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Mark Phillips' AEC comments in the latest Eventing magazine

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  • Mark Phillips' AEC comments in the latest Eventing magazine

    Was anyone else as horrified as I was by Mark Phillips' comments about the AEC prize money at the lower levels in the last paragraph of his column in the latest Eventing USA magazine?

    ..."if we want our advanced level riders to show up to give the Championships the profile it deserves, you have to reward them a little better than those at the lower levels. This surely is common sense, not rocket science."

    I for one found this arrogant and lacking in the "common sense" he claims it is. The Captain, for all the time he spends in the States, seems not to have clue one about how things work over here.

  • Original Poster

    Was anyone else as horrified as I was by Mark Phillips' comments about the AEC prize money at the lower levels in the last paragraph of his column in the latest Eventing USA magazine?

    ..."if we want our advanced level riders to show up to give the Championships the profile it deserves, you have to reward them a little better than those at the lower levels. This surely is common sense, not rocket science."

    I for one found this arrogant and lacking in the "common sense" he claims it is. The Captain, for all the time he spends in the States, seems not to have clue one about how things work over here.



    • #3
      Come on SS - doncha know that we are supposed to be overjoyed with the prospect of rubbing elbows and sharing a porta potty with all of those big name folks. OOPS - they will undoubtably have their exclusive PoP's.

      You should be happy with your $1.00 piece of polyester. Why do you need prize money???

      I loved that Richland gave prize $ their first year down to 4th place for all divisions. It paid for a tank of diesel for my ride home. Sadly that has changed too.

      It is too bad that the upper mucky mucks don't value us lower folks. I am thrilled that the AEC is recognizing this and offering the same cash for all levels. I only wish I was going!!!


      • #4
        I saw that too. Gee, so I am only worth a lead rope if I win the novice division. Thank you for your support.

        Sometimes I think what he has to say is right on the money, but he really missed the point on this one.

        Given that the editorial reiterated the fact that 70% of USEA members ride at Training or below, I think he REALLY missed the point.

        But GO ROBBY!! That, and the article about Lazy Dot made up for the less nice comments.


        • #5
          Moreover, as I said on the other thread, I was stunned and horrified that he essentially has given up on the long format, by telling people that he thought it was a mistake to run the long format at Fair Hill. This, after he had commented about all the issues the modified format caused at Rolex and elsewhere.

          Frankly, I'm with Swizz on the AECs. Personally, I don't want to support them to the detriment of the three days, but I think it's super to have a celebration of the sport and all of its riders, not just the upper levels.


          • #6
            I think I actually gasped out loud when I read that. It's the little guys such as myself trying our hearts out at Novice and Training that make up the backbone of this sport. Not to mention probably the major financial contributors to the USEA. C'mon, let us keep this one little crumb that is being thrown to us.

            I am very glad that the AEC is recognizing us amateurs that are at the lower levels. Yay AEC, boo Mark Philips!


            • #7
              Aren't they offering 10K per money division? I guess I was surprised that he felt that was not significant enough to bring out the BNR's. I know Rolex has a big purse but what about other upper level events? Eventing doesn't have the $$ prizes like the showjumping circuit. Pro's in eventing certainly don't make their living through prize money!! I would think that 10K would provide *some* incentive to come!


              • Original Poster

                "...I loved that Richland gave prize $ their first year down to 4th place for all divisions."

                This year, Maui Jim Wayne offered the Aloha Challenge for Novice with cash through 4th place. The winner took home $1350. This was the only money offered at the event. An old adage about knowing which side one's bread is buttered on comes to mind - and that event doesn't even offer Novice Divisions!



                • #9
                  Being a rocket scientst, literally, I am just offended at the association. We have plenty of common sense.



                  • #10
                    Yes, I was horrified. That's about all I can say.

                    What did it tell me?

                    Never ride in a clinic with him unless I'm going at Intermediate level, and never aspire to anything great because the reality is I'll ride Training the rest of my life and, obviously, I'm not worth anything more.

                    Do you think his cavalier attitude rubs off on the Team? I do. And that is the upper-tier of individuals we learn from.

                    Oh well, more steerage members died in Titanic than did the upper classes.

                    When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.


                    • Original Poster

                      posted Aug. 31, 2004 12:46 PM
                      Yes, I was horrified. That's about all I can say.

                      "...Do you think his cavalier attitude rubs off on the Team?"

                      With a few - very few - exceptions, I'd tend to agree.
                      Attitude starts at the top, doesn't it?



                      • #12
                        What a rude and obnoxious comment; there was no need for that. I have been considering participating in one of his clinics. No way after that comment, as I am a mere novice level competitor. Ya think I am going to spend my hard earned $ and my time to attend a clinic with the attitude he has towards the lower-level competitor. Unh,unh....


