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Lobbying for exhibitor' interests/USEF convention

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  • Lobbying for exhibitor' interests/USEF convention

    Just a thought about the organization that creates rules and structure for competitions.
    Are we arriving at a point where the needs and concerns of the general membership are being dismissed because of a marginalized few that want to shape the rules and advance a personal/professional agenda ?
    I really wonder if it is time to have representatives(lobbyists) at the convention that have the concerns of the average member and the opportunity to influence the direction of the governing body.
    Given the perceived problems of unqualified participants riding in the medal finals at Harrisburg (the one finals that does not require a regional or point qualifying factor) the focus seems to be legislating riders out rather than enforcing the requirements of fence height, combinations, distances etc.
    Would the membership be better served by a group or individual that clearly has a motivation to make the shows a better experience for those paying the entry fees ?
    Maybe I am seeing this problem as being greater than it really is but I am reminded of a saying that says "Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely corrupts ". In a free enterprise system the bottom will fail as it should allowing the best to rise to the top, limiting access is a fundamental mistake and does not promote better competition.
    Please feel free to disagree and share your different opinion.

  • #2
    The convention is open to all, although relatively few exhibitors attend, IME. I went for a number of years when I sat on a committee and thought it was a very interesting experience. There are forums where general members can voice their thoughts and comments; I would assume that it is also possible to volunteer to serve on committees and have some influence that way.

    Your Zone committee is also a venue to provide feedback, if desired... I've sent a few comments to my Zone chair and have received a thoughtful response (along with a comment that they very seldom hear from the exhibitor population that they theoretically represent.)
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I agree that there is little to no participation at the general meetings and USHJA specifically addresses the interests of the portion of USEF members that attend hunter/jumper shows.
      I am simply throwing out an idea, good, bad, or neutral that suggests a representative that is expressly a proponent for exhibitors and find a way to collectively participate in the decisions that have the interests of the exhibitor foremost.

      Comment


      • #4
        or, conversely, you can take the time and pay the expense to go, voice your opinions, only to be shot down or ignored completely...ask me how I know
        "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
        carolprudm

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
          Your Zone committee is also a venue to provide feedback, if desired... I've sent a few comments to my Zone chair and have received a thoughtful response (along with a comment that they very seldom hear from the exhibitor population that they theoretically represent.)
          Depends on the quality of your Zone rep. I e-mailed mine 3 weeks ago and haven't had so much as the courtesy of a reply...
          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with the OP.

            An exhibitor's representative is needed, and would be very helpful.

            Comment


            • #7
              The USHJA, the Zone committees and various task forces etc ARE the groups that are supposed to be representing the membership. I'm not arguing that the relationship(s) and interaction with the majority of exhibitors couldn't be better, but IME, when a sub-group starts hiring lobbyists to advance a particular point of view, they tend to represent the specific interests of those paying the lobbyists, not the membership in general.

              A look at any of the recent spirited discussions on this very board clearly illustrates the diversity of opinions that exist among "exhibitors" - and those who post here are themselves just a fraction of those who show.

              Again I'm not trying to dismiss the idea, just wondering how this lobbying entity is going to decide what to pitch, and how it would be funded. I would definitely be hesitant to have any additional costs tacked on to an already pricey membership to fund some third party lobbyist to speak on my behalf... who might or might not share my views.

              My bias, I guess, is that I like to speak for myself... and I think one of the privileges of membership includes accepting the responsibility of speaking up about issues that concern me or that I think will impact the future of the sport. Thus I have served on committees and have attended meetings and conventions etc at my own expense, and way back when we were embroiled in the governance challenges, I went to hearings, provided testimony, and so forth, also at my own expense.

              I'm not saying that's the only way, of course. Interested to hear what others think.
              **********
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
              -PaulaEdwina

              Comment


              • #8
                Any lobbying would need to be done at the breed/discipline level, as the "umbrella" hierarchy currently in place means that USEF pretty much will follow the recommendations of the breed/discipline affiliates as per rule changes.

