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AHSA/USET/NHJC/XYZA - Synergy anyone?

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  • #21
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I think that the ratings should be predicated on the courses being offered.

    Snowbird, given these parameters, would a C show be able to offer "Big Eq" classes? Or would these, too, be offered over graded courses?

    How about requiring A & AA shows to include a handy or go-as-you-please class within each division - at least the rated ones? And require the course designer (if a handy class) to demand the skills of the "old" hunters? And to require placings to be made in terms not only of how pretty the critter got over the fence or cantered down the lines, but how truly adaptable, rateable and "handy" he really is?
    Equine Photography in the Northeast


    • #22
      About the "big eq" courses: I have to say, even at some "A" shows, I've seen far too many sub-standard courses for the Medal, Maclay and USET. I always check those courses (all courses, for that matter) to make sure all the required elements are in place, but I've seen far to many "big eq" classes where the fence height aren't up to snuff.

      In most cases, the watered down courses are the result of trainer pressure. It's the old line "we need two or three of our 3' riders to fill the class, so please set the jumps on the low side." The Medal, Maclay, PHA, WIHS classes are to be over 3'6" courses. USET 3'6"-3'9". Lowering the standards in these qualifying classes helps no one and hurts the rider who qualified over sub-standard courses.


      • #23
        Linda ,so nice to see that our best people take interest in the BB.I think that you are part of the change to come.I'm sure that others will follow your footsteps.
        Being responsable horseman towards the futur is our greatest challenge,let the performance in the ring speak for it self.Regions should have more responsability, let the community have their own responsability over the national body.
        Let the region govern their destiny.Give back to the regions their identity.open the national to only the best of each region,creating a goal to reach.Let the performance in the ring be the only factor. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


        • #24
          Equitation is not rated nor are the jumpers. They are not affected by the different ratings at any show, that wouldn't change.

          I deal with a lot of entry level new exhibitors and horses. They do not understand that there is essentially no difference between an AA Show and a C Show. That's because the whole rating is determined exclusively on the Prize Money awarded in the AHSA Rated Divisions.

          I think it would be more understandable and more competitive if the Rating was determined by the obstacles offered. Perhaps an A Show should be required certain elements and a larger number of fences. That would amount to also changing the time factors. If the more complicated course took three minutes to ride at an A Show and it had more varied elements it would deserve the extra points because it measure the skills more intensely. This could also help to correct some of the subjectivity of the judging.

          At a C Show the course should only take about a minute to run, be uncomplicated and user friendly. This wouldn't change any of the amenities we appreciate, and the courses should still be well built and inviting no matter what the rating. Remember this too, is for the AHSA Rated divisions.

          I would like you to consider whether it wouldn't then be more practical for all trainers to bring their less experienced riders and horses to show over the easier courses until they were ready for the challenge to move up. The B Rated counld be the step inbetween. And that instead of the AA or even A Show being a catch-all as described by Victor. Classes available for everyone with all levels of experience, whether they knew how to ride or not.
          http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


          • #25
            This topic is really wonderful Linda...Let's hope that some good stuff comes out of it.

            It is obvious that there are many segments of the industry that need attention...and it seems to me that (as you pointed out in your original message) cooperation and constructive dialogue between the different levels of competition and between breeds and disciplines is essential...as well as cooperation between all of us who participate in horse shows..be we management/staff, licenced Officials or trainers or exhibitors. It is so easy to focus on that little piece of the pie that fuels your special interests, and forget that without the other "slices", there is no pie at all!

            Another topic that needs to be examined are the amateur rules. Currently is is a "one size fits all" situation, and I don't think that this works very well in today's mind-set or economy. The amateur rules were created many years ago when lifestyles were different...and when showing purely "for the love of the sport" was the norm....and was financially feasible for most people. The rules have been "tweaked" a few times, but essentially, they have not been altered very much in the past 35 years.

            I believe that the time has now come to revisit these rules. For one, I think that each breed/discipline under the AHSA umbrella should be permitted to write amateur rules and definitions that work for their sport, and that those rules/definitions might be different for each breed/discipline. And I believe that it should be possible for a person to be a professional in one discipline, and yet be considered eligible for amateur competition in another. For instance, a person who trained Cutting Horses exclusively, or a jockey, would be allowed to compete in HJ Amateur classes as long as they did not receive remuneration for any riding/training/instructing activities with hunters and jumpers.

