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KUDOS to Chris Kappler (COTH Op-Ed 21 Jan 2013)

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  • #21
    Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
    Completely agree with Mr. Kappler and with this post.
    Although I admire you greatly for everything you have accomplished, why do you agree?

    Do you not feel that in order for us ammie/jr's to advance that show fees must be brought down and they need to stop gouging us at every chance? Do you not then also feel that horse prices must also be lowered to give more of us a chance to advance to higher heights (trust me, a lot of people have the skills they just don't have the $$$$$)? Or do you feel that because we cannot afford the ridiculous price of a higher level show horse we shouldn't even be trying to win what little money we can to try to cover exhorbant show fees....or even bigger question, do you feel that show fees are not that exhorbant?

    Not trying to be snarky, I am generally interested in another perspective!
    Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by Rocky View Post
      Well said...Development and support for the International Level riders should not continue to come from the pockets of the juniors and amateurs...
      Thanks.

      For the record, I am not opposed to there being more money for the big classes; what I am opposed to is shifting money from those jrs and ammies, to give bigger pots to those riding at the higher levels.

      I guess one reason I am so opposed to that is that I don't think it is a lack of prize money that keeps those jrs and ammies from moving up. In most cases, there are lots of other factors that weigh a lot more heavily in that equation - time, talent, and horse resources being the ones that come readily to mind.

      I do not believe that making the jr and ammy classes less rewarding financially will mean some big drop in the cost of jr/AO horses, nor do I believe it would make showing much more affordable.

      I *do* believe that making those classes less rewarding will negatively impact the pool of people who compete at those (relatively) lower levels. Show managers KNOW this, BTW... which is why they aren't going there.

      There are plenty of people who offset some of their showing expenses with some prize money, or who finance their showing by developing and selling horses that can win at those levels. Reducing the attractiveness of those divisions isn't going to encourage anyone to move up, IMO. But it may well encourage them to move out - as in out of the showing at these very expensive A/AA venues. And the fewer "little people" we have showing overall, the more expensive shows are going to be for those few people who are chasing the GP ribbons or an international riding career.

      And let's remember - as distasteful as a lot of those people find it, many if not most of them are supported by those jr and ammy clients. And until (unless?) the sport is able to secure the kind of corporate sponsorship that is common in Europe, it's going to stay that way. If the NARG wants to build bigger purses for the Sunday classes, my advice is to start structuring events to make them attractive to SPONSORS who can underwrite the prize money. Oh, and they might start by reaching out to those ammy clients, and the parents of the jrs, many of whom are successful business people who might just be willing to support that effort, if they were treated like valued sponsors instead of clueless ATMs.
      **********
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
      -PaulaEdwina

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by eclipse View Post
        Although I admire you greatly for everything you have accomplished, why do you agree?

        Do you not feel that in order for us ammie/jr's to advance that show fees must be brought down and they need to stop gouging us at every chance? Do you not then also feel that horse prices must also be lowered to give more of us a chance to advance to higher heights (trust me, a lot of people have the skills they just don't have the $$$$$)? Or do you feel that because we cannot afford the ridiculous price of a higher level show horse we shouldn't even be trying to win what little money we can to try to cover exhorbant show fees....or even bigger question, do you feel that show fees are not that exhorbant?

        Not trying to be snarky, I am generally interested in another perspective!
        I'm curious too. I also know that you're now a pro yourself, Emily. Would your perspective be different if you were still in the amateur ranks? Or, if you were paying your own show bills? (I assume that, being in college, your parents still do. Of course, I may be wrong.)

        The assumption that people don't want to improve their riding simply because they're winning money in lower divisions is just outrageous. Obviously, if finances allowed, I'd love to rock around the 1.40 meter jumpers on my string of ex-Grand Prix horses, but it just doesn't work like that. In the meantime, I'm happy riding my adult hunter to the best of my ability. If I can win a little money for my efforts, great, but I'm not going to forfeit my hard-earned prize money just to support the pros. I do that by paying my board and day fees on time.