                In the case of H/J, the USHJA would be the organization that is supposed to discuss, debate, and then make policy recommendations to USEF based on how they affect H/J.

                If there is an imbalance/disconnect between the interests of various groups within H/J (exhibitors vs management, or if the interests of different groups of exhibitors diverge from each other), then the reasons for that should be looked at.

                A friend and I recently examined the bylaws posted on the USHJA website; I tend to think they could stand some tweaking to improve the level of protection of a broader range of interests.

                (She is a delegate for two of our local organizations, in LI, and therefore is in attendance at the meeting, btw).
                Inner Bay Equestrian
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                KERx

                Comment


                • #9
                  [QUOTE=Lucassb;4545665]The USHJA, the Zone committees and various task forces etc ARE the groups that are supposed to be representing the membership. I'm not arguing that the relationship(s) and interaction with the majority of exhibitors couldn't be better, but IME, when a sub-group starts hiring lobbyists to advance a particular point of view, they tend to represent the specific interests of those paying the lobbyists, not the membership in general."

                  And the "powers that be" don't? I completely agree with the OP. Things are happening in our sport, behind closed doors, even AFTER we vote the way we want them to go. This year's rule change proposals appalled me in the narrow focus, elitist, exclusionary way they were written. SO MANY are clearly being advanced for the benefit of ONE person with an agenda.

                  Our sport is in danger of changing forever, in ways we may not want, if we aren't vigiliant and reactive. When the dust settles on this year's crop, we will have but a few months to sound off loudly in protest if we don't like them. There is a growing feeling that the few want to control the sport the way THEY see it, not the way the membership sees it.
                  Laurie

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by mroades View Post
                    or, conversely, you can take the time and pay the expense to go, voice your opinions, only to be shot down or ignored completely...ask me how I know
                    You bet, ask me how I know

                    Lauriep thank you for your reply, the "powers that be" will determine where the direction of the sport will go in the next decade and beyond. Participation and involvement is necessary to have a broad based consumer friendly and level playing field. I wonder if most members are aware that they can effectively change or influence the rules and standards by voicing their opinions? I wonder if a "cohesive group" of exhibitors can be as influential/ powerful as the group that currently is in a position to vote.
                    It is similar to calling your local representative and saying " Hi my name is xyz. I am calling on behalf of 25 voters in my family and we would like your consideration on abc".
                    I have been in contact with both judges and stewards and have voiced my opinions on the upcoming rule changes, so I am not silent about my concerns. I am more worried about the general membership who may be naively led by committees that may not have their best interest first.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [QUOTE]
                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                      The USHJA, the Zone committees and various task forces etc ARE the groups that are supposed to be representing the membership. I'm not arguing that the relationship(s) and interaction with the majority of exhibitors couldn't be better, but IME, when a sub-group starts hiring lobbyists to advance a particular point of view, they tend to represent the specific interests of those paying the lobbyists, not the membership in general."

                      Originally posted by lauriep View Post
                      [And the "powers that be" don't? I completely agree with the OP. Things are happening in our sport, behind closed doors, even AFTER we vote the way we want them to go. This year's rule change proposals appalled me in the narrow focus, elitist, exclusionary way they were written. SO MANY are clearly being advanced for the benefit of ONE person with an agenda.

                      Our sport is in danger of changing forever, in ways we may not want, if we aren't vigiliant and reactive. When the dust settles on this year's crop, we will have but a few months to sound off loudly in protest if we don't like them. There is a growing feeling that the few want to control the sport the way THEY see it, not the way the membership sees it.
                      My point was that there ARE groups charged with representing the interests of exhibitors. Perhaps it would make sense to try to USE the existing mechanisms (ie, fix them so that they do, in fact, represent our interests) but of course that means that more people would have to get off their @sses and get involved, which very few bother to do.

                      There is no doubt that there are many special interests in our sport, and some have taken the time to build their influence so that they can shape things to benefit themselves. When you consider how much money is now at stake in our sport/industry, that is not at all surprising.

