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Kanavy v. Balch... Round 1

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  • Kanavy v. Balch... Round 1

    I know, I know... more NGB stuff. Please resist the urge to shoot me in the head for bringing it up again.

    I'm as sick of it as anyone. But I just thought I'd share my dismayed feelings... maybe someone will make me feel better? To start, I have to say, I have been an AHSA supporter in all this NGB crap. Sadly, it comes mostly from a ferocious hatred of the elitist USET (who kicked several dedicated members off of their board), instead of a "love" for AHSA. I don't know Valerie Kanavy well,... but she has always seemed like a straight shooter to me. What is up with these costs? An FEI passport costs $75, but AHSA makes us pay $300? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] I guess I found Alan Balch's reply, uh, less than satisfying. Maybe I'm too cranky to look at this honestly, but did anyone else get the sense that his reply was "Well, the USET wanted to charge $800, so be happy that we're charging $300." It's not that I don't believe that it is more expensive to do FEI events here in N. America. I do believe that. I was bothered by his "Well, we're better than USET, and that's all we need to be" attitude. After all, AHSA are the wonderful folks who gave us the mileage rule, and other pro-big-business crap. I know some posters here have given a lot of themselves to the organization, and I don't mean to seem ungrateful ... I guess I just feel like we're trading Nicholas Romanov for Josef Stalin. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I know, I know... more NGB stuff. Please resist the urge to shoot me in the head for bringing it up again.

    I'm as sick of it as anyone. But I just thought I'd share my dismayed feelings... maybe someone will make me feel better? To start, I have to say, I have been an AHSA supporter in all this NGB crap. Sadly, it comes mostly from a ferocious hatred of the elitist USET (who kicked several dedicated members off of their board), instead of a "love" for AHSA. I don't know Valerie Kanavy well,... but she has always seemed like a straight shooter to me. What is up with these costs? An FEI passport costs $75, but AHSA makes us pay $300? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] I guess I found Alan Balch's reply, uh, less than satisfying. Maybe I'm too cranky to look at this honestly, but did anyone else get the sense that his reply was "Well, the USET wanted to charge $800, so be happy that we're charging $300." It's not that I don't believe that it is more expensive to do FEI events here in N. America. I do believe that. I was bothered by his "Well, we're better than USET, and that's all we need to be" attitude. After all, AHSA are the wonderful folks who gave us the mileage rule, and other pro-big-business crap. I know some posters here have given a lot of themselves to the organization, and I don't mean to seem ungrateful ... I guess I just feel like we're trading Nicholas Romanov for Josef Stalin. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

    Comment


    • #3
      For those who are confused, this is in reference to the Horseman's Forum in the Chronicle this week -- articles by Valerie Kanavy and Alan Balch. Here are the links:

      Why Are The AHSA's Fees So High? (Kanavy)

      Thank You For Asking About Fees (Balch)

      Comment


      • #4
        and I certainly hope I do

        Is Mr. Balch justifying the high AHSA fees on the grounds that ALL competitors, even the occasional competitors who have no FEI aspirations, should subsidize the few who do compete internationally?

        If so, WHY?????

        As a small-time, potentially occasional competitor, increased fees to support the "elite" competitors in horse sports would be more than enough to keep me far, far away from any AHSA activity - and would cause me to be completely opposed to AHSA taking over supervision of all competitions.

        The international competitors and wanna-be's have caused nothing but trouble for local participants in ADS competitions, and I would hate to see the same impact on others.

        Comment


        • #5
          As I read it, Mr. Balch is arguing precisely the contrary, that grassroots competitors should minimally subsidize the costs of serving international competitors. The FEI may charge the AHSA $75 for the passport, but how many hours of labor must an AHSA staffer devote to processing it? There are likely some fixed costs involved.

          I can understand the irritation with the horse recording fee. It is steep, and especially annoying when you know that you will not ever be in the running for points.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

          Comment


          • #6
            weatherford portia wher e are you?
            Brilyntrip

            Comment


            • #7
              Fact, the AHSA (now Fed) fee structure was in place before AB took the helm (1996).

              Valerie says, <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> In the United States, however, a major deterrent to international competition is the excessive cost of passports, and rider fees thought to be imposed by the FEI. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

              (Opinion) I find this comment a little unusal - for ANY competitor at that level to consider a $300 passport fee a ?major? deterent for international competitions when the plane fare ALONE is easily $4,000 or more? Much less the rest of the expenses. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]

              So, why are other organizations cheaper?

              As AB points out, showing internationally is the norm in Europe. FEI passports are generally issued by the breed registries, and the breeders cover the costs. Breeds are registered and work with the national federations, generally costs picked up by the breeder.

