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What will happen if the rules are changed?

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  • What will happen if the rules are changed?

    I was looking through the Devon qualifying list, and as always, multiple names appear on it. There is one rider who is in every pony division AND both small/large juniors! And multiple rides in each division!

    Every division I believe has at least two riders with multiple mounts. I want to make it clear that I am NOT downplaying the riding chops of these people. I know many of them, and they are all great riders and nice people to boot. They also, though, represent the riders with enough money to be able to show nearly every weekend.

    So what do you think will happen if the rules are ever changed away from a pure point system, to one that's set up more like Pony finals? I know they are starting to play around with it. Do you think it will level the playing field? No? Will it hurt the industry because now these riders won't HAVE to show every weekend, so many of them probably won't? Will it reveal new, perhaps previously undiscovered talent because more good riders will be able to have a shot?

    I myself think that there will be more harm than good in tweaking the system away from pure point accumulation. I think that we will see more new names, and more young riders or emerging pros able to take a piece of the spotlight. I also think it will bring in more, not less revenue, as it will take opportunities down into the upper middle class, maybe even the very talented middle class, and not just the upper class.

    Any other thoughts or opinions, from either side? Do you think the logistics of ever tweaking the system are just too complicated, because it's been this way for so long? That's another def. possibility.

  • #2
    Short vs. long term gains?

    It must be frustrating to have qualified for Devon (or almost) at great expense and effort, only to witness something like "point inflation" and a small handful who can perhaps triple what you spend.

    I agree that there might be many benefits to both riders, and horses, if it didn't take "every weekend" showing to get to Devon. But I suspect that its hard for trainers to turn down the client who wants to buy several (and pay commissions) and show frequently (and pay day care fees on top of board and training). Perhaps rainers are taking what they can while they can because it would be tough or uncertain to delay the pay-off of spreading their time among many clients.

    Just my two cents. I was both priced out of the Devon chase long ago. My sound, middle-age horse is delighted with his mamma's poverty!
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

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    • #3
      Well, in the juniors and ponies someone else can ride, so the rider in question probably entered them all and will choose whether she wants to ride in the ponies or the juniors, then have a catch rider do the other division. Also, it's possible if she's moving up to the juniors, a pony rider might lease a pony just for Devon, or starting at Devon for the rest of the year. Sometimes horses and ponies get sold at Devon or right before so of course you'd enter the horse or pony you have for sale so the new owner could ride there.
      Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by "A"HunterGal View Post
        I myself think that there will be more harm than good in tweaking the system away from pure point accumulation. I think that we will see more new names, and more young riders or emerging pros able to take a piece of the spotlight. I also think it will bring in more, not less revenue, as it will take opportunities down into the upper middle class, maybe even the very talented middle class, and not just the upper class.
        Did you mean to say more good than harm? It seems like you're supporting changing over, which is why I ask as you said "more harm than good." Just checking.

        I'm all for not only making the sport more attainable to the common rider but also relieving the ridiculous show schedule people set these days. The old pros and greats would have never shown as much as we do now, and their riding was better and horses happier and fresher because of it.
        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

        Comment


        • #5
          Rules Changing?

          I believe that some changes would be good for the riders and the horses. The horses would enjoy being turned out and just being horses every now and then. I believe that counting the top "x" number of shows would be better than just point accumulation. There should be a "limit" as to the number of entries by one person and/or ridden by one person in order to
          enable more people to have a chance to go to finals, etc. The economy would benefit, as you would have more spectators due to the larger variety of riders and/or owners.

          I can see the "trainer" side of things, in wanting their clients to have as many horses as possible, etc. However, I believe that those that choose to show all of their horses every weekend will continue to do so. They may have to choose which ones they take to finals, but I would not think that it would affect how many horses they buy or how many they show in general.

          Obviously, there are good and bad things about any way you do things. However, I believe that some "new talent" will be discovered and that it will allow more "middle class" and budget minded people to participate. There are a large number of really good riders that are unable to compete in shows every weekend, nor do they have multiple horses. People may go back to enjoying their horses in other ways, ie, trail riding at a more leisurely pace some weekends, etc. This would enable more young professionals to get into the business as well. It is not a friendly life style for young pros with kids. Imagine having to be gone every weekend with clients when you have small children? I realize that is their choice, but it should be that - a choice. They should be able to get clients to finals if they teach at home and their riders do well at shows, even if they don't show every weekend. More people used to do their "homework" at home.

