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So what can be done to make Dressage more affordable?

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  • SillyHorse
    replied
    Originally posted by mysticoakranch
    See, when you start yelling "sour grapes", you actually undermine your argument.
    When you call this:
    Your post sounds a little like the sour grapes we often hear: "I didn't do well at the show because the judge didn't like me because I don't have a fancy horse."
    yelling, you undermine your argument. Grow up.

    Leave a comment:


  • lorilu
    replied
    Everyone seems to want something for free here. MysticOakRanch You say that "we" should provide riders with "affordable training options". Really? I'd LOVE to find someone to "provide" my lessons. There are LOTS of FREE videos on the USDF website - and an Education membership is only $35 (I think). There ya go, affordable training. VERY affordable. And there is also Dressage Training On Line, but that's more $$. And LOTS of free lessons all over youtube.

    and soloudinhere , to answer your question, no one is "obligated" to provide a $20 lesson.

    The most expensive clinician my GMO ever had in was I think $900/day...... there ARE good clinicians less than $1500 (which is more than $150/lesson...... wow that's high. )

    And if a group gets a clinician together, once again I will mention The Dressage Foundation and their many grants.

    ​​​​​​​In other words, like pluvinel said, no one is obligated to give you anything. USDF and TDF BOTH offer grants - USDF to GMOs, and TDF to both GMOs and individuals.

    And Oh, my trainer charges $65, (she is an S judge), and HER trainer who comes to clinic only charges $110. So yes......, in the equine world, that's pretty "affordable".,

    Leave a comment:


  • pluvinel
    replied
    Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post

    What is "affordable" and who is supposed to pay the difference?

    It costs $1500/day or more, plus travel, to get a clinician in. Who is going to pay for it?

    Is an hour of a competent trainer's time not worth $75 or $100 or $150? After all, how many lessons did they pay for to get where they are?

    What if I can only afford $20 a lesson? Is someone obligated to provide me that because I want it?


    ​​​​​Nobody has answered these questions.
    I generally agree with your posts....but I disagree with your tone here.

    My cleaning lady gets $20/hr.....My attorney gets $300/hr.....but I can go on nolo.com and get some pre-packaged legal forms.

    If someone wants dressage education, then they have to figure out what they can afford and figure out how to make it work.

    No one is OBLIGATED to provide anyone for anything.

    If you (g) want an education in dressage, then it is up to the individual to make it happen.

    I have stated that a group of barns in my area have banded together to fly a clinician from EUROPE (airfare and accommodations) and gotten enough riders to make affordable lesson work.

    Leave a comment:


  • MysticOakRanch
    replied
    Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post

    What is "affordable" and who is supposed to pay the difference?

    It costs $1500/day or more, plus travel, to get a clinician in. Who is going to pay for it?

    Is an hour of a competent trainer's time not worth $75 or $100 or $150? After all, how many lessons did they pay for to get where they are?

    What if I can only afford $20 a lesson? Is someone obligated to provide me that because I want it?


    ​​​​​Nobody has answered these questions.
    You have not read my posts, which are about inclusivity. I’m done explaining.

    Leave a comment:


  • soloudinhere
    replied
    Originally posted by MysticOakRanch View Post

    See, when you start yelling "sour grapes", you actually undermine your argument. Personally, I mostly just avoid riding with those big name clinics because I can't afford them. But I have friends who HAVE been turned away by clinicians and organizers because "their horse isn't of the calibre we want to work with".

    I witnessed a big name clinician just recently, stuck with a lower level rider on a stock horse - do NOTHING to help either one. She provided 20 minutes of watching - and her one suggestion was to cut the horse's tail, and her parting shot was "this horse will never go to 3rd level". SO useful. The trainer (who is an FEI rider and USDF certified) was horrified - they had been very open at the beginning -the rider's goal is FIRST LEVEL on a totally appropriate horse for her experience and budget.

    And as Lorilu points out, there are plenty of clinicians (and clinic organizers) who will not work with lower level riders. And others who will take the money, but make it clear they are not really interested.

    I've ridden with, or audited all the people you mention, and more. I'm probably more educated and advanced then you realize. BUT I'm also very involved, and I see what is going on. Membership is dropping, volunteers are disappearing. If you deny the reality, it will keep happening.