              When a horse is sold, the passport and other papers travel with it. The new owner pays a tranfer fee and membership in the Federation & breeding organization (if not already a member). You are not allowed to change a horse?s name once registered, or if you can, you incur a very high fee to do so.

              AB also points out that other Federations are often subsidized by their governments (my example is Ireland - where the horse industry is a major one on all fronts.) The German Federation has 750,000 members! They can AFFORD to have lower fees; their overhead costs are absorbed by more people.


              AS far as efficiencies within the Federation, I think anyone who has dealt with the staff in KY has found them to be gracious and about as efficient as they can be! I certainly know my own experiences dealing with KY have been a FAR cry from dealing with the NY office.

              Not to mention KY is considerably cheaper, and with our tremendous growth, those savings have been put to hiring more staff members, etc.

              I know nothing of the AERC, so I cannot comment on that.

              Is the Federation a business? Certainly - and it always has been. Difference now is it is being run more efficiently and user friendly than ever before.

              And there has been a serious push to finally recognize the problems created by conflicts of interest, lack of amateur involvement, and ignorance of the lowest levels of our sport.

              It is even recognized now that there are almost as many members competing Arab/NSH OR Dressage as there are in (combined) H/J.

              I hope this helps clarify some points.
              co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

              Comment


              • #8
                Anyone who is shipping to Europe to show is not exactly a figure of sympathy. Yes! the Federation needs to cover costs. Yes! the price was set during past administrations and has not increased.
                Yes! in the USET plan they were going to use it as a fund raiser since all their buddies are the ones going to Europe on the USET tags. Yes! in Europe because they have a socialist approach the breed organizations participate in the costs.

                Now, if we were talking about shipping American bred horses then perhaps there would be some sympathy. Come on guys a little Yankee ingenuity is what's needed right now!
                http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org

                Comment


                • #9
                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> (Opinion) I find this comment a little unusal - for ANY competitor at that level to consider a $300 passport fee a ?major? deterent for international competitions when the plane fare ALONE is easily $4,000 or more? Much less the rest of the expenses. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                  I believe Ms. Kanavy is referring to the added cost for an American endurance rider who wishes to compete in an FEI-sanctioned endurance ride *within the US*--they get socked with an extra $300 fee for the passport in order to enter.
                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    will always exist I think. NO ONE ever wants to feel that they are subsidizing anyone else's aspect of the sport.

                    Weatherford makes good points about comparing our situation with Europe. In their situation, anyone competing outside of their immediate hometown gets involved in the intracacies of the FEI's requirements.

                    The real cost of the passport has little to do with the price the FEI charges an NF for a blank one -- it is useless unless an NF "certifies" that the animal is who and what it is advertised to be, and thus eligible to participate in International Competition. It takes full time staff to lead neophites through the process, and to stand ready to accomplish the impossible on occasion for some competitors who 'forgot' this detail until the last moment.

                    The FEI has spent years now making the authority of a horse's passport worth something to international authorities for purposes of border crossing, veterinary regulations, and identification of the equine half of the equation -- it only works if the NF's are charged with the responsibility of certifying the information. If a passport is expensive, what about the cost of preparing and transporting a horse to a distant destination and then not being able to compete because officials there said "no validation, no participation!"

                    Virtually every other country active in equestrian sport internationally has requirements that ALL horses are positively identified with the NF prior to competing at ANY level (at birth in most countries thru a breed registry which isn't cheap, and then with a transfer to 'competition status' when the horse begins to compete), including annual renewals to keep an animal eligible. Here in the US, a competitor need only record and get passports for the horses that make it to the international level. Lower volume = higher (per individual) costs.

                    Any rider with a horse can ride 100 miles (or jump 1.60m fences) for fun - any where, any time - without paying anything to anyone. But, if they want the chance to win a Championship for their skills, there are requirements and costs involved. There are also benefits that come from successes: international winners are paid to do clinics and endorse products, quality horses come their way with more regularity, and their input is sought in the development of their sport. The $400 or so that it costs to make that potential Champion eligible also pales when you consider that today's sport of Endurance offers a $1,000,000 bonus should a competitor win 3 events of the calibre that Valerie has already proven herself capable of winning!

                    With all that a successful competitor like Valerie puts in to getting to this point, I doubt that their incremental cost to compete abroad (or internationally here at home) is out of line with what other athletes assume when they set out to become World Champion.

                    Those that only want to compete at the lower levels - the rank-and-file of the US Endurance community - are not all aware of the consequences of being a sport that has its roots at home, but its pinnacle on the international stage. But, properly handled, those with the ability and desire to become FEI Champions can be real assets to their sport as a whole; especially in the continual challenge to assure improved riding opportunities for the thousands that love to ride and compete but don't have international aspirations. If everyone could see a bigger picture for the sport -- and their own role in it -- we would waste far less energy on complaining about the realities of our modern world.

