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This week's COTH amateur issue: Interesting article on different types of amateurs. Comments?

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  • #61
    There are people who want to win. They put their resources into board at fancy barns, having the trainer ride the horse a lot, only riding when they have lessons (or mostly), going to lots of shows, having a pro ride the horse in shows, the trainer warm the horse up, etc so that they have a greater chance of winning, getting points, going to indoors, etc. That's their fun in riding and showing. Great. No problem. That's what the big A shows are designed around. That's what they're there for.

    There are those who just enjoy riding and showing. It doesn't really matter if they win at big shows. Fun if it happens. It may not even really matter if they win at little shows. Putting in a good round on your very own horse on whom you've made all the mistakes and the good training is the goal.

    But really, pretty rarely, the two meet on equal ground. The problem is that sometimes the latter is a nice pair and wants to go show at an A show, USAEq (god that's an awkward name, AHSA just rolls off the tongue and the fingers so much more poetically don't you think?) rated and maybe be respectable. Problem is that it's just not set up that way. The big shows are open to everyone but the rules are set up in such a way that the advantage goes to the people in the first paragraph. That's ok. They're the ones who really support the business - pay all those pros, pay all those entry fees etc.

    The smaller circuits, local circuits are the place for those that don't have the desire or patience or money to put up with the A show scene. There's nothing wrong with that. You probably, actually, have more ability to affect rule changes in those organizations, as well. Yes, you have to put up with the crazy competetive point chasers in every circuit but life's life. No sense, really, in trying to change things on the national level. Hell, they don't even know how to govern themselves!


    • #62
      Have to say it... will probably get flamed for it, but don't really care.

      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If you have never chased points for indoors or a circuit title, you wont understand. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

      This is the worst thing I've read on this thread. Point chasing? Is that all you show for? Winning, despite what many people seem to think, is NOT the be all end all in life. Yes, I like to win as much as the next person, but perhaps H/J wouldn't be open to so much scrutiny (in terms of substance abuse, etc.) if this idea of Point Chasing wasn't going on... if people WERE in the sport more for the sport than for the kill...er... win. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

      flame away if you must

      If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!
      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


      • #63
        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flash44:
        What would happen if the trainers just told their students, I'm not getting on your horse. You'll have to learn how to deal with it yourself. I guess the trainers would go broke (now wouldn't THAT be the end of horse showing as we know it), and the riders would see where their weaknesses are and hopefully learn how to fix the problems.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

        [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] That trainer would be Mr. Spunky. And yes, he practically IS broke -- but it's what he believes in. (Thank goodness I have a good job that pays the mortgage! Oh wait, I'm one of those amateurs who is married to a pro . . .)

        I am forced to ride different horses all the time. 90% of them are green or have issues. The ones that can help take care of me get turned over pretty quickly, and I can't say that constantly dealing with green horses has made me a better show rider. (A better horsewoman and rider in general, yes. Over fences is where I still need more confidence, and ya know what, that doesn't come from the greenies!)

        My point is, most people NEED to get on a horse that knows its job. Most horses NEED tuning after a series of amateur rounds. The amateur horse has a job to meet its rider at least half-way, and probably to do 75% of the work. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

        Obviously, my situation is a little different . . . but I can't tell you how much I envy the people who have a nice horse and can ride it month in, month out, even year after year, and not have to wonder whether or not there'll be a horse to show next week.
        \"If you feel you had a bad ride, how do you think your horse feels?\"


        • #64
          Hey tle, pass that flame-repellent umbrella.

          Sorry, I just don't get this either.

          On the one hand a bunch of you are saying you should be riding for yourself and not the win (so therefore don't change the ammy rule, etc.) and then you tunr around and defend pros tuning up all the horses and point chasing "because people get in this sport to win". Can someone explain?

          SInce I've always evented, and its always been illegal for other peoiple to ride thye horse, I confess I've never understood this particular aspect of hunters. If my horse and I aren't good enough to be competitive, then I usually spend my showing money on lessons, clinics, or schoolings. I do care how well I do--that's why I make sure my horse and I both have the necessary school set required to achieve my goals BEFORE we go to the show. However, for me doing well doesn't necessarily mean getting a ribbon (though that's always nice) it means doing a quiet, accurate dressage test, jumping all the cross-country fences, and leaving all the rails up. If there's no ribbon at the end of the day, fine, but its funny how when you can do all of the above (which is rare) you DO get a ribbon.

          Despite what you may think I'm really trying not to bash here, but this whole way of thinking is so foreign to me I am truly mysitifed. I just don't get it--anyone want to help me understand?


