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AA Eventers Do you feel disenfranchised by the USEA?

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    AA Eventers Do you feel disenfranchised by the USEA?

    Just wanted to get feedback from eventers who compete at recognized shows and want to move up.
    How easy or how difficult.
    Do you feel your concerns are being heard?

    Thanks
    Certified Guacophobe

    #2
    Why would I feel disenfranchised?

    I am an AA, over 60, working in a non-horsey field.

    Moving up is hard because you need to train yourself and your horse for the next level, but not because of anything USEA does. It is just as hard at an unrecognized HT as at a recognized one, maybe harder because, at a recognized HT you know a trained person has checked all the fences for safety and suitability. The USEF rules on moving up are all based on ensuring that you are safe, and avoiding bad accidents before they happen.

    My comments on proposed rule changes are always taken seriously, even if they don't always end up agreeing with me. In fact one rule change that I proposed was picked up as a USEA backed proposal the next year. The reason it didn't pass was because of the Arabian affiliate, not USEA.

    It probably helps that I work on giving back to the sport, as a GMO board member, as an organizer, as a licensed TD, as an Affiliate representative and Affiliate coordinator
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes. Not only do I feel disenfranchised, in a dozen years of membership (more or less), I never felt enfranchised.

      The USEA should focus far more on the lower levels where most of its members live, because the FEI owns the upper levels. The USEA upper levels track the FEI very closely.

      It is somewhat better now, than it was for many years when the USEA website and everything else was boresighted solely on the upper levels, at which most members will never ride.

      Every year the USEA annual convention, which seems to be aimed at upper level pros, does some insincere hand-wringing because the AA's mostly don't come, and mouth some obligatory phrases about making it more attractive for AA's for next year. I did go one year, and didn't see a reason to go again. Every year I think about going and mentally sketch out a plan, but when I think about what I'd get out of it compared with the expense, it's not the best use of my time and funds. If it were in town I'd go. One time it was 4 hours away and I gave it a pass. Every year I travel to some eventing stuff, but the convention - eh.

      The USEA lives in its own bubble on the east coast and seems perfectly satisfied. OK whatever, USEA.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
        Yes. Not only do I feel disenfranchised, in a dozen years of membership (more or less), I never felt enfranchised.

        The USEA should focus far more on the lower levels where most of its members live, because the FEI owns the upper levels. The USEA upper levels track the FEI very closely.

        It is somewhat better now, than it was for many years when the USEA website and everything else was boresighted solely on the upper levels, at which most members will never ride.

        Every year the USEA annual convention, which seems to be aimed at upper level pros, does some insincere hand-wringing because the AA's mostly don't come, and mouth some obligatory phrases about making it more attractive for AA's for next year. I did go one year, and didn't see a reason to go again. Every year I think about going and mentally sketch out a plan, but when I think about what I'd get out of it compared with the expense, it's not the best use of my time and funds. If it were in town I'd go. One time it was 4 hours away and I gave it a pass. Every year I travel to some eventing stuff, but the convention - eh.

        The USEA lives in its own bubble on the east coast and seems perfectly satisfied. OK whatever, USEA.
        Actually....I’ve had to go to the Annual meeting the last few years as I’m currently involved in the Area (doing my volunteer bit giving back to the sport). Not a lot of people attend but it is by far just as many if not more AAs at the annual meeting as pros If not more. Honestly...the eventing community is TINY. This is a TINY TINY sport especially in terms of number of participants compared to the high costs to put on an event. It is NOT dominated by either the Pros or the AA or the YRs......it is not dominated by anyone...it needs everyone to survive. The USEA is run by a TINY office...with very few paid employees....(most everyone else are volunteers)....And then there is an interplay with the FEI and the USEF which are themselves Small small sports/offices and which eventing is an even smaller part. This sport takes ALL of us to be involved. You feel disenfranchised....call your area chair, get involved with your area counsel...get involved with an event...or a local CT association. Yes..it takes effort...it takes effort for everyone. I never attended the annual convention before because I damn busy in December for work...so it is hard for me to get away. But it is fun and there are interesting meetings to attend....that said...you can certainly get involved without going to the annual convention.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
          Just wanted to get feedback from eventers who compete at recognized shows and want to move up.
          How easy or how difficult.
          Do you feel your concerns are being heard?

          Thanks
          Will you be asking the H/J people next, about USHJA? You have asked about USDF and USEF on the Dressage forum.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Probably not. But I'm a little more familiar with Hunters as started out taking Hunt Seat lessons.

            Hunters seem a little more accepting about the high costs of equine sports.

            I hardly see anybody in the hunter/jumper forum complain about the 1% being able to go and drop 6 figures for an A circuit hunter and how it's not fair.

            Some of the dressage people could learn a few things from the hunter peeps.