    Yes I absolutely recognize some riders are less advanced then they would like to think. But - if we can't provide them with affordable training opportunities, that will continue to be an issue. And if we continue to exclude them - we will continue to lose members and volunteers. Which will make costs go UP, not down, and it all goes down to the original question - which I think you've lost sight of. HOW DO WE MAKE DRESSAGE MORE AFFORDABLE?

    And I think those who can afford the "new dressage" with the fancier horse and full training just don't understand - that is not the majority of riders. You may soon become the majority in a rapidly shrinking pool. And I’m sure for you, that is ok. Just realize costs continue to go up as the number of participants and volunteers go down. You may be happier to be free of the sour grapes, the less able, the riders and horses you feel are not suitable for dressage, but ultimately that will just increase costs even more.
    What is "affordable" and who is supposed to pay the difference?

    It costs $1500/day or more, plus travel, to get a clinician in. Who is going to pay for it?

    Is an hour of a competent trainer's time not worth $75 or $100 or $150? After all, how many lessons did they pay for to get where they are?

    What if I can only afford $20 a lesson? Is someone obligated to provide me that because I want it?


    ​​​​​Nobody has answered these questions.

    Leave a comment:


  • exvet
    replied
    Originally posted by lorilu View Post
    There are plenty of good clinicians who are not big name. The are also not as expensive as the big names. FOr everyone who argues that good instruction is not available for the average rider and horse, I would suggest that they get together with a group of like-minded friends and find someone who has an arena and look for a clinician they would like to work with, and manage a clinic. It's easy. Yes I know there are dressage deserts in this vast country - but if you find the right clinician, they will work with any level and often WD as well. We ARE pretty much on our own out here - DF would like the GMOs to step up and do this, but I know some GMOs are not responsive to some of their members' needs. I am sure a general inquiry here on CoH would turn up some good, well-priced clinicians. And if you are looking for a lower level clinician, it might be worth it to look outside the traditional dressage community. You dont need a GMO to do it.
    When I lived in Kansas City this is what a handful of us did. We brought in thoughtful, well educated types including a S USEF/USDF judge, an individual who spent many years in Germany training/riding, as well as others who provided a lot of help and encouragement, accepting all types including a mule. We received instruction in hand, lunge lessons and ride a test type formats as well as the more conventional lessons. I repeated it here in Arizona for those of us with more 'average' type of horses. I wouldn't say it was difficult to do and I had no trouble finding decent people but it is still an undertaking for those with full-time jobs, family, and multiple horses at home. The greatest risk is guaranteeing the rides per day and filling those spots. Sometimes the financial burden was heavier for some more than others. Still where there is a will there is a way as you have pointed out. While I've seen the changes to the discipline - both showing and horse ownership over the years, these arguments are the same, never changing, never ending. At some point you just have to decide if it's worth it to persevere or simply walk away.

    Leave a comment:


  • lorilu
    replied
    There are plenty of good clinicians who are not big name. The are also not as expensive as the big names. FOr everyone who argues that good instruction is not available for the average rider and horse, I would suggest that they get together with a group of like-minded friends and find someone who has an arena and look for a clinician they would like to work with, and manage a clinic. It's easy. Yes I know there are dressage deserts in this vast country - but if you find the right clinician, they will work with any level and often WD as well. We ARE pretty much on our own out here - DF would like the GMOs to step up and do this, but I know some GMOs are not responsive to some of their members' needs. I am sure a general inquiry here on CoH would turn up some good, well-priced clinicians. And if you are looking for a lower level clinician, it might be worth it to look outside the traditional dressage community. You dont need a GMO to do it.

    Leave a comment:


  • MysticOakRanch
    replied
    Originally posted by SillyHorse View Post

    I don't know where you live or what kinds of clinicians come to your area, but I have never heard of anything like this. I have ridden in and/or audited clinics with Jan Ebeling, Charles de Kunffy, Janet Foy, to name just a few, all of whom have enthusiastically taught every person before them, regardless of the kind of horse they were on. Some horses were fancy; many were not. Some rides were upper level; many were training/first level.

    Your post sounds a little like the sour grapes we often hear: "I didn't do well at the show because the judge didn't like me because I don't have a fancy horse." 99% of the time, it's BS
    See, when you start yelling "sour grapes", you actually undermine your argument. Personally, I mostly just avoid riding with those big name clinics because I can't afford them. But I have friends who HAVE been turned away by clinicians and organizers because "their horse isn't of the calibre we want to work with".

