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Teague's Forum in this Week's Chronicle

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  • Teague's Forum in this Week's Chronicle

    Wow. Am I the only one who found this article to be quite whiny? I rarely disagree with Chronicle articles, but a few points really rubbed me the wrong way in Ms. Teague's forum.

    1. Running horse show IS a business. Why should we feel badly for show managers if they need to network to find sponsors for their classes? Isn't that actually good for horse world - "real world" relations?

    2. Yes, in the "good old days," amateurs didn't receive prize money. But it was a completely different world then anyway. Professionals weren't eligible to compete in the Olympics, there was a much smaller show circuit, shows were less expensive in general, etc. Can we really just apply the prize money rules then to the show world today?

    3. The bottom line is that a show doesn't have to offer prize money to exist. If her shows are as excellent as they sound (no sarcasm - the facilities and atmosphere sound top notch) then they will attract exhibitors anyway.

    4. She writes, "Really what's the sense of making a few bucks ($25 to $125) when the show costs you $500 to $1500 per horse?" My question is, if we are really considering such a small amount of money, who cares if an amateur wins it?

    I do not question Ms. Teague's expertise, but as a young (perhaps naive) amateur, I found this article to be full of self-pity more than concrete solutions.

    Other thoughts? Not trying to start a train wreck...

  • #2
    I have not read the article yet but am following the various tales of woe regarding horse shows being too $$$ , jumps being too low and now amateurs being singled out as having different money issues than pros with a great deal of interest. Something is going to have to give or the show circuit as it is now will go down the toilet. Incredible ammount of $. The horse world defies a lot of logical and ethical rules that most other businesses run by. And now discontent ??? Gee whiz.

    Comment


    • #3
      I also found it a little narcissistic. And as someone who showed in the good ole days, there was often prize money. Not as much as at some shows today, but then my entries didn't run as much either. I guess were all supposed to be money machines. I for one greatly appreciate that classic check defeating hundreds of dollars of entries.

      Comment


      • #4
        Honestly...
        I thought I was going to have to call 911 when I read the title.

        Are you kidding? Prize money is the root of all evil?

        I remember showing in the 1970s in a very remote area of hunter-jumper land. The junior hunter division, the most popular at that time in that area, was four classes: "regular", handy, U/S, and stake.

        The stake was add-back, 50% of the entry fees. Hello, I don't remember the evil at all.

        At the state fair in 1973, my horse had his finest hour, and I won enough money in three classes to pay for the entries, a new pair of Dehner boots, and what was at that time a novelty: a calculator .

        Uh, I do not remember any evil due to the presence of prize money.

        To say that this is so corrupting is absurd. Especially when the author argues that point accumulation is a better reward - YOU ARE KIDDING, RIGHT?

        Any time I've witnessed anything inhumane treatment of show horses, it has been directly related to the point chasing (year end awards) and qualification processes for top shows.

        I must be missing something in the conversation here. If we can't attract the sponsors to the big events, that is a problem, but stopping the $ at lower levels is not the answer to that problem.

        I am so stupified by this op-ed piece that I am seriously considering writing a letter to the editor of the COTH. I've been a reader and subscriber for more than 30 years and have never had this urge.

        Comment


        • #5
          With money so tight for everyone these days and many owners really making sacrifices in other parts of their life to be able to show, prize money is a big incentive! Nice to know you have a shot at winning back at least some of your expenses. I love trophies, ribbons, and stuff as much as anyone else but sure like a nice check once in a while! I woould like to know how best to attract sponsors though.

          Comment


          • #6
            Read that last night and knew it was going to cause a stir.

            There were valid points, but the editors really failed on this one. Maybe they're printed as-is. Anyway, it was just way too personal to present a convincing argument, and did borderline on a certain 'woe is me' feel.

            To answer her question as to why qualifying for Indoors is no longer a driving goal, well, with shows running every weekend all year long now, it really has become a matter of who can afford to go to the most horse shows.

