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Understanding Craig Thompson's arguments about pros in eventing?

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  • Understanding Craig Thompson's arguments about pros in eventing?

    Can we discuss this--because I read the article (COTH, Nov. 9) with interest, but there were many things mentioned that I simply don't understand well enough to consider.

    What exactly is the nature of an "add back," for example? I notice how CT uses the term in reference to urging pros to themselves invest in the sport, but because I don't understand the term, I don't understand how add backs would do that.

    Also, aren't there rider's representatives on committees--somewhere? Is it that they are on some committees, but not on others--like those involved in scheduling events?

    And by the following, did he mean NOT to do drug testing--or only do them at some levels--and if so, which ones and/or when?

    Had a riders’ association been consulted it is not impossible to imagine that instead of drug testing of horses at all levels, funded by an entry surcharge as we currently have, we might instead have had a surcharge that funded prize money, footing research or promotional campaigns, all of which would be more useful.
    And what would be the advantages and/or disadvantages to allowing riders (as a group) to overrule the ground jury at events? Is CT correct when he indicates that...

    Quite often a ground jury member has less experience than most active, professional riders.
    Just out of curiousity, what kinds of things have occurred because of that, if it's accurate?

    And just one more:
    In turn [after receiving a loan to improve facilities/courses] the USEA and USEF could require events that want to be sanctioned to invest a percentage of their annual gross back into the venue.
    Again, I'm asking because I'm ignorant, OK? There's a conversation on the H-J board (or there was) similar to this: how much money do events make?

    Anyway, that's jsut the beginning. It is a wonderfully long and in-depth article that brings up just a huge, huge number of issues. Kudos to him for writing it -- he states some very challenging things that show quite a lot of courage, IMO -- but what about those things? With the convention coming up, I'm intrigued by the issues (in a living-vicariously way, since I can't even attend the convention, boo-hoo).
    Last edited by pwynnnorman; Nov. 11, 2007, 06:51 PM.
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

  • #2
    My first impression was that Craig thinks that the "pros" are poorly represented on the various boards.
    So my second thought was, well, this is a democracy, so state your case, run for office, and if you have a compelling enough case, you`ll get elected onto those boards whose leadership you question.
    Then you`ll be in a position to effect change, instead of feeling left out.
    http://www.tamarackhill.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      I've also read Craig's article with interest. Like Wynn, I think he does raise some valid issues, and I too admire him for asking tough questions, whether or not I personally agree with the potential answers they might evoke.

      I sit on a number of USEA committees, and I would like to add a sidebar to one of his observations. Committees are constantly seeking, for lack of a better description, high profile upper level riders to become involved because it is imperative that the voices of these active athletes be heard. With a few exceptions, however, committee members are often disappointed by the participation by these individuals in the ensuing meetings, conference calls, e mail exchanges, etc. They are busy people, granted. So are we, but many of us manage to make time.

      So Craig, in reality, you guys aren't excluded. We just don't hear you because frequently, you aren't there!

      Flutie

      Comment


      • #4
        I've not read the article, but I would comment that in my experience, it's tremendously easy to get involved if someone wants to. The riders who have wanted to get involved contribute alot. Karen O'Connor has been a member of USEF Eventing Technical committee, I think she's been on the BOG, and is seriously involved with ICP. Darren Chiacchia has given enormous amounts of time to the Professional Horseman's Council and the Young Event Horse program. Bonnie Mosser, Gina Miles, and many others have run seminars at convention. Other upper level riders who have time are on committees, serve as rider representatives at events, work hard to further the ICP and YEH programs, and work with USEF, including folks like Erik and Sara Dierks, Allison Springer, Bobby Costello, and many others. The half star grew out of the Area II adult riders, was supported by thousands of hours of hard work by both the amateurs and the many, many professionals and ULRs who donate time and money every year, and buoyed by Denny and Kevin Baumgardner's task force, which included both dedicated amateurs and professionals. Across the country, it has become a hugely successful program (supported by the amazingly hard work of USEA's staff and all of the organizers and volunteers who bust their tails to make them very special events).