          Just my .02 cents worth...................

          Comment


          • #6
            It's a "Horse" show, not a "Child" show. There will always be kids who grow up totally immersed in horse showing, and have both financial and opportunity advantages over the other 99% of kids who like to ride. Maybe the kids for whom qualifying (or almost qualifying) is the big goal, are also gaining useful lessons in sportsmanship and perseverance.
            Man plans. God laughs.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm not sure exactly how things work today, but I know that back in the late 70s and early 80s when I showed on the A circuit my trainer had nearly all of her ponies qualify for Devon and indoors. During the summer we showed most but not all weekends but we didn't go to Florida, showed at only a few shows during the winter and early spring, and our season didn't really get going until Upperville which also coincided roughly with the end of the school year. Then the ponies pretty much had September off.

              I'm sure summers were tough on family life but at least she was home a good bit during the rest of the year, and of course the ponies also enjoyed that time when they were mostly just turned out and taken on trail rides.

              Admittedly she did have some very nice ponies training with her who were very successful when they did show, but at least it was possible back then to qualify without spending the whole year on the road.

              Comment


              • #8
                There are already limits on the number of mounts per division. There are also age limits and age splits and, in the juniors and ponies, size splits. If you start legislating against excellence so 'more people can go to finals', it's not much of a finals.

                There are better ways to tabulate quality than just total points, however. The Ariat medal tabulated points by the 10, 6, 4, 2, 1, 1/2 of first though sixth, then multiplied it by the number of people in the class. Fairly straight forward and every show has the same rating.

                The other thing that could be done is something like dividing your total points by the number of shows attended. A minimum would have to be established, say eight or ten shows, and once again there would have to be some sort of universal rating, but it would help reduce the raw benefit of going to 40 horse shows.

                I don't think either of these plans would hurt any shows because people still want quality and most people rise and fall to the level of their competition. Rich people will still want to go to WEF in the winter, but it would mean everyone staying home still has a shot. Slim down the mileage rule and let the cream rise to the top.
                *****
                You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are limits on the amount of horses that can be ridden in the division, and how many each rider can ride in that division. I think it should stay that way. However, I do think it would be nice if they lowered the amount of points it took to get to devon. I'd also like it if they included more divisons (like children's) but that's a stretch, i guess. The thing about Devon is that we all want to go. But Devon is really for the best of the best. Hence the big sign over the dixon oval- "where champions meet". Champions. A horse show is a horse show, and sometimes you can't change things. There are plenty of other shows to go to. Would I love to be able to show at devon? Yeah. But I definitely won't have the chance in the next year (next yr will be my last as a junior) and certainly wont while i'm in college. Some time in far off adulthood? Possibly. Depends on how much $$ i make and how much my husband makes! (so i can get myself a nice regular working hunter--i really never enjoyed jumpers that much) Until then, i'll keep going to spectate it's..almost as much fun! (as riding in the show) .. lol.

                  anywho, the catch riders who are qualified to ride something like 15 horses at devon, they do show every weekend and if devon lowered their point requirements, they still would show every weekend. Those riders have the resources. (not that i have a problem with them. if you have the money and the talent, well, why not? i'm a bit jealous, but i don't hold it against them) Not only can they easily afford to show all the time, but they are showing a million different horses. A lot of those horses do NOT get shown every weekend. They get shown often enough, and when they do, they do really well, getting lots of points, so they dont HAVE to show every weekend to make the points they need. These riders just have so many connections (or their trainer does, ill say) that there will always be a different string of horses for them each time. There will always be exceptions, but mostly, the horses and ponies winning at devon have plenty of time rolling in the mud.
                  Last edited by superpony123; Apr. 18, 2009, 07:26 PM.
                  (|--Sarah--|)

                  Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ummm...some of those are catch riders or trainers kids riding for multiple owners and sometimes they are listed because they own the horse/Pony but it's been leased and they really will not ride-some of the Juniors have leased their old Pony out for years but still will show in results.

