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  • Please can we start an Appy thread? Every once in a while, we need to show off our Appies. I started the last one -- someone else do it?
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

    Comment


    • hmm...I did just get some nice new pictures of my App.
      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
      ¯ Oscar Wilde

      Comment


      • Well, then Paradox, I am waiting to see yours and show off mine!
        Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
          I hear ya. But horses are not my business. They are my hobby. If showing stops being fun and I encounter enough people associated with the h/j industry that are unethical, money grubbing a-holes...well, I'll just go somewhere else and spend my money doing things I like. At the end of the day, it is going to be up to the do-good professionals in the industry to clean up the mess so that people like me might want to and/or be able to show again and fund the industry that you make your living in.
          Amen... hard to justify a hobby, which is supposed to be enjoyable, when there is so much crap associated with it.

          Comment


          • I ride because I want to. I am not showing but I do take lessons and have my horse ridden by my trainer. It is for "ME" no one else... I used to show and it seemed a bit different long ago... More fun divisions not as competitive then it is now. Without those little 4-h shows it would have been no fun at all.... Horses are expensive so we better enjoy it. My trainer could careless if I ever went to a show but that I ride properly and safely.. Even with my DD...
            There is nothing wrong with moving on but make sure you like where you are going or you might find yourself where you have been....
            Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
            Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
            "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
              You know, this is interesting, because the H/J trainer I've been with for many, many (many!) years has put on a couple of schooling shows every year. Courses like you'd see at A shows ('stuff', flowers, etc), Hunter & Eq courses, two nice indoor arenas - one for show, one for warm up, affordable, and on a ticket system (1 ticket = 1 ride, first round judged, go as often as you want) from x-poles to 3'6". And she can't get trainers to come support it. It's unreal.

              The area I'm in has no more B Circuit, a few fun shows (which are rapidly growing), and not much else. Everything was wiped out about 15 years ago.
              I would love to come to something like this! I'm in WA, please share where these shows are held. You can PM me if you wish

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
                Then don’t get me started on the classes. Now there are the usual Hunter Classes, Plus all the divisions in between , to the point that every three inch increment has a division complete with champion and reserve. And now they add Cross Poles. At an “A” show? Really? So now Mom and Dad can spend an obscene amount of money on a pony so DD can show at an “A” Rated show and bring home lots of pretty ribbons. Seriously?

                There is also the fact that by the time we separate out by age, fence height, and horse or pony, none of the divisions have more than 7 people entered. So basically, everybody gets a trophy. A trainer can bring 20 horses to a show, and yet nobody has too big of a division so that everybody can go home happy and feeling good about how much they’ve won.

                I was volunteering at a show and was helping organize the championship ribbons and coolers. There are so many now that the ribbons are printed with a generic title like ‘Children’s Hunter’ so it can be used for different age groups, or ‘low’ or ‘high’, and if it isn’t used this year, it can be used next year. The coolers only have the shows name, not the division. We have cheapened the sense of achievement of winning, even while upping the cost to an astonishing degree.

                Even the whole saddle question is irritating. Please tell me why everybody and their uncle has to have a custom saddle? Do we really have so much money than somebody who rides twice a week, and weekends at shows really needs a custom saddle? I know people who have never spent that much money on a horse, yet still manage to do just fine.
                Y'all seem a little disappointed in the lack of opposing viewpoints so I'll offer mine.

                Not sure I understand your beef with the increase in divisions and smaller entries per division. It seems like you'd rather have 30 horses in one division than 7 or 8 horses each in four divisions. Why is that?

                I showed at Ocala this year in one of the 3" increment divisions you complained about - the low AOs. There were 33 in the division and it was not age grouped. I didn't pin and the class was so huge I have no idea if we were 10th or 33rd. Sure I like to get a pretty ribbon as much as the next person, but beyond the ribbon, a smaller division gives the riders a better understanding of how competitive they were (or not competitive).

                Regarding your point about cross poles at an A show, why is that so awful? Is it the money or that such tiny jumps shouldnt be seen at A shows? Don't most A shows also offer lead line classes? No one seems to get upset about leadline. Cross poles may be really easy for you but they are a challenge to the riders in that class.