        Comment


        • #24
          I think a few people responding here are misinterpreting what Kappler is advocating for. He is not saying let's take prize money completely out of the equation, but in some instances cap it and allow for other prizes and types of prestigious classes, then lower entry fees.

          "“At some point, $25,000 pony jumper classics are probably going to be unsafe.” No matter how good the course builder is, it’s not going to stop some people from trying to put one stride into the two-stride combination. What happened to the days of winning a saddle or a bridle or a free weekend at the horse show hotel? "


          "As the system stands now, you’re not providing young riders, after their junior years, with an opportunity to make a living as professional riders. You’re not providing them any new goals. We have so many wonderful junior goals, like the equitation finals and the FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

          But the minute they turn 18, it’s like their life is over. They see this gap between being 18 and being a professional riding at the grand prix level. It’s not possible for them to become professional riders because they can’t support themselves."



          I don't agree with his point about some amateurs staying back in amateur divisions purely for the money. Some riders simply don't want to make the move in to the professional world and there's nothing wrong with that. But why not add a variety of classes (the recent re-addition of gambler's choice & derbies are a start) or some kind of finals championship with prestige so the progress of an amateur isn't solely based on doing well in the jumper classic?


          There needs to be better stepping stones in the American show jumping world that develops the best riders. If the ultimate goal of the USEF is to develop and discover the best riders who can represent our country on an International scale, then there needs to be a way for those riders to break out of the ranks after they hit 18 and regardless of whether or not they have the money for a $500K++ Grand Prix jumper. Sure, the addition of the YJC is excellent for the sport, but instead of purchase price, you have to figure in all the money spent on giving that horse show miles and between class nominations and entry fees that is not cheap. If we're concerned over the quality of the "A" shows, then there needs to be reasons to keep riders on that circuit by giving them worthwhile goals. Otherwise, what's to keep someone from stepping down to the "B" or "C" circuit where they can still win a bit of money or prizes and not spend a small fortune on show fees?

          Comment


          • #25
            All bolding emphases are my replies.. I'm having computer problems so my reply got all jumbled, sorry.

            Originally posted by eclipse View Post
            Although I admire you greatly for everything you have accomplished (Thank you ), why do you agree?

            Do you not feel that in order for us ammie/jr's to advance that show fees must be brought down and they need to stop gouging us at every chance? Completely agree, didn't see anywhere in the article that said otherwise. Do you not then also feel that horse prices must also be lowered to give more of us a chance to advance to higher heights (trust me, a lot of people have the skills they just don't have the $$$$$)? Agree there too. Or do you feel that because we cannot afford the ridiculous price of a higher level show horse we shouldn't even be trying to win what little money we can to try to cover exorbitant show fees....or even bigger question, do you feel that show fees are not that exorbitant? Okay, here is where we disagree, I think. I agree that shows are expensive, too expensive, but I don't think that huge amounts of prize money in the lower divisions is the answer. For one thing, I think that offering money like that is going to increase the price of horses doing that division, which then leads to the issue of pricing people out of this sport at an even lower level than already occurs. A good, solid 3'6'' horse in the hunters is already a huge amount of money - add in the fact that said horse won the $500,000 hunter derby at HITS. That will for sure increase the price by a lot; that's a big class to win and you have to have a very talented animal. I agree with Mr. Kappler on this aspect in particular:

            "If juniors and amateurs don’t have prize money, their entry fees must be reduced. I think a lot of people would feel good about no prize money if the entry fees were less. And at the same time, those divisions would be doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which is training people how to ride in the ring and providing a forum for them to compete against their peers."

            That, to me, makes sense. Lower the entry fees, lower the cost of doing the division, and have some of the prizes that he suggested that used to be more common, useful things like saddles or bridles or things like that. A class can still be prestigious and give the winner something of significant worth without giving a big check...but it requires sponsors, which is another issue.