            I think this sudden focus on prize money is distracting us from other issues, and I think that is disruptive. I think some of the new purses are ridiculous, and also an effort by show managers to cover up a fatal flaw they don't particularly want us rooting around in (shows are too big, too long, too expensive and the circuit is turning horses over like a puppy mill. No human athlete would try to keep up with such a schedule).

            I don't think add-backs or token jr/am prize money are the root of all evil, but I can also see how one particularly successful manager jacking up prize money to seriously stupendous amounts further strangles the ability of other shows to compete. There is limited sponsorship in our sport, would be nice to see it spread around a bit more.... thoughtfully.
            Last edited by dags; Apr. 10, 2011, 10:15 AM. Reason: spelling
            EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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            • #7
              Could you please provide a link to Teague's column. I couldn't find it.

              I can't comment on what she said, but I can comment on what I think makes for a great showing experience. I've been going to hunter shows on and off since 1970. And it's not much of a contest on which show has made me feel the most welcome, where I've had the best time, where I can't wait for the next one.

              The Thoroughbred Celebration show that the Virginia Horse Center throws three times a year wins by a mile. And I don't think they even give prize money. They do, however, give lots and lots of prizes. You get a hat for just signing up. Every ribbon winner walks away with something useful. A saddle pad, a gift certificates for grain, a subscription to the new Chron magazine, etc.

              But it's not just the loot. There's always something to eat in the show office: evening meals, morning donuts, a big basket of carrots for the horses (or health nuts).

              But what makes this show the best is how friendly and welcoming everyone is; the show staff, the competitors, the trainers. I've never seen so many smiles at a horse show in 40 years. This is not the atmosphere I've experienced at the big AA shows.

              So prize money is nice, but this show gets what a great boss understands: a raise is important, but just as important are the other ways to show appreciation.

              Comment


              • #8
                I attended the USHJA conveniton this past December. The ongoing mantra was "level the playing field". Apparently the playing field is to be leveled by squashing flat all the lower levels of competition. After spending thousands of hard-earned dollars competing my horse at the 3' level without so much as a penny in return, my trainer and I have discovered a series of horse shows that pay a little back in the 3 foot division. Guess which shows we choose to attend?
                I read this article with some interest, thinking this person is just not in the 21st century. Yes, we used to get silver trophies as prizes, and a lady in a hat, gloves and high heels would present it to us. Now there are more horses than ever were in the days when horses were used as transportation, just as there are 6 billion people on the planet. The times they are a 'changin', and the horse show managers that change with the times will be successful. What's wrong with earning a few dollars in the 3' division? As for losing one's amateur status, the prize is awarded on the horse's ability, not the rider. On the whole, an interesting take on running a horse show, but hardly relevant.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There were add-back jumper classes both at local h/j shows and the fair 30 years ago in the midwest.

                  Shows were shorter and more fun. There wasn't an extra fee for showing over 3'6" in the jumpers.

                  I could see how show business costs have risen dramatically since then but maybe if show managers keep complaining and making money on the backs of amateurs, we can migrate to a system more like Europe has. Shows on the weekends, fun, friendly atmosphere.
                  www.TackMeUp.com
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                  Free tools for Trainers and Riders

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                  • #10
                    I don't know which shows Teague showed in, but the AA shows I competed in, in the '80's had prize $$ in A/O hunters and jumpers. In fact, I figured a show was 'worth it' if the entry fees were 10% of division prize $$. I didn't always win all my entry fees back, but could put a pretty good dent in them. In the mid to late 70's there was always a stake class in each division, too.
                    I get the feeling she has a really selective memory...
                    "I never met a man I didn't like who liked horses." Will Rogers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here We Go Again!