                I was in Gulfport a couple of years ago and they had a lot of "opportunity" classes. I was in the photographer's trailer and a woman was looking at her pictures. She was thrilled! I looked over her shoulder and saw pics of her over cross rails. This lady was so darn excited. It warmed my heart to see someone enjoying our sport so much.

                Horse showing is about a lot of things - competition, camaraderie, testing what you've learned, gaining experience, etc and, yes, fun. What is wrong with people having fun over cross poles or watching their little ones jump some cross poles?

                I agree with some of your overall sentiment. This is a crazy sport with insane amounts of money being spent on completely indulgent pursuits.
                ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~

                Comment


                • Good post Snaffle.


                  I really have no issue with people moving on from one horse activity to start enjoying another. I just do not see the point of bashing the one you left.

                  I used to do the hunter thing. I was younger then, now my life does not allow me the time or the money so I just enjoy my horse time in other ways. Shrug.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by snaffle635 View Post
                    Y'all seem a little disappointed in the lack of opposing viewpoints so I'll offer mine. .

                    No, actually, not disappointed at all, just a little . . . amazed.

                    I've been thinking a lot about your post and in general, I agree, there isn't anything wrong with people enjoying what they are doing, or where they are doing it. So, I tried to isolate what was bothering me.

                    I think it boils down to two main things - that by adding cross rails, the multitude of divisions, and all the millions of low and intermediate classes, we have first, eliminated those that aren't wealthy enough to play.

                    I'm sure the lady who was looking at her cross poles photos was thrilled, and I'm truly glad for her. But by having that division in a large circuit, we've eliminated the meaningful places for people to go who can't afford to show a circuit. Esentially we've made the shows the large department stores, rather than the special boutiques. There is no B or C circuit anymore (except in some select places as pointed out in posts above) so if you can't afford to show at those places, where do you go? You go elsewhere.

                    I've pointed out that I'm not wealthy, but neither am I poor. I'm solid middle class, and for years, could afford to play. I can't now. Period.

                    This is sheer economics, and the free market is going the direction that it will. But again, the problem is that by catering to a few, the market is eliminating many, and ultimately that will be the show ring's downfall.

                    Secondly, the 'everybody gets a trophy scenario'. If you want compitition, you have to have numbers. Otherwise, it isn't compitition. I always felt rather stupid when I was champion or reserve in a division of 5-7 people. I was pleased, don't get me wrong, winning is winning, but I always had a sensed that it didn't mean as much. When we dumb down compitition, we make it worth much less. Hence the 'pick your own prize', or the ribbon 'buy-back' programs. They aren't bad, but they do show that displaying the tangible award of your achievement isn't important. Hence, the winning means very little.

                    I hope I've explained what I'm feeling here. I don't begrudge anybody their winning, their joy, their participation. More power to them. I'm just still trying to work you how I'm feeling, and frankly, this thread is helping a lot.
                    The truth is always in the middle.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                      I really have no issue with people moving on from one horse activity to start enjoying another. I just do not see the point of bashing the one you left.

                      I used to do the hunter thing. I was younger then, now my life does not allow me the time or the money so I just enjoy my horse time in other ways. Shrug.
                      I'm not bashing it. I'm sorry, I was hoping I was making that clear. I'm still very involved with my H/J barn, our retired horse lives there, I have friends there, and help my long time trainer put on shows, etc.

                      But my point is that when I wanted to start riding again after a year off, there was no place for me. I can't afford to show, or buy a nice horse, or even board at the full rate. I considered buying an OTTB for my trainer to ride and show, and me to ride at home, but I just can't justify it. It's just to damn expensive. So I voted with my feet, and my riding money is going into a different discipline that I can afford.

                      I'm still shocked at how many like me have done this. Quietly. Unobtrusively. Silently. And nobody seems to notice. The base of the pyramid is turning to sand, destroying the support, but nobody at the top seems to notice.

                      There will always be H/J shows. But they will have a smaller and smaller pool of people, who will own more and more numbers of horses. The one person, one horse exhibitor is still there, but we're seeing it less. The people who show the smaller divisions are buying more and more expensive horses in order to compete. It's an economic deathspiral, with the base disappearing. Now, of course, it will take decades for this to happen, but we're seeing the beginning. The response to this thread is really making it obvious to me. And the industry is short sighted if it ignores it.