                    Linda Allen

                    [This message was edited by Linda Allen on Jul. 24, 2001 at 12:35 AM.]
                    Linda Allen

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Linda Allen, maybe you can clarify this.

                      I know that the last few horses we've imported from Europe have come with passports. The way I understand it from someone who does the jumpers is that these passports are not acceptable by the AHSA, and you must apply for a new one thru them and pay the fee. Then, basically, you get a new copy of what you already have. Is this the case?

                      Not like it's ever going to affect me or my horses since we do hunters. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
                      Friends don't let friends ride junk!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It is really quite a simple process to change ownership on a passport. A few signatures, the vac pages must be up to date and boom, registered with the new Federation. The last one I did was even a bit complicated as the owner was not a resident. A few e mails and permission from her NF for ours to stamp and a done deal. Still had to pay cashola, though.

                        But, since we are on the subject of increasing fees, what about the increase in drug testing fee? I know they SAY they haven't increased the fee in ten years but has anyone noticed how many more horses show (and consequently pay a drug fee) now compared to ten years ago? That alone should be enough to make up the difference, not the $2.00 increase.

                        I commented on a previous thread that I feared with the new name of our NF, fees would increase. And low and behold, not two days after the name change, they announce the drug fee is increasing! Bad timing?

                        Yes, I know they are now going to do split samples and MUST have their own lab, etc. but...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As Linda Allen pointed out, we can be greatful we are not paying the fees that are in place in Europe.

                          As for the fees, it would be hard for any organization/business to say there will be no increases! Good grief, our own government can't uphold those promises. When any business, and make no mistake this is a business, has changes, there will be costs involved. Who should shoulder those costs? Well, most times it is passed on to the consumer. And, we are the consumers.

                          I guess my point is, that in order for our sport to move forward, we need to start looking at it in a business manor. Something we have for years not done.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            About the importance of the FEI passports -- my trainer (an English woman) apprenticed for a couple of Swiss dressage riders who are perennial members of the Swiss Olympic team, and she spent a couple of years traveling all over Europe with their horses. She's said more than once that the border guards barely looked at her passport, but the horses' passports were inspected in detail. Every description had to match, every horse had to fit what was in its passport perfectly, or there could be major problems.

                            On the increase in drug fees, they issued the press release on it a couple of days later, but it was discussed and voted on it at the same board meeting (broadcast on the internet) as the name change, so they actually happened at the same time. Listening to Dr. Allen's explanation of what they do and why it was necessary, I thought it was a reasonable change.
                            "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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We will have to cover all the costs in some way. I think it is better if we all share a little then that we depend on vested interests with personal agendas to pick up the shortfall.

                              I hope that along with the boost in drug fees we will also see some substantial support to get the lower ranked shows back on course. The broader the base we have the less likely we are to have future price increases. All the shows whatever the rank of the show submit their fees in full to the Federation. Common sense says that if there are more horses showing there will be more money and the fee can be kept lower.
                              http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Linda says "But, properly handled, those with the ability and desire to become FEI Champions can be real assets to their sport as a whole; especially in the continual challenge to assure improved riding opportunities for the thousands that love to ride and compete but don't have international aspirations."

                                Really? How? When? Where?

                                As a lower-level competitor, when competing at all, I certainly haven't seen any great benefits to the sport(s) given by international competitors. More like take the fame/money and run!

                                Lower level competitions are struggling. Amateurs are pretty well being pushed out of serious competition in several aspects of equestrian sports. There is little to no support for english riding competitions off the coasts. These problems did not exist 20 years ago - I don't think it ALL can be laid at AHSA's door, but AHSA sure hasn't helped.

                                For example. AHSA decided it had to get involved with ADS activities. Now, drivers have to pay exorbitant AHSA fees for ADS competitions - and AHSA has no valid or valuable input to the sport of driving.

                                Maybe there's good and sufficient reason why AQHA holds its association separate from AHSA, and why so many people have quarter horses and join AQHA. It seems to be the only association that supports its members. All its members, not just pros and international competitors.

                                I can't feel sorry for someone who stands to benefit from being an international competitor and who has to make a sizeable financial outlay to do so. Nor do I consider it my responsibility or to my benefit to subsidize them at the cost of my ability to play on my own considerably less prestigious playing field.

                                JMHO, of course.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  tho its title isn't very appropriate to the range of discussion!

                                  Portia, your friend is right -- the easiest way to cross borders (for people that is) is with horses. They get all the attention!

