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Future team competitions -- what does Team USA need to change?

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  • #21
    If you look at the 'attrition list' that Badger compiled for another thread, you see the problem. Too many listed horses lost to injury.

    This has been going on since about '96. Hmmm.

    The coach's job is to coach the listed riders/horses so as to get the best team ready for international competitions. This has not been happening. Instead, we have a pile up of injured horses. Why? The riders have already gotten their horses to top level; they must have been doing something right in terms of conditioning and training. So perhaps there's something wrong with the program.

    I think US YRs should be going to the UK/Europe to work, train and compete. They're not going to get the experience here. This is one of the things the Germans (and Italians) have been doing and it's starting to show up in the results.

    Comment


    • #22
      I think bottom line problem is the cost of horse sports. If I'm a gymnast - and I'm great, and my parents have moderate incomes, it is not so hard for a team to subsidize my training.

      Equestrians have two things to pay for- horse and rider, and really- to get really good, you need two horses at least. That excludes probably 95% of American families from supporting an international level rider. The horse business doesn't pay well for just competing like basketball or golf. So you make money off sales, training and lessons (if you have a good reputation) which eats into time. I believe I was reading that Courtney King has had to step away from her business for months. Months with no income. In a sport with huge expenses. So you need sponsors. And sponsors support people with strong records. So essentially, if you want money, you need success first. But to have success, you need money.

      If Team USA could better subsidize 18 to 24 year old developing riders I think it would insure a strong future. I think everything from assisting with purchasing horses, free training, assisting with competition fees are in order.

      Comment


      • #23
        Ditto pretty much everything flyingchange said AND-

        A much, much deeper base of class act horses and riders, and the ability/willingness to get those horses and riders together (I think we have A LOT of both, but the horses are either being ridden by their non-world class caliber ammy owners- no offense, please- and the riders are stuck with the junk. In Europe owners are far more excited about seeing their horses go up the levels and compete at the top with OTHER riders than owners are here).

        We just don't have that. We have some really fine riders and some excellent horses, but we don't have the pairs that everyone else does. Think for a moment. The teams that medaled did so WITHOUT their super stars. No Bettina Hoy for the Germans, no Andrew Hoy or Matt Ryan for the Aussies, no Pippa Funnell, just to name a few, for the UK. William Fox-Pitt had the choice of, what, 3, 4 four star WINNERS? Until we have the depth of horses and riders, it is going to be hard for us to really, really be competitive on the world stage.

        On top of that, we need to be better, period. Or dressage is lacking, our show jumping is lacking, our cross country is lacking.

        We need to make sure we are sending riders to Europe more. We tend to get stuck in our own little culture here, and then get shocked by the rest of the world when we decide we want to play. I don't think we necessarily need to wait to send combos over for the big 4 stars, but send them for three stars, too. Hell, maybe even two stars!

        I do think our coaching needs to change. Less "this is the way I say we do it" and more "may I suggest?" By the time most of our riders are in team contention, they have an established program. They wouldn't be a candidate if something wasn't working, so why do our team leaders insist upon changing everything for everyone when we start ramping up for the big ones??

        And, just to make it doubly clear, LESS WINTER CIRCUIT! We are COOKING are horses!
        Amanda

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
          I think bottom line problem is the cost of horse sports. If I'm a gymnast - and I'm great, and my parents have moderate incomes, it is not so hard for a team to subsidize my training.

          Equestrians have two things to pay for- horse and rider, and really- to get really good, you need two horses at least. That excludes probably 95% of American families from supporting an international level rider. The horse business doesn't pay well for just competing like basketball or golf. So you make money off sales, training and lessons (if you have a good reputation) which eats into time. I believe I was reading that Courtney King has had to step away from her business for months. Months with no income. In a sport with huge expenses. So you need sponsors. And sponsors support people with strong records. So essentially, if you want money, you need success first. But to have success, you need money.

