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Beg. Novice and Novice affordability

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    Beg. Novice and Novice affordability

    Let`s say you are on the USEA Board, and you could change anything you wanted to about these 2 lower level divisions, either for the sake of simplicity or affordability, or anything else.
    For example, what about the dress code? Should it remain fairly formal, or would you allow a greater degree of informality, chaps, no jackets, that sort of thing?
    What about drug testing, would you waive that to save the money, or is that crucial to the fairness aspects?
    What about licensed tds? Would you have them, or accept possibly less expertise for the sake of lower entry fees?
    What about licensed dressage judges, same reasons as above?
    What about medical staff on grounds for all 3 phases?

    The reason I ask is because unrecognized events can avoid most of these expenses, (except the on grounds EMT) and pass the savings along to the competitors.
    So are expenses getting to be so important to our riders that the USEA might consider easing some of the legislation at the 2 lower levels, or are you happy with what we now have?
    Obviously this is only a hypothetical exercise, but it may prove important to the USEA in the future if expenses continue to escalate.

    off the top of my head:

    I would do away with drug testing. I was drug tested (well, Spy was) at 5 Points in Sept, which made me laugh, in my Noice division, no threat to the leaders due to a mistake in dressage.

    I think we need to keep the dress code at the recognized events, as well, as the medical and technical expertise.

    The only thing I might also agree to would be the dressage. I hesitate here though because I know that BN and N are usually won on the dressage (I say usually because sometimes crazy things happen when BN and N riders and horses go over fences). I also know how much work it is for a dressage judge to get their licenses and the work that goes into those programs. I think keeping licensed judges will continue to keep the standards high and maintain continuity. However, there are a lot of really good non-licensed 'judges' who have the same eye and knowledge base as the licensed judges. So I waffle here because I believe we should support the judges programs, but at the same time, I do see how a similar level of judging could be offered at a lower expense.


      What about licensed tds? Would you have them, or accept possibly less expertise for the sake of lower entry fees?
      What about licensed dressage judges, same reasons as above?
      I would not want to get rid of licensed TDs or have unlicensed dressage judges for the sake of lower fees.

      There are some schooling shows I avoid because I know the people that run them can't design a course to save their lives, but I am willing to go to their recognized shows because I know a knowledgeable TD will be there to make sure my horse and I have every chance of having a good safe experience.

      If I am going to a recognized event I want my dressage judge licensed because if I am looking to move up I want to make sure I am on par with my training.

      I'll admit I save my money for recognized shows and skip many schooling shows because I want to go for quality over quantity. If that means I get to run a few less cross-country courses in a year I'm fine with that. But I'm lucky to have plenty of past experience and don't feel the need to go to schooling shows to help get my show nerves evened out. If I were less experienced I might have a different take on this.


        Having come from NE Ohio, where they now have a mini-event series which has ten events, I know that they are much more cost effective. I spent my first year of BN doing only the mini-events.

        Would I like for the BN/N levels to cost less at recognized events? Absolutely.

        However, our levels tend to be looked down upon anyway, so would making them more affordable reduce our clout even more?

        Maybe someone could ask Jackie F. Smith how she can afford to run her BN/N levels so much cheaper, than any of the other events in Area 8? Her events are very affordable ($105 for BN/N), especially when compared to the ones in Southern Ohio and Kentucky. Her stabling is more cost effective and she gives initial bedding. (It is so nice not to have to haul 4 bales of shavings, in addition to everything else!) Why are the other events so much more expensive? Does it cost that much to rent the KHP? Why is Rolex so inexpensive ($100 entry)? Why do they only pay $30 per stall/day? I am not dissing Rolex, but just curious?

        Is drug testing warrented at those levels? Maybe not.

        Attire is part of the tradition and should remain.

        The medical staff for x-country is imperative, although they do not have them at most of the Mini-events in NE Ohio. (My husband, who is an EMT, had to help a girl with a compound fracture of the femur, while the ambulance was being called.) Since they would be on site for the upper levels, then it should not cost that much more to retain them for the BN/N.

        I really would appreciate any financial help, but don't know from where it could be taken. Auburn
        When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


          I would waive the drug testing for pre-novice. My feeling is that some of the old guys who are packing people around pre-novice need their bute to be comfortable and safe. Yes, the owners could figure out how much bute is legal, but generally they figure it is easier to leave the old guy off his bute, even if it means he is a little stiff and sore.

          I would also relax the dress requirements for prenovice. A lot of people who are just starting out don't have the clothing and therefore don't compete as early as they should. Fortunately, in our area, we have good unrecognized competitions so there are some opportunities to compete before buying a jacket and nice boots.

          Licensed dressage judges and TDs are important. TDs are necessary for the safety of the sport because many prenovice competitors will not recognize a safety problem and bring it to the attention of the competition organizers. Licensed dressage judges are also important because they help the competitor figure out what is needed before moving up.


