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AA's---what are your top 10 requests you want USDF to know about???

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  • #21
    Maybe the GMO's could step in with financial assistance for those who might wish to be accredited either by a percentage from dues, shows or clinics into a fund. How they determine who gets it would be up to them. At some point in the future maybe the GMO's could do some of their own "testing" - something the USDF could possibly design? Maybe some clinics for instructors sponsored by GMO's? Maybe a judge coming in for a show could stay over and help with such. I dunno -- there are obviously alot of avenues to accomplishing this -- just a matter of being a bit creative. Since it would enhance the GMO's, their involvment could drive it. Thoughts?
    PennyG

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    • #22
      Originally posted by mbm View Post
      i agree there are many different types of trainers - however all trainers should be able to progress a horse and rider to the level they profess proficiency. and they should be able to do it repeatedly.
      That still means different things to different people. A couple "top trainers" in this area train horses and riders to the top of the sport repeatedly, often lunging and riding them with the tightest side and draw reins I have ever seen in person. I have seen other "trainers" out there winning that I see beat the crap out of horses at home.

      Others have taken very few up the levels, because they use very different methods.

      So how do we judge the trainers?

      It's not that I don't understand the desire to have some sort of certification program, but it really starts with what is allowed and rewarded in the training of the horses itself IMHO.

      For me, I'd rather we have AA only classes (without them being grouped in with open or Jr riders). I would also like the traditional correct way of going rewarded depending on the level. I watched a horse clean up with scores above 70% for a couple years who clearly was not really on the bit or through, and was literally dragging his hind end around behind him. He was severely neurological, but big, pretty, fancy and did the tricks. It's really made me question what on earth the judges are doing!
      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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      • #23
        I hate to keep bringing this up but with a membership of 37,000 and only 117 active GMO's - it's obvious that a lot of people do not have access to a GMO.. I don't have an answer to fix that but not everyone can depend on a local GMO and regional ones don't make it very easy to be a regular participant or volunteer. I suspect these members/riders will rarely benefit from programs that could be offered. Again, I'm not sure the USDF can reach the masses in a country the size of the USA, it's just not big enough, nor does it have a lot of commercial backing like the AQHA does. Perhaps they need a good hard look at where and who they can best serve and leave it at that. If they need AA's to help with financial support then ask outright for it and don't base it on the hopes of providing something in return. There will always be breed bias as long as competition is the main focus and competing at the Olympic level is the goal. That's fine but again, if being globally competative is the end goal for the USDF then put your dollars and focus there and forget about the rest. Many AA's would be better served spending their hard earned dollars on lesson and clinics rather than on memberships and fees, unless showing is their main goal.
        "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."

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        • #24
          I would like the USDF, like most public corporations and non-profits, to include putting their annual report on their web site. I have surfed and surfed and have yet to find it. Maybe someone can point me to it.

          If you surf the USDF web site, documents are scattered and it is very difficult to find what are:
          • - Organization's significant accomplishments for the year
          • - Plans for the coming year
          • - Progress against the Strategic Plan
          • - Detailed accounting for revenues and expenses (like explanations on why publications have posted losses in 2012-13 and are predicted to have losses for the next year).

          In looking at the 2013-2014 budget
          http://www.usdf.org/docs/about/about...2014Budget.pdf
          you can see that the USDF lost $~67,000 in 2012 and is planning on LOSING another ~$54,000 on youth programs in 2013-14.

          If putting money where your mouth is validation of programs that are supported, then this budget somehow doesn't give the AA's confidence that there will be support for anything that comes out of the AADI. Nowhere in the budget is there is funding to support for any efforts that may come out of AADI....at least for the next 1-2 yrs.

          In budgets for most commercial organizations, for programs "under development/undefined" there would be a "placeholder" line item like "AA Outreach" that would reserve a budget for potential activities coming out of AADI.
          Last edited by pluvinel; Dec. 25, 2012, 03:51 PM.
          Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
          Alfred A. Montapert

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          • #25
            As a long time AA, I would like to see more financial support from USDF for folks who are supposedly the grass roots of the dressage community. I see so many grants and reduced fees for pros and JR/YRs, but what about the majority of the population?

            There have already beens several excellent suggestions in this thread to help the AA. And as a typical AA, I can't afford to go to Florida in the winter and watch the BNT clinics that are offered there. I have to stay home, continue to work my full time job and take care of my horses. It would be nice if USDF offered something for folks who don't have the luxury of traveling far to watch a clinic, let alone participate in one.

