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Let's Talk About The Mileage Rule

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  • Let's Talk About The Mileage Rule

    I know that the color of show coats and deciding on a show name for your horse are important stuff, but unless there are quality, afforable shows within a reasonable distance to go to, the rest won't matter.

    My opinion:

    The mileage rule protects show managers. It does not help, and it actually hurts, the exhibitor. Due to the makeup of the various boards on the USHJA, show managers, and those sympathetic to them (for whatever reason -- use your imagination here) have had the clout to block any movements to do away with the rule.

    Jump Canada has just drastically limited their Mileage Rule; show managers may "protect" two weeks in one year -- and thats it. (I think I've got that right...)

    That sounds fair to me. I would even feel comfortable in maintaining the Mileage Rule for Heritage shows (Devon, Upperville etc.) Those shows need to be preserved because they are a link to the past and highlight what is so special about our sport.

    But, as for the rest? -- It should be gone. Whatever need it was supposed to fulfill when it was instituted no longer exists. It allows managers to put on mediocre shows charging incredible fees and prices because they do not have any competition. It also forces us to drive hours farther than we should have to -- and with the cost of gas, that is unacceptable.

    With Annual Meetings coming up soon, we need to have our voices heard. No longer should we be the huddled [voiceless] masses. Bitching to each other doesn't change anything. We need to tell TPTB that the MIleage Rule is totally unacceptable and needs to be repealed effective immediately.

    Anyone else want to add their $.02?
    "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

    Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


  • #2
    Not only does it unfairly protect show managers from having other shows pop up in their area, but the BNSM (big name show managers) often seem able to conveniently buy a date from someone else when they want to add a show.

    Take a look at the licensee names on the Blenheim Equisports shows. At least one was once a Huntington Beach show: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/competi...=2011&cid=4977

    Langer Equestrian Group just announced that the two-week series at LAEC is now going to be a three week series, with the last show over Thanksgiving week (along with one that same weekend in Vegas). I don't know if Burbank is too close to Santa Barbara (Turkey show), but it's got to be too close to the existing show that weekend at Industry Hills. So, presumably someone will just buy that date.

    We don't so much have the issue of driving since our barn is kinda close to a number of facilities, but not really close to anything, but I can see that being a problem in some areas.

    And now back to typing my test.
    The Evil Chem Prof

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree completely, this needs to be changed! I am a broke college student who will have to travel out of state next summer to attend some higher-quality shows where there is better footing and safer stabling. I wish that we had more shows to choose from and that the prices wouldn't be so extreme. Really, it should not cost me a quarter's worth of tuition to show my horse for one week! How do we go about getting our voices heard? (True question - I am a newer person to jumpers!)

      Comment


      • #4
        I feel like there are always several options within an hour on any given weekend, and those are rated shows. Now all the rage is fancier schooling shows that have popped up in the same area. How many shows do we need?
        The best sports bras for riders are Anita 5527 and Panache! Size UP in Anita, down in Panache (UK sizing)

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        • #5
          I never frequented the rated circle on any type of regular basis, and have only heard of the mileage rule here on COTH - but my reaction is that it is stuipid. I can see how there would be some "benefits" to it for some people. However I think it does not make much business sense. It's almost like giving the show a monopoly. Last time I checked you can have a Sheetz right next to a WaWa. And it causes competition which makes better services/products for the consumer....which you know, support the business.

          But me being here in SE PA with no close desire or ability to do much beyond the local stuff - I have a whole big list of quality shows to attend. Every weekend if I would so choose. If there is a peition to sign though, I would sign it!

          Comment


          • #6
            It adversely affects other disciplines as well as just H/J. Last year, for the Saddlebred hunters, the Regional Championships for our region were the SAME WEEKEND as the National Championships b/c of date protection. 3 guesses how that one went.

            The whole thing is just absurd.

            If there's one thing that I suspect exhibitors from top to bottom can all agree on, it's getting rid of the mileage rule (though I agree w/ Lord Helpus on protecting heritage shows).