          • #65
            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by heidi-ugh:
            Really, at the end of the day, had you watched a horse win a class under a pro and then pull rails with its ammie owner, aren't you going to stand there and muse, "egads, what a crappy rider"? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

            Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

            Heather, it's kind of hard to explain. I am certainly not a rider who has a trainer get on my horse to school the day of the show.

            No - I take that back. Years ago, when I was starting out, I had an OTTB that I effectively made a stopper. Take a good jumping, sensitive horse and throw yourself up on his neck enough, and that is the end result. I really like the horse, and didn't want to sell him and start over, but quite frankly, my confidence was shook with him. It was tough for me to believe he would jump 8, especially if I didn't see the distance correctly. Now, if you aren't sure your horse is going to jump, unless you are a very good rider (see definition of a pro), you are twice as likely to start reaching for his ears. It becomes a self defeating prophecy. So for a few years it was very helpful to ME and my confidence to have my trainer ride him in a class before I did. It didn't do much for Raven, but it gave me the confidence to ride him correctly instead of defensively.

            Now what would have really solved the problem (aside from me being born without the ability to create pilot error) would have been to put Raven in full training and let him learn that he should ignore me and jump the damn jumps no matter where the rider was hanging about. I, on the other hand, probably learned MORE about how to ride him by dealing with the problem 365 days a year, and having a trainer sit on him once before I did to help give me the confidence to ride the way I can ride, not the way I did ride...

            As for eventers, overall the general skillset that is being tested in competition appears greater, while in hunters it appears to be a smaller skillset that is tested to the nth degree. I personally believe that is only how it appears, not how it is - good hunters require a vast degree of knowledge to develop, and riding an event horse that must be able to do all phases succesfully requires technical precision.

            However I think at the lower levels of eventing, a lack of technical precision is more forgiving. Based on my own experiences, where I took my old QH mare who had never evented off to a pre-novice event (yes, I know the sample size is scientifically useless [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img] ). We ended up 7th out of 50 and this was pretty much based on the fact that she did her dressage test accurately (not well, but accurately [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ) and went forward over all the jumps. Not well, but safely and forward. We certainly would have died if they had been larger or more technical than the novice level, that's for sure. At any rate, I had great fun, felt a real feeling of accomplishment, and just thought it was the best money I could have spent. Who knows, if I hadn't been trailerless and 300 miles from the nearest eventing facility at the time, maybe I would be eventing right now.

            Now that same level of showing in the hunters - let's call it pre-childrens/adult, and novice is equivalent to childrens/adult hunters. I gather they are the lifeblood of the eventing industry too? That same level is just as unforgiving of technical precision as the juniors/AOs. If you are not accurate, and your horse is not a good jumper, you are not in the ribbons. It's such a short time in the ring, and the things that are being asked of the horse are such a narrow focus, that the demands (limited as they are) are very high even at the lower levels. Right or wrong, everyone likes to have a feeling of accomplishment. This makes the pressure to get the narrow focus absolutely correct, and I suspect contributes to a lot of well schooled horses.

            But I suspect the percentage of people who have a horse schooled by a trainer before their hunter class solely to make sure they have the best possible round is roughly about the same percentage of people who buy an event horse who is a packer at one level above their level, so it can safely and effectively pack them around their course.
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


            • #66
              is the perfect Ammy horse for me.
              We love and adore one another, but I would not be enjoying him as much as I am if I didn't have my great trainer work with him acouple days a week.

              Since I have put him in training, I can feel so many improvements in how he is on the flat and over fences.

              Of course Elliot is a greenie to boot, but even if he wasn't, I know that I would need my trainer to atleast give Elliot a tune up once in awhile.

              That does not make me any less or better of a rider. I am still an amateur through and through. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

              Whenever I screw up and he does well, my trainer tells me, "Thats why you love him" [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

              "Even though other riders may have more expensive, gorgeous horses doesn't mean they are the perfect match like my Elliot and I" [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]
              Starman Babies


              • #67
                Heather--as a person who's done both sports, here are my thoughts on your question.

                First, the hunter/jumper world is quite different than combined training. In h/j land in order to reach the goal of qualifying for the indoor shows or Devon you must earn points by earning ribbons. In ct you qualify for a CCI by earning clear rounds. The big difference is that in h/j land you must WIN or in other words, beat other people to get those ribbons. In ct you simply have to achieve your own goal of jumping clean. If you jump clean and finish 30th or first, it doesn't matter, you are still one step closer to qualifying for your three-day. CT does have it's own set of point chasers, though. Remember a certain Olympian who took an advanced horse at open preliminary to earn extra points for USCTA awards? It's just magnified in the h/j world.

