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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP60 View Post
    All in all, I spectate, support, and serve where I feel it serves the core of eventing, the roots, not the tree tops.
    Bingo. I believe EVERYONE should be required to volunteer -- but it doesn't have to be jump judging. There are a gazillion different ways to help out and they don't even have to involve travel, call your local organizer, they will love you.

    As for the rest, I support what I believe in. I drive a quasi-ridiculous distance to help run a T3DE (now two of them). I volunteer whenever I can for a nearby schooling HT. I train with people I respect who are generous with their enormous experience and who, in turn, respect me trying my guts out, even though I'm not getting ready for Advanced, ha. I "cheer" for people I respect as horsemen and great riders regardless of their nationality or level.


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  2. #22
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    bornfree said it perfectly. Nothing to add.



  3. #23
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    The economy sure hasn't helped the Dangerous household budget, especially the horse show fund. I'd rather spend my precious few extra dollars on lessons or schooling shows than anything else. I do help organize local schooling shows and volunteer at the rated events nearby.

    Who wouldn't like to have the pockets to write a big check to sponsor a rider, or even put a dent in some of the costs associated with supporting the team? Until I win the lottery, I do what I can do.



  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    I train with people I respect who are generous with their enormous experience and who, in turn, respect me trying my guts out, even though I'm not getting ready for Advanced, ha. I "cheer" for people I respect as horsemen and great riders regardless of their nationality or level.
    I love this, well said.

    Also really like BFNE's words and JP60's tree-tops vs grass roots. Just about sums it all up.
    "Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing" - Robert Benchley
    The Grove is on Facebook
    http://buildingthegrove.blogspot.com/


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  5. #25
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    I would say the upper levels of eventing have little to nothing with what I do. It's kind of like comparing my weekly golf league with PGA Tour. We play under the same rules but all similarities end there.

    I don't get all that interested in the going's on of national teams. Eventing is an individual sport. If national teams disappeared tomorrow it would not phase me at all.

    As a LL rider I don't really see any need nor have the desire to fund national teams or ULR's.
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"


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  6. #26
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    I find this personally a bit scary.

    If we do NOT strive to be the BEST horsemen we can possibly be, then our horses suffer. International competition brings our best to the table. At the biggest international competitions, the lowest placing countries exhibit sketchy horsemanship. The gold medalists inspire us to ride better.


    It is not about what I am "interested" in. It is about a rising tide lifting all boats. Even the most backyard among us myself included must continually strive to ride like the gold medalists. The treetops make us BETTER. We can't perpetually swim in our own goldfish bowl and tell ourselves we are great. We have to test ourselves and try, and learn, and go to clinics, and watch videos, and read blogs, and watch the GREAT riders of our generation tackle Rolex outside our own backdoors. It's our job no matter who we are, to be better horsemen for our horses, all of us, from the starter rider to the training level riders to our instructors and trainers on up. Great competitions make great riders and great horses, AND make great education -- for all who would be willing to learn.

    I think here we are mixing up competition (which the article was NOT about) with going forward as a sport. Has anyone been watching, listening or attending the USET training sessions with Coach O'Connor's direction? What is happening with the education of our team riders? And what do you think will happen in the next coming years with the education of THE REST OF US? I can't wait. Already I am seeing a difference. I have spoken with two upper level riders/instructors who are adding in things they are seeing (scaled down, of course) in the Team Training sessions to lessons with their Beginner Novice riders. This is how it works! This is why Mrs. Mars GAVE US half a million dollars! This is why we should care!
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com


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  7. #27
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    Retread, I get what your saying. However, I think that if one lives outside of the eventing mecca (Mid Atlantic Area) its practically impossible to support the future of eventing through taking lessons with one of these trainers/ riders.

    Also, I think your post above is a slightly different argument than what you put forth in your HJ blog post. I'm all for a rising tide lifting my boat LOL.

