Ariane Stiegler, president and founder of the Amateur Rider Association of America, wants to draw attention to the issues specific to amateur competitors and implement changes to benefit them. This year she’s made progress in this goal by working with horse show management at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) concerning specifications in the amateur-owner jumpers. She’s concerned about discrepancies in fence height between divisions, as well as an ever-growing class size.
“The height of the low, the medium and the high [amateur-owner jumpers] is not consistent,” said Stiegler. “My idea was that if you have a prize list, and you say it’s going to be 4’, it’s going to be 4’. All I’m trying to do is regulate the height and actually build it to specs.”
Stiegler talked to Equestrian Sports Production President Michael Stone, and Stone said they’ve already begun implementing her ideas at WEF. Class sizes will now be split in half when they reach 100 entries, and Stone said he has been working with the course designers to regulate fence height.
“Absolutely, it’s high on our priority list,” said Stone. “We looked at [the fence heights] and spoke with Guilherme Jorge and Anthony D’Ambrosio who are our two technical delegates who control all that sort of stuff, so we all worked together.
“In general it’s worked very well, so we’re very happy with Ariane bringing it to our attention so we can do something about it,” he continued.
Stiegler, who competes in the amateur-owner jumpers herself, is looking forward to using WEF as a springboard to improve this division at horse shows throughout the country.
“I want everyone to have the same opportunities that people have at WEF,” she said. “So what I want to do with my association is to have the low, the medium and the high all across the country whether it be Colorado, Texas, California; there’s got to be a low, a medium and a high all across the board.”