    I witnessed a big name clinician just recently, stuck with a lower level rider on a stock horse - do NOTHING to help either one. She provided 20 minutes of watching - and her one suggestion was to cut the horse's tail, and her parting shot was "this horse will never go to 3rd level". SO useful. The trainer (who is an FEI rider and USDF certified) was horrified - they had been very open at the beginning -the rider's goal is FIRST LEVEL on a totally appropriate horse for her experience and budget.

    And as Lorilu points out, there are plenty of clinicians (and clinic organizers) who will not work with lower level riders. And others who will take the money, but make it clear they are not really interested.

    I've ridden with, or audited all the people you mention, and more. I'm probably more educated and advanced then you realize. BUT I'm also very involved, and I see what is going on. Membership is dropping, volunteers are disappearing. If you deny the reality, it will keep happening.

    Yes I absolutely recognize some riders are less advanced then they would like to think. But - if we can't provide them with affordable training opportunities, that will continue to be an issue. And if we continue to exclude them - we will continue to lose members and volunteers. Which will make costs go UP, not down, and it all goes down to the original question - which I think you've lost sight of. HOW DO WE MAKE DRESSAGE MORE AFFORDABLE?

    And I think those who can afford the "new dressage" with the fancier horse and full training just don't understand - that is not the majority of riders. You may soon become the majority in a rapidly shrinking pool. And I’m sure for you, that is ok. Just realize costs continue to go up as the number of participants and volunteers go down. You may be happier to be free of the sour grapes, the less able, the riders and horses you feel are not suitable for dressage, but ultimately that will just increase costs even more.
    Last edited by MysticOakRanch; Apr. 17, 2020, 12:59 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • atlatl
    replied
    I think everyone agrees that access to a schoolmaster is a fantastic thing. As has been pointed out, it just isn't widely available for a variety of reasons. I was fortunate enough to a) find and then b) be able to purchase a schoolmaster. Best money I ever spent. I also experienced everything that soloudinhere described.

    Leave a comment:


  • js
    replied
    Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post

    This would be great but it's not feasible here in the US. Too expensive for such a school to operate: horses are expensive to buy/create/maintain. There are also not enough students locally to take advantage of this even in a dressage hub because it would also be too expensive for your average amateur to take advantage of AND have their own horse. One or the other. And, since you often can't bond with (or show or ride every day) someone else's lesson horse, people want their own.
    I didn't need to bond with the lesson horse I rode and they were available to show if you wanted to. I was there to learn, the horse knew what he needed to do. I had my own horse at the time but boarded at a different barn. I took a lesson on a school master to be able to concentrate on my own skills. By the way this riding school was in the USA and still exists. About half the class rode their own horses because they boarded at the barn, a few of us used lesson horses that were available. Some of the lesson horses were privately owned and used for lesson to reduce their boarding costs, the rest of the horses were owned by the barn. Additionally I took a weekly lesson on my own horse to work on his skills and mine together, those were private individual lessons.

    Leave a comment:


  • xQHDQ
    replied
    Originally posted by js View Post

    I’m not talking about people’s personal horses, I’m talking about the availability of riding schools that have lesson horses that are trained in dressage. Where riders can get lessons on horses that already know the aids (doesn’t have to be FEI level, just well schooled in the aids for the lower levels), so riders can concentrate on their riding and not trying to do that while teaching the horse. Sadly many lower level riders are trying to learn on horses that are also learning. I had the privilege of taking lessons at a riding school that had well trained lesson horses, it was wonderful for me to be able to develop my riding on a horse that was already trained.
    This would be great but it's not feasible here in the US. Too expensive for such a school to operate: horses are expensive to buy/create/maintain. There are also not enough students locally to take advantage of this even in a dressage hub because it would also be too expensive for your average amateur to take advantage of AND have their own horse. One or the other. And, since you often can't bond with (or show or ride every day) someone else's lesson horse, people want their own.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dutchmare433
    replied
    Originally posted by js View Post

    I’m not talking about people’s personal horses, I’m talking about the availability of riding schools that have lesson horses that are trained in dressage. Where riders can get lessons on horses that already know the aids (doesn’t have to be FEI level, just well schooled in the aids for the lower levels), so riders can concentrate on their riding and not trying to do that while teaching the horse. Sadly many lower level riders are trying to learn on horses that are also learning. I had the privilege of taking lessons at a riding school that had well trained lesson horses, it was wonderful for me to be able to develop my riding on a horse that was already trained.
    It’s ideal for everyone to learn on a well schooled horse. I have a friend who has a variety of nicely schooled dressage horses nothing crazy fancy, but capable of scoring well in good company, but it costs a lot to keep them going, her profit margins are slim, and when she charges enough to make some money, people invariably complain that she’s not doing it for less. It is HARD to make money when you own your own lesson horses, which is why it’s not a common business model in this sport.