            Yes, there is certain "promise" of quality when you have licenced officials at the show and I would not want to compromise it. I like knowing that the courses will be safe and inviting, and not dangerous for horses/riders at the lower level, and that there is a medical assistance is awailable for me and my horse. The entry fees are high but not prohibitive. I pick and choose HTs and will maybe do only one or two a year depending on the budget, and I would use schooling Combined Tests for schooling shows to "get the nerves out" and get showing experience (for me).

            Where I think the money could be "saved" is by lowering annual USEA fees for BN/N competing members, and for BN level lowering or not requiring non-member fee. Of course USEA may not agree with that as it will lower their income.

            Also, when the show is cancelled for any reason, majority of shows do not refund any portion of the entry fee which I think is unfair. I do understand that they have to spend some of it before the day of the show, but I doubt that they spend 100% of it. Both times it happened to me, I agreed with official's decision to cancel the show as the footing became unsafe, however, it made me not being able to participage in ANY SHOW that season because of money. I am sure for people who can afford more shows per season it is not such a big deal, but it is hard to take a $200 hit and not get ANY of it back.


              Keep it the same. I don't really feel like it's cost prohibitive. I pay $60-$80 for a combined test. Another $50+ to get cross country and "real" judges is well worth it.

              Drug testing could probably go away.


                As a BN/N competitor, though I'm not working on the world's biggest budget, I would keep it the same.

                If I want to go to a less formal event, there are quite a few in my area that are run on the grounds of recognized events so I can trust their course design (Valinor, where I board, Apple Knoll Farm, to name a few). There are also some within reasonable driving distance if stabling is provided (not sure since I have yet to go to any that would require stabling and are not recognized) put on by farms and trainers that I think have more than enough experience in eventing to provide a safe, enjoyable experience ::cough:: Denny ::cough::.
                But that is, apparently, the joy of eventing in Area I. I found the same to be true when I was starting off in Area II. In fact, I didn't even consider going to recognized events when I lived in MD because (1) my mare and I weren't ready and (2) there were many well run schooling options.

                When I go to a recognized event it is to experience what I need to experience at a lower level to be prepared for the upper levels. I'd rather be faced with remembering technical rules, dress code, and so on when I am going 2'7"/2'11" and doing a basic w/t/c dressage test. That way I can establish my event day routine off the bat without having the added pressure of trying to "forget" the less formal rules of BN/N when I get to training.

                It's certainly a valid thing to consider, but I like the official feel of a recognized event. It makes me that much more aware of every detail.

                [I think you can wear smooth half chaps AKA "leather pieces" or some such designation with matching boots in USEA competitions these days.]
                ~T3DE 2010 Pact Clique~


                  I would NOT do away with the drug testing. Just to save that one horse/rider team that may decide to be "over the limit" because they know they won't get tested...and then something goes wrong.

                  It just invites trouble. Leave the sport clean in sanctioned events.



                    The most prohibitive expense for me in entering events is stabling when the events are run over more than one day. To keep costs down, if HTs running BN and N could please try to hold all 3 phases on one day, it would be VERY helpful in terms of expense.

                    I think getting rid of drug testing at BN and N is also a GOOD idea. Complete waste of money and time.


                      Interesting thoughts.

                      I would probably do away with the drug testing, but if I want a more casual approach, I go to schooling shows.

                      I show recognized FOR those reasons: licensed judges and TD's, medical suppport, etc. It's a SHOW, and I enjoy presenting my horse and myself in "formal" attire. I want to get a dressage score from a licensed judge, and to have a TD who hopefully knows the rules better than I do.



                        I would not change any of these things.

                        Eventing is already a great bargain! Think it's not? Talk to some dressage or hunter people, and they don't even have XC courses!! Anyone who thinks it's too costly is not someone I want eventing. Reducing the cost will attract them. You know the people - those for whom lessons and coaching are too expensive. I do not want to be in the warm up with them, and do not wish them on the organizers. These are the same people who cheap out on the entry and then have a complete fit when an EMT isn't there within 5 seconds of the time they plinked off on XC. They think they should enter at T because 2'11" is too small.

                        There are unrecognized events I love and where I'll start my new guy, because they have more flexibility and are more low key than recognized events. But they provide a stage in schooling, not a competition. And they're run by experienced organizers on recognized courses, and that's critical to me.


                          This is an interesting question.

                          Keep the dress code!! Its a wonderful tradition, I actually look decent in my pictures, it keeps standards high (both for riders AND horses: if riders are just slapping on chaps and a t-shirt then I'll venture to say the saddle is probably dirty, the horses aren't spic and span, etc. When I have to dress up I feel good polishing the tack and the horse too) In the grand scheme of keeping/feeding/training/tacking up/trailering a horse, even for us on a can have the entire formal getup. Sure its not all full-seat or perfectly tailored, but it does just fine from a distance!

