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Memo from the Dressage Committee

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  • Memo from the Dressage Committee

    I have been asked to post the following memo from the USEF Dressage Committee.

    I hope that all of you who read it; read it in the manner and spirit in which it was written. I also hope that someone will post it on the other Bulletin Boards on which discussions have been taking place as I am not a member of those other boards.

    Memo from the USEF Dressage Committee Concerning the Performance Standards Proposal

    The members of the USEF Dressage Committee have received many e-mails from competitors and show organizers, and have, indeed, listened to you. We answered most of your communications individually. Letters that we did not answer often were of excessive length and, considering the workload of the Dressage Committee, difficult for a point-by-point response.

    We need to remind the correspondents that the document is exactly what it is named, a proposal. If performance standards were to be implemented in this or any other form, they would not take effect before 2010. Rather than rejecting the proposal outright, competitors can contribute to the deliberations by reviewing their points and percentages when they show this year. This might provide us with further concrete suggestions and ideas.

    We know that amateur riders are the backbone of our sport. The goal of the DC is to re-work this proposal and to find a system that is fair to the horses and allows riders with average horses who are on the right track with their training to move to the next level expeditiously.

    Most judges do complete the score sheets with great care and try hard to give competitors the scores they deserve. Unfortunately, some riders do not agree or choose to ignore the judges’ comments. With our proposal, we will try to find a solution that will work well for all dressage sport participants. Also, please keep in mind that the proposal to be voted on at the USEF Convention in January 2008 will only establish a time-line for developing a qualification system. When the performance standards proposal is finalized, the qualification requirements will be submitted as a separate rule change proposal.

    Respectfully,
    USEF Dressage Committee

  • #2
    Why should being reminded that it wouldn't go into effect until 2010 make it any different?

    It doesn't address the upper-level eventers, either.

    Comment


    • #3
      With respect, and thanks Roberta:
      That memo is a pile of placating non information.

      What I get from it is that the proposal is forging ahead as planned to put in place some sort of system to prevent people from competing at higher levels unless they have jumped through the hoops (and paid the years of fees!) at the lower levels first.

      They may have "listened", but I don't think anything has been "heard".

      Unfortunately, some riders do not agree or choose to ignore the judges’ comments
      So, let the judges and TDs single out those very few riders who do this and not punish the rest of us ( the majority) who don't.
      "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

      Comment


      • #4
        Nope, sounds like it is a done deal. Now we are supposed to pretend that we are going to be able to submit suggestions as to how the system will work.

        I don't see my ever needing to buy a shadbelly. Ah well I guess my trainer does not have to worry about my carrying out my desire for a very dark almost black green shad.

        Go me.

        Martha Anderson
        Region 6
        perpetual OK but not great rider with average but dearly loved horse Jaybird

        Thanks for all the fish. Good to see that the thousands of hours I put into making shows run over the last 15 years is finally going to work for me

        insert icon that does not exist on this BB
        _\\]
        -- * > hoopoe
        Procrastinate NOW
        Introverted Since 1957

        Comment


        • #5
          I sent a letter to all of the members of the dressage committee and I've received individual responses from about one third so far, and they've been constructive.

          Thank you, Roberta, for posting this here.

          The interesting part of this letter to me is that although the author states it is only "a proposal", she seems to have rejected the idea of rejecting the proposal outright herself. And unfortunately, I still don't see why "Some riders chose to ignore the judges' comments" is a justification for launching a qualification system. I've yet to here defensible justification for this system.

          However, I want to thank everyone who took the time to email the committee. The committee should have comments and feedback from "the trenches".

          J.
          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Please take the time to read the memo carefully. Saying that it is a done deal is jumping to a huge conclusion. It says ''IF".

            The memo says that they are re-working it. And I know for a fact that they have been. I know for a fact that they have been listening and hearing all of you.

            You can either choose to see this as a positive step in your direction as opposed to being so negative about it.

            I have said this many times on this BB. Do not come out with blanket statements unless you know the facts to be true.
            Last edited by Roberta; Jan. 5, 2008, 01:39 PM. Reason: spelling

            Comment


            • #7
              Roberta, thank you for sending this memo. I have probably been one of the most vocal of the critics. I appreciate the fact that the Dressage Committee is paying attention to the concerns of the dressage community. The memo is cordial and productive.

