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No Braiding for Un-Rated Hunter Divisions

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  • No Braiding for Un-Rated Hunter Divisions

    HITS just sent this out via email. Do you think it's a good idea? Do you think people will do it? Are there other ways the shows can approach cost cutting?

    Major Winter Circuits Come Together to Agree 'No Braiding for Un-Rated Hunter Divisions' in Response to Recent Economic Conditions

    SAUGERTIES, NY (December 8, 2008) — In recognition of the current economic climate, promoters of all the major winter circuits are examining ways to help exhibitors minimize ancillary expenses in an effort to maximize their opportunities to show and enjoy their winter circuit experiences. While USEF rules do not mandate braiding, the winter circuit managers from Gulfport, HITS, Jacksonville and the Winter Equestrian Festival have decided to go on record advising all judges that exhibitors who opt not to braid for un-rated classes should not be penalized.

    All the promoters agreed that, while a small step, this action may be something that makes it a little bit easier for exhibitors to continue their participation in the shows.

    Don Stewart, trainer and owner of Don Stewart Stables in Ocala, Florida and Chairman of the National Junior Hunter Committee, expressed his support for the action. "I think especially in today's market, it's imperative that we cut back somewhere and perhaps this is a place to start."

    Lori DeRosa of Newmarket, a prominent trainer on the West Coast, was also positive in response to the steps being taken on behalf of the exhibitors. "I think that's a great idea. I've been trying to move in that direction, and anything you can do to lessen the cost of showing and allow people to continue showing is very helpful."

    As a result of these initial discussions, this group of winter show managers has entered into a dialogue to search for other opportunities to be sensitive to costs in these uneasy economic times.

    "Bob Bell, Mark Bellissimo, Joe Dotoli and I felt that we had a responsibility to look for opportunities to help exhibitors reduce some of their expenses, which is why we are coming together for this action and why we'll continue to identify areas where we can alleviate other show-related expenses," said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, Inc.

    "In talking to many, many trainers and competitors who compete annually in Jacksonville, Gulfport and Atlanta about the idea of somehow reducing the costs of showing horses, braiding seemed to be a common denominator," said Bob Bell, Show Manager and President of Classic Company, Ltd. "These are unprecedented times and we must consider all aspects of the sport so that all of our exhibitors can continue showing this winter. Some of our exhibitors may have budget restraints this year, and we hope that reducing braiding costs will help them continue to compete."

    Mark Bellissimo, CEO Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, (ESP) added, "We will be asking all of our hunter officials (Judges) not to penalize any entry in the un-rated divisions of the Winter Equestrian Festival for not being braided. We consulted with a number of top trainers and judges and they all endorsed this action. It is a great opportunity to defray expenses for our exhibitors in these difficult economic times."

    For more information on Classic Company, Ltd visit www.classiccompany.com. For more information about the circuit in Jacksonville visit www.nfhja.com or email Alexis at agamel@comcast.net. For more information about the six weeks in Gulfport visit www.classiccompany.com or call 843.768.5503.

    Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC is a Wellington, FL based company that produces and promotes equestrian sport, most notably the Winter Equestrian Festival, now in its 30th year. www.equestriansport.com. Media should contact Ken Braddick at 561.793.5867.

    HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

    For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.

    Media should contact Chris Mayone at 845.246.8833 or e-mail Media_Info@HitsShows.com.

  • #2
    Oh yeah, going to WEF is going to be sooooo much more affordable now that I can save on the cost of braiding.

    Um, how about lowering entry fees? Or maybe the cost of stalls.


    • #3
      What about the braiders? They are going to be losing money and probabaly not happy about this. I wonder if they will go to other show circuits
      Eight Fences Farm. Mansfield, MA


      • #4
        Looks like a good opportunity to me for all those kids to learn how to braid their own horses where they won't be penalized on the quality if they aren't perfect...yeah...I know...not likely to happen but great in theory! :-)
        Andrea Clibborn-Anderson
        Home of Pinto Dutch Warmblood Palladio


        • #5
          It is nice that they're trying to think of ways to lower cost, but people theoretically could eliminate the cost of braiding by learning to do it themselves. It may be nice if they could attempt to reduce the cost of something people can't control or reduce on their own.

          I don't show at that level, so won't affect me, but it seems like they could get a bit more creative.


          • #6
            I like how they cut costs that have no impact on them. It impacts the braider's income, not HITS bottom line.


            • #7
              The braiders will raise their prices to compensate. So now a braid job on a Hunter in a rated section will cost you 20-30% more.


              • #8
                They did this at Littlewood a few years ago, although I believe it was for all divisions actually (please correct me if I am wrong). It was VERY rare though to see even a horse in the Low Hunters sans braids, yes there may have been fewer tails, but manes, no.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SaddleFitterVA View Post
                  I like how they cut costs that have no impact on them. It impacts the braider's income, not HITS bottom line.
                  Exactly. Nothing but the most altruistic motives, eh?

                  Besides, many people already skip braiding for unrecognized divisions if that is all the horse is showing in that day and it's early in the week. However if you are using an unrated class as a warm up for your rated division, it's not like he won't be braided for that class...
                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                  • #10
                    Yeah, because braiding is what is breaking the bank! Not trailering, entry fees, stalls, hotels, trainer fees.......I love how the guy in the article acts like this is going to give people a huge economic relief. If you can afford to go to Gulfport or North Florida in these economic times, chances are you can afford a braider. I agree with RC, make entry fees lower!