            Our local GMO offers scholarships for AA's that volunteer a certain amount of time, so that they can put monies towards working with a local trainer. This is a great initiative, altho currently under utilized. I was able to spend a full week with my trainer as a working student and gained valuable experience in watching the lessons being taught and being able to ride not only my own horse, but a few of the other horses. I would love that opportunity again, but that's not in my budget for awhile.

            USDF really needs to take a hard look at the majority of their membership and decide what they can do to help AA's succeed in dressage at a more local level.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by BigBayBoy View Post
              Our local GMO offers scholarships for AA's that volunteer a certain amount of time, so that they can put monies towards working with a local trainer. This is a great initiative, altho currently under utilized. I was able to spend a full week with my trainer as a working student and gained valuable experience in watching the lessons being taught and being able to ride not only my own horse, but a few of the other horses. I would love that opportunity again, but that's not in my budget for awhile.
              See, now this is a great idea! But instead of depending on the GMO to offer it, the USDF should manage this so everyone can have a chance to participate, not just hope your GMO will offer it.
              "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"

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              • #27
                My one wish is for USDF to start pony awards for adult amateurs.
                Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
                Standing the stallion Burberry
                www.germanridingpony.com
                www.facebook.com/HighlifesBurberry

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by hluing View Post
                  My one wish is for USDF to start pony awards for adult amateurs.
                  USDF All Breeds Awards - there are several pony registries listed, and awards are given to Open and Pro. All Breeds are paid for by the registry, USDF simply "hosts" the awards.

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                  • #29
                    that's cool , but there are folks who have ponies that are not part of any registry that takes part in all breeds. ..... and i am all for more pony programs and awards - even tho my guy wont quite measure "pony"

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      1. Attire requirements changed for recognized shows. Keep the formal attire for Championships, but neat schooling attire should be allowed to show in.
                      2. If I have earned a rider award-like the ones for the lower levels, I should not have to pay $25 for it. I have already paid hundreds of dollars to show to get those scores. There should not be an additional fee.
                      3. I would also like to see an easier way to recognize good instruction for newbies to the sport, but do not think accreditation cuts it. The 2 accredited instructors in my area aren't very good, and their students tend not to do well. Our best two dressage instructors/trainers (bronze thru gold medals) are not accredited.
                      4. Consistency in judging. My training level horse does not need a cadenced, suspended trot-but have got those comments in a training level test. Agree with those that say you can see someone turn in a mediocre test under one judge, and get a good score, and then perform a much more correct test under another judge and get a low score. Some judges do seem to score high, and some much lower. How about we get all of them on the same page?

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                      • #31
                        There is some good and bad instruction in my area. Some have gone through the USDF programs and still can't train or teach to the level you want. Some can.
                        Some of the best trainers/instructors have not utilized the USDF, they went out and found the training themselves.
                        Stop worrying about what others are doing. do you really think the local trainer who is not up to your standard is going to go through a program to improve? Or is the good trainer going to move to your area? By the way, I have witnessed bad training and instuction from people outside of the country...even a bereiter or two.

                        Here is the problem, VOLUNTEERS are needed to run these programs. For example take NEDA, they are bigger than the Region 8 USDF team. If there were more USDF volunteers maybe the Region could offer more symposium.
                        I have been volunteering for years, I really dont have the time for it but if I want to help grow the sport it's what I need to do, not just sit around whining. Start with your local GMO and get in there and offer to do something...run a clinic or symposium, hold a judges certification...whatever, don't wait around for someone else to do what you want.

                        Find a good instructor yourself, I drove an hour and a half for mine and have a friend who would truck off an Island monthly to get good instruction, she taped it and practiced until the next lesson.

                        I teach dressage to beginners up to a level I am comfortable with to AA's. They are happy with it, if they or their horse need more then I suggest my trainers. So yes, I am a backyard trainer but I get my education from well educated trainers.

                        So put your money where your mouth is and volunteer, that's how the Jr/YR program is run, by volunteers!
                        Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by mbm View Post
                          Centerline gives us an insight into showing - not training. Many good trainers (and riders) don't show.

                          i am not sure what the answer is - i am not sure accreditation is - but there needs to be someway to ensure that folks who say they are "x" really are. i think a HUGE amount of $$$ gets wasted going into the pockets of those that have no business charging for lessons/training.

                          I agree. Everyone should look up Lendon Gray on centerlinescores. I don't think that anyone would question her ability as a trainer/instructor. But you won't find her scores there because they were too long ago to be in the database.