            It's been an interesting discussion and has been giving me a lot of food for thought.
            Certified Guacophobe

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post

              Actually....I’ve had to go to the Annual meeting the last few years as I’m currently involved in the Area (doing my volunteer bit giving back to the sport). Not a lot of people attend but it is by far just as many if not more AAs at the annual meeting as pros If not more. Honestly...the eventing community is TINY. This is a TINY TINY sport especially in terms of number of participants compared to the high costs to put on an event. It is NOT dominated by either the Pros or the AA or the YRs......it is not dominated by anyone...it needs everyone to survive. The USEA is run by a TINY office...with very few paid employees....(most everyone else are volunteers)....And then there is an interplay with the FEI and the USEF which are themselves Small small sports/offices and which eventing is an even smaller part. This sport takes ALL of us to be involved. You feel disenfranchised....call your area chair, get involved with your area counsel...get involved with an event...or a local CT association. Yes..it takes effort...it takes effort for everyone. I never attended the annual convention before because I damn busy in December for work...so it is hard for me to get away. But it is fun and there are interesting meetings to attend....that said...you can certainly get involved without going to the annual convention.
              The USEA is a reflection of the leadership circle that has run it for decades. Very small - and closed - circle of people and ideas.

              Schooling horse trials are my involvement. In my orbit, the unrecognized horse trials are as good as the recognized horse trials, and that is where I have put a great deal of energy. The recognized just proves the course, reputation-wise. More than one organizer says they make their money on the unrecognized and wouldn't do the recognized if they didn't feel it was necessary, once or twice a year.

              If the USEA lived up to what it could be, it would be a powerful force, and maybe the eventing community wouldn't be so tiny. But that doesn't seem to be what they want. They prefer their own goldfish bowl.

              Oh yes, I've spoken up from time to time. They are polite, but it is their world and they seem to be happy with their little circle. So it is.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
                Probably not. But I'm a little more familiar with Hunters as started out taking Hunt Seat lessons.

                Hunters seem a little more accepting about the high costs of equine sports.

                I hardly see anybody in the hunter/jumper forum complain about the 1% being able to go and drop 6 figures for an A circuit hunter and how it's not fair.

                Some of the dressage people could learn a few things from the hunter peeps.

                It's been an interesting discussion and has been giving me a lot of food for thought.
                Bolded is mine. Really? You haven't seen people on the H/J forum complain about the price of hunters and H/J shows?

                Comment


                  #9
                  To me the tininess is part of the appeal, I guess. I like that it's a relatively small sport, that you see the same people at every local event, that you might have Phillip Dutton parked on one side of you and Susie Amateur with her SUV and Brenderup, doing her first event, parked on the other side.

                  For me the struggle is not getting too enfranchised. I'm happy to volunteer occasionally setting up or jump judging but I showed up once too often and got dangerously close to being given real power and responsibility.

                  I've had multiple $1 horses that were not fancy enough on the flat to be nationally competitive but were more than capable of moving up through Prelim. Realistically if I wanted to compete at Intermediate/ Advanced badly enough, I think I could get there (not win and probably not stay there for any length of time, but move up and get around safely) even on my tiny budget and no particular talent.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by skydy View Post

                    Bolded is mine. Really? You haven't seen people on the H/J forum complain about the price of hunters and H/J shows?
                    wow, Ive got my own COTH stalker now. I have definitely arrived.
                    You flatter me, skydy.
                    Certified Guacophobe

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post

                      wow, Ive got my own COTH stalker now. I have definitely arrived.
                      You flatter me, skydy.
                      No, I am not stalking you. (Why would you be flattered by a stalker?)
                      I am just reading the same threads and when we quote each other, it pops up on notifications.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Highflyer, so well said!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
                          To me the tininess is part of the appeal, I guess. I like that it's a relatively small sport, that you see the same people at every local event, that you might have Phillip Dutton parked on one side of you and Susie Amateur with her SUV and Brenderup, doing her first event, parked on the other side.

                          For me the struggle is not getting too enfranchised. I'm happy to volunteer occasionally setting up or jump judging but I showed up once too often and got dangerously close to being given real power and responsibility.

                          I've had multiple $1 horses that were not fancy enough on the flat to be nationally competitive but were more than capable of moving up through Prelim. Realistically if I wanted to compete at Intermediate/ Advanced badly enough, I think I could get there (not win and probably not stay there for any length of time, but move up and get around safely) even on my tiny budget and no particular talent.