              Everyone, I think the CRITICAL phrase in that memo is:

              "When the performance standards proposal is finalized, the qualification requirements will be submitted as a separate rule change proposal."

              This should be stated in the CURRENT rule change proposal.

              If that is an absolute promise and the USEF Board of Directors will stick to it, and members of the Dressage Committee will stick to it, then I think it goes a long way to placating some of us who have been extremely concerned. At least it does for me.

              PLEASE ROBERTA TELL THE COMMITTEE WE NEED TO SEE THAT LANGUAGE IN THE RULE CHANGE PROPOSAL OR AS AN ADDENDUM OR SOMEHOW IN THE RULE CHANGE AT HAND when it is voted on by the BOD next week!!!.

              The fact that the qualifying criteria were going to just be "determined by the Dressage Committee" and it was not clear (and still is not clear, in the rule change proposal although the memo that you have just posted here helps--will someone please print it quickly I am not at a computer with a printer) that a separate rule change proposal would be submitted to cover the criteria was a huge worry.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think

                Basicly I don't think that this proposal is a bad proposal in general. The same systems works in manyyyy countries. However..... You have to make a blueprint of the combined European system and not a blueprint of the Dutch, German, France or Danish system. In the Netherlands and Germany you can participate in a dressage competition almost every weekend (both saturday and sunday), but these countries are an exception to the rest of Europe.

                The USA have to setup a system per region or even sub-region, like Europe has a different system for every country.

                A very simple system (also based on the memo of the USEF posted here) is to let the judges give a stamp on the scoresheets, and if you have collected
                (depending on the region) 2,3,4,....10 stamps you are allowed to move to the next level.

                Most of the judges, that I know, love to give high (but realistic) scores, and hate it when they have to give the 3's and 4's at every competition.

                Furthermore please be very happy that the dressagecommittee of the USEF has an open eye and ear for you (their members), I know many countries where this isn't the case.

                And YES I have my flamesuit on !

                Comment


                • #9
                  Roberta - Thank you for posting this.

                  I am one of the minority who endorses the proposal as is. I sent an email to the committee with my endorsement. I know that's unpopular, however, after calculating what it would take to advance through their proposed stages, it was doable and would/could elevate the quality of riding training at the AA level.

                  The largest leap is from 2nd to 3rd. This requires the largest number of points. However, those points are cumulative (training - 2nd), and are generally earned over a longer period of time. This time period allows for a deepening of skill and spreads out the cost over a longer period. The early years are the toughest, because there is soooooooooooo much to learn. So why shouldn't it take longer?

                  As I said, I know this is an unpopular POV, however, there are a few of us AAs who support the proposal as is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tiligsmom View Post
                    The largest leap is from 2nd to 3rd. This requires the largest number of points. However, those points are cumulative (training - 2nd), and are generally earned over a longer period of time.
                    That is incorrect. The proposal states that to move to 3rd level, ALL the qualifying points come from 2nd level. Training and First do NOT count.

                    In the higher divisions, the points come from more than one level, but not in the move from 2nd to 3rd.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Okay, it appears that the Dressage Committee members are listening.

                      Now that we have their attention, can everyone PLEASE be sure to keep your correspondence and comments cordial and professional?

                      This is an emotional issue. I think the Dressage Committee members are willing to work with the membership. Let's meet them halfway.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rebecca yount View Post
                        Okay, it appears that the Dressage Committee members are listening.

                        Now that we have their attention, can everyone PLEASE be sure to keep your correspondence and comments cordial and professional?

                        This is an emotional issue. I think the Dressage Committee members are willing to work with the membership. Let's meet them halfway.
                        Well said and very true. Thanks for the reminder!
                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I spent about 4 hrs reviewing 3rd level scores on line, and I now think I know why the committee wants to do this.

                          I also reviwed individual's scores on the usef records, and was shocked at what I found.