                      Now frankly, I love the Hunters. Always have. And I'll watch and enjoy. And I'll watch the derbies with interest, and really enjoy a beautifully jumping horse. But my money is going elsewhere. I'll support an industry that wants me. There are problems and issues with every industry, but at least I'm going in with my eyes open.
                      The truth is always in the middle.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by believetobe View Post
                        I would love to come to something like this! I'm in WA, please share where these shows are held. You can PM me if you wish
                        Check your PMs
                        The truth is always in the middle.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
                          I'm still shocked at how many like me have done this. Quietly. Unobtrusively. Silently. And nobody seems to notice. The base of the pyramid is turning to sand, destroying the support, but nobody at the top seems to notice.
                          I would say this has been going on long before you or I did it. There is always people leaving and new people coming in. Like the lady tickled pink about her cross rail class.

                          Maybe I look at it differently because in my area there are several places for people to show that are not big time rated shows so I do not see the adding of the lower division as ruining something for those who do not want to go the rated route. I see it more as a way that Mom now has a division and so does her daughter (either one could be the beginner) and they can go to the same shows.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                            I would say this has been going on long before you or I did it. There is always people leaving and new people coming in. Like the lady tickled pink about her cross rail class.

                            Maybe I look at it differently because in my area there are several places for people to show that are not big time rated shows so I do not see the adding of the lower division as ruining something for those who do not want to go the rated route. I see it more as a way that Mom now has a division and so does her daughter (either one could be the beginner) and they can go to the same shows.
                            We really don't have much. We have a few local shows that are packed. Those few are supported by the local trainers. They are maybe 3-4 per year? We have other who are trying to get something started, but they really just can't get things going.

                            And it doesn't help that we live in Microsoft land. So those that have money have LOTS.

                            But I do think you're right - This has been going on for a long time. But it just seems there are more people leaving, in greater numbers than before. It's really be commented on in our local area.

                            It isn't so much offering the classes, it's the sheer numbers. Every division from cross poles up has it's low, it's hunter division, it's equitation division, it's warm up division. How about learning to ride at home, and keeping the work 'show' in Horse Show. But that's an old arguement that's been done to death in many other threads, and the economic realities of today's trainer are very different.
                            The truth is always in the middle.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
                              I hope I've explained what I'm feeling here. I don't begrudge anybody their winning, their joy, their participation. More power to them. I'm just still trying to work you how I'm feeling, and frankly, this thread is helping a lot.
                              TB, thanks for the reply. I do have a better understanding of your points now.

                              Based on threads posted all over the H/J forum, it seems there is quite a demand for local shows. I'm a re-entrant to the sport after a long hiatus, so I'm not sure what happened to those shows. But with such a high demand, I wonder why no one is bringing them back?

                              I'm in the Chicago area and some people recently started a series of schooling shows. Maybe, just maybe, they are starting to come back.
                              ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by snaffle635 View Post
                                TB, thanks for the reply. I do have a better understanding of your points now.

                                Based on threads posted all over the H/J forum, it seems there is quite a demand for local shows. I'm a re-entrant to the sport after a long hiatus, so I'm not sure what happened to those shows. But with such a high demand, I wonder why no one is bringing them back?

                                I'm in the Chicago area and some people recently started a series of schooling shows. Maybe, just maybe, they are starting to come back.
                                I hope they do take off. They are sorely needed. But I do know each geographical area is different. As the poster from NY commented above, they seem to have a very healthy system. We, in Wasington State, do not.

                                As for what happened to the B & C shows, HunterRider992 has the best post about the horse shows transition to what they are now. Read post #27 in this thread. It's the best summarization I've ever read.
                                The truth is always in the middle.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post

                                  I'm still shocked at how many like me have done this. Quietly. Unobtrusively. Silently. And nobody seems to notice. The base of the pyramid is turning to sand, destroying the support, but nobody at the top seems to notice.

