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Proposal: Pros please read and comment

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  • Proposal: Pros please read and comment

    Proposal

    For a recap of why I think we need this organization and changes, please visit my thread, “An open letter to professionals”, which I think exhaustively states my reasoning.

    http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/f...7626000571&p=1


    To recap:

    Many, many good trainers are feeling lost and alone, trying to teach horsemanship and good sportsmanship in a sea of people who don’t bother. This can foster feelings of aloneness, separation, and self doubt quite easily. We need to let these individuals know that they are NOT alone (which was my purpose in running the other thread), then empower them and encourage them to help make a difference in the sport, both individually and collectively.

    To be blunt, I don’t think we can do much to change the current crop of trainers and instructors’ views and opinions. Most of them have a significant financial interest in maintaining the status quo, and I think this thread proves (at least to me, it does) that we’re outnumbered. So what can we do?

    In my opinion, the answer lies with the next generation of trainers, all the talented juniors and amateurs who are being lost or ignored by the system. These kids and young adults are our future, and if we want to truly change things in the long term, we need to start there.

    Do you have a kid in your barn that’s tough, dependable, always excited to learn, and never seems to catch a break because of money? Do you have riders so eager to learn that they’ll ride anything, anytime, at a moments notice? You probably do. Many, many professionals take these talented juniors and young adults and help them to succeed, by allowing them to work off lessons and show fees, by giving them project horses to ride, by unstintingly giving of their time and expertise to these enthusiastic young people. I know I have, and I know many of you have, as well.

    But what about the kid whose trainer doesn’t happen to have a “spare” equitation horse sitting around twiddling his hooves? The kid who always gets to GO to the big shows, but often as a groom or assistant because they can’t afford it any other way? What about them? To me, these kids represent our best pool of potential trainers, those who will make the kind of trainers who will turn out the riders we all want to see. Do you REALLY want the child who has had everything passed to her via money or influence turning pro and teaching our next generation of riders these “values”. The kid that’s never cleaned a stall, or fed at 5am, or stayed up with a colic for 48 hours or so? Is that our future?

    My feeling is that these tough “catch rider” types represent a pool of talent that’s often wasted by our current system. These young people need to feel that their skills matter, that all those hours learning the “grunt work” that goes into GOOD horsemanship were useful in and of themselves, and are recognized as such. How do we do this? We give them a division, for starters. Let me explain.


    What I think we need to do as a Start

    To form a group whose membership is specifically dedicated to fostering horsemanship, good sportsmanship, and consistent, workmanlike standards at our horse shows today.

    I was thinking about calling this group the Standards in Horsemanship Coalition.

    As to our problem

    I don’t truly believe that there’s much that can be done about the state of the big equitation classes as they exist today. Too many people have too much money and time invested in these divisions for us to be able to get any kind of real reform accomplished. Want to see somebody fight: threaten their financial security. This is an understandable, human trait. So we come at it from another angle, one that doesn’t threaten these people’s bottom line, and so keep them from having motivation to oppose it.

    We create a SIHC Medal class, with the idea of giving all these riders a “place to live” and a reason to show. I have a few ideas about what this division should be, which I’ll now share, if you’re still interested.

    The division is judged on equitation, and is specifically designed to give a distinct advantage to these “tough” kids who can’t ever seem to catch a break elsewhere. We level the playing field in a number of ways:

    1. NO ONE except the rider that’s going to show the horse in the class may ride the animal for ANY REASON until after the class is concluded. Afterwards, if the horse has other divisions to compete with another rider or the same one, no problem. This will accomplish two things: it will keep the kids who need their trainer to work their horse for 2 hours before they can get him around the course out of the division, and it will test the individual riders ability to prep the horse for the show ring. Trainers may of course guide all they like during schooling, but from the ground only.

    2. We specify in course descriptions for the over fences phase that the course should be one that can be ridden “off the riders eye”, with few or no related distances. In my opinion, excessive use of related distances does more to separate out Horses than it does riders. I’d specifically like to eliminate combinations, although a line or two is ok, as long as we adhere to a rule the judge is specifically informed of, which mirrors the IHSA view. “Number of strides per se is not to be considered, but rather consistency of rhythm, boldness, and fluidity within the athletic limits of the particular animal”. I’d also like to allow well executed simple changes without penalty. This will allow the kids to show that they have more than just “the right horse”, and will keep the retired troopers right in there competitively. I want to separate Riders, not horses.

    3. I’d also like, as a MANDATORY test, to require that the top 3 placers switch horses and reride a ride-off course, after a brief 5 minute school to get a feel for the animal. This will further discourage the ones who can only ride the packer from participating.