                          Very few people have the scores currently to qualify to ride at 3rd level. Of the riders I know their status as whether a bona fide amateur or not, other than professional trainers who showed as part of their business, I saw very, very few people who had the scores to qualify under ANY of the currently proposed systems.

                          Occasionally there is some benefit to being sick. I was very surprised at the patterns I saw. I also went over classes, thanks to the COH magazine back issues being on sale. There were some very fixed patterns to 2nd and third level classes.

                          I think instead of making it harder to show 3rd level, they should work on educating 1st and 2nd level riders more, with seminars and demonstrations an integral part of shows.

                          I think having people demonstrate tests and judges explaining how the test is marked and why, AT A SHOW, would be an idea of how to get people more ready.

                          I think that instead of an expensive point system, I'd like to see a kind of review from a judge. A rider could do the review more than once if he wanted to or felt he had a bad go. The rider scores would all have to meet a minimum on one test. I'd like the system to actually contain several options, rather than only one way to qualify to move up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by slc2 View Post

                            I think instead of making it harder to show 3rd level, they should work on educating 1st and 2nd level riders more, with seminars and demonstrations an integral part of shows.

                            I think having people demonstrate tests and judges explaining how the test is marked and why, AT A SHOW, would be an idea of how to get people more ready.

                            I think that instead of an expensive point system, I'd like to see a kind of review from a judge. A rider could do the review more than once if he wanted to or felt he had a bad go. The rider scores would all have to meet a minimum on one test. I'd like the system to actually contain several options, rather than only one way to qualify to move up.
                            It's an interesting concept, but I think that if someone doesn't have "it" by the time they are at the showground, a demonstration won't help. Plus, I once went to a big show where they had demonstration rides and the judge asked a person in my trainer's (at the time - long time ago) class to demo third level. My trainer freaked, thinking that the judge had already "decided" the class by choosing this person to do a demo ride. It was fugly. I can see that happening if demo rides were regular events.

                            There are a number of educational videos available through USDF and catalogs that serve as excellent demonstration rides, though. That said, I'd like to see more educational videos and magazine spreads featuring average horses or horses just doing a movement for the first time. Many people try to emulate the head set/hand position of well-balanced, uphill, forward demo horses and it doesn't work out (one think I loved about Lendon Gray's Practical Horseman series versus, say, Leslie Webbs - she sometimes had plain demo horses and often showed horses acting poorly). Perhaps a series of videos that are "ride-a-tests" featuring good, average and bad rides (scored in real time with comments from a judge) at each level would be useful.

                            J.
                            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, hold on there, slick. I need one more score for my bronze. A SECOND level score. I have a horse that is stretched to his limit (non WB) at second level. I got 2 scores in the low 60s (same judge at 2 different shows, so doesn't count as 2, go figure), but mostly spent a lot of money to get 58-59%. I am never gonna get big scores on him at second, all the stars have to be aligned. I am not going to be pushing him any more, especially for the money it costs to compete.

                              I just bought a 3rd/4th level horse late in the 2007 season. Tried to ride him at second for the "easy" score. Well, I'd only had him 6 weeks, I had a ride in the coliseum, and I got high FORTIES. He was "Koo-koo for cocoa puffs". Four weeks later, different venue, I was AA high score at third level with a 65+%. Based on my second level scores, I don't "belong" at third. But I beg to differ. And I will be begging to differ all 2008 season as I ride him at 3rd.
                              From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Tiligsmom View Post
                                Roberta - Thank you for posting this.

                                I am one of the minority who endorses the proposal as is. I sent an email to the committee with my endorsement. I know that's unpopular, however, after calculating what it would take to advance through their proposed stages, it was doable and would/could elevate the quality of riding training at the AA level.

                                The largest leap is from 2nd to 3rd. This requires the largest number of points. However, those points are cumulative (training - 2nd), and are generally earned over a longer period of time. This time period allows for a deepening of skill and spreads out the cost over a longer period. The early years are the toughest, because there is soooooooooooo much to learn. So why shouldn't it take longer?

                                As I said, I know this is an unpopular POV, however, there are a few of us AAs who support the proposal as is.
                                I think it's a shame that you didn't take the time to read more carefully....all the points come from 2nd level so training and 1st count for nothing.


