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'Frustrated By The Sport? Do Something!'

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  • 'Frustrated By The Sport? Do Something!'

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...t-do-something

    Just read this and was wondering what you all thought of it? The show jumping scene in the USA is something that I am not familiar with. I have have to keep reminding myself that when people say 'show' that what they actually mean is 'compete'.
    Last edited by KittyinAus; Sep. 13, 2017, 07:37 PM. Reason: Added a few forgotten words.

  • #2
    I think that the people that are working on the grass roots level have a good cause, but in the end, it is all about the money.
    Show managers are not putting on shows out of the kindness of their heart, it's all about the money. Have you ever been involved with managing a horseshow? It's enough to make you loose your sanity or worse! All the Diva trainers and riders just......
    It would be wonderful if there could be a committee with a fund that canvassed the countryside and found deserving riders, but why would you, as a sponsor, spend your money on a young unproven jock when you could easily spend it on someone who is already "proven"?
    It's all about the money.
    I know there are some wonderful older stories about a rider that came from nowhere, worked hard, and made it BIG, but not so much nowadays because it's all about the money.
    Horses are expensive. I get that. I just think we need to be realistic and remember that it's all about the money.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ohnoO View Post
      I think that the people that are working on the grass roots level have a good cause, but in the end, it is all about the money.
      Show managers are not putting on shows out of the kindness of their heart, it's all about the money. Have you ever been involved with managing a horseshow? It's enough to make you loose your sanity or worse! All the Diva trainers and riders just......
      It would be wonderful if there could be a committee with a fund that canvassed the countryside and found deserving riders, but why would you, as a sponsor, spend your money on a young unproven jock when you could easily spend it on someone who is already "proven"?
      It's all about the money.
      I know there are some wonderful older stories about a rider that came from nowhere, worked hard, and made it BIG, but not so much nowadays because it's all about the money.
      Horses are expensive. I get that. I just think we need to be realistic and remember that it's all about the money.
      Have seen some of the expenses involved in competing in the USA in show jumping and it bends my head. Am surprised at how much horses cost. The entry fees for normal classes are huge. Then you have all the ancillary costs of attending the competition. Ouch! Hooly dooly!

      Comment


      • #4
        Oh, and remember who is paying for any benefits that might come from this grass roots advisory committee.

        Comment


        • #5
          I just read the article. Two sections stood out to me. To provide context, I am an early 30s professional, married with one kid, and I fund my riding entirely on my own (husband does not contribute). I can only afford to do local As, not to travel anymore. I groomed professionally as a junior for an East Coast BNT, from WEF to indoors.

          1. This quote the author quoted: "Was I supposed to put 10 years of my life into someone else’s business to do ticketed warmups on Tuesdays?" LOLZZZx1000 yes you are. Because that's what the BNTs you're working for did before you (excluding a very small minority of junior superstars who went on to work for their trainers). Methinks there's a case of unrealistic expectations floating around out there. Which feeds in to...

          2. "About a week after our initial interactions, Mr. Kessler contacted me and told me that he is launching a grassroots advisory board that will help dissect the problems facing the grassroots and help institute changes, with the goal of making our sport more accessible to all of us." How on earth is USEF going to make horse sport more accessible, unless they're going to issue grants to those under a certain income level? As was somewhat hinted at above, why should show managers or horse owners or anyone else be expected to give up the income that puts food on their table to make shows more accessible to those who might not make as much as those currently attending? Land is expensive. Services are expensive. Facility upkeep is expensive. What makes Susie Amateur deserving of charity vs you or I?

          At some point, you can't make things less expensive without generous donations from show managers, property and horse owners, etc. Yes, it would be nice if Tom Struzzieri took a small pay cut to bring down stall costs at his facility. But is a $50 cheaper stall all of a sudden the breaking point to attending Ocala? At some point, things cost what they cost - anyone who's run the numbers for the cost per horse at a boarding facility knows that barn owners aren't making much money there, as an example. But should they be cutting Susie Amateur a deal, because USEF wants her to have access to high level training and showing and "she deserves it because she wants it bad"?

          All you can do is work as hard as you can to make as much money as you can and appreciate what level of horse sport you are able to access. Any charity along the way in the form of a catch ride or a free lesson or a braider saying "gee, Susie seems like she wants this, so I'm gonna cut her a deal" is icing on the cake.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jhg140 View Post

            At some point, you can't make things less expensive without generous donations from show managers, property and horse owners, etc. Yes, it would be nice if Tom Struzzieri took a small pay cut to bring down stall costs at his facility. But is a $50 cheaper stall all of a sudden the breaking point to attending Ocala?
            Not to mention the cost of nice horses, training fees at shows, day care fees, hotels splits, etc. Pinning the high cost on the shows is only focusing on one piece of the competition cost equation.
            Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
            Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jhg140 View Post
              ....