                          yes...the tininess to me is not a bad thing....unless people start acting like they are disenfranchised. If you are...you choose to be. NO ONE is more important in this sport than any other participant. Yeah...Boyd might get a bit of a big head/ego from time to time...but his horses do a good job of knocking him back to reality...just like every one of our own horses do the same for us (they are darn good at keeping us humble...and our vets employed). When I take a young horse out at novice....I’m with other AA, AND Pros. Yes...I get beaten by more than one former Olympic rider most often....but every once in a while....I beat them (on my NOT expensive OTTB). That is what I love about the sport. Yes...I can be competitive but this this is a sport where we all can be competitive....and you don’t need to be a not just a 1%er but a 1% of the the 1% like you do in other sports. It is about doing our homework...and training. It’s not the fanciest horse but the partnership and skills that we develop—and the sport is dang hard to do really well but always fun. Those with elite level goals are just as important as the rider who does not aspire to compete above BN. Yes, they will have different priorities and skills....its call having diversity. And while we are ALL eventers and all care about our horses....we are also different. That is NOT a bad thing....but I do get tired of people saying we are the backbone of the sport (From both sides)....WE ALL ARE the backbone of the sport....you see this really well when you get involved, and drill down on the numbers and speak with others who come from a different perspective than your self.

                          but yes....be careful....I got caught in a moment of weakness and got given some real responsibility. But this sport is small of enough that ALL of us who have been in it long enough...need to do our part sometimes. And no, I don’t always agree with everyone at the USEA or USEF....reasonable people can have differences of opinion. But if you are not asked to be involved....that is usually because people get tired of asking for help and not getting any....and if you want to be involved...yes you can....although it might take effort at first on your part. But just because people don’t do as you say or agree with you 100% doesn’t mean you are not important or they are not listening. I can listen and disagree...but if I choose to not be involved and at least voice my opinion...then I have chosen not to be involved....not that the sport has marginalized me.
                          Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Apr. 9, 2020, 08:19 AM.
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                          Comment


                            #14
                            To the OP, I don’t think the “high cost of equine sports” means the same thing in Hunter circles as it does here. I have a field boarded horse who I (when not in quarantine) do all of the care for, from feeding to holding for the farrier.
                            It’s an expensive hobby by any reasonable standard, as we all know - adding up board vet farrier before we get to gear, truck/trailer, lessons, competitions... just to keep the horse happy healthy and ridden with well fitting gear is probably 7 or 8000 bucks a year before I take one lesson or do one thing off the farm.
                            But, as others have said, if you can afford that it is not a giant leap to get out and compete in an area with relatively local events, have fun, be challenged, and on occasion be competitive. You can do this on a horse you buy for under 15k, under 10 if you have some experience, good help, and patience. An awful lot of us define good help as regular coaching at home, not the constant presence of a coach at all competitions.
                            My sense is that those last couple of sentences are not true of hunters.
                            The big man -- my lost prince

                            The little brother, now my main man

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              From what I have read, eventers are much more concerned with safety issues.
                              And rightly so.

                              Certified Guacophobe

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
                                From what I have read, eventers are much more concerned with safety issues.
                                And rightly so.
                                Any equestrian discipline should be concerned with safety because any riding is inherently risky. Eventers make more of it - and do the safety research - than say polo or dressage or showjumping or foxhunting or .... My personal wince: hunters stuffing their hair into their helmet which means it does not, can not fit correctly. Maybe it is because of my medical background.
                                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Agreed. I'm happy to say that most FEI dressage riders wear helmets now instead of the traditional hat.

                                  It may be a requirement now. I hope it is.
                                  Certified Guacophobe

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by AnastasiaBeaverhousen View Post
                                    Agreed. I'm happy to say that most FEI dressage riders wear helmets now instead of the traditional hat.

                                    It may be a requirement now. I hope it is.
                                    For FEI helmets are not required until 2021 including traditional dressage. However it is nice to see most riders choosing a helmet over a top hat.
                                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I'm not entirely sure I understand the question, or how feeling disenfranchised is related to moving up the levels? Could you clarify what kind of info you're looking for here? Or who you want responding?

                                      Not even sure I'm the target audience - are you looking for people with upper level/team goals? I'm an AA and I clocked around Training level for a few years on my now-retired good egg. My current hand-me-down OTTB looks like he's going to step in nicely to the job of carting me around Training for a few more years. I am on the board of a local USEA event ( Highflyer that's definitely what happens when you volunteer one too many times, haha). I don't necessarily feel disenfranchised, but I look at my competitive goals as more of an individual journey and not one that is tied to support from the USEA.
                                      The big guy: Lincoln

                                      Southern Maryland Equestrian

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Hunters do voice about how expensive the sport has become. Last show we went to our office fees were almost twice that of my division. I make a good 6 figure salary and still have to pick and choose since I’m not a trust fund baby. We’ve switched to our local nonrated CTs, dressage shows and dabble In CX. Generally it’s more affordable even then out schooling circuit.

                                        As a hunter dabbling in the eventing world, it’s better run than the HJ world. (And generally the people are more fun but that’s a whole different topic)
                                        Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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