            Not trying to be snarky, I am generally interested in another perspective!
            Originally posted by Tha Ridge View Post
            I'm curious too. I also know that you're now a pro yourself, Emily. Would your perspective be different if you were still in the amateur ranks? I agreed with that sort of ideology when I was an amateur, too. There were several shows a few years back where I wanted to try and win some good money and chose to go "ride with the big kids" and show in the open jumper classes. Sometimes it worked out great and I won money; most of the time, it served as a lesson in how to truly be competitive. I had to be better when I rode with the pros. My clear round in a 1.40m speed that might have won in the amateurs got me an 8th in with the pros. It forced me to be a better rider if I wanted to be competitive and not just get the experience. Or, if you were paying your own show bills? (I assume that, being in college, your parents still do. Of course, I may be wrong.) You are correct in that assumption and I'm eternally grateful to my parents for supporting my riding and now supporting me even as a young pro.

            The assumption that people don't want to improve their riding simply because they're winning money in lower divisions is just outrageous. Obviously, if finances allowed, I'd love to rock around the 1.40 meter jumpers on my string of ex-Grand Prix horses, but it just doesn't work like that. In the meantime, I'm happy riding my adult hunter to the best of my ability. If I can win a little money for my efforts, great, but I'm not going to forfeit my hard-earned prize money just to support the pros. I do that by paying my board and day fees on time.
            I think, from reading your last paragraph, that we have different perspectives on this entirely. I don't think that there should be more prize money at the top to support professionals; I think that there should be more at the top because it's rewarding high performance. This might offend some people, but I recall a horse show a few years ago where the 1.40m high junior/A-O classic was a $5,000 class and the 1.10m high children's/adult classic was a $15,000 class. That, to me, is not rewarding the upper levels of sport, arguably the upper levels of skill. From a business perspective, putting that kind of money in the lower divisions makes complete sense to me; more people show in those divisions, leading to more people paying the bigger entry fee and resulting in more money made for the horse show. But from a sport perspective, which is the way that Mr. Kappler appears to be approaching the issue, it doesn't make sense.

            Apologies for the jumbled mess of this post, I'm working on trying to fix it...
            http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
            Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

            Comment


            • #26
              Thanks Supershorty, then we really do agree with each other! I too believe that entries should be lower for jr/ammie classes, especially if there's reduced prize money in those classes. Sadly though, around here, all I see is fees going up year after year and nothing passed down to us the people that are keeping these shows running! Sadly, when a show organizer has a monopoly on shows he knows that unless you can afford to travel he can do what he wants!
              Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                I think, from reading your last paragraph, that we have different perspectives on this entirely. I don't think that there should be more prize money at the top to support professionals; I think that there should be more at the top because it's rewarding high performance. This might offend some people, but I recall a horse show a few years ago where the 1.40m high junior/A-O classic was a $5,000 class and the 1.10m high children's/adult classic was a $15,000 class. That, to me, is not rewarding the upper levels of sport, arguably the upper levels of skill. From a business perspective, putting that kind of money in the lower divisions makes complete sense to me; more people show in those divisions, leading to more people paying the bigger entry fee and resulting in more money made for the horse show. But from a sport perspective, which is the way that Mr. Kappler appears to be approaching the issue, it doesn't make sense.
                I think we do. But as always, you present your ideas eloquently and considerately enough where I can at least acknowledge them.

                Horse showing is one of the few areas where I think trickle-down economics actually does work. If I (shockingly!) win my $15,000 class, it is absolutely better for my trainer who's going to reap the reward of my payout in the form of increased revenue from me attending more shows.