              At some point, you can't make things less expensive without generous donations from show managers, property and horse owners, etc. Yes, it would be nice if Tom Struzzieri took a small pay cut to bring down stall costs at his facility. But is a $50 cheaper stall all of a sudden the breaking point to attending Ocala? At some point, things cost what they cost - anyone who's run the numbers for the cost per horse at a boarding facility knows that barn owners aren't making much money there, as an example. But should they be cutting Susie Amateur a deal, because USEF wants her to have access to high level training and showing and "she deserves it because she wants it bad"?

              All you can do is work as hard as you can to make as much money as you can and appreciate what level of horse sport you are able to access. Any charity along the way in the form of a catch ride or a free lesson or a braider saying "gee, Susie seems like she wants this, so I'm gonna cut her a deal" is icing on the cake.

              I will say you are making a FALSE argument. Consider that at the same facility owned by Bellisimo a h/j show will charge $300 a week (Tuesday-Sunday) for a stall then the same stall goes for $180 the next weekend for a horse trial (also Tuesday-Sunday) and then it is $100 for a week for a western show. There is no difference. The management is the same in terms of facility.

              To me it sounds like you are perpetuating the idea of "because I went through it, you have to do the same." That is the reason people are opting out of the sport. The greed in the h/j world is unreasonable. The show managers see the money from the rich participants and will cater to their whims and work to rape them as much as possible. Again, I use Bellissimo as the prime example. They are in it for the MONEY, not for the riders, not for the horses. And this is where USEF MUST DRAW THE LINE.

              Comment


              • #8
                The USEF drew the line when they raised membership fees and D&M fees. *Insert eyeroll emoji here*

                Comment


                • #9
                  I hope all Kessler's talk of the grassroots doesn't translate into sucking more money out of people showing at the state and local levels
                  Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                  Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RAyers View Post


                    I will say you are making a FALSE argument. Consider that at the same facility owned by Bellisimo a h/j show will charge $300 a week (Tuesday-Sunday) for a stall then the same stall goes for $180 the next weekend for a horse trial (also Tuesday-Sunday) and then it is $100 for a week for a western show. There is no difference. The management is the same in terms of facility.

                    To me it sounds like you are perpetuating the idea of "because I went through it, you have to do the same." That is the reason people are opting out of the sport. The greed in the h/j world is unreasonable. The show managers see the money from the rich participants and will cater to their whims and work to rape them as much as possible. Again, I use Bellissimo as the prime example. They are in it for the MONEY, not for the riders, not for the horses. And this is where USEF MUST DRAW THE LINE.
                    Exactly .. it's a matter of what the specific market will tolerate.. and our Hunter Jumper Market is the most elite of them all , the majority wouldn't bat an eye if the stall fees were $500.00 per week. and classes went to $100.00 per for a $1.00 ribbon . All that's needed is about 1500.00 Elite competitors with unlimited funds to make WEF or Hits work.. the rest are really unnecessary as the Elite competitor can easily make up for the loss of the smaller barn entries with increased fees .. It could cost $10,000.00 per week in entry fees, stall fees and Office fees and those riders would not even blink, it's doubtful they even know what a stall costs per week now .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KittyinAus View Post
                      http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...t-do-something

                      Just read this and was wondering what you all thought of it? The show jumping scene in the USA is something that I am not familiar with. I have have to keep reminding myself that when people say 'show' that what they actually mean is 'compete'.
                      Besides the other stuff mentioned...

                      "Show" is often used as an idiom in USA English, used as a noun/subject a noun instead of a verb/action. Every widespread language has regional idioms, it's what makes fluency in a non native language so difficult.

                      "Show" to refer to horse competition probably derived from the fact horse competitions in the 19th to the mid 20th century were associated with state and county fairs where other livestock, hand crafted items, sewing and cooking skills etc. were subjectively judged with many entertainments like sideshows, music, dancing etc. were presented.. Everybody dressed up, they went to see the show that was itself a huge entertainment in those days. The term stuck and can refrerence anything from trade exhibitions to movies to live plays, concerts and TV programming. Even professional Baseball players call that top level major league competition " The Show".