                      I've been down that particular road with the USEF (then AHSA, then the Fed) during the NGB battle. I cared about that issue a great deal and I went to meetings, worked on committes and even testified at hearings. It was time consuming, difficult and expensive (not just in $$.) I do understand how the sport works on the inside, and it's not particularly pretty.

                      Certainly those who are opposed to the proposed changes should mobilize and voice their concerns (some of which I share, BTW.) Not sure hiring a lobbyist would be the best way, but it's an interesting discussion. My concern with a lobbyist approach is that it will most likely just represent the views of a few who are willing to ante up and write a check to them - not the membership as a whole - and will wind up no better than the current powers that be, merely advocating for the interests of a few.
                      **********
                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                      -PaulaEdwina

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=Lucassb;4547699]

                        My point was that there ARE groups charged with representing the interests of exhibitors. Perhaps it would make sense to try to USE the existing mechanisms (ie, fix them so that they do, in fact, represent our interests) but of course that means that more people would have to get off their @sses and get involved, which very few bother to do.
                        But perhaps those groups are representing the interests of a group with a very narrow focus instead of the majority?

                        And I don't really think it's so much a case of people not wanting to get involved. It may be a case of the governing bodies not wanting to hear from anyone who isn't on board with the 'agenda'.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You CAN be heard

                          I am here at the meeting and will stay all the way through the Board meeting tomorrow. I can only speak to my experiences and THIS convention..to do other wise would take wayyyyyyyyyyy to long and its late here.

                          This particular convention is a HUGE example of how things can work..NO not everything is perfect BUT it has been a "hot" convention...because so many people showed up. This is their biggest one.

                          Starting on day one in the open rule change forum, members from the floor spoke up loud and clear against some of the major proposals.......in 2 of them dozens of people spoke their mind. Bill Morony was patient and let just about every single person who put their hands in the air speak...and they took notes.

                          I was interested in how a couple of them would turn out so I made it a point to sit in on a couple of those committees today....the voice of the people was heard and acted upon....AND THAT voice was certainly not the voice of "the powers" as some people like to say.

                          All I can tell you is that this is the best process we have so far, and its getting better. USHJA tried a couple of different approaches to the forums this convention and it worked quit well...

                          I can personally say a thanks to Karen Healy and that committee, Tracy Weinberg and that committee for staying up into the late hours to speak to LOTS of "regular" people to get their vioce...and then make adjustments !!

                          I will try to post more about all this later, its very late here.....

                          BUT.....GET INVOLVED, GET ON YOUR ZONE COMMITTES- OR AT LEAST CALL THOSE GUYS ON THAT COMMITTEE AND TALK TO THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN IF THATS WHAT IT TAKES.

                          ANY change in anything worth while is worth the work....come along and do it with those of us who have taken the time to come!!!
                          [url]http://www.horseshowbiz.com
                          [url]http://www.ijumpsports.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I was among those who were on a committee at the start; I was invited to be on the USHJA Planning Committee.

                            We had maybe two phone conferences, two sessions at the meeting in Dallas a couple years ago, one more phone conference. Most of what was on our agenda was discussion about whether to build or buy a building to house the USHJA.

                            I was making plans to attend the next annual meeting, but couldn't find the Planning Committee on the schedule. When I called to enquire about that, I was told it had been abolished.

                            At least I hadn't already gotten my plane ticket...or made my hotel reservations.

                            I haven't been invited to serve on another commmitee ever since, though I have repeatedly indicated that I would be willing to do so. So much for being willing to get involved.

                            In looking at the bylaws last week, it appears that the committees are appointed by the Board, who in turn, are made up of certain members of each committee.

                            Such a process is not particularly democratic, but instead still boils down to politics...who knows who, etc...

                            I have taken part in the process by writing letters or calling to discuss my opinions with those who are present.