                                While I really appreciate the commitee taking the time to respond to us here, the memo doesn't do much to put my fears to rest and while they did use the word IF once, it still sounds to me as though it is a done deal. I hope if it does pass they will listen to the membership that the proposed requirements are far too cumbersome for the average AA who is the backbone of many of these shows.
                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                "There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Memo from the Dressage Committee

                                  This is from another BB I belong to. The first post is from Janet Foy-Brown. You can follow the rest:
                                  I am sorry that when I take over 3 hours per night to answer the last 500 E mails on my computer so that ALL MEMBERS who write to me feel I am responding that they then take my reply out of context and vilify me on the chat room floor. So be it.



                                  The truth of the matter is that Dressage is an Olympic Sport. I did not determine that. The judges are trained to judge on a standard that is worldwide. Trainer's should be trained to work with their students on that same standard. NOW, if that were true and the world were perfect, THEN there would be no need for standards of any sort. Neither in dressage, nor figure skating etc. However, since the world is not perfect we must face a few facts.



                                  One is that not all trainer's train correctly. Second is that not all students learn correctly. Many students in fact go against their trainer's advice as to which level they should show. (Many top trainers have requested this system). Many horses do not understand that they should be able to go to third level and do extended trot when they were really bred to chase cows. People with a lot of money buy well trained horses but fail to train themselves first. The horse gets frantic when the aids are not clear and when the rider punishes the horse for 'doing it wrong.' So who is at fault? All of us. The trainer who tell their student they are OK to go, when they are not. The judge who fails to score the poor rider low enough, instead giving the horse a low score for submission, instead of giving the rider a 4. The rider who overfaces a horse that can succeed at first level but not at third. The wealthy rider who thinks because they can buy the training they can ride the training.



                                  If all of you sitting by your computers would take a moment and look at the new ideas from the DC: lower points, starting at 58% instead of 60%, no PM membership, I would say MOST OF YOU would already have the points to move into third. We are allowing ALL scores to count from the past, you can even bank them for later use.



                                  So, are we so unfair? NO. The rule change is NOT about setting the proposal in stone, as a matter of fact, the rule change only STARTS THE PROCESS, it does not identify and program. The Committee is working very hard (and long at their laptops) gathering all of the information you have sent us. We have asked you to ride 2007 as a test year and let us know how it went. Does anyone hear this?????? I guess not, it is just easier to work oneself into a frenzy.



                                  Let's start to all work for the betterment of the sport, the horse AND the rider as well as the judge. We are all in this together, this is not about us vs them.



                                  It would be of more benefit to the committee to have all of you look at the second draft, do a score check on the USDF website and see really where you would stand if this proposal was in place. Our goal is to have a 58% rider be able to qualify to move up in two shows. Is this unreasonable?



                                  Feel free to put this in your chatroom as it seems you have already done so. Janet Foy


                                  -------------- Original message from "Jeff Moore" <jashtonmoore@earthlink.net>: --------------


                                  I don’t have a strong opinion about this, and no personal stake, but….



                                  Janet seems to be taking the grief for something that is not her invention. Don’t kill the messenger, I think.



                                  Judges don’t like to say “Horse not ready for this level”. And we don’t like to see the desperate quest to say “I ride X level” [no matter how badly, and how unfortunate for the horse].



                                  Maybe it needs to be considered in terms of the positive aspects of this. I know it seems ‘un-American’ to enforce limitation and enforcement, but judges do see horses that are asked to function at levels beyond both themselves and their riders, with detriment to both the horses and the sport (especially with the double bridle allowed sooner).



                                  It is a balance between freedom to pursue goals, and well-being of the horses and the sport.



                                  I personally don’t like to bother with the lower levels, just for lack of time, and would like to start at a higher level. If I’m not allowed to do this, so be it. I’ll have to earn my way, like everybody, thru due process.



                                  I am also an FEI judge in another equestrian discipline, and we have had to deal with this issue – nationally and internationally. Qualification is necessary, and has proved advisable and useful.



                                  We had, in dressage, for years, fussing about riders staying in lower levels so that they could win – I think that this is just a different/obverse application of the same issue.



