George canoe dancing, but..
As has been said on the other thread, the disconnect is between the business/economic perspective and the sport perspective when it comes to prize money.
If you're capable of riding a 1.40m jumper course you *should* be good enough to bring along your own horse (and if the only thing that's keep you out of the 1.40m is the cost of the horse that's the implication)...with or without help is a moot point because you pay for that help either way. The alternative is finding a horse who can take a joke. Well, those are out there and they're not *that* hard to find in the younger age ranges if you have a good eye or good help (I'm in the latter camp and am very lucky to have a great trainer and a great vet I rely heavily on to give the once over to my choices). The bigger problem, in my opinion, is that very few trainers these days (on the h/j circuit) know how to spot a good prospect and the how to develop it into an upper level jumper. But that's a whole other topic.
I agreed with everything, especially the last part of this paragraph. And why aren't more trainers capable of recognizing and bringing along these upper level horses? Because our show systems don't promote high level riding. After being in Europe and seeing the depth of talent of riders and their ability to bring along young horses, it's pretty apparent that we aren't up to par. We've become so accustomed to mediocre training that it is just what we all expect now.
Well said, Supershorty! I would happily join you in the art of canoe dancing
h/jpro45 - completely agree. This is a very circular discussion and I think you can't ignore the fact that if you drive more people to the lower levels (or make them easier to stay at) it impacts the circuit as a whole because you start losing those folks who are good at moving horses and riders up. This may have no relevance to the individual who doesn't want to move up, but it has had an effect on who calls themselves a pro and how they conduct their business.
PTR - no, I'm not suggesting that someone who stops at that level (which was picked arbitrarily, call it 0.85m if that makes the point more clearly) is not worthy to own horses or call themselves a horseman And FTR I ride in the 1.10m classes myself with some regularity on my older coming-down-the-ranks mare and my moving-up-the-ranks baby.
There are absolutely reasons to be in the 1.10m. But this discussion was about who should be winning prize money. And to your examples:
1) you end up with a horse that can't do it - you have the option of selling the horse and finding a more appropriate mount. Again, this all goes back to if you want to move up in the name of pursuing prize money, not all riders do and THAT'S FINE. If you love your horse and don't want to sell it....FINE! But why should the horseshow be monetarily supporting that decision?
2) You, as the rider don't have the talent - I don't believe that anyone is truly restricted at an arbitrary height for starters. So that means I don't believe that the average rider is incapable of surmounting the obstacles to becoming a better rider if they want to. FTR, I have many friends who are perfectly happy to stay at 1.10m with no desire to go higher. This doesn't mean that they're lesser humans or horsemen. But IMO they also aren't the ones that should be getting the majority of the prize money (if you recall, that was what my argument was about, not about who should be allowed to breathe as your post implies).
3) Same as point one.
4) This is a moot point. Every horse is at this point at some point and, like the rider, must progress up the levels.
At no point did I say that "1.10m classes have no place and shouldn't exist." Simply that there's this overriding sense of entitlement in these discussions about how the horseshows seem to OWE everyone money since they're so graciously participating. As SS pointed out, there's a disconnect between the economics of running a show and the idea that everyone should get prize money!
Now someone can quote me and say that I want everything to stay the same. That's not true either. I agree that changes need to be made. Entries are exorbitant and getting worse (I started a thread 3 or 4 years ago about how bad it was then and now it's 50% more expensive than it was then!), and there's certainly a balancing point between paying for the shows from the organizer's perspective while still drawing enough people to drive the entries up. I think we've tipped too far in the direction of paying for the shows and need to cant back towards the "driving entries."
But my whole point was really just that I think you should get more prize money as you show at more difficult (in h/j that typically means larger) levels. I seem to have gotten a bit off track....
__________________________________ Forever exiled in the NW.
Don't sound like no problem with prize money! Sounds more like it is a trainer/professional issue. Like I said before, it is the RESPONSIBILITY of trainers to push the students.
Do you force your good ammies to move up and out?
I'll be honest, I've not yet been put into a position where I've needed to force any of my riders to move up. Thus far, everyone has been eager to move forward when ready.