            Further...I think that an intermediate type of amateur status might be beneficial to the HJ situation...namely one which permitted people to give riding instruction at the riding school level and to receive some compensation for being a working student or assistant trainer, yet permitted a person to compete in amateur events AS LONG AS THEY DID NOT ride train or instruct at hunter/jumper shows. I think that such "NON-Pros" should be permitted to compete in amateur HJ classes, but NOT be eligible for any National or Zone HOTY awards.

            I am quite sure that many will not agree with me that a relaxation of the current Amateur rules for the HJ discipline is a good idea, but let me explain that as our sport has gotten more popular, it has also become so expensive that many folks have been forced out entirely if they could not afford to compete as an amateur and they did not possess the skills or experience to be a professional. The others (read: fiscally challenged), cheat!...or try to pass themselves off as trainers and really wreak havoc with the horses and customers who pass through their hands. Wouldn't it be fairer to create an intermediate amateur "zone" for the dedicated person who lacked the funds to pay "full fare" and who wished to work off their board/training bill by giving some up/down lessons at the farm? Everybody complains about the expense of this sport...and about how only "rich people" can play, but yet we have continued to write rules that tend to make it impossible for anyone who is not wealthy to participate.

            It is situations such as this that call for cooperation between the AHSA and the discipline organizations...in the HJ scenario, it would be the NHJC. The NHJC should create and formulate the rules...and the AHSA (through it's Rules Compliance process) would be charged with the enforcing them.

            As you know, Grass Roots are a pet project of mine, and I belive that revisiting the Amateur rules might encourage people to show at AHSA horse shows who now feel that there is "no place for them" in the current showing environment, and thus, choose to compete at non AHSA shows because they can't afford AHSA showing as true amateurs, they don't ride well enough to compete with professionals and there is no way for them to fund their horse show habit within the industry.

            I welcome comments on these thoughts...it will take a lot of ideas and work to come up with such a sweeping change within the system...and to make it fair and workable.What do you think?


            • #26
              Saddlebag, I agree!!!!!


              • #27
                I love the idea of coming up with a brand new rulebook, instead of this thing written in some other language at best, if you can find the answer at all. Thank goodness Portia has volunteered her assistance! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

                The amateur rules definitely need a rehaul and I have no problem with making them discipline specific.

                In my "younger" amateur days, I might have agreed with a couple posters here about the amateur being the only one "allowed" to ride/train/show his/her own horse at a given show. However, now being a single mother of two young children, I would have to disagree with that rule. I have had horses that do much better when hacked in the ring, if allowed, on show mornings. When I feel up to it and do not have the children with me, I'm still happy doing it. But, when I have the children with me, who are already exhausted from having a late dinner after schooling the night before, only to have to wait another 6-10 hours later in the day for Mom to actually show, after having gotten to the show pre-dawn, and then to try to have a pleasant evening again, only to do it again the following morning?? I don't think so! LOL [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                Another reason to not have that rule, is the lack of horses available to the professionals to ride in their divisions. What would happen to those rated open divisions if professionals were not allowed to show horses shown by amateurs at the same shows? I know there are some owners out there who love to just watch their horses show. I love doing it myself! But, there are times in my life when actually showing myself is what I want to do as well. I would like to always have the option to have my cake and eat it too, if at all possible!

                Sorry about getting off track here....It's late, I've been BB deprived and out of practice!!
                \"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.\" -- Ralph Waldo E


                • #28
                  Duffy, you started to hit on one of my pet peeves in your previous post. OK,a professional by the rules, is one who accepts renumeration for services rendered
                  (and yadayadayada), But... here is what my concern is about a trainer/professional/rider
                  Shouldn't someone who is a professional put SOME money back into the sport? Thereby, forcing him/her to take at least SOME responsibility for their actions? Example:
                  A professional can be anyone who hangs their shingle on someone elses farm, they can go in and teach, accept money, train and accept money, horse show and accept money. (Wish this was me), but have NO EXPENSE and no risk. This professional has only paid their AHSA membership themselves. They don't own any horses, they don't own any property,
                  no trailer, no truck, no anything. We are creating more and more and more of these "professionals" many who barn hop on an average of 3 times or more a year. The owner of the farm loses each time it doens't work out, the clients have to once again shuffle their horses to a new unfamiliar placeetc, usually in the end (many years later) the customer base falls off, and a whole new set in a new zipcode emerge. On the other hand, a "professional" who is serious about making it work buys real estate, starts up, buys,trains, sells their own horses, starts some young ones etc, takes their job seriously as their shingle isn't moving, they are attached to the real estate they own,and destined to keep a stellar reputation. OK, I am rambling to nowhere. My point is can't we somehow get
                  stricter on what a "professional" really is
                  and have some kind of incentives for those building businesses with roots? Will our sport continue to grow, and will we continue to have new places to show if we continue to only have shingle hangers?
                  Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                  • #29
                    Okay here's a question, our rule book, as we have it now, is supposedly written with legal help, ie: lawyers? If this is true, we have boxed ourselves into a corner. Sorry Portia, please don't take this personally, I for one don't want more legal writting of this antiquated text. The rules in many instances, have choked us, not allowing for fair play. You might say, "but the intent is", well, one person's intent is anothers "no it means" thus and so. I don't believe you should need a degree in law to understand this book!