                            I have weighed in on several issues this time around. Got a reply from Bill Moroney, did not get a reply from some others.
                            Inner Bay Equestrian
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                            KERx

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              "I can personally say a thanks to Karen Healy and that committee, Tracy Weinberg and that committee for staying up into the late hours to speak to LOTS of "regular" people to get their vioce...and then make adjustments !!

                              I will try to post more about all this later, its very late here.....

                              [/quote]

                              I know that the days events are exhausting but would you be clearer about the details of the two separate "that committees" and the topics that are being addressed?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by khobstetter View Post
                                .

                                This particular convention is a HUGE example of how things can work..NO not everything is perfect BUT it has been a "hot" convention...because so many people showed up. This is their biggest one.

                                BUT.....GET INVOLVED, GET ON YOUR ZONE COMMITTES- OR AT LEAST CALL THOSE GUYS ON THAT COMMITTEE AND TALK TO THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN IF THATS WHAT IT TAKES.

                                ANY change in anything worth while is worth the work....come along and do it with those of us who have taken the time to come!!!
                                I'm sure it is a 'hot' convention. This year USHJA has proposed a great number of rule changes that are controversial so yeah, lots of people did go. Not because it's a cool thing to do, but because they are trying to make sure management knows how wrong some of the proposals are.

                                After USHJA formed I expressed an interest in being on a committee. I received a letter syaing 'thanks, but no thanks'. I few years ago I again asked if they needed any volunteer help. I received a curt email saying they didn't need any volunteer help.
                                And I know two other people who like M.O'Connor were on a committee, the group disolved, never heard from USHJA again.

                                I've contacted people on my zone committee several times. Never get back to me.

                                I think you are on the Show Standards committee. Care to share with us how that proposal came about? What's the intent? What is it looking to acomplish?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I went to the convention last year. People in charge kept begging me to apply for committees. So right there I wrote down application after application to 4 or so committees. I never heard ONE thing from ANYBODY. I reiterated my desire to be involved at the the Trainer's Symposium in April. Nada, zip.
                                  "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                                  carolprudm

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Another way to get your voice heard is to encourage your local organizations to become "Associate" members. The associate committee IS heard - believe me. The meeting yesterday was fairly well attended and Shelby French is vocal about the needs of the bulk of the membership.

                                    There is a schizm between the elite membership and the rest of us, but it's not going to go away by non-attendance at the conventions and just voicing opinions here. I have been to every convention now, and this was the best yet. Everyone who wanted to voice an opinion was heard and there was lots of good feedback.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I too have served on committees only to have them dismantled and I have since been rebuffed when I've offered to volunteer. (I will say that my Zone reps have been courteous and responsive, though.)

                                      I guess I think that is something that it would be useful to try to change. The committees and USHJA in general cost us a lot of membership $$$$. I'd rather try to make them useful than to spend even more creating a parallel structure to work around them.

                                      If the effort to reform the existing structures to be more inclusive, then sure - I'd support creating other vehicles to try to influence the organization.
                                      **********
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                      -PaulaEdwina

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I too went to the convention.
                                        I represented my local association, that is an affiliate member.

                                        At the first meeting on Monday, I was worried that it was going to be the super powers controling everything as usual. There were some VERY heated discussions, not the least of which happened when with about 10 minutes left to the first proposed rule change meeting, USEF extraordinary rule change pages were handed out. First on the list was to make CHILDREN'S & ADULT AMATUER HUNTER divisions a National championship division. Meaning no longer just "C" rated. People were not happy. But by the end of the convention, I think they got the mesage that this was VERY unpopular, & USHJA was backpeddling & blaming it all on USEF.

                                        Karen Healey actually sat down with a group of trainers(not BNTs but good trainers who wanted to be heard) who were not happy with the proposed changes for the USEF medal. Apparently, for once, shew listened & worked WITH them & hashed out a new plan for the medal finals that everyone felt good about.

                                        As far as the B/C shows we heard a lot of promises, now we have to wait & see what happens when they get behind closed doors.

                                        By the end of the convention I was hopeful they meant what they said & are willing to really listen. It was made very clear to them that if they don't, they might not have any membership left to push around.

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