                          Drug testing probably not necessary. Licensed TD's and judges...please keep them!

                          I very much appreciate the increased flexibility in the last few years (at least in Area VII) with lots of alternatives (event derbies, unrecognized one-days) to recognized events. I am able to afford only 2 or 3 recognized "big" events a year, but I fill in with the unrecognized alternatives and have a fantastic summer.


                            As someone who is going to start showing at reg.BN this season i like the fact that it has that "offical" feeling to it. I mean i will be paying more to show therefore i expect more. Around here it's about 80bucks for an unrec. HT, so to be paying 40bucks more i'm ok with that.

                            What is dislike is the fact i feel like people look down upon the lower levels like BN/N and think that the things that are important at the upper levels are not as important to us down below. Of course i'd prefer to have a licensed dressage judge.. who wouldn't? But i'm worried that since BN is filled with those horses that pack around the little kids and need "bute" (as said by someone earlier) that the rules should be changed for them. (i.e. no drug testing) Why? My mare and i work really hard to compete at this level and i feel that no special exceptions should be made... and IMHO if those little kids want to take thier packer ponies and show let them go unrecognized. I know it's OT, but i heard a rumor that the VA horse trials may not offer BN this season because of how the "kids" that disrupted the area. I would just think that if the "ideas" above went into effect today all the hard work i put in to go reg BN/N would be a waste of time because for the same rules and less money i can go to an unreg. show.

                            Lets leave things how they are.. lowering standards of HT will only attract those who shouldn't be there in the first place.
                            Proud owner of a Spicy mare!!


                              I wouldn't change anything. Here in Area 2, BN and Novice always fills up at practically every event. There is no need to lower the standards to make it more attractive. plus, coming from the Jumper world, $150 or so for an event is CHEAP .


                                Originally posted by Saskatoonian View Post
                                Eventing is already a great bargain! Think it's not?
                                Bargain? I don't think of my sport as a shopping expedition.

                                And I have no interest in doing straight dressage or hunters, so that comparison makes no sense to me.


                                  Originally posted by denny View Post
                                  Let`s say you are on the USEA Board, and you could change anything you wanted to about these 2 lower level divisions, either for the sake of simplicity or affordability, or anything else.
                                  For example, what about the dress code? Should it remain fairly formal, or would you allow a greater degree of informality, chaps, no jackets, that sort of thing?
                                  I like the formal dress code, but would not mind at all if it was relaxed to some degree (e.g. polo shirts, but not t-shirts) at ALL levels just as it often is when it's hot in the summer. I think the formality should be retained for championships and three days.

                                  I just can't stand the idea of chaps in the show ring. Period.

                                  I would be opposed to a change in the dress code at the lower levels only. It would just serve to exacerbate the great divide.

                                  Originally posted by denny View Post
                                  What about drug testing, would you waive that to save the money, or is that crucial to the fairness aspects?
                                  My first instinct was to say that testing could be waived at the lower levels. But then it occurred to me that the abuses may actually be coming at the lower levels, where you often have folks trying to keep an old schoolmaster going when he really shouldn't be, and where you are also likely to see folks who don't know the rules as well as they should. So I don't know that I feel strongly about this, but I tend to think that the welfare of the horse dictates that you continue to test at these levels. But for me, that's the issue - the welfare of the horse, not fairness per se.

                                  Originally posted by denny View Post
                                  What about licensed tds? Would you have them, or accept possibly less expertise for the sake of lower entry fees?
                                  What about licensed dressage judges, same reasons as above?
                                  What about medical staff on grounds for all 3 phases?
                                  I prefer to retain all of these. The involvement of these professionals is precisely what separates a recognized event from an unrecognized event and they are the primary reasons (in addition, of course, to safe course design and construction) why I am willing to pay more to attend a recognized event.

                                  Originally posted by denny View Post
                                  The reason I ask is because unrecognized events can avoid most of these expenses, (except the on grounds EMT) and pass the savings along to the competitors.
                                  So are expenses getting to be so important to our riders that the USEA might consider easing some of the legislation at the 2 lower levels, or are you happy with what we now have?
                                  Obviously this is only a hypothetical exercise, but it may prove important to the USEA in the future if expenses continue to escalate.
                                  I think there are already plenty of unrecognized events out there for people who don't want to attend a recognized event. I also don't see a huge decline in the number of people competing at recognized events due to cost. Folks complain about costs and may do fewer events - they are more selective as to quality due to costs - but the numbers at the lower levels seem to be growing (at the events I attend anyway), not declining.
                                  Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon


                                    Hey Auburn, it was good to see you at the Area VIII meeting last year. So I guess I'll respond to your question as to how do we manage to run our events so affordably. I'll ask you all to forgive me up front because I'm probably going to jump around a bit. There are several reasons why we can run our events so affordably and still make a some money. So here's a list in no particular order:

                                    - we own our own farm and it is paid for
                                    - we own all of our equipment and it is paid for: tractors, dressage rings, show jumps etc.
                                    - our stabling barns are built and paid for serve as storage for much of the above equipment
                                    - tractors and other farm equipment were primarily purchased by my husband for his hoby and sanity, making hay. I'm not sure how that helps his sanity as making hay in NE OH is far from sane, but he loves it.
                                    - I am a licensed CD and Dave is a veterinarian so we save on those expenses
                                    - other than my secretary, there are NO paid volunteers. I never understood how someone could be considered a volunteer if they were paid
                                    - we have a strong volunteer base through our Pony Club which uses our farm as home base during good weather at no charge.
                                    - as mentioned earlier, much of the farm, buildings, and equipment are multi-use and by having the facility, it enables us to have clinics and other competitions that generate some income or at least allow myself and my kids get to ride free with Lucinda and others. Well I shouldn't say that as we have paid for it in sweat equity.
                                    - we're not fancy, the cross country jumps don't look like works of art or better than most furniture, but the courses are safe, fair, and appropriate for the levels. The stabling is rather 'rustic' as some have said in pervious posts on the forum, but they get the job done
                                    We don't have all the hoop la and parties. I love it when someone says that they get a free dinner. There is no free dinner, it is in your entry fee. I could charge $20 more and feed you dinner but I choose to allow you to decide where and what you want to eat. I suppose those are the same people who think the government is giving them money when they get their tax refund but I won't go there

                                    I believe that answered the some of the 'how' we keep our fees lower, now the I will give you some of the 'whys' we keep our fees low. Much of what I say is based on what we believe and / or what I would like as a competitor.

                                    - we're not a KY Horse Park with all of the amenities
                                    - because we're not 'fancy' as described above I feel that we shouldn't charge as much
                                    - we want to encourage people to become involved in the sport of eventing and not discourage them because of the price
                                    - now that I have 2 kids riding at the Preliminary level and above I have not been able to compete much at recognized events because I can't justify spending over a $1,000 just for entries & stabling for ONE weekend. (especially with one in college and both in college next year) I guess in my own way I feel for other competitors.
                                    - as far as the bedding goes, I know don't like to have to buy bedding when I go to competitions so I provide it. Bulk shavings cost me about $2/competitor. If I bring my own bagged shavings to a competition it costs me about $10 - $15 per stall depending on how much we use.
                                    - being in the middle of nowhere in NE OH there isn't a really big eventing base in the area and many of which have limited funds for competing

                                    This will be the 24th year that we have been running events and obviously it is a labor of love. We enjoy primping up the place and welcoming people to our farm and watching them have a good time. Although we don't get big name riders here I am happy to know that horses like RG's Renegade, Montana Native and From got some of their early education at our competitions. Nothing against the BNR, but I actually prefer the adult amateurs and kids who really appreciate what we do provide for them.

                                    My husband often says that he would hate to figure out how much we earn per hour, probably $.50/hour. But as I said before, working on the farm is my husband's recreation and relaxation and if I'm as overweight as I am now working this hard, imagine what I would look like if I wasn't. Besides it gives us time together, never mind, that usually isn't 'quality' time together. Keep in mind, this is our home and as Dave often says, we fix our place up with other people's money. I guess we're part of a dying breed and people don't seem to mind paying the extra for the amenities, parties and fancy jumps, but that's just not what we're all about here.



                                      I agree that drug testing is not really warranted at BN and N. Otherwise, I'd leave it alone. At least in my Area (II), I have a broad choice of unrecognized and recognized competitions. When I choose to do the recognized competitions, it's BECAUSE of all the things you listed as possibly eliminating.

                                      I understand other areas may not have that luxury, and then it may make sense to make the TDs and licensed judges optional in areas that host, say, less than 10 events at BN or N level.

                                      Dress code should remain mandatory. Not to sound snobbish, but in this day and age, if you can't buy, eBay, beg, or borrow what you need to be presentable in the dressage phase and safe in the jumping phases, you shouldn't be competing at a national level. JMHO.

                                      ETA: I'll change 10 events to 15, which according to the Omnibus would include areas V, VII, IX, and X.
                                      Last edited by InstigatorKate; Jan. 18, 2008, 11:53 AM.


                                        JFS -

                                        Bless you. I wish I were closer to you and could come to your events. They sound like the real deal. The event you run is a dying breed as it seems ... you run it as a "labor of love," while the new breed seems to be a "labor of [fill in the blank as you see fit]."