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Opinions Please: "A" Show Riders at Small County Shows

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  • I find it slightly insulting to hear some people say that if I only worked harder, I'd be better. I work my butt off to show locally. I can afford one lesson a week, and that gets fit in between a full-time job and the freelance work I take on. I ride whenever I can, my $700 horse is given proper nutrition and grooming, and he is round and shiny, healthy and clean. I don't think that because we're not good enough to show at the "A's" that we don't work just as hard with what we have as those who are lucky enough to have the means.
    I’m not sure exactly what you’re insulted BY – it sounds like you’re working hard so that you will get better? I can’t imagine you’re working your butt off to such a degree NOT to improve. I’d imagine if you continue to work hard, you WILL by default get better.

    We can all only work within our means. Some have more means than others, which means that they have a little more leeway. They might move up faster than those of us riding green horses or horses that need more work. But generally if a rider really keeps at it – reads everything they can, attends clinics when they can afford it, watches videos of the best riding and competing, and really puts in the elbow grease – they wind up being quite competent indeed, and often quite competitive as well.

    FWIW, I was responding to Mardi’s commentary, which basically tells folks that they’ll NEVER measure up so don’t try, and the concept that it’s simply better to keep those that are better out of the picture. I disagree.
    ---
    They're small hearts.

    Comment


    • Giddy-Up, I agree with you. It's about QUALITY more than $$$$. Even if a rider's budget is tiny, tiny, there are nice quality horses out there. I am frustrated by folks that go out and by a cheap, green horse- that is unattractive, moves poorly, jumps poorly- and then they get this whiney attitude that that's all they afford. You could have picked a green horse that was the right type to begin with!

      There are plenty of folks at our local shows that have 5 figure horses that they don't bathe or clip for the shows. Their training programs are not designed to foster good jumping style, only to "get the numbers" down the lines and do flying lead changes. The standards that are required to be competitive at the A and AA shows have to do with quality. An attractive horse that is an attractive mover and stylish jumper who lopes around with a big, but slow stride is going to be competitive anywhere. That is a matter of education, not $$$.
      http://patchworkfarmga.com

      Comment


      • Yeah-
        You can with some savvy, time and effort have a nice horse on a budget.

        My horse was $3500. Here she is at her first show (trainer up- I wish it was me!):
        http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref...&id=1191895652

        She could use a bigger jump to show her form, but she loped around, swaps, jumps pretty nice for 2' jumps and is an all around good egg. She lives in a pasture 24/7. She is NOT the right horse if you wanted to go and show the day you bought her. It has been a lot of work. My trainer has been resourceful and we have taken her training very slow to create that lopey way of going. (Her preference was to rush).

        No, she is not the next Roxdene, nor will she win the hack. But most certainly, if she continues in this direction, she will have the ability to put in a quality trip given a good ride.

        What were "the goods" that made me choose her? She is quiet and from day one had the lopey metronome canter. She also had the start of lead changes. And she has the look- big, and long. It took looking at 4 horses to find her. She is an easy ride, but has her quirks- stay the heck out of her face! Well, what makes a better hunter than one that goes along on a loopy rein happy as a clam?

        You do see people who want to do hunters make really wrong buying decisions. They buy horses that look araby. Or very uphill TB's that are hot that would be awesome eventers or dressage horses, but need too much packaging. Or they buy a QH with a short step. Or they want to show next month, but buy something green and rush to the ring, ruining the relaxed image.

        IMO, if the A show people want to come ride at the shows I show at, bring 'em! I will say- personally, the biggest barrier to me showing A shows is the money- but not in terms of horse flesh, but in terms of entry fees. I can't afford the A shows. But it is not because I can't afford a 5 figure horse.

        Comment


        • Yep, Magnolia, you get it. Lovely horse, BTW.
          http://patchworkfarmga.com

          Comment


          • Good grief, calm down. I show because I want to make myself and my horses better. I have learned alot from the so-called professionals. I hate to say this but its NOT all about the winning. I think your focus might be a tad off-sorry

            Comment


            • Originally posted by 2bayboys View Post
              And all the rated shows I go to have tons of unrated divisions at heights 2' to 2'6", which encourages participation at ALL levels.
              OK, look at my case, cost for one, single 2'6" division of 3 over fences and 1 under saddle at AA show (in the worst ring out of 7 on the property)-1200 or so as show is in another state, almost 300 miles round trip so has to ship when others ship. I work so full day care required all week.

