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An Open Letter to Professionals

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  • An Open Letter to Professionals

    I debated as to whether or not to post this on this forum, since I recently sent it to an unnamed equestrian publication. But I'm interested to see what kind of responses I get, and, after all, it's MY letter [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img].

    Please feel free to post replies or email me.

    Jason Laumbach

    ***TEXT FOLLOWS***

    An open letter to professionals

    As a full-time professional Hunter/Jumper instructor and trainer for over 15 years now, I think I’ve proved my love of and devotion to the sport in many ways to many people. As someone interested in the development of the sport in the US, I have to write this letter.

    Something is wrong. Very wrong. There are too many trends that concern me a great deal for me cover in the scope of this letter, but I want to talk about a few that I find the most disturbing.

    It seems, in many ways, that the attitude any more is all about the business, and by that I mean making money. Now don’t get me wrong, we all have to deal with the financial end of the business (believe me, I’ve been there in those tight months and years!!! Many times!), but the industry is focusing entirely too much on competition anymore. It seems that everyone is in a big hurry to move their kids up to the higher divisions as quickly as possible, and that success is measured solely (by some) by the number of ribbons on the wall. As a junior, I was taught and continue to teach my students that shows should be treated as a test of the mastery of the art of riding, not as an end unto themselves. It seems that more and more people do nothing but hop from competition to competition.

    I love to see my kids do well, just like you like to see yours do well. But I have to say that, honestly, nothing every makes me prouder than when one of my students comes out of the ring after a stellar trip, doesn’t pin, and is still satisfied with the ride, or when one of my kids is unsatisfied with the blue-ribbon trip because she knew she could do better. To me, that’s what it’s all about.

    I dislike hearing and talking to big-name trainers who dismissively say that they “don’t teach beginners”. Where in the name of all that’s holy do these people think the intermediate and advanced riders they work with come from? Is there a “rider tree” growing in their yard that I’m just not aware of? What disturbs me most about this attitude is this: all too often, beginning riders are relegated to the least experienced instructor available, which I find often does them almost irreparable harm. Any competent trainer knows that the most critical time in making a young rider (at least in my experience) is the first 1.5-2 years. If you start them properly under an experienced, educated eye, they’ll move up much more smoothly and quickly later. New instructors (yes, I was one too, after all…) should be started teaching with advanced beginner and low intermediate classes, after the basic foundation is established.

    Personally, I like working with beginners. Nothing is more satisfying to me than to bring along a rider from the “ground up” and have them turn into a class horseman. My riders are my “product”, and I love my work deeply.

    I am very disturbed by trends I see in competition today, most notably the lowering of standards in all divisions in the US, from fence heights to course difficulty. The reason usually given is “we want to make the division more inviting”. Hogwash. Lowering standards and simplifying courses until they match the level of the riders who want to compete is like lowering literacy standards at school until sub-par students get a passing grade, not through their own work and achievements, but because the standards have been lowered to accommodate them. I’ve seen this go on for many years, and the result is plain for all to see.

    Wild children on scrappy ponies in ridiculously low classes run under jumper rules racing madly around the ring trying to “beat the clock”. In my opinion, time should NEVER be introduced as a factor any earlier than the Am-Owner/Junior phase. Kids need to spend time in the hunters and equitation to develop form, style and smoothness. All too often anymore, I see riders moved up into “Very Low Jumper” and “Special Jumper” classes well before they should be riding under those rules, which are designed for a much more experienced competitor.

    The kids and adults today just don’t ride like they used to. Watch some video and look at some pictures from the late 60’s through the late 70’s (in my opinion, our strongest decade as a nation). There is a clear, unmistakable difference in effectiveness and form from our current crop. I don’t say this to disparage our young riders and amateurs, many of whom try very, very hard and are excellent riders. I say it because these few are becoming more and more the exception rather than the rule.

    “Just get it done” has become the mantra of the day. What happened to style, grace, and fluidity? These things seem to have fallen prey to the almighty dollar.

    I can hear the answers now: “But our customers want it this way, and we have to give them what they want!” My answer is quite simple. No. We have an obligation to give them what they need, which is definitely not always synonymous with what they want. It is our obligation to educate and inform our students and parents, so that they have a deeper understanding of the sport, not to simply blindly cater to their wishes. Riders are a product of the program they’re created in. Period.