                          Nowadays, even the most prestigious universities are hosting on line courses. There is absolutely no reason that USDF couldn't host an online curriculum for instructors. Certainly it would lack in some respects--but to have the candidates review and comment on videos, making observations and training suggestions--that would at least cull out the total quacks.
                          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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                          • #33
                            it would be cool if there were some type of program where a trainer could submit a horse (or horse/rider combo) to a program have it evaluated and then x number of years later have it reevaluated to see how far it got

                            of course that is probably unrealistic but that would be one way of evaluating whether someone could train as they say ...

                            i think critiquing a video is a good idea, but hardly would tell if someone can advance a rider to the degree they say that are capable (see the loads of threads here when folks submit video they get loads of comment - it doesn't actually prove who can ride or who cant

                            what i do think would be cool is if videos of real training progression could be uploaded with a voice over of the trainer so that we could see and hear how that person advances a horse up the levels. i think this would be really helpful.

                            i also agree that if one wins an award they should not have to pay for it... that is beyond silly.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by mbm View Post
                              i think critiquing a video is a good idea, but hardly would tell if someone can advance a rider to the degree they say that are capable (see the loads of threads here when folks submit video they get loads of comment but the percentage of those commenting that can actually ride and advance a horse are slim)
                              True, as I said it would be lacking in some respects. But I think that it would be of some value in showing that the instructor at least had some grasp of the fundamental concepts and can at least see what the basic issues are and knows how to teach the routine corrections.
                              "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                I don't know if accredidation is the answer in many cases. However, dressage does have standards and guidelines. I think guidelines for trainers and instructors could be published by the USDF outlining what a student or owner should expect the trainer/instructor to have experience in and know. It would be up to the individual hiring these folks to check out their 'references'. This would be helpful as well for the one teaching or training as a guidelilne. It's a start just to clarify and qualify a person's credentials. It doesn't insure that someone CAN do a good job in every case, it's just a baseline. I also think the USDF could give some guidance about the use of gadgets. They are so often abused by the uninformed to the BNTs. There has to be a baseline from which to build, and we don't have that. The USDF could make some videos based on the above and make alot of $$ -- something they love to do!
                                PennyG

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                                • #36
                                  1. dressage seat equitation championships for Adult Amateurs (AA)
                                  2. AA only classes (many clubs don't split them so they can make more $$)
                                  3. more centrally funded (USDF) clinics for AA's so that everyone has a chance to ride in one if you wish (now you must be 'selected,' which oft implies politics)
                                  4. centrally funded (USDF) scholarships
                                  5. centrally funded camps

                                  I also think that it is the SAME folks who always volunteer (that was me for years). It may be time to pay more show staff and raise entry fees, since so many who show are not scrimping by. Many of the volunteers work to help out, plus earn 'volunteer bucks' to offset future showing costs (indentured servitude).
                                  Appy Trails,
                                  Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
                                  member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post
                                    .....
                                    Stop worrying about what others are doing...........don't wait around for someone else to do what you want.

                                    Find a good instructor yourself,.......

                                    So put your money where your mouth is and volunteer, that's how the Jr/YR program is run, by volunteers!
                                    Totally agree to find a good instructor yourself......thus this is an excellent reason why AA's DO NOT NEED USDF. That's what I've done. All of my instruction (with highly qualified trainers) has been thru word of mouth introductions and private clinics with limited riding slots....eg., you have to know the organizer to get in as they are usually oversubcribed.

                                    But if Foy/Steiner are cooking up this AADI because of declining USDF membership, then sending the troops away is not the way to build up the memberships base. This is why I was asking Foy/Steiner why they are sponsoring this group. So far there has been no answer.

                                    As far as Jr/YR program, the USDF lost $~67,000 in 2012 and is planning on LOSING another ~$54,000 on youth programs in 2013-14.
                                    http://www.usdf.org/docs/about/about...2014Budget.pdf

                                    It is a valid discussion as to whether the funds should be spent on Jr/YR or AA's who are the backbone of the USDF and who are the ones footing the bills.
                                    Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                                    Alfred A. Montapert

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Totally agree to find a good instructor yourself......thus this is an excellent reason why AA's DO NOT NEED USDF. That's what I've done. All of my instruction (with highly qualified trainers) has been thru word of mouth introductions and private clinics with limited riding slots....eg., you have to know the organizer to get in as they are usually oversubcribed
                                      I have to agree, the GMO's have a lot to offer...USEF oversees the rest.
                                      Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        It would be interesting to see how their budget stacks up agains other organizations. Anyone know how many people does the USDF have on the payroll?
                                        "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          To the OP, just my opinion:

