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It's time for a new location for USDF finals

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  • DutchMuchToday
    started a topic It's time for a new location for USDF finals

    It's time for a new location for USDF finals


    I went with a group I know as an extra set of hands for week; while there was quite a bit to see and do in the Alltech, I'm not sure I would be in a big hurry to sign up my horse up in future after seeing it firsthand.

    The overnight temperature fell to the low 20's on two different nights; the footing froze in at least one outdoor ring due to heavy rain the day before.

    One entire day of cold rain and wind; really brutal conditions. Those people who were stabled outdoors were dealing with early darkness, wet horses, wet tack, no water and no way to possibly get warm or dry. It was definitely not 'fun' - at least for the group I was with, and definitely not an environment that would bring out the best in most horses.

    Also, due to the subfreezing temps, the Horse Park staff blew the pipes and shut the water off outside. Stock tanks were set up in each aisle so that people could dip water from buckets (a direct violation of just about ANY bio-security SOP you could find). A tough situation with pipes freezing, but putting every horse at risk was the only solution? Those tanks also froze over during the night. Were the show managers aware of this?

    It seems like it's time to find a warmer venue or limit entries to those that can be accommodated indoors. I can't think of many shows where the environmental 'misery' level was that bad. Not many spectators at the outdoor rings - it was just too cold and windy. Sunday was the exception; beautiful and nearly 70 degrees but by then, a lot of people were headed home.

    The indoor heated barns were great; clearly that is the only way to keep sane when the outdoor conditions were less than ideal. My hat is off to the volunteers who layered up and dealt with it; you are braver than I.

    I realize the argument is that KY is fairly centrally located and there are not many venues with enough indoor space to accommodate this size of an event, but really: how on earth can the playing field be level for those poor souls who were stuck outside all week?

  • AZ TD
    replied
    Originally posted by lorilu View Post

    remember the dates need to be after Region 3 Regionals..... too hot earlier and.... hurricanes.......
    AZ Dressage Assoc last year's dates 11/2-11/3, 2019, but the footing is not good in all arenas. I have heard footing at Great SW Eq Center in Katy, TX is being replaced.

    Leave a comment:


  • lorilu
    replied
    Originally posted by AZ TD View Post
    WestWorld: probably could get in on ADA fall show dates. The open show helps pay for National since it requires only one judge per arena. However, the footing is totally inadequate.
    remember the dates need to be after Region 3 Regionals..... too hot earlier and.... hurricanes.......

    Leave a comment:


  • right horse at the right time
    replied
    Originally posted by AZ TD View Post
    WestWorld: probably could get in on ADA fall show dates. The open show helps pay for National since it requires only one judge per arena. However, the footing is totally inadequate.
    Easy fix compared to everything else! Plus, weather .

    Leave a comment:


  • Mondo
    replied
    Agree 100% MysticOak!

    Leave a comment:


  • MysticOakRanch
    replied
    Originally posted by ThreeFigs View Post
    Why not just do regionals and call it good? The USA is huge. We've got states that are bigger than entire countries in Europe. Seems to me only the people with really deep pockets can do a national finals show.

    Not that I've ever qualified, so I don't have a dog in this fight.
    Thank you - yes, that would be the obvious solution. And then review all the other programs run directly by USDF and make sure they are rotated in a fair and equitable way. All the resources (staff, member dues, sponsorship $$$) should be supporting ALL members, not just the eastern members. So recognizing that this is a huge country is a big step forward. I resent that my member $ supports programs for the deep pockets and the handful of people that live near USDF - and not just for Nationals, but for all the programs USDF runs directly. Go regional, be reasonable!

    ETA - I know USDF claims Nationals is not supported by our dues, but I'm a budget person, I also know that is not a true claim. USDF staff, USDF sponsors, and USDF budget allocations...
    Last edited by MysticOakRanch; Dec. 18, 2019, 01:51 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • ThreeFigs
    replied
    Why not just do regionals and call it good? The USA is huge. We've got states that are bigger than entire countries in Europe. Seems to me only the people with really deep pockets can do a national finals show.

    Not that I've ever qualified, so I don't have a dog in this fight.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mango20
    replied
    Originally posted by MissAriel View Post

    That is an interesting solution. Many have said that one of the key reasons a rotating championship won't work is the requirements that the host facilities have for multi-year contracts. Do you know how Pony Club negotiated that? Or is it that when you split the championships, you can use smaller venues that don't have that requirement?
    They do secure multi-year contracts for PC championships, at least for the east and KHP sites. I'm not sure how they manage the west and central, given that they're each only held once every 3 years. East championships require a very large venue since there are simultaneous competitions going on in dressage (including western dressage), show jumping, eventing, tetrathlon, polocrosse, games, and quiz. So each discipline requires its own dedicated rings and barns. All of that is also true for west and central, but their entry numbers are lower overall and they may be more flexible with space.