                    I do agree with Saddlebag, we need newer, and updated qualifications for our amateurs status. Every discipline needs to be heard on this.

                    And Jane, after reading your post I agree wholeheartedly! If there is some way of exorcising the "shingle hangers" our safety level and accountability as a sport might increase.

                    [This message has been edited by wtywmn4 (edited 08-23-2000).]


                    • #30
                      THANK YOU wtywmn, I really don't want tosound negative,but, I get the increased feeling, we get new people into the sport,with a 50/50 chance of keeping them involved. I agree with Snowbird about "C" shows for getting people started showing,but, I still like that I can take my Junior Hunter to the same show that I take my adult beginner rider! I amnot sure I am up to having to be different places different days. Maybe more educational information with the AHSA membership on "C","B" and "A,AA" shows for NEW members?
                      Explanation of point structure, and so on?
                      Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                      • #31
                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Duffy:

                        In my "younger" amateur days, I might have agreed with a couple posters here about the amateur being the only one "allowed" to ride/train/show his/her own horse at a given show. However, now being a single mother of two young children, I would have to disagree with that rule.

                        When your children are grown then would you support this rule? I have two children, too, yet we need to make rules for the sport, not for what best suits ourselves. Making the rules conform to what is best for each of us, and not what is best for the horses and the sport, is what got us into this mess.

                        We don't have enough people taking the long view; so many want the rules to suit themselves. I'm not picking on you, Duffy, I just thought your example was a good microcosm of what afflicts the horseshow industry,i.e., I wouldn't support that rule change on the basis of it's not good for me at this time, regardless of it's worth. I think we're seeing that with the drug rules, the NHS in NY, and the power struggles going on now.

                        [This message has been edited by Anne FS (edited 08-23-2000).]


                        • #32
                          OK, lets keep brainstorming ideas and not get off track! How do we get our riders to learn how to ride before purchasing the horse that can do the job? Why do the younger professionals feel they need to
                          prep the horse, so the rider gets on and wins? Why can't we take the time, although it is a long road, to teach how to ride, and then win like we did in the old days? I have no issues with a client coming in my barn and having the money to buy a horse that does the job, but I still want them to spend some time at 2'6" and learn how to ride, before going to3ft and 3'6" etc. Why are we rushing them through the 2'6" in the hunterring to end their careers in childrenss hunter and jumper land? Am I missing something here? What incentives can we offer to keep a child/adult in one piece and the horse sound and say it is OK toshow 2'6"? I personally am insulted by the trainers calling it preretarded division.
                          Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                          • #33
                            NOw this has me thinking. Maybe our horses could get to 3'6" if they spent some time at 2'6" and 3ft? maybe we rush to 3ft showing,and pound them, and have no 3'6"horse left? And the opposite is that we are taking the 3'6" horses back down the ladder to do the winning 3ft job. Maybe those horses would be best training riders in the 2'6" ring, if they were more affordable? I don't know.
                            Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                            • #34
                              I have to agree with Duffy on this one. I work full time and most of the time my horse leaves Monday or Tuesday for a show. Is he supposed to stand in his stall all week until I arrive Friday evening? How about the days when I show in the afternoon and can't make it out to flat in the ring in the morning? Am I going to be penalized beacuse I have to work? What about the income loss to the professionals? How in the world would you monitor something like this?

                              I really like Weatherford's idea of a rating system based on clean rounds in the jumpers and based on scores in the hunters.

                              [This message has been edited by Ash (edited 08-23-2000).]
                              ************************************************** **********
                              The government is best which governs least.
                              -Henry David Thoreau


                              • #35
                                BTW, I have no issues with pro rides, I do whatever the client wants. I think though that children should learn how to ride, so we have better horseman available later.
                                Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                                • #36
                                  Let me preface my comments with the fact that I show maybe once a month, and am not familiar with all the infinite variations in classes and divisions that shows can have.