    For example, where I live, I am dependant upon clinics to ride w/ BNR/BNT. That also means I have limited choices from which to clinic. I do partake in clinics with riders who I think are worth while. I rode in 2 last year, going to audit Lucinda and Eric Smiley this year, and if my horse is ready, I will ride in the same clinics that I did last year.

    And yes, I did learn important, subtle things last year from clinicing with two of the US's top riders. Well worth the money and the time IMO, even with a green horse.


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  8. #28
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    BFNW, JP60 and Wildlifer expressed it perfectly for me. I have huge admiration and respect for the upper level riders. I love the sport, I volunteer as much as I can, juggling parenting, work, home life, etc. I promote the BNRs by writing articles about them for Eventing blogs and web sites. I wish them the very best. But, somewhere in all of that, I struggle to squeeze in my own amounts of riding time. Truth be told, I lease and yet to own my own first horse because it would be irresponsible of me to take on owning a horse that I can't afford. Even if I did, I don't own a truck or trailer, don't know anyone who would trailer me and my current cheap lease to a show or clinic if I did want to compete, and I don't have the means to do recognized shows. I have limited means to contribute to the BNRs, or to attend every Advanced competition (though I'm lucky there are many within driving distance in my area, but the hotel, gas, etc. costs determine if I go, or not.) At some point in the past year or so I reasoned "why am I spending my money watching other people ride, when I should be riding my own leased horse?"

    I don't have money to contribute, so I contribute in other ways. I volunteer, I donate my administrative and management skills. I recently accepted to be the volunteer editor for a regional newsletter for an Eventing group. That is how I compensate for my lack of money to donate to the "tree-tops."

    As for not competing or paying to ride in clinics? I can't afford to. I learn by watching when I volunteer at events. I audit clinics if they take auditors. I also offer to volunteer to lend a hand at the clinics I audit. Does that make me less of a horsewoman or rider, or not caring or contributing to the US Team? I think not.

    I'm working with what I can, as I can. At this point in my life, competition is not my goal, nor do I have the means to do it, and I don't think by not competing I sell myself, or my support to US Eventing, short. I'm hard enough on myself with my own standards of riding at home, and I simply work by my own plan, with the horse I have, and take into consideration both our limitations. When I'm stuck, I find the answers with the tools at my disposal: friends, online coaching, books, etc. (I have not watched the recently USET training sessions with Coach O'Connor recent; alas it has taken back seat to kids, homework, recitals, home life, etc....) So yes, I'm big on education, and as someone who never had the benefit of Pony Club in my youth, I am sympathetic to those who, like me, truly are winging this on their own. Am I contributing to the downfall of the horsemanship education in our country by not participating? I don't really think so. If anything, I'm trying to be a contributing drop in the pond.

    As for horsemanship in this country and where the USA is as an international competitor vis a' vis the Europeans and Australia and NZ, I still think the geography of the US is a huge reason why we can't concentrate our training and competition, as the rest of the world is able to. We are simply too big, too spread out and the cost factor is huge to try to replicate the focused and centralized training and competition arrangement that works so well in the rest of the world to develop their horses and riders. They also have the time-tested tradition of classical riding and training that we lack. I recall going to a riding center in the UK last year and I was blown away at the skill and technique of their youngest riders - horses balanced, forward and in a frame in a basic group lesson class. You rarely see that kind of discipline and riding here in the US in the group lesson barns. So, what am I saying? Yes, it starts at the roots with correct riding, but not every lesson barn in the US is going to start with that foundation. Most need to have the means to get that sort of "correct" training in the US.

    I realize I may have drifted on several tangents with my reply, so I apologize if it is scattered. (where's my morning coffee?
    “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
    Jump Start Solutions LLC


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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by retreadeventer View Post
    I find this personally a bit scary.

    If we do NOT strive to be the BEST horsemen we can possibly be, then our horses suffer. International competition brings our best to the table. At the biggest international competitions, the lowest placing countries exhibit sketchy horsemanship. The gold medalists inspire us to ride better.
    I disagree here. I have seen too many great horsemen who never went near an Olympic arena. Heck, they never went near a competition. To me, Olympic medals only display what a good RIDER does in terms of a SPECIFIC DISCIPLINE. Check out some of the good ropers and barrel racers and how they treat their horses. I have seen backyard riders and ranchers be complete horsemen through the care and consideration they provide their charges. Do they care about medals?