              Cost of TWO divisions, 8 O/f and 2 U/S at average good local, around 500-700 including stall. 3 days full care/traing rides/coaching or I can do partial for a discount and school my own the day before (no thanks. but that's another thread).

              Soooo...being NOT made of money and even though I have alot of A show miles, not much of a choice there.

              Oh, you can have my ribbon of I beat you or your kid. I actually don't pick them up any more but never was why I showed.

              And I never won a stinkin' jacket.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by findeight View Post
                And I never won a stinkin' jacket.
                I hear GSDHJA has some available.
                Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                Comment


                • Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                  I hear GSDHJA has some available.
                  shhhh...I am going to fly in & try to win one. And how does one win this cruise that was mentioned?? I'd prefer that over a jacket honestly.
                  "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

                  Comment


                  • Giddy-up - you can win the cruise by being the highpoint winner for the season in certain divisions. It is a cruise for 2 including airfare and is quite nice. Two people from our barn were highpoint champs last year and took the cruise.

                    Comment


                    • You can have your jackets and your cruise...I was thinking about shipping cross country to win the CWD saddle. For a flat class?! That's a pretty impressive prize!
                      Please don't sabotash my conchess.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by findeight View Post
                        OK, look at my case, cost for one, single 2'6" division of 3 over fences and 1 under saddle at AA show (in the worst ring out of 7 on the property)-1200 or so as show is in another state, almost 300 miles round trip so has to ship when others ship. I work so full day care required all week.

                        Cost of TWO divisions, 8 O/f and 2 U/S at average good local, around 500-700 including stall. 3 days full care/traing rides/coaching or I can do partial for a discount and school my own the day before (no thanks. but that's another thread).

                        Soooo...being NOT made of money and even though I have alot of A show miles, not much of a choice there.

                        I totally agree. Which is why my two younguns are currently making the rounds at the local shows, where they can get much-needed experience without me taking out a mortgage to finance it. Maybe we'll move up, maybe we won't, but I'm enjoying the process.
                        "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
                        Rainy
                        Stash

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Haalter View Post
                          You can have your jackets and your cruise...I was thinking about shipping cross country to win the CWD saddle. For a flat class?! That's a pretty impressive prize!
                          It's only a 5 hour drive for me...and new horse needs a new saddle. CWD is on my wish list.
                          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                            It's only a 5 hour drive for me...and new horse needs a new saddle. CWD is on my wish list.
                            Geez...saddles, cruises and jackets? I was happy with tack store gift certificates and wine glasses I live in the wrong area

                            Is that saddle a prize for the Adult jumper class? I might have to start hauling that way

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by Trixie View Post
                              FWIW, I was responding to Mardi’s commentary, which basically tells folks that they’ll NEVER measure up so don’t try, and the concept that it’s simply better to keep those that are better out of the picture. I disagree.
                              Uh oh. I don't think I meant to convey that.

                              I certainly do want riders to learn, improve and move up.
                              Those small shows are the spring that feeds the big shows.
                              And the trainers at the small shows are teaching the beginners
                              that many big time trainers won't touch.

                              The small shows are vital to our sport. They are what feeds it !
                              Perhaps that's why I'm a bit protective of them.

                              When small show trainers and parents say too many big kids are jumping into the little kids' wading pool, it's time to work something out.

                              If the big kids just wade in with the little kids, that's great.
                              It's when they start doing cannon balls that it's a problem.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Haalter View Post
                                You can have your jackets and your cruise...I was thinking about shipping cross country to win the CWD saddle. For a flat class?! That's a pretty impressive prize!
                                For the OCHSA version, first you have to place first or second in your age group. There were 20 in the adults and that was the smallest group. Typically lots of work w/o stirrups, transitions within and b/w gaits and so on. Then the top two from the age groups compete for the saddle. You pretty much need a horse that's capable of doing the flat phase of the USET. Not sure how the GSDHJA one works once you get to the finals show, but I've ridden in the qualifying classes at the regular shows and they work you pretty hard.