                In h/j land there are those who object to the point-chasing mentality that's allowed SOME of your AHSA horse of the year winners to perhaps not be the BEST horse that year. Instead, the AHSA champion is the horse with the most miles logged on the van (kind of like the Quarter Horses as well).

                Others in the h/j world see quality of horses rather than quantity of points as the means to the more important victories. They've created the World Championship Hunter Rider awards program that limits the point chasing and instead awards the QUALITY of the horse in a limited number of competitions.

                Some h/j people still believe that winning is everything--after all, that's how you do have to think to qualify for many divisions at the indoor shows. If a pro, especially a struggling or up-and-coming younger person, wants to develop a name or clients qualifying and doing well at the indoor shows is still a way to achieve that goal. I do think the prestige of the AHSA awards has certainly diminished with the advent of the AHJF's programs, but you're always going to have those who want to be national champion, regardless. And saying you got ribbons at Harrisburg or Devon still carries a lot of importance in h/j land.

                So, sorry for the long-winded and kind of one-sided explanation. But I hope that helps you see why the pro and amateur relationship is more important in the h/j world. It's just evolved that way and that's why the point-chasing mentality still survives.


                • #68
                  DMK, you are so smart. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

                  'If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?'
                  You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


                  • #69
                    Maybe I can help you understand something I have come to understand. First let me say, I'm an eventer/foxhunter, and had been known to occasionally rib my hunter friends about their dependency on their trainers.

                    Then my husband started wanting to event and foxhunt. I've ridden forever, and though I don't get paid to ride, I have brought along more than a few young horses to be lower level eventers and foxhunters. Then I brought along a draft cross for the hubster and handed over the reins for foxhunting. The horse was steady, confident, pleasant and fit, and the rider was comfortable with the horse.

                    They had good success and I thought that was that. Yeeha. Let's go hunt together every weekend, hubster-o-mine. After a few hunts I got on the horse at home. Oy. All the buttons were moved! Little relaxation in the back, tension in the jaw, quite a bit more one-sided than when last I rode. Still jumping coops and following hounds, but already moved off-center training-wise.

                    Then I was in a quandry: do I let the horse keep drifting slightly each hunt? Hubby wouldn't notice--at least not until something bad happened, as I believe it does if you let the little things slide. But if I keep "tuning" the horse, will he ever learn to really ride? I struggled with this for months, but I did keep tuning the horse between hunts, mostly because I think horses stay sound longer if they carry their rider correctly.

                    Now, about two years later, he not only notices when the horse is out of balance, but he is asking questions about how to help the horse stay correct, and to help re-balance when things start to drift. Maybe it is luck, maybe it is just his personality, maybe I'm such a constant freak about it that it had to rub off, but he is learning to be a useful rider rather than a passenger. The time is coming when the horse won't need weekly tune ups from me. That may be a year or two off yet, but the training wheels will come off. (If I have a problem with tuning by a pro, it is only that it should be viewed as a means to an end, and that end should be rider self-sufficiency and competence. When that happens, competetive success is a foregone conclusion, if that is the goal.)

                    It would be nice if people were so curious naturally to just keep playing with horses and reading and learning so that they would learn to really ride well. But that isn't usually the case, which has been the hardest thing for me to learn. For many people, the learning curve is steepened when they are handed a well-tuned horse and they sort of screw it up, it gets re-balanced by an accomplished rider, shampoo, rinse, repeat. The difficulty for the rest of us might be to keep the faith that eventually, they notice the difference in the horse and get motivated enough to learn more about how to produce it themselves.


                    • #70
                      This is the last time I am going to state my position. I am not against trainers showing horses in the pro divisions, or helping students out with tough or misbehaving horses. I am against trainers getting on horses AT SHOWS IN THE DIVISION RIGHT BEFORE THE AMATEUR DIVISION on a REGULAR BASIS to insure the horse is perfect for the amateur. And I have dozens of prize lists with a 3' schooling/low hunter division right before the A/A division.

                      I have nothing against a horse being campaigned in the green/regular divisions by a pro, and if that division comes before the amateur division, so what. And I have nothing against a trainer getting on a green horse at shows either. But part of horsemanship is learning how to deal with misbehaving horses, and part of being a good amateur horse is learning how to deal with rider errors.

                      Use the Force.
                      Man plans. God laughs.