    4. Lastly, I’d like there to be a couple of “horsemanship” questions, as well as riding questions, asked as part of the test. This could be written, or done as part of the class while mounted. They should be reasonable and accepted questions, compiled by experienced professionals. I’d like this to have some weight in determining placings. (not necessarily decisive, but not 5%, either)

    We'll run it as a multi part class, with a flat phase and a jumping phase, somewhat like the USET classes in basic format.

    My feeling is that we need a couple of big sponsorships (tack shops or companies, horse products, etc…) to help get this off the ground. I’d like to be able to give nice prizes, and make these kids feel like they have worth and a future. Know anybody?

    So, what do you think? Would you support such a division? Do you have kids that would ride in it if we could get it off the ground on a national level? Do you have contacts or experience with local or national bodies in the sport that could be helpful? Please let me know.

    Ok so I’m ambitious about the project. Think I’m full of it? Let me know. Agree? Have ideas, comments, etc? I’d love to hear them. I can’t do this alone. The vast majority of you have said that, in theory, we have a problem. How about helping me do something about it? Contact information is below, I’d love to hear from you!

    Jason Laumbach
    PMB 123, 133 Tutu Park Mall
    Saint Thomas, VI 00802
    laumbach@islands.vi
    340-777-3013 (barn)

    [This message was edited by VIRidingAcademy on Dec. 09, 2002 at 06:32 PM.]
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Proposal

    For a recap of why I think we need this organization and changes, please visit my thread, “An open letter to professionals”, which I think exhaustively states my reasoning.

    http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/f...7626000571&p=1


    To recap:

    Many, many good trainers are feeling lost and alone, trying to teach horsemanship and good sportsmanship in a sea of people who don’t bother. This can foster feelings of aloneness, separation, and self doubt quite easily. We need to let these individuals know that they are NOT alone (which was my purpose in running the other thread), then empower them and encourage them to help make a difference in the sport, both individually and collectively.

    To be blunt, I don’t think we can do much to change the current crop of trainers and instructors’ views and opinions. Most of them have a significant financial interest in maintaining the status quo, and I think this thread proves (at least to me, it does) that we’re outnumbered. So what can we do?

    In my opinion, the answer lies with the next generation of trainers, all the talented juniors and amateurs who are being lost or ignored by the system. These kids and young adults are our future, and if we want to truly change things in the long term, we need to start there.

    Do you have a kid in your barn that’s tough, dependable, always excited to learn, and never seems to catch a break because of money? Do you have riders so eager to learn that they’ll ride anything, anytime, at a moments notice? You probably do. Many, many professionals take these talented juniors and young adults and help them to succeed, by allowing them to work off lessons and show fees, by giving them project horses to ride, by unstintingly giving of their time and expertise to these enthusiastic young people. I know I have, and I know many of you have, as well.

    But what about the kid whose trainer doesn’t happen to have a “spare” equitation horse sitting around twiddling his hooves? The kid who always gets to GO to the big shows, but often as a groom or assistant because they can’t afford it any other way? What about them? To me, these kids represent our best pool of potential trainers, those who will make the kind of trainers who will turn out the riders we all want to see. Do you REALLY want the child who has had everything passed to her via money or influence turning pro and teaching our next generation of riders these “values”. The kid that’s never cleaned a stall, or fed at 5am, or stayed up with a colic for 48 hours or so? Is that our future?

    My feeling is that these tough “catch rider” types represent a pool of talent that’s often wasted by our current system. These young people need to feel that their skills matter, that all those hours learning the “grunt work” that goes into GOOD horsemanship were useful in and of themselves, and are recognized as such. How do we do this? We give them a division, for starters. Let me explain.


    What I think we need to do as a Start

    To form a group whose membership is specifically dedicated to fostering horsemanship, good sportsmanship, and consistent, workmanlike standards at our horse shows today.

    I was thinking about calling this group the Standards in Horsemanship Coalition.

    As to our problem

    I don’t truly believe that there’s much that can be done about the state of the big equitation classes as they exist today. Too many people have too much money and time invested in these divisions for us to be able to get any kind of real reform accomplished. Want to see somebody fight: threaten their financial security. This is an understandable, human trait. So we come at it from another angle, one that doesn’t threaten these people’s bottom line, and so keep them from having motivation to oppose it.

    We create a SIHC Medal class, with the idea of giving all these riders a “place to live” and a reason to show. I have a few ideas about what this division should be, which I’ll now share, if you’re still interested.