    More and more trainers seem to have allowed themselves to be turned into babysitters, and their facilities into dressed up day-care-centers with horses. I find this deeply saddening (and honestly, liken it to a form of prostitution). No, I’m not wealthy, but I honestly love my work every single day. How many of you can say that?

    Ok, so here’s my challenge to you: Prove me wrong. Write me and tell me how I’m wrong. I promise to read and reply to all politely worded letters and emails. I’d also like to hear from you if you think I’m right, or any mixture of the two. It seems to me that the more professionals that at least talk about these issues, the closer we all are to actually doing something constructive (which I personally would love to be a part of).

    Jason Laumbach
    VI Riding Academy
    PMB 123, 133 Tutu Park Mall
    Saint Thomas, VI 00802
    laumbach@islands.vi
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I debated as to whether or not to post this on this forum, since I recently sent it to an unnamed equestrian publication. But I'm interested to see what kind of responses I get, and, after all, it's MY letter [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img].

    Please feel free to post replies or email me.

    Jason Laumbach

    ***TEXT FOLLOWS***

    An open letter to professionals

    As a full-time professional Hunter/Jumper instructor and trainer for over 15 years now, I think I’ve proved my love of and devotion to the sport in many ways to many people. As someone interested in the development of the sport in the US, I have to write this letter.

    Something is wrong. Very wrong. There are too many trends that concern me a great deal for me cover in the scope of this letter, but I want to talk about a few that I find the most disturbing.

    It seems, in many ways, that the attitude any more is all about the business, and by that I mean making money. Now don’t get me wrong, we all have to deal with the financial end of the business (believe me, I’ve been there in those tight months and years!!! Many times!), but the industry is focusing entirely too much on competition anymore. It seems that everyone is in a big hurry to move their kids up to the higher divisions as quickly as possible, and that success is measured solely (by some) by the number of ribbons on the wall. As a junior, I was taught and continue to teach my students that shows should be treated as a test of the mastery of the art of riding, not as an end unto themselves. It seems that more and more people do nothing but hop from competition to competition.

    I love to see my kids do well, just like you like to see yours do well. But I have to say that, honestly, nothing every makes me prouder than when one of my students comes out of the ring after a stellar trip, doesn’t pin, and is still satisfied with the ride, or when one of my kids is unsatisfied with the blue-ribbon trip because she knew she could do better. To me, that’s what it’s all about.

    I dislike hearing and talking to big-name trainers who dismissively say that they “don’t teach beginners”. Where in the name of all that’s holy do these people think the intermediate and advanced riders they work with come from? Is there a “rider tree” growing in their yard that I’m just not aware of? What disturbs me most about this attitude is this: all too often, beginning riders are relegated to the least experienced instructor available, which I find often does them almost irreparable harm. Any competent trainer knows that the most critical time in making a young rider (at least in my experience) is the first 1.5-2 years. If you start them properly under an experienced, educated eye, they’ll move up much more smoothly and quickly later. New instructors (yes, I was one too, after all…) should be started teaching with advanced beginner and low intermediate classes, after the basic foundation is established.

    Personally, I like working with beginners. Nothing is more satisfying to me than to bring along a rider from the “ground up” and have them turn into a class horseman. My riders are my “product”, and I love my work deeply.

    I am very disturbed by trends I see in competition today, most notably the lowering of standards in all divisions in the US, from fence heights to course difficulty. The reason usually given is “we want to make the division more inviting”. Hogwash. Lowering standards and simplifying courses until they match the level of the riders who want to compete is like lowering literacy standards at school until sub-par students get a passing grade, not through their own work and achievements, but because the standards have been lowered to accommodate them. I’ve seen this go on for many years, and the result is plain for all to see.

    Wild children on scrappy ponies in ridiculously low classes run under jumper rules racing madly around the ring trying to “beat the clock”. In my opinion, time should NEVER be introduced as a factor any earlier than the Am-Owner/Junior phase. Kids need to spend time in the hunters and equitation to develop form, style and smoothness. All too often anymore, I see riders moved up into “Very Low Jumper” and “Special Jumper” classes well before they should be riding under those rules, which are designed for a much more experienced competitor.