                      I found it interesting (to say the least) to read Teague's Op Ed article in this week's COTH. Interesting, because her article supports the editor's opinion (as well USEF President O'Conner's position) that amateurs shouldn't receive prize money at recognized horse shows. What I found most annoying about Teague's article was her complaining about having to find sponsors to contribute prize money. The first thought that came to my mind was why isn't she charging enough entry fees to cover costs, including prize money? Typically at the large recognized shows in the US, only the "big money" classes such as the Grand Prix and hunter derbies are sponsored. Those classes, with the big money prizes (and sponsors) tend to be the classes with more professional riders. So, how is the problem that Teague is encountering in finding sponsors for her horse show classes going to be solved by eliminating prize money for amateur divisions?

                      As long as amateurs dominate the exhibtors at rated shows, amateurs are generating the revenues to pay for the horse shows, including the prize money. How willing would horse show managers be to reduce the entry fees for amateur divisions in exchange for eliminating prize money? I doubt there would be many horse show managres who would be willing to do so, because the amatuer divisions are the cash cows. Instead of charging the typical $175 per division in entry fees for the adult hunter division and awarding $500 total in prize money (at which 3 entries is break even), would show managers be willing to reduce the entry fees to $75 per division in exchange for awarding no prize money? I think the majority of amatuers would be willing to accept no prize money in exchange for significantly reduced entry fees, however, none of the proponents of eliminating prize money for amatuer divisions has also advocated reducing the entry fees accordingly. Basically, those advocating eliminating prize money for amatuers are, in my opinion, being dishonest in their arguments. Horse show managers know that the amatuer exhibitors are contributing the majority of the horse show revenues; those advocating the elimination of awarding prize money to amateur divisions are advocating the redistribution of horse show prize money to the "elite" higher level professional divisions at the expense of the amatuer exhibitor. As they say in Arkansas "a pig in lipstick is still a pig".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When I was a junior in the mid to late 80s a basic goal with my horses was to win back our show costs (all of them, if possible) in the green and junior divisions. I have no idea why this would be considered a bad thing!
                        You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          yep, back in the 80's you could win back your whole weekend (stalls,entries..etc) if you were champion in a rated division. Now you are lucky to pay for the division if you win every class....
                          "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                          carolprudm

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                          • #14
                            Frankly we are totally motivated by prize money.
                            We attended WEF this year and if not for having to ship so far is cost less than Atlanta .
                            WEF show bill was around $300 after prize money.
                            Atlanta Classic CO was $500 after prize money and we won 4 out of five classes! Could not even win back the class fees if won all five classes.
                            Seriously, we decided not to do the warm up and do the classic, because the warm up was $40 and the classic was $50 and paid $500 in prize money, we won $150 in that class.
                            This was all in the pregreens BTW.
                            If prize money does not INCREASE in the hunters we are going to show alot less!
                            Now I shop around prize lists to see what the costs are and the prize money.
                            Oh, also in Atlanta we brought our baby green his bill was $650 with no options of course to win any money, but that's alot of money for one week to bring along a baby.
                            http://community.webshots.com/user/summitspringsfarm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It seems to me that the big ol' elephant in the room is the HITS franchise and other large, for-profit horse shows.

                              Those guys will, by God, make a profit. That goes unmentioned in these other more superficial discussions about how money is generated and distributed.

                              Do I have this wrong? It seems to me that things were different when large shows-- Devon, Menlo Charity and others were dedicated to raising money for a cause.

                              It seems to me that knowingly or unknowingly the USEF and BNTs who populate committees have gotten in bed with the show managers. While it's not wrong to deny anyone a right to make a buck in principle, the advent of a show industry that wants a lot of money to go to managers does drive up the cost. Trainers who can induce clients to spend at these venues are doing ok. They'll continue to do ok and so will show managers so long as clients keep showing where they are told to. But it was always the client making up the difference. I suspect that trainers who can't get their clients to ship to the big, expensive shows don't have a large voice in this. I don't know where the rest of us, the paying John Q. Public have anything more than an indirect vote which we cast with our feet and wallet.
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think things did not change so linearly as the above posts would have us believe. It used to be the horse shows were almost all charity events. They were put on by the Shriners and the Sertoma Club and used volunteers. The concession stand was a Shriner with his grill and a cooler and no health inspection in sight.