                On the flip side, I'm not opposed to getting rid of some or most price money if entry fees are SUBSTANTIALLY lowered. Like, I want my $125 hunter section to cost $75 or even $50. Then I'd be on board. But the only thing I can see happening is my prize money going away and my entry fees increasing. That's why I can't get on board with this. And, hell, I'm totally cool with winning a saddle, bridles, tack, etc.—that's as good as money to me because it can be on eBay in a day. Just don't raise my already outrageous entry fees AND not give me anything to show for it.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                  but I recall a horse show a few years ago where the 1.40m high junior/A-O classic was a $5,000 class and the 1.10m high children's/adult classic was a $15,000 class. That, to me, is not rewarding the upper levels of sport, arguably the upper levels of skill.
                  I've encountered this also. Part of what is going to make this sport more successful in the US is by gaining the support of outside businesses. It's exciting for a company to feel they are potentially supporting future Olympic athletes by sponsoring big classes. For example: what if we had XXX restaurant sponsoring the 1.40m so those classes had bigger cash prizes and some of the smaller classes got less of a purse but gift certificates? Or get the nearby big name hotel to sponsor the bigger jumper classic and offer a free night's stay to the prize winners of the lower classics? Offer incentive for lower division people to come back, get bigger purses to award more skilled riders, and get outside sponsors more involved. Now the lower divisions are still being compensated, and there is more money for the higher level Am/Pros?
                  Last edited by JumpsJumps; Jan. 18, 2013, 03:34 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                    All bolding emphases are my replies.. I'm having computer problems so my reply got all jumbled, sorry. ...

                    Attempted to copy the bold without success
                    I think, from reading your last paragraph, that we have different perspectives on this entirely. I don't think that there should be more prize money at the top to support professionals; I think that there should be more at the top because it's rewarding high performance. This might offend some people, but I recall a horse show a few years ago where the 1.40m high junior/A-O classic was a $5,000 class and the 1.10m high children's/adult classic was a $15,000 class. That, to me, is not rewarding the upper levels of sport, arguably the upper levels of skill. From a business perspective, putting that kind of money in the lower divisions makes complete sense to me; more people show in those divisions, leading to more people paying the bigger entry fee and resulting in more money made for the horse show. But from a sport perspective, which is the way that Mr. Kappler appears to be approaching the issue, it doesn't make sense.

                    Apologies for the jumbled mess of this post, I'm working on trying to fix it...
                    Well said Emily -- Agreed

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      No show manager is going to reduce jr/ammie division fees because they make too much money from those divisions, it would cost the show managers more than the prize money in reduced fees.

                      end of that story.
                      http://community.webshots.com/user/summitspringsfarm

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I've said this for years: Ammies aren't getting rich off prize money believe me! Most of the time it doesn't even cover the entry fee. There are few $10,000 classes.

                        Besides its not the entry fees alone that make showing at the rated shows ridiculously expensive. Its day care, stall fees, drug fee, etc. All adds up. Everyone wants a piece of what they think are "rich and privileged" people. I'd love to see the demographics of who shows in these divisions because I bet that there are plenty of folks that have to budget at least some.

                        ok off my soapbox!

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Why do I owe Mr. Kapler (or any other pro) financial support to accomplish his dreams? He certainly isn't the least bit interested in supporting mine. I've been showing for about 20 years, and have pretty much reached the limit of my (admittedly limited) talent, and have decided how much of my retirement $$ I can afford to put into horse sports. I am not a candidate to move up into the big jumper ring (heart attacks would ensue), and I sincerely doubt anyone would be crazy enough to pay me $$ to be a pro. So why should I be expected to fulfill Mr. Kapler's expectations that I do either of those things?

                          I would positively go to more shows if the cost of showing was lower, and I think many here would do the same, but
                          I think it will be a very cold day in H@!! before entry fees for ammy classes drop enough to make a significant difference in costs. Even if there was agreement to cut all prize money available to ammies, the businesses that run the shows are under no obligation to lower entries.

                          In my world, all GP classes and international riders could disappear off the earth, and it would have no effect on me. All the aspiring USET riders need to find their own ways to finance their dreams, just like we little people do. We don't owe them.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            1. If the USEF is going to regulate prize money, then it has to regulate entry fees too. This is a non negotiable part of the equation - I can't imagine any professional or amateur would support less prize money but the same or higher entry fees. Show managers want prize money so that they can charge more entry fees, but the USEF's mandate surely isn't helping show managers make money.