            So, who wants to do the rule change proposal?
            "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

            Comment


            • #7
              Eventing manages to function without the mileage rule.

              The Area Council (kind of analogous to the Zone) makes most of the scheduling decisions, subject to approval by the national office.
              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


              • #8
                You know I'm here! I completely agree with you Lord Helpus, and I have been complaining about this stupid and absurd rule to anyone who would listen including our governing bodies FOR YEARS. I am so glad that Jump Canada appears to be leading the way in the reformation of this ridiculous monopoly that harms our sport. Hopefully we here in the U.S. will soon follow suit.
                ******
                "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
                -H.M.E.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
                  It adversely affects other disciplines as well as just H/J. Last year, for the Saddlebred hunters, the Regional Championships for our region were the SAME WEEKEND as the National Championships b/c of date protection. 3 guesses how that one went.

                  The whole thing is just absurd.

                  If there's one thing that I suspect exhibitors from top to bottom can all agree on, it's getting rid of the mileage rule (though I agree w/ Lord Helpus on protecting heritage shows).

                  So, who wants to do the rule change proposal?

                  I think we need to have a committee person who is against the rule to put in a rule change proposal, don't we? Once we locate such a person, then we can get a petition going.

                  I do not have a clue how to do the part about finding a committee member to initiate the proposal. Does anyone else?
                  "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                  Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
                    I think we need to have a committee person who is against the rule to put in a rule change proposal, don't we? Once we locate such a person, then we can get a petition going.

                    I do not have a clue how to do the part about finding a committee member to initiate the proposal. Does anyone else?
                    Any USEF member can initiate a rule change proposal.
                    You don't need a committee member to make the proposal.

                    But for all practical purposes unless USHJA supports your proposal you haven't got a snowball's chance in you know where...

                    And the people who will be voting on this at the USEF and USHJA conventions are likely to be the same group who this change will negatively impact.

                    Petition won't do a thing.

                    You need to convince show management that dumping this rule would be a good thing.

                    In the long run it probably is the right way to go but in the short run it would cause all sorts of havoc.

                    In some areas the immediate response would probably be more shows than the number of exhibitors can support.This can cause shows to not fill divisions and then shows fail and stop running.
                    Nobody is happy.

                    Perhaps a change to the nuber of miles in between shows would be useful. You know, if it is currently 200 miles, change that to 100.

                    And if there were more B and C shows then the mileage rule problem would not be as much of an issue. In the NE, there are more B and C shows than A shows and that means that every weekend there are many shows all within a reasonable distance of each other.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      About every three or so years somebody starts raving about all the mileage regulations. On the surface it appears to be a problem, but the issues are much more complex than that.
                      The mileage rule will not harm the mega managers that own 5 and more dates per year, especially those that have 3 and 4 weeks in a row. The people that will be hurt if there are changes are the little management teams that try to run a nice A-AA show with 3 or under rings and have a one week show. That is who will fall by the wayside.
                      The rules are not that difficult to conform to for C and B rated shows. There is the rub. In most areas outside of Zone 1 & 2) these shows do not exist in any numbers. Nobody cares to attend them. They prefer to go to unrated shows so they do not have to pay all the membership fees, etc. with the USHJA and USEF that keep escalating. That is who the competition is to the recognized shows.
                      I do not believe that many managers would like to run an AA rated show within 100 miles of another. That is a good way to lose a quick 25K. Years ago we had a number of poorly run A shows that were just so people could get quick points, but that really no longer exists. I only know of a handful of shows that I would call generic.
                      The average person has no idea what it costs to run an AA rated show. it is a crazy amount of money, most that has to be fronted long before the entry/stall $ comes in. I say any body that wants to run an AA rated show step right up. Unless you own your facility and stalls and tents and jumps, etc. it may quickly go the way of the dinasaur. The only ones that can do it are the ones that have full time staff, etc. The numbers do not work.
                      Numbers of people attending A rated shows are not growing.
                      So try running a budget spread sheet for an AA rated show and then tell me you want to step up and run one with another 50 miles away.
                      www.midatlanticeq.com
                      Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival,Scholarships and College Fair
                      November 11-13, 2016

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My zone rep, is also an investor in the local A/AA shows, a well as having a successful training business.