          If Team USA could better subsidize 18 to 24 year old developing riders I think it would insure a strong future. I think everything from assisting with purchasing horses, free training, assisting with competition fees are in order.
          p;
          Actually, it is more that we have people who are unwilling to help our riders. The US has a culture were everyone wants to be a rider. That's why we have levels all the way done to rails on the ground. While that is WONDERFUL that we try to include everyone, we end up having conversations like this one- what are we missing? We are missing people willing to help the international caliber level riders make it to the top and bring home medals. This is something most other countries have. People have horses, have riders ride them, and foot the bill, at least to a degree. Like I said, people LIKE seeing their horses go to the top, and when you pick up the UK Eventing mag or Horse & Hound, everyone, even the young guy who's only been eventing 5 years, has a string of decent horses to develop. Here we have a major anti-ULR environment but don't understand why we don't medal. If more people were willing to help a rider by supporting a horse for them, we'd probably start to see a deeper depth of international quality combos.

          The UK and others do also have a great national support system, with sport lotteries and such. They CAN help their riders, but it is more than just the team suppsidizing its team members.
          Amanda

          Comment


          • #25
            Is it possible our Young Rider program isn't providing the riders for the UL as it was intended to?

            There are so many successful kids that are successful not because they are learning to be great horsemen, but because mom and dad ponied up a lot of money for a horse and all the trimmings. I'm not saying there aren't any great kids out there--I know there are! But once upon a time Pony Club was the funnel for kids into eventing. What young top riders do we have now that were graduate Bs and As? For the most part they all use to be!

            At the end of the day I think a kid coming out of PC with an A rating is much more likely to be the type of horseman that gets all the none riding parts which are a huge piece of the puzzle to success on the international stage. There are plenty of examples of young adults at the upper level that aren't much of any kind of "horseman."

            What would we have now if we had taken all the time, effort and money we've put into the YR program and had instead had pumped it into an organization that had already shown success in preparing kids to be world class riders? What would we have if the top honor for a kid wasn't the Young Riders Championship which you can go a long way to winning with money, but instead was a national PC rally that was held at the same level? Pony Club has a history of being a tremendous asset to kids without great resources.

            If I had to chose which 22 year old kid to financially support as a sponsor, given similar basic riding skill but less competing experience for the A PCer I'd be writing checks to the A PC everytime.

            Flame suit on and zipped securely.

            Comment


            • #26
              Give CMP a snorkel and some fins and tell him to start swimming...he can go back to England.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                Ditto pretty much everything flyingchange said AND-

                A much, much deeper base of class act horses and riders, and the ability/willingness to get those horses and riders together (I think we have A LOT of both, but the horses are either being ridden by their non-world class caliber ammy owners- no offense, please- and the riders are stuck with the junk. In Europe owners are far more excited about seeing their horses go up the levels and compete at the top with OTHER riders than owners are here).

                We just don't have that. We have some really fine riders and some excellent horses, but we don't have the pairs that everyone else does. Think for a moment. The teams that medaled did so WITHOUT their super stars. No Bettina Hoy for the Germans, no Andrew Hoy or Matt Ryan for the Aussies, no Pippa Funnell, just to name a few, for the UK. William Fox-Pitt had the choice of, what, 3, 4 four star WINNERS? Until we have the depth of horses and riders, it is going to be hard for us to really, really be competitive on the world stage.

                On top of that, we need to be better, period. Or dressage is lacking, our show jumping is lacking, our cross country is lacking.

                We need to make sure we are sending riders to Europe more. We tend to get stuck in our own little culture here, and then get shocked by the rest of the world when we decide we want to play. I don't think we necessarily need to wait to send combos over for the big 4 stars, but send them for three stars, too. Hell, maybe even two stars!

                I do think our coaching needs to change. Less "this is the way I say we do it" and more "may I suggest?" By the time most of our riders are in team contention, they have an established program. They wouldn't be a candidate if something wasn't working, so why do our team leaders insist upon changing everything for everyone when we start ramping up for the big ones??

                And, just to make it doubly clear, LESS WINTER CIRCUIT! We are COOKING are horses!



                BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO...very well said.

                Comment


                • #28
                  I don not see a master plan.
                  That is what made the German team so good and with such depth horses and riders.
                  They have 2 coaches Bartels and Melzer and an extraordinary staff behind them.
                  They have a comprehensive system to bring new horses and new riders along.
                  If one looks up the CCI or CiC results in Europe than one finds besides the usual names a ton of young and upcoming riders that are consistingly placing in the top and they a furthered, promoted and part of the National Team efford.
                  That plan includes the huge costs and how to raise the money, get sponsors, get money to buy the right horses and than match them with the riders.
                  The German FN owns horses, the DOKR, German Olympic Comitee for Riding.
                  That is an organisation, that has a plan, with goals and that has a plan for future riders and horses, the plan is including and not excluding, is not elitist, that goes from pony riders to Olympic champions, the Kraut Kiddos just won the Pony European Eventing Championship and they had or have the same support as the guys that went HK.