Ironically, today I had a talk with one of my jr riders. She was asking what happens after she becomes successful at the 3'6" hunters where the jr/AO divisions top out. I told her you keep going up to high performance or you can switch to jumpers and continue up in height/difficulty. It didn't really occur to her that she could live at 3'6" the rest of her life but she is also a motivated rider. Now maybe she'll change her mind (she's only jumping 3' right now) or maybe she will keep progressing- who knows! Trainers do have a responsibility to push their students but shouldn't our show system reflect that? It may become hard to convince even an eager student that they should show in the $500 open 1.20m class vs the $5k 1.10m ch/AA jumper (where they will need to run like hell to ribbon). By the way- high dollar low level jumper classes really encourage some frighteningly fast rounds which is not what we want to teach young riders or young horses who are ultimately wanting to move up.
since most of the points have been made and argued over and over, and much of this no longer applies since i currently have no horse show budget, i only have one minor contribution/gripe.
back when i was showing, prizes weren't my main goal, and i was certainly happy enough with a ribbon or a little placard if i felt i had earned it. i mostly stuck to doing a hunter division per show, because that was what i could afford (even though i'd use the term 'afford' loosely). i'd love to have done the cool handy hunter classes, classics, or medal classes because they sounded fun and challenging. however, they were out of my reach because the single class entry was as much as, if not more, than an entire division for me. so, from that standpoint, i'd sacrifice some prize money to take less of a hit when it came to entering those classes to be able to try my hand at them. albeit, most of them are open to all riders, so there's probably no changing them!
I have no problem with all of that, but why should a show strive to get more money increasingly to the people who are unwilling or unable to make the horses and the sport a top priority?
Because doing so generates more profit for the show.
I'm not within spitting distance of winning money at any level, so I don't particularly care how the prize money is divvied up. But, as long as the shows are for-profit entities, they're going to offer the divisions and prize money that earn them the greatest profit. That's the whole idea behind a free market.
If the USEF and top riders think that the primary goal of horse shows should be talent development, then they need to run the shows themselves. Or, they need to figure out how independent show management companies can make equal if not greater profits under a scheme the prize money scheme Chris Kappler is proposing than they can with the status quo. Otherwise, what's the incentive for them to change?
This is a topic that I have been thinking about a lot since I saw the article. I am an amateur jumper rider who owns one horse. I ride (hopefully!) 3x per week for about 45 min. I have a full time job and the barn is at least 45 min (one way) from my home. I started riding as an adult, and over the years I have (very slowly) improved my riding to the point where I am now competitive at the 1.20m height and I would like to go higher. It remains to be seen if I can handle it. I may need a new horse to get there. I can afford roughly 5/6 local A shows a year.
When I go to a show, I can enter the Modifieds (1.20m) or the open 1.20m classes, and at most there will be a $1000 classic on Sunday, but often there is no money. If there is a low Jr/Am class at 1.30 where the jumps are a little soft and/or the course is not too technical, I might consider moving up to it, but the division won't have enough of us (in general) to even pay whatever prize money they offer. I am talking a local small A show, for reference. The Ch/AA jumper class (1.10m) will not only fill, but there will be a number of riders. The prize money is always better than at the 1.20m or 1.30m level -- a lot better. My trainer asked why I didn't just enter those classes, and I told her I was looking for a different challenge.
It would be great to be able to have the opportunity to win at least as much (if not more) prize money at the higher levels than at the 1.10m level. I agree with PNWJumper that this just seems wrong. I can also understand why the show managers do it, and unfortunately the more they do it, the more people will be incented to stay at the lower levels, making the upper level classes have even fewer riders, so the shows will have even less incentive to add prize money there and take it away from the lower levels. I don't know how you fix this. Plus I agree that because of this situation, there are lots of riders in the 1.10m classes who should have moved up, they are riding very capable horses who could be doing 1.40m and they literally RUN around at the 1.10m. Not fun when you've just gotten competitive at that level, and it just doesn't seem right to me -- I mean, what's the sport in that?