                                  There will always be H/J shows. But they will have a smaller and smaller pool of people, who will own more and more numbers of horses. The one person, one horse exhibitor is still there, but we're seeing it less. The people who show the smaller divisions are buying more and more expensive horses in order to compete. It's an economic deathspiral, with the base disappearing. Now, of course, it will take decades for this to happen, but we're seeing the beginning. The response to this thread is really making it obvious to me. And the industry is short sighted if it ignores it.
                                  I don't think people are leaving as quietly or unobtrusively as you think And for as long as I can remember people have been saying exactly what you're saying. Showing is an elite sport. There will always be upswings when the economy is good and downswings when the economy is weak. Those who compete for the sake of competition will always be there regardless of how expensive or difficult it is. I have always shown. Always. Even when I was eating top ramen for weeks on end to afford it. Everything I do with my horses revolves around prepping them for shows. Not because I care about ribbons or "winning," but because I love to jump around a big course. Win or lose, it's an experience I can't replicate at home.

                                  When the economy took a nose dive a few years ago the shows around here were hit hard. But I think that prior to that there was an unnatural swing upward in the teeny tiny classes. If you looked at the average small A show (which includes almost all of the shows in WA and OR) there was a huge number of 2'6" jumpers and 2'9" jumpers and 3' jumpers relative to the size of other classes. (I can't comment on the hunter rings because I rarely watch them). I think this huge uptick in low level jumpers depleted the attendance of the small circuit shows in the area.

                                  After several years of watching that trend of ever increasing smaller jumpers, I'll never forget hauling down to one of the early season shows a few years ago and being shocked that there were 3-4 horses in the divisions that the year prior had had 25-30 horses in them.

                                  I see that as more of a balance returning to the show system. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing for show organizer or trainer pocketbooks, but I think there were a LOT of folks being "talked into" heading out to big shows before they were ready simply to tag along with their trainers and the rest of the crew. But those divisions that were just as expensive as anything else with zero opportunity to win back money went away as soon as people had to start tightening their belts. At the same time I'm seeing more folks out at the local shows. I think that the people being outpriced or pushed out of the A/AA shows are heading back into the B and C circuits. I expect to see more of those shows, and that's already started with Andrea's show circuits (Donida, the Cle Elum Horse Park show series, etc.), and I think we'll continue to see more of those opportunities in the area.

                                  And FTR, there are quite a few small shows around here....maybe not rated, but here nonetheless. Plenty of opportunities to get miles for less experienced riders far more inexpensively. I was surprised by the number of schooling shows when I started looking into it as a way of getting my baby out to his first few shows. I'm over in Kitsap County, so my experience may be different than yours, but we have quite a few one day and two day shows. I think you might be surprised by how many there are if you haven't been going to them.....bridle trails, jumpernites, BI saddle club, Sandamar show circuit, etc. And that's not including the plethora of not-strictly-H/J horseshows relating to 4H and breed shows.

                                  With that being said, I don't disagree with your OP. I do think that shows are WAY to freaking expensive. I started a thread 3 or 4 years ago about just that and got a lot of responses....and that was before the economy tanked. People post all of the time about their $600 entry fees. If I could show for that amount I would be THRILLED! The entries for my big jumper typically total $1500 to $2000 per show. I do have the chance to win my entries back, so I'm not all *that* upset by the crazy entry fees for a GP horse. But my baby who shows in unrated divisions was about $1000 per week at each show this summer too. And that was to show in open classes with no prize money and the goal of just getting around. Thunderbird Show Park does an awesome young jumper division that's inexpensive, doesn't require nominating fees (despite being on the GP field), and has courses that are actually set for babies, and I would love to see that trend expanded upon. But the show itself is still crazy expensive. I, for one, am tired of spending $300 for a stall for 4-5 days.

                                  I agree with McClain Ward's article this summer talking about young horse shows/classes/opportunities. No one can afford to bring young horses up. I see it at every. single. show. I have several trainer friends with young horses that I hope will bring them out to show to have entries in the young horse classes. Rarely do they venture to the big shows because they can't afford to do it (should I mention the $300 stalls again?). If I had more than one youngster starting up in the ring at a time I couldn't do it either.

                                  But how do you take an industry that's used to making money at this point and turn it back into a cheaper venture? Is it about finding more sponsors? I'd love if we could all focus on solutions rather than just exiting stage left. I'd love if we could get ideas from Europe (other than focusing solely on the fact that there are more sponsors and more money as a result of the popularity of the sport there, and maybe pick up some other tips and tricks).