                      • #71
                        I ride with an A Circuit show barn and go to about 12 shows each year. Why do I do that? Because it's fun. I can only justify having a horse and riding at all if it stays fun. If I have a bad fall, I break bones. It has happen at home as well as at shows. So yes, I want my trainer to show my horse the ring and the scary water truck before I get on him. I want my trainer on my daughter's green horse for the same reason. People who ride 8 horses wach day have a different muscle and skill set than those of us lucky to be able to ride 3 times per week.
                        I am not a talented rider and I have to work hard for my progress. I really resent holier-than-thou attitudes that tell me I shouldn't be riding or showing because I'm not up to your standard of perfection. You go do what works for you and I'll go do what works for me. If you're tasting sour grapes because I feel it's worth it to me to have my trainer do the Lows on my horse, then I feel sorry for you. Life will never be fair. If there is another rider who owns 5 expensive hunters to chose from each week, then that's too bad for me. She'll probably win. But I can go in the ring and have a nice round and still have fun.


                        • #72
                          Flash, guess you kind of feel like you're beating your head against a wall, eh? It must be different in your neck of the woods. The A shows around here are so packed full of Adults and Childrens that they are usually the ONLY divisions in THOSE rings on THOSE days. Thus, your complaint is a mute point around here.

                          That said, I still wouldn't have a problem if the schedule worked the way it does in Flash's neck of the woods. If an adult or child needs or wants a professional to ride his/her horse in a division in the same ring/same day/whatever, so be it. I don't believe it makes them a poor sport at all. Nor do I think it's "unfair".
                          \"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.\" -- Ralph Waldo E


                          • #73
                            I respect that you probably won't respond to this, and grant that I have long believed exactly what you state. However, I have recently come to the realization that in order to deal with misbehaving horses, one must have a strong baseline of confidence, which comes either from the bravado of youth, or from good experiences on well-behaved horses. Most people are not genetically programmed to giggle when a horse bucks playfully. But this level of confidence and skill can be learned.

                            Green rider/experienced horse works in the short run, and once the patina has rubbed off the rider, then by all means, hand them a challenge. If a person never chooses to move on to the more challenging horse or division, in order to win yet another little colored piece of satin, they aren't hurting others nearly as much as atrophying their own horsemanship. Its more pathetic than maddening, really.


                            • #74
                              Somebody earlier posted that riding a good horse was easy. Sorry I don't find anything easy about jumping an Adult course in my zone up to 3'3" with the lines more forward then the standard 12'.
                              There are no pro classes during the week open to the 3' amateur horses-most are restricted to the pre green section entries.
                              At any rate it makes no difference whether my pro takes a spin first or not I am the one who has to nail the distances, get the lead changes, stop that right drift and look pretty doing it. Most of the time I don't. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

                              From Allergy Valley USA
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                              • #75
                                DMK said:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Now, if you aren't sure your horse is going to jump, unless you are a very good rider (see definition of a pro), you are twice as likely to start reaching for his ears. It becomes a self defeating prophecy. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Interesting.
                                I find the opposite effect. If I am riding a horse I think might stop, I am twice as likely to get BEHIND the motion, and thus more likely to get left (slipping the reins of course) than to jump ahead.

                                I am more likely to jump ahead on a horse that I am SURE is going to jump, but I am not sure whether she is going to jump long or short.

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                • #76
                                  Ryan said:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Maybe they aren't there to learn how to be the best rider, because they are an amatuer, not a pro. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                  I'll accept the premise ("some people aren't out there to learn to be the best rider"), though I find it sad.

                                  But I don't accept the stated reason ("because they are an amateur, not a pro").

                                  Why on EARTH would being an amateur mean you don't want to learn to be "the best rider"?

                                  And, at least in my book, "learning to be the best rider" is what MAKES it FUN.

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                  • #77
                                    Thanks to everyone that replied.

                                    Some of it is a bit more clear, and some of it I still don't get and probably never will.

                                    I have no trouble with the idea of a trainer helping you through problems or rough spots--heck, my last two horses did their first time out at prelim with a professional who had been helping me bring them along--for many of the reasons stated here--that's the maximum level I have competed and I wanted them to have a guaranteed positive expereince their first time. My three-year-old is also at a friend's (who is a pro) place for the next month because we weren't getting him past his balky tendancies quite enough for my satisfaction. So the idea that its working you through a rough patch makes sense, and I don't argue with it.

                                    However, I have seen what Flash is talking about--the perpetual pre-division tuning, and I still don't get it--I agree with Janet, if I weren't constantly trying to improve, then I wouldn't be having any fun. I may never compete above preliminary, but I sure as heck want to learn to ride like I'll be going advanced.