    The division is judged on equitation, and is specifically designed to give a distinct advantage to these “tough” kids who can’t ever seem to catch a break elsewhere. We level the playing field in a number of ways:

    1. NO ONE except the rider that’s going to show the horse in the class may ride the animal for ANY REASON until after the class is concluded. Afterwards, if the horse has other divisions to compete with another rider or the same one, no problem. This will accomplish two things: it will keep the kids who need their trainer to work their horse for 2 hours before they can get him around the course out of the division, and it will test the individual riders ability to prep the horse for the show ring. Trainers may of course guide all they like during schooling, but from the ground only.

    2. We specify in course descriptions for the over fences phase that the course should be one that can be ridden “off the riders eye”, with few or no related distances. In my opinion, excessive use of related distances does more to separate out Horses than it does riders. I’d specifically like to eliminate combinations, although a line or two is ok, as long as we adhere to a rule the judge is specifically informed of, which mirrors the IHSA view. “Number of strides per se is not to be considered, but rather consistency of rhythm, boldness, and fluidity within the athletic limits of the particular animal”. I’d also like to allow well executed simple changes without penalty. This will allow the kids to show that they have more than just “the right horse”, and will keep the retired troopers right in there competitively. I want to separate Riders, not horses.

    3. I’d also like, as a MANDATORY test, to require that the top 3 placers switch horses and reride a ride-off course, after a brief 5 minute school to get a feel for the animal. This will further discourage the ones who can only ride the packer from participating.

    4. Lastly, I’d like there to be a couple of “horsemanship” questions, as well as riding questions, asked as part of the test. This could be written, or done as part of the class while mounted. They should be reasonable and accepted questions, compiled by experienced professionals. I’d like this to have some weight in determining placings. (not necessarily decisive, but not 5%, either)

    We'll run it as a multi part class, with a flat phase and a jumping phase, somewhat like the USET classes in basic format.

    My feeling is that we need a couple of big sponsorships (tack shops or companies, horse products, etc…) to help get this off the ground. I’d like to be able to give nice prizes, and make these kids feel like they have worth and a future. Know anybody?

    So, what do you think? Would you support such a division? Do you have kids that would ride in it if we could get it off the ground on a national level? Do you have contacts or experience with local or national bodies in the sport that could be helpful? Please let me know.

    Ok so I’m ambitious about the project. Think I’m full of it? Let me know. Agree? Have ideas, comments, etc? I’d love to hear them. I can’t do this alone. The vast majority of you have said that, in theory, we have a problem. How about helping me do something about it? Contact information is below, I’d love to hear from you!

    Jason Laumbach
    PMB 123, 133 Tutu Park Mall
    Saint Thomas, VI 00802
    laumbach@islands.vi
    340-777-3013 (barn)

    [This message was edited by VIRidingAcademy on Dec. 09, 2002 at 06:32 PM.]

    Comment


    • #3
      Good idea, Jason, and you are acting! However, how about doing it within the system that already exists? (I know, horrors! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )

      How about getting on/forming such a committee and sponsoring your horsemanship class? How about re-writing the SPECS for the USA Eq horsemanship class to reflect HORSEMANSHIP? How about helping with the new VH-V Memorial Horsemanship class so that it does what needs to be done.

      There is also the AI (whatever) that certifies instructors - the organization that no one takes seriously - how about making that serious??

      There are so many "organizations" out there - I would rather see this within the USAEq...

      It's OUT! Linda Allen's 101 Exercises for Jumping co-authored by MOI!!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
      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


      • #4
        Okay, while I mostly agree with what you said, you also mentioned something about the more wealthy kids who never feed at 5am or muck stalls or anything. I think that statement is a little too general. I know plenty of kids who don't have to work but do. Just because people have money doesn't mean they never lift a finger for themselves. Believe it or not there are kids out there that while they may get tons of fancy horses handed to them by their parents, they are still eager to ride those project horses and lend a hand mucking out a stall and what not. Okay just my two cents.. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

        ~BenRidin
        ~BenRidin

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          You misunderstand. It is my intention to get this done WITHIN the USAE, if at all possible, at least eventually. I just think we need to have a firm idea of what we want to do first. I'm talking more about a "lobbying group" kind of thing, made up of like minded professionals.

          It was never my intention to create a new organization per se, but rather to get us all together to enact some changes.

          Why a new division? Because restructuring existing classes will almost certainly meet opposition, while this may not. Just being practical. I don't care what they call it! But I stand behind the idea (which I certainly would be the first to admit is by no means a NEW thing, I just think this kind of class has fallen by the wayside).