        In short, I suspect that if folks want to become involved, there's alot of room to have at it, and in most instances, ULRs re involved because they choose to be. Does it take a time commitment? Sure. But I'd be darned if I'd ever see someone saying nope, don't need you. It's more the other way around - like Flutie, I can recall several times begging upper level riders to become involved (or drafting them outright).
        Last edited by GotSpots; Nov. 13, 2007, 08:34 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          The add back, I think of this idea as the check boxes on you tax return. Make it optional if you want to pay an $10 for the local animal shelter or ICP program, etc.

          The GJ has less experience than ULR, like Bruce Davidson. Ummm, your point? There are rules, the GJ is the enforcer of the rules, period. Like my hubby is a cop. We he has to bust a drunk driver who flailing around, peeing on themselves, it's the law that this person gets locked up. And the hubby has never been busted DUI nor peeing on himself (just bushes and inanimate objects). But he's the enforcer of the laws. He knows the laws, procedures, and actions needed to enforce them. The drunk person obviously doesn't.

          Events don't make sh-. All the blood sweat and tears that the organizers and others do is out of shear enjoyment of holding the event. That said, if they are wise, they WILL give back to the venue so they can keep holding events at that venue.
          As far as representation of the ULR's, who said they were excluded? I mean really. The majority of ULR's do not have a lick of time to spend on committees and what-not. They don't have the well-oiled barn machines like the O'Connors. They all strive for that, sure. But they are not there yet. It's enough to keep the barn up and compete!
          I like that C.T. is giving us some thought provoking articles. He's definitely an idea man. One will certainly hit the mark.
          Even duct tape can't fix stupid

          Comment


          • #6
            The only circumstance I can think of (and I am certainly not in the know so there could be lots of others for all I know) where ULRs' knowledge/perspective/whatever came up against the GJ and perhaps should have won out, was Burghley a few years ago (think it was Burghley) where the rider representatives protested one of the jumps and its safety. IIRC, the GJ may have made a modification but not the one the riders wanted and the fence ended up causing several falls and injuries (I think that is where one of Jan Byyny's horse fell and broke a couple of ribs?). I may be misrembering this incident. In a jump safety context, the ULR's may indeed have more and better experience than the GJ. However, having some sort of procedure for rider's overruling the GJ would be very sticky to set up in a way that does not have serious and unintended results.
            And if he is advocating cutting drug testing and using those fees for prize money- big emphatic no on that one. yes the prize money generally stinks in this sport and that makes it hard on the pros- but dumping drug testing?! uhn-uhn
            There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

            Comment


            • #7
              I think the Add Back is a little different from what Lisa described. I've seen it in a few Omnibus listings where one division is designated as an Add Back and everyone entering that division pays an additional amount of money to create a prize fund for that division. So if thirty riders enter and pay an additional $10, there is $300 dollars in prize money for that division. It's basically gambling that you will place high enough to win back more than you invested in the prize pool.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by denny View Post
                My first impression was that Craig thinks that the "pros" are poorly represented on the various boards.
                So my second thought was, well, this is a democracy, so state your case, run for office, and if you have a compelling enough case, you`ll get elected onto those boards whose leadership you question.
                Then you`ll be in a position to effect change, instead of feeling left out.
                ditto.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Agree, his article is challenging and it was very courageous to put these items on the table.

                  It has been years since I did a 'horse show', such as western pleasure + timed events, etc. But at those shows the prize money was based in part by the number of entries. So if 15 folks entered the barrel race at 10.00 each that is 150.00. Say 1/2 goes back to the show committee for expenses and the remaing 75.00 is available for prize money to be added to the funds already stated. Not much money for one class, but if you have timed event horses and enter 3-4+ classes (barrels, pole bending, etc) you can make a little profit.
                  I believe that is what he is advocating - the competitors pay an increased entry fee expecting all or part of the increase to go the 'pot'. The 'pot' will be added to the stated prize money and divided amongst the winners. So the more entries, the greater the prize money.