    The kids and adults today just don’t ride like they used to. Watch some video and look at some pictures from the late 60’s through the late 70’s (in my opinion, our strongest decade as a nation). There is a clear, unmistakable difference in effectiveness and form from our current crop. I don’t say this to disparage our young riders and amateurs, many of whom try very, very hard and are excellent riders. I say it because these few are becoming more and more the exception rather than the rule.

    “Just get it done” has become the mantra of the day. What happened to style, grace, and fluidity? These things seem to have fallen prey to the almighty dollar.

    I can hear the answers now: “But our customers want it this way, and we have to give them what they want!” My answer is quite simple. No. We have an obligation to give them what they need, which is definitely not always synonymous with what they want. It is our obligation to educate and inform our students and parents, so that they have a deeper understanding of the sport, not to simply blindly cater to their wishes. Riders are a product of the program they’re created in. Period.

    More and more trainers seem to have allowed themselves to be turned into babysitters, and their facilities into dressed up day-care-centers with horses. I find this deeply saddening (and honestly, liken it to a form of prostitution). No, I’m not wealthy, but I honestly love my work every single day. How many of you can say that?

    Ok, so here’s my challenge to you: Prove me wrong. Write me and tell me how I’m wrong. I promise to read and reply to all politely worded letters and emails. I’d also like to hear from you if you think I’m right, or any mixture of the two. It seems to me that the more professionals that at least talk about these issues, the closer we all are to actually doing something constructive (which I personally would love to be a part of).

    Jason Laumbach
    VI Riding Academy
    PMB 123, 133 Tutu Park Mall
    Saint Thomas, VI 00802
    laumbach@islands.vi

    Comment


    • #3
      ...I have just one question. You are from the Virgin Islands. Do you come to the States to show? Do you attend a lot of the "A" shows and others that you're preaching about? If the answer is "yes," then perhaps you should say so in your letter. Upon reading your address, my gut reaction was, "Has he actually experienced what he's talking about?"

      If you haven't shown in the Continental US, you should mention that, too. Either way, you need to clarify which of your opinions are based on personal experience, and which ones are general observations. IMO, doing this will give more merit to your letter.

      Otherwise, it is a well-written letter with a lot of good points. I especially like the "rider tree" comment! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

      ~Sara
      *Charter member of the GM Fan Club*
      *Member of the Dirt Divers 78th Airborne Unit, ATH Squadron*

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        As to my own experience. I have run several major H/J facilities in eastern MD, and the PA area.

        Yes, I am very familiar with the show scene, both as it was and as it now is. I am speaking from personal experience teaching and training in the US I'm still in the US, incidentally, the VI is a territory, not another country, and yes, I run a small teaching operation here, only one of it's kind.(I would never presume to write about something I know nothing about, you won't see my writeup in "law review". [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

        To be quite honest, I doubt it gets published. Definately not the current trend. But I'll be interested to see what kinds of replies I get.

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

        Jason

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you have many solid points. Being an instructor myself, I have dealt with many parents that questioned my teaching ability because their child wasn't jumping 3 foot courses 6 months after learning to walk. I feel that many of my students ride because their parents want the 'elitism' of a child winning ribbons at shows, yet the kid could care less. Because of this trend, I have left the large show barn I taught at and moved to a VERY small (6 horses) barn to teach. Now, I teach to people who WANT to ride...there is NO show atmosphere, so the feeling is one of relaxation and an eagerness to learn.

          When I was learning to ride, I could only show once I had demonstrated a strong knowledge of what I was doing. Ie: if I was riding 2'6 courses at home, once I could consistently lay down solid trips, I was allowed to show the 2'3 hunters and equitation. Now the same barn I learned at is pushing any and all students to show, show, show. I think this trainer is more concerned with having the riders in all the top end of the year points placings than with working on maintaing a solid foundation.

          As far as the jumpers go, I feel they are classes for those with a strong background in the hunters and the equitation classes. Jumpers are so technical, just like an equitation class. It's no accident that past Medal/Maclay winners seem to win often in the GP ring. I feel that the LOWEST jumper classes should be 3'0. That would help keep the 7 year old pony hunters in the hunter ring. I agree that shows are important, but riders can easily test themselves against other riders once a month instead of once a week. In the end, what does it come down to? That's for you to decide. JMHO.