                    And, please, don't assume they are all pounded to get there. One Circuit Champion at WEF showed exactly 6 of those weekends, 4 o/f and an u/s each of those weekends over 2 days...and I believe that one was Grand Circuit Champion Pony as well. Not exactly working the legs off it...and he has had lots of time to roll in the mud since returning.

                    Devon is sort of the cream of the crop for the best of the best and it's always been special to get to show there-because it must be earned. You really want to "dummy down" something like that tradition when there are hundreds of other shows you can go show at?
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just FYI- anybody can show at the Devon show grounds this year, by attending the Ashley Meadows shows there June 21-24.

                      It's not DEVON, but if you want to show at that venue, you can, whatever your division.

                      www.ashleymeadows.com for more details.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        All of the qualifying shows only use a max fo 15 shows per horse. You get your best 15 shows during the qualifying period, no more. You can show 40 times if you want, but you still only get 15 shows to count.

                        It has been that way for many many years for the qualifying shows.

                        Also, the show doesn't set the cut off. That is determined by the horses that enter. The show says they want X to show in a division. The horses enter, are put in point order and a line is drawn. That horses points become the cut off.

                        If you want points to go down, get rid of the USHJA Derbies from adding to a horses HOY points in their division. That has caused part of the increase in the # of points required.

                        The ponies have always had high cut offs, as the ponies go for ever. Horses move divisions more frequently than ponies.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          There are lots of great points! And yes, I did mean to say "more good than harm." I myself just caught that one.

                          So, first off:

                          findeight: I don't want to dumb anything down, far from it, I would like to see more of a chance for riders JUST as talented as those who qualify to be able to show. But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.

                          I guess there's no way to say anything without sounding bitter, which isn't my intention, but I think there is some underlying bitterness when looking at this type of thing. While there are some people (probably myself included) who still couldn't get to Devon even WITH the best horse out there, there are lots of people who are amazingly talented who have no shot with the way things are set up now; I feel that they are being cut out simply because they don't have the mega money needed to get there.

                          But as far as that's concerned:

                          Molly99, really? I didn't know that it's still 15 shows across the board no matter what. Is it possible to get points into the 3000 range with only 15 shows? If so that changes things, but I don't see how that can be possible, even if all 15 shows are WEF level.

                          I like the idea about dividing the points by the number of shows, that seems to make sense.

                          I also want to say that I think it's a bigger deal now because even the Eq divisions, which were set up for this very purpose, to allow extremely talented riders without the bucks to show their stuff, are now ALSO only for the very rich, mainly because to do well in the Eq one now needs to have an "Eq Horse". Do you think that anything should be done to counteract this relatively new category of mega bucks mount? Or do you think we're already too far down the slippery slope?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Aargh, I didn't mean to erase my earlier post. Thanks for the clarification, Molly. 15 shows is a lot IMO. Not sure why it's neccessary to include points for so many. I'm not a BNT, but my clients have frequently won at the A-shows we attend. But no one in my program could afford 15 A-rated shows per year - I guess that with the show schedules of most top barns these days, there would be a zillion horses with the same number of points if it were only 5 shows or something like that, but it sure would make it more affordable for those who ride well enough, have nice enough horses, yet can't afford to do 15+ A shows per year or don't want to pound their horses that much. Yes, if you live somewhere that has A-shows within a few hours drive every week, it's not so much...To do that in my area, you'd have to travel a LOT - only 2 A rated shows per year in my state. Traveling as far as one living here would have to - hard on the horses and hard on the wallet IMHO.
                            Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.
                              Yes you are getting the best of the best. The horse is being judged, and that is based on being the best mover and the best jumper. It is not equitation.





                              The 15 best shows part of the equation is pretty meaningless. If you only go to 13 shows, every one is one of your top. Even the one where you fell off in one class and went off course in another. If you go to 30 shows, your bad ones are not in the mix.
                              *****
                              You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Midge View Post
                                Yes you are getting the best of the best. The horse is being judged, and that is based on being the best mover and the best jumper. It is not equitation.
                                Yeah, I guess you're right. It isn't equitation. We are getting the best HORSES, and that is what we are judging in the hunters.

                                Maybe since this is the core of the matter, we need to just be at peace with the fact that NOT everyone is going to get to show at Devon or Indoors, no matter how hard you work or how good you are.