                  The un-intended consequences of riders overruling the GJ makes my head spin. There are processes already in place if competitors believe an official is 'unsafe'. Also when in doubt go home - that speaks volumes. True you have to foreit your entry - but what is more important when safety is involved - money or yours & your horse's health?

                  I don't really understand where he is going with the drug testing comment. Best to hear from him.

                  As for most of the remaining comments - I agree with others, either ask to be on the committees or partner with current committees members. Present your thoughts and concerns to those members so they will be presented to the complete committee. It is like voting - if you don't make time to go to the polls, don't complain about who is in office.
                  And we all have to deal with time, money and relationship restraints, pros and ammys alike.
                  "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                  Courtesy my cousin Tim

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    bambam, I _think_ the incident you refer to was at Burghley the year my trainer ran there (2 or 3 years ago) -- WFP, as rider rep, wanted them to either shorten distance or raise optimum time on steeplechase because of the very heavy going, and to provide an option at one of the last complexes on the course, where there was no option.
                    I think both of these request were declined. There was actually a fatality (rider) at the complex in question the next day, in addition to a number of other problems. The footing was apparently very, very tiring for the horses around the course.

                    Other than this incident, I am not aware either of what sorts of problems occur with riders vs. GJs of this sort. In any event, the protocol for an FEI level event might not transfer to the local event. Dunno. I hope us non-subscribers can get a chance to see Craig's article -- sounds like lots of fodder for discussion.
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The ULRider may have more experience RIDING.
                      But, in general, the GJ has more experience officiating.

                      How are you going to decide WHICH riders "get to over-rule" the GJ?

                      If officials demonstrate bad judgement, there are already procedures in place- you can send a letter, or an evaluation form, to the Licensed Officials Committee. (This is copmpletely separate from the event evaluation form).
                      Janet

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "... How are you going to decide WHICH riders "get to over-rule" the GJ?"

                        The loudest and most obnoxious!

                        :-)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flutie1 View Post
                          "... How are you going to decide WHICH riders "get to over-rule" the GJ?"

                          The loudest and most obnoxious!

                          :-)
                          and there lies the problem (or at least one of many that pop to my mind in contemplating allowing this)
                          and asterix is correct that is the event I was thinking of- I could not remember if it was the complex where the rider was killed and so did not want to mention it
                          There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The definition of irony:

                            A pro feels that they are underrepresented on committees. The lower level riders feel that the USEF does not appropriately support the non-high performance riders.

                            Reed

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                            • #15
                              EEEK, Reed. You give me a migraine! Just wait 'til the results of next year's massive Maui tree planting!


                              The sad thing is, your ironical observation it totally right on.

                              Sigh ..............

                              flutie

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I liked the article, this does not mean that I agree with all of the content. The fact that Craig is thinking about these issues so much that he took the time to write about them, tells me he is serious. And I apprecitate that. I think it is a good thing to get the communication lines open and to get people talking about the direction of the sport that we all love so much.

                                Regarding not drug testing at all levels. I totally agree. Is it really necessary to drug test at the BN/N/T levels? Really, what is the point in this? These levels are not recognized by the USEF. And if someone is using illegal substances at these levels then they are going to get weeded out by the time they get to Preliminary. Why not give the starter/drug fee from these levels right back to the event to use in bettering footing, building a few new jumps, etc. Definately food for thought.