    The majority of my clients are amateurs learning on their horses who are also learning. There’s a lot to undo and teach correctly. It is what it is. I’d love to have schoolmasters available for some of them, it’s just not financially feasible.

    Leave a comment:


  • js
    replied
    Originally posted by Dutchmare433 View Post

    I think the point was that people who have those cherished schoolmasters don't necessarily find it worth it to give lessons on said horses, because they might not feel it's fair to the horse. I understand wanting lessons on schoolmasters as they are so helpful, but I also get people asking about riding or taking lessons on my FEI horse, which I generally don't feel great about.
    I’m not talking about people’s personal horses, I’m talking about the availability of riding schools that have lesson horses that are trained in dressage. Where riders can get lessons on horses that already know the aids (doesn’t have to be FEI level, just well schooled in the aids for the lower levels), so riders can concentrate on their riding and not trying to do that while teaching the horse. Sadly many lower level riders are trying to learn on horses that are also learning. I had the privilege of taking lessons at a riding school that had well trained lesson horses, it was wonderful for me to be able to develop my riding on a horse that was already trained.

    Leave a comment:


  • lorilu
    replied
    Originally posted by SillyHorse View Post

    I don't know where you live or what kinds of clinicians come to your area, but I have never heard of anything like this. I have ridden in and/or audited clinics with Jan Ebeling, Charles de Kunffy, Janet Foy, to name just a few, all of whom have enthusiastically taught every person before them, regardless of the kind of horse they were on. Some horses were fancy; many were not. Some rides were upper level; many were training/first level.

    Your post sounds a little like the sour grapes we often hear: "I didn't do well at the show because the judge didn't like me because I don't have a fancy horse." 99% of the time, it's BS
    Actually I have heard of certain clinicians at certain clinics restricting riders to, say, second and above. But you know, who wants to clinic with a $$ clinician who either 1 doesnt want to deal with lower level riders or 2. perhaps realizes he/she just does not do well teaching basic stuff?

    Leave a comment:


  • SillyHorse
    replied
    Originally posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    Meanwhile, the "regular" horses that so many ride, are no longer really welcome in dressage. At the shows, at the clinics - the expectation is, you will have a nice horse. You might not even be ALLOWED to ride in some clinics - the clinician is not interested in lower level riders, or "off breeds". And it all becomes more expensive.
    I don't know where you live or what kinds of clinicians come to your area, but I have never heard of anything like this. I have ridden in and/or audited clinics with Jan Ebeling, Charles de Kunffy, Janet Foy, to name just a few, all of whom have enthusiastically taught every person before them, regardless of the kind of horse they were on. Some horses were fancy; many were not. Some rides were upper level; many were training/first level.

    Your post sounds a little like the sour grapes we often hear: "I didn't do well at the show because the judge didn't like me because I don't have a fancy horse." 99% of the time, it's BS

    Leave a comment:


  • soloudinhere
    replied
    Originally posted by Dutchmare433 View Post

    I think the point was that people who have those cherished schoolmasters don't necessarily find it worth it to give lessons on said horses, because they might not feel it's fair to the horse. I understand wanting lessons on schoolmasters as they are so helpful, but I also get people asking about riding or taking lessons on my FEI horse, which I generally don't feel great about.
    Yes, that was my point.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dutchmare433
    replied
    Originally posted by js View Post

    I should have clarified that I would like lessons and on school master because neither of those two things are available where I live, not that I can't afford them. Availability is the other thing about dressage, whether its training or showing, A whole lot of us live in the dressage desert where neither are available. I can't afford to justify paying for a school master as many are worth their weight in gold and subsequently cost about that; however, if someone wants to give one to me in exchange for a lifetime home, lots of horse treats and love; I have a stall available.
    I think the point was that people who have those cherished schoolmasters don't necessarily find it worth it to give lessons on said horses, because they might not feel it's fair to the horse. I understand wanting lessons on schoolmasters as they are so helpful, but I also get people asking about riding or taking lessons on my FEI horse, which I generally don't feel great about.