                                  Again, as a rider, trainer, competitor, and instructor, I don’t have an ironclad special viewpoint on this issue, but I think a balanced view would always be useful.



                                  I really don’t think that the issue is about elitism. I think Janet’s remarks should be taken in context and intent - as explanation, rather than protection of viewpoint. Her openness and effort to communicate and clarify should be appreciated, not vilified.



                                  I don’t think I’m ‘taking sides’, but just something to think about when looking at both sides of the equation……



                                  Now, how many of you have I alienated? Hopefully few.





                                  Best to all,







                                  Jeff Moore







                                  Jeff Moore

                                  334 Mission Vineyard Rd

                                  San Juan Bautista, CA 95045

                                  Tel: (831) 623-4446

                                  Fax: (831) 623-0607


                                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                  From: Ingrid Edisen [mailto:ingrid.dressage@prodigy.net]
                                  Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 6:51 AM
                                  To: bobbie paulk; jeff1 moore; virginia ellis; william-askins@att.net; cindy dix; pj hardin; carol and rich; Kay Skillern; leslie white; donna barrett
                                  Cc: jennifer jarvis; Porkypoo52@aol.com; nancy fair; michelle doty; robin whittenbaugh; judy elliott; rachel misiti; Linda Ryan
                                  Subject: janet foy/dressage vote



                                  This is from Classical Dressage, the chat group, and was posted this morning at 2:10 a.m. It contains a response to someone on the Dressage Standards Proposal and came from Janet Foy who is actually on the committee and was listed as the main point of contact for us to send our complaints to prior to their big vote on the 8th of January that will make it a sin to ride 3rd level and beyond. Enjoy.



                                  A recent response from Janet Foy leads me to believe that in spite of all pretense that the proposal is "for the good of the horse", the real intent is to keep "lesser" riders and horses from participating at third level and above. To quote Janet:

                                  "You have to understand that you are participating in an Olympic Sport
                                  with certain standards. Even Guatemala has standards in place. This
                                  country is the only one who seems to not undertstand this. The rider
                                  AND the horse must be athletes. Does it take money? Yes. I was
                                  unmarried, riding 14 horses per day and teaching until 10 pm every
                                  nite. The weekends I would either go off to judge or give a clinic or
                                  pack my four horse trailer with clients horses and one of mine and off
                                  we would go to a show. I did no t have a day off for 20 years. All of
                                  us on the committee have worked our buns off to get where we are, we
                                  did not marry 'doctors and lawyers'. Even if you have tons of money,
                                  perhaps you may not have much talent as a rider. This is not about
                                  rich vs poor riders. (signed) Janet Foy"

                                  I may not be interpreting this right, but I sure get the impression she WANTS the upper levels to be elitist.

                                  Jeanne White
                                  Wisconsin USA

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Memo from Dressage Committee

                                    This is from an "S" judge friend of mine who is responding to the rule change. The person fears recriminations and prefers to remain anonymous.

                                    I do think that there should be higher standards for the FEI classes, as that is the International Classes, but for 4th level and below, I not so sure. I think that we have issues that other countries do not have.

                                    1. DISTANCE this is a huge country. Many people have to travel very far for a show. Consequently, there are additional expenses such as stabling, gas, extra help for those left at home. In Europe , there are usually 3 shows within 1 hour from spring through fall.
                                    2. Entry Fees the entry fees for lower level in Europe is far less. Because you are there and gone in no time, there are often no stabling fees. My usual bill for having a young horse competed for me is between 30 and 60 dollars...for the whole show. You pay for a class, and then you are gone...in and out of the trailer.

                                    These are big factors which make showing much easier at the lower levels (in Europe).
                                    3. I believe you will see a lessening of offerings of recognized shows which will mean even further distances to drive in the U.S. and less of a pool of entrants for show management to rely upon.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      [QUOTE=Serrano16;2915985]Many horses do not understand that they should be able to go to third level and do extended trot when they were really bred to chase cows.


                                      Umm, yeah, I'd say I get a little whiff of elitism here.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        What exactly is the point of these new performance standards?

                                        Comment

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