                                The rings were dirt, or were roped off fields. There was no dragging, no footing, no watering of the rings. There was no professional horse show manager or technical coordinator, no professional jump crew, no professional announcers, no course designers. We didn't jump jumps made out of flower boxes and panels and fancy standards. We jumped jumps with poles made out of saplings and straw bales and plain wing standards.

                                Things gradually got more and more technical because when you went to a show with the good footing and the fast jump crew and smart announcers, you could tell the difference. Instead of doing the work themselves, charities began hiring the managers to do it, who in turn hired the people to fill in the gaps. Let's face it. when was the last time you waited for the jump crew to finish in one ring before coming to the other? Naturally, all these people working would like to get paid.

                                The show manager has no intention of working for free, nor should he. They do, however, want to cut costs and maximize profits, like any good business. That comes out of the wallets of the exhibitors. I would think horse show profits are pretty good, considering you can see a manager put on a horse show year after year at the same location on the same date and draw maybe 100 horses.

                                None of this was too much of an issue when the economy was good. Now, however, every little bit matters so the costs of showing and where the money goes is now put under a microscope.
                                *****
                                You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

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                                • #17
                                  Begrudging the amateurs a paltry amount of payback in prize money is certainly biting the hand that feeds you, show managers. Nobody denies the fact that professionally managed and well run shows deserve to make money, but we all know that funding horse showing rides largely on the back of the adult amateur and children's hunter divisions (or their "modified" counterparts at 2'6"). To deny those cash cow divisions at least the fantasy of being considered worthy of a check at the end of the weekend is a poor marketing strategy at best.
                                  "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
                                  Rainy
                                  Stash

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                                  • #18
                                    I did find the POV a little odd. Running shows are her BUSINESS. If business is tough, well, that's a shame (especially because it sounds like the facility ROCKS) but perhaps this business model doesn't make sense for her. Perhaps she'd be happier running schooling/non-USEF shows and not being constrained by those rules? I dunno... I had a little trouble understanding the POV of the writer, no one's FORCING her to hold rated shows.
                                    ~Veronica
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                                    • #19
                                      The article did come across as "O woe is me" and I am probably going to get beat down for this, but if you are showing on the basis of hopefully winning back all/part of your entry fees are you really showing because you enjoy the sport? Or are you just putting the mileage on a horse to hopefully sell in the future? Yes the prize money is nice, but I enjoy looking at that ribbon and remembering how I kicked butt that day on my grade horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ammydreams View Post
                                        Wow. Am I the only one who found this article to be quite whiny? I rarely disagree with Chronicle articles, but a few points really rubbed me the wrong way in Ms. Teague's forum.

                                        1. Running horse show IS a business. Why should we feel badly for show managers if they need to network to find sponsors for their classes? Isn't that actually good for horse world - "real world" relations?

                                        2. Yes, in the "good old days," amateurs didn't receive prize money. But it was a completely different world then anyway. Professionals weren't eligible to compete in the Olympics, there was a much smaller show circuit, shows were less expensive in general, etc. Can we really just apply the prize money rules then to the show world today?

                                        .
                                        The author's statements regarding the availability of prize money in the late 80s is factually incorrect. I had horses competing on the A circuit during the same time frame in the green conformation hunters (like Teague) as well as the Regular Conformation and Junior Hunter divisions and the prize money was very significant (top placings in a division would bring several thousand dollars). The entry fees were also very significant for these shows, which helped fund the prize money. The reason amateurs could accept prize money is that the awards are deemed attributable to the horse's performance, not that of the rider.
                                        Roseknoll Sporthorses
                                        www.roseknoll.net

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