    Medals DO NOT equate to horsemanship and great horsemen do not rise to the top either. International competition is a STANDARDIZATION of the idea of RIDING not of horsemanship.

    In this case I think you are confusing competition with horsemanship.


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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by retreadeventer View Post
    Already I am seeing a difference. I have spoken with two upper level riders/instructors who are adding in things they are seeing (scaled down, of course) in the Team Training sessions to lessons with their Beginner Novice riders. This is how it works! This is why Mrs. Mars GAVE US half a million dollars! This is why we should care!

    Honestly...yes, I've read and followed some of the Team Traininig sessions. NONE of it is new. NONE of it isn't what I've been told hundreds of time...and am told in every lesson I take. The exercises are all ones that I do and have done for years. It is all very good....but if you have already been getting outstanding instruction, reading the classic books as well as some of then new ones....none is earth shattering. I can laugh at some of the statements made by DOC in the training sessions and tell you exactly who said them to him.

    I'm not saying I'm disappointed.....I'm not. It is good stuff and that is WHY it isn't earth shattering. If people haven't heard it before...well, they just hadn't had access to good trainers and that is a shame.

    I guess I'm still not getting your point. So we finally hired a coach who can articulate classic training and is more open about his training methods. He isn't inventing new things.....and perhaps he is reminding a few people of some important core points....but I do not see this as revolutionary.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  11. #31
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    I'm not sure how you make the claim that gold medalists inspire us to ride better. I can't tell you who won the gold medal in the last olympic games or WEG, or any other major competition. It wouldn't matter if I could. All the sitting around wishing and hoping isn't going to turn me into a ULR. Neither is all the practice in the world but practicing will make me better. It just has nothing to do with national teams.
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"


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  12. #32
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    on another thread here in the Eventing forum (the one discussing Rolex entries, which I noted were low at only 19 just one week from entry closing), another COTHer mentioned:

    (Originally Posted by NCRider)
    "It also sounds like DOC is advising a lot of the training list riders to skip Rolex and aim for Pau instead. So I wouldn't expect to see a lot of the usual suspects at Rolex this year....It's sad but fits in more with the German approach to eventing which is to skip the bigger/longer four stars (Badminton, Burghley and Rolex) and aim for technical three stars and four stars. It's a strategy that works well for them at the Olympics and since the next WEG is likely to be a more European style course instead of a big MES type course, is likely the wise approach for a coach charged with bringing back medals over the next cycle."

    My reply and point (and I feel it is related to this thread about education, the relationship/perceived distance between the "roots" and "tree tops") is what does that say that the US Coach is possibly advising the riders to avoid the one **** competition in the USA? It is probably the only venue where most of the younger population and enthusiastic supporters would have a chance to see them? I agree, it is sad. I understand his intent, if that IS his recommendation, but I fear it will have diminishing returns in the end as far as popular support for the sport, goes. It also only furthers the impression of the "distance" between the upper levels (tree tops) of the sport, and the lower levels (grass roots) if the best-of-the-best don't compete on home turf, but feel their competition better spent in Europe. What does that say about Rolex as a competition venue? Are riders who chose an int'l competition over the US one abandoning those who supported them and hoped to see them compete at home? (Rhetorical questions, I know what that says about Rolex, but I truly feel some grassroot folks will be EXTREMELY disappointed to not see their favorite riders at Rolex.)
    “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
    Jump Start Solutions LLC



  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAyers View Post
    Medals DO NOT equate to horsemanship and great horsemen do not rise to the top either. International competition is a STANDARDIZATION of the idea of RIDING not of horsemanship.
    Absolutely. Gold medalists do not make me want to strive to be a better rider and how someone rides say, at Badminton, has no effect on the quality of my personal horsemanship. My horse makes me want to be a better rider and partner in my sport of choice. I want to be the best we can be together and with my VERY limited means, we seek help from great horse(wo)men, some of whom also happen to be Olympic calibre riders. But the horseman who strives for excellence in all aspects will exist whether there is an Olympic program or not, whether they have awards heaped upon them or not, because they love the horse and the journey.