          "The daughter who won't lift a finger in the house is the same child who cycles madly off in the pouring rain to spend all morning mucking out a stable." (Samantha Armstrong)
          http://tailsoftheottb.blogspot.com

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            to talk to someone who actually seems to agree with me, at least occasionally!

            I've never been happier than running my small facility, even though my kids only get to show a few times a year because of our location.

            So whaddya think, think It'll get published? Better yet, think I'll get hate mail? I fully expect some of the "who do you think you are" variety.

            My kids get a strong equitations and classical horsemanship background, and look at shows as a means to an end, not an end unto themselves (an attitude I've been VERY careful to foster over the years).

            I've coached kids to the finals, Juniors, High Ammies, etc. But you know what, the ones who always seem to win my heart in the end are the ones who don't have much of anything but the DESIRE.

            Guess I'm just old fashioned (I've certainly been called such more times than I'd care to count).

            Thanks for your reply.

            Jason


            [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

            Comment


            • #7
              sure you'll probably get opposition about your opinion. I just feel that shows are important in the small scheme of things. They're fun...once they stop being fun, it's time to just ride. There are many riders out there that feel shows are what we work for. Do we? Do we work so hard, day in and day out for a show circuit that only other horse people even care about? It's interesting to me that on Big eq website, in the e-interviews, many of the juniors interviewed cite '"regular" jobs as their long term goals. Attorneys, marketing professionals, doctors, vets, etc. Professional riders are another topic entirely...they show for the money. They show to get exposure for their farms or to attract potential clients.

              Anyway, don't want to be in the middle of a big debate! I prefer to keep a low profile, just felt like giving a little support to ya. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

              "The daughter who won't lift a finger in the house is the same child who cycles madly off in the pouring rain to spend all morning mucking out a stable." (Samantha Armstrong)
              http://tailsoftheottb.blogspot.com

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Somehow, I think that'll probably be few and far between. (ah well, I've never been popular, why would I start now!)

                Jason

                Comment


                • #9
                  How is it there in the VI? My brother lives there! So cool!

                  But I agree with you 100%. I've seen what you are talking about in the barn I board at. My trainer, who live in Auburn and runs her own barn, doesn't go by those trends of just winning. She always teaches the basics and guess what? Her studnets win every year end award in the AHJA.

                  She always taught us to learn how to deal with your horse instead of getting gagets or selling the horse to buy another one. She never had money and she had to train her QH ( devil QH) becuase she couldn't affford the fancy horses. She worked her rear off for a Show barn in Birmingham and learned the ropes. Well Her QH beat out those 100k horses and she is a fabolous rider becuase she learn how to ride her diffucult QH.

                  That is how I learned how to ride greeneis and my now TB. She still puts me on spooky greenies cause it helps with my confidence and I have a ton more fun learning how to train and ride then just sitting on a made horse looking pretty. And she teaches beginners too.

                  She is also 25 years old and her showing/boarding business has taken off!!! I am so happy for her cause she earned everything!! She worked very hard to where she is now and I deeply respect her. I was there when she started out her teaching business so I know how far she has come.

                  Enough babbling..BTW, she is tons of fun also! Notice how nice the teachers are when they are not in it for the money???

                  [This message was edited by Nikkibaby27 on Dec. 01, 2002 at 11:04 PM.]

                  [This message was edited by Nikkibaby27 on Dec. 03, 2002 at 05:46 PM.]

                  [This message was edited by Nikkibaby27 on Dec. 03, 2002 at 05:47 PM.]
                  "Common sense is so rare nowadays, it should be classified as a super power."-Craig Bear Laubscher

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    warm. Always warm.

                    You have no idea how monotonous that gets after a few years. What I wouldn't give for a little snow...

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

                    Thanks for the reply.

                    Jason

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree with you, but a small question to everyone out there.

                      There are jumpers under 3', besides pony jumpers? Why? What is the purpose?