                                  pt brings up some good points. It is a complicated issue how the various levels can/do affect each other -- especially since the average individual doesn't normally feel it directly. But an example could be how many more children had the opportunity to be exposed to gymnastics, and access to equiped facilities and instructors in the years following Olga and Nadia? Their sport (long existing but not widely publicized) took off -- with far more kids having a chance to participate (albeit very few with Olympic talent or aspirations). Same for golf and Tiger...

                                  I've learned that most every Federation for other sports in this country has "divisions" that are not competitive except in a recreational sense, along with "divisions" that concentrate on the sport's elite (elite in terms of the playing field and not social strata or bank account). Each aspect adds credence and support to the other. Without lots of new athletes getting "hooked" on a sport just where will the few that make headlines come from? And if only the elite participate or care about the sport, how will they get the opportunity to succeed and help put the sport "on the map" in a public sense?

                                  Last point, I agree on the success of the AQHA. They've done a lot of things right. But the basis for their funding is their Breed Registry. Know what one of the Champions cost? or what the breeders spend to produce one? or the cost of registering (or heaven-forbid changing the name of one!)? For those that just enjoy the horse, and/or the lower levels of their competitions, there is a lot of value in what one pays for those that don't quite make it to the top levels -- largely subsidized by those that work and pay to aspire to have/be the best! A good example of the synergy that can result from a BIG organization that manages to somehow be "all things to all people," with the right kind of structure and implementation.

                                  Linda Allen
                                  Linda Allen

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pt:
                                    As a lower-level competitor, when competing at all, I certainly haven't seen any great benefits to the sport(s) given by international competitors. More like take the fame/money and run!
                                    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    This may not be as true for your sport (driving?), but I've certainly noticed that in dressage and eventing in California, that the whole regional competitor base tends to get a benefit whenever a 'local' ventures out to the Big Bad World of Rolex, the USET championships, or Europe. When those riders come back, they usually have a new maturity, a new sense of the possible and the required, and in general the riding of the competitor and his/her students improves. Sometimes they come back with confidence, and sometimes they come back with humility. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                                    Ideally, they've also had a chance to train with some of the best international coaches and watch the best international riders, which feeds new ideas back into our region. This in turn improves the standard locally, as other riders and trainers either learn from or step up to compete with the returned rider.
                                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Let me say right up front I know little to nothing about driving.

                                      At these competitions, are there stewards to enforce rules? Is there drug testing to ensure a fair and level playing field? Are there licensed officials whose competence has been evaluated and certified? Are *any* of these services provided by the Fed?

                                      As Linda said, <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> "But, properly handled, those with the ability and desire to become FEI Champions can be real assets to their sport as a whole; especially in the continual challenge to assure improved riding opportunities for the thousands that love to ride and compete but don't have international aspirations."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                      You disagreed.

                                      But don't you think the greater the exposure for the sport, the more potential sponsors there are? Wouldn't that be a benefit? What about the knowledge that can be gained through exposure to competition in other countries, and to their training methods, breeding practices etc... would that make for better clinicians at home? More of a market for these horses?

                                      The Fed also promotes the welfare of sporting horses across the board - they support and publicize relevant veterinary research, support the development of new and better testing procedures, and provide a forum for those who have complaints or problems at competitions. What about the performance horse registry database?

                                      There is a cost associated with the services that the Fed provides. In my opinion, they are not likely to represent a major component of a competition budget, and especially in terms of those who compete internationally, it is surely miniscule.
                                      **********
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                      -PaulaEdwina

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Seem to focus on 3 points:
                                        1. Benefits to students of international competitors who (ostensibly) return wiser.

                                        How? If they go to an international competition, they are not taking lessons; they are competing. I doubt that much education transpires. Also, that benefit, if it exists, only applies to the few who are their students - far from a large percentage of lower to middle rank equestrians in this country.

                                        Moreover, I'll just bet the "benefit" of their international experience is reflected in increased lessons fees - so why should the rank and file subsidize these folks for putting themselves in a position to make more money?

                                        2. AQHA cost of champions? Have you priced top show jumpers or dressage horses lately? Or for that matter, mid-rank jumpers or dressage horses? Again, why should the rank and file subsidize the breeders' opportunity to charge more for their horses? Not a valid argument for increased FED (is that the term? Ugh! nasty connotations there!)

                                        3. Drug testing, officials, etc. Well, in driving, ADS supplied and still supplies same. AHSA wasn't interested in carriage driving activities until it became a thriving sport. Then I guess it smelled money in the air, because it wouldn't quit until it got its claws into the game. Oh, dear, I mean, until out of totally disinterested, philanthropic motives, it offered its assistance to a sport that was already being very well run.

                                        Again, several of the posts seem to emphasize the idea of paying for the cost of international competitors. Guess I just don't see the point to doing that.

                                        Comment

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