                      Lots of things besides idioms differ from place to place. Not better or worse but different. Makes understanding what they are specifically referring to difficult.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wish everyone would stop griping about the cost of the shows. In the end that is not what makes or breaks someone trying to get to the top. Does it contribute? Of course, but only to certain point.
                        Lessons with half decent trainers are one of the biggest necessary costs even if you don't own your own horse. Catch riding as an adult? You could be toeing the line with your amateur status.
                        Leasing? You can't even get your money back in the end.

                        Basically it comes down to the fact that this sport involves a living animal. One that costs money year round. I have a friend in the NHL, he came from nothing. His grandparents drove him to every game and practice while his parents worked. The local hockey association recognized that he had potential and hosted several fundraisers to offset some costs to get him onto rep teams where he would get noticed. The sad thing is the amount of money it took to get him to the NHL wouldn't even buy you a local level AA hunter around here.

                        I work for a cardiologist who used to date a girl who rode. When he had his first kid he made a point of telling me "no pony stuff" for gifts. A freaking cardiologist said horses are too expensive for his kids.

                        I really don't think it will get better. The bottom line is that the average family can't afford to feed and board a horse at a facility with an indoor arena, let alone coaching and showing on top of that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                          I hope all Kessler's talk of the grassroots doesn't translate into sucking more money out of people showing at the state and local levels
                          I agree with others who say "It's all about the money."

                          So the USEF and anyone on this committee can put their money whether their mouth is. And here's where to start:

                          Dismantle the Mileage Rule that, way back when, inaugurated the rise of the huge Destination Horse Shows. If you want to find the single factor that has reshaped the H/J industry (and one that the USEF can single-handedly do something about), this would be it.

                          Here's how the advent of the Distination Horse Show kills the grass at its roots: Horse show managers-cum-developers like Struzzieri and Bellissimo were given a captive audience by the Mileage Rule such that when horse trainers said, "Look, I have 4 clients who can jump 3' or higher and 20 who need 2'6" and under. Make it possible for me to drag all of them to your one show... oh, and I'd really like to stay for 3 weeks rather than traveling every Tuesday and Sunday." The horse show managers obliged; they don't care how high the ring crew sets the fences.

                          And now, rather than it costing the $150 is used to cost for to go to your first actual horse show and jump around the cross rails for the day at your local C show..... it now costs $1,500 for the week you'll be at the Big Show. And the horse show is a Much Bigger Deal. Trainer doesn't want your DIY braids to distinguish your her clients as "grass roots" in a way that they would not have stood out or the DIY designation would have been unusual at the little show... so tack on braiding charges. Same for grooming. Who has time to supervise the kid and non-horsey parents at the Big Show when you have so many clients there? And the show isn't near your home (at least in most parts of the country), so there's travel and missed school in the offing. Combine that with the new, post-2008 trend toward leasing horses, including school horses, and you have a real problem with setting up the opportunity for families to get a taste of showing without a huge financial investment in a better-quality animal.

                          And so it goes that parents are (rightly) scared off before kiddo is even 10 years old. And again, the one thing the USEF could do to create change is to re-welcome the little dinky shows that allowed the "regular folks" among us to get our feet wet.

                          You all asked for an actionable solution. Start here. Or, heck, do better than I did with this suggestion: Find a better single cause of the demise of the grass roots that the USEF can control and modify that! But standing around identifying ambient, diffuse or unchangeable causes of the high cost of horse showing gets no one anywhere.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            MVP, I absolutely agree. The grassroots members must stand up to kill the mileage rule. I've had students absolutely ready to go showing and then the relative costs start adding up...... So, we go to the local pair pace or XC schooling.


                            Does ANYBODY here actually think that show/facility managers/owners actually care about riding? Do any of them actually ride? They are in it for the money, otherwise they wouldn't do it. The governing bodies will cater to the rich facility folks because they tout the money to be made by fleecing the riders.

                            I know of one series of shows that CLEARED $500k for 6 weeks after paying all facility fees, workers, rentals, etc. I found that out when the facility owner made us eventers try to match the rental rates and income on a per week basis (impossible).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Abolishing the mileage rule may be the deathknell for some horse shows. To some, that's a feature, to others, that's a bug.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                MVP, I absolutely agree. The grassroots members must stand up to kill the mileage rule. I've had students absolutely ready to go showing and then the relative costs start adding up...... So, we go to the local pair pace or XC schooling.