                        The drama here is more around having a trainer be part of the show managemet team that hires the judges.

                        We have an active A/AA system between Portland, Seattle and BC. Eliminating the mileage rule wouldn't do much around here imo because of the cost to run the shows and the small number of facilities capable of hosting 2-500 horses.

                        We don't have a B rated system in the Portland area, but there are some nice shows put on in the Seattle area - but that's 3+ hours from me.

                        Maybe the discussion should be at the zone level and support programs for quality B and C rated systems. Clearly defining the desired outcome by eliminating the mileage rule and what we want the show season to look like is what I'd like to see.
                        www.TackMeUp.com
                        'What's in your trunk?'
                        Free tools for Trainers and Riders

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                        • #13
                          I personally think the mileage rule has outlived its usefulness and now only serves to protect certain show managers who own all the dates and can make everyone else either go to their shows or grovel to share the dates. I'd rather have the competition! At least in this area, where there are so many riders!
                          ~Veronica
                          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
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                          • #14
                            So try running a budget spread sheet for an AA rated show and then tell me you want to step up and run one with another 50 miles away.
                            See my previous post, Chunky. Suppose you were an AA show manager, paid the extra money to USEF, ASHA and the sponsor to offer a regional championship and NOBODY CAME... because the national championship show had protected dates the same weekend that could not be changed...

                            In that scenario, it's us, the exhibitors, who are being penalized, b/c the AA show that offered the regional championship for the Saddlebred hunters was so livid b/c nobody showed up that they cancelled the entire Saddlebred Hunter division. Forever. Which gives us one less chance to qualify for nationals and those opportunities are thin enough on the ground anyway in this zone/region.

                            There's really no excuse for shows to be pretty much FORCED by a USEF rule to d*ck their own exhibitors around.
                            "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chunky munky View Post
                              About every three or so years somebody starts raving about all the mileage regulations. On the surface it appears to be a problem, but the issues are much more complex than that.
                              The mileage rule will not harm the mega managers that own 5 and more dates per year, especially those that have 3 and 4 weeks in a row. The people that will be hurt if there are changes are the little management teams that try to run a nice A-AA show with 3 or under rings and have a one week show. That is who will fall by the wayside.
                              The rules are not that difficult to conform to for C and B rated shows. There is the rub. In most areas outside of Zone 1 & 2) these shows do not exist in any numbers. Nobody cares to attend them. They prefer to go to unrated shows so they do not have to pay all the membership fees, etc. with the USHJA and USEF that keep escalating. That is who the competition is to the recognized shows.
                              I do not believe that many managers would like to run an AA rated show within 100 miles of another. That is a good way to lose a quick 25K. Years ago we had a number of poorly run A shows that were just so people could get quick points, but that really no longer exists. I only know of a handful of shows that I would call generic.
                              The average person has no idea what it costs to run an AA rated show. it is a crazy amount of money, most that has to be fronted long before the entry/stall $ comes in. I say any body that wants to run an AA rated show step right up. Unless you own your facility and stalls and tents and jumps, etc. it may quickly go the way of the dinasaur. The only ones that can do it are the ones that have full time staff, etc. The numbers do not work.
                              Numbers of people attending A rated shows are not growing.
                              So try running a budget spread sheet for an AA rated show and then tell me you want to step up and run one with another 50 miles away.
                              The theory (I spent several years as an antitrust and competition lawyer so this is near and dear to my heart) is not that there will be more shows, but that doing away with the mileage rule will make the shows in existence more competitive from a price perspective.

                              If prices/lack of service get too high, shows would face the threat of new competition, and that concern operates as a real constraint on prices in a well-functioning market. Now, there is no such constraint due in part to the mileage rule and we can see the effects in our show fees.