                            2. I urge those who disagree to read the article thoroughly, keep an open mind and think through the results that can come by adjusting the prize money structure at horse shows the way it describes. I agree with the article and I think its good for amateurs - especially in terms of improving showing conditions for amateurs. With a cap on prize money, shows would have to earn amateurs entries by improving their other offerings - better footing, better rings, better treatment and more attention and prestige to all levels of amateurs.

                            3. I don't think the intent of the article is that all amateurs must aspire to be grand prix riders, but rather to discourage those who do have those aspirations and the ability from continuing to compete in amateur divisions once their skills have developed to the point where they can compete with professionals. This helps to save the amateur division for riders who are amateurs by choice - those whose time in the saddle is limited, those just starting out their horse show career, and those whose skills are not very advanced. Amateurs are a critical part of the horse show scene and ought to be celebrated, but i don't think that the outrageous prize money that being offered in some of these classes is the right way to do this.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              What's wrong with the current structure? Yes, the show fees are exorbitant but using the same amount of prize money, just redistributing it to favor the pros, is not going to lower the fees by much.
                              For example, today at WEF there were four 1.40 classes in the International Ring. One high junior, one high AO, two 1.40 open classes. High juniors got $1500, high AOs got $2500, each open class got $6000 each. Do we really need to take the money from the jrs/aos (not much compared to the opens in this scenario)? It's nice to get some prize money back - yes, the same people do win it a lot, but you don't see really kids hanging around winning the children's/low juniors for two or three years, they move up when they are capable of it.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by iEquitate View Post
                                What's wrong with the current structure? Yes, the show fees are exorbitant but using the same amount of prize money, just redistributing it to favor the pros, is not going to lower the fees by much.
                                For example, today at WEF there were four 1.40 classes in the International Ring. One high junior, one high AO, two 1.40 open classes. High juniors got $1500, high AOs got $2500, each open class got $6000 each. Do we really need to take the money from the jrs/aos (not much compared to the opens in this scenario)? It's nice to get some prize money back - yes, the same people do win it a lot, but you don't see really kids hanging around winning the children's/low juniors for two or three years, they move up when they are capable of it.
                                I don't think this would be changed under the prize money structure proposed in the article - it calls for a cap on high junior ao classes of $5000 so the classes you described would be fine. What would be affected are the adult amateur classes that are offered on Sunday - 3 10,000 classics for 1.15 adult jumpers.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I don't think those of us us who don't agree would benefit from "reading the article more thoroughly" or that we've failed to "think of the results that would come." Many of us have been around a long time and remember many instances of prizes taken away/reduced, and very few, if any, instances of the cost of horse showing following suit. It's not just the entry fees -- now the Children's/Adults often pay a nominating fee, whereas 15 years ago that was very rare. Office/random fees have gone up substantially. Stall fees are higher. And the available money hasn't really changed in the last 15 years, save a few really big shows that offer year-end classics, etc. Proportionally speaking, we already have the chance to win back less than we used to.

                                  Now if Kappler was proposing USEF support of reinstitution of strong local circuits without all the fees or prize money to build the base and provide a more affordable way to develop young horses and riders in this country up to 1.4 m without all the expense of A shows, I'd be right behind him.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Our daughter could not have shown as much as she did without the prize money. The prize money barely covered her show fees and horse care fees. She did not know from week to week whether she would be able to show or not - it depended on how she did with her money from the previous week. She did not have a horsey family, nor a lot of catch rides, but was thrilled to be able to learn as much as she could from as many people as she could. She was a working student and worked her tail off to be able to ride as much as she did. She worked 7 days/week most weeks and home schooled herself. She did not have "practice horses" and "saved her horse" for the money classes, meaning fewer learning opportunities, but trying to do what was in the best interest of her horse and what would give her the best chance of being able to show the next week. I believe if they cut the money - they will cut more people out of being able to show. We aren't the only ones in this situation. Being able to afford the horses is another whole issue……….. The entry fees, drug fees, stall fees, office fees, etc. all add up - not to mention trainer splits, hotels, hauling, regular board at home, etc. :/
                                    Last edited by juniormom; Jan. 24, 2013, 12:37 AM. Reason: Addition to post