                    • #11
                      That is ridiculous, many people do not braid now for the unrated divisions.

                      How about reducing some real costs like oh, stall fees???

                      And that is only helping a few people who choose to show early in the week, and what about the jumpers???

                      It only helps just a few hunter people.

                      Absurd. Is all I can say.

                      PS. Personally I had planned on reducing some of my personal costs by not showing in those divisons away, and only the ones that have prize money.

                      PSS. This is bad krama, publicity and just stupid to come out with something that does not affect/effect(never know which one) the show manager's bottomline, just a few horse showers and the braiders!!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SaddleFitterVA View Post
                        I like how they cut costs that have no impact on them. It impacts the braider's income, not HITS bottom line.
                        Exactly! I am a braider and it annoys me to no end. I remember parking my 20 year old, 24 foot camper next to Bob Bell's class A motor home at a show he was managing. His motor home cost roughly twice as much as my house. It was the same year he wanted to 'ban' braiding at Gulfport to help cut costs.

                        What a load of horsepucky. In these tough economic times, it would be nice if the Big Three weren't trying to put me out of business. And to think I have been a customer of both WEF and Classic. My bread and butter is not the unrated divisions, but they often go during the week when most braiders can use the extra work.

                        Man up, you managers! Make a hard choice to cut your own bottom line, if you really want to save the exhibitor money.
                        You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


                        • #13
                          Certainly isn't cutting the bottom line for HITS just the income for the braiders. I'd like to see more people doing it themselves but as an exhibitor it certainly is nice to have a pro do it and after a hard day of showing it's worth the expense.
                          I just hate it for the braiders.
                          "are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn...I can yawn, because I ride better than you, Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn, you, not so much..." George Morris in Camden, SC


                          • #14
                            I am glad to know that my response wasn't unique when I opened my email from Bob Bell. I laughed out loud when I read TS's quote on looking for ways to save exhibitors money, as long as it doesn't affect his bottom line. He's probably thinking how he can charge the braiders a percentage of their profits. How stupid do they think the exhibitor is?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SaddleFitterVA View Post
                              I like how they cut costs that have no impact on them. It impacts the braider's income, not HITS bottom line.
                              My first thought, too. Nice of them to screw the "little guy" but act like they're being soooo magnanimous...

                              Aca-Believe it!!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SaddleFitterVA View Post
                                I like how they cut costs that have no impact on them. It impacts the braider's income, not HITS bottom line.
                                Exactly. What an eff-u to the braiders! If HITS was willing to sacrifice any of THEIR bottom line to help out exhibitors I would have been impressed. And I agree with those who say that braiders are just going to raise prices. I wonder what kind of margin HITS is making off their office fees and entries?


                                • #17
                                  While I agree with a lot of what folks have said here, my braiding bill on two horses for a 4-day show recently was nearly $800. That's not chump change. I can't braid myself and I'm too traditional not to braid for a show, even if the division my horse is showing in is unrated. While I feel for the braiders, they're business people just like everyone else. Welcome to the new economy. My trainer lost 10 horses just this month. Owners just couldn't afford the board and training anymore and took their horses home. Everybody is hurting...braiders are not exempt.


                                  • #18
                                    As a trainer, I am opposed to this on many levels.

                                    1) First and foremost, if the expense of braiding your horse is a concern for a client, they can simply learn to do it themselves for nearly free (only the cost of supplies needed). And PLEASE don't tell me they don't have the time. You make a decision/trade off - time to learn and practice or spend the money to have someone do it. It is not tricky, but like everything else, takes practice to do it well. On show day, if you are slow at it, it will take you an hour to braid your horse - less if you have gotten very proficient at the task. You can't get up an hour earlier to save yourself money? Then you don't want to save that money badly enough.

                                    2) The people who seem most in favor of this, show managers and BNT's, have nothing to lose or gain by this decision. Except in very few cases of trainer owned animals, they are not the ones paying the bill. Personally, I think their stance gives them the appearance of caring for the pocketbook of the client, and that's it.

                                    3) Sorry, but if you can afford to show at WEF, HITS, Gulfport, etc. you can afford to braid. Braiding is a minimal expense compared to everything else that you pay for on those circuits.

                                    4) And a little off track . . . I have noticed over the past several years that there is less and less braiding being done in general. Personally, I believe that this is happening for one primary reason - laziness. Less and less people know how to braid, or even care to try to learn. Too often unless you are at a larger show, on the path that the professional braiders travel, you simply don't have anyone to braid your horse. Trainers seem to be frosting over this by making a "look good" excuse of "oh, it's not rated" because they don't have anyone to do it for their customer, and many of them can't do it themselves.

                                    Of course this is just my opinion on the topic! But it's coming from someone who years ago as a 16yr old kid braided for people at Devon and took pride in the turnout of those horses and ponies! I hate that fact that we seem to be losing the tradition and respect for the sport.


                                    • #19
                                      Decided I should add this so my above post doesn't come off wrong as being all for this....I agree completely that the cuts could come out of the shows pockets too...I've got good friends that are braiders and would like them to make a living as well!!! I do however think it would be nice if kids had to braid their own horses at some point to learn about what all is involved with showing a horse besides writing a check :-)
                                      Andrea Clibborn-Anderson
                                      Home of Pinto Dutch Warmblood Palladio


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by MissintheSouth View Post
                                        If HITS was willing to sacrifice any of THEIR bottom line to help out exhibitors I would have been impressed. ?
                                        Exactly! Anything out of THEIR pocket would have been a nice gesture!