                      Sorry for the ignorance [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                      ..Its fun, thats why I do it..
                      ..Its fun, thats why I do it..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I really agree with the message you are trying to send. IT is the story that keeps repeating itself, I am sure not only in the US, Mexico (where I live), Europe and the rest of the world. They care about the pinning, and it doesn't matter if they almost killed themselves during the ride. You can imagine how this is even worse in Mexico, since there are no ponies or hunters.
                        The trainers need to change their mindset, because now it's all about he money: especially the comission for buying a big money horse. I was telling my own trainer: Don't be stupid, I know what you care about is the money, but better to sell 4 horses to this person over the years, increasing in value, than sell one now of bigger bucks, have it not work out, and lose the client.
                        Don't ever think the kids riding expensive horses and winning thing will ever stop though. Some even go to the Olympics! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Life isn't always fair. But then again, sometimes they fall off. Hehe.
                        -Luisa

                        "As the Europeans say - No Scope, No Hope!"
                        - Luisa
                        \"As the Europeans say - No Scope, No Hope!\"
                        http://homepage.mac.com/luisa22/Menu10.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes! there are some of everything you talk about but like flotsum in the river they catch on some branches but not all.

                          If you are looking for vindication of your opinions it's probably out here, and if you're looking for debate that's out here too.

                          The fact is that this industry is loaded with individualists who all want different things for different reasons. There is no right way because it's like being a mother we all have our own ideas of what is our right thing.

                          I can understand those who seek the status and the acclaim for what they believe is excellence, and it might be winning is everything and at any cost. I am also one of the old school who puts the horse first and our mission is to learn to ride and then train the horses to respect us and do what they do from pure joy in the pasture when they are with us.

                          There are the people who internalize and get their joy from their relationship with the horse and don't need applause and there are those who use the horse to get applause.

                          Yes! it is sad that too many horses are treated as a means to the end of winning rather than for their own ability. Yes! it is sad when there are too many who are passengers instead of riders. They are the ones who are the losers and it may not even be their own fault. We as horsemen have been pleased with ourselves in our own private world we haven't noticed what others were doing.

                          I think the flaw is a lack if identity and purpose. Who are we as horsemen? If we are are like the racing people looking for a flash of fame and the big bucks then perhaps those seeking their kind of excellence are right. If we are just horsemen then we have our own way of doing things and our own personal goals. That doesn't make anyoine right or anyone wrong just that everyone is different.

                          The middle ground is where the majority live and breathe. Why the little fences? So that those horses and ponies considered worthless by the seekers of excellence have a place to live.

                          It is a fact that we have a society that wants a thrill a minute, no patience for long tedious practice. So we compromise.
                          http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree very strongly with your letter. Glad to see a professional out there willing to say something. I thought it was just us ammys that thought it was screwed up!

                            Did you see that letter to the editor in the COTH? It was written by an ammy about getting run around by her trainer so badly. I guarantee there are many horseman and trainers that agree with you. Unfortunately, with the whole economics of the thing, I found that more of the "back yard barns," those that don't show on the A circuit year round are the ones that truly know what they are doing. They are the ones that respect horses and don't treat them as commoditities, for the most part.

                            I could go on and on, but you have my support! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                            TS Clique*Chestnut TB Jumper Clique*GPA Clique*Do It Yourself Clique

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Now, to address a specific reply: I don't have anything inherently against the 3' divisions per se. I think that in theory they're a great idea, and have brought many riders along through the lower divisions over the years. It's certainly a much more incremental step than in the "old days", when it was the ponies or working hunter classes!

                              I DO, however, have a problem with classes being run under jumper rules lower than 3'6. More and more, especially at the smaller shows, management is offering these "baby jumper" classes, which encourage riders who have NO business competing under those rules to "just have fun with it". Any rider that can't pull off a 3'6 equitation course reasonably well has no business in the jumpers.

                              Honestly, I tend to blame it on the Equitation ring, which used to fill the role of a level playing field. Used to be, you could take a nice "horsemanship horse" and expect to have a fair shot at pinning. Anymore, the equitation has become it's own little world rather than a means to an end. Judges reward mechanical, stiff children who mindlessly count strides after their trainer has warmed the horse up so thoroughly they're a machine.

                              The Eq. has become such a beauty contest anymore that a lot of juniors are getting discouraged if they don't have the look or the horse, even if they're a beautiful, functional rider. Many of them are turning to the jumpers MUCH too soon as a means of getting around the judges opinion.

                              Obviously, I could go on and on. (trust me, my students are... errr...used to it)

                              Jason Laumbach

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                              • #16
                                ...as I said on the GM thread.