                                Does ANYBODY here actually think that show/facility managers/owners actually care about riding? Do any of them actually ride? They are in it for the money, otherwise they wouldn't do it. The governing bodies will cater to the rich facility folks because they tout the money to be made by fleecing the riders.

                                I know of one series of shows that CLEARED $500k for 6 weeks after paying all facility fees, workers, rentals, etc. I found that out when the facility owner made us eventers try to match the rental rates and income on a per week basis (impossible).
                                But more to the point, the USEF moved the power and interests from anything having to do with riding to the realm of Horse Show Venue Development. Intentional or not, it seems to me that the governing body of the sport made this particular kind of business venture profitable and made the B- and C-rated shows less so. And, IMO, in doing so, they changed the horse training business substantially by having it all "siloed" into the barn of the pro that could take a quorum of clients to distant horse shows. There's aren't a whole lot of options left for the person who wants to graduate from a lesson mill kind of a place to something bigger, but not a very high-end full-service, pro-is-out-of-town all winter kind of barn. Or worse, and something I refuse to do, the people who have the horses who previously could have spent fun and successful seasons competing at those smaller local shows are now saving their pennies to show at one or two Big Shows per year. IMO, this is spending a whole lot of money to enter a decidedly tilted playing field. Whether it's that I can't buy the quality of animal required or I don't have enough miles in the saddle at shows, when I get there to spend half my horse show budget for the year on one week, I'm not in a good position to be competitive. The smart money doesn't play and goes elsewhere.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Darkwave View Post
                                  Abolishing the mileage rule may be the deathknell for some horse shows. To some, that's a feature, to others, that's a bug.
                                  And the big problem is that the developers, certainly an important group of "stake holders" in the USEF's policy have lots of money sunk into their very specific kind of venture. You can imagine how this looks to them: An investment opportunity was opened up more than 20 years ago and they did the logical thing to capitalize on that. They are loathe to allow their profits to go elsewhere.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    While the mileage rule is still in place, one thing riders/trainers/etc can do is support the better shows.

                                    This last summer, I had one of my novice ladies tell me after a HITS show that she didn't think she could afford to do the A/AA shows. But she had already signed on for Traverse City, so decided to go, as she's from there originally. The cost difference for her was a whopping $1000 in favor of TC over HITS. $1000 difference. Think about that a moment.....to show her horse in the 2'6" novice adults, me show it in 2 warm up classes, stall fees, etc, $1900 for a pretty crappy facility and management, and all the crap that goes along with that organization.
                                    Same exact classes at TC, $900, for better management, better facility, better everything. WTF? How could that be? It was the same across the board for all of our horses that went.
                                    After going to Ocala for the first time, and this last experience, neither I, nor my customers will go back to a HITS show. Supporting the quality shows is a big step, I think.
                                    I get it, horse shows are being put on to make money. Having run a few small shows at our farm, I know it is not cheap to do it correctly. But price gouging should be called out, and those shows shouldn't be supported, imo. There are enough venues across the country that no one should "have" to show somewhere

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I think that maybe the big difference in Australia is that people aren't running shows and competitions to make money. It's not a money making venture. I could be wrong but I think that the idea is to cover costs and any small amount over is a pleasant surprise. I personally sponsor the championships ribbons for a pony breed class at an agricultural show. These agricultural show are important shows. The championships ribbons cost me $50 and so now I am a sponsor. It's my annual Birthday present to myself.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        RAyers is 100% right on some of the costs and fees. Right now, the Colorado Horse Park (owned by Bellissimo's group) is hosting an A show with the Maclay Regionals, the region's dressage championships rated show, and I think there's an eventing derby or something squeezed in as well.

                                        Let's just look at the facility fees for the dressage show versus the h/j show, because we are talking same facility, same week, same stalls, and although a lot of dressage riders tend to be one or two day haul-ins, haul-ins aren't allowed for those doing championships under USEF rules. So, when to take out the day stall or haul-in options, that's a pretty reasonable comparison, right? ....Although as an aside, there is no day stall option for h/j at this show and the trailer-in fees are also higher by $20/day for h/j versus dressage.


                                        Dressage show stabling options:
                                        Weekend stall or tack stall (Thurs-Sun, Wed-Sat, or Tues-Fri) = $150
                                        Extended weekend stall or tack stall (Tues-Sat or Wed-Sun) = $180
                                        Full show stall or tack stall (Tues-Sun or Wed-Mon) = $210

                                        H/J show stabling options:
                                        stall or tack stall - $275/week (show runs Thurs-Sun)

                                        Comment

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