                                  With that being said, I think we'll continue to see the same fluctuations at the lower levels of showing for as long as horseshows run. I think it's just part of the pattern of an elite sport and the way that we run shows here in the states.
                                  __________________________________
                                  Flying F Sport Horses
                                  Horses in the NW

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by WB Mom View Post
                                    Rated shows - smaller and smaller it appears.
                                    It is unfortunate the previous progression from C, to B, to finally A shows is gone. Learning and moving up the ranks seems now non-existent. Having goals and working toward them in a logical sequence, as all sports must have, is gone.

                                    <snip>

                                    The A shows will be a select few, competing against a select few, and I do mean few. A quick check of the biggest yearly A show in this area revealed that over 95% of the classes had 9 or fewer competitors, with most classes having around 5.
                                    Originally posted by Thoroughbred1201 View Post
                                    This is exactly what I've been seeing. And the top couple of horses in each division (with the remaining lovely as well) are so spectacular that there is no way somebody just wanting to break in could realistically be more than third unless the those at the top make a mistake. It take s the joy away.
                                    I am in the same boat as many here, not able to afford to do the A circuit exclusively, as are many of the people at my barn. The A circuit is the select same few competing against same.

                                    It seems the route now is either you can buy your way into being competitive in the A shows or you are simply relegated to the B and schooling shows. I have no issue with those of means to do this, but the unfortunate part is that it seems so much of the horsemanship and other learning experiences of moving up through the levels are lost.

                                    It's a shame because there are so many good riders and great horses that compete at the lower levels, not because of lack of ability, but lack of funds.

                                    My trainer does not desire to be a A circuit machine barn, she trained with such for many years and it is not her chosen path. She is carving out a niche
                                    by training and producing A circuit quality riders on cheap horses and A barn cast-offs. Everyone must learn the basics, the horsemanship and must be able to ride whatever horse they have, well. If they don't, they don't advance. Buying new horses is discouraged until you can ride the one you have to its potential.

                                    This business model is not making her rich, but the people at the barn are devoted to the sport. I respect it.

                                    We do a few A shows, a lot of B shows and some schooling shows, but we all ride every show like we would the A shows. Our goal is to encourage high quality riding at smaller shows, and people have noticed our efforts.

                                    Comment


                                    • For the local shows in my region I can tell you why a lot of them are no more. They started as A shows back in the day, many of them multiple disciplines. Those were replaced by rated hunter/jumper shows maybe a B or C but it began to cost too much to maintain the rating so they became local shows. The footing in these shows were usually on grass and attendance went down. What really killed them though was lack of volunteers to run the show. People who ran the show for 20+ years and then, got tired of all the hassle for no money, little recognition and maybe the show breaking even at best so the purpose of the show really didn't amount to much. There was no one to replace these people as most people now have full times jobs where that wasn't true before. Times have changed and we have a small local circuit that puts on shows but nothing like the shows use to be.

                                      Comment


                                      • I didn't respond here because I really don't have much to say.

                                        People have always disagreed with this or that and gotten out when they found it was too expensive for them. Nothing new and, really, nothing wrong with it. It's always been expensive and, except for those brief bubbles in time when everybody seems to be doing well and the ecopnomy appears to be thriving? Most people find it difficult to participate.

                                        I cut back because I took a big pay cut. Then my horse got injured and I retired it. Now I find at my place in life I have to be more careful with future planning and how I use disgressionary income. I also find I don't bounce so good anymore, that gets much more expensive then it used to. So I am now on the sidelines.

                                        But I don't have any ill will to those who remain involved and would use lottery winnings to get right back in as an owner...of course I would need to buy the tickets to do that.

                                        It's nothing new at all. Most of what gets complained about has been the same for decades. And the places I started showing in '68 or so are parking lots and strip malls. That was BDT too. No shortage of needles around some barns.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                        • I'd love if we could all focus on solutions rather than just exiting stage left.
                                          I would probably have been more inclined to do that (and did in fact do some work with our state association) if the professionals were a great deal more professional and valued their clients instead of treating them like ATMs. Over the years I rode with several different high-level pros, including BNTs, and I find this an excellent way of describing the relationship:

                                          It's like loving someone who doesn't love you back. Especially when trainers openly admit that working amateurs are annoying to work with. Sorry that I want to be conscientious about where my money goes.
                                          Treating the people who write you very large checks every month with obvious disdain is not good for business. And ultimately, not good for the industry.

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