                                Maybe we need to create other, just as important standards for rating this? I know that the programs aimed at young riders and finding talent are beginning to crop up, but we need programs for every age range. Maybe we need to start placing more importance and clout with certification levels....sort of like Pony Club only for hunter/jumper riders, where meeting certain standards is the most important thing?

                                Do you think that we could ever replace emphasis on these types of programs? This way there would be more than one avenue to becoming a successful trainer with the possibility of having clients who CAN afford to buy the types of horses that can get a talented young pro to indoors? Are the college programs helping at all? I know there are plenty of stories of people coming from nada and getting a big break, but those people are the exception. Or do you think that Horse Showing in and of itself will always be the "end all and be all" of our discipline?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by "A"HunterGal View Post
                                  But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse. We say we want the best of the best, but we're not really getting it. Not really.
                                  I don't WANT to go to Devon to see the "best" riders sitting on lesser horses. I want to see the most jaw-dropping horses in our sport, regardless of who is sitting on top. I agree that we shouldn't reward the volume of shows people go to, but Devon already caps your points at fifteen shows, so they aren't (at least directly), rewarding people who go to 52 shows a year.

                                  Plus, 15 shows a year isn't all that much...it means showing once a month, plus twice a month for the summer months (June, July, August). It really isn't pounding on the horses.

                                  I think a lot of people get unnecessarily huffy over what happens at the upper echelons of the sport. Yes, there are kids with six ponies and eight horses, but the vast majority of kids (even at the A-level) have ONE horse that can play, at least capeably, in all three rings.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by twobays View Post
                                    I don't WANT to go to Devon to see the "best" riders sitting on lesser horses. I want to see the most jaw-dropping horses in our sport, regardless of who is sitting on top.
                                    If you read my last post, you'll see that I conceded that point.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by "A"HunterGal View Post
                                      But let's be brutally honest: some of the people on that list are not amazing riders. They are competent riders who have amazing horses that simply jump better, move better, than most horses out there. So even if they find 8 ok jumps, it's going to pin higher than someone who has the ability to find 8 perfect jumps on a less expensive horse... Eq classes, which were set up for this very purpose, to allow extremely talented riders without the bucks to show their stuff, are now ALSO only for the very rich, mainly because to do well in the Eq one now needs to have an "Eq Horse".
                                      Well...see...here's my problem with that logic.

                                      If you have a horse that rates, say, about a 7 or 8, you are ALWAYS going to have somebody with a 9 in there-or a 10-that moves better and jumps better in the Hunters if you want to show at the National level.

                                      So...you would have to penalize them or exclude them. How are you proposing to limit the Hunter that did cost more because it moves and jumps better so a more modesty talented horse can win in a class judged solely on quality of movement and jump?

                                      And, sorry, since when was the Eq division set up specifically for those without the finances for anything else?????

                                      I always thought it was set up to find the most effective rider in the judges opinion over that particular day's course and flatwork regardless of finances. A better horse likely gives one a better ride plus the judge is only looking at that day's course and flat, not how deserving anybody may or may not be.

                                      This whole thing of...OK, I'll say it...whining because others have better horses and more money and can go to more shows gets old.

                                      I have shown for 40 years Western and Hunters, never had any money compared to most, learned to do the best I had with what I had and ALWAYS had better then mine in there. Even the only one I ever had that I paid substantial money for (and the only one anybody else even wanted) became average at the very top level of AA shows...but I went and enjoyed it and got some ribbons too.

                                      This is where the fixation on ribbons really can poison attitudes. The whole "that's not fair because they have more money" totally misses the point of going to a horse show. It is about the best horse or the best rider that day. Nothing else.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                        It is about the best horse or the best rider that day. Nothing else.
                                        My point was, instead of "Where Champions Meet", Devon could be called "Where Champions from the East Coast, West Coast and sometimes Chicago or Texas Meet". Hauling a nice horse around to fifteen+ shows may not be a lot for someone living in New England, but for someone living in New Mexico it's a different ballgame. The Big Equitation qualifying process recongizes this (i.e. point system these days, number of wins required in the old days) - I wish the Hunter and Jumper qualifying process for Indoors/Devon recognized this too!
                                        Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

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