    Leave a comment:


  • rothmpp
    replied
    Originally posted by mjhco View Post

    But of course I am too ignorant of what dressage shows entail. Carry on with that attitude.
    Wow - that was totally unnecessary.

    I have no idea who you are IRL. Apparently you are very knowledgeable about all of how a dressage show works, including the logistics of how many rides you can get into a ring in a 10 hour day.

    Perhaps some other readers here don't and this might be useful for understanding why it takes so many rings for so many days. I was attempting to be helpful - it was a general comment and not directed at you. Sorry if you took it that way.
    .

    Leave a comment:


  • mjhco
    replied
    Originally posted by rothmpp View Post

    The issue is not so much that there are not facilities large enough to handle a show of that many horses - it's more that the unique aspect of a dressage show where the number of horses is disproportionate to the number of rings needed since every competition ride is a minimum of 7 minutes and ridden alone.

    A tightly scheduled ring is 70 rides in a 10 hour day - and they are likely going to get behind scheduled that tight which makes dressage competitors particularly crabby. Warm ups for a dressage ride are often very specifically planned and timed. If I had to wait an extra 10-15 minutes over what I planned for, I'd be pretty unhappy if it happened at show like finals.

    A show with rail classes or a H/J show can see more than that in 4 hours. So yes, they can host the number of horses, but can they host the number of rides?
    But of course I am too ignorant of what dressage shows entail. Carry on with that attitude.

    Leave a comment:


  • rothmpp
    replied
    Originally posted by mjhco View Post
    There are a number of facilities that hold much larger shows than the USDF Finals. Columbus OH, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Scottsdale, etc. Someone who is interested enough to putting together a bid just needs to do it.
    The issue is not so much that there are not facilities large enough to handle a show of that many horses - it's more that the unique aspect of a dressage show where the number of horses is disproportionate to the number of rings needed since every competition ride is a minimum of 7 minutes and ridden alone.

    A tightly scheduled ring is 70 rides in a 10 hour day - and they are likely going to get behind scheduled that tight which makes dressage competitors particularly crabby. Warm ups for a dressage ride are often very specifically planned and timed. If I had to wait an extra 10-15 minutes over what I planned for, I'd be pretty unhappy if it happened at show like finals.

    A show with rail classes or a H/J show can see more than that in 4 hours. So yes, they can host the number of horses, but can they host the number of rides?

    Leave a comment:


  • enjoytheride
    replied
    Originally posted by mjhco View Post
    There are a number of facilities that hold much larger shows than the USDF Finals. Columbus OH, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Scottsdale, etc. Someone who is interested enough to putting together a bid just needs to do it.
    What showgrounds in columbus OH? QH Congress is hosted at the fairgrounds, but I don't think it's suitable for dressage finals.

    Leave a comment:


  • lorilu
    replied
    Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post


    So, for instance within Dressage, as soon as a horse competed at 3rd, they are no longer eligible for 1st.
    I do not understand this. As far as I know, in the US, there are no rules limiting a horse moving down the levels. At a show you can only compete at adjacent levels, but that is not the same as no longer being eligible..... Or perhaps this is only at nationals?

    Leave a comment:


  • MissAriel
    replied
    Originally posted by Mango20 View Post
    Several years ago, Pony Club solved this problem with a rotation of championships shows:

    Year 1: Championships East, Championships West
    Year 2: Championships East, Championships Central
    Year 3: one Championships & Festival at KHP

    Championships East has been at Tryon the last few years, and the VA horse center before that. Central was at the Colorado HP this year, and West was in CA last year.

    It still favors those on the east coast, because every year they can go to a championships no further than the KHP, but it does lessen the burden on those in the west and central areas and gives them somewhere closer to go two out of every three years.
    That is an interesting solution. Many have said that one of the key reasons a rotating championship won't work is the requirements that the host facilities have for multi-year contracts. Do you know how Pony Club negotiated that? Or is it that when you split the championships, you can use smaller venues that don't have that requirement?

    btw - this isn't just a USDF thing. "East Coast bias" is real in a lot of sports like MLB and NFL where the eastern teams and players get a lot more notice and attention from media, which translates to more $$ for players and teams.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mango20
    replied
    Several years ago, Pony Club solved this problem with a rotation of championships shows:

    Year 1: Championships East, Championships West
    Year 2: Championships East, Championships Central
    Year 3: one Championships & Festival at KHP

    Championships East has been at Tryon the last few years, and the VA horse center before that. Central was at the Colorado HP this year, and West was in CA last year.

    It still favors those on the east coast, because every year they can go to a championships no further than the KHP, but it does lessen the burden on those in the west and central areas and gives them somewhere closer to go two out of every three years.

    Leave a comment:


  • mjhco
    replied
    There are a number of facilities that hold much larger shows than the USDF Finals. Columbus OH, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Scottsdale, etc. Someone who is interested enough to putting together a bid just needs to do it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Silverbridge
    replied
    One of the more appealing elements of the KY venue is the Alltech arena itself. The PTB have stressed this from the beginning.