                                  As one who shows only at local/schooling shows, typically on school horses, I would like to see classes for adults that don't require a fancy horse for success. So I like Snowbird's ideas about show classification. I would like to be able to go to a local show and not run the risk of being completely outclassed.

                                  Echoing concerns about moving up too quickly from 2" to 3", I think part of the problem, at least for adults that don't have the big bucks ... I don't want to do hunters becuase I don't have the horse for it, but I am in no way prepared to do jumpers. I would like to see an equitation division for adults that catered to all levels. For example, and I know I'm dating myself, when I was a junior there were three levels of equitation classes, maiden, novice and limit, before you got to the "big eq" classes. So there were alternativest to the hunter ring, where I could be competitive and successful.

                                  Also the idea about bringing the "handy" element back into the hunters. I ride a lot of terrific school horses that would truely be as bold, adjustable and handy as any daisy-cutter in a hunt field, but can not compete against them in the current hunter ring. I would love a class that would allow these guys to shine!

                                  There is not an idea that has been posted on this thread that isn't thoughtful and worth consideration. Someone posted earlier, that one of the most important things we can do is to get our comments off the BB and into the board and committee rooms of our governing organizations, and into the minds of our fellow members. Wouldn't it be great if the COTH or PH had forums or articles in their issues where these ideas were published so that all those who don't frequent these boards could jump into the fray?! How can we make that happen?


                                  • #37
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ash:
                                    Am I going to be penalized beacuse I have to work? What about the income loss to the professionals?

                                    Well, it depends on what the industry defines as 'amateur', doesn't it? And that's one of the arguments we hear about all the time. You can still show, your pro can still make money, but if a true amateur division is wanted, that is really a different thing than pro trains, rides, and schools all week and rider steps on Friday afternoon after the tune-ups. Hey, I'm not knocking it, but why not provide a place for the true amateur, and during the course of the show, only they can ride the horse? Why penalize THEM? See, everybody wants their own benefit.

                                    Jane, your posts about teaching riding are right on.

                                    It seems we have diametrically opposed interests in horse shows. AHSA seems geared to benefit first, show managers, and frankly doesn't give a fig about anything else; trainers want to keep the money flowing and the horses showing constantly, hence the drugs; lots of exhibitors want to show and win NOW, dammit, and do it the easiest way .....it's very discouraging.

                                    I think every committee in AHSA and NHJC should have one mandatory seat filled by a horseman who doesn't show at rated shows. How's that? Someone who can be objective, someone who can speak for the horse. It could be a veterinarian, a pony club person...someone who doesn't own show dates, isn't chasing points, someone who isn't saying what's in it for me? I know these people exist; unfortunately there are too few on committees.


                                    • #38
                                      Wty, believe me, I'm not offended! Lawyers can certainly mess things up with legalese, but I don't think that's the problem with the AHSA rule book. Instead, from analysing the structure and problems with the rule book, it seems to me that it is so horrible because it was put together in bits and pieces and no one has reviewed it as a whole. While AHSA's legal counsel may review each new rule change to make sure it won't result in ancillary legal complications for the AHSA, it appears to me that no one has done an overall review to ensure consistency and clarity,and to achieve and maintain a rational and usable format.

                                      Here are some excerpts from a memo I prepared several months ago after I spent far more hours trying to track down a simple answer than should have been required, listing what I see as the major organization and formatting issues with the current AHSA Rules. I haven't done anything with the memo, but if anyone at the AHSA is interested, as I said, I'd be happy to volunteer:

                                      The AHSA rules are currently formatted as “Part,” followed by “Rule,” followed by “Chapter,” followed by “Article.” This structure is inconsistent with conventional and widely accepted forms of regulatory and contractual organization.

                                      Currently, each “Rule” covers extremely large sections of text and multiple issues, many of which are only marginally related. In conventional regulatory structure, a rule is a relatively small subdivision addressing discreet and closely-related matters.

                                      In the current format, each Rule is subdivided into numerous “Chapters.” This structure is confusing and counter-intuitive to people conditioned to accept “chapters” of information as being far more inclusive than individual “rules.”

                                      As anyone who has used any word processing program knows, there are plenty of different ways to format a list or outline, from "1. 2. 3. 4." to "A. B. C. D." to "I, A, 1., a., (1), (a), (i)" or even "1.1.1, 1.2.1, 2.1.1, 2.2.1, 2.3" etc. The AHSA rules however, don't follow any of these outlining conventions consistently, and use the same identifier form for different levels of the outline.