                                You don't like how it is? Well, you have no one to blame but yourself. Have you ever served on a committee or pestered someone who did or rounded up associates to sign a petition or whatever? Have you done anything to put a stop to negative trends? Have you ever put a thought to solutions instead of just complaints?

                                I repeat: the shows (and the judges) set the standards, not the trainers. Trainers must make money to stay in business and you can't blame them for having to make decisions that are not for the greater good, but rather for the individual good.

                                IT'S YOUR NATIONAL GOVERNING BODY WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR THE GREATER GOOD!!!!!!

                                So.......?

                                Sportponies Unlimited
                                Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
                                http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
                                Sportponies Unlimited
                                Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Let me put my thoughts in perspective.

                                  Here's an example: I was an intercollegiate coach for many years, and coached a regional president team for about 5. That kind of position tends to be thankless (an "honor" that means hours of administrative work for free).

                                  During my time in the IHSA, I pushed for standards consistently, again and again. I called board members, wrote letters, pushed my own region toward higher standards so much that I was loved by some and hated by many. One of the most controversial things I finally pushed through on a national level(with a LOT of assistance, don't get me wrong!) was finally setting some minimal standards for local competition.

                                  Many regions were running ridiculously low fences and simplistic courses on a regular basis, right up to the regional and sometimes zone level. Why is this a problem, you ask? Because patently unready riders were being passed along by the system and making it to nationals. I started my "crusade" after watching my first IHSA nationals as a new coach. About 10 REALLY scary trips later, I was convinced that something needed changing in the organization as a whole. So I did something.

                                  I've done the same thing on a local level in several areas, from pushing for more humane treatment and shorter show days to raising standards wherever I could. Unfortunately, this seems to be very difficult to do anymore, mostly because those that are in it for the money outnumber those that are in it for the sport. You tend to get voted down when raising standards means lowering their pocketbook's weight. It's just how it is.

                                  This letter is my attempt at actually addressing these things, which I find many trainers reluctant to discuss. I WANT to make an actual difference, although this letter is more of a "test the waters" kind of deal.

                                  Oh, incidentally, I find it interesting that you seem to have assumed that I had never actually done anything to back up my preaching. You never asked if I had, just assumed that I'm smugly standing on a soapbox somewhere. Not the case.

                                  Jason

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                                  • #18
                                    I was just in St. Thomas, got back yesterday. Wish I had read your post earlier, I would have dropped by! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                                    "We came, we rode, we conquered."
                                    *Member of the TB Clique, Young Trainers clique and the Disgruntled College Student Clique.*
                                    \"We came, we rode, we conquered.\"
                                    *Member of the TB Clique, Young Trainers clique and the Disgruntled College Student Clique.*

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                                    • #19
                                      Jason- I think you're pretty much spot on. The last two IHSA shows I've been to were kind of frightening. ONe of them used the highest fence heights in the rulebook, which threw off a bunch of riders (including myself), and then the next show had two very difficult courses (compared to most) which threw nearly everyone off (again including myself, as anyone who saw my graceless round can attest).

                                      IHSA is a bit different from regular competition though- being on strange horses, and the horses having to go all day is a big determinant in fence heights. Our school typically runs a hole lower than the rule book heights to save the horses some wear and tear.

                                      As for real showing I really can't say much, having been out of that scene for so long. But your letter does make sense to me based on what gets said on here and what GM and the like say all the time.

                                      I am not a big time rider, and doubt I ever will be. I'm comfortable showing at 3' and less. I don't expect the A circuit to make room for me or people like me- that's why there are local show associations. I do think the A circuit should be more accessible to less moneyed riders (there are plenty out there but it seems that a lot of true talents can't get there because of money, from my perspective), but I don't think they should be dumbed down.

                                      **and people say gov't employees are useless... HA!**
                                      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                                      My CANTER blog.

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                                      • #20
                                        I totally agree with many of your points, especially about the lower height jumpers. The speeds some people cruise around at are dangerous.

                                        But there is a time and place for these lower level classes. Some people may never have the desire or pocketbook to do the A's. However, they still would like to show and do their thing, whether it be the 3' - 3'6 jumpers or 2'6 hunters. Maybe they never will progress to a higher level, but that doesn't mean they don't want to have fun. A stong local circuit fills this need while bringing order and safety to the shows.
                                        Man plans. God laughs.

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