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by showjumper1 View Post
                                      I don't think this would be changed under the prize money structure proposed in the article - it calls for a cap on high junior ao classes of $5000 so the classes you described would be fine. What would be affected are the adult amateur classes that are offered on Sunday - 3 10,000 classics for 1.15 adult jumpers.
                                      Again, I hadn't read the article, but capping high jr/ao classes at $5k in prize money is absurd. There would be no point to even moving up at that point- it costs too much to purchase and maintain a horse at that level to even bother. And for those of us who actually work outside of horses for a living, there would be no real competing with the pros/trust funds/trophy wives in the open divisions.

                                      I think it is very, very important to recognize and reward the amateurs in this sport for the efforts they put in, and the support they provide their trainers and the industry. And also to provide as level a playing field as possible for their pursuits. Chris Kappler seems to be spitting in the face of all of this for the sole glory of the "high performance" folks.

                                      Not impressed.

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by juniormom View Post
                                        Our daughter could not have shown as much as she did without the prize money. She was still a working student and worked her tail off to be able to ride as much as she did. I believe if they cut the money - they will cut more people out of being able to show. We aren't the only ones in this situation. Being able to afford the horses is another whole issue………………… The entry fees, drug fees, stall fees, office fees, etc. all add up - not to mention trainer splits, hotels, hauling, regular board at home, etc. :/
                                        I have to second this. The only way my daughter was able to get her feet wet in the GP ring was earning prize money in the Jr/AOs. While the Medals might be prestigious, they are not affordable for many aspiring young riders. Kappler's plan would make it much more difficult for talented, but financially challenged juniors to get the experience needed for a successful pro career.

                                        I share supershorty's frustration at Ch/Ad classes now offering more prize money than some of the higher performance classes, but I have to wonder how she would have felt about getting a saddle instead of a check if her parents weren't able to pay her show bill.

                                        Perhaps a better answer would be to require a percentage of a show's total prize money be directed at high performance classes.

                                        Just curious, but where did Kappler get his example of a $25K pony jumper class? Are they so common that he really feels they are drawing funds from the upper levels?

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                                        • #40
                                          Talk about biting the hand that feeds you...

                                          I have to seriously wonder if any of these "international" riders have any idea anymore how the majority of trainers in the trenches make a living. When was the last time you saw Mr. Kappler take a barn full of hunter and equitation horse/riders to a big show and spend all day riding and standing in the schooling ring or ringside at the hunter ring?

                                          The number of riders that will be inspired to move up if you remove the money incentive or the cost of entries is infinitesimal. Those of us who show know that the majority of riders at any "A" show neither have time, skill, desire, horse or money to invest in moving up. Mr. Kappler (and others) are betting on the fact that most owners/riders aren't concerned with the prize money anyway. Current prize money being offered doesn't come close to covering show expenses, even if you win every single class in your division. But, ahhh...winning the big jumper classes DOES come close to covering your expenses and makes owners of those elite horses that those trainers are riding very happy.

                                          I'm also wondering if Mr. Kappler has looked at a big show company's balance sheet. Who does he think is funding the profit for these organizations? It ain't the big jumper class entries. It's all the junior/amateur riders, including the puddle hunter classes that are providing the big bucks and the profit. Because the show organizers realize this (they aren't stupid), Mr. Kappler and others are trying to force the issue by making rule changes.

                                          Mr. Kappler...at least be honest about your motives. I can see right through you and if I can, I guarantee others do, too.

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