                              Of course, the entire picture is more complicated than just the mileage rule, but I would be interested to have a good economist do a regression analysis on the numbers. I would not at all be surprised if they don't look so great for the mileage rule and its effects on competition. We will never have access to the necessary data, however, so that's all a matter of theory/conjecture -- it is impossible to say without data how extensive the effects on competition have been.

                              In some markets there may be enough of a base, or a different take on offering a show (the Saratoga jumper shows, etc) that a show manager might choose to offer a new, competing show.

                              And may the best show win. Some of those little shows that might be hurt? They are not awesome shows if they can't draw in clients on their own merits. The only reason they exist still is the mileage rule. We could be replacing them with something better.

                              I think the mileage rule is blatant protectionism at its worst. That is a personal view, however, not legal advice.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post

                                In some markets there may be enough of a base, or a different take on offering a show (the Saratoga jumper shows, etc) that a show manager might choose to offer a new, competing show.

                                And may the best show win. Some of those little shows that might be hurt? They are not awesome shows if they can't draw in clients on their own merits. The only reason they exist still is the mileage rule. We could be replacing them with something better.

                                I think the mileage rule is blatant protectionism at its worst. That is a personal view, however, not legal advice.
                                The little shows that might be hurt may be the ones that run as B and C shows and make showing a lot more affordable.
                                Using the situation in areas that have C and B shows you can go to at least one show a week close by and in the summer as many as 4 shows all within 75 miles of each other.
                                In Zone 2 most of the zone prize winners and those who qualify for zone finals got their points at C and B shows that are designed to only run zone and regional association classes.

                                If the mileage rule goes away there is nothing to stop the mega managers from buying up the licenses for the smaller shows as the little show manager probaby will want out of the game at that point. A consequence in this case might be the end of C and B shows and less exhibitors participating because of the increased expense of an AA rated mega show.

                                There will be many unintended consequences and the problems that surface will be different in each geographic area.

                                Simply ending the mileage rule is not the answer. It requires a lot more thought and planning.

                                War Admiral :
                                If a show manager was so foolish to try and schedule against an established show they should reaiize things might not go so well.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think SA McKee, LH and CM all make valid points. Even though I am in favor of limiting the mileage rule (perhaps through having up to 4-6 weeks protected then phasing out to 2 weeks like Canada over several years), I do recognize that you should be careful what you ask for, because it doesn't mean tomorrow that there will be good shows that are more affordable and it will be sunshine and roses all around. As SA M pointed out, the sort out process will be painful for all involved, and it most likely will mean the larger show managers will outnumber the smaller ones because the larger operations CAN do the things exhibitors want generally more efficiently and for lower unit cost (in theory almost everyone hates the idea of Walmart ... while they shop there). But like LH said, at some point you have to accept that the large managers will then have to compete a little bit more head to head for each other's business. I have no doubt that right now WEF and HITS do compete with each other for business, but maybe right now in it's in the margins of inches not feet?

                                  A few years ago I used to think changing the mileage rule would be as close to a silver bullet as we had for what ailed the industry, no I'm not so sure. I think it's gone so far beyond that with the new economy. Aside from mileage and large show managers, I think the business is chasing away the existing middle class and it's certainly not bringing in new (non wealthy) people in any significant numbers. I just don't think changing the mileage rule is going to significantly affect that problem. CM is right, people would far rather go to a local show than pay that money, and costs are not going to be cut by even 20% if you dump the mileage rule. Chances are cost isn't going down at all. it just will not go forward at the same pace.
                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    So far we have heard from NJ/Pa people who do not have a problem with the status quo because there are already plenty of shows to go to every weekend.

                                    And we have heard fromt her PNW which has a sparse H/J base and huge distances to travel anyway.

                                    What about the middle ground? People who often have to drive 2 hours or more (100 miles in one direction or another) to get to a show?

                                    I agree that this is not an "all or nothing" issue. Two shows cannot exist if they are held within 25 miles of each other. But that is an extreme example that would not happen unless the old show was unbearably bad or the new show was backed by bottomless pockets and was willing to take huge losses to get established. But, within 100 miles?