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  14. #34
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    Duplicate.



  15. #35
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    I selfishly want my sport to thrive so I have the chance to participate in it until I am ruled a danger to myself due to advanced age...
    What makes it thrive? Participation, enthusiasm, and money. Money does come from big ticket sponsors, but mostly it comes from the great unwashed masses of us who love doing the sport at whatever level we can manage.
    As long as we are all here, riding, lessoning, competing, and volunteering, the sport will thrive and I do believe at all levels.
    Some of the very best clinics I've ever had have been Eric Smiley and Lucinda Green. They come to teach here because of us. I would rather take a clinic with someone of that caliber than "support" someone who wants to be on an Olympic team.
    I absolutely hope that we continue to field international teams, and am happy to watch and cheer on. I go to Rolex. I volunteer many times a year. But I do not feel any kind of obligation to further the ambitions of upper level riders just to have an international team.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother



  16. #36
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    Hahahaha....I've heard those things, too, Bornfree....and I also know where they came from. Agreed - not earth shattering. Not new. What is new is the emphasis to the people who will affect the lower levels, and the subsequent emphasis on horsemanship trickling down. It can never ever hurt to continually go over the basics.
    And no one -- NO ONE -- should enter Rolex unless they are sure they can compete. To enter and HOPE you can get around is lunacy. I don't care how many entries there are as long as they are qualified, confident, and belong there. If someone is discouraged from entering a four star there is probably A. Good. Reason. someone doesn't think they need to go. I trust THAT judgment a little bit. Would you rather a diasaster occurred? Maybe we need more 3 stars on our side of the pond. How do we get those? Uh....support....volunteers....spectators?
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by retreadeventer View Post
    Hahahaha....I've heard those things, too, Bornfree....and I also know where they came from. Agreed - not earth shattering. Not new. What is new is the emphasis to the people who will affect the lower levels, and the subsequent emphasis on horsemanship trickling down. It can never ever hurt to continually go over the basics....
    I guess I really do not understand what you are getting at both here and your opinion piece. Obviously, they are starting a conversation but I am trying to figure out what you are saying to us.

    What I read here is that you assume only ULRs get the "good" information and that then trickles down to the lower levels? I know GREAT 2nd tier trainers here who instill a wonderful sense of horsemanship, responsibility and dedication to their riders. Are they missing something that only those who school/ride with 3/4 star riders get?

    And how does this all fit with your original desire to inspire us to volunteer and support the ULRs?


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  18. #38
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    retread I'm also confused by your post #26.

    But for clarity, no I don't think that we need a competitive olympic team to generate better horsemanship for the LLR.

    I learned great horsemanship skills from non BNT's. Heck even pony club.
    wasn't such a bad education either.

    Reiner Klimke inspired me in 1984. I'm not german fwiw.



  19. #39
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    I would be inspired by seeing an ULR volunteering at a local event, even for just a few hours.

    I'm not inspired seeing them requesting donations, or having parties thrown so they can compete in Europe. If you want to be an ULR and make a career out of riding, then go on, be awesome.. if you're any good I might take a lesson with you.. but it's not my job to fund your dream, especially when I don't see much in return except an increase in lesson price when you come back from Europe!

    Oh, and teaching a clinic doesn't count as ULR "giving back", that's networking and they get paid.


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  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2LaZ2race View Post
    I would be inspired by seeing an ULR volunteering at a local event, even for just a few hours.

    .
    Around here...that is pretty common. Many donate their time judging the schooling shows. I've seen a few be timers on the xc. Hell...I once jump judged with a two 4* riders (they also had their working students jump judging). There is also a lot of work done behind the scenes that you may not be aware off.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



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