          Oh, and as an aside. I was talking more about riders who have NEVER, ever done the "dirty work". I don't have anything against money, believe me! If the wealthy kid has the skills to participate in the class, great! I just want a level playing field, where nobody can buy a ribbon. Too much to ask?

          Sorry if my wording intimated otherwise. I'll have to rethink it, if so.

          Jason

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not a pro, but...

            I agree with Weatherford in that this is precisely what Victor would have wanted to see in an equitation/medal class that carried his name.

            Perhaps we should be lobbying to set up his class with such specifications. This, of course, has to be done somewhat quickly and before the V H-V Memorial Horsemanship Class specs are finalized and it turns into yet another equitation/medal class run under the current rules of the game. I believe Victor would be sorely disappointed in that but would be proud to see his name on a class with specs similar to those described in Jason's proposal.

            Cheers, Maggi
            Cheers, Maggi

            Comment


            • #7
              To form a group whose membership is specifically dedicated to fostering horsemanship, good sportsmanship, and consistent, workmanlike standards at our horse shows today.

              Except for the horse shows part, this could be Pony Club. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

              Sounds like a great idea though! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
              “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
              ? Albert Einstein

              ~AJ~

              Comment


              • #8
                Really, is there ANY trainer, anywhere, who can afford to have a "spare" EQ horse standing around?

                I do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your proposal for the EQ final. But please, please, please, not another All Rich Kids Are Posers; Only Poor People Can Be Horsemen thread.

                Sorry, I'm not a pro!
                ____________

                "It is by no means the privilege of the rider to part with his horse solely by his own will." -- Alois Podhajsky

                "Go on, Bill... This is no place for a pony."
                \"It is by no means the privilege of the rider to part with his horse solely by his own will.\" -- Alois Podhajsky

                \"Go on, Bill... This is no place for a pony.\"

                Comment


                • #9
                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by InWhyCee:

                  I do LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your proposal for the EQ final. But please, please, please, not another All Rich Kids Are Posers; Only Poor People Can Be Horsemen thread.

                  <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                  Amen sister [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

                  The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jason
                    I think it sounds great and will be looking forward to hearing more about it. What specifically do ou need in terms of help to get this promoted etc.?
                    L.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wouldn't do it as a division, just as a single medal class. You can set it up within USAE, within a regional/local association, or just by sponsoring it and getting show managers to offer it. I do like the idea of making it a USAE class.

                      I might consider picking the height as 3'3" rather than 3'6"... because it's easier for the horseless to get a ride on a 3'3" horse than a 3'6" horse. It's an interesting dilemma... do you decide to challenge the riders by making it a very appropriate 3'6" height, or do you lower the height to promote accessiblity?

                      I would've been very excited to ride in this class as a junior.
                      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


                      • #12
                        Are you willing to put up some money to sponser this class?
                        If you are or can put it together and then offer it to show managers it could happen. If you are the sponser you can dictate the terms.

                        Any way you can involve those major barns you managed? I see you are only 30 so you must have been there recently, perhaps you could use your influence on your recent former clients to raise money and interest on this class proposal.

                        Sounds like a good idea, give it a shot and use your influence to get it started.

                        The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          3'-3'3 for the fence heights, since those horses, as we all know, are easier to find. I'm really looking for testy courses (like perhaps a serpentine pattern, half turn in reverse, etc...). I'd rather see courses that separate skill rather than animal, whenever possible. I DO think that's possible to do.

                          I was further thinking that we could look at the possibliity of running a "junior" class and then another one that you had to class out of the junior by winning three blues to qualify for. But that, obviously, would be in the future. Tougher class for the ones that classed out, keep them challenged.

                          I"m encouraged by the response. I agree that the estimable Mr. Hugo-Vidal probably would've approved, although I didn't know him personally. Anyone know who sits on the committee that's finalizing the layout of the class? I think that's a GREAT idea, and would have a real shot if we could put the bug in the right ears.

                          hmmm.

                          This might be easier than I thought (uh-huh...).

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            GREAT ideas, things I wouldn't have thought of (or in some cases, at least not right away, anyway [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ).

                            I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I'm still waiting to hear from YOU, though [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img].

                            Jason

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I too am worried about our next generation of trainers..

                              I like what you have to say. Unfortunatley, a lot of trianers don't have a spare eq horse just laying around. As a junior I was taking whatever extra horses we had in there. I showed a lot of horses I was selling as green eq horses, or people's hunters and jumpers that needed to be schooled. Sometimes I got REALLY lucky and some other trainer had a client who was selling a horse, but said client was sick/had an emergency and wanted the horse shown.