                  That is what I think is missing, a real plan.
                  That I have no use for them, does not mean, that I don't know them and don't know how to use them.
                  Caveman extraordinair

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by snoopy View Post
                    BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO...very well said.
                    Thank you! This might be the highlight of my day, a compliment coming from you and such.

                    Gnep's post also got me thinking. Our YR program IS lacking. In Europe, kids can start riding on FEI teams while on ponies. They then graduate to juniors, then YRs, and hopefully onto the senior teams. They are watched from the ponies on up and get top instruction from the get go. They also know how to play the team game by the time they make a senior team. That IS part of it (though I don't think being a team player is our real issue). Countries see talent and they develop it. I don't know how much the federations have with getting good kids good rides, but I know when I read Eventing (UK again) and read about the pony team riders and YRs, most have at least a couple of horses and ponies to ride and compete. More horses means more riding means better riding.
                    Amanda

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                      A much, much deeper base of class act horses and riders, and the ability/willingness to get those horses and riders together (I think we have A LOT of both, but the horses are either being ridden by their non-world class caliber ammy owners- no offense, please- and the riders are stuck with the junk. In Europe owners are far more excited about seeing their horses go up the levels and compete at the top with OTHER riders than owners are here).
                      About eight years ago, I had some really nice horses that I though could make a go of it at the international level. I approached three upper level riders with the following proposal:

                      I would send them a horse on trial for thirty days. During those thirty days, I would pay full training fees in addition to any other hard costs incurred (hay, grain, vet, farrier, etc). At the end of thirty days, they would let me know if they thought the horse had what it took to be an international level eventer. If not, they would return the horse to me. If so, I would continue to pay hard costs, but the rider would not charge me training/showing fees. The riders had the ability to end the partnership at any time. In addition, if a reasonable purchase offer was made for the horse, we both would have to agree to sell it and any net profit would be equally shared.

                      All three riders agreed and I sent them each a horse. At the end of thirty days, all three said the horse I had sent them had international potential and they wanted to continue our partnership. However, before the end of the next thirty days, all three of them contacted me again to say they couldn't afford to not charge me training fees. Now bear in mind that none of them were being asked to pay for anything on behalf of my horses. Rather they were being given a free ride with all expenses paid along with the potential for making a profit at some point and all they had to do was invest some of their time. Since they were unwilling to hold up their end of the bargain, I terminated my partnerships with them, brought my horses home, and enjoyed them myself.

                      Personally, I would love to see one of the horses I've bred go up through the levels and compete at the top with any rider. So it isn't a matter of being unwilling to turn horses over to the upper level riders. It is a matter of wanting to be in a partnership with an upper level rider where both parties benefit instead of the upper level rider reaping all of the benefits without assuming any risks while I assume all of the costs and risks.
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      If the Number 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number 2?

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by canterlope View Post
                        About eight years ago, I had some really nice horses that I though could make a go of it at the international level. I approached three upper level riders with the following proposal:

                        I would send them a horse on trial for thirty days. During those thirty days, I would pay full training fees in addition to any other hard costs incurred (hay, grain, vet, farrier, etc). At the end of thirty days, they would let me know if they thought the horse had what it took to be an international level eventer. If not, they would return the horse to me. If so, I would continue to pay hard costs, but the rider would not charge me training/showing fees. The riders had the ability to end the partnership at any time. In addition, if a reasonable purchase offer was made for the horse, we both would have to agree to sell it and any net profit would be equally shared.

                        All three riders agreed and I sent them each a horse. At the end of thirty days, all three said the horse I had sent them had international potential and they wanted to continue our partnership. However, before the end of the next thirty days, all three of them contacted me again to say they couldn't afford to not charge me training fees. Now bear in mind that none of them were being asked to pay for anything on behalf of my horses. Rather they were being given a free ride with all expenses paid along with the potential for making a profit at some point and all they had to do was invest some of their time. Since they were unwilling to hold up their end of the bargain, I terminated my partnerships with them, brought my horses home, and enjoyed them myself.