                                The other thought that hit home for me was about the riders vs. the ground jury. This is a sticky situation. I don't know how in the world you could even begin to figure out the logistics of a rule like this, but agree there needs to be one. As an example; I was at an event early last spring. The start of the cross-country for the A/I horses was delayed for about 45 minutes because of sun glare. Good decision. The next morning the sun was just as bad for the start of the P/T/N divisions. The ground jury chose to start on time. Several of the first P rides were ULR's on their younger horses. They called the TD over and asked her to please delay the start because of the glare. She assured everyone that the course was safe. So one of the ULR's said "are you sure jump #4 is safe? Your jumping directly into the sun. We can't even see the warm-up jumps that are pointed that way. So she went out and looked at it. Had the ground crew MOVE the jump to a different angle. She came back to the warm-up and told the rider's the jump had been moved. They were like "moved? how do we know what line to take now? We've already walked the course and now it's different." So then, they asked about another jump and wanted her to go look at it. She came back and reported that she thought and I quote "it's safe enough" The riders were like "safe enough?" She said "oh come on, you fox-hunt, are you telling me you can't jump a fence with a little glare on it" The riders said "no, we can't" Anyways, this went on and on. They ended up having her go check out several more jumps that were pointing east. So, in the end, they got their way because they had the TD running around the course for about 45 minutes checking this and that. The riders were absolutely RIGHT. They were the ones putting the safety of themselves and their horses on the line. The TD was absolutely WRONG. I just kept thinking that I was so glad that it was a group of ULR's, because no way would the TD have listened to anyone else. She barely listened to them. Nor, do I think a group of amatuer riders would have had the nerve to call out a TD.
                                http://s471.photobucket.com/albums/rr80/gotime2008/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My 2 cents...

                                  Drug testing the lower levels is important. Few upper level horses will last for long at all if they are relying on forbidden substances...however, one can certainly imagine a scenario where a novice or training packer is kept (ilegally) sound enough on bute, etc and wins its way around a season. Just because the horse will never go prelim doesn't make it fair to the other novice/training riders who are competing on unmedicated horses. The basic principles of sportsmanship and safety should apply to our lowest levels as well as our highest.

                                  Allowing riders to "outvote" the ground jury seems very, very shady. This also seems to very much favor the big-name pros who have more influence, more competing students, etc, etc. I can imagine a scenario where you have a BNR in 1st place lobbying for a speed reduction on xcountry because of "poor footing" when in fact they don't want to run their horse that fast on a particular weekend, but they don't want to sacrifice the win. In a sport that can be very political at the upper levels, I can imagine a lot of pressure for the B-tier upper level riders to vote along with the BNRs in a way that could very much alter the competition. I think that if you don't like the way officials officiate, you should get involved in the process we use to train them. Otherwise you should let them do their job, which is to keep the playing field as safe and level as possible.

                                  The bottom line- if you think something is unsafe and that you know better than the ground jury, you should stick to your guns: by slowing down, taking the option, or scratching and coming to play another day. That can feel crummy- I know, because I've given up wins that way- but that's sports.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    GoTime,
                                    Sounds yucky! I know I've mentioned a couple of times about jumps. One, I got the shaft (and rightly so after jumping it swimmingly well) and the other was omitted. This was before rider reps came into play. Sorry it's like that but I've felt otherwise. Maybe because all the td's around here know I have a big mouth. I also present it in such a way as asking a question about a jump and returning with my thoughts.
                                    I've found that the GJ, judges, organizers, etc. are people and really don't mean any harm or bad feelings. aahhh, getting on my soapbox ...
                                    Anyway, around here, there are some unscrupulous people who do drug horses. Unfortunate and stupid at the lower levels but true. I've been questioned before on a particularly athletic looking OTTB who was falling asleep all the time. Nope, just watch the idiot on x-c and you'll see.
                                    Oh yeah, I wanted to add another way of thinking about the pro thing. I discuss with my instructor certain topics that would affect her or her operation and ask her opinion. She doesn't have time to sit down and write responses or articles about whatever topic it is. She knows my big mouth and I will try to project what her responses are because I support her and wouldn't want to see anything jeopardize her aspirations. I'm sure there are others out there that do the same.
                                    Even duct tape can't fix stupid

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      "... Is it really necessary to drug test at the BN/N/T levels?"

                                      This comment scares the living hell out of me!

                                      (note to blackwly - bute is legal up to a certain amount until one gets to the FEI level)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        [quote=flutie1;2797921

                                        The sad thing is, your ironical observation it totally right on.


                                        flutie[/quote]
                                        But maybe that is a good thing. If BOTH "sides" think the other has the better deal, it may actually be a good balance!
                                        Janet

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

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