    And it's also been a show that schedules many AA championships in the Alltech/Arena 1, very specifically, in order to cater to AA pairs who may never get the chance to show elsewhere in such a setting. Because more frequently and at CDIs in bigger venues, "Ring 1" whenever it may be, is the "fancy" stadium where the pros show. This was designed as a show that offers a stadium-ring opportunity to more ammies than do most.

    As I remember it, that is the primary reason that the showgrounds at Thermal was rejected almost as soon as it was proposed. It has no indoor stadium type ring. And feedback from competitors at Finals in KY was that the Alltech was part of the draw. Thermal is in the greater Palm Springs area and in the Coachella Valley and has all kinds of hotels and restaurants and everything else within minutes of driving distance. Indio is like four miles away. Downtown PS is maybe 15 miles. The community infrastructure is there. The under-roof, stadium-seating riding structure is not.

    With that stadium aspect in mind it narrows the field even further as to what's out there that the USDF sees as a viable option or alternative.

    Leave a comment:


  • Can'tFindMyWhip
    replied
    We have a few major impasses here. The first one being the limited number of facilities that have the space to host such a large show. And then of those facilities, how many are actually interested in hosting it? From what I gather, there are enough Californians at the USDF now that if hosting finals on the west coast was something that anyone who has to do the work wanted to do, it would have happened. But it hasn't. Does anyone have evidence that a west coast facility put in a good, competitive bid and lost? I don't think anyone here has talked about that.

    I guess we have to circle back to the question: How important are finals? What purpose do they serve? Of all the english disciplines, dressage should be the least driven by competition. It sounds like most of the competitors are people who want to go for the sake of going, not because they have world beating horses. That has certainly been our personal attitude towards regionals and finals in the past. If someone has world beating horses, there is a whole other competition track that them to follow. So I think people who have the means and the desire are always going to go. And until the numbers start telling a different story, accessibility isn't going to be a factor.

    We can also kind of draw some comparisons to WEG. We can compare it to WEG because its an enormous championship that no one seems either interested or able to host. OP has made it sound like this year's finals were like WEG in that facilities were inadequate and temporary. And also some pairs could not handle the climate. The FEI sent pairs from cooler climates in Europe or the Arabian Desert to North Carolina during a hurricane. It was a disaster. So, like the entire globe, the United States is big enough, that we have enough varying climate zones so no one part of the country is going to have weather that everyone is used to in November. And guess what? WEG is no more. Rotating locations wasn't actually feasible, and I don't believe it is for the USDF finals either.

    Leave a comment:


  • AZ TD
    replied
    Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post

    Interesting find.
    Our Regionals are in Katy in Oct. It's so bloody hot and humid (high 90s with so much humidity that there is moss/mold on the trees) that the year I went I was totally soaked through my show clothes before getting on my horse..
    I decided to go to a different area for regionals from now on.

    The venue in Katy could house everyone for Finals. One indoor stadium. 2 other indoor/covered. And 5 outdoor rings?
    However, the warm ups are horribly small.
    They also have that crap Premier footing that lames up horses. I try to choose venues with natural dirt or sandy footing.
    I have heard Great SW Equestrian Center is getting new footing, don't know if it is true? Can anyone confirm?

    Leave a comment:


  • JenEM
    replied
    Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post

    The weather in SW Ohio is a lot like Lexington except that it's usually a little colder.

    WEC Ohio has 600 permanent stalls. The stalls attached to the main complex are heated. It has a huge new indoor, and though it does not have as not much seating as the Alltech, it certainly could accommodate the number of spectators I've observed on Saturday night at KHP. There are three other indoor rings, one smallish but they have squeezed a dressage court in there. One indoor is what I would call regular show ring size and the third is absolutely enormous and would easily hold two dressage courts. Several outdoor rings as well. Cabins on premises and really nice manufactured homes across the street for exhibitors. The stalls are matted. It is a really nice place to show, probably the nicest place I've shown in the last 2 years. It is even better than KHP in some ways although it certainly doesn't have the ambiance of KHP. Wilmington is not exactly a hoppin' spot but there are hotels and restaurants within a reasonable distance.

    All that being said, it is no more central to the west coast than Lexington. And if the show got much bigger, they would have to have temporary stalls I would think.

    It sure would be nice for someone from USDF to chime in and add to the discussion.
    I showed there for one of the H/J last winter. They would certainly have the room, I think, and you NEVER have to step foot out of doors once you're inside the facility. (Though there are outdoor rings, too.) The footing was lovely. The housing is quite nice. The people that run it are incredibly friendly. It does look like there's a gap in their show calendar for the first two weeks of November.

    However, do they have dressage shows? I know they do some breed stuff, because I've seen pictures on their social media, but I don't recall seeing any dressage photos. It may not be a market they're interested in, even if they've got the room/facility to accommodate it. Also, it's the middle of absolutely nowhere. I'd think horses flying in from the west coast would still have to go through Lexington and then ship up there, so not really solving much logistically.

    Leave a comment:

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