    Leave a comment:


  • js
    replied
    Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
    Okay, so I keep seeing people say they want lessons on schoolmasters.

    These same people would probably like that lesson to be the same cost as a lesson on their own horse, right?

    Or they think maybe an extra $15 or $25 covers the use of that horse for their 30 minute rental.

    Let's say you owned a schoolmaster. The type of horse who is able to do all the hard work, and tolerate doing it with someone who doesn't yet have the skillset to ride the movement correctly and easily. You are asking for a horse who not only has the training, but can use it with a rider who is effectively shouting at them, possibly in another foreign language.

    It took years to develop that horse, who has to eat, be trained, probably have vet work since they are likely older with some miles. There's two options for ownership: a well heeled client, or the trainer.

    If you owned one of these gems, would you let whomever come ride it once a week? No, you probably wouldn't, because it costs you more to go keep him tuned up and fit and healthy than you could ever recoup. So you're now doing it from the goodness of your heart, with something very valuable and hard to replace.

    Maybe I'm projecting my own experience, because I own one of these horses, but the number of comments I get wishing that people could just ride him once or borrow him for a show as if the reins I'm holding are the key to their dressage success if I'd only not be so nasty as to not share, well, I can really understand why people don't allow it. There is nothing in it for the owner.

    schoolmasters are readily available, for those who are willing to assume the costs of having one. The idea that they should be available at low cost because someone wants to ride dressage but is broke, well, I'm not so sure I'm behind that idea. Someone is paying for it, but in the same breath people say that training is too expensive. What exactly is the solution here?
    I should have clarified that I would like lessons and on school master because neither of those two things are available where I live, not that I can't afford them. Availability is the other thing about dressage, whether its training or showing, A whole lot of us live in the dressage desert where neither are available. I can't afford to justify paying for a school master as many are worth their weight in gold and subsequently cost about that; however, if someone wants to give one to me in exchange for a lifetime home, lots of horse treats and love; I have a stall available.

    Leave a comment:


  • soloudinhere
    replied
    I take issue with the statement that there is "no room" for the backyard horse and first level rider.

    There absolutely is. What there ISN'T room for, and what is increasingly represented due to the overall thinning out of dressage and horse sport, is the actual backyard horse who is not correctly trained and ridden, who is not actually demonstrating the correct basics of dressage. You can't dumb down the test to the lowest denominator so that everyone has a chance to play.

    I get it. For a long time, I thought I was doing it right, and it was the judges who were just unfairly hammering me for not having a $$$ warmblood looking like a 3rd level horse at 1st level.

    Then I went and took a lesson with an Olympian (who yes, taught my sorry first level butt without complaint) who had ridden and developed a LOT of horses. And he took one look at me and correctly surmised that I did not, in fact, know how to ride correctly and my horse had not been produced correctly. I had too much bend here. Not enough there. The transitions were not prompt enough. A million little things that summed up to the difference between a 60, and a 72.

    Now when I go to shows, I can see it in the lower level tests all the time. The horse is "on the bit" but is not being trained in a way that incites progression and develops the horse's skills for the next level. Then the rider blames the horse for lack of quality, when that's not what is really happening at all. This is why the second level hump exists and why so many horses never break 3rd and get the changes. It's not because they don't have 8+ gaits.

    Leave a comment:


  • sparkygrace
    replied
    Recruiting volunteers has not been an issue at any of our shows, especially our USDF licensed shows, because we treat them well! At our USDF show last August, we had a catered dinner on Saturday night (free beer!) and anyone who volunteered for four hours over the weekend got a free meal ticket. We had a raffle after dinner with prizes donated by our sponsors. I, along with many others, showed and volunteered. Many of us worked all summer on different aspects of putting together the show.

    I would love to share our spreadsheet showing the costs associated with putting on a licensed show, but I don't have it right now. Without sponsors, we would lose money without raising entry prices, stabling, office, and haul-in fees.

    Dressage has evolved since I started showing 35 years ago. It would take a monumental shift in the governing organizations to change that. I don't see that happening right now without a huge ground swell of support.

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