                                    Interestingly, I also know what Camstock is talking about--my hubby is better over fences than I'll ever hope to be, but his knowledge onthe flat is lacking, to say the least. I trained his horse on the flat, and I still ride him one to two days a week to fix the things that hubby "breaks" (and to teach him his next skill set--we're working on lengthenings so he can move up next year). However, I also give hubby "a lesson" once a week where we go over what I do with him and why, and working on improving his feel and expertise. If he wasn't willing to make the effort, I wouldn't keep riding the horse (as much as wathcing his skills deteriorate would kill the DQ control freak in me), because it does no good to only fix one side of the equation. And, as Camstock said, everytime I get on Merlin, there is less and less to fix.

                                    I guess that's the bottom line, of what I don't understand--the prevailing attitude of many (not all, try to keep the flames to a minimum) amateur hunter riders, here and that I have met in the real world, that they can reach a point where they are "good enough". Maybe this is my own personality flaw, but I can't imagine ever reaching that point.


                                    • #78
                                      Because this in the end is a business....

                                      And if I had a high paying client coming in for a weekend 4-6 class show paying me to get her horse around and not spook and make her happy and keep her alive to keep paying me I would take it in a class before her too!!!

                                      I am not a trainer, don't even show anymore but let me tell you I would want to be able to come in without a worry in the world and get around and have a good time if I worked 40 some odd hours a week and this was my diversion. Why would I want to worry about having a fresh horse or a spook or whatnot when all I have is 2 very short days to enjoy myself with?

                                      Not everybody is that lucky to be able to just go out and ride at any hour of the day and work on every little detail when they are in a professional field outside of horses. And alot of the people doing it have trainers that may be in Florida for 10 weeks while they are strapped to desks in Manhattan and can get outta town for a mere 48 hours to enjoy themselves. Get it? Not so difficult to comprehend.
                                      \"Just when I thought I was out ,They pull me back in!\"
                                      -Sylvio Dante--\"The Sopranos\"


                                      • #79
                                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Janet:
                                        Interesting. I find the opposite effect. If I am riding a horse I think might stop, I am twice as likely to get BEHIND the motion, and thus more likely to get left (slipping the reins of course) than to jump ahead.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                        What could I possibly say, other than I stand humbled before your riding expertise...

                                        Heather - yes, ultimately there are a lot less independent types in the hunter world. But that is probably more like a reflection on their personality. Maybe if it got regulated out of the sport, they would go find another sport to spend their money one, and it is probably why they don't choose to event.

                                        But there are plenty of people in the sport who do have pros on their horses for valid reasons that don't have a lot to do with being overly dependent on the trainer. Lord knows, I could certainly stand to be a tad more dependent on a trainer... Maybe I could start by having one located closer than 600 miles away? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

                                        Flash, I respect that you don't care for people who have a trainer school their horse before the class. From my point of view, it really doesn't change how well (or badly) I ride, if the whole damn class except for me had a good school before the class, so I honestly don't pay it much attention. But if your opinion is that they should prohibit anyone other than the trainer from riding the day of the competition or during the competition, I have to vehemently disagree in that a rule like that would stop 20% of the people from abusing the ammy concept, and unfairly punish the other 80% who don't abuse the rule and have other reasons for letting a pro ride their horse.

                                        After years of working with regulators, rules/laws that govern the lowest common denominator are almost always a bad idea for everyone, including the poor schmucks who have to enforce it!
                                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                                        • #80
                                          As an aside... we were talking last night about how many components there could be to create a "perfectly fair" division...


                                          New ammy divisions, offered not only by fence height (3" increments of course, because it's not fair to have to move up 6" at a time!)

                                          By cost of horse ... under $10k, over 10k but under $25k... 25-50k etc. Special rules for how to allow for trade-ins.
                                          By cost of pro... incl. lessons or pro rides... Clinics to be accounted for separately.
                                          By number of times you can show in a year...
                                          (subdivided by AA shows, A shows, B shows, local circuits...)
                                          By number of times per week you can ride, (allowances for geographic location/ weather/outdoor ring lights/avail. of indoor facility...)
                                          By whether or not you have a trust fund (big, medium, small) or have to work (split by income level; bring your tax return or W2)
                                          By brand of saddle, type of pad ... brand of rider attire...

                                          Sorry, just couldn't resist [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                                          To appreciate heaven well
                                          'Tis good for a man to have some fifteen minutes of hell.
                                          Will Carleton (1845-1912)
                                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.