                                But I did win a jacket last year by basically having the wonderful opportunity to be sitting on a very nice-moving horse that belonged to someone else. I got that opportunity by working hard at the barn, on and off the horses.
                                The Evil Chem Prof

                                Comment


                                • Peggy, that sounds wonderful! I so wish we had something like that in our area for the kids/ammies that show locally in my area...starting last year, our state assoc. took away our local medal finals entirely and now only gives a prize to the high point riders from the year for pony, ch/aa, and jr/am local medals. IMO, this rewards attending every show and chasing points vs. being tested hard at a year end show like you describe. It's a bummer
                                  Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry

                                  Comment


                                  • Peggy - The flat medal final for GSDHJA is a very hard one just as you described for OCHSA. Last year they had so many qualified that they split into two sections before they decided on the top ones. In the end they come down to 2 riders and have them switch horses (I think they did that last year? I know they did the year before.). It is a great class to just participate in and really is a hard medal final. The kids come and horses come out of the ring dripping wet!

                                    Comment


                                    • Oh, I don't even know where to start with my comments, there are just too many to organize. :head spinning:

                                      1) The problem of "A riders" crossing over isn't really the fact that people with nicer horses/bigger budgets/etc are showing in little backyard shows. It's that showing for most people has become about ribbons, point chasing, and year end awards (on all levels). If that's all you get out of your showing experience, you are missing out on so much.

                                      2) When this complaint comes up, I think it's fair to say that BOTH sides can be guilty of poor sportsmanship: I feel no less offended by the "A" rider who sandbags than the local rider who doesn't move up and continues to "clean up" just for that year end award. My experience is that the former happens less than the latter, but it goes both ways.

                                      3) I don't think you can solely blame it on local trainers for the issue arrising; not all are incapable of edcuating their clients (I'd like to think I do a good job!). I feel most of the problem comes from the "instant gratification" and "entitlement" attitude of present society. That is why some riders sandbag, and why others won't move on. And why some trainers at ALL levels will do what it takes to keep their clients happy and winning, even if it means sandbagging or holding them back.

                                      4) I don't care who is showing against my kids, or where they came from, or what they've done. Because when it comes down to it, it's about how YOU did compared to your last show/last round/last fence. Did you fix your mistakes? Did you make improvement? What do we need to work on for the next time?

                                      I'd rather be the worst of the fantastic than the best of the god-awful any day.
                                      www.englishivyfarms.com
                                      Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
                                      All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown

                                      Comment


                                      • I think I get where the OP is coming from. Nobody minds compitition, but when top level people come for an easy win (not schooling young horses/riders, or confidence building), it can be a real irritation.

                                        I remember many, many years ago, there was a small local show (flat classes, english/western) going on in our barn. I was planning to hack my A System hunter during lunch break, but the show went long, and he was busting his buttons. I paid for a couple of classes and turned over my number just to get him worked before he exploded. One of the locals was concerned. "You are turning over your number, right?" Of course I was.

                                        My horse was really on that day, and was spectacular in the road hack class. (Would he have just behaved like that at the A Shows!!!). He was an exceptionally good mover in his bad days, so that day people were pointing and staring. The ring steward told me I should have been judged - I would have won.

                                        It came down to attitude. 1) I knew my horse outclassed the locals - why would I want to take ribbons from them? And 2) What kind of sportsmanship does it show to bring something in that absolutely doesn't belong there in terms of quality (and doesn't need schooling) and why is that satisfying? and finally, 3) For the people showing at that show, it was a big deal to them.

                                        So maybe I differ from the general opinion. But other than reasons stated (schooling, confidence building, greenies, etc) why would you have any satisfaction at all in bringing something that belongs at another level?
                                        The truth is always in the middle.

                                        Comment


                                        • There is no sportsmanlike way to keep people better than you out of your class at a horse show as long as they meet the class specs.

                                          A top notch A circuit Eq rider coming to a local show and showing in classes for which they meet the specifications is not "doing cannonballs." They have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else who meets the class specifications. It may be that some local shows need to adjust their class specs.

                                          I would consider "doing cannonballs" as someone on a big green horse creating a stir in a warmup ring or hack class full of beginners or doing something else to disturb others' enjoyment of the show in a safe manner...something other than annoyingly winning too many ribbons.

                                          FWIW, I have heard complaints like this for a LOONG time. These are not new complaints. They may have intensified recently with some folks moving back to the local level due to the economy. I showed primarily locally as a kid on ponies and horses that my family was bringing along to sell. There always were A circuit people there for schooling, or easy wins, whatever. That's life. Thankfully I had a good coach (my mother) who taught me to concentrate on my own riding and that it is an honor to compete against better horses and riders than myself.

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