                        • #13
                          If my memory serves me correctly (which it may not be ), I think he was saying that the *** long format was a bit of a waste since the CCI**, CIC*** and advanced horse trials in whatever combination qualifies you for both CCI***/****. So I guess his thinking is why waste $$$ and organizer energy on CCIs***, go for the ****. That's what I got, anyway, and since I will never do a ***/****, I don't have a
                          meaningful opinion myself.


                          • #14
                            Jerk! is what I have to say. His comments made me mad.

                            The bulk of the membership is made up by ammies--novice and training level ammies at that. We pay upper level/BNT riders to board at their barns, pay fees to walk courses with us (even course walks like Fairhill and Rolex that we don't even compete in!), pay insane amounts of money for lessons and clinics, travel great distances to take lessons, clinics, and show. We buy the products they are sponsored by and we consume their advice with often die hard enthusiasm... and this attitude is what we get in return? If you add up the number of hours we spend at work and then at the barn--we log just as many and probably more hours than those trainers/riders. If you show no respect for your customer (which is ultimately what we are), then the customers leave.

                            His attitute is selfish, arrogant, and elitist. One show designed specifically to be a high profile event for ammies, and he wants to make it into another event we pay for. Rubbish!

                            I'd like to know whether his wallet is big enough to pay for the sport when the rest of us decide not to do it anymore.


                            • #15
                              I do hope this will lead to a BARRAGE of letters to the USEA...

                              Robby, you're exactly right. I'll be voting with my checkbook for the ol' Captain. Voting NO, that is! I'll add him to my very short list of people not to clinic with or support. I do hope the USEA takes offense at this, too...what a snob.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • #16
                                Well, I know Gillian is going (Adavanced) at least in part BECAUSE of the prize money.

                                BUT, if it didn't fit in for her plans leading up to Fair Hill CCI***, she wouldn't go.

                                Other, better funded, professionals might not find the level of prize money sufficient inducement.

                                I guess the question is - If the prize money is enough to attract the "cash starved", less well funded, advanced level riders, but NOT enough to attract the well funded advanced riders, what does that say about it REALLY being a National Championship?

                                But I agree that the way it was stated was VERY poor, if not offensive, wording.

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                • #17
                                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robby Johnson:

                                  Oh well, more steerage members died in Titanic than did the upper classes.

                                  Robby <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                  That you would use this analogy at all really makes me sad--this, from a former lower level eventer who still loves the sport. The times, they are a'changin and this old fart liked it the way it was in days gone bye, before it got so full of itself.

                                  Sigh. Oh, well.
                                  "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                  Spay and neuter. Please.


                                  • #18
                                    I'm thinking that if he ever clinics out here, I'll go in the intermediate section and ask him how he can associate rocket scientists with a lack of common sense. Then again, I event so that makes it a moot point.

                                    I have to admit, I do see his POV like Janet points out. It is also a common attitude among the upper level Grand Prix jumpers I know. They are not going to go places where the prize money is not sufficient to justify the expense (e.g. give them the chance to pay for the entire trip). Now if the competition can assure that the lower levels can be funded to that level as well, then the more power to them.

                                    I think the statement was not meant in the way it was said, but it is too late for that now.



                                    • #19
                                      MP, I didn't follow your post...are you lamenting the analogy itself, (which I thought was pretty sharp, although I hope we're not seeing the USEA as a "sinking ship" over this) the seeming disregard of CMP for the lower level people, or...?
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        I'm lamenting that such an analogy would ever be necessary WRT eventing. The idea of eventing as a sinking ship, that it's gotten too grand to survive, that it has to become something else in order to survive, the fact that the idea of it not surviving would even occur in someone's mind. And CMP's attitude is indicative or perhaps symptomatic of what might ruin eventing as I knew it--the idea that *anyone* is so good that they can't "afford" to give back, even in the sense of appearing at a particular competition. That's always been one of the important difference between eventing and most of the other competitive horse sports.

                                        I remember when the big whigs knew how darned lucky they were, and were more than happy to make a good experience for the little guys. When becomming a big whig was luck and good riding, not a science or a profession. When we all competed on a relatively even footing WRT the expense of it. Maybe that was my own young naivite that saw it that way, but it seems, from the distance of my retirement from it, that it's become much more like a big business, that the little guys drown in the firehose of it, unless they stay at the small, unrecognized events--"where they belong".

                                        Growth is good, of course. It's just a shame that the unity and family-ness gets lost in it.

                                        And, personally, I'm really starting to question whether or not we should stay in the Olympics if the cost is the short form of the three day event. If I want to watch a dressage competition, I'll go to a dressage show. But there's something truely magical about a *Real* event horse that we're in danger of losing, that we soundly lost in Athens, when the heart of the event couldn't save the old-fashioned event horses who couldn't deal with the dixie cups in the wind on dressage day.

                                        Anyhow, what's going on in my mind is obviously a lot larger than CMP's comments about the AEC. I'm just feeling the loss of change right now in a big way.
                                        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                        Spay and neuter. Please.