                                      the AHSA Rules use Roman numerals to identify “Parts,” “Rules,” and “Chapters.” This makes it unnecessarily difficult to track each level of structure to the next level and identify each sub-division to its higher and lower levels. For example, under the current format, the rulemaking rule is: Part II, Rule III, Chapter XI, Article 341.

                                      The rules also do not use consistent form in identification and numbering. For example, Rule IV, Article 401, uses the form: 1., 2., 3., a), b), c).... whereas Rule VIII, Chapter III, Article 810 uses the form: 1, 2.1,. 2.2, 2.3, 4....

                                      They also do not identify all of sections, subsections, paragraphs, and subparagraphs separately, and they frequently do not break down large paragraphs into subparagraphs consistent with each new provision, concept, or requirement.

                                      Many of the provisions are also not grouped into logical and intuitive groupings by subject and relationship. For example, the mileage rule is currently found in Rule II titled Membership, under Chapter IV, titled "Competition Memberships". It should more logically be included in the Chapter and Rule on Conduct of Recognized Competitions.

                                      Similarly, the rules amendment provisions are currently found as the last Chapter in Rule III, titled "Conduct of Recognized Competitions." It should more logically be included in the Chapter on Membership, or in a new and separate chapter on Governance.

                                      These are organizational problems that someone used to looking at regulatory schemes can identify, but other folks will just notice that there's something that just doesn't seem right and makes it hard to figure the rules out.

                                      Actually, I was sort of considering submitting the memo to the Chronicle for the Horseman's Forum. Erin, think they'd be interested?

                                      [This message has been edited by Portia (edited 08-23-2000).]
                                      "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry


                                      • #39
                                        Going back to something trooper mentioned, what ever happened to the junior equitation divisions consisting of maiden, novice, limit, intermediate and open? Each level had successively higher fences going from 2'6" to 3'6" and riders qualified out by winning a certain number of blue ribbons. Courses started out pretty simple and got more complex as the rider moved up. This always seemed like such a logical way to move riders along until they were ready for the big eq.
                                        The "children's equitation" divisions I see these days don't accomplish the same thing and can vary drastically in level of competition from show to show.

                                        Did these levels disappear to make room for pre-green, pre-childrens, pre-adult, baby green, schooling, low, low-low, local, etc.? Or was there some other reason?

                                        I would suggest revisiting maiden, novice, limit, etc. for equitation for juniors. I would even go further and say that it's not too much of a reach to see that a similar type of standardization could work with adult equitation as well as in the hunters and jumpers. In all areas, fence height, complexity of courses and previous winnings (either ribbons or money)would be factored into the system. The masters divisions discussed in previous threads would fit nicely into this framework.

                                        As far as organizations go, the AHSA should stick to horse shows and serving its members, acting as an umbrella for US associations and competitions. The USET should focus on developing horses and riders who can be competitive nationally and internationally. I like the idea of a smaller group overseeing both organizations, but can't imagine how to pick that group without creating the same political problems and conflicts of interest that we have now.

                                        [This message has been edited by AHC (edited 08-23-2000).]


                                        • Original Poster

                                          I love the thoughts that are coming out here! Have been printing them out and forwarding many on. Portia, speaking as one who took on the re-organizing of the Jumper section of the rule book about 7-8 yrs.ago (and admittedly did a lousy job of it) and another who suffers through FINDING anything in our current book, I am ready to take you up on your (very generous)offer asap. It will be on the agenda for an Exec.Comm. meeting on Sept 6th, because I'll be sure it is.

                                          While we're 'out of the box' here, I'd like to throw out something from the German system. They rank every rider (E - A), country-wide, based on their number of places/wins at what levels. People throw parties in honor of being promoted to a new level! Then many of their shows write their prize lists much like race tracks do here: the specs indicate who can enter a given class based on both their and their horses category, and often their address. For example a lower level rider, from the immediate area can enter a higher level class than a rider from further away. Their system is complicated (from the fact that no one can enter any show without passing a basic riding test and a written test on basic knowledge of the horse!), and it is also constantly changing. A lot of what they do is based on their system of data gathering and processing -- everyone knows exactly where they stand at any given time over there. The currently being developed American Horse Sports Database will do much toward being ABLE to implement many of the innovations that are being discussed here.

                                          Keep the ideas flowing! there are so MANY good ones!