                              Unfortunately not all trainers are in the position to help out - and others just won't

                              ~~Kate~~

                              --------------------------
                              I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                              -- John Keats
                              --------------------------
                              I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                              -- John Keats

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by maggymay:


                                As someone who would have been in the target audience as a junior for this class I would like to see the fences higher b/c that makes it harder and gives better riders a chance to stand out.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                When I was a junior my trainer and I always WISHED there was 4' equitation to weed out some of the posers [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

                                ~~Kate~~

                                --------------------------
                                I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                                -- John Keats
                                --------------------------
                                I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest
                                -- John Keats

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Some local shows in my area have a camp mount/lesson horse division. What about you can't own the horse you ride in this class? And if the fence height was 3'3", how cool would it be if ponies could show in the class, too? Any size pony. Plenty of the little guys can easily do that height.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Dear Jason,

                                    I've read your open letter and your responses to others comments on this, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also appreciate your well-reasoned and positive approach. I believe some of the problem stems from equitation competition having evolved into an end in itself, instead of also being seen as a schooling ground to test fundamentals and to produce horsemen and women who could go on to compete in hunters, jumpers, or on to the USET. I believe this has led to an equitation style that in some cases has become so specialized and stylised as to be unfunctional for other kinds of jumping. I especially refer to long stirrups, excessively hollow backs, jumping ahead & lying up on the neck, and exaggerated crest releases, often with wrists rotated back. This goes along with (sometimes) excessive "preparation" of horses, students who drill on position details but can't school, switch horses, or ride a fence off their eye, and some who lack essential horsemanship knowledge & hands-on experience. I know that's not the whole picture in equitation, but there's far too much of it around and it too often results in ribbons. (Believe it or not, many of the same criticisms or similar were floating around back in the early 70's & long before, when some of us older types were juniors-- seems like there's nothing new under the sun!)

                                    I don't think we're likely to see major changes just from just criticizing the status quo or the "powers that be," and I commend you on making a well thought-out effort to do something positive to encourage the development of real horsemanship in teaching young riders. I'd like to get behind your efforts, too.

                                    I like both your idea of developing a specific competition, and also the proposal to incorporate your ideas in the USAEq Victor Hugo-Vidal Memorial Horsemanship class. I'd like to see the word "horsemanship" in the name of the class, and I think Victor would heartily approve.

                                    One suggestion I'd make might be to designate a couple of sources from which questions might be drawn on horsemanship knowledge, so students can study & prepare themselves. I'd also like to see this type of class offered for various levels: pony riders, kids under 14, 14-18, and maybe even adult amateurs. Finally, might you publish a brief guide to the class for judges, trainers & exhibitors, containing its' principles & what it's to be judged on? That would also give you a place to emphasize horsemanship and sportsmanship & define what you mean by them, & describe some ways in which those qualities would be exhibited & evaluated. Because they're subjective qualities, this isn't always easy, but a guide to the class might help.

                                    I know there are many, many trainers out there teaching real horsemanship, and thousands of students of the kind you describe--the ones you "couldn't beat away from the barn with a stick" and who will be real horsemen someday if only they get the chance. While true horsemanship doesn't depend on the rewards of competition, this is a good step to encourage and reward those who really believe in it. I also believe that our greatest chance to develop an appreciation of real horsemanship is with good education of our entry-level students and clients; if they're taught and guided well from the beginning, they will value horses and horsemanship all their lives. It's much harder to change entrenched attitudes later on.

                                    Thanks for your proposal, and please let us know what we can do to help the concept along.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and support. You may be intersted to know that I just sent a copy of both threads and my two original proposals to the Hunter Seat Equitation Committee of USAE.

                                      I'll be interested to hear if I get any responses back. Not all of them had email addresses, but I may just fax the others to keep things even!

                                      Jason Laumbach

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                                      • #20
                                        Wow. I've always hoped someone would do something like that.

                                        About the height, what about adding a few divisions, like a 3', 3'6", and 4'0" division (maybe this one should go up to age 21 like USET??)

                                        You might also want to consider advertising it to big trainers and starting it off at some bigger shows to get the name out. Have you considered presenting the class plan to someone like Marshall and Sterling, or ASPCA? Organizations that already sponsor eq classes?

                                        People, Jason is not saying that rich kids who work hard can't still do well in this class. It just evens everything out, so everything depends on how well you ride, and care for horses, plain and simple. Rich people can win, "poor" people can win. This isn't a All Rich Kids are Posers thread.

                                        *~*~Lauryn*~*~*~
                                        &lt;3 Justice Served &lt;3
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                                        The entry deadline for the COTH Winter Equestrian Festival is December 11, 2002, at midnight! Send your entries!

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