                        Personally, I would love to see one of the horses I've bred go up through the levels and compete at the top with any rider. So it isn't a matter of being unwilling to turn horses over to the upper level riders. It is a matter of wanting to be in a partnership with an upper level rider where both parties benefit instead of the upper level rider reaping all of the benefits without assuming any risks while I assume all of the costs and risks.
                        This is a very good deal. It is too bad the riders couldn't figure out how to make it work, because, in the long run, paying for entry fees is the EASY part. I know some riders who might be willing to work with you.
                        Amanda

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                          Thank you! This might be the highlight of my day, a compliment coming from you and such.

                          Gnep's post also got me thinking. Our YR program IS lacking. In Europe, kids can start riding on FEI teams while on ponies. They then graduate to juniors, then YRs, and hopefully onto the senior teams. They are watched from the ponies on up and get top instruction from the get go. They also know how to play the team game by the time they make a senior team. That IS part of it (though I don't think being a team player is our real issue). Countries see talent and they develop it. I don't know how much the federations have with getting good kids good rides, but I know when I read Eventing (UK again) and read about the pony team riders and YRs, most have at least a couple of horses and ponies to ride and compete. More horses means more riding means better riding.


                          Right on the mark again. If the US is going to play the game on the world stage it has to play like/with the rest of the world...not just a the Olympics/WEG. I am amazed thathe US does not help to fund the development of its athletes....especially when it puts so much stock in its success. GNEP is correct when he says that it should be about inclusion not exclusion. The more you turn away...either on purpose or by setting up the system to make it all but impossible...the less you have to choose from.
                          The danish, the germans, the french all have organizations in place to KEEP horses for their owners/riders when the temptation is to sell when that big offer comes from america and italy. The current system focuses on a few riders...not on a the pool of world class horses. I also firmly believe that those who drive the sport in the US are concerned about their jobs, their bonuses, and their own egos before the welfare of the sport and its delopment and success.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                            This is a very good deal. It is too bad the riders couldn't figure out how to make it work, because, in the long run, paying for entry fees is the EASY part. I know some riders who might be willing to work with you.
                            Amanda, I was paying the entry fees myself. All I was asking the riders to do was not charge me a fee for training or showing them.
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            If the Number 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number 2?

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Bingo!!!

                              Well, there's at least three of us that have the same thoughts; you, me and Lucinda Prior-Palmer Green!

                              Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                              Better riding lessons.

                              Horses that are better jumpers.

                              MUCH more conditioning (considering tired horses after 8 mins whereas they used to be going 2hrs and still jumped around...maybe the long format weeded out the horses that weren't 4* fit caliber???)

                              More experience overseas.
                              Earthdogs, you gotta dig 'em!

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                While there are a lot of great points - one thing to consider is that the gold medalist is an adult (44) amateur. That seems to tear up the 'bringing the young riders/not enough young riders' and 'team training program' up a bit.

                                What I did notice about the German riders is that they had more of a relationship with their horse - is it from riding less horses and taking more time to understand the one or two you have? Delving into the training and riding history of the riders may be very appropriate.

                                Another issue is the idea of a program for junior riders and pony riders. While excellent in concept, the US is not Europe. The US is the size of Europe. Each program is divided into countries that control that program. Germany is roughly the size of Oregon - so even the 10 regions of the USEA are much bigger than many of the European countries. Then, of course, you have states like Alaska and Hawaii that are part of the same region as California - but how are you going to get from Alaska to Hawaii to compete?

                                While the concept is a great idea, it cannot be plucked from a European country and planted on the US - it just won't work. It should be studied, but then modified and adjusted for the fact that US is a different ball of wax.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by canterlope View Post
                                  About eight years ago, I had some really nice horses that I though could make a go of it at the international level. I approached three upper level riders with the following proposal:

                                  I would send them a horse on trial for thirty days. During those thirty days, I would pay full training fees in addition to any other hard costs incurred (hay, grain, vet, farrier, etc). At the end of thirty days, they would let me know if they thought the horse had what it took to be an international level eventer. If not, they would return the horse to me. If so, I would continue to pay hard costs, but the rider would not charge me training/showing fees. The riders had the ability to end the partnership at any time. In addition, if a reasonable purchase offer was made for the horse, we both would have to agree to sell it and any net profit would be equally shared.