                                    And the big players who have locked in so many weeks a year that other show managers are shut out? I used to live on the West coast and 20 years ago, it was getting bad. Now I understand it is even worse.

                                    The issue of buying and selling show dates so as to protect your show is becoming outrageous in several areas. I had no idea until recently that this practice existed to the extent it does.

                                    People should not be allowed to "own" and "sell" show dates. Unless a manager can show good reason why a show is not being held for one year, he should lose the date. And the protection should only last for one year.

                                    Dates should be non-transferable to new management groups, unless the location stays the same. And dates should not be protected if the show moves, unless it stays within a small radius (25 miles?) AND the management group stays the same.

                                    The whole concept of people "owning time" is bizarre. They lease the right to hold a horse show in a certain location. As soon as they do not hold that horse show in that location, the privilege ends.
                                    "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                    Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      We could go on and on about all this, but it seems that the real solution is to create a reason that the B and C shows can be attractive to the exhibitor. This is where we should be putting our energies. It works in Zones 1 and 2 for several reasons.
                                      A) Population density
                                      B) Extreme interest in qualifying for the national level medal finals
                                      C) Extreme interest in qualifying for the New England Medal finals
                                      D) Extreme interest in qualifying for Zone 2 Finals, a well run and prestigeous event held at Harrisburg

                                      People do not sell B and C dates. If you want to hold a B or C show in Zone 3 ( which I know is where the OP lives) just start it up.) Make it great, make it something that people want to attend.

                                      It seems to me that if you can't afford to go to the AA shows, then DON"T GO!! The issue is to find a desirable alternative.
                                      Virginia has the VHSA associate program which is a free for all w/ no mileage etc. Many of these shows never fill over half their classes and most bemaon the number of shows running on the same weekend. I am not saying that this program is unsuccessful, but it certainly has its drawbacks. The only shows that seem to make it financialy are those with a location in a very high horse population and those that have many boarders and a large client base that fill all the classes.
                                      I really think that rather than change what is ( which is not likely as you are far from the first one to rally a war cry) to create something new that people want and can afford to attend.
                                      www.midatlanticeq.com
                                      Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival,Scholarships and College Fair
                                      November 11-13, 2016

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by AliCat View Post
                                        I feel like there are always several options within an hour on any given weekend, and those are rated shows. Now all the rage is fancier schooling shows that have popped up in the same area. How many shows do we need?
                                        Pam, I'll give you more then 2 cents worth on this one.

                                        This is part of the problem- what is true in one zone/region is not in another. In zone 5, there are fewer exhibitors overall and they are spread out over alot more area then zones 1 and 2 so no glut of "fancy schooling shows" creating too many shows. Fact there are very few non rated shows offering anything over 2'6" as an alternative to any rated level show at all because the AA rateds now offer all levels. Locals cannot attract enough exhibitors to pay expenses.

                                        Remember that, despite a larger area, there are fewer population centers so any show is going to need to be located near those centers. You can't just pick a point on a map outside that milage limit for a new show...probably not a show horse within 100 miles of alot of that territory.

                                        KHP and Brownland in the neighboring zone 4 (IIRC it's 4) gobble up just about every single week May thru Sept offering everything from GP to 2'. So trainers take the whole barn to the AA instead of splitting the string, no need to send anybody to a local when the same classes are offered (at triple the price) at the AA.

                                        Managers own those dates and can move the location, sell them, buy somebody elses and even cancel it some years and still keep the dates-offering a show only often enough to keep the dates and block anybody else from offering a new rated show.

                                        And NOBODY can offer a nice new exhibitor friendly single A or B show with the behemoth AA mega circuits sitting on every available date protected by that mileage rule. If anybody wants to offer a new non rated, they risk low turnout because most barns are going to the AA.

                                        Vicious circle, unintended I would imagine. But that's where we find ourselves.

                                        It's hurting the business in general by kicking out what used to be the lower and middle levels riders stepped up to the AAs off of. It's also eliminating any lower cost alternative.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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