                                          1) NO accreditation programs for trainers. It’s too unwieldy, too expensive for trainers/instructors to go through and it *does not reliably* produce quality trainers. It produces people with a certificate. I know more than a few that I wouldn’t work with. Most trainers I know don’t want to/don’t need to go through it and don’t always agree with what is taught or the evaluation process. And for many, $2800+ is a lot of money, especially if they are trainers who own and show their own horses and have their own farm. It's not as bad for trainers that are supported/'owned' by clients. On the flip side, if one has money, $2800 is not much at all if someone is mediocre and well-funded but wants the certificate. In short, in my direct experience, I don’t find that people who went through USDF certification are any better or worse than those who didn’t. I don't even consider this certificate when evaluating a trainer, I go by results and word of mouth. BTW, Centerline scores isn’t totally accurate or thorough.

                                          2) An increase in the number of quality and *affordable* amateur-oriented clinics/educational programs in areas all over the country and in every Region. The region or two with the lowest mean Championship scores should have extended or additional AA programs. The USDF / USEF can take a lot of creative approaches to keep costs down and reach more *average* AAs. Educated AAs know how to evaluate good riding and training and can make informed decisions about their riding and training. I think the worse thing an AA can do is *depend* on a trainer to make decisions for them and their horse. The Trainer shouldn’t have more power than the owner/rider.

                                          3) Open all USDF and USEF events to the general membership. This includes the FEI Trainer’s Forum.

                                          4) Increased contact between USDF/USEF dressage committee members (especially those on amateur-oriented committees) and amateurs – ALL amateurs. Committee agendas and notes should be open to general membership. Transparency is good.

                                          5) Make showing more affordable. This may include subsidizing judge training costs so training is more affordable and therefore more judges are available, eliminating some Regional Championship qualification rules that encourage a show to split into two separate one-day shows with two separate fees rather than just having the SAME show without those fees, revisiting TD, EMT, etc. rules to encourage efficiency, and by all means eliminating the thought of any kind of performance standards to move up the levels. Shows typically run on AA volunteer power, perhaps the USDF / USEF can recognize volunteer hours and offer discounts or even waivers on yearly memberships, class fees, etc. in return for volunteer hours. I think there’s a lot of room for thought, good business practices, and creativity here.

                                          6) De-emphasize Jr/YR programs and scholarships, or create strict income-based restrictions. I know this isn’t going to be popular and I know many dressage powers-that-be say that the Jr/YR program funds our future stars. But the fact is, most Jr/YRs have a wonderful time riding in their teens and early 20s and then go on to be amateurs as adults. Or pros with another day job. Also, most Jr/YRs showing in the divisions at the national level are wealthy enough to train on private funds.

                                          7) What pluvinel said in post #24.

                                          8) Judging, judging, judging. At the risk (no, reality) of sounding like a broken record, judges should reward good riding and training AT LEAST as high as they reward natural gaits. Judges should use the whole range of scores and judge fairly and appropriately (judges should NOT complain that they won’t be invited back if they don’t score well – if judges have incentive to judge anything other than objectively then changing the whole judging system/training should be priority number one for USDF/USEF). Judges should be rewarded according to their professionalism as well as their ability to rate horse and rider. Judges should also be accountable for their public statements and use of percentages and numbers in public. In other words, if they should give bona-fide sources for sweeping statements about scores if they choose to make sweeping statements. Otherwise, they should be pressed for how they arrived at these statements.

                                          9) USDF and USEF should not legislate AA riding or showing - the demographic is too diverse. USDF and USEF should cater their programs to enhancing dressage riding and showing through the *range* of the demographic, not just the high end. It is my opinion and experience that many people legislating dressage are not much in touch with the middle-class dressage rider who can’t afford $175 or more per ride plus stabling plus hotel plus transport fees to attend a clinic with them, yet these people are charged to represent them. This doesn’t work. Further, many middle-class dressage riders who can allocate the money already pay these kind of clinic fees to another clinician and can’t afford to add an irregular clinician to their schedule. For some reason I’d love to know, the *same people* seem to be making the decisions year after year for AAs in these organizations. I don’t understand why more people aren’t involved in the decision making and “legislating” on a regular basis.

                                          10) The USDF and USEF should recognize that people like me aren’t anti-establishment. We care more about the sport than they can imagine and we pay our membership fees even when we're not showing. But they SHOULD BE accountable to their membership for their decisios and directions, and the organizations would be more broadly serving and stable if they incorporated the will of the membership and the expertise of non-inner circle people who wish to be involved. It shouldn’t take a Facebook movement or repeated complaints for a huge segment of the membership to be heard.
                                          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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