                                  All three riders agreed and I sent them each a horse. At the end of thirty days, all three said the horse I had sent them had international potential and they wanted to continue our partnership. However, before the end of the next thirty days, all three of them contacted me again to say they couldn't afford to not charge me training fees. Now bear in mind that none of them were being asked to pay for anything on behalf of my horses. Rather they were being given a free ride with all expenses paid along with the potential for making a profit at some point and all they had to do was invest some of their time. Since they were unwilling to hold up their end of the bargain, I terminated my partnerships with them, brought my horses home, and enjoyed them myself.

                                  Personally, I would love to see one of the horses I've bred go up through the levels and compete at the top with any rider. So it isn't a matter of being unwilling to turn horses over to the upper level riders. It is a matter of wanting to be in a partnership with an upper level rider where both parties benefit instead of the upper level rider reaping all of the benefits without assuming any risks while I assume all of the costs and risks.
                                  I think that that is an extrodinary story. It almost leaves me speachless...or typeless as it were.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Ask the medalists

                                    The gold and silver medalists are amateurs. While one is in a different country, one is located on the other coast (like a different country perhaps?) away from USEA/USEF central.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      My nomination for USA coach . . .

                                      What does a person have to 'do' or 'be' to be hired as the USA Eventing coach?

                                      Maybe the answer is logical - my nomination would be Denny Emerson.
                                      www.littlekentuckyfarm.com
                                      Thoroughbred Training and Sales

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I just posted on another thread what is basically my position on this one, too: I think we must accept the fact that we may never have the depth they have across the pond and without that depth, our results are going to vary much more widely than theirs. That hardly means we have bad riders. It just means we don't have the deep pool others have to be consistent in what we produce (or how we produce it, for that matter). We cannot follow their system. We do not have and probably can never have the kind of "quality control" that licensing affords, such as in Germany. And we sure as heck won't ever have the UK's lottery system to fund our top and developing riders.

                                        Now, wanna REEEEAAAALLLY help us at least edge closer? Yeah, start 'em younger: Let's have a credible pony base so kids can grow into juniors with the kind of foundation that produces better competitors. Like someone said, that's one fundamental that could be changed if there was the will, but kids won't ride ponies (much less ponies over 3'3" or more, like they do in Europe) if there are no trainers to train them (kids or ponies) or competitions to attract them.

                                        So what do we end up with? IMO, some pretty unnatural kid/junior/YR riders. Look at Cayla Katiama (sp?). Lovely girl, jsut lovely. But she didn't scrap around on ponies now, did she? How many kids in Europe get to ride four-star WEG horses? Again, NOT NOT NOT a criticism of her, OK? But we've talked about this before: there's a difference there that might just matter. No proof it does, of course--certainly, Cayla has done NOTHING to make one think she typifies any weakness in our system!!! (as in, Laine, maybe; Cayla, no or not yet).

                                        As was also said before, we also don't have kids who foxhunt. Speaking generally (as in, "on average") our kids simply do not have the foundation to become the kind of riders Europe can produce. So, IMO, we have to figure out how to do it our own way. I think that is what is getting in the way of discussions like these: folks think "their" way is best--and maybe it is, but we can't use it, so there's no point in crying over that spilt milk. We have to find our own way--and that's gonna take a long time, if ever.
                                        Sportponies Unlimited
                                        Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by YRAP Mom View Post
                                          The gold and silver medalists are amateurs. While one is in a different country, one is located on the other coast (like a different country perhaps?) away from USEA/USEF central.
                                          Very valid points as well.

                                          I forgot to add as well, cantelope's story was also intriguing. If canterlope is footing the bill and the rider is getting all the glory, why training fees on top of that? Plus, any sales would include splitting the profits. It doesn't make sense. It is also something I have been considering doing with my future foal (because you know she's going to be Olympic quality...of course...) and now am wondering if I can make it work. I don't have all kinds of money to be spending on training fees and don't mind that the rider will get the glory, the horse will get the glory and no one will know me from Adam. My main motivation is a love for the stallion that is going to be the daddy (yeah, not even bred yet and I am dreaming big...) and wanting his name to be in the lights as the foal's father - as well as the pride I will feel knowing that I produced such a fine horse.

                                          Anyway.....back to the topic at hand - why are amateurs better? I still think it has a lot to do with concentrating on developing a relationship with one horse and competing for the love of the game. Similar to canterlope's story - maybe some upper level riders have their sights set to much on money